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(Thursday) 27th Febry 1862


Since my last very short letter my dearest wife, I have been seeking some quiet time to write you a nice long letter, but you must not raise your expectations too high lest they should not be realized. There is nothing of interest occurring in this quiet place. Ever since our reverses in the West, however, the old Town has been in a state of excitement from an apprehension that the Yankies would be upon us. At one time it was reported that they were landing – at another that they were preparing to cross the river on pontoon bridges. So far however they have not appeared & I trust they may put it off until Spring. Genl Holmes has stopped giving furloughs & consequently the reenlisting has for a time ceased, but will commence again so soon as the furloughs commence.

Lt Col H. H. Walker has returned from his trip to Savannah & says that he saw Papa; speaks of everything getting on well & thinks that Savannah is impregnable. He is, I think, certainly engaged to Miss Mary Mercer.1 He seems very happy and I judge so from that. You see I have not forgotten the times when I was in the same situation & I take great interest in all the young gentleman is “affaires de coeur.” Those were very pleasant times, with all the little obstacles, which, then I remember, thought very great.

I have been to see Mrs Slaughter but unfortunately she was sick. The young ladies also were out so my visit was entirely unsuccessful. I have also been to see Mrs Alex Gordon, who is living with her mother at a very nice old place in the suburbs of the Town. Her Husband died last Fall from the effects of intoxication. She asked very particularly after you & the baby.

I took tea & wrote Mrs Randolph night before last. I like her very much. She is very pretty & sweet.

I fear my furlough is farther off than ever. I see at present no prospect for it whatsoever. You must not be surprised at my dropping in, however, at any time.

I see by the Paper of to-day, that Papa, is to be the Sec. of War. I can not say that I like it altogether but have no doubt that he will make a very fine one. I wish they would let him remain where he is just now until he could have a chance to give the enemy a sound drubbing Some one else will reap the honors due to him

I do not recollect the exact amount of our States Stock, but it is about the same as it was last year. Tell the Dr that the commissioner can find out from the clerk’s books at the CH.

I hope your japonica1 has arrived. Custis promised to get it & send it to you at once & I suppose he has done so. You must do great things this Spring. Let me know if your funds give out. Has the gate been put up? Are the walks gravelled? I hope so. That precious boy how is he? I see little children 14 & 16 months old running all about & am very anxious to hear of my son stepping out by himself. You & he are always in my thoughts. I wish I could see you. I long for the time when Peace shall come & put an end to this unhappy war. God grant that the time may not be far off. You must keep a good heart & dig away in your land, without letting the events disturb you. I am sorry to see the death of Capt D. Carr Harrison.2 He was shot at Fort Donalson. Poor fellow he leaves a wife & several children entirely dependant.

I am very glad to hear that Mr Depler has got a free ticket.

Give my best love to Mama & the girls & smother that boy with kisses. Write to me very often. I don’t think you have been very nice about your letters lately. You can’t get all that I write you

With remembrances to all of my friends. I remain

Your devoted Husband

W. HF Lee




1. Henry Harrison Walker (1832-1912) was the commander of the 40th Virginia infantry. Born in Petersburg, Virginia, and a graduate of West Point in 1853, he married Mary Stuart Mercer Walker (1841-1925), a native of Savannah and the daughter of Confederate general Hugh Mercer (1808-1877) and Mary Stiles Anderson Mercer (1812-1855). Henry and Mary were wed 1863 February 5. They moved to New Jersey after the war, where they died. They are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Morristown. 

2. Also known as camellia or Japanese camillia.

2. Dabney Carr Harrison (1830-1862) was born in Albermarle County. He was educated at Princeton and UVA law school, and he was a trained minister. He served as captain in the 56th Virginia infantry. He was killed at the battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862 and is buried in Tennessee.





Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 343, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 January 16