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[ca. 1863 May 23-31]1


My dear Fitzhugh

Perry has just brought me the enclosed letter for Scott, given him by one of the clerks.2 I do not Know how it came. I wrote you a few lines the other day & also to daughter Charlotte. Tell her she must talk quick to you. Her time is getting short, & soldiers Complain of officers wives visiting them & theirs Cannot. I am petitioned to send them all off. Your poor mother is I fear no better. I recd yesterday a very pleasing letter from Revd Dr Smedes, StMary’s Raleigh, complementary of Precious Life. I have mailed it to your mother. Kiss Chass for me tell her daughters are not prohibited visiting their husbands. But she & Mrs Robbins3 are not included. You Uncle Carter says that they had him with a gun & sword buckled to him guarding a ford on James river during Stoneman’s last expedition. You & Fitz must not let them capture your Uncle. I wish I Could have seen your review. I hope Chass did

Truly your father

R E Lee




Source: Transcribed from digital image of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L5114 d, 1-10, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 May 24   



1. The letter is undated, but the context puts Lee’s authorship in the last week of May 1863. Smedes’ letter was dated May 22, so Lee must have received it no earlier than the 23rd. The 22nd was also the day of a cavalry review in the Army of Northern Virginia, which Lee mentions here. By May 31 (see his letter to his wife), he had received Dr. Smedes’s letter.  

2. Perry and Scott were African American body servants. On Scott, see Robert E. Lee, Jr., The Recollections and Letters of Robert E. Lee (New York: Konecky and Konecky, 1992), 100.  

3. Lee may be referring to Martha Tabb Robins (1840-2874), the wife of William Todd Robins (1835-1906), a native of King and Queen County, Virginia, who served on the staff of William Henry Fitzhugh Lee.