December 1st 1862


I am glad my dear child to find you have made up your mind so quietly to do what your parents think best & hope you will spend both a pleasant & profitable vacation. Miss R sent the carpet bag & I shall send to her to come & see me. I shall send your box to the Express office tomorrow & what I cannot get to send now, I may have a chance to send you another time. There are 4 sheets one I have not had time to hem but you can do it. 3 pillow cases I have sent for a counterpane but cannot get it in time. Your black calico which I had partly made & which you can easily finish, your black merino the only thing yet received for you from cousin Julia a petticoat & some little things agnes sent. Norvell Caskie sends you a nice cake. I wish you had something pretty to give her. She is so kind & attentive to me & for you all. Your shawl was sold immediately I send you a check for $200 & $50 & will repay myself when I draw your money the first of Jany. You had better settle with Mr Smedes,1 get all your bills & send me the first chance that I may see what your experiences are. I should think the very plain fare you speak of ought not to cost a great deal. Your brother Rob brought to me this morning for you some candy chocolate & apples & when I pack your box I will put in as many good things as it will hold. It will be impossible for Rob to visit you as he is quite unwell & as soon as he is able he must return to camp. I have been working for him day & night ever since he came for of course. He had lost all but what he had on his back. He sends you love & says he will write to you soon again. Custis also sends you love & says he never has time to write. He will send you candy too if there is room. You must write as soon as you receive the box & the first chance send me a circular as the Seldons kept mine. Take care of your papa & cousin Markies letter. Agnes said she would write you about your dresses. The linen if you have a full body made you had better keep & line with old silk. I send you cords for your wrist & arm holes everyone almost wears a ruffle of some kind around the neck in black which saves much trouble to your merino you can have a quilling either of the same or black crepe I do not know when I shall receive the other things your cousin Julia brought among them. I expect tooth brushes & shoes for you. Mary Caskie2 insists upon sending you the box of blacking when you will thank her for it & Norvell for the cake I have been waiting all the morning for Agnes to come & bring some other things for you, now in despair I must go for her myself or I fear the box will be too late to go to day. Rob brought some apples but I do not know if I can get them in. I will fill up every chink. I could not get any hoops for you but send you some wide tape with which you can fix yours or get some one in Raleigh to do them. They are worn very small & some persons just have about 3 as the bottom hung by tape strings from a binding around the waist you must give my lovely Miss Donella who will you have in your alcove? I will send the counterpane as soon as I get it. Write me if you [end of letter]




1. Reverend Aldert Smedes (1810-1877), the rector of St. Mary’s school in Raleigh, North Carolina, which Mildred attended during the war. Rev. Smedes is buried in Raleigh.

2. Mary Ambler Caskie (1837-1918) was the daughter of John Edward Philemon Ambler (1813-1836) and Catherine Nevison Tazewell Ambler (1818-1880). She was married to Major William Henderson Caskie (1834-1900), who served with Pickett’s men in the Army of Northern Virginia. After the war, he and Mary settled in Texas, where William was a cartoonist for a Texas newspaper. William is buried in Galveston, but Mary is buried in Hollywood cemetery in Richmond.    



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 414, Section 20, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 April 25