Hdqrs: near Richmond [ca. July 1862]1


My precious daughters Annie Agnes & Mildred,

I learn from your mother that you are left alone in N. C. You will know how I sympathize with you, for I feel that you are miserable. But it will not last long, for your mother begins to talk of going somewhere, & I think she will join you. In the meantime you must take care of yourselves & think of your poor papa, who is all alone too at Dabbs farm. If he only had one of you with him, he should think himself fortunate. Can’t you spare me one? I have not seen Charlotte, but Fitzhugh joined her yesterday, so I hope she is happy. Poor child I have grieved with her at the loss of her beautiful boy, & yet I rejoice that he is among the bright angels in Heaven, rejoicing in the presence of his God. Oh what a happy condition! Custis & Mary went up on Monday last to your uncle Custis. The former was much better, the latter very thin. I believe if all things suit they propose remaining there a week. I can tell you no news. You know I never hear any. I have been in R[ichmond] two evenings lately & saw your mother a little time. She is now at Mr Caskies where they are as kind as ever, where it seems some of the Lees wont be.

Rob came out to see me one afternoon. He had been much worn down by his marching & fighting, & had gone to his mama to get a little rest. He was thin but well, but not being able to get a clean shirt, had not got up to see Miss Norvell. He has rejoined his compy & gone off with Genl Jackson as good as new again I hope, inasmuch as your mother thought by means of the bath & a profusion of soap, she had cleansed the outward man considerably & replenished his lost wardrobe. And now I must stop & fill the rest of my paper with love & kisses to you all, which I wish I could give in person. I trust we may all be together again in some quiet home, where constant peace & love may reign, though it may be more humble than our former one. We were not sufficiently grateful for what we had, & it was taken from us.

Your devoted father

R E Lee




1. The letter is likely from a period shortly after the Seven Days fighting. Lee discusses the recent death of Robert Edward Lee, III, who died on 1862 June 30. Dabb’s farm was Lee’s headquarters during the Seven Days fighting, and he remained there into August.


Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 423, Section 20, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 June 6