CASTLE H1LL, COBHAM P. O., 28th April, 1861.
MY DEAR SIR:
Being recently in Richmond on business for a single day, I had it very much at heart to call and pay my respects to you.
But being prevented from doing so by very urgent engagements, I hope you will allow me, in this form, to express to you the very great gratification I have felt at your appointment to the chief command of our military and naval forces. The moment is one of so much exigency as to call for a combination of qualities rarely found united in the same character.
In you we feel that we possess them all in their highest development. The confidence and heart of the whole State are with you; and while in so general an acclamation of approbation and congratulation, no one voice can have much value, I trust you will not deem it intrusive if I venture to add mine, with the assurance of the highest respect and warmest good wishes with which I am truly and faithfully,
W. C. RIVES.
MAJ.-GEN. ROBERT E. LEE.
SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 141