Some Advice From General Lee on Being a Father

Nov 26, 2016
central NC

Robert E. Lee, around age 38, and his son William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, around age 8, c.1845​

Excerpted from "Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man" by John William Jones and published in 1906:

The General [Lee] related a pleasing incident of one of his boys with whom he was walking out in the snow one day at Arlington. The little fellow lagged behind, and looking over his shoulder the father saw him imitating his every movement, with head and shoulders erect and stepping exactly in his own foot-prints.

"When I saw this," said the General, "I said to myself, it behooves me to walk very straight, when this fellow is already following in my tracks."

This sounds like great advice to me. And based on all the accounts I have read, it appears General Lee took his own advice to heart.


Sergeant Major
Aug 6, 2016
My favorite fatherly advice from Robert E. Lee was to his son while he was at Harvard and word got bad to Lee that his son had taken up tobacco to which he told his son:

“kissing young women was a better use for his mouth”.

I wonder what the protective father would have said to the fellows dating his daughters???

REL to WHFL, January 1, 1859, Lee of Virginia, page 43