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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Lee, Robert E. (1807-1870) to John MacKay

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01070 Author/Creator: Lee, Robert E. (1807-1870) Place Written: Fort Monroe, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 26 June 1834 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Written to his friend "Jack," in a lighthearted and comfortable manner. Lee arrived in Fort Monroe as an engineer in 1831 to improve works and build Fort Calhoun. Many of Lee and MacKay's mutual friends were there and Lee updates MacKay on their lives. He wishes MacKay could be there to enjoy "fine times." Lee mentions the ladies in the area, "As for the daughters of Eve, in this country they are framed in the very poetry of nature & would make your lips water & fingers tingle. They are beginning to assemble to put their beautiful limbs in this salt water . . . " Lee remarks briefly on people filling cabinet positions and closes by celebrating the death of the Marquis de Lafayette. Lee and MacKay became friends as cadets at West Point together. Lee's signature is cross-written on p. 4 as part of the address leaf.

People: Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870.
MacKay, John, d. 1848.

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Keywords/Subjects: Women's History, Sexuality, Politics, Revolutionary War, Military History, Confederate General or Leader

Sub Era: Age of Jackson