H[ickory] Hill August 20 1862


My dearest Annie

I did not receive either of your affectionate letters until Chapman had gone away to our mail not coming here for a week the cars being loaded with troops. Your sister also sent me by the same mail only yesterday a letter of Mildred’s in which I see she has been much annoyed by the attentions of young beaux. I hope now the weather has changed & become so delightfully cool, you are enjoying yourselves & able to do something for your improvement. I perhaps did not mention to you that I saw Kitty Stiles1 in Richmond. She came on to see her brother Edward2 who had been either sick or wounded & to take him home but found he had started the next day. She got there & she went off the next morning in pursuit. She gave me & all of you the most pressing & cordial invitation to visit her somewhere in the country. I forget the direction where she said she got as many chickens as she wanted for 15 cts a piece & had a hundred on hand there where it was perfectly healthy &c. She looked remarkably well & was in pretty good spirits, gave me her direction which I do not recollect but I will get it from Mrs Stiles I wish indeed you & Agnes could go to see her & if any good opportunity should offer, you might do so & leave Mildred at Jones’ with Annie Leigh, as I presume she would not care to go & I could join her or have her join me as soon as this battle is over. We went in the buggy last evening Henry driving us to Mrs Price’s to see Mrs Genl Stuart. She had not heard from her spouse since he left but we are daily expecting important news. We miss them all so much & cousin Wms too went off on Saturday to take command of his regiment. He seemed to have entirely recovered from his wound.3 Cousins Anne & Lucy speak of your girls with much affection & always send you kind messages. They will not hear of my going away tho’ I think my visit is commencing to be somewhat lengthy. When I came down I expected to go first to uncle Wms’s but Charlotte seems to have set her face against going there, so we have only dined there once. It is a very sweet comfortable place with a fine garden & I cannot understand the reason why she objects so much to staying there but such seems to be the case & after this week I must make a move somewhere. I hope you have got well. If you have not you had better take some quinine. Do write as I shall feel anxious to know you are well. You should all try & be regular as your meals as it is a very bad habit not to be so & gives much trouble wherever you may be.

I do not think anything can be had in Richmond at Present but having received some things I sent to Baltimore for I shall make another effort in that quarter. Your papa sent me a letter he got from Bessie Lee begging him to try & get Dick a place in the regular army. She says she sees your Aunt Anne quite often & tho she thinks with Mr Marshall,4 she says she does not believe the Federals “can whip Robert.” I believe I wrote you that Genl Stuart saw Louis under a flag of truce & thought he looked very sheepish. I see in the paper the death at New Haven of Stuart Webster5 I presume of sickness tho’ it does not say. His poor mother what will become of her? Fanny[,] Eugene’s wife,6 got off under a flag of truce in company with Mary Stevenson & little Mary she having come to Richmond after Miss Annes death to get to her home in Gtown. I regret very much I did not see them, but I was down here & the interruption to the cars prevented my going down or even hearing of their movements till it was too late. we expect Mr Wickham from town this evening & I will leave my letter open to give you all the news he brings. We are very quiet here since the cavalry have left the C House when we saw a great many officers but this is a lovely place & you know how sweet & kind they all are. 21st August I got a long note from your sister yesterday saying she had been very sick & was scarcely able to stand but if possible she would come down here on Saturday. I shall wait to see if she comes & then must go to Richmond. No news from the army except a report that Stuart & a party of his officers were surprised by some Yankees while taking refreshment & that He narrowly escaped with the loss of his hat while his adjutant was taken prisoner. McLellan & his army have evacuated Shirley & Berkeley& Mr Wickham who was in town yesterday said that Robert Carter was going there to see his Father who he heard was sick. The villains have staid there long enough to devastate & ruin the country & now they have taken their departure to play the same game in another position. Mr W also brought word that he saw Dr Stuart & two of his daughters at the Exchange Hotel but he did not know what brought them there. I hope to get up to Richmond in time to see them but having no mail it is difficult to hear until some one goes down there. If Mary does not come I shall go down on Monday or Tuesday. Mary[,] Fan[,] cousin Lucy & all here send you much love & say they wish very much you were here. If possible I shall find some asylum for us all next month or certainly before the 1st October, if any plan can be made with certainty in these times. If you could accomplish a visit to Kitty Stiles during the next 6 weeks it would be well as I suppose the enemy will renew their attacks on Carolina this winter. Write & direct to Custis as soon as you receive this. Should you be sick let me know & I will come on to you at once. But I hope you have quite got well. Charlotte has been ailing with diarrhea but as she has eaten a great deal of unripe fruit I suppose that is the cause. Oh that this war would cease. I am so weary of it. Let us unite our prayers for help from on High, then shall we conquer all our foe both temporal & spiritual. Poor Maria has heard naught of her children & I fear never may be able to find them. She enquires after you & sends her respects. Love to little Annie Leigh. I hope she has a good excuse for the dear little baby

Your fond mother

M C Lee              



1. Katherine Clay Stiles (1832-1916), a native of Savanah, Georgia, was the daughter of Benjamin Edward Stiles (1794-1855) and Mary Anne Mackay Stiles (1803-1862).

2. Colonel Benjamin Edward Stiles, Jr. (1836-1864), brother of Kitty Stiles. He was killed in battle on 1864 August 16 at Front Royal, Virginia.

3. Williams Carter Wickham (1820-1888), a cavalry general during the war. He was wounded in May of 1862.

4. Anne Kinloch Lee Marshall, who remained loyal to the Union. Her husband, William Louis Marshall, served in the Union army.

5. Calvert Stuart Webster (1832-1862) was the grandson of Noah Webster. He served in the 15th New York as a lieutenant and died in August of 1862 of disease. His brother William Eugene Webster, served in the Confederate army and was killed on 1862 June 27.  

6. Francina Lynn Webster (1834-1920), wife of William Eugene Webster.




Source: Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 381, Section 19, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 January 24