Wednesday, November 20, 2013

General Robert E. Lee. To Charlotte Wickham Lee, June 22, 1862

DABBS, June 22, 1862.

I must take a part of this holy day, my dearest Chass, to thank you for your letter of the 14th. I am very glad that my communication after the battle reached you so opportunely and relieved your anxiety about your Fitzhugh. He has, since that, made a hazardous scout, and been protected by that Divine Providence which, I trust and pray, may always smile on, as I know it will ever watch over you and yours. I sent you some account of this expedition in a former letter, as well as the order of General Stuart, on the subject. It was badly printed, but may serve to show you that he conducted himself well. The General deals in the flowering style, as you will perceive if you ever see his report in detail; but he is a good soldier, and speaks highly of the conduct of the two Lees, who, as far as I can learn, deserve his encomiums. Your mama is very zealous in her attentions to your sick brother. He is reported better. I think he was a few evenings since, when I saw him, and a note this morning from her states that he slowly improves. I hope he will soon be well again. He is much reduced, and looks very feeble. I suppose he will be obliged to go to the "N. C. White Sulphur" to keep you young women company. How will you like that? And now I must answer your inquiries about myself. My habiliments are not as comfortable as yours, nor so suited to this hot weather, but they are the best I have. My coat is of gray, of the regulation style and pattern, and my pants of dark blue, as is also prescribed, partly hid by my long boots. I have the same handsome hat which surmounts my gray head (the latter is not prescribed in the regulations) and shields my ugly face, which is masked by a white beard as stiff and wiry as the teeth of a card. In fact, an uglier person you have never seen, and so unattractive is it to our enemies that they shoot at it whenever visible to them, but though age with its snow has whitened my head, and its frosts have stiffened my limbs, my heart, you well know, is not frozen to you, and summer returns when I see you. Having now answered your questions, I have little more to say. Our enemy is quietly working within his lines, and collecting additional forces to drive us from our Capital. I hope we shall be able yet to disappoint him, and drive him back to his own country. I saw F. the other day. He was looking very well in a new suit of gray. . . .

And now I must bid you farewell. Kiss your sweet boy for me, and love always, Your devoted papa,

R. E. LEE.

SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 184-5

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