Chapter XVIV

 

This Site:

Civil War

Civil War Overview

Civil War 1861

Civil War 1862

Civil War 1863

Civil War 1864

Civil War 1865

Civil War Battles

Confederate Generals

Union Generals

Confederate History

Robert E. Lee

Civil War Medicine

Lincoln Assassination

Slavery

Site Search

Civil War Links

 

Civil War Art

Revolutionary War

Mexican War

Republic of Texas

Indians

Winslow Homer

Thomas Nast

Mathew Brady

Western Art

Civil War Gifts

Robert E. Lee Portrait

  Up | Chapter I | Chapter II | Chapter III | Chapter IV | Chapter V | Chapter VI | Chapter VII | Chapter VIII | Chapter IX | Chapter X | Chapter XI | Chapter XII | Chapter XIII | Chapter XIV | Chapter XV | Chapter XVI | Chapter XVII | Chapter XVIII | Chapter XVIV | Chapter XX | Chapter XXI | Chapter XXII | Chapter XXIII | Chapter XXIV

Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee
by Captain Robert E. Lee, His Son

Chapter XIX
Lee's Letters to His Sons


The building of Robert's house--The General as a railroad delegate--
Lionised in Baltimore--Calls on President Grant--Visits Alexandria--
Declines to be interviewed--Interested in his grandson--The Washington
portraits

My father, being very anxious that I should build a good house on my
farm, had agreed to supply the necessary means, and was interested
in my plans and estimates.  In a letter of February 18th, after a
long and full explanation of the arrangements for the purchase of
Smith's Island by Fitzhugh and myself, he writes:

"...I am glad that you are considering the construction of your house
and taking steps in the matter.  Let me know how you advance, the
amount of its cost, etc., and when I can help you....  The fine
weather we have had this winter must have enabled you to advance in
your farm work and put you ahead in that, so you will come out square,
I hope.  We are as usual, your poor mother about the same, the girls
well, and I tolerable.  All unite in much love.

                      "Truly and affectionately,

                                      "R. E. Lee."

A week later he writes to me on the same subject:

                           "Lexington, Virginia, February 27, 1869.

"My Dear Son:  I am glad you have obtained a good pair of oxen.  Try
to get another pair to work with them.  I will make good the deficit
in my contribution.  Your fences will be a great advantage to you,
and I am delighted at the good appearance of your wheat.  I hope it
will continue to maturity.  It is very probable, as you say, however,
that it may fail in the grain.  Should you find it so, would it not
be well next year to experiment with phosphates?  That must be the
quality the land lacks.  Have you yet heard from Mr. West about your
house?  What are the estimates?  Let me know.  The difficulty I fear
now will be that the burning of the bricks may draw you away from
your crops.  You must try not to neglect them.  What would the bricks
cost if purchased?  Ask F--- to cut the lumber for you.  I will furnish
the funds to pay for it.  I hope the break in the mill will not prove
serious, and that you may be able to make up your delay in plowing
occasioned by the necessary hauling.  I am very glad to hear that you
and F--- can visit each other so easily.  It will be advantageous to
communicate with each other, as well as a pleasure.  I suppose Tabb
has not returned to the White House yet.  I am delighted to hear that
she and her boy are so well.  They will make everything on the Pamunkey
shine.  We are all as usual.

"General Breckenridge [General John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky,
ex-secretary of War of the Confederate South, had two sons at Washington
College at this time.  One of them was since United States Minister
a the Court of St. Petersburg.] is on a visit to his sons and has
been with us to-day.  He will return to Baltimore Monday.  He looks
well, seems cheerful, and talks hopefully.  All unite in love to you,
and your acquaintances inquire regularly after you.  I think of you
very often, and wish I were nearer and could assist you.  Custis is
in better health this winter than he has been, and seems content,
though his sisters look after him very closely.  I have no news and
never have.  General B--- saw Fitzhugh Lee in Alexandria.  He told him
he was a great farmer now, and when he was away, his father, who had
now taken to the land, showed uncommon signs of management.  Good-bye,
my dear son.  May you enjoy every happiness prays your affectionate
father,

          "R. E. Lee.

"Robert E. Lee, Jr."

The completion of the railroad from the "White House" to "West Point"
made communication between Fitzhugh and myself very easy.  On February
11th, my father had become the proud and happy possessor of a grandson,
which event gave him great joy.  Mr. West, an architect of Richmond,
had drawn me up plans and estimates for a house.  My father had also
sent me a plan drawn by himself.  These plans I had submitted to
several builders and sent their bids to him to examine and consider.
In the following letter, he gives me his opinion:

                              "Lexington, Virginia, March 21, 1869.

"My Dear Rob:  I have received your two letters of the 3d and 9th
insts., and would have answered the former before, but had written
a few days before its date, and as our letters had been crossing each
other, I determined to let them get right.

"First, as to Smith's Island, I merely want to fulfil the conditions
of the sale as prescribed in the published notice.  I should have
required them of any other purchasers, and must require them of you....

"Now as for the house:  The estimates of your bidders are higher
than I anticipated, and I think too high by at least $1,000.  You
see, there is about $1,000 difference between the highest and lowest
of their offers you sent me.  What does F--- say about it?  I am
confident that the could build that house here for but little over
$2,000, including materials, and I could to it there, if I could get
two good workmen.  But you are unaccustomed to building, and I would
not advise you to undertake it, unless you could engage a proper
foreman.  If, therefore, I were in your place, I should reject all
the offers, unless the one you had not received when you wrote suited
better.  I would not, however, give up my house, but procure the
bricks either by purchase or by making them on the ground, as was
most advantageous, and the shingles in the same way, and get all the
lumber and flooring prepared.  While preparing the necessary materials,
I would see the builder that made the lowest offer, or any other that
I preferred, and get him to revise his estimate and cut it down, leaving
him a margin for profit; and when satisfied with his offer, accept
it and set him to work.

"Now as for the means:  I understood when you were here that you could
manage the materials--that is, make arrangements for procuring the
bricks, lumber, shingles, and flooring.  Indeed, you might also get
the lime and sand cheaper, perhaps, than the builder, and make a
deduction on his bill.  I can let you have funds to pay your contractor.
If I did not understand you rightly--that is, if you cannot procure
the materials, I can help you in them too.  In fact, if you desire so
much, I can let you have the whole amount, $3,500.  you can have the
use of it without interest, and return it to me when I require it, or
sooner if you are able, as I take it from the fund I was saving for
a homestead for your mother.  At present, I cannot use it, and it is
of no advantage to me, except its possession.  Will that suit you?
If it does not, let me know what will, and you shall have that, too.
You must feel that it gives me pleasure to do anything I can for you,
and if I had only myself to consider, you should have it
unconditionally, but I must consider one person above all.  I want you
to do, therefore just as you prefer.  I want you to have the comfort
of a house, but I do not wish to force one upon you, against your
will or against your judgement.  I merely wish you to feel that you
can procure one without inconveniencing me.  The only hesitation I
have on the subject is that I think you ought to get a better house
for $3,500 than I fear you will get.  The house according to the first
plan, in my opinion, ought not to cost more than that sum.  But if
you think the estimate is a fair one, and are satisfied, accept it
and set to work.  But consult Fitzhugh, and let me know when you want
the money, and in what sums.  Now that is plain, I hope, so keep this
letter for reference, as I have not time to take a copy.

"We are all pretty well.  Your mother has been troubled by a cold, but
is over it I hope.  The girls are well, and have as many opinions with
as few acts as ever; and Custis is so-so.  We have had accounts of
Lawrence Butler's wedding, and all were as gay as a flock of snow-birds.
They regretted your absence.  I will ask your mother to send you
reports.  I am tolerable and wish I could get down to see you.  I had
hoped to go down this spring, but I fear the dilatoriness of the
workmen in finishing the house, and the necessity of my attending to
it, getting the ground inclosed and preparing the garden, will prevent
me.  I shall also have to superintend the moving.  In fact, it never
seems convenient for me to go away.  Give much love to F---, my daughter
Tabb, and grandson.  I wonder what he will think of his grandpa.  All
unite in love, and I am, as always,

                      "Your affectionate father,  R. E. Lee.

"Robert E. Lee, Jr."

In April, there are two letters written on the same day, to each of
his sons, Fitzhugh and myself.  I had determined for many reasons to
postpone building my house for the present, which decision my father
regrets.  In the matter of Smith's Island, the arrangements proposed
by my brother and myself for its purchase was agreed to by him:

                             "Lexington, Virginia, April 17, 1869.

"My Dear Rob:  I have written to Fitzhugh, informing him of my agreement
to al the propositions in your joint letter, which I hope will be
satisfactory to you.  You can read my letter to him, so I will not
repeat.  I am sorry that you have concluded not to build, but if, in
your judgment that is the best course, I must be content.  I do not
wish you to hamper yourself with obligations, but to my mind building
in the way proposed would not be onerous to you and would have given
you the use of a house some years prior to the time that you may be
able to erect one, and thus have added to your comfort, health, and
probable ability to increase your resources from your farm.  But I
hoe you have decided wisely, and should circumstances occur to cause
you to change your views, you must not fail to let me know; for I
shall at all times stand ready to help you to the extent of my ability,
which I am now obliged to husband, lest I may become a burden to others.
I am very glad to learn that your farm is promising better in the
second cultivation of the fields, and feel assured that if treated
judiciously it will recover its fertility and be remunerative.  If you
can perceive that you are progressing, though with a slow and regular
step, you have cause for congratulation and encouragement; for there
are many, I am sorry to say, that are worse off now than when they
commenced at the end of the war, and have to begin again.  Industry
with economy must prevail in the end.  There seems to be a necessity
for my going to Baltimore next Tuesday, but I feel so poorly now that
I do not know that I shall be able.  If I do go, it will interfere
materially with my proposed visit to you and Fitzhugh this spring,
and I fear will put an end to it.  I shall be obliged to spend some
days in Alexandria on my return, and could not then delay my return
here.  I hope to see you both some time this summer, and, if I cannot
get to you, you must come to me.  I have been confined to this house
for more than a week with a bad cold, the effects of which still cling
to me, and thought I am better this morning, I am suffering.  Your
mother, too, I am sorry to say, has been suffering from the same cause,
and has had to resort to medicine, as well as myself.  You know that
is bad for old people.  Agnes has not been well, but Mildred is herself,
and surrounded by her two fresh broods of kittens she would not call
the king her uncle...God bless you, my dear son, prays

                "Your affectionate father,     R. E. Lee.

"R. E. Lee, Jr."

The letter to his son Fitzhugh is mostly upon business, but some of
it relates to more interesting matters:

                              "Lexington, Virginia, April 17, 1869.

"My Dear Fitzhugh:  I expect to go to Baltimore next Tuesday, if well
enough.  The Valley Railroad Company are very anxious for me to
accompany their delegation to that city with a view of obtaining
from the mayor or council a subscription for their road, and, though
I believe I can be of no service to them, they have made such a point
of it that it would look ill-mannered and unkind to refuse.  I wish
I could promise myself the pleasure of returning by the 'White House,'
but I cannot.  If I go to Baltimore, I must take time to pay certain
visits and must stop a while in Alexandria.  I shall, therefore, from
there be obliged to return here.  If I could stop there on my way
to Baltimore, which I cannot for want of time, I would then return
by the 'White House.'  I shall hope, however, to see you and Rob
during the summer, if I have to go down immediately after commencement.
But it is so inconvenient for me to leave home now that I cannot say....
Poor little Agnes also has been visited by Doctor Barton of late,
but she is on the mend.  'Life' holds her own.  Both of her cats have
fresh broods of kittens, and the world wags cheerily with her.  Custis
is well, and Mary is still in New York, and all unite with me in
much love to you and my daughter Tabb and my grandson.  I hope the
latter has not formed the acquaintance of his father in the same
manner as Warrington Carter's child.

                      "Your affectionate father,   R. E. Lee.

"General Wm. H. Fitzhugh Lee."

In order to induce the city of Baltimore to aid them in building their
railroad from Staunton to Salem, the Valley Railroad Company got
together a large delegation from the counties through which it was
proposed the line should pass, and sent it to that city to lay the
plans before the mayor and council and request assistance.  Among
those selected from Rockbridge County was General Lee.  Lexington at
this time was one of the most inaccessible points in Virginia.  Fifty
miles of canal, or twenty-three of staging over a rough mountain road,
were the only routes in existence.  The one from Lynchburg consumed
twelve hours, the other, from Goshen (a station on the Chesapeake &
Ohio Railroad), from seven to eleven.  On one occasion, a gentleman
during his first visit to Lexington called on General Lee and on bidding
him good-bye asked him the best way to get back to Washington.

"It makes but little difference," replied the General, "for whichever
route you select, you will wish you had taken the other."

It was, therefore, the desire of all interested in the welfare of the
two institutions of learning located in Lexington that this road should
be built.  My father's previous habits of life, his nature and his
tastes made him averse to engaging in affairs of this character; but
because of the great advantage tot he college, should it be carried
through, and a the earnest request of many friends of his and of the
road, he consented to act.  General John Echols, from Staunton, Colonel
Pendleton, from Buchanan, Judge McLaughlin, from Lexington, were amongst
those who went with him.  While in Baltimore he stayed at the house of
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Tagart, whom he had met several summers at the
White Sulphur Springs.

The delegation was invited to the floor of the Corn and Flour Exchange,
to meet the business men of the city.  My father, for the same reasons
given above, earnestly desired to be excused from this part of the
programme, and asked some of his friends to see Mr. John W. Garrett,
the president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, who had the delegation
in charge, and try to have it so arranged.  Mr. Garrett, however, was
very positive.

"General Lee is a most interesting man; I think he had better come,"
was the message brought back to him.

As he appeared on the floor, which was filled with a great crowd,
he was greeted with deafening cheers, and was soon surrounded by the
thousands who had assembled there to see him.  Everywhere that he
appeared in the city he received an ovation.  Sunday intervening,
he attended services in the morning at St. Paul's church on Charles
Street.  When it became known that General Lee was there, large
numbers collected to see him come out, waiting patiently and quietly
until the congregation was dismissed.  As he appeared at the door,
all heads were uncovered and kept so until he had passed through
the long lines extending down the street.

A reception was given by Mr. Tagart in his honour.  There his friends
crowded to see him, and the greatest affection and deference were
shown him.  He had lived in Baltimore about twenty years before this
time, and many of his old friends were still there; besides, Baltimore
had sent to the Army of Northern Virginia a large body of her noble
sons, who were only too glad to greet once more their former commander.
That he was still "a prisoner on parole," disfranchised from all
civil rights, made their love for him stronger and their welcome
the more hearty.  On his return to Lexington, he was asked how he
enjoyed his visit.  With a sad smile, he said:

"Very much; but they would make too much fuss over the old rebel."

A few days after he came home, when one of his daughters remonstrated
with him about the hat he was wearing, he replied:

"You don't like this hat?  Why, I have seen a whole cityful come out
to admire it!"

There is only a short note to my mother that I can find written during
this trip:

                                        "Baltimore, April 27, 1869.

"My Dear Mary:  I am still at Mr. Tagart's, but propose going
to-morrow to Ella's, and thence to Washington's, which will consume
Wednesday and Thursday.  If not obliged to return here, which I cannot
tell till this evening or to-morrow morning, I will then go to
Washington, where I shall be obliged to spend a day or two, and thence
to Alexandria, so I shall not be able to return to Lexington till
the last of next week.  What has become of little Agnes?  I have
seen many of our old friends, of whom I will tell you on my return.
I have bought you a little carriage, the best I could find, which I
hope will enable you to take some pleasant rides.  All send love.
Give mine to Mildred, and Custis, and all friends.  I am just about
starting to Mrs. Baker's.

                       "Truly and affectionately,   R. E. Lee.

"Mrs. M. C. Lee."

The "Ella" mentioned was Mrs. Sam George, of Baltimore, who as a girl
had always been a pet and favourite of my father.  She was a daughter
of his first cousin, Mr. Charles Henry Carter, of "Goodwood,"
Prince George County, Maryland, and a schoolmate of my sister Mary.
Their country place was near Ellicott City.  He went there to see
her, and from there to "Lynwood," near by, the seat of Washington
Peter, my mother's first cousin and an intimate friend of us all

On Saturday, my father, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Tagart, went to
Washington on an early train.  They drove immediately to the Executive
Mansion and called on the President.  This meeting was of no political
significance whatever, but simply a call of courtesy.  It had been
intimated to General Lee that it would be most agreeable to General
Grant to receive him.  Mr. and Mrs. Tagart went with him, and they
met there Mr. Motley, the newly appointed Minister of England.  The
interview lasted about fifteen minutes, and neither General Lee nor
the President spoke a word on political matters.  While in Washington
my father was the guest of Mrs. Kennon, of Tudor Place, Georgetown
Heights.  On Sunday he dined with Mrs. Podestad and her husband, the
Secretary of the Spanish Legation, who were old friends and relatives.

After leaving Washington, he stopped in Alexandria for several days,
as the guest of Mrs. A. M. Fitzhugh.  It was at her country place,
"Ravensworth," about ten miles from town, that his mother had died,
and there, in the old ivy-covered graveyard, she was buried.  Mrs.
Fitzhugh was the wife of my mother's uncle, Mr. William Henry Fitzhugh,
who, having no children, had made my mother his heir.  The intimacy
between "Arlington" and "Ravensworth" was very close.  Since Mr.
Fitzhugh's death, which occurred some thirty years prior to this
time, my father and mother and their children had been thrown a great
deal with his widow, and "Aunt Maria," as we called her, became almost
a member of the family.  She had the greatest love and admiration for
"Robert," sought his advice in the management of her estate, and trusted
him implicitly.  His brother, Admiral Sidney Smith lee, came up from
"Richland," his home on the Potomac near Acquia Creek, to meet him,
and he found at Mrs. Fitzhugh's "Aunt Nannie" [Mrs. S. S. Lee] and
her son Fitz. Lee.  This was the first time they had met each other
since their parting in Richmond just after the war.

On his arrival in Alexandria my father had walked up from the wharf
to "Aunt Maria's."  He was recognised by a number of citizens, who
showed him the greatest deference and respect.  So many of his friends
called upon him at Mrs. Fitzhugh's that it was arranged to have a
reception for him at the Mansion House.  For three hours a constant
stream of visitors poured into the parlours.  The reception was the
greatest ovation that any individual had received from the people of
Alexandria since the days of Washington.  The next day, in Bishop
Johns' carriage, he drove out to Seminary Hill to the home of Mr.
Cassius F. Lee, his first cousin, where he spent the night.  In the
afternoon he went to see the bishop and his family--General Cooper
and the Reverend Dr. Packard.  The next morning, with Uncle Smith, he
attended Ascension-Day services at Christ church, and was afterward
entertained at a dinner-party given by Mr. John B. Daingerfield.
Before he left Alexandria he called on Mr. John Janney, who was
president of the Virginia Convention in 1861, when, as Colonel Lee,
he appeared before it and accepted the command of the Virginia forces,
organised and to be organised.

One evening a correspondent of the New York "Herald" paid him a visit
for the purpose of securing an interview.  The General was courteous
and polite, but very firm.  He stood during the interview, and finally
dismissed the reporter, saying:

"I shall be glad to see you as a friend, but request that the visit
may not be made in your professional capacity."

The same correspondent had tried to interview him, for his paper,
while he was in Baltimore, but had failed.

My father was much amused at an occurance that took place during this
visit.  Late one afternoon a visitor was announced.  As the General
was very tired, Uncle Smith Lee volunteered to relieve him.  The
visitor was found to be an Irishwoman, very stout and unprepossessing,
who asked if she could see the General.  The Admiral bowed, intimating
that he was the desired person, when she said:

"My boy was with you in the war, honey, and I must kiss you for his
sake."  And with that she gave the Admiral an embrace and a kiss.
Mr. Cassius Lee, to whom he told this, suggested that he should take
General Fitz. Lee along to put forward in such emergencies.

My father's first letter after his return to Lexington was the
following:

                               "Lexington, Virginia, May 11, 1869.

"My Dear Fitzhugh:  I reached here last Saturday, bringing Agnes and
Miss Peyton with me from Staunton.  Found everybody well and Custis
better.  I had, upon, the whole, a pleasant visit, and was particularly
glad to see again our old friends and neighbours in Alexandria and
vicinity; though should have preferred to enjoy their company in a
more quiet way.  Your Uncle Smith came up to meet me, and your Aunt
Nannie and Fitz. were there.  I had not seen them since I parted
from them in Richmond after the war.  I wish I could have visited
you and Rob and have seen my daughter and grandson; but that pleasure,
I trust, is preserved for a future day.  How is the little fellow?
I was much relieved after parting from you to hear from the doctors
that it was the best time for him to have the whooping-cough, in which
opinion the 'Mim' concurs.  I hope that he is doing well.  Bishop
Whittle will be here Friday next and is invited to stay with us.
There are to be a great many preparatory religious exercises this
week.  A great feeling of religion pervades the young in the
community, especially at the Virginia Military Institute.  All send
love.

            "Your affectionate father,

                               "R. E. Lee."

Since his establishment in Lexington, General Lee had been a member
of the vestry of Grace (Episcopal) church.  At the council of 1868,
which met at Lynchburg, he had been sent as a delegate, and spent
three days there.  This year the council was to meet in Fredericksburg,
and he was again elected to represent his church.  This was a busy
time with him.  The examinations were commencing, his new home was
about ready to move into, and the preparations for the commencement
exercises had to be made; yet he accepted the trust imposed upon him
by his church and took a week out of his valuable time to perform it.
In his next letter to his son, after writing on some Smith's Island
business, he tells him of his proposed journey to Fredericksburg
and of his regret at not being able to visit him as he had intended:

                               "Lexington, Virginia, May 22, 1869.

"My Dear Fitzhugh:  The weather here has been very hard on the corn-
fields, and I hear of many having to be replanted.  The wheat, so far,
is very promising, and I am glad to hear that yours and Rob's is
equally so.  I have been elected by our little church to represent
it at the coming convention, and have concluded to go.  I shall leave
for Fredericksburg Tuesday, June 1st, and shall endeavour while there
to spend a night with your Uncle Smith, the only visit I shall be able
to make him.  It is very inconvenient for me to be absent at this time.
The examination of the senior classes is in progress, and I must hasten
back to attend as many as I can.  The new house is about finished.
The contractors say they will deliver the keys on Monday, the 31st
inst.  I will make arrangements to have it cleaned out during the
week, so as to be able to move in on my return.  The commencement,
a busy time with me, is approaching, and we must try to be prepared.
i shall not, therefore, be able to pay you a visit at this time, but
hope Custis and I will be able to do so after the close of the session.
I met Bishop Whittle at Lynchburg last convention, and was much pleased
with him.  My favourable impressions were much strengthened and
increased by this visit here.

"I am so glad to learn that my little grandson is getting on so well
with his whooping-cough.  You must kiss him and his mother for me.  We
are all about the same.  Your mother is becoming interested in her
painting again, and is employing her brush for the benefit of our
little church, which is very poor.  She yet awhile confines herself
to coloring photographs, and principally to those of General and Mrs.
Washington, which are sold very readily.  The girls are well, and have
Miss Peyton with them still.  Custis, I hope, is better.  He is getting
over some of his confinement with his classes now, which I hope will
be of benefit to him.  Give my love to Robert and tell my daughter
Tabb I long to see her.  All unite with me in affectionate love.  I am,

                    "Truly your father,

                                 "R. E. Lee."

These photographs that were being coloured by my mother were from the
original portraits of General Washington by Peale and of Mrs. Washington
by W---.  These paintings hung at Mt. Vernon until the death of Mrs.
Washington, and were then inherited by my grandfather, Mr. Custis.
They were at "Arlington" till '61, when they were removed to
"Ravensworth," where they remained until the end of the war.  When they
were being sent to Lexington, the boat carrying them on the canal
between Lynchburg and Lexington sank.  These pictures, with many others
belonging to my mother, were very much injured and had to be sent to
a restorer in Baltimore, who made them as good as ever, and they were
finally safely hung in the president's house in Lexington, and are
now in the library of the university.  My mother coloured the
photographs of these originals, and sold a great many, on account of
their association rather than their merit.

There must have been some change of date in my father's plans, for
though he said he would start on June 1st for Fredericksburg, his first
and only letter from there was written on May 28th:

                                     "Fredericksburg, May 28, 1869.

"My Dear Mary:  I reached here Tuesday night, the night after the
morning I left you, about twelve o'clock and found Major Barton at
the depot, who conducted me to his house.  The town seems very full
of strangers, and I have met many acquaintances.  I have seen no one
yet from 'Cedar Grove,' and cannot learn whether any of them are
coming.  They are no doubt in distress there, for you may have heard
of the death of Charles Stuart, on his way from Arkansas.  He died
at Lynchburg of congestive chills.  Harriott Cazenove (his sister)
went on to see him, but he died before her arrival.  Rosalie, I heard,
was at 'Cedar Grove,' Turbeville in Essex.  I have delivered all your
packages but Margaret's.  Cassius Lee and all from the seminary are
here.  Sally came up from Gloucester, and also Mrs. Taliaferro.  But
I must tell you of all occurrences upon my return, and of all whom I
have met.  All friends inquire very particularly and affectionately
after you, particularly your cousin, Mrs. ---, who turns up every day
at all assemblies, corners, and places, with some anxious question
on her mind upon which some mighty--thought to me hidden--importance
depends.  Fitz. Lee arrived to-day, though I have not seen him yet.
If I can accomplish it, I will go to 'Richland' to-morrow, Saturday,
and spend Sunday, and take up my line of march Monday, in which event
I hope to reach Lexington Wednesday morning, or rather Tuesday night,
in the stage from Goshen.  I may not be able to get away from the
council before Monday.  In that case, I shall not arrive before
Wednesday night.  Tell the girls there are quantities of young girls
here and people of all kinds.  I hope that you are all well, and that
everything will be ready to move into our new house upon my arrival.
I am obliged to stop.  I am also so much interrupted and occupied
that, though I have tried to write ever since my arrival, I have
been unable.  Love to all.

                    "Very affectionately,

                                    "R. E. Lee.

"Mrs. R. E. Lee."

"Cedar Grove" was the plantation of Dr. Richard Stuart, in King George
County, some fifty miles from Fredericksburg.  His wife, a Miss Calvert,
of "Riversdale," Maryland, was a near cousin of my mother, had been
her bridesmaid, and the two families had been intimate all their lives.
All the persons mentioned by my father were cousins and friends, several
of them old neighbours from Alexandria and the Theological Seminary
near by.

From Fredericksburg, after the completion of his duties at the council,
he went to "Richland" on the Potomac, near Acquia Creek, where his
brother Smith was then living.  This meeting was a great pleasure to
them both, for two brothers were never more devoted.  This was the
last time they saw one another alive, as Smith died two months afterwards.

 

 

site stats

 

Site Copyright 2003-2014 Son of the South. For Questions or comments about this collection,

contact: paul@sonofthesouth.net

privacy policy

Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.