Camp on Valley River

Sept. 16, 1861


My Dear Miss Louisa:1


With a heart filled with grief I have to communicate the saddest tidings you have ever heard.

May ‘Our Father who is in Heaven’ enable you to bear it, for in His inscrutable providence, abounding in mercy and omnipotent in power, He has made you father-less on earth. Your dear father, in reconnoitering the enemy’s position, came into the range of the fire of his pickets and was instantly killed. He fell in the cause to which he had devoted all his energies, and in which his noble heart was earnestly enlisted. My intimate association with him for some months has more fully disclosed to me his great worth, than double so many years of ordinary intercourse would have been sufficient to reveal. We have shared the same tent, and morning and evening has his earnest devotion to Almighty God elicited my grateful admiration. He is now safely in heaven—I trust with her he so loved on earth. We ought not to wish him back.

May God in His mercy, my dear child, sustain you, your sisters and brothers under this heavy affliction, my own grief is so great. I will not afflict you further with it.

Faithfully your friend,

R E Lee



1. Louisa Fontaine Washington Chew (1844-1927) was born at Mount Vernon in Fairfax County. She died in Charles Town, West Virginia.



Source: Published in newspaper article, vertical files, Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 March 16