Camp near Fredg 24 Nov ‘62


My dear daughter

I have just recd your letter of the 17th which has afforded me great gratification. I regretted not finding you in Richd & grieve over every opportunity of Seeing you that is lost, for I fear they will become less & less frequent. I am glad however that you have been able to enjoy the society of those who are so well qualified to render you happy & who are so deservedly loved & admired. The death of my dear Annie was indeed to me a bitter pang. But the lord gave & the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord! In the quiet hours of night when there is nothing to lighten the full weight of my grief, I feel as if I should be overwhelmed. I had always counted, if God should spare me a few days of peace, after this cruel war was ended, that I should have her with me. But year after year my hopes go out, & I must be resigned. I write with difficulty & must be brief. Fitzhugh & Rob are near me & well. Nephew Fitz has laid aside his crutches & I hope will soon join me. Your mother I presume informs you of the rest. Genl Burnsides whole Army is apparently opposite Fredg & stretches from the Rappk to the Potomac. What his intentions are he has not yet disclosed. I am sorry he is in a position to oppress our friends & citizens of the Northern neck. He threatens to bombard Fredg & the noble spirit displayed by its citizens, particularly the women & children has elicited my highest admiration. They have been abandoning their homes night & day during all this inclement weather, cheerfully & uncomplainingly, with only Such assistance as our wagons & ambulances Could afford. Women girls & children, trudging through the mud & bivouacking in the open fields.

Give much love to Dr., Mrs. Stuart & their Sweet daughters. Believe me always your father

R E Lee



Source: Checked against original letter, Mary Custis Lee Papers, Mss1 L5144 a, Section 14, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 January 28