Head Quarters Lee’s Brigade
Oct 21st 1863
Near Beverly’s Ford
My Dear Mother
It has been quite an age since you have heard from me; & though I am very tired & sleepy I’ll not neglect this opportunity as we move off in the morning, of letting you know that I am well & in good health. We have had a long & tiresome trip, but our men stood it very cheerfully & the Cavalry covered themselves with glory. I didn’t get to Kinlock but Bev Turner joined us at Warrenton. He was just from home, & left them all very well. All the country the other side of Warrenton, along the RR & east of it is a perfect desert, not a dwelling but that is torn all to pieces, not a piece of fencing or any signs of civilization except one or two families principally free negroes.
We met separately & collectively the three Yankee Divisions of Cavalry Bufords Regulars, Greggs & Kilpatrick & whipt them every time.
The last fight was near Buckland on the Warrenton & Alexandria Turnpike, & when Genl Stuart retreated designedly before them to-wards Warrenton & Our Division under Genl Fitz Lee came up perpendicular to the Pike & cut their column in two. the surprise was complete & we ran them as far as we could see them. Captured half of their number & lances. One wagon loaded with ammunition an one loaded with medical stores & 800 prisoners.
I took dinner with Pa to day & found him & his staff all very well. He told me that you had at last taken a house in Richmond. I am glad to hear it & hope you & your daughters will establish yourselves comfortably this winter. I’ll try an come & see you when every thing is quiet.
Our Brigade is going across the Rapahanock to morrow to guard a working party who are pulling up the railroad irons & hauling it to the rear: We cross on a pontoon bridge at Rapahanock Fords. I expect a very disagreeable time for besides the Yankee Cavalry being in that direction it looks very much like a rainy spell was coming on which is almost as bad.
Remember me to all my friends & give my best love to my sisters & believe me your loving son
R E Lee jr
I think you are mistaken dear Mildred that I owe you a letter, for I have not heard from you for some-time, & am sure I have written. I have received very nice things from Nassau, some of which are of course for you. I also have several pairs of boots, one pr. for you, which if they don’t fit you can change. It is so near yr vacation. I think it best to keep the things ’till you come. Can you wait for the shoes? If you could get a good pr of walking shoes in Raleigh strong thick and high they might be more reasonable than here. Be sure & bring all of yr bed clothes &c. Custis has just returned this morning.
We have quite a nice little house. When does yr vacation commence? I must say good bye.
Source: Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 482, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 May 4