• The Lees of Virginia
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  • 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 Culpepper 26 July 1863

I recd last night dear Mary your letter Commenced at H.H. on the 18th enclosing one from Charlotte of the same date. I also got a kind note from Margaret Stuart dated 22nd at Ashland giving me an account of your journey that far & of your departure for the Hot Springs. I am extremely grateful to our kind friends for their considerate attentions to you & wish it was in my power even to thank them for it. I hope the car prepared for you may alleviate as far as possible the pain & fatigue I fear you will suffer in your journey. But if a merciful God will only bless the means it seems alone open to you to attain relief, we must bear all else in the effort to accomplish it. I pray this may be his holy pleasure & that you may be again restored to a comfortable state of health should a perfect Care not be vouchsafed you. I am glad too you have Mary & Agnes with you, but who will go to the Alum with C? Poor child I am too sorry she is suffering in health as well as from her separation from F. She writes as if in distress & sadness. You must try & cheer her. It now cannot be avoided & we have only to submit. I hope his exchange may be soon effected. But nothing can be done to hasten it. The more anxiety shown on our part, the more it will be procrastinated by our enemies whose pleasure seems to be to inquire harass & annoy us as much as their extensive means enable them. I am glad Marys health is so good. I hope my poor little Agnes will be able to threw off her neuralgia & that you will all return full of health & thankfulness to our Heavenly father for the mercies bestowed upon us. Tell M I recd her (two) letters from Dr S’s but was unable to reply for fear of Compromising our scouts, on whom if any letters had been found extreme punishment would have been inflicted. For the same reason I had to discourage her writing to me. Now I have no time, but I think of her constantly & I cannot express how I long & pray that God in his mercy may pardon my many & long standing sins & once more gather around me you & my dear children & grant me a little time with you all before I go hence & be no more seen. How great is my remorse at having thrown away my time & abused the opportunities afforded me. Now I am unable to benefit either myself or others & am recg in this world the punishment due to my sins & follies. I regret so not seeing Mildred & am saddened by the thought that the opportunity may never renew. But Gods will be done! I am glad you have my Rob for your escort. I trust all will go well with you & him. After crossing the Potomac finding that the Shenandoah was six feet above fording stage & having waited a week for it to fall so that I might cross into Loudoun; fearing that the enemy might take advantage of our position to move upon Richmond. I determined to ascend the valley & Come into Culpepper. Two corps are here with me. The third passed up to Thortons gap & I hope will be in striking distance tomorrow. The army has laboured hard, endured much & behaved nobly. It has accomplished all that could have been reasonably expected. It ought not to have been expected to have performed impossibilities or to have fulfilled the anticipations of the thoughtless & unreasonable. You must give a great deal of love to daughter & Agnes. Also to Charlotte & Mildred when you write. Tell C my affection for F my sympathy for her, & distress at their forcible separation, is not the less because their expression is restrained. I am accustomed to bear my sorrows in silence. My prayers for her & F are fervent & Constant & my trust is in God for their relief from their distress.

                May God in his infinite mercy guard guide & protect you all, & once more give peace & rest to our distracted Country!

Truly & affly yours

R E Lee

P.S. I do not recollect whether I told you of the death of Mary Lowe[1]. She died at Savannah in June in premature child birth leaving four little children. Her mother was in Bartow & her little Grd children have all been taken up to her by their great aunt Miss Kate Mackay. I have written a short note of Condolence to Mrs S.

R E Lee

 

 

 

Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 466, Section 23, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Gibson, 2017 August 8

 

[1] Mary Couper Stiles Low (1832-1863) was the daughter of William Henry Stiles (1808-1865) and Eliza Ann Mackay Stiles (d. 1867). She married Andrew Low (1813-1889), and is buried at Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.

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