Fredg 12 April 1863

My dear Mary

I recd your note of the 7th by Capt Caskie enclosing Mildreds. The report of her studies is very gratifying, & embraces a large area. I hope she may understand them all. But poor little Life’s wardrobe seems to be very scant. What can be done for her? I have some socks & other garments with which I can supply her & can lend her a long pair of boots that cover up a great deal of space. She could hang over them some drapery which would make her comfortable. I think she will have to come up to the army where we are accustomed to short commons1 every way, & scant wardrobes are fashionable. She had better set to work I think & make something for I suppose that is the only way it can be obtained. I am much better, my cough is not annoying, pulse declining, & I am free of pain. I hope in a few days I shall be as well as ever, though that I fear will not be a very elevated standard. Still I am very thankful for the condition I have attained. I hope you are better & that you will be able to pay your visit to Hickory Hill, though I fear you are hardly in a condition to travel. We shall now have to leave those things to the young Mrs Lee & you & I will have to find some spot, if that is possible, from which we shall only be required to make one more journey. The Revd Mr Lacy2 held service within about a mile of me to day, but I was unable to attend, fearing to stand out in the open air, though the day was mild & bright. I had my solitary prayers in my own room & enjoyed & sermon sent me from Hampden Sydney College, preached by the Revd Mr Dabney in commemoration of the death of Lt. Carrington.3 It was a beautiful discourse, & the character he drew of Lt C___ was delightful to see. He was killed in the battles around Richmond – Fraziers farm. How many noble martyrs have been laid down their lives on the altar of their country. I recd a letter from Charlotte the other day & am glad to find she was so well & cheerful. She was so full of telling me of Fitzhugh, that she told me nothing of herself, or even where she was & where she was going to be, I cannot therefore write to her. I enclose a letter to Agnes, whom I suppose has gone to Mrs Braxtons. You must keep it till her return. As to the Gondolier Coat, I do not know what to do with it. I cannot afford to carry about a coat to sleep in & another to wear. I have to make one do for both purposes. If you can find some one that is in actual need you had better give it to them. I hope Mr Caskie will soon be able to take the field & perhaps it may suit his purposes. Spring seems at last to have opened upon us. The ground has dried amazingly. The grass is springing. I suppose I shall soon hear from Genl Hooker. Give much love to every body & believe me always yours R E Lee

1. Meaning short on food.

2. Beverly Tucker Lacy (1819-1900), a native of Prince Edward County, Virginia. He served as a chaplain in Stonewall Jackson’s corps. His brother, James Horace Lacy (1823-1906), was the owner of “Chatham,” which overlooked the Rappahannock and the town of Fredericksburg and was used by General Burnside during the fighting of December 1862. His brother also owned “Ellwood,” located near the Chancellorsville battlefield, where the tombstone is dedicated to Stonewall Jackson’s amputated arm.

3. Lee is referring to Lieutenant Abram Cabell Carrington (1830-1862), who was killed in the fighting at Frayser’s Farm on 1862 June 30. Hewas a native of Charlotte County, Virginia. He is buried in Farmville, where Hampden-Sydney College is located. He was originally buried at “Ridgeway” plantation, but his body was moved to Farmville following the death of his wife. The eulogy for Carrington was by Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898), published as “The Christian Soldier: A Sermon Commemorative of the Death of Abram C. Carrington.” The sermon was given in December 1862 and published the next year.     

Source: Transcription of photocopied original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c, 444, Section 22, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2021 November 12