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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Camp Orange Co:      14 Feby ’64


I have recd dear Mary your letter of the 8th. The opinion of your Dr. gives me great hope. I trust the change he perceives in you may daily increase & grow into perfect health. I beg you will do all in your power to aid him & be careful not to expose yourself to cold or anything injurious. I have not sent back the Coffee, but I do not know what we shall do with it as we have been so long without it, that I fear it will injure us. I recd yesterday from Eliza Beverley1 of Avenel, 13 prs of very nice socks which she has been preparing during the winter for the soldiers, & which I distributed immediately. I understand the ladies in that county have 160 prs, but cannot get them to us. They would be a great relief. Unless we can get them soon the advantages will be lost. Now that you have your yarn I hope your supplies will be coming in. I sent back the bag many days ago. I am glad to hear that some kind people at the North think of poor Fitzhugh. God grant that he could be released, but I trust he will permit that in His own good time. There is a report here, which I presume is not true, that Mrs. G. W. herself was sent away. She has so many friends every where that I hardly think she would be interfered with, & besides could do them no harm. I have no news to tell you. We are all quiet again. This day last week we were prepared for battle, but I believe the advance of the enemy was only intended to see where we were & whether they Could injure us. Their loss in comparison with ours was large. Our scouts report they place their entire loss, killed, wounded, & missing at 1200. But I think that is exaggerated. Our old friend Sedgwick was in Command. In reference to Rob, his company would be a great pleasure & comfort to me & he would be extremely useful to me in various ways. I have written to him to that effect. But I am opposed to officers surrounding themselves with their sons & relatives. It is wrong in principle & in that case the selection for offices would be made from private & social relations, rather than for public good. Rob’s case is at present rather peculiar & I do not think under the circumstances, it would be improper for him to serve with me. I have so told him. There is the same objection to his going with Fitz Lee. He has Lees & relatives enough around him. I should prefer Rob’s being in the line, in an independent position, where he could rise by his own merit, & not through the recommendation of his relatives. I expect him here soon, where I can better see what he himself thinks. The young men have no fondness for the society of the old Genl. He is too sombre & heavy for them. God bless you all.

Truly & affy yours

R E Lee





1. Eliza Randolph Beverley Mason (1844-1925) was the daughter of John Hill Carter (1800-1862) and Susa Bayton Turner Carter (1799-1830). Avenel plantation was in Fauquier County, Virginia. She married Rev. John Stevens “Steny” Mason (1839-1918), who served in Confederate infantry and cavalry regiments from Virginia during the Civil War. He is buried in Fauquier County at Little Georgetown Cemetery.



Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 503, Section 25, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 June 28   




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