Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Yet all must be endured ..."

This letter was written by Robert E. Lee to his daughter, on Christmas Day 1861, from his military headquarters south of Charleston, South Carolina.

“My Dear Daughter:

“Having distributed such poor Christmas gifts as I had to those around me, I have been looking for something for you … I have sent you what I thought most useful in your separation from me and hope it will be of some service. Yet how little it will purchase! … I send you some sweet violets that I gathered for you this morning while covered with dense white frost, whose crystals glittered in the bright sun like diamonds, and formed a brooch of rare beauty and sweetness which could not be fabricated by the expenditure of a world of money.

“May God guard and preserve you for me, my dear daughter! Among the calamities of war, the hardest to bear, perhaps, is the separation of families and friends. Yet all must be endured to accomplish our independence and maintain self-government. Your old home, if not destroyed by our enemies, has been so desecrated that I cannot bear to think of it.

“I pray for a better spirit and that the hearts of our enemies may be changed. In your homeless condition I hope you make yourself contented and useful. Occupy yourself in aiding those more helpless than yourself. Think always of your father.

R.E. Lee”

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