SAVANNAH, 26th February, 1862.
And are you really sweet sixteen? That is charming, and I want to see you more than ever. But when that will be, my darling child, I have no idea. I hope after the war is over we may again all be united, and I may have some pleasant years with my children, that they may cheer the remnant of my days. I am very glad to hear that you are progressing so well in your studies, and that your reports are so favorable. Your mother wrote me about them. You must continue to do likewise to the end of the session, when I hope you will be able to join your mother. It has been a long time since I have seen you, and you must have grown a great deal. Rob says he is told that you are a young woman. I have grown so old, and become so changed, that you would not know me. But I love you just as much as ever and you know how great a love that is. You must remember me to the P's., your cousin M., Mrs. B., the C's., etc., and tell them how obliged I am for their kindness to you. I hope you appreciate it, and that your manners and conduct are so well regulated as to make your presence and company agreeable to them.
I hope you will be admired and loved by all my friends, and acquire the friendship of all the good and virtuous. I am glad S. agrees with you so well. You know it is considered vulgar for young ladies to eat, which I suppose is the cause of your abstinence. But do not carry it too far, for you know I do not admire young women who are too thin. Who is so imprudent in Clarke as to get married? I did not think in these days of serious occurrences that any one would engage in such trivial amusements. This is a serious period, indeed, and the time looks dark, but it will brighten again, and I hope a kind Providence will yet smile upon us, and give us freedom and independence. These reverses were necessary to make us brace ourselves for the work before us. We were getting careless and confident, and required correction. You must do all you can for our dear country. Pray for the aid of our dear Father in Heaven for our suffering soldiers and their distressed families. I pray day and night for you. May Almighty God guide, guard, and protect you! I have but little time to write, my dear daughter. You must excuse my short and dull letters. Write me when you can, and love always your devoted father,
R. E. LEE.
SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 159-60