Camp Petersburg 28 Aug ‘64


I recd yesterday dear Mary your letter of the 18th & am rejoiced to hear of your improvement in health. I trust your particular disease will in time yield to the influence of your general strength, & if your difficulty to locomotion at present arises from the effects of your fall, that with time that will vanish. You must however be very Careful of yourself, & though I am very glad you are able to ride, which will prove a pleasure as well as benefit if properly regulated, still unless you are very prudent in the beginning, may lead to Colds & injury. I enclose a Kind letter from Miss Mary Tinsley, the purport of which you will perceive. I thanked her for her father & mothers kind invitation, told her of the distress which travelling occasioned you &c &c, but if you can you had better write to them yourself. A letter from Custis yesterday reported the invalids doing well & that Mary & Annie Leigh were to go to the country tomorrow but did not state where. I hope their trip may benefit both. I am very grateful that Robs injury was slight & Fitzhugh unhurt. Bev’s wound was more serious but I trust his youth under the favour of a kind Providence will soon restore him. We have had two quite sharp Conflicts during the past week. The 14th & 25th. Although the enemy were punished, still we were unable to drive him within his original lines.1 His position however has been so near the Welden R.R. that we could not operate it with safety, & unless we can drive him away entirely, his present position is but little more disadvantageous for us than his former. His attempt is now to starve us out, which I trust he will be unable to accomplish, nor will it be possible as long as our farmers maintain their present patriotism. In the battle of the 14th Mr Bernard Taylor2 was killed while gallantly serving his gun. He was the nephew of Mr Wm Taylor & he & his brother his principal heirs. I am very sorry for his death. On the 25th Fitzhughs division behaved splendidly, charging on foot the enemy’s works on the right, & capturing the men at their posts with their arms &c. The North Carolina brigades signalized themselves, & behaved most handsomely. As usual we have to mourn the loss of brave men & officers, worth more to me than the whole Federal nation. But we must bear all that are ever loving God inflicts upon us, until he is graciously pleased to pardon our Sins & to relieve us from the heavy punishment they have brought upon us. You must give much love to my dear daughters. Present my Kind regards to Dr. & Mrs. Cocke & all the family. With unchanged love for yourself, I am most truly R E Lee              





1. Lee is referring to battles of Second Deep Bottom, fought between 14 and 20 August. Total casualties for Confederates were about 1,5000 and for the Union 2,900. The fighting on August 25 is known as the battle of Second Ream’s Station. Casualties there roughly were 2,700 Union and 800 Confederate.

2. A native of Caroline County, Virginia, Bernard Moore Tailor (b. ca. 1843) enlisted in March of 1862 in the Fredericksburg artillery. He was killed at the battle of Second Ream’s Station. His is buried in Ettrick Cemetery in Chesterfield County, not far from downtown Petersburg.  



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 543, Section 27, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 May 19