Camp 28 April 1856


My dear little daughter

I was much pleased to receive your letter I did not know that you could write So well. I think in time when you get more accustmd [illegible] to spelling in writing, you will write a beautiful letter, & Minnie Sprole & I will have delightful times reading them, I am very glad to hear that your hens are doing so well. You must have plenty of eggs, chickens & ducks for Rob & the children when they come home this summer. You know your brother Fitzhugh has a magnificent appetite, & those girls from Staunton, never See a chicken. I wish I had you here to take care of mine. I brought them many hundred miles in a coop behind [illegible] & every evening at the end of the days march, would let them out, & at night they would most in top of the wagon. They laid Several eggs on the road, I have only seven hens, & some days I get seven eggs. Having no plank, I have been obliged to make them a house of twigs. I planted four posts in the ground & bored holes in each three feet from the ground in which I inserted poles for the floor, & around which were woven the branches that formed it. There are so many reptiles in this Country to [illegible] Cannot keep fowles [illegible]. The sides & top were formed in the Same way & the whole is covered with branches with their leaves on, which makes a shady house, but affords but little protection against rain. Soldier hens however must learn not to mind rain. I converted the coop they came in, into nests. They pick up so much Corn, among the horses that I do not have to feed them & they seem quite domesticated. I have no cat, nor have I heard of one in this Country. You will have to Send me a kitten in your next letter. The Indians have [illegible] there are so many wolves [howling?] around us all night, that they frighten away all the mice. My rattlesnake, my only pet, is dead. He grew sick & would not eat his frogs &c & died one night. I hope you will have a nice graden & study hard, & learn your lessons well. You must write to me whenever you can & believe your affectionate father


R E Lee



Source: Lee Family Papers, Folder 9, Mss1 L51c 155, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 April 6