Orange, Xmas night, ’63
I am filled with sadness dear Mary at the intelligence conveyed in your letter of last evg. I have been oppressed with sorrowful forebodings since parting with Charlotte. She seemed to me stricken with a prostration I could not understand. Dear child she promised to be better the next morg & I wrote to her in a cheerful & hopeful mood which I Could not feel. That you may know my sorrow in all its breadth and depth, as far as I know my own heart, I feel for her all the love I bear Fitzhugh. That is very great. I pray she may be spared to us. Yet Gods will be done! The blow so grievous to us, is intended I believe in mercy to her. She was so devoted to F[itzhugh]. Seemed so bound up in him, that apparently she thought of & cared for nothing else. They seemed so united, that I loved them as one person. I would go down tomorrow, but from your letter have no hope of finding her alive, or of being able to do any thing for her. I feel that all will be done for her that human power can, & oh I pray that our merciful father will yet spare her, or gently take her to Himself! Telegraph me if I can yet reach there in time.
I recd today the two boxes you sent. Distributed the socks & am much obliged for the turkey.
Truly & affy
R E Lee
Source: Photocopy of photocopy of Lee’s handwritten letter, Lee family Papers, Mss1 L51c 495, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 December 19