Staunton May 24th 1856
My dearest Papa,
Annie has written to you and I cannot let the letter depart without enclosing one from myself. We wrote to you some time ago just after receiving the letter you mailed upon your departure from San Antonio, but I fear it has never reached you, it is so far & there are so many delays &c I suppose it must have been lost.
I confess I have little to tell you, our only thought, our own talk, is, I may say, entirely about our going home!
We will not be here at the farthest more than a month, scarcely that, but time creeps now it never seemed so long! I expect you think, dear Papa I will never learn to be moderate, or in fact do as I ought indeed I think so but oh! I am so tired, I want to see Ma & Grandpa & all so much, it is so hot we can’t study, so I can not help thinking and talking only of home. But I must not complain any more nor write you, such a doleful letter your condition is far worse than mine, I know my own Papa without even a prospect of coming for a long time. I so very often think of you and want to know what you are doing, if you are happy or feel lonely, & try to picture to myself your dwelling; you must tell me all about it so I can know if you are comfortable. Is the whole regiment with you? I wish I was with you perhaps I would be some comfort or pleasure to you & repay in some small measure all that you have done and been to me! I little valued the blessing of our being all united at West Point now it seems to me we are so separated and so far apart. Ma says Custis has not the slightest expectation of being home this summer. I am so disappointed. I had so often thought of having him at least with us. So we who are the most fortunate grumble the most. I am going to stop now, but I have not quite recovered from chills I had the first of the week & Annie is still sick, so it makes me sad & unhappy.
We are going (at least Mary and Ada & I) to spend the evening with Cousin Ann Berkely. I like her very much she is very kind & sweet she allways desires her love or remembrance to you when we write. We have only spent the day out once at Mr Kinney’s who has a little grand-daughter from Washington staying with him, going to school here. I say little for she is much smaller than I am but she is fifteen or sixteen. Perhaps you know we are going to have what they a call a grand “Exhibition” the night before we leave. Annie and I both have to play as well as Ada Stuart. You can’t tell how frightened I am for I never can play before any one much less so many persons as will be here. But I hope for the best and shall try for my parents and teachers sake to succeed. Mr. Wheat took as many of the girls as wanted to go to the Blind, & Dumb Asylum last Saturday. It was very interesting to see those poor blind & deaf children being instructed some were remarkably smart. One little blind girl read just as well as I do & she was only eleven. Some of the deaf & dumb had painted some beautiful flowers & the blind sung & played very sweetly. We have taken many long walks with Mr. W., in some of which I was unable to join him because I was sick, but the others I enjoyed very much though I found I was much sooner fatigued than when we used to walk on those fine old mountains at W.P. I must now stop dearest Papa I hope this letter will reach you. Write very soon to us. And remember you are ever in the thoughts of your own devoted daughter
The girls send much love
Source: Lee Family Papers, Section 9, Mss1 L51c 158, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 April 13