SEWELL MT., 12th October, 1861.
MY DEAR FlTZHUGH:
I am grieving over your absence and fear you are not comfortable. Tell me how you are. I learn that the baby is doing very well and getting quite fat. Your poor mother, who was in Charlottesville Saturday, was going to Richmond to join Charlotte and accompany her to the White House. I hope they will enjoy the quiet of the place and each other's company. Annie and Agnes are in Richmond, on their way to Cedar Grove. They have been to Uncle Carter's, and are well satisfied with their visit. The enemy in strong force threatened us for a week. I was in hopes they would attack, but after some sharp skirmishing with their reconnoitering parties last Saturday night they retired and by daybreak next morning their rear-guard was fifteen miles off. We followed the first day without provisions, and had to return at night in a drenching rain. We have only lived from day to day and on three-fourths rations at that. It is the want of supplies that has prevented our advancing, and up to this time there is no improvement. The strength of the enemy is variously reported by prisoners and civilians at from 17,000 to 24,000. General Floyd puts him down at 18,000. I think their numbers are much overrated, but that they are much stronger than we are. I believe they have crossed the Ganley and will not return this winter. God bless you, my dear son.
Your devoted father,
R. E. LEE.
SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 149