Camp 14 Aug ’64


My dear Mary

Although I have not heard from you since I last wrote, about a week ago, I will take advantage of the quiet of this evg to express the hope, that the non arrival of your usual weekly letter has been occasioned by the irregularity of the mails, & not by increased indisposition on your part. I wrote to Agnes the other day, & have heard from Mary the past week, so you will not be without information of me, & I have heard of you. I have been kept from church to day by the enemy’s crossing to the north side of the James river & the necessity of moving troops to meet him. I do not know what his intentions are. He is to be cutting a canal across the “Dutch Gap,” a point in the river, but I can as yet not discover it. I was up there yesterday & saw nothing to indicate it. He may not however have progressed farther than his preliminary operations. We shall ascertain in a day or two. I recd today a kind letter from the Revd Mr. Cole of Culpepper [sic] CH. He is a most excellent man in all relations of life. He says there is not a church standing in all that country within the lines formerly occupied by the enemy. All are razed to the ground & the materials used often for the vilest purposes. Two of the churches at the CH barely escaped destruction. The pews were all taken out to make seats for the theatre. The fact was reported to the Commg officer, Genl Newton,1 from Norfolk, by their own men of the Christian Commission, but he took no steps to rebuke or arrest it. We must suffer patiently to the end, when all things will be made right. I send you a letter from Mr. Wickham which has been sent to me. Although the intelligence it Conveys has already reached you, it will be interesting, & will serve to shew the attention of Mr. W. I trust our dear Uncle is happy & at peace. In a letter to Fitzhugh W. states that he left his property to his son Wms, Mr. Wickham & Wms Wickham. I hope they will be able to save some of it. I believe every thing is gone except the land. I also send you a very just tribute to the worth of Genl Stuart, taken from an English paper, the Index. You may not have seen it, & it is worth preserving. We have had a Sweet rain this afternoon & it still Continues. More water has fallen than at any point I have been since I left orange. I trust it will revive vegetation. Give much love to the Girls & kind regards to Dr. & Mrs. Cocke, the Genl, & all the family.

Very truly & sincerely

R E Lee   




1. Union general John Newton (1823-1895), a West Point graduate who served in the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the Cumberland. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and rose to be the Chief of the Cops of Engineers during the Civil War. He commanded the First Corps in the East until the start of the Overland campaign, when he was sent west to serve with Sherman. After the Union captured Atlanta, he was transferred to Florida and served there for the rest of the war.



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 542, Section 27, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 June 27