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White House March 8 [1862]



            I have been intending to write to you for some time my dear friend but did not know exactly where you were but tonight when a letter from Mr. Lee to Annie informed me that you were in Savannah & had taken my husband and his wardrobe in charge I could not delay a moment to express my satisfaction. I have heard nothing that has given me so much pleasure since our last success. I know now he is in good hands & will be well taken care of. If I could only be with you all. I was very sorry not to see Mary as she passed thro’ Richmond. Why is her husband still a prisoner I never learned why he was arrested I hope our prying enemies will never get to your city. There seem to be such hordes of them that they are spreading themselves everywhere. Poor Virginia is pressed on every side yet I trust God will yet deliver us — I do not allow myself to think of my dear old home would that it had been razed to the ground or submerged in the Potomac rather than have fallen into such hands. I had written this far when I saw my husbands arrival announced in the paper & last Sunday I had the satisfaction of seeing him for one day after a separation of nearly a year. He looks well in spite of his cares & I see by the papers that he is put in charge of the armies of the Confederacy now they have got into trouble they send for him to help them out, & yet he never gets any credit for what he has done. I wish he could have remained longer with you & been able to test his own defenses. He never complains or seems to desire anything more than to perform his duty but I maybe excused for wishing him to reap the reward of his labors. Why was Fernandina given up?[1] The Yankees seem amazed at it themselves. They think we are all going to give up & indeed this continual falling back is truly alarming. All the beautiful valley of the Shenandoah to be given up to those cow thieves who will plunder & destroy every thing. Their whole souls seem bent upon plunder & that is the only thing that induces them to fight. If I had time to detail to you some of the outrages they have committed in Fairfax county you could scarcely believe such things possible in this enlightened age, & by people professing the religion of Christ. I trust the day of retribution is yet to come & all our prayers should be that God would haste to help us. I suppose you like me have both your husband & sons in the field. My last one Rob, you recollect now a sweet golden haired cherub has volunteered. He is just 18. My daughters are all with me here & in Richmond where they have many kind friends. I heard from my husband today & he is expecting to be sent off to Norfolk but since that he has sent for me to go up to Richmond for a little while & I shall go to be with him tho I fear I shall see but little of him, for this is indeed an anxious time to us all. We have had too an irreparable loss in our friend & relation Bishop Meade how sad to die just at this time this dark hour of our struggle but God knows best. He has been so much interested in the war, & his heart & prayers so entirely with us & not to live to see its termination. Oh, when will that be. You must remember us most affectionately to Mary Mrs. Stiles & her daughters, & all friends to your mother & sisters to your mother & sisters, oh may she live to see peace in our unhappy country. Whenever you write soon direct to the White House Tunstall’s Station York River R. R. New Kent County, Va. I have been grieved lately almost beyond endurance with the knowledge that the Yankees have possession of the valley of the Shenandoah where are all my early friends & relations & those of my beloved mother Oh it is too sad I have not heard all the particulars but already have they commenced a series of thefts & outrages. Our people seem almost possessed with an apathy for in the commencement of the war, it seems as if one man could always chase a thousand I shall most anxiously look for news from your city — write me every thing for I am so deeply interested in every part of my beloved country & my heart bleeds at her suffering May God bless you all.


                                    Yrs most affecly,


                                                M C Lee



Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.281, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 November 12



[1] Fernandina, Florida, was invaded by Union forces on 1862 March 3.