My dear child 15th Nov [1862]


Your very prompt reply to my letter deserved an answer sooner, but I have been daily expecting to receive the things poor cousin Julia so that I could send them all at once. However as you have a black calico you can wait. I have nothing else here in Richmond where I see a great many people. Agnes got her cloak home today cut exactly like yours & it looks like very well. It is only stitched down which you can have done to yours if you do not get the Guiding I have a hood for you of Annie’s white & purple which will arrive for you. It would be impossible to get wasted now to knit one. I have not heard from your sister but will send you Rob’s letter. He has not come down yet nor have I heard anything further from him. Custis was here tonight & sends love. He says he has been wanting to write to you but has not been able to do so, that he does not get out of the office before 6 & then he is so tired writing all day that he cannot write to his friends. Do you recollect what became of his daguerreotype. Did I pack it up in the silver trunk? Charlotte’s little baby grows finely & is very good, it sleeps all the time day & night, & is very sweet. Charlotte is very well & has been riding out several days. Agnes I think looks very badly I rode out the other day & took your uncle Smith down to his boat & seeing “the Richmond” laying there we proposed going on board & saw for the first time an iron clad ship & some gun Boats. Dan Lee1 was on board as a Midshipman & your cousin Robt Carter2 as first Lieut. I am still at Mrs Caskies & Norvell sends you much love. She is going to Miss Pegrams. We are going to H Hill for a week & probably to Charlotte C. House after Xmas but have to be guided by circumstances. No news from your papa I gave directions for the Whig paper to be sent to you the rest of the year but doubt if you will have time to read it. You say nothing of your shawl. If you cannot part with it at school if you will send it to me I can dispose of it directly & you had better write a line saying pay to J K Caskie3 the dividends due in my name. I am making you some shirts & follow cases. I will write you about them when I send them. Your cousin Julia has got back safely & Dr. Stuart will bring the things to Richmond some time this week when I will send yours to you unless you can come on which I do not know that you can accomplish even if it was best there is some difficulty about using railroads now I have written to your papa about it & will see what he says. In the mean time write & tell me if any of the girls there are coming here & when, write me also if you need any flannel petticoat & if your cloak is made, you had best write immediately as I should like to hear from you before I send the boy. Mrs. Caskie & Norvell4 are very urgent with me to send for you to come here & it would be a great pleasure to have you but I do not know if it is best. What do you think? We must not consult our pleasure alone in these times. If you have any pretty article of dress you had better send to one of the little Jones if you have a chance & thank Mrs. Jones from me for thinking of you, she was so kind to us all I gave her a pretty worke set of Annies & Agnes gave one of the girls her purple lawn & some small ruffles. I send you Rob’s letter which you must take care of. If you write & send it to me I can send a letter for you at any time should you be sick, you must get one of the girls to write to me at once. There is no news here Everything is at a stand. McLellan [sic] has resigned5 & Burnside is in command. If they are to take Richmond by Xmas they will have to throw some energy into their movements. I pray God preserve us all you should constantly pray for his protection & aid for our unhappy country & all dear to you. I hope you find time to study your dear sister’s Bible let it light your pathway thro’ life & shew you the entrance into Heaven. Oh let not the grace of God be quenched in your heart or this affliction be without its fruits on us all      Ever yr affectionate mother

M C Lee





1. Daniel Murray Lee (1844-1916) was the son of Sidney Smith Lee, Robert E. Lee’s brother. He served in the Confederate navy for most of the war before joining the Army of Northern Virginia toward the end of it.  

2. Robert Randoph Carter (1825-1888) was the son of Hill Carter (1796-1875) and Mary Braxton Randolph Carter (1800-1864) of Shirley plantation. He was educated in Alexandria, Virginia, and later attended the United States Naval Academy. A veteran of the Mexican War, he was born and died at Shirley plantation.  

3. James Kerr Caskie, father of Norvell Caskie.

4. Martha Norvell Caskie Jones (1845-1919). She was the daughter of James Kerr Caskie (1818-1868) and Ellen Jael Norvell Caskie (1797-1844). She was also the only child of her parents who lived into adulthood. After the war, she married Alexander Seddon Jones (1845-1900) of Orange County, Virginia. She lived with her husband for a time in Rapidan Station, Virginia, but moved back to Richmond, where she died. She is buried in Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond.

5. George McClellan did not resign but rather was removed from command on November 5 at Lincoln’s order. General Burnside assumed command of the Army of the Potomac on November 9.



Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 404, Section 20, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 November 1