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August 4th [1862]

H. Hill [Hickory Hill]


I felt much disappointment my dear girls not to have joined you when Chapman went but C’s unexpected arrival1 proposing to me a visit here which I had long desired to make decided me to come with her. I shall not remain much longer than another week, unless something should turn up & detain me, for although they are exceedingly kind still I cannot trespass too far upon their hospitality. They often speak of you & your visit with pleasure & desire much love to you. Only yesterday I received in some unknown way the first letter Agnes wrote after her arrival at Catawba.2 I had supposed long since it had been perused by some yankee. All Stuarts cavalry have been & are now stationed at Hanover C. House so we have had a great many visitors. They have all gone this morning on a scout in the direction of Fredericksburgh. Rooney had been here for two days. He is much sun burnt but looks well & in good spirits. Our chudie is now Genl Lee.3 I do not know how he will be distinguished from his Uncle The Genl Mrs Stuart is staying in the neighbourhood & we have exchanged visits. It is now intensely hot & I fear both men & horses will suffer today. Oh this cruel war when will it end? & all the suffering it occasions both to man & beast. I suppose Custis has got back to Richmond tho’ I have not heard. I feel too unwilling to be out of the way in case of any trouble befalling any of my sons. I feel less uneasiness about you knowing you are in comparative quiet & safety after the hot month is over & there is any chance of quiet I hope we shall be able to settle ourselves somewhere within reach of the male members of our family, but it is useless now to plan for the future. May we by the blessing of God be ever reunited again. We heard yesterday that every servant had left Shirley & gone to the Yankees but hope it is not so. Dear cousin Mary this is the return for all her instruction & care of them. Hilly4 was here twice & has gone up with this scouting party. He is in good spirits & looks well tho’ thin. He had not heard from home but Mr Wickham heard it in Richmond yesterday if it is so. I do not know what they will do. I hoped the wretched would be driven aware before they could do more mischief. Oh it was too unfortunate that army should ever have been permitted to escape but it is the will of God we should suffer or it would not have been permitted. You have had quite a long visit from Mr Leigh which I suppose had added much to your happiness. If you all & he could find any more desirable place than warrenton I am willing. You should try it but from all I hear the amelia springs is not very comfortable & more expensive & you must not come to Richmond for it is almost impossible to get in there at any place. Besides at this season it is unhealthy with so many sick & wounded there. August 6th Rob Carter5 came last night & says only about 18 of the young men have left Shirley & that a guard is placed around the house & the family protected.

He said too Beva Randolph6 & that party were at warrenton if so remember me most affectionately to them—also to Annie & Mr Leigh. Tell Annie, Robert went down to Shirley & got there safe just as his papa was shutting up the House but that he was so uneasy lest Rob should be discovered & arrested he would not even let him go upstairs to see his wife & mother but sent him back at once he went over in a small boat with muffled oars from Bermuda hundred. I think he was running a great risk. He carried down some letters. If you write at once direct to this place if not to Richmond care of Custis I shall probably leave here the last of next week & be guided by circumstances as to my future movements. I have been making a good deal of jelly here & cordials for the sick which I hope will be useful tho’ the high price of sugar rather circumscribes my operations. We give 75 cts a pound for brown sugar & a dollar for white. I suppose you know who are the roommates of this house. Mary Fan & her two children cousin Lucy & hers & we have a great deal of company. Uncle Wms comes over often but seems very feeble. We are to dine there tomorrow. Charlotte sends much love to you all & says she will write soon. I think she will return home when I leave not being much disposed to return to N Carolina. The children are very sweet especially Willie but they are not like my little darling. Oh how I miss him every day7 every hour & long to see his little form among the merry group here but I must still all these selfish longings & look to meeting him above as I have so little of interest to tell you. I send your papa’s last letter. Tell Milly I saw her friend Miss McCougherty who says she must write to her. I hope you all practice or


[rest of letter missing]



To Annie Lee

Care of W D Jones

Jones Spring

Near Warrenton

North Carolina




1. She is referring to Charlotte Lee, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee’s wife.

2. Catawba County, North Carolina, location of White Sulphur Springs.

3. itzhugh Lee was made a general in July of 1862 following his performance during the Chickahominy raid of 1862 June 12-15.

4. Bernard Hill Carter (1835-1863) of Shirley Plantation, who was sickly. He was killed at the battle of Chancellorsville.

5. Robert Randolph Carter (1825-1888), of Shirley plantation.

6. Given the context of the letter, which mentions people from Shirley, she might be referring to Beverly Randolph Carter (1837-1913), who served in the Confederate army and is buried in the cemetery on the grounds of Shirley.

7. Referring to Robert E. Lee, Charlotte’s son, who died on 1862 June 30.




Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 374, Section 19, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 February 9