SAVANNAH, 22d November, 1861
My Darling Daughters:
I wish I could see you, be with you, and never again part from you. God only can give me that happiness. I pray for it night and day. But my prayers, I know, are not worthy to be heard. . . . . I am much pleased at your description of Stratford and your visit there. It is endeared to me by many recollections, and it has always been the desire of my life to be able to purchase it. Now that we have no other home, and the one we so loved has been for ever desecrated, that desire is stronger with me than ever. The horse-chestnut you mention in the garden was planted by my mother. I am sorry the vault is so dilapidated. You do not mention the spring, one of the objects of my earliest recollections. How my heart goes back to those happy days! . . . . This is my second visit to Savannah. I have been down the coast as far as Amelia Island to examine the defences. They are poor indeed, and I have laid off work to employ our people a month. I hope our enemy will be polite enough to wait for us. It is difficult to get our people to realize their position. . . .
Your devoted father,
R. E. Lee.
SOURCES: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 154; Armistead Lindsay Long, Marcus Joseph Wright, Memoirs of Robert E. Lee: His Military and Personal History, p. 139-40