Lexington VA: 29 April 1868
My dear Mrs Rives
The sad news of the death of your husband has just reached me; & though I know that Virginia in all her length & breadth is this day mourning the loss of her great Statesman, there is not one of her Sons who more deeply laments his death, or more truly sympathizes with you & your house, than myself. His long & illustrious career has been marked by usefulnes to the Country & devotion to his native state; & his pure patriotism & earnest efforts for the maintenance of Constitutional liberty, will be an example to posterity. But I need not write his virtues to you, who have observed them so constantly & appreciate them so highly. My object was to sympathize in your grief, & to assure you of my sincere participation in your affliction.
May God in his mercy support you in this sad hour is the prayer of yours most truly
R E Lee
Mrs Wm. C. Rives