Camp, Fredg

29 Jany ’63

 

My dear Mary

I am grieved to hear of your sufferings. I trust now that the storm has passed, you are relieved. It has terminated here in a deep snow which does not improve our comfort. But as long as we can retain our health we can stand anything. It came however peculiarly hard on some of our troops whom I was obliged to send some 11 miles up the Rappk to meet the recent movement of Genl Burnside. Their bivouac in the rain & snow was less comfortable than at their former stations where they had constructed some shelter. Genl Burnside’s designs have apparently been frustrated either by the storm or other causes & he last Saturday took a special steamer to Washn to consult the military oracles at the federal seat of Govt. Sunday I heard of his being closeted with Pres: Lincoln, Secry Stanton & Genl Halleck. I suppose we shall have a new move around next week. You had better finish all the gloves you intend making at once & send them to the army. Next month they will be much needed. After that, no use for this winter. Why did you not bring a lot for the young party to enjoy with their peanuts. The young beaux would have worked powerfully under the inspiration of Misses Norvell & Silby, nor would their labours have impeded the flow of their “Sweet nonsense.” I have heard nothing of F[itzhugh] or Charlotte since I wrote. The mail facilities from that region I suspect are poor. She can hardly therefore write to you. My attention has been directed up the river, & I have not been below at all. Tell my poor Agnes I am sorry I cannot see her. But I trust she is well & free from pains in her dear face. As she is so small, if she thinks she can make her bed on three stools in the corner of my tent, she had better come on to see me. I will lend her some warm blankets. I have got the snow removed from the top & from around my tent & will be dry in a day or two. I am glad you have seen Smith. I got a long affectionate letter from him the other day, to which I have replied, tell him. Say also to Custis I have sent the power of atty to Mr. Eacho. Tell Mr. Caskie I am delighted the turkey was so good. I was that day up at U. S. Mine ford on the Rappk. Did not get back till late at night, after our nocturnal repast was over. Having been on horseback from early breakfast, he can imagine how I would have enjoyed it. I was however thinking so much of Genl Burnside’s playing us such a shabby trick, running off to Washn while we were waiting for him that I did not then miss my dinner. I Confess I should like to have had some peanuts with some of Miss N[orvell]’s & Silbie’s concomitants. I send some copies of the verses of Mrs. Clarke on dear Annie. They have been published in the Petersburg paper & some one sent me five copies. I will send a copy to Fitzhugh & one to Mary if I can. Remember me kindly to all with you. I do not know what my movements will be. They depend upon circumstances beyond my controul. I hope I shall see you soon. You must endeavour to enjoy the pleasure of doing good. That is all that makes life valuable. When I measure my own by that standard I am filled with confusion & despair. You are always present with me in my prayers & thoughts.

 

Truly yours

R E Lee

 

Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 430, Section 21, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 April 4