Camp 8 Feby ’63
I have just recd dear Mary your letter of the 7th. I am distressed to hear of your suffering. I fear you are very imprudent, & that unless you are careful, you will reduce yourself to Confinement altogether. You ought not to go out in bad weather or to expose yourself at anytime. I beg you will be careful. I send the passport for Mrs Murdock &c. I presume they intend returning the way they came, by Leesburg. Inform them they Cannot pass through Fredg. Genl Hooker has refused to permit passage through his lines here. I see in the Washington papers orders from Genl Halleck forbidding transportation of any citizens on the steamers plying between that city & Aquia Creek. All the boats &c are reserved for the military. There is therefore no chance for them by this route. They Can take the cars to Culpepper CtHouse & must thence find their way to Warrenton & Leesburg by private Conveyance. Their best route is by Flag of truce boat from City Point to Baltimore if that is permitted. But when they get home, my advice is to stay there & to let their sons & brothers alone. The men can do very well & soldiers must learn to take care of themselves. I have done however all I Can. If this passport does not answer, it is useless to apply to me for another. It will take them anywhere through my lines. I know that Yankees will get out of them, all they know. I hope they know nothing to injure us. Not that I believe they will intentionally say or do ought to injure us, but the yankees have a very Coaxing & insidious manner, that our southern women in their artlessness cannot resist, no matter how favourable they may be to our cause or how full of good works for our men. I have not seen any of your gloves on the men, & therefore cannot say how they answer. I should think well, if they fit, & you know all your garments are warranted to do that, I advise you however to send up all you have made at once & then stop for this winter. After about a month they will be of no use. The men cannot preserve them & will throw them away. Remember me kindly to the Caskins. I Cannot get down to R[ichmond] now. Nor can I expect any pleasure during this war. We are in a liquid state at present. Up to our knees in mud & what is worse on short rations for men & beasts. This keeps me miserable. I am willing to starve myself, but Cannot bear my men or horses to be punished. I fear many of the latter will die. Give my love to Agnes. I wrote to her the other day. Where is she staying? As you both seem to prefer Richmond to anywhere else, you had better take a house there. Be careful of the smallpox & other diseases. Tell Miss N1 that I told Major Talcott after he had seen his Sweetheart, he must go up & look for one. So she must give him a Sweet look. Present me very kindly to Mrs. Jones. I sympathize with her deeply in the death of her husband.2 He was always a great favourite with me. Fitzhugh is still low down the Rappk. I believe I believe [sic] Charlotte is with him still. But have not heard. He is 40 miles from me. I have George as cook now. He is quite subdued but has only been here a day. I give him & Perry each $20 per month. I hope they will be able to lay up something for themselves.
With great affection yours
R E Lee
Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 433, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 December 1
1. Martha Norvell Caskie Jones (1845-1919), daughter of James Kerr Caskie (1818-1868) and Ellen J. Gwathmey Caskie (1824-1870). She was married to Alexander Seddon Jones (1845-1900). She is buried in Richmond.
2. David Rumph Jones (1825-1863) was born in South Carolina. He served in the Army of Northern Virginia until his death in January 1863 from a heart condition. He died in Richmond and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery.