Camp Fredg 14 May 1863


Your letter of the 10th dear Mary reached me yesterday. I Can well imagine the grief at Shirley upon the arrival of the lifeless body of its gallant Son.1 He was a noble youth, as faithful to his God as to his Country. Would that we had a thousand like him! But his Father in Heaven has taken him to himself. I Know it was done in mercy & kindness to him & we should rejoice who love him. Still the pang of parting is bitter, & the loss of such a one to the Country is great. For ourselves & our Country I grieve. Give my affectionate sympathy to my dear Cousins Hill & Mary & tell them I mingle my tears with theirs at their deep affliction.

Washington Stuart2 is buried in the family cemetery of the Hamiltons at Forest Hill. The house is situated at Hamiltons crossing3 & is now occupied by Mr Marye4 who married Miss Hamilton. Mrs. Page a widowed Sister of Mrs Marye, & Miss Hamilton also reside there. Washington visited at the house & was a great favourite. The evg I returned from Chancellorsville I rode down there & found him resting in his quiet grave & thought it best he should remain. Capt Johns5 Came up the other day with a view of reclaiming his body but determined not to disturb it. He was accompd by Randolph McKim, in quest of his Cousin Duncan McKim’s remains, who was Killed at Chancellorsville. This war is a grievous thing. I am glad to learn that there is a prospect of your getting to the Hot Springs. I trust you may obtain relief & that God may bless the means at your disposal. As regards Mildred I suppose she thinks she ought to do what is most agreable to her present feelings as every body else does. I Cannot Concur with her. If she was usefully employed, I would not Care how. But a life of idleness in times like these is sinful. You will learn by the papers every thing that transpires relative to the army & more. The northern papers are labouring very hard to prove to themselves & the world that Genl Hooker has gained a great victory. It will be incomprehensible news to to [sic] those engaged in the battles. I hope you have recd my letter stating that our Sons & nephews were well. Give much love to all around you & believe me most truly & affy yours

R E Lee




1. Lee is referring to Bernard Hill Carter (1835-1863), the son of Hill Carter (1796-1875) and Mary Braxton Randolph Carter (1800-1864). He served as a lieutenant in a Charles City cavalry unit and was killed at Chancellorsville. He is buried on the grounds at Shirley plantation.

2. George Washington Stuart (1838-1863) was born at “Chantilly” in Fairfax County. His father was Charles Calvert Stuart, the son of Dr. David Stuart of Ossian Hall. Dr. Stuart married the widow of John Parke Custis, the stepson of George Washington. Stuart attended the University of Virginia, where he graduated in 1859. He was known to be delicate in his health, but before the war he traveled to Texas, where he bought a cattle ranch near San Antonio. When the war broke out, he returned to Virginia and joined the 1st Rockbridge artillery. He fought with Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley and in 1862, he was taken ill with typhoid fever. He later returned to his unit and was killed at the battle of Chancellorsville.

3. Hamiltons Crossing, Virginia, is located to the southeast of downtown Fredericksburg. It was the location of the Confederacy’s extreme right flank during the battle of 1862 December 13.

4. Jane Hamilton Marye (1823-1913) was married to John Mayre (1798-1868). They married in July of 1862. Marye’s first wife was Anna Marie Burton (1796-1858). Jane was the youngest child of twelve children born to George Hamilton (1773-1858)—who owned “Forest Hill”—and Maria Slaughter (1783-1849).

5. John M. Jones (1820-1864) a native of Charlottesville, Virginia. He was a West Point graduate and a staff officer to Stonewall Jackson leading up to his death. In May of 1863, after Jackson’s death, Jones was promoted to brigadier general. He was wounded at Gettysburg and later at Mine Run. He was killed on 1864 May 5, one of the many casualties of the Wilderness battle. He is buried in Charlottesville. His brother-in-law was Thomas Hill, brother of A. P. Hill.


Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 451, Section 22, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 June 13