Camp Orange Co:      14 Feby ’64


I have recd dear Mary your letter of the 8th. The opinion of your Dr. gives me great hope. I trust the change he perceives in you may daily increase & grow into perfect health. I beg you will do all in your power to aid him & be careful not to expose yourself to cold or anything injurious. I have not sent back the Coffee, but I do not know what we shall do with it as we have been so long without it, that I fear it will injure us. I recd yesterday from Eliza Beverley1 of Avenel, 13 prs of very nice socks which she has been preparing during the winter for the soldiers, & which I distributed immediately. I understand the ladies in that county have 160 prs, but cannot get them to us. They would be a great relief. Unless we can get them soon the advantages will be lost. Now that you have your yarn I hope your supplies will be coming in. I sent back the bag many days ago. I am glad to hear that some kind people at the North think of poor Fitzhugh. God grant that he could be released, but I trust he will permit that in His own good time. There is a report here, which I presume is not true, that Mrs. G. W. herself was sent away. She has so many friends every where that I hardly think she would be interfered with, & besides could do them no harm. I have no news to tell you. We are all quiet again. This day last week we were prepared for battle, but I believe the advance of the enemy was only intended to see where we were & whether they Could injure us. Their loss in comparison with ours was large. Our scouts report they place their entire loss, killed, wounded, & missing at 1200. But I think that is exaggerated. Our old friend Sedgwick was in Command. In reference to Rob, his company would be a great pleasure & comfort to me & he would be extremely useful to me in various ways. I have written to him to that effect. But I am opposed to officers surrounding themselves with their sons & relatives. It is wrong in principle & in that case the selection for offices would be made from private & social relations, rather than for public good. Rob’s case is at present rather peculiar & I do not think under the circumstances, it would be improper for him to serve with me. I have so told him. There is the same objection to his going with Fitz Lee. He has Lees & relatives enough around him. I should prefer Rob’s being in the line, in an independent position, where he could rise by his own merit, & not through the recommendation of his relatives. I expect him here soon, where I can better see what he himself thinks. The young men have no fondness for the society of the old Genl. He is too sombre & heavy for them. God bless you all.

Truly & affy yours

R E Lee





1. Eliza Randolph Beverley Mason (1844-1925) was the daughter of John Hill Carter (1800-1862) and Susa Bayton Turner Carter (1799-1830). Avenel plantation was in Fauquier County, Virginia. She married Rev. John Stevens “Steny” Mason (1839-1918), who served in Confederate infantry and cavalry regiments from Virginia during the Civil War. He is buried in Fauquier County at Little Georgetown Cemetery.



Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 503, Section 25, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 June 28