Camp Fredg

16 Decr ’62

I have not had time dear Mary before to day to reply to your letter of the 8th. I have grieved over the death of that little child of so many hopes & so much affection, & in whose life so much of the future was centered. But Gods will be done. It is a bright angel in Heaven, free from the pains & sorrows of this world. I feel much for the father & mother but hope they will bear their great loss as christians. God has been so merciful to us in so many ways, that I cannot repine at whatever he does. His discomfiture of our numerous foes & obliging them to recross the river was a signal interference in our behalf for which I feel I cannot be sufficiently grateful.

I had supposed they were just preparing for battle, & was saving our men for the conflict. Their hosts covered the plain & hills beyond the river, & their numbers to me are unknown. Still I felt a confidence we could stand the shock & was anxious for the blow, that has to fall on some point, & was prepared to meet it here. Yesterday evg I had my suspicions that they might retire during the night, but could not believe they would relinquish their purpose after all their boasting & preparations, & when I say that the latter is equal to the former, you will have some idea of its magnitude. This morg they were all safe on the north side of the Rappk. They went as they came in the night. They suffered heavily as far as the battle went, but it did not go far enough to satisfy me. Our loss was comparatively slight, & I think will not exceed 2000. The contest will have now to be renewed, but on what field I cannot say. As regards the liberation of the people I wish to progress in it as far as I can. Those hired in Richmond can still find employment there if they choose. Those in the country can do the same or remain on the farms. I hope they will all do well & behave themselves. I should like if I could to attend to their wants & see them placed to the best advantage. But that is impossible. All that choose can leave the state before the war closes. I wish you would see Mr. Echo & ascertain what can be done. The QrMr informs me has received the things you sent. The mits will be very serviceable. make as many as you obtain good material for. I have everything I want. Fitzhugh & Rob are well. I saw both on the battlefield, once only. Nephew Fitz I saw this morg on his way up the Rappk. Give much love to all, Chass & Agnes specially. I send the last letter from M[ary]. No letters can reach her. Yours & mine I have retaken from the scouts. They add to their danger. I saw a scout to day who saw her a few days since. All were well.

Truly & in haste

R E Lee  




Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 415, Section 20, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 April 4