CAMP NEAR FREDERICKSBURG, November 24, 1862.
MY DEAR DAUGHTER:
I have just received your letter of the 17th, which has afforded me great gratification. I regretted not finding you in Richmond, and grieve over every opportunity of seeing you that is lost, for I fear they will become less and less frequent. I am glad, however, that you have been able to enjoy the society of those who are so well qualified to render you happy, and who are so deservedly loved and admired. The death of my dear Annie was indeed to me a bitter pang. But the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In the hours of night, when there is nothing to lighten the full weight of my grief, I feel as if I should be overwhelmed. I had always counted, if God should spare me a few days of peace after this cruel war was ended, that I should have her with me. But year after year my hopes go out, and I must be resigned. I write with difficulty, and must be brief. Fitzhugh and Rob are near me and well. Nephew Fitz has laid aside his crutches, and I hope will soon join me. Your mother, I presume, informs you of the rest. General Burnside's whole army is apparently opposite Fredericksburg, and stretches from the Rappahannock to the Potomac. What his intentions are he has not yet disclosed. I am sorry he is in position to oppress our friends and citizens of the "Northern Neck." He threatens to bombard Fredericksburg, and the noble spirit displayed by its citizens, particularly the women and children, has elicited my highest admiration. They have been abandoning their homes night and day, during all of this inclement weather, cheerfully and uncomplainingly, with only such assistance as our wagons and ambulances could afford — women, girls, and children, trudging through the mud, and bivouacking in the open field. . . .
Believe me always your affectionate father,
R. E. LEE.
SOURCE: John William Jones, Life and Letters of Robert Edward Lee: Soldier and Man, p. 200