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On July 21st occurred the battle of Manassas. In a letter to my motherwritten on the 27th, my father says:
"...That indeed was a glorious victory and has lightened the pressureupon our front amazingly. Do not grieve for the brave dead. Sorrowfor those they left behind--friends, relatives, and families. Theformer are at rest. The latter must suffer. The battle will berepeated there in greater force. I hope God will again smile on usand strengthen our hearts and arms. I wished to partake in the formerstruggle, and am mortified at my absence, but the President thoughtit more important I should be here. I could not have done as well ashas been done, but I could have helped, and taken part in the strugglefor my home and neighbourhood. So the work is done I care not by whomit is done. I leave to-morrow for the Northwest Army. I wished togo before, as I wrote you, and was all prepared, but the indicationswere so evident of the coming battle, and in the uncertainty of theresult, the President forbade my departure. Now it is necessary andhe consents. I cannot say for how long, but will write you.... Iinclose you a letter from Markie [Miss Martha Custis Williams--secondcousin of my mother, afterward Mrs. Admiral Carter, U.S.N.]. Writeto her if you can and thank her for her letter to me. I have nottime. My whole time is occupied, and all my thoughts and strengthare given to the cause to which my life, be it long or short, will bedevoted. Tell her not to mind the reports she sees in the papers.They are made to injure and occasion distrust. Those that know mewill not believe them. Those that do not will not care for them. Ilaugh at them. Give love to all, and for yourself accept the constantprayers and love of truly yours,
"R. E. Lee."