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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Camp Fredg 23 May 1863

My dear Mary

            I recd yesterday your letter of the 21st with the socks & am much obliged to you for their reparation. I see though you are relapsing into your old error, supposing that I have a superabundance of time & have only my own pleasures to attend to. You do not recollect that after an absence of some days, that matters accumulate formidably, & that my attention is entirely engrossed in public business. I am unable therefore even to write you, though my thoughts are always with you. You must not therefore be always expecting letters from me, for I repeat that I am able to write but seldom & at long intervals. I send down the pillow case as you request. It is in worse Condition than I supposed & I do not think you will be able to do anything with it. I can do very well without it, & I may have to dispense with the pillow, so the case will be of little service.) I also return a letter of poor little Laura. The death of Washn was a heavy blow to them all & I truly sympathize in their grief. I am glad you heard from F & R & that Charlotte is so well accommodated. I hope she will be able to spend a little time with F though that is problematical. I hope indeed the Drs prescriptions under the blessing of Heaven may relieve you of your painful affliction for I can do nothing but offer my poor feeble prayers to Almighty God for your relief, & which ascend night & morg to his throne of grace! I am glad to hear that the Pres: has given his permission to C. to join the Army. I hope his inclinations prompt him to join this, & tell him I send a formal invitation for him to join me. You must give much love to Mr & Mrs Caskie & my heartfelt thanks for all their kindness to you in your great necessity. God alone Can reward them for their charity & benevolence & I pray that his blessings may be showered upon them in this world & the next. Tell Miss N I suspect Capt Smith Lee has her beaux, & that he would like to capture her & Miss Silby too. Col: Withers would not interfere with them for he knows how highly I value them. They will all return though tell her when they find I have gone. She shall have a plenty if she will come up here. Thank my poor little Agnes for her affectionate note. I hope her little propellers are not becoming afflicted too. She must exercise them more. She had better take my advice & ask some of her friends to employ her in their corn fields. Give much love to my “precious life.” I am very sorry I Could not see her, & God only knows when we shall meet again. She must write to her Pa’a & not eat plum cakes.

            With great affection very truly yours

                                                            R E Lee

PS: I send a kind note from Mr. Rives. It may distract your thoughts from your pains a moment. I do not think that I take any of his commendation to myself. I know I am entitled to none. But he does not over estimate this brave army. It is for your perusal alone. After which destroy it.

R E L 



Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 453, Section 22, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Nicholas Tarchis 2017 June 1

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