Camp Near Fredericksburg Va

18th December 1862


General Howell Cobb,


I beg leave to express my deep sympathy in your great sorrow. Your noble and gallant brother[1] has met a soldiers death, and God grant that this army and our country may never be called upon again to mourn so great a sacrifice.

Of his merits, his lofty intellect, his genius, his accomplishments, his professional fame, and above all his true Christian character, I need not speak to you who knew him so intimately and well. But as a Patriot and soldier his death has left a gap in the army, which his military aptitude and skill, renders it hard to fill. In the battle of Fredericksburg he won an immortal name for himself and his brigade. Hour after hour he held his position in front of our batteries, while division after division of the enemy was hurled against him.

He announced the determination of himself and his men, never to leave their post until the enemy was beaten, and with unshaken courage and fortitude, he Kept his promise.

May God give consolation to his afflicted family and may the name and fame of that Christian statesman and soldier be cherished as a bright example and holy remembrance.

With great esteem

Your obt servt

R E Lee




Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 4, M2009.290, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall. Gift of Thomas Cobb King, 1969.

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 September 16


[1] Thomas R. R. Cobb (1823 April 10 – 1862 February 13). He had been promoted to brigadier general in November of 1862, but it was never confirmed by the Confederate Congress. He served in the Army of Northern Virginia at the major battles from the Seven Days to Fredericksburg. His Georgia troops suffered badly at Antietam. His brother Howell Cobb lived until 1868.