Chaffins 25 Oct ’64

My dear Mary

I recd Sunday evg your letter of the 18th. I had gone into church in the morg & had some hope of finding you in Richmond. Though disappd at not Seeing you I still felt relieved at your being in a quiet safe place. I still think it better for you to find some other abode than Richmond, though as you have decided to return I trust it will be for the best. The question now is not what is most agreable, but what is best. If the girls prefer the town which it seems they do, they can take the risk, but in your helpless condition I think it very hazardous in the present uncertainty of events. Every one too who has no business in Richmond, or who cannot do the state some good by being there ought to be away. It adds to the number to be fed, & otherwise may increase our difficulties. I heard Mr. Patterson preach a very good sermon on the subject of the forgiveness of our enemies. It is a hard lesson to learn now, but still it is true & requires corresponding efforts. I recd a letter from Nannie Peyton yesterday saying that the Federals had arrested the principal citizens in that neighborhood, & placed them on the cars running to Alexa to prevent the trains being attacked by our men. Among them she mentioned her husband, the only physician in the neighborhood, & Mr Foster of the Plains, who is in wretched health & subject to Cough & hemorhages. I am glad Mr. Wilmar has been to see you & that you had the opportunity of partaking of the blessed Communion. May it serve constantly to keep our Redeemer in our hearts & minds & enable us to follow his holy precepts & example. Custis has not been very well. He is annoyed by boils. I have not heard from Fitzhugh or Robt lately. I trust they are well. Give much love to my dear daughters. I have not time to write to them. My feeble prayers are Constantly offered up for you & them. May a Merciful God watch over us all.

You must Give my affectionate regards to the kind family where you are. I wish I could give to them my thanks in person for their kindness to you.

With much love affy yours

R E Lee



Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 548, Section 28, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2002 June 30