Valley Mountain, August 9, 1861.
I have been three days coming from Monterey to Huntersville. The mountains are beautiful, fertile to the tops, covered with the richest sward and blue grass and white clover. The enclosed fields wave with a natural growth of timothy. This is a magnificent grazing country, and all it wants is labor to clear the mountainsides of timber. It has rained, I believe, some portion of every day since I left Staunton. Now it is pouring. Colonel Washington, Captain Taliaferro and myself are in one tent, which as yet protects us. I have enjoyed the company of our son ["Rooney"] while I have been here. He is very well and very active, and as yet the war has not reduced him much. He dined with me yesterday and preserves his fine appetite. Today he is out reconnoitering, and has the full benefit of this fine rain. I fear he is without his overcoat, as I do not recollect seeing it on his saddle. I told you he had been promoted to a major in the cavalry, and he is the commanding cavalry officer on this line at present. He is sanguine, cheerful, and hearty as ever. I sent him some cornmeal this morning, and he sent me some butter — a mutual exchange of good things. The men are suffering from measles and so on, as elsewhere, but are cheerful and light-hearted. Send word to Miss Lou Washington that her father is sitting on his blanket sewing a strap on his haversack. I think she ought to be here to do it.
SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 145-6