• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

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Galveston, Tex., Sept. 22 [undated, but ca. late 1860s]

 

[Editor’s note] Before leaving San Antonio I called on John Twohig,[1] the Irish-American banker, who was born in Cork nearly seventy years ago an[d] who still retains, despite of fast-crowding age, the strength and virility of manhood’s prime[.] Around his table sat the most famous men of this and the last generation—soldiers and statesman, orators and poets. He has known the victor of San Jacinto and the hero of Buena Vista. Lee and Longstreet, Magruder and Thomas, Joseph E. Johnston and fighting Phil Kearney—the paladins of the north and of the south have shared his hospitality and have honored his character. He has bundles of letters, from those celebrated men, and among them the valedictory of Robt. E. Lee, when that immortal soldier, then colonel of second cavalry, bade farewell to San Antonio a few days after “the Lone Star State” voted herself out of the constellation of the union. The document has never been published and is as follows:

 

At Mrs. Southerland’s, Feb., 19 ’61

 

My Dear Mr. Twohig: I stopped at your door this morning to bid you farewell, but felt unwilling to renew the pain I felt last eveuing [sic]. I will, therefore, at this distance, say adieu to you, Mrs. Twohig and Miss Kate, and wish you all every happiness and prosperity. I desire also to thank you for your kindness in taking care of my animals, and ask you to sell the horse at once, for I fear he will give you trouble, unless you think he may be of some service to you. Of the rest take what you wish, and dispose of what you may not require, when convenient. Give the good mother of the orphans a “sheep horse” (the mother so pronounced the word cheap being a foreigner), pay all charges, and, if there is any balance, remit to me at Washington City. I do not think I made any definite request of Mr. Vance to send some furniture I left at his store to the auctioneer for sale, Will you remedy my neglect when you see him? And now having closed my business, I will say how sad I felt to-day, under the circumstances, at leaving San Antonio, especially as I am unable to see a single good that will result from the step taken by the state; but, as it has been permitted by a kind Providence, I hope it will eventuate in her ultimate benefit.

Again, farewell. Remember me to Major Larkin [Smith].

 

Very truly yours,

 

R E Lee

 

Source: Newspaper clipping, vertical files, DuPont Library, Stratford Hall

 

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 December 30



[1] As the article notes, Twohig (1806-1891) was born in Cork, Ireland. He moved to the United States and began a mercantile business in San Antonio in 1830. He served in the war for Texas independence, including the siege of Bexar in 1835. In 1842, during the invasion led by the forces of Adrian Woll, the French-Mexican general, Twohig blew up his store rather than let it fall into the hands of the enemy. Twohig was captured during the invasion and was sent to a Mexican prison, from which he escaped. He returned to San Antonio, became a banker, and lived there until his death in 1891.

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