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Petersburg      25 Nov ‘64


My dear Mary

I find that Col: Corley has no socks, you had better write to major Ferguson to send up & get them, weigh & pack them & send them, I suppose the yarn was furnished by Govt, the price of the wool must be charged to the men. On arriving here on the evg of the 23rd. I found we had charged our camp. The house that we were occupying was wanted indeed had been rented by a newly married Couple, & they had ejected Col Taylor that day. We have however a very good abode about 1 ½ miles from Petersburg, south of the Appomattox, belonging to a Mr Turnbull, who had sent his family off for fear of Genl Grant & his missiles. It is dreadfully Cold. I wish I had a good wood to encamp in, where I Could pitch my tent. But there is now convenient. My door will not shut, so that I have a goodly Compy of cats & puppies around my hearth. But I shall rectify that. I hope my poor little Agnes is relieved. Write me word. It made me very sad to leave her suffering. I send to Mildred the notification from the cliosophic society to get her advice on the subject. The only benefit that I could be to their oratory of the fair members would be to exhort them to practice saying “yes,” so as to be prepared for an emergency. I return Miss Ruffins note, which you promised to answer. Tell her the socks fit exactly & are very nice. I am extremely obliged to her. Miss Carrie has been so far away that she has had no opportunity of enjoying Confederate poetry. I therefore send her Mr Caylats last production.1 Tell her she must omit the poetry but accept the intention. I hope daughter well. She must tell Miss Bettie Brander that Col. Marshall is busy having his photograph taken. I do not see what she wants with the original & copy too. Remember me to all the household give much love to my children. I hope you are better & that your pains will soon leave you.             


With much affection

Very truly yours

R E Lee




1. May be referring to Charles E. Caylat, a soldier in the Washington artillery of Louisiana, who liked to compose songs, such as “Of ‘Bull’s Run’ the 18th; and Masseh the 21st July, 1861,” which contained the first verse: “when the Great Judge, Supreme and Just/Shall once inquire for blood/The humble soul who mourns in dust/Shall find a faithful God.” He also composed a broadside called “Southern Victories: Chickahominy, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Chickamauga, Etc.: Warning to All Such Fanatics as Lincoln, Greeley, & Co.” After the war, Caylat returned to Louisiana and lived in New Orleans. He was there for the race riot of December 1866 and lost a daughter in the yellow fever outbreak of 1878. He later lost his job and wound up destitute.




Source: Checked against original, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 555, Section 28, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 February 5