Camp at Valley Mt
9 Aug 1861
I have been here dear Mary three days Coming from Monterey to Huntersville & thence here. We are on the dividing ridge. Looking north down the Tygart’s river valley, whose waters flow into the Monongahela, & south towards the Elk River & Greenbrier, flowing into the Kanawha. In the valley north of us lies Huttonsville & Beverley, occupied by our invaders, & the Rich Mts: West, the scene of our former disaster, & the Cheat Mts: east, their present stronghold are in full view. The Mountains are beautiful, fertile to the tops, Covered with the richest sward of blue grass & white clover. The inclosed fields waving with the natural growth of timothy. The habitations are few & population sparse. This is a magnificent grazing country, & all its wants is labour to clear the mountain sides of its grant growth of timber. There is surely no lack of moisture at this time. It has rained I believe some portion of every day since I left Staunton. Now it is pouring, & the wind, that has veered around to every point of the Compass, has settled down to the N. E. What that portends in these regions I do not know. Col Washington, Capt [Walter H.] Taylor & myself are in one tent, which as yet protects us. I have enjoyed the Compy of Fitzhugh since I have been here. He is very well & very active, & as yet the war has not reduced him much. He dined with me yesterday & preserves his fine appetite. Today he is out reconnoitering & has the full benefit of this fine rain. I fear he is without his overcoat, as I do not recollect seeing it on his saddle. I told you had been promoted to a major in Cavy, & is the Commg Cavy officer on this line at present. He is as sanguine, cheerful, & hearty as ever. I sent him some cornmeal this mng & he sent me some butter. A mutual interchange of good things. There are but few of your acquaintances in this army. I find here in the ranks of one Compy Henry Tiffany. The compy is composed principally of Baltimorians. George Lemon & Douglas Mercer are in it. It is a very fine Compy, well drilled & well instructed. Genl Dan S. Donelson is in Command of a Tenn: Regt: I find that our old friend J. F. Reynolds of West Point memory is in Command of the troops immediately in front of us. He is a Brig-Genl. You may recollect him as the asst Profr of Philosophy & lived in the Cottage beyond the west gate, with his little palefaced wife, a great friend of Lawrence & Markie. He resigned on being relieved from West Point, & was made Profr of some College in the West. Fitzhugh was the bearer of a flag the other day & he recognized him, was very polite & made kind inquiries of us all. I am told they feel very safe & are very confident of success. Their numbers are said to be large, ranging from 12000 to 30,000. But it is impossible for me to get Correct information either as to their strength or position. Our citizens beyond this are all on their side. Our movements seem rapidly to be Communicated to them while theirs Come to us slowly & indistinctly. I have two regts here, with others Coming up. I think we shall shut up this road to the Central R. R. which they strongly threaten. Our means of transportation is limited & our supplies come up slowly. We have plenty of beef & can get some bread.
I hope you are well & content. I have heard nothing of you or the children since I left Richmond. You must write there. I recd a letter at Monterey from Charlotte. She was well & mentioned having recd a very Comforting letter from you as regards Fitzhugh’s departure to the wars.
I have no news. The men are suffering from the measles &c as elsewhere, But are cheerful & lighthearted. The atmosphere when not raining is delightful. The nights Cool & water delicious. You must give much love to daughter & Life. I want to see you all very much, but know not when that can be. May God guard & protect you all. In him alone is our hope.
Remember me to Ned & all at Kinloch & Avenel. Send word to Miss Sue W[ashington] that her father is sitting on his blanket sewing the strap on his haversack. I think she ought to be here to do it.
Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 310, Section 16, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 November 21