Hd Qrs Lee’s Cav Div
August 12th 1864
My Dearest Sister
I received not long ago a family epistle from your new place of asylum, but you yourself did not lend a helping hand so I’ll answer that by writing to you & stirring you up. Now you will say I ought to have written to you first; there you make a mistake, it is the lady’s business in a correspondence to make the first advances, I know from long experience in such matters. However since it is war times I will wave all etiquette & address a few lines to my youngest sister, who I am afraid is enjoying herself so much that she does not think much for poor brother.
I suppose you are having a delightful time so Agnes writes me & enjoying every thing in the world that is good to eat, I hope you all may become fat & hearty. You must not imagine that we poor Rebels are entirely destitute of the delicacies of the season. This morning I rose with the sun eat two delicious mellow apples, saddled my horse & rode down to a fine stream where I had a delightful bath then returning we eat two or three cantelopes & now I am writing you these few lines waiting for my breakfast while two large watermelons are cooling at my feet for dinner. (Moses [?] is playing around putting the hot breakfast, coffee butter & biscuit & ham & vegetables &c on the table.
It is terribly hot & dry down in this country, eight miles from Petersburg in Dinwiddie Co. & the flies Yellow Jackets & Hornets are awful giving neither our horses nor ourselves a chance to fatten.
I saw Pa the other day; he is very well & in very good spirits. The ladies around the country Keep him supplied with every thing nice, which he always shares with his sons when they come to see him. It is generally believed that Genl Grant is about to retire from this part of the world but we have found out only certainly that he has moved two Div & two Brigades of his Cav. off. All of ours has likewise gone except this Div. & we are having a very quiet time.
I hope & trust by Xmas that we will have peace, or some important step heading to it. Won’t that be glorious? Just to think of it; when we can all return home, & though how many [alas?] of those homes are changed &unwell, still our people can soon make themselves happy again!
It is almost too good to think of. But to reach that state of affairs ought to be the prayer of every man woman & child in our country.
I wish you would do some kind & useful act for me while you are rusticating, nothing more nor less than making me a “stunning cravat” a article or wardrobe of which I am entirely bereft & am too poor to get one
I am sure while you make it if you’ll just think of what that cravat may be worth to me & the family by creating a favorable impression at first sight, you will be delighted with your work notwithstanding you have nothing to make it with
Breakfast is ready so I must close
Give Ma & Agnes a Kiss & my best love & Fitzhugh joins me
Ever your aff & loving Brother
Robt E Lee Jr
Source: Photocopy letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 541, Section 27, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 August 9