Richmond 22 April 1862


I recd this morg dear Mary your letter of 20th & will give to Custis & Mary their enclosures. I send a letter from Fitzhugh whom I understand is very well & has been active in front of the enemy. I got a report of a reconnaissance he made of the enemy’s position in Stafford, giving their numbers &c which was very good. I will ask Custis to give you all the news, as he circulates with the young people & thus collects it. I saw Mary Sunday. Not so well. as usual at this time among the women, bothered what to do. I fear she may become burdensome to her kind hosts. I sent to you Saturday a letter from Rob. He had a wretched cold & was then at New Castle guarding some prisoners. He no doubt is with Jackson’s army in the Blue ridge near Swift run gap. The enemy is pressing us on all sides. I hope a kind Providence will protect us & drive them back. I trust your new position will be agreable. As before stated it is more retired from the line of the enemy than the W. H. [White House] though by no means removed. Should they be able to advance up York river their boats can ascend the Pamunkey to the Piping tree, the road from which to Richmond passes immediately by Mrs. Braxton’s,1 the old church &c, & I think in sight of Mr. Sayre’s.2 There is another consideration, for it is always well to look at the worst phase of a subject, suppose the army is driven south of James river & you are encompassed in the enemy’s lines. How are you to live? The Confederate money would be valueless & the Virga money perhaps not very current if I could get it to you. But there is the difficulty & it has been in view of these sad reverses, which God in his mercy forbid may ever happen, that I have recommended a more distant move to Carolina or even Georgia. This is for your own consideration & not for public discussion which would only be mischievous. The corn ought to be sold as I wrote Charlotte & the wheat too. She will have to manage for her husband now. I want to see you all very much but do not know when that can be. Tell Chass I hope she is not more sick than she wishes to be. Perhaps she just wants to see her Papa. If so she must come up & bring Life & stay with him. I will tell her all about Fitzhugh. There is to be a wedding tonight. A poor young girl, Miss Addie Deans to Dr. Lyons, Son of the James’.3 Did you ever hear of such a thing! In such times to think of such trivial amusements! The news from N. Orleans is incouraging. It is reported but not confirmed that the Forts below the city still hold out, that two of the enemy’s boats are sunk & that the Louisiana (Iron clad) went down last night to the assistance of the forts, the fire of which had slackened. Neither is the enemy at Fredericksburg as strong as reported. Give much love to all & many kisses. For yourself know always that I am truly

R E Lee  




1.The Braxton family owned “Chericoke” plantation in King William County, near the Pamunckey River.

2. Likely William Sayre (1814-1893), who is mentioned in several of Lee’s letters. Sayre was married to Elizabeth Ruffin Sayre, the daughter of Edmund Ruffin. She married William in 1852 and helped him run “Marlbourne,” the estate of Edmund Ruffin in Hanover County. Sayre is mentioned in several letters of Thomas Henry Carter; see Graham Dozier, ed., A Gunner in Lee’s Army: The Civil War Letters of Thomas Henry Carter (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014), 182, 185, 187, 191-192.   

3. Dr. Peter Lyons (1838-1881), who married Adelaine Abbott “Addie” Deane Lyons (1842-1905). Dr. Lyons was a surgeon in the Confederate army and the son of politician James Lyons (1801-1882), who served in the Confederate Congress.



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee family Papers, Mss1 L51c 350, Section 18, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 March 27