28 Oct ’63
I recd. last night dear Mary your letter from Richmond. It was without date, but I presume was written on Saturday, as that was the day of rain here. I answered your letter from Liberty, but as the R. R. bridges were carried away by the freshet, & great irregularity in the trains existed: it was probably delayed in transmission. I hope it has reached you before this. It was directed to Mr. Caskie’s care. I am glad you are so pleased with your house & am truly grateful to the kind friends who have aided you in procuring & furnishing it. I am very sorry that it is too small to accommodate Charlotte. It takes from me half the pleasure of your accommodation, as I wish to think of you all together, & in her feeble condition & separation from her Fitzhugh, no one can sympathize or attend to her as yourself & her sisters. Tell her she had better come up & take my tent. I moved yesterday in a nice pine thicket, & Perry is today engaged in constructing a chimney in front, which will make it warm & Comfortable. I have no idea when F_______ will be exchanged. The federal authorities still resist all exchanges because they think it is to our interest to make them. Any desire expressed on our part, for an exchange of any individual, magnifies the difficulty, as they at once think some great benefit is to result to us from it. If you want a person exchanged, the best course is to keep quiet about it. His detention is very grievous to me, & I besides want his services. But I know no way of shortening it, & must make up my mind to bear it. As regards the flannel, I do not wish to take the girls provision or break into their arrangements. Perhaps you can find some in Richmond, coarser & heavier than they require. If you could take the four pairs you made for me last year & convert them into two, I think they would be large enough. They may be too small as they are even for Robs kilder legs. But of that I do not know. My flannel jackets of which I hoped to derive much Comfort this winter, have shrunk to such a degree, that they are very uncomfortable. If you can get flannel enough for two jackets & two pairs of drawers, please do so. I do not know what I shall do when the winter really Comes, I have suffered so from cold already. I hope I shall get used to it. But I have felt very differently since my attack of last spring, from which I have never recovered. Two of each garment is sufficient, as the rule in Camp is for one to be on & the other in the wash. It saves transportation. I shall wear my yarn socks this winter & have a plenty. As soon as Custis returns he can get into my trunk & send what is necessary. I am glad you have some socks for the army. Send them to me or Col Corley. They will come safe. Tell the girls to send all they Can. I wish they Could make some shoes too. We have thousands of barefooted men. I have not seen Rob since I last wrote. I hope he is well. He is serving with Col: [John R.] Chambliss who is in Command of F[itzhugh]s brigade. You must remember me to all the kind people who take the trouble to inquire after me & thank them for me for their attentions to you. I see no prospect of ever repaying them. I do not now know when I shall be in Richmond. I want to see you very much, but as I always return with an attack of sickness, it is best for me to keep away. My rheumatism is better, though I still suffer. I hope in time it will pass away. I have read Mrs. Cocke’s letter with much pleasure. Our people are too kind. There is no news. Genl Meade I believe is repairing the R. R. & I presume will Come on again. If I could only get some shoes & clothes for the Army, I would save him the trouble. I hope Custis will return soon, as he will be a great Comfort to you. Give much love to the girls & Mildred when you write. Tell her I recd. her letter. I hope Charlotte will now get well. Tell her it is no time for her to be sick, she is young. Only old people can be allowed to be sick.
With true affection, yours
R E Lee
Source: Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 483, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 May 17
 Perry Parks, one of Lee’s servants, who had been freed in 1862 December, per George Washington Parke Custis’s will.
 James Lawrence Corley (1829-1883), Chief Quartermaster. He was born 1829 October 5 in South Carolina. He was married to Mary Coffin Riddell Corley (1840-1934). He died on 1883 March 28 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia.