1862 October 121


I have not laid eyes upon him2 since I saw him in the battle of Sharpsburg, going in with a single gun of his battery, for the second time, after his company had been withdrawn in consequence of three of its guns having been disabled. Custis has seen him, and says he is very well, and apparently happy and content. My hands are improving slowly, and with my left hand I am able to dress and undress myself, which is a great comfort. My right is becoming of some assistance too, tho’ it is still swollen and sometimes painful; the bandages have been removed, & my thumb and forefinger being less injured than any part of my hand. I am now able to sign my name. It has been six weeks to day since I was injured; and I have at last discarded the sling. I never realized my poor sister Anne’s suffering and utter helplessness3 until my accident, and my position recalled her to my mind most forcibly. But my condition was so much better than that of many others around me that it is scarcely worth mentioning. In other respects, I am perfectly well. The army is in good spirits, and I hope will be ready for Genl McClellan when he advances. I heard of Marietta the other day. She is with her daughter, Mrs Delaney [sic]. Kate is with her, and Mr Dulaney [sic] is at home.4 Col Long,5 with two other officers of my staff, in a reconnaissance over the mountains, some days since, spent a night there. They enjoyed the brightness of Miss Kates eyes as much as the supper and breakfast.

I sent you a few days since a letter from Markie and one from Mrs Jane Peter,6 which I hoped reached you safely. Tell Anne she must soon get well, and give much love to Agnes and Mildred. For yourself my thoughts are ever with you, and my prayers constantly ascend to almighty God for your happiness and safety. With much love, I am truly yrs.

R E Lee



1. Lee notes that it was exactly six weeks previous when he was injured in a fall. Since the fall occurred on 1862 August 31, it is likely this letter was written on 1862 October 12.

2. Robert E. Lee, Jr., who was an officer in the Rockbridge Artillery. After the battle of Antietam, he was promoted to captain.

3. Anne had one of her arms amputated as a young girl. Ethel Armes says, “The poor health of their daughter, Ann Kinloch, remained a source of anxious concern. The child had a serious affliction of the hand and arm which made her peculiarly nervous and delicate. It had evidently begun in infancy. She was under the continual care of physicians in Alexandria and Philadelphia. Eventually, Judge Storrow says, the child’s arm had to be amputated.” See Ethel Armes, Stratford Hall: The Great House of the Lees, 331.

4. Marietta Fauntleroy Turner Powell (1812-1894) of “Cloverdale” in Prince William County, Virginia. She was married to George Cuthbert Powell (1807-1849) of Loudoun County, Virginia. She was the daughter of Major Thomas Tuurner of “Kinloch” and Eliza Carter Randolph. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee in 1831. “Mrs Delaney” is a reference to her daughter Mary Elizabeth “Ida” Powell Dulany (1836-1897), who was married to Henry Grafton Dulany (1834-1888) of Loudoun County, Virginia. Kate is Ida’s sister, Katherine Whiting Powell Carter (1839-1903), who married George Carter, II (1838-1926), of “Oatlands” in Louduon County, the largest plantation (by enslaved population) in the county at the outset of the Civil War. 

5. Armistead Lindsay Long (1825-1891), a native of Campbell County, Virginia, who served on Lee’s staff once Lee was put in command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Long was later elevated to a battle command and served with the army until the end of the war. He died and is buried in Charlottesville.

6. Likely Jane Boyce Peter (1813-1882), who was married to George Washington Peter (1801-1877) of Tudor Place in Washington, D.C.


Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 388, Section 20, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2021 November 29