Dabbs farm; Near Richmond
22 June ’62
My precious Agnes
I Cannot let this opportunity pass without writing to you, though I believe I have told Charlotte all I had to say. I hope Annie & M have joined you, & that your pleasures will increase with your numbers. I Saw your Mother three evenings ago, she was well & Mary had just got in from a ride with Col Ives. They had been to Mr Jas: Lyons & taken tea with Miss Mary. Custis was certainly better, though he seemed very feeble. The Drs. were giving him some preparation of Arsenic, which they hoped would relieve him of his fever. I trust he will soon be well enough to accompany his mother to join you.
The evg I paid them a visit. I had gone in to see the President, who had been Called to Raleigh by the sickness of his child, & was taken sick himself & detained Some days. He looks very feeble I think but is better & rode down to see me last evg.
Daughter Came out one evg with Mr Johns, so she Can describe my residence, I am encamped in the house of the widow of the euphonious name, placed at the head of this page, whose husband died during the winter, & who has kindly permitted us to occupy her house. I do not know when she vacated it, but she left it delightfully clean, free of all necessaries or Comforts but her cat & kitten. They do not Seem to Care how the war goes, but enjoy their gambols in perfect security.
Col: Chilton is with me, Col Long, Majors Taylor Talcott & Marshall, & also Capt Pennie Mason. Major Venables my fourth aid arrived from the south a few days since, but is in Richmond, making his preparations for the field. I would give them all up if I Could have my daughters with me & their mama. I hope some day I may yet enjoy that pleasure. In the mean time, I pray you may all be happy & use this life in preparing for a better. Kiss Annie & Mildred for me. They were not well when here. I hope the Country has relieved them. Tell them their mother had not heard of their joining you when I last heard from her
Truly & devotedly your father
R E Lee
Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 360, Section 18, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 April 6
1. Joseph Christmas Ives was born in 1829 on Christmas Day in New York City. He became a soldier, botanist, explorer, and engineer. He graduated from West Point in 1852. He explored the Colorado River and worked on the construction of the Washington Monument before the Civil War. He joined the Confederate army in 1861 and later served as an aide-de-camp for Jefferson Davis. He died in 1868.