Camp Fred   3 April 1863


I have recd dear Mary your two letters, the last by Genl Chilton, since I last wrote. I am very sorry to find that you have been such a sufferer. Though your attendance upon church is no doubt very agreable to you, I fear it is not beneficial to your health. I hope the cheering weather of Spring which seems now to have commenced may restore you to your usual Comfort. I am glad to hear Agnes has recovered & hope she may have a pleasant visit to the Braxtons.1 I wish I could assist you in establishing yourself for the summer, that you might have around you such of your children as are free to join you. The southwest part of Virga (South of James river & east of the Mts:) is the only portion of the State that has escaped the ravages of war & I hope retains some of its Comforts & abundance. I do not know that I can recommend any better location. I hope you will be able to find some agreable habitation where you can enjoy yourself as much as possible under present circumstances. I am getting better I trust though apparently very slowly & have suffered a great deal since I last wrote. I have had to call upon the Drs. who are very kind & attentive & do every thing for me that is possible. I have taken a violent cold, either from going in or coming out of a warm house, perhaps both, which is very difficult to get rid of & very distressing to have. Since the subsidence of the storm of last tuesday the weather has moderated very much. The snow has entirely disappeared & the sun & wind has dried the ground amazingly. If Genl Hooker is going to do anything we shall hear from him soon. He is reported to be all ready & only waiting upon the weather. I wish I could say the same for ourselves. We are scattered, without forage & provisions, & could not remain long together if united for want of food. But God I hope will take care of us. I will see if I can spare Rob: some socks & if so send them. Could I get into my trunks I know I could find him since, but those you allude to I fear he will scorn. I am glad to see he is making such advancements towards Miss N[orvell]. Present me kindly to all the family & tell Mr. C[askie] that I congratulate the city of Richmond at his retention as Alderman of Madison Ward. Give much love to Agnes & Precious Life when you write & believe me always

Affecly & truly yours


R E Lee


P.S. I send two pairs of socks, not on the grounds you put it, “If I wish to get rid of them,” but on the principle that ought to actuate me, a willingness to share any thing with a friend in distress.




Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 442, Section 22, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 April 28 


1. The Braxtons were a prominent Virginia family that included Carter Braxton (1736-1797), one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and had connections to the Corbin family as well as the Carters of “Shirley,” home of Robert E. Lee’s mother. Members of the Braxton family also resided at “Chericoke” and “Ingleside” plantation along the Pamunkey.