A Lonely Room
As a child, Mary Lee enjoyed this room because of the view of the flower garden. During their first 30 years of marriage, Robert and Mary Lee slept in this room, even though Lee’s military assignments often kept him away from home. Oral tradition suggests that six out of the seven Lee children were born here. Some of the furnishings you see are on loan from the Robert E. Lee family, including his writing chair.
“A divided heart I have too long had, and a divided life too long led …. My military duties require me here, whereas my affections and urgent domestic claims call me away. And thus I live and am unable to advance either.”–Robert E. Lee, from Texas, 1860
After learning of Virginia’s secession, Robert E. Lee thought over whether to leave the US Army in this room. In the morning, he headed downstairs to finalize his choice.
Mary Lee enjoyed this room because it overlooked the flower garden. She tended flowers in the downstairs conservatory until arthritis made gardening too difficult.