Camp Fredg    9 March ’63


Bryan1 arrived yesterday My dear Mary with your letters. The one to charlotte with the churchman will go by the first Courier in that direction, indeed has already gone. I am glad to hear that you are even a little better. I hope you may continue to improve & soon recover your accustomed health. It would give me great pleasure to go to Richmond that I might see you even for a little while, & I must try & do so before you leave, but I cannot now say when. There is a constant demand for presence. The Spring is opening upon us & the enemy may break out at any time. As for my health I suppose I shall never be better. Old age & sorrow is wearing me away, & constant anxiety & labour, day & night, leaves me but little repose. You forget how much writing, talking & thinking I have to do, when you Complain of the interval between my letters. You lose sight also of the letters you receive. I wrote one but a short time before that sent by Bryan. It contained a note of thanks to Mrs. Rives. I hope it reached you, or she may think me negligent of her kindness. I am glad to hear Agnes is not a great sufferer & is able to take a little enjoyment. Remember me to the two young brides & wish for them for me every happiness. I am glad to hear of so many weddings. The young people have great deal to do in the present exhausted state of the Country. I wish them all success & happiness. The scarcity & high price of provisions are distressing. We must eat less. We can live on very little. Tell Mrs. Caskie she will have to bring her household down to our fare. It is very wholesome & nutritious. I will refer you to Custis for more detailed accounts. He returns this morg. I do not know that anything can be done to my summer apparel. You know it is very limited. Only a change of under garments. I dare say some of the socks are broken, but I have a good number of them & some are perfect. There are but two pairs left of my thinnest drawers, & I doubt whether anything can be done for them as far as I can recollect their condition. My apparel gives me but little trouble. I may be so soon cast off. Do pray do not let the papers get hold of the sash, &c. I forgot that when I sent them to Richmond. I am overwhelmed with confusion when I hear of my name in the papers. Tell Mr. Caskie that I yesterday recd. a letter from Genl Hooker saying my application for permission for Mr. Dumas the messenger of the French Consulate to pass through his lines to Washington had been referred to the Secy of War & been refused. On the arrival here of Dumas, I sent him down under flag of truce & passed him over the river. He never returned & I presume went on to Washington. Give love to everybody & believe me always yours

R E Lee


I get the churchman regularly now. Have you paid the subscription?





Source: Photocopy of original, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 437, Section 21, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 April 13


1. Lee’s mess steward.