Richmond 25 Apl 1861
My dear Cassius,
I have recd your letter of the 23rd. I am Sorry your Nephew has left his College & become a Soldier. It is necessary that the persons on my Staff should have a knowledge of their duties & an experience of the wants of the Service, to enable me to attend to other matters. It would otherwise give me great pleasure to take your nephew. I shall remember him if anything Can be done.
I am much obliged to you for Dr May’s letter. Express to him my gratitude for his sentiments, & tell him that no earthly act would give me so much pleasure, as to restore peace to my Country. But I fear it is now out of the power of man, & in God alone must be our trust. I think our policy should be purely on the defensive. To resist aggression & allow time to allay the passions & reason to resume her sway. Virginia has to day I understand joined the Confederate States. Her policy will doubtless therefore be shaped by united Counsels. I Cannot Say what it will be. But trust that a merciful Providence will not turn his face entirely from us & dash us from the height to which his Smiles had raised us.
I wanted to Say many things to you before I left home. But the event was rendered so imperatively speedy that I Could not.
My God preserve you & yours,
R E Lee
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 6, M2009.253, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 October 12