PGBC Senior Prom - Stepping Out In Elegance - August 10th

Richmond July 30th 1863


My dear Mother

After a hard struggle of three days I find myself at last safe at Richmond, & I find every thing here pretty much as usual.

Our army is all back on the Rappahannock except one Division, Genl Early’s, which is in the Luray Valley; the men & officers are in very good spirits & very desirous of establishing their fame firmly, which they think has been a little shaken at Gettysburg. Col Long came down to Richmond from Gordonsville. He says Pa is at Culpeper in good spirits & in good health.

I found Uncle Carter here when I got here & “The Sweetness of the World”, Robert Randolph Lee, with him. He is looking very well & is in remarkably fine spirits. I went with him last night to see Cousin Margaret1 at Dr Haxall’s2 where I saw cousin M—but so surrounded by old city beaux, with eye glasses, specs squints, & harnesses that I hardly could say a word to her. Uncle C[arter]—kept us all in a broad grin, by quoting poetry & telling stories. All the officers of the mess are at home so their [sic] is quite a handfull.

I expect to leave for the Army, Monday though there is no one in the Confederacy who so sincerely desires peace as I do, & who so thoroughly detests war in all its shapes & forms, yet I think as I am capable as far as my health is concerned & as I come under the denomination of an “able bodied man”, of which class so many are wanted at present, I think it is my duty to do what I can for the cause. So I am off Monday next for the wars, & though I have escaped thus far unhurt & sincerely hope that I may be preserved by a kind Providence we must not expect too much from one who has been so forebearing to us in our sins.

Tell Charlotte that I searched far & wide for that easle [sic]. I was unable to find it; & I think it must have been carried back in the car which was sent to be mended some where or other, I am afraid it is gone, still I think she ought to be thankful that nothing of more value was lost, & that she & her servants & trunks reached the Hot in safety. Tell her I sympathize with her for her loss.

Tell Mrs C— also that I have seen the Cashier of the Farmer’s Bank of Va who says under the circumstances that a check signed by her as follows, “Mrs WHF Lee for Brig Genl WHF Lee” & presented at the bank by any one he can rely on, will be duly honored.  

So as soon as she gets this message write by return of mail to Custis for I may be gone, & put her name so stated above, to any amount she may want, & it will be taken to the bank by Custis or myself & the money gotten in that way.

Mr Caskie will leave here next Wednesday for the Hot so if your answer arrives in time he says he will be very happy to take it up. I hav’nt seen Mrs Caskie yet consequently, the fate of the two chairs which accompanied us to Milborough is not yet known to me. I hope & trust for my comfort hearafter in this world & for Mrs Caskie’s benefit, they may not resemble in conduct their friend & Fellow Traveler “The Easle”, but have by this time reached their journey’s end in safety & are now holding in their arms, those wont to repose theirs.

Mr C[askie] says his daughter N[orvell] is very anxious to go with him to the Spring as Richmond is very dull, but he is afraid that her constitution is not suited to the dissipation she would necessarily have to undergo if drawn into the Society at the Hot.

I will see about the paper to day.

As I expect to go to the army so soon, I’ll try & write by every mail before I go for when I get there, there is no telling when you’ll hear from me. Tell Cousin Annie I found the Captain well & in good spirits, but firm in his purpose not to allow C to take her to the R—e A—y3 with out some one to play the carefull Mama. Love to all Wood & Goode excepted. Your son







1. Margaret Stuart (1837-1893), the daughter of Dr. Richard Stuart, a native of Westmoreland County, Virginia, where Robert E. Lee was born.

2. Dr. Robert William Haxall (1802-1872), an uncle of Charlotte Taylor Haxall (1848-1872), who married Rob in 1871. Dr. Haxall was born in Petersburg and died in Richmond. He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.

3. Difficult to make out but Lee might be using an abbreviation for Rockbridge Artillery.




Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss 1 L51 c 468, Section 23, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward 2018 January 19