West Point 11 May 1853
My dear Mr Bonaparte
I am too sorry that your kind intentions of visiting us at the Point should have been frustrated just on the point of execution. I should have been particularly glad to have seen you, & I want much to hear of Mrs B— & all in Baltimore. So she has determined to go to the W.S. I see that W.P. is retrograding fast in her affections. The sooner I get away from it then the better. I wish I could go the W.S. with you. My health is failing fast, & if I could get hold of a Dr sensible enough to see it, she might have other of her Army friends with her this Summer, besides Col P— & Campbell G—
I cannot help regretting the decision of the Secy in reference to Jeromes transfer, though think that he himself will thank him for it. I have always supposed, perhaps erroneously, that his consent to enter the ordnance, was caused by his desire to gratify your & his mothers wishes, but that his own predilections were against it. I therefore could not enter into the matter with my whole heart. As it is decided however, we must all be reconciled, & believe that it will eventuate for the best. His present service will be more agreable to him & his promotion more rapid. He used to say to me in his modest way, that he thought he would make a very poor ordnance officer & a tolerable dragoon. I delayed replying to your preceding letter in the hope of seeing Genl Smith during his visit at New York. About the time I heard of his return to Washington, I was much occupied with my own & Mrs Ls distress at the death of her mother & the consequent events. Lt Huse went on to W— last friday to see if he could accomplish a transfer to the ordnance. I presume he had heard of the Secs decision in Jeromes case, though I do not know, as he said nothing to me of the object of his visit. I concur with you in hoping that Genl Scott may be gratified in the appointment of the new Inspector Genl. If the Pres: had have taken the appointment in his own hands, I believe he would, but I consider it now very doubtful. Col Scott is an excellent man & good officer, & though there are men in the Army who may be considered as having greater claims, I think that all would be willing, as a personal gratification to the Genl, that he should get it. I have heard men named for the office, whom I do not think so deserving as he, or who would fill it so well. Remember me to the Judge & Mrs M. when you have an opportunity. What will Mrs B do after the departure of Dr & Mrs Hoffman? I have no prospect of seeing either of you until you return from the W.S. Cannot you not bring her on here then? She will want to get the fashions of New York for herself & Charlie. You must fulfill your promise at all events. One of your citizens, Miss Gittings, left us yesterday, & two arrived, Capt & Mrs Chiffelle. We are getting on as usual. The Examn is close at hand, bringing pleasing anticipation to many. I hope all will be realized. Mrs L. is still with her father, who has had an attack of Pneumonia, but is pronounced better. I do not know when she will return. I am glad you get such gratifying letters from Jerome. Remember me to him when you write. Give my best love to Mrs B— & kind regards to Mrs W. Very truly yours
R E Lee
Sourece: Bonaparte Papers Maryland Historical Society, printed, William D. Hoyt, Jr., ed., “Some Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, 1850–1858,” The Journal of Southern History, 12 (November 1946), pp. 564–65.
Uploaded by Colin Woodward, 2015 December 23