Camp Petersburg 18 Sept ‘64

My dear Mary

I have been again Called to Richmond & while there recd your letter of the 9th. It reached me however just as I was preparing to take the Cars for Petersburg thursday & I have not been able to reply till now. I am glad that you are all enjoying your accustomed health & hope that more permanent benefit will be felt by all from the enjoyment of the pure Country air & the association of such Kind friends. I breakfasted one morg at Mr Warwicks where I met Mr Galt, who had seen the girls at church the preceding sunday. Tell Mary I have been unable as yet to ascertain what Can be done for her client Isaiah Patterson. I presume his term of Service is nearly expired if it is not already terminated, for I think they are only Called out for 30 days at a time. I have great Consideration for my African fellow citizens, but must have some for their white brethren. All must do their part in this great emergency. I am as sensible as you & Fitzhugh can be of my failing strength & approaching infirmities & am as Careful to shield myself from exciting Causes as I can be. But what Care Can a man give to himself in a time of war. It is from no desire of exposure or hazard that I live in a tent, but from necessity. I must be where I can speedily at all times attend to the duties of my position & be near or accessible to the officers with whom I have to act. What house Could I get to hold all the staff. Our citizens are very Kind in offering me a room or rooms in their houses, in which I could be sheltered, but it would separate me from the staff officers delay the transaction of business & turn the residence of my Kind Landlords into a Barrack where officers Couriers distressed women &c would be entering day & night. I shall be very glad this winter to get a house if practicable. You must thank Mildred for her letter I will answer it when I Can. At my former visit to Richmond I found one of Miss Kirkland domestic shirts & being without a night shirt used it for that purpose. I have it now. It is very Comfortable but I am told by Robt that it washes badly. He gave up the two he had on that account. I am sorry for it as the material is very nice. I shall retain the one I have to sleep in. If daughter wants the balance of the price let her have it. I saw Miss Howell in a dress exactly like it but it had never been washed. I am not yet wearing my new drawers & you need not send the third pair. We shall want for the army all the socks we Can get so you need not fear having too many. Put the girls to Knitting. They must be hungry for work. Has Miss Bettie Brander finished her pair yet. Tell her her soldier shall not marry her until she can clothe him. Sickness is decreasing in the Army & I hope next month to have it well. Tell the young women to Send me all their Beaux. I want them at once. Love to all.

Very truly

R E Lee



Source; Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 545, Section 27, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 June 28