Chantilly 11th June 1861

My dear Child


I only yesterday received your letter directed to Fairfax court H acknowledging the receipt of the shoe strings &c, no doubt you have written often since but we get no letters now from any body. all the mails are deranged everywhere. I wrote to your cousin Esther Lewis some time ago if there should be any alarm to send for you to come to Audley but if you prefer now I think it would be better you can make your plans to meet me at Kinloch. I am going there on Monday & shall remain at least some weeks, your sister is with me Agnes having gone to the white house. We came up here in the carriage & shall go from hence in the same way to Kinloch I suppose you can get from Winchester & only to Kinloch by rail road. However when I go there I will write to you & tell you all about it as long as you can attend to your studies you had best remain where you are, I shall have much to tell you when I see you that it is too painful to write about. We look to God above for help in the troubles which environ us, & he seems so far to have protected us signally. In that little affair at the C House, 4-5 Rifles on foot, & poorly armed wakened up out of their sleep with no leader he having been shot before the action commenced their Lieuts both absent Col Ewell without his coat rushing out & then not even knowing who he was until told by a gentleman present when they said “Sir we obey you” routed & put to flight with considerable loss a body of the 2nd cavalry consisting of 75 men finely armed & equipped took 3 prisoners, 3 horses & a great number of arms which were very acceptable to our poor troops. The col very slightly wounded in the shoulder which would not have occurred had he been protected by his coat & one man wounded who is now recovering. I had this account from an eye witness. They came from the Falls church & on their way back surrounded 5 of the Prince William cavalry who in the darkness thought they were friends, & took them to Washington pretending they were taken in the battle. You ought to read the account in “the Star” which is entirely false.

12th Kinlock I got here safely my dear Milly & think under the circumstances it may be well for you to pack & arrange all your things to come here the first good opportunity that offers especially if there is any alarm or danger of the rail road being obstructed. You need not hurry but just get all ready, pack your books in a box & leave them there with your name upon them except some few that you may require & some music to practise as they have a piano here. I shall in all probability remain here till after the 4th of July & see how things are going to be & can go from there in the Rail Road to join the rest of my family probably some where about Charlottesville tho’ I do not yet know you must give much love to Selina & all tell them all at Chantilly send much love to them.

They feel quite alarmed there, about the enemy being so near & for fear Turbeville who is so well known as a secessionist should be taken up but I trust the enemy will not be allowed to advance further than the court House

I have no news more than what you see in the papers. I enclose you $5.00 to pay your passage down here. I do not know what it is, but if you can get any change do bring it to us as it seems impossible to get any here. Ask Mr Powell to make up his bill & you bring it with you here but tell him I do not know if I can pay him except by a draft on Alexa [bank], ask him if that will answer because I can send that by mail. I shall hardly be able to go to Winchester now. you must give much love to Mrs. Barnes & all friends. I feel most anxious to hear from all, & now the mails are so uncertain. If you have any small debts you must pay them, & if you can write me when you will be here as we can send to the Plains to meet you the direction is to me care of Edward C. Turner Esqr. Plains Post Office Fauquier County Virginia. It is so near that even should no one be there to meet you, you could walk to the House but if we know you are coming as you come in the Rail Road you can bring all your things winter as well as summer clothes. As we know not what may happen it is best to be prepared for any emergency. I shall be anxious too to know if you get the money safe.

I send instead of $5.00 $10.00. If you can get me change for some of 100 notes of Virginia if you can as the Alexandria notes are now good for nothing. If you can not get change you can leave it with Mr Powell in part payment of what you owe so bring it back home. Do not lose it I have not time to write more Janey sends you much love, & is very anxious to see you now when you get this ask Mr P to look out for a good opportunity & have all your things ready. I have Sally here to wash for us. Love to all

yrs most affectionately

MC Lee



1. A plantation in Clarke County in Northern Virginia. It was founded in 1749 and was home to members of the Washington and Lewis family.




Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 299, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 April 16