Petersburg, May 5th
I cannot longer refrain from writing to you to say how much you are in our hearts and prayers.
The greatful hearts of millions will ever bless you for struggling so long and so nobly for their right of self government. You, no more than Napoleon and other great commanders, could do impossibility. The enemy exceeded us vastly in numbers and other resources of war, and exhaustion was inevitable. The Powers of the world, misunderstanding us, coldly left us to expire. Our confederate nationality is gone, but not the glory of its brief existence and history. Whatever we have lost, our honour is safe.
Mrs Platt has often wept when thinking of you, and we cherish our “Roberta Lee,” little as she is, with more affection than ever because of the deep affection, suggested and inspired by her name.
We try, and hope to keep any stranger from sitting in your seat in our pen. All your little presents are treasured by us as most precious.
Should circumstances never permit us to meet again in this world, & hope, through the grace of God in Christ, to meet you in a peaceful Heaven, and there pass, joining in the same praises, a long and happy eternity.
Mrs Platt joins with me in every affectionate expression.
W. H. Platt1
R. E. Lee
1. William Henry Platt (1821-1898). He was a reverend at St. Paul's Church in Petersburg. He was born in New York City and died in Petersburg, Virginia.
Source: Robert E. Lee Headquarters Papers, Folder 29, Mss3 L 515a, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 February 7