• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

footer

Coosawhatchie, S.C.

22 Decr 1861

 

I recd last night dear Mary your letter of the 12th & am delighted to learn that you are all well & so many of you are together. I am much pleased that F[itzhugh] has an opportunity to be with you all & will not be so far removed from his home in his new field of action. I hope to see him at the head of a fine regiment & that he will be able to do good service in the cause of his Country.

If Mary & Rob get to you Xmas you will have quite a family party especially if F[itzhugh] is not obliged to leave his home & sweet wife before that time. I shall think of you all on that holy day more intensely than usual & shall pray to the great God of Heaven to show his blessings upon you in this world & to unite you all in his courts in the world to come with a grateful heart I thank him for his presentation of you thus far & trust to his mercy & kindness for the future. Oh that I was more worthy, more thankful for all he has done & continues to do for me!

I think my last letter should have reached you before you wrote & also one to Annie. The mails I perceive are very slow now, Caused I presume by the heavy transportation on the R. Roads which prevents connections at their different termini. I do not know what to tell you or what I can say more than I do. I am very well & as comfortable as I can be. The people here are very kind & polite, are much exercised about their property & people, but do not seem to realize the necessity of exertion on their part to arrest the evil or defend themselves, but are willing to leave that to others. In fact we have all at the south had so easy & Comfortable a time, that it is difficult for us to practice the self denial & labour necessary for our present position. It will require misfortune & suffering I fear to induce us to do what we ought in this respect. Perry & Meredith are very well & do pretty well. The former you know is very lackydaisical in his operations. Means well but never objects to getting rid of work & permits you to do as much of his business as you choose. Meredith is very willing & if he was with some one to teach & superintend him, & had a special nurse to keep him clean & decent would be very valuable. I have quite a Household when all my staff are present. Capt Washington Adjt Genl, Major Long, Ordne & Arty Capt Ives Engr Capt Taylor Asst Adt Genl. Capts Moffit & Walker Aids [sic] de Camp, Mr Meminger clerk. All of these gentleman however except three have their special servants, but Perry is our dining room svt & M. the Cook. We have but two meals a day. Breakfast at 8 am & dinner at 6 P. M. The hungry ones have a bunch of what they can find, but I reserve myself for dinner. Our fair is plain, but enough & we have appetites that make every thing palatable. At night we enjoy our camp beds & blankets & I endeavour to get into mine by 11 P.M. I am not always allowed to remain in mine till morg, & last night was aroused twice. I am sure you will never want for information now. I have given M. his letter at which he seemed much pleased. You had better invite Custis to visit you Xmas. During my late visit to Charleston I saw Col & Mrs Talcott with their daughter Fanny. I enjoyed their Compy very much, as I was out all day would sit in their room with them an hour or so at night. The Col is one of the best men in the world. Mrs. T. was a little complaining at the World. The former said as there was nothing he could do in Va, he was making arrangements to prosecute his work in Mexico. I happened to arrive in C. the night of the great fire & was fortunate in getting them to a place of safety.1 As regards our enemy I am sure you see all his movements in the papers. His last act has been to block up the entrance to Charleston by sinking from 14 to 17 stone vessels in the main channel over the bar. They cannot wall up the waters of the sea & they will make themselves a channel somewhere. It shows however their pusalanimity & their despair of getting possession of the city, as they Could not make use of the harbour if they did even to bring in their own provisions. I do not know where I shall be as I am extended over a long coast. But write here

Perry & Meredith send their respects to all. Give much love to every body. Tell F I do not know that I [c]an write to him this time. How are your friends? Truly & affy

R E Lee

 

 

 

Source: Photocopy of original letter, Mss1 L51 c 329, Section 16, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 May 17    

 

1. A serious fire swept through Charleston on 1861 December 11. Lee was staying at the Mills House Hotel when it happened.

Reference Shelf

Data Collections

About the Project

Website by Fresh Look Web Design
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved