Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter II: The Confederate General: Battle of Manassas

The Document

On July 21st occurred the battle of Manassas. In a letter to my mother written on the 27th, my father says:

"...That indeed was a glorious victory and has lightened the pressure upon our front amazingly. Do not grieve for the brave dead. Sorrow for those they left behind--friends, relatives, and families. The former are at rest. The latter must suffer. The battle will be repeated there in greater force. I hope God will again smile on us and strengthen our hearts and arms. I wished to partake in the former struggle, and am mortified at my absence, but the President thought it more important I should be here. I could not have done as well as has been done, but I could have helped, and taken part in the struggle for my home and neighbourhood. So the work is done I care not by whom it is done. I leave to-morrow for the Northwest Army. I wished to go before, as I wrote you, and was all prepared, but the indications were so evident of the coming battle, and in the uncertainty of the result, the President forbade my departure. Now it is necessary and he consents. I cannot say for how long, but will write you.... I inclose you a letter from Markie [Miss Martha Custis Williams--second cousin of my mother, afterward Mrs. Admiral Carter, U.S.N.]. Write to her if you can and thank her for her letter to me. I have not time. My whole time is occupied, and all my thoughts and strength are given to the cause to which my life, be it long or short, will be devoted. Tell her not to mind the reports she sees in the papers. They are made to injure and occasion distrust. Those that know me will not believe them. Those that do not will not care for them. I laugh at them. Give love to all, and for yourself accept the constant prayers and love of truly yours,

"R. E. Lee."

Next: Military operations in West Virginia

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How to cite this article

Lee, Robert E. jr., The Recollections & Letters of Robert E. Lee, http://www.historyofwar.org/sources/acw/lee_letters/chapter02g.html, webpage created by Rickard, J (8 June 2006),

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