Camp Fredg 19 March ’63


My dear Mary

On arriving yesterday I learned that the enemy’s Cavy had recrossed the Rappk, & that the report of their Infy crossing the river was not as threatening as stated. I therefore countermanded all my orders for concentration & we stand as before. Genl Stoneman’s attempt seems to have proved a failure. His whole corps of Cavy was driven back by Fitz Lee’s small brigade. If he could restore to us our gallant dead I should be content. I grieve over the loss of Major Pelham.1 He has been stricken down in the midst of his career of usefulness & honour, which in its progress I had hoped would have expanded in brightness. Fitz had his horse shot under him but is safe. I enclose the latest accounts from Fitzhugh. It shows he has his brigade in hand & is prompt. I trust he will make a good soldier & serve his country well. Tell Miss N[orvell] she had better take Robert, though not of the “fighting Lees” she might bring him out of the kinks. While that gallant young Artillery man is waiting on her, his sisters are busy in moving their mothers furniture from Fredg. I took two of them in at Ashland yesterday morg. I hope they may be able to carry back with them the piano, that he may not be troubled even with that. She & Miss Silby must be kind to him. I am glad I was able to see you even for a short time. I do not know when I shall have that pleasure again.

I can write but seldom, so you must not expect letters too often. I hope you will soon be relieved of your pains. Give much love to Agnes. I am sorry she had such a hard ride from Shirley & fear it may bring back the pains in her poor little face. She had better come up & stay with her Pa’a. You must express my heartfelt thanks to your kind friends for the trouble & attention they give to your wants, & for their continued kindness to you in your suffering, I pray God may spare them all distress & enable them to continue their charities to the poor & needy. Tell Mr. Caskie he can say to Mrs. Lucy A. Govan,2 that her wishes have been anticipated in regard to her son, & that his transfer was made on the 15th Inst: by Par: VIII, G.O. 74, on his former application. So that she troubled him uselessly. Miss Silby never came over to explain to me her brother’s papers. So I am left to my natural dullness to penetrate them. She & Miss N[orvell] will have to come up to enlighten me.

With much love I am very truly yours

R E Lee


P.S. You can give Fitzhugh’s autograph to those persons desiring mine. It is worth more.




1. John Pelham (1838-1863), who was killed at the battle of Kelly’s Ford on 1863 March 17. He is buried in Alabama.

2. Lucy Ann Waller Govan (1817-1904). Her son James enlisted as a private in Amherst County as a member of the 19th Virginia infantry in March of 1862. He was transferred to the Bath Light Artillery on 1863 March 19. He died at Emory and Henry College hospital in January of 1864 from disease. James was Lucy’s only son.   



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 438, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 April 13