We invite you to join us for VBS from July 15th to July 19th!

Camp orange CtH 18 Sept ‘63


I have recd dear Mary your letter of the 13th. I am sorry that any rumour should have reached you of my going to the West. I should certainly have stopped to see you had such been the Case & my visit had been over the Va: & Tenn: R. R. but you see here as usual. I was detained a long time in Richmond endeavouring to arrange some matters for the Western Dept: I suppose that gave rise to the Report. We have a great many idlers you know who pass their time in speculating what others are doing to explain why they themselves do nothing. As regards you establishing yourselves somewhere my opinion is now what it has always been, that you had better do so. But where that Can be is the question. Richmond has never appeared to me a desirable place for you. It is full of excitement & discomfort of every kind, & I doubt whether any Comfortable accommodation Can be obtained there ever if our finances Could support you. Fincastle you never liked. How would Lexington answer or some spot near you? Or someplace in N.C.? You will hardly obtain everything you desire in any locality. The only plan is to hold on to what is essential & let the rest go. I wish I could find a pleasant place for you uniting all that is desirable. But I know no such place. I am wishing you should choose for yourself & will give all the aid in my power. I think Mildred might as well leave school at the end of the term but where she will go unless you obtain a residence somewhere I do not know.

You must express my sympathy for Capt Buford & warmest hopes that his injury may prove slight & trust he may be as well & hearty as ever. I wrote to Agnes some days since & hope my letter has arrived. I am very uneasy about Charlotte & fear she will be a great sufferer. I have not heard of Fitzhugh since I last wrote nor do I hear that the Commissioners for exchange have yet agreed upon a rule of exchange. I saw it stated in one of the N. papers that Mr Lincoln had agreed not to insist upon exchanging the officers of the black regts: on the same terms as the others, which removes one of the difficulties. I do not know whether it is true. I hope your usual Dr will give you relief. He will be entitled to my everlasting gratitude. Do not be discontented at slow progress of improvement. Any advance or any relief is a great gain. I hope it will progress steadily. The change in dear Arlington is truly grievous. But we must endure it. The enemy state they have heard of a great reduction in our forces here & thus are now going to drive us back to Richmond. I trust they will not succeed but our only hope & refuge is in our merciful father in heaven! Their whole army has crossed the Rappk & moved to the Rapidan. There were indications of their attempting to cross today but a severe storm probably delayed him. I shall expect him tomorrow. We have fallen on such bad paper, pen, or ink, or all together that it is impossible for me to write.1 I must stop. Give much love to the girls, Charlotte, & Anne Leigh. Regards to your kind friends. As ever yours          R E Lee



1. Lee was not exaggerating. The entire letter is very difficult to read, especially the last few lines.




Source: Transcribed from original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 480, Section 23, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 November 29