• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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.


 

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Camp Fredg 24 April 1863

            I have recd dear Mary yours & Agnes’ joint letter of the 21st. I hope you were enabled to get to Shirley as I am sure you will derive benefit as well as pleasure from the pure air & sweet society you will find there. I hope too that Chass [Charlotte] & Agnes will receive equal benefit from rural scenes & rural friends. As usual I have nothing to relate. The weather has been very changeable & unpleasant. The health of the Army is pretty good & my own health is improving. The enemy is making various demonstrations either to amuse themselves or deceive us, but so far they have done us little harm. Last week they infested all the fords on the upper Rappk as far as Warrenton Springs. Tuesday they abandoned them. Sent down the river their Infy & Arty & with their Cavy swept around by Warrenton towards the Blue ridge as if intending to visit the Valley. Day before yesterday they made their appearance on the lower Rappak. Formed in line of battle threw out skirmishers, advanced their Arty, brought up their wagons, built up large fires, & after dark commenced chopping, cutting & sawing as if working for life till midnight, when the noise ceased & at day light all had disappd but 8 or 10 men keeping up the fires. I suppose they thought we were frightened out of all propriety & required refreshment. Yesterday morg at daylight a party crossed at Port Royal in their Pontoon boats, stole from our citizens all they could get & recrossed before we Could get to them. There [sic] expeditions will serve for texts to the writers of the Herald, Tribune & Times of brilliant accounts of grand Union Victories & great rejoicings of the saints of the party. I hope God in his own time will give us more substantial cause for rejoicing & thankfulness. Liberty is in a healthy & beautiful section of Country. I have passed through it, but Cannot distinguish it in my memory from other villages on the route. The only objection I know to it is its being directly on the R.R. & subject to all the false & exciting rumours floating through the country & borne on the thousand tongues of passengers. But it is in the vicinity of Fincastle & I have no doubt quiet farm houses can be found in the neighborhood. You must let me know what funds you require & where I must send them. Tell Chass & Agnes I send them a great deal of love, but cannot write to them now. Indeed I can write to no one, & feel oppressed by what I have to undergo for the first time in my life. Mr Cowle[1] has made his appearance. But I doubt whether he can accomplish anything. It has been raining ever since his arrival. My portrait I think can give pleasure to no one & should it resemble the original would not be worth having. Get the portraits of the young, the happy, the gay. Take Miss Hettie & her lover for instance. F & R were well when last heard from. They are on the upper Rappk. Love to all at Shirley.

            Mrs Hattie Harrison has been recently to Baltimore, said Anne was fatter & looked younger than when she last saw her. I heard yesterday of Mrs Knapp & Selden in Middleburg. All well. I regret very much to hear that the Pres: continues unwell.

            Trully & affly yours

            R E Lee

 

 

Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 446, Section 22, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond  

Transcribed by Nicholas Tarchis, 2017 June 1  

 

  

 

[1] Daniel T. Cowell (1831-1890) of Minnis & Cowell, a Richmond photography firm. Cowell’s partner was George W. Minnis (1819-1877).

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