Camp near Winchester, Va

Sept 29, 1862


My Dear Mary:

I take advantage of Custis being here to write for me to say what I Could not as well say with another amanuensis. I do not like your establishing yourselves in Richmond. It is a bad place for six unprotected women, and I think your visit had better be made as short as possible. In the first place, it will not be healthy; in the second, you will always be in a whirl of agitation and excitement, which is unnecessary & will be injurious to the whole party. If I am on duty with this Army; unless from necessity, I will not be near Richmond, and therefore you will see nothing of me. Mildred, I think, had better go to school; and I know no better one than that at Raleigh; you had better fix her there at once. After that, you had better endeavor to fix yourself at some place more permanently until the war is over, as I see no benefit of your being constantly on the move and in peril, and as I am so situated that I can not either see you or counsel you or help you, it adds to my anxiety and trouble. Perhaps Mrs Stiles can find you some place near her which is far from danger and a healthy retreat; and her security and that of her sisters, I know will be a great pleasure to you. I am afraid our little girls will thank themselves banished from the world, but tell them that people do manage to live there, I know, and live happily and usefully. If God spares me to the end of the war, I trust to be with you all, at least, for the few remnant years of my life; but until the war is ended, I can do nothing but endeavor to give my poor aid to the defense of the country; nor do I consider that any body else has anything else to do, and during that period must make up his mind to forsake home and family. Custis, on his return, will draw the dividends due the girls which I hope will give them money enough for their purposes. That due upon their stock in the Bank at Winchester, I requested Mr McFarland to collect but if he has not done so, Custis will make arrangements with the Cashier of the Bank of Va. to collect it for them. I will send you some money by Custis. You must tell Charlotte, with a great deal of love, that her Fitzhugh is very well, and is handsome now that he has been made a Genl. I hope he will be able to get down and see her this Fall. I received your two last notes from Hickory Hill, and am very glad that all are well there; you must give much love to them when you write. Tell Annie & Agnes that I have received their affectionate notes by Capt. Cone,1 which were a pleasure & comfort to me. I wish I could see them and you and all; but I don’t expect it until the war is over. With much love and affection, I am yours as always and ever

(signed)         R. E. Lee


G. W. C. Lee



1. Aurelius Franklin Cone (1836-1894), a native of Georgia, who attended the United States Military Academy. He was a staff officer before rising to the rank of colonel and serving in the quartermaster department. He died and is buried in Smith County, Texas.



Source: Photocopy of original, Lee Family Papers, Mss 1 L51c 385, Section 19, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 October 11