• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 curator, Colin Woodward, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

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Camp near Hagerstown 12 July ’63

I have recd dear M your letter of the 7th. I have written once or twice Since my arrival here, but do not know whether my letters have reached you. I am very glad to hear that F__ Suffered but little by his removal. I trust he will soon be well. We must expect to endure every injury that our enemies Can inflict upon us & be resigned to it. Their Conduct is not dictated by Kindness or love & therefore we should not expect them to behave otherwise than they do. But I do not think we should follow their example. The Consequences of war is horrid enough at best, surrounded by all the amelioration of civilization & christianity. Why should we aggravate them? I am very sorry for the injuries done the family at H. H. & particularly that our dear old Uncle Wms in his 80th year1 should be subjected to such treatment. But we cannot help it & must endure it. You will have learned before this reaches you that our Success at Gettysburg was not as great as reported. In fact that we failed to drive the enemy from his position & that our army withdrew to the Potomac. Had the river not unexpectedly risen, all would have been well with us. But God in his all wise Providence willed otherwise, & our Communications have been interrupted & almost cut off. The waters have subsided to about 4 feet & if they Continue by tomorrow I hope our Communications will be open. I trust that our merciful God, our only help & refuge, will not desert us in our hour of need, but will deliver us by his almighty hand, that the whole world may recognize his power & all hearts be lifted up in adoration & praise of his power & all hearts be lifted up in adoration & praise of his unbounded loving kindness. We must however submit to his almighty will, whatever that may be. Give much love to my dear children. You & they are never out of my thoughts. May God guide & protect us all is the Constant prayer of yours

Vy truly & affy

R    

 

 

1. The editors of the Papers of Jefferson Davis note that Lee is referring to William Fanning Wickham (1793-1880), who was married to Anne Carter (1791-1868) of Shirley plantation. However, Lee had an uncle named Williams Carter, the son of Robert Carter of Shirley plantation and brother of Lee's other, Anne. Williams died in 1864 (see Lee's letter of 1864 August 7 concerning Williams's death). Williams's daughter Charlotte, who died in 1843, married into the Wickham family. Her daughter, who died in December of 1863, married Rooney Lee. If Lee was referring to William Fanning Wickham, he apparently thought he was ten years older than he actually was. And one wonders why he would call him "Williams," when that was not his actual name. In his August 1864 letter, Lee complains of Williams Carter's poor treatment at the hands of the Yankees, which would suggest he is talking here about Williams Carter, not William Fanning Wickham. On "Uncle Williams," see Lynda Christ, ed., The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 9: January-September 1863 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997), 251.  

 

 

Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 463, Section 23, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 February 21  

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