July 2 ’61
I have recd. dear Mary your letter of the 25th announcing your return to Kinloch with Mildred & I am glad you three are together. Charlotte & Annie are at Mr. Wickham’s. Agnes in this city with Mrs. Warwick. The latter, with Agnes, is full of projected visits about the State, Brandon, Cedar Grove &c & of having “pleasant times,” as if enjoyment was the order of the day. I hope no other times may befall her, but in my opinion these are serious times & our chief pleasure must be what is necessary & proper for the occasion.
Agnes told me of the letters you sent her & of their Contents. The other day a package was sent to me addressed by you to Mr. McGuinn at Arlington, which had been opened. The Contents I suppose undisturbed. It contains a letter to Anne, Sally, Marcelena &c. I suppose seeing it directed within the enemy’s lines, the postmasters considered it illicit. Why it was sent to me I do not know.
I shall be unable to forward them except by Accident. Indeed should I meet persons going to that region or to Baltimore, they would be indisposed to Carry letters that would indicate their associations, & that might Compromit them. Travellers have to be very particular now. You will have to forego the indulgence of your correspondence at present.
I shall enclose ten dollars in small notes as you desire. They are all current here. I do not Know whether they will pass with you. That reminds me that the note you sent me, of a wheeling bank, will not pass. You must be careful in taking any of that city, or any point occupied by troops of the U. S. Govt: No one receives them here, nor will any of the banks. Wheeling is Considered to have gone over to the Enemy.
I am glad you are engaged working for the Soldiers. They will want all they Can get, & will particularly stand in need of the prayers of the good. May they be heard & answered.
I get many accounts of the number of troops & strength of positions of our opponents. I am prepared to find them as strong as they Can make them. I trust a way through them will be opened to us when the time arrives.
[words missing] you as to the dis [words missing] ing from the tone of the journals. They do not contribute to our self respect, or to a solution of the troubles of the country. They will change in time I hope. At present they are angered by the tone of the No. Press.
You must give much love to every body. I pray for your happiness & welfare & that every blessing may be showered upon you.
This letter has been before me all the mng & has been written line by line at intervals.
I have kept the worst for the last. Custis is ordered to N. Carolina to inspect the forts & works there. My greatest Comfort is therefore taken from me.
I do not know how long he will be absent.
Truly & affly
R E Lee
Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 303, Section 16, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 November 17