Camp 21 Nov ’63


I have recd dear Mary your letter of the 15th with the drawers. The latter fit very well & I hope will not shrink by washing. The weather has been so warm that I have not required them. As to the Jackets you had better not make them until you get Some measure. I Could send one of these I have, but you would have to add two or three inches to all their dimensions. The elbows have burst out from overtention. The pattern is good enough if it contained more material. I think you had better retain the gloves until you accumulate more & the weather becomes Colder. Socks if you have them are very desirable. We have been getting more shoes, but Cannot keep all the bare feet Covered. Some shoes are all the time giving out, & as you Cover some part others become destitute. I told Mr. Collins my wishes & gave him his instructions in person. I hope he has been able to carry them out, & that he will be able to close up his stewardship this Fall. I told him to sell all that was in the place, pay all debts & deposit the remainder to my credit in the Bank at Richmond. If he has been able to get the wheat to market, he will have surplus funds. Mr Lawly has visited me several times. He is very friendly to our Cause & a strong well wisher of our success. I do not know that he can do much more for us. I see by the papers that Fitzhugh has been sent to Fort Lafayette. Any place would be better than Fort Monroe with Butler in command. It is probable he will be sent to Johnson’s Isd, where the rest of our officers are. From what Mrs. Stevens says, I hope he has recovered of his wound. His long confinement is very grievous to me. Yet it may all turn out for the best. Mr. Chapman Leigh has been remarkably kind. You must thank him for all his kindness to you & Charlotte. I hope Mary will have a pleasant visit to Shirley, & that Genl Butler may never reach that point. I am very glad to hear that Charlotte is well enough to spend the day with you & that she is getting so fat. I hope she will soon be strong again. Scott must be a good marketman. I send you a check for $1000. I hope you are able to procure what you want. You must not mind the price of necessary articles, but get them. I fear the community considers us very poor. They are constantly making me little presents, butter, eggs, chickens, potatoes, cabbage, &c, which I am unable to make any return for. I wish I could get some to you. I am content to be poor, & to live on corn bread the rest of my life if a Gracious God will give us our independence. I expect the Pres: here to day. It is however raining hard & I fear he will have an uncomfortable time. The mud here is dreadful after a rain. Custis you know is with me. All the Lees have been to see him. Fitz, John, Henry & Rob also little Dainger. What is Miss Norvell writing to him about? Tell her I don’t like that, she ought to write to Rob. Remember me to the Caskies, &c, & give much love to Mary, Agnes & Chass.

Truly & affy      R E Lee




1. Francis C. Lawley (1825-1901), an English politician and journalist. At the time, he was writing for the Times of London and spent considerable time with Lee at headquarters. After the war, he returned to London. Clifford Dowdey and Louis Manarin, the editors of The Wartime Papers of Robert E. Lee, erroneously had him transcribed in this letter as “Mr. Laroby.”



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 490, Section 24, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 May 24