Huntersville [present day West Virginia]
4 Aug ’61
I reached here yesterday dearest Mary to visit this portion of the Army. The day after my arrival at Staunton I Set off for Monterey, where the Army of Genl Garnett’s Command is stationed. Two regiments & a field battery occupy the Alleghany Mts: in advance, about 30 miles, & this division guard the road to Staunton. The division here guard the road leading by the Warm Springs to Milboro & Covington. Two regiments are advanced about 28 miles to Middle Mt: Fitzhugh with his squadron is between that point & this & I have not yet seen him. I understand he is well.
South of here again is another Column of our enemies, making their way up the Kanawha Valley & from Genl Wise’s report are not far from Lewisburg. Their object Seems to be to get possession of the Virga Central R. R. & the Virga & Tennessee R. R. By the first they Can approach Richmond. By the last interrupt our reinforcements from the South. The points from which we can be attacked are numerous, & their means are unlimited. So we must always be on the alert. My uneasiness on these points brought me out here. It is so difficult to get our people, unaccustomed to the necessities of war, to Comprehend & promptly execute the measures required for the occasion. Genl [Henry R.] Jackson of Georgia Commands on the Monterey line. Genl [William W.] Loring on this line, & Genl Wise supported by Genl [John B.] Floyd on the Kanawha line. The soldiers every where are sick. The measles are prevalent throughout the whole Army, & you know that disease leaves unpleasant results, attacks on the lungs, typhoid, &c. &c. especially in Camp where accommodation for the sick is poor. I travelled from Staunton on horseback. A part of the road, as far as Buffalo gap, I passed over in the Summer of 1840, on my return to St. Louis, after bringing you home. If any one had then told me that the next time I travelled that road would have been on my present errand, I should have supposed him insane. I enjoyed the Mountains as I rode along. The views were magnificent. The valleys so beautiful, The Scenery so peaceful. What a glorious world Almighty God has given us. How thankless & ungrateful we are, & how we labour to mar His gifts. May he have mercy on us!
Col [John A.] Washington is with me. I hope you recd my letters from Richmond. Give love to Daughter & Mildred. I did not See Rob as I passed through Charlottesville. He was at the University & I Could not stop.
Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 308, Section 16, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 November 18