Primary Resource

Letter from Robert E. Lee Jr. to Robert E. Lee (April 23, 1862)

In this letter to his father, Robert E. Lee, dated April 23, 1862, Robert E. Lee Jr. writes about his experience as part of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, reporting on the movements and morale of the Army of the Valley.

Transcription from Original

April 23d/62

Rockinham County

19 miles from Harrisonburg

Dear Father

Your letter of the 18th inst reached me today, it being the second time I have heard from any one of you since I entered the army. Capt Coleman brought me a joint letter from Annie & Agnes not very long ago. The Yankees are still running us, & I expect we will move tomorrow as they are reported quite close to night. We have turned off on a country road half pike & half dirt which leads to Gordonsville. The day we got here it rained, & for three days it poured & we have no tents & you can just imagine the comfort of the Army of the Valley. I fortunately procured a place on a porch of a house just across the road from our encampment where I kept comparatively dry. All the recruits of our company are still guarding the prisoner we had in Harrisonburg, but not quite so many for a great many have been released. There are nine Yankees among the number now most of them cavalry from Vermont.

Since that Act in Congress that every artillery company should consist of 150 men, I have been thrown out of the R Aand am now no better than militia. We are on this detached duty & when that is finished at the discretion of Genl Jackson we are to be put in to the other Artillery companies of the Army. By this I am seperated from all my friends mess mates & every thing else. But they are turning every thing up side down here turning Artillery into infantry & vice versa. The whole army seems very much dissatisfied, & they [sic] are a good many desertions among the militia & the valley men who refuse to leave their homes behind them. But you can't expect any thing else from volunteers they want to have every thing their own way. I am going to try every thing I can to get in the R A & if I ca'nt I will do what I am told my time is out I must bid you good night.

love to all. The $10 was received with the thanks of your aff son

Robt E Lee