Letter from Robert E. Lee Jr. to Mildred Childe Lee (February 16, 1865)


In this letter dated February 16, 1865, Robert E. Lee Jr. writes to his sister, Mildred Childe Lee, describing his unhappiness as a soldier on the front lines of the American Civil War (1861–1865) and his yearning for the comforts of his family.


Camp near Hicksford

Feb 16th 1865

My dear Mildred

However insignificant I may be in the eyes of the world & even in the eyes of my friends, you do not deserve any notice from me; for you spend day after day in a comfortable house with an indulgent mother, fond sisters & dear friends all around you, a plenty to eat, a plenty to wear & a plenty of time to sleep every convenience for writing & yet not a word do I hear from you or any one else except now & then from Ma. It is a shame, & enough to make me even worse than I am. Don’t you know. Can’t you conceive how delightful it is to hear from home when one is in camp, how pleasant it is to recognize the handwriting on the back, how delightful to open & imagine yourself talking with the absent sister or mother, notice all their little peculiarities in expression & thought, which brings them more forcible before the reader & how delightful is the little piece of gossip about mutual acquaintances. If you would first think of all this I know you would write oftener & thereby cheer up your poor ragged hungry brother who sits disconsolate smoking his pipe away down in the wilderness of Greensville.

Now I have let off my over press of feelings I can commence & tell you that I & Fitzhugh are well & very anxious to see you all, & hope in the course of human events to get a furlough before the spring campaign regularly gets on. But there is no counting on anything in these uncertain times so I don’t know whether I shall ever see you again.     

This country seems to be full of your schoolmates & acquaintances & I believe I have paid my respects to all of them. They all without exception, say that I am exactly like you & I really do not know whether I am to take it as a compliment or not, as I have not seen you for so long I have almost forgotten how you look. I wish you would ask Ma & also use your own influence to get me another flannel shirt similar to that one sister made me & have it ready against I come to see you. I want a pair for summer use, these I have are too thick for warm weather. Also stir up the family generally about a suit of clothes, for the son of the Generalissimo of the CS must no more wander about half clad.

Now if you have any affection or even regard for your youngest brother as soon as you receive this set down & write me a long letter & tell me everything about everybody give my best love to ma & the Girls & all my friends male & female & believe me your loving

Brother Rob

APA Citation:
Lee Jr., Robert. Letter from Robert E. Lee Jr. to Mildred Childe Lee (February 16, 1865). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Lee Jr., Robert. "Letter from Robert E. Lee Jr. to Mildred Childe Lee (February 16, 1865)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 28 May. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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