Richmond, May 13, 1861.
Do not put faith in rumors of adjustment. I see no prospect for it. It cannot be while passions on both sides are so infuriated. Make your plans for several years of war. If Virginia is invaded, which appears to be designed, the main routes through the country will, in all probability, be infested and passage interrupted. I agree with you in thinking that the inflammatory articles in the papers do us much harm. I object particularly to those in the Southern papers, as I wish them to take a firm, dignified course, free from bravado and boasting. The times are indeed calamitous. The brightness of God's countenance seems turned from us, and its mercy stopped in its blissful current. It may not always be so dark, and He may in time pardon our sins and take us under his protection. Tell Custis* he must consult his own judgment, reason, and conscience as to the course he may take. I do not wish him to be guided by my wishes or example. If I have done wrong, let him do better. The present is a momentous question which every man must settle for himself and upon principle. Our good Bishop Meade has just come to see me. He opens the convention tomorrow, and, I understood him to say, would preach his fiftieth anniversary sermon. God bless and guard you!
* His son, then a lieutenant in the Engineer Corps, U. S. Army.
SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 140