Coosawatchie S.C.

8 Decr 1861


My precious Annie

I have taken the only quiet time I have been able to find on this holy day to thank you for your letter of the 29th Ulto. One of the miseries of war is that there is no sabbath & the current of work & strife has no cessation. How can we be pardoned for all our offences!

I am glad that you have joined your Mama again & that some of you are together at least. It would be a great happiness to me were you all at some quiet place remote from the vicissitudes of war where I could consider you safe. You must have had a pleasant time at Clydale. I hope indeed that Cedar Grove may be saved from the ruin & pillage that other places have recd at the hands of our enemies, who are pursuing the same course here as they have practiced elsewhere. Unfortunately too, the numerous deep estuaries all accessible to their ships, expose the multitude of Isds: to their predatory excursions, & what they leave is finished by the negroes whose masters have deserted their plantations subject to visitations of the enemy. I am afraid cousin Julia1 will not be able to defend her home if attacked by the vandals, for they have little respect for any body, & if they catch the Dr2 they will certainly send him to Fort Warren or La Fayette. I fear too the yankees will bear off their pretty daughters. I am very glad you visited Chatham. I was there many years ago, when it was the residence of Judge Coulter & some of the avenues of poplar, so dear to your Grdmama, still existed. I presume they have all gone now. The letter that you & Agnes wrote from Clydale I replied to & sent to that place. You know I never have any news. I am trying to get a force to make head against our defenders, but it comes in very slow & the people do not seem to realize that there is war.

I am glad Custis is so well & tells you all his plans. He can explain them better than I & is besides at Hd qrs. Ask him to keep the dear Mim3 informed. It is very warm here if that is news, & as an evidence I enclose some violets I plucked in the yard of a deserted house I occupy. I wish I could see you & give them in person. There are other things I would give, & send some in this letter to the mim, Chass, Agnes & the baby. If F[itzhugh] is there give him some too. I hope the poor little baby has revived at the sight of his Papa. Who is Ella Campbell & Duncan? Poor little Life try & stop her from studying so hard. I fear it is not work that causes her hair to fall but its early luxuriance & want of cupping.

Good bye my precious child. My feet are entirely neglected. Give much love to every body & believe me your

affectionate father,

R E Lee





1. Julia Calvert Stuart (1814-1888).

2. Dr. Richard Henry Stuart (1808-1889).

3. Lee’s pet name for his wife.



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 327, Section 16, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 May 17