April 19, 1863
I received dear Mary your letter of the 15th contained in the box sent by Col. Corley & a subsequent letter from you without date reached me to day enveloped in the Churchman. I am very glad to hear you are better & hope your visit to Shirley may restore you. I am very much obliged to you for the contents of the box. You must thank Mrs. Caskie, Mrs. Booker & dear Cousin Anne for their contributions to my comfort. They are very nice & I believe I enjoy the thought of their kindness even more than the good things they have sent. The jars I fear will be irrevocably lost, as it will be almost impossible to send them back. But I will try. Tell Miss Norvell & Sallie that I was afraid they would be so absorbed in their beaux that I should never get a sight of them, which would be so mortifying as to increase my disease & that I had better keep at a distance. The sight of them would have been very cheering to me I confess, but they are no longer school girls, & I cannot impose on them any more. Tell Miss Nannie she will have to suffer. I am sorry Mr. Caskie thinks I was jesting at his debility. I was hoping he would become stronger & was thinking of adding to his protection. The war will terminate some of these days & we shall all then be at peace. I send you a letter from Mrs. Coderise. Bev[erly Coderise?] is a fine boy & I wish I could do something for him. His mother has tried before to get him out of the service in various ways, but he has so far remained firm. If you see him tell him to write to me & say what I can do for him. I do not think our enemies are so confident of success as they used to be. If we can baffle them in their various designs this year & our people are true to our cause & not so devoted to themselves & their own aggrandisement, I think our success will be certain. We will have to suffer & must suffer to the end. But it will all come right. This year I hope will establish our supplies on a firm basis. On every other point we are strong. If successful this year, next fall there will be a great change in public opinion at the North. The Republicans will be destroyed & I think the friends of peace will become so strong as that the next administration will go in on that basis. We have only therefore to resist manfully. I think you had better not answer Mrs. C[oderise]. Do what you can for Bev, but be silent. You see their feelings & temper. I am better & returned to my camp three days since. I am feeble & worthless & can do but little. Kiss Chass & Agnes for me. Tell the former F[itzhugh] is working hard & is doing nobly. Kind love to all.
Very truly & affly
R E Lee
P.S. You appear to forget that the Churchman is sent me regularly by the Publisher. One number is as much as I can dispose of. Love to Smith, Nannie, & all at Shirley.
Source: The Wartime Letters of R. E. Lee, edited by Louis Manarin and Clifford Dowdey, pp. 437-438.
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 April 19