Camp Fredg 25 Decr ’62
My darling little daughter
I have pleased myself in reminiscences to day, of the many happy Xmas’ we have enjoyed together at our once happy home. Notwithstanding its present desecrated & pillaged condition, I trust that a just & merciful God may yet gather all that he may spare under its beloved roof. How filled with thanks & gratitude will our hearts then be! But in the meantime let us not forget how abundantly he has blessed us in our condition, & should it please him eventually to establish our independence & spare our lives, all will be well. I Cannot tell you how I long to see you. When a little quiet occurs & my thoughts revert to you, your sisters & mother, my heart aches for our reunion. Your brothers I see occasionally. This morg Fitzhugh rode by with his young aid de camp (Rob) at the head of his brigade on his way up the Rappk. They were both very well & I hope will be back soon. Custis I expect will return to Richmond early next week. I hear from your sister [Mary] occasionally through our scouts in King George. She is still at Dr. Stuarts & being within the enemy’s lines, cannot write. I hope you are well my precious child. You must study hard. Gain knowledge & virtue & learn your duty to God & your neighbor. That is the great object of life. I suppose your mother & Agnes write to you regularly. Charlotte is now at Hickory Hill & has been quite sick. She was better than I last heard of her. I have no news. Confined constantly to camp & my thoughts occupied with its necessities & duties, I learn little of what is occurring beyond its Confines. I am however happy in the knowledge that Genl Burnside & his Army will not eat their promised Xmas dinner in Richmond to day. I trust they never will. You must write to me sometimes you precious child, without waiting for me to reply. I have little time for writing to my children. But you must be sure that I am always thinking of you, always wishing to see you. I have only recd two letters from you & replied to both.
I am with true affection
your devoted father
R E Lee
Source: Photocopy of photocopied handwritten original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 420, Section 20, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 December 16