• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 20 May 1863

            I felt very sad dear Mary at leaving you in so helpless & suffering a state. I pray that our merciful Father in Heaven may in his own time & own way give you relief. I hope you will make use of all the means at your disposal to attain it. If you cannot get to the Hot springs suppose you try the Bath Alum. It may suit your case. But wherever you go, you must be careful not to go to extremes, but take care of yourself. Take your daughters with you, that they may aid & take care of you. I found on my return a letter from Mary which I enclose. Also some kind notes from the Stuarts. I send also a letter from Fitzhugh, & one from Mrs Atkinson. So you will have plenty of reading & I hope it will assuage your pains. As usual I have no news. I learn that our poor wounded are doing well. Genl Hooker is agitating himself north of the Rappk & again threatens us with a crossing. It was reported last night that he had brought his pontoons to the river, but I her nothing of him this morg. I think he will consider it a few days. He has published a congratulatory order to his troops, telling them they have covered themselves with new laurels, have destroyed our stores, communications, thousands of our choice troops, captured prisoners within the fortifications of the capital & filled the country with fear & consternation. “Profoundly loyal & conscious of its own strength, the Army of the Potomac will give or decline battle whenever its interest or honour may demand. It will also be the guardian of its own history & its own honour.” All of which is signed by our old friend “S. Williams A.A.G.”[1] It shews at least he is unhurt & is so far good, but as to the truth of history I will not speak. You must give much love to my poor little Agnes. She ought to be here with her Pa’a. The nights are warm & she would not require many blankets & perhaps bacon & black eyed peas would cure her neuralgia. I despair of Miss Norvell & Silby Booker;s coming up for though I could give them thousands of beaux I could give them no marine officer. Remember me very kindly to Mr & Mrs Caskie & thank them for all their kindness to me & to you. May the great God have you all in His holy keeping & soon unite us again..

Truly & sincerely yours

R E Lee    




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 452, Section 22, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Nicholas Tarchis, 2017 June 1 


[1] Seth Williams (1822-1866) served as adjutant at West Point while Robert E. Lee was the superintendent of the United States Military Academy. In 1865, Williams delivered the terms of surrender from Ulysses S. Grant to the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.  

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