Pegram related letters from R. E. Lee and Mary Custus Lee
We are indeed lucky to have so many cousins who take the time to share the little jewels they find. These 2 letters were transcribed from microfilm copies of originals in Virginia archives and sent by Maryellen Horrigan. I find the reference "telephone" very interesting since the telephone was not yet invented. I can only assume it was a term used to refer to a telegram. The letters relate to General John Pegram who was killed during the final days of the Civil War, leaving his bride of 3 weeks to mourn.
4 o'clock _____ 1865 ,
My Dear Hetty.
Custus received a message from you this morning saying you wished to see him, and went to Mrs Peyton's in compliance with your request, but finding you had not returned there he thought after all you had gone through with today that perhaps another time you would be better prepared for an interview, and begs me to say to you that he was obliged to return to camp this evening, but that if Major Pegram would telephone to him he would come up at any time you would appoint, and should be most happy to render you any service.
I send you a letter of General Lee's I received yesterday to show you in what appreciation he held your husband. We all knew and loved him and lament his early death. Another martyr to a noble cause. But who shall console those who are left behind you, especially my dear Hetty, so recently a pretty bride and dear wife. I pray that you may obtain a resignation to his will, who doth not willing afflict the children of men.
My love to your mother and the sorrowing family. They do not mourn as those without hope. Be assured that you will always find in me a sympathizing friend and cousin and you must call upon me if I can aid you in any way. The girls desire their love. May God give you strength to bear this crushing sorrow.
Yours most affectionately,
Comment by Maryellen: "The charm of the next letter from General Lee to his wife is classic. It paints a picture of a futsy nitpicker with such attention to detail as to count socks in the final days of the war yet of a near poetic observation".
8th day of ____1865
My Dear Mary.
Your last bag of socks did not contain the number stated, 50 pairs. As the former bag fell short one, I thought it possible it might have been abstracted on the road from me to Major Janney, and by my count 45 pairs and I went over them twice. I nevertheless requested Major Janney to count them and send me an account. His recept for 45 pairs is enclosed. If any socks were abstracted it must have been done before reaching me.You had better sew up the bag and sew your note on the exterior so that the bag need not be opened till it reaches Major J. I have not time to count its contents.
I sent a letter for the Reverend C. K. Marshall, who sent me the over boots which came in the bag. If you do not know where he is I suggest Mrs. Stannard can tell you.
What a change in Mrs. Pegram's condition! She passed by yesterday accompanied by the dead body of her husband! How ones hopes go out, I am truly grieved at his death, for the country, for her and for myself. He was an excellent officer, and a noble gentleman- cool and brave in battle, correct in all his conduct and earnest in his duties. I deeply sympathize with his family. Give my love to the girls and Margaret.
I saw F. and Robert yesterday in the field-all well. A more tempestuous day, or one harder on the men and animals I have never seen. The enemy made several attempts to drive us in but failed.
Very affectionately, your husband., (signed) R. E. Lee
Also see the Robert E. Lee letter to Hetty Cary Pegram and story of their wedding.