University of Va

March 9 ‘94

My dear Taylor

            I know nothing of the matter of which Genl Longstreet writes. He places the incident on the 8th of April, Long gives it as occurring on the 7th. I know nothing of anything the sort being presented to Genl Lee by any of his Commanders on the 7th, I was separated from the General all the latter part of the day and late in the night. On the evening of the 8th I was with him in his bivouac, after Genl Pendletons disaster

            At his request I lighted a wax taper which he had given me, (This taper had been sent to him by a lady) By the light of this taper he read the letter from Grant dated at Farmville demanding the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia and wrote his reply by the same light. This reply is of record I presume Long must have gotten his information from Genl Pendleton’s Statement I presume of course I keep the Wax Candle yet.

            I must tell you the way of my bad behavior on the occasion The General before writing or dictating his letter in reply to Grant’s read it out – said (in a tone not implying that my reply would be of any importance – “How would you answer that? – Whereupon I rolled right over and replied “I would answer no such letter!” – Then in a tone of pity for my folly he said “Ah but it must be answered.” Remember you owe me a visit & you have got to pay it — to come up when the leaves begin and get strength and rest

            With warm regards to you and all your house especially to Lee

I am at always yours most sincerely,

Chas S Venable


Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 8, M2009.460

Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 July 28