Camp Cooper, Texas 28 July 1856
I have just returned dearest Mary from my expedition into the Comanche Country & recd your letters of the 15th 18th 22nd & 29th June. One from Mary (Marys recd on way out) & Fitzhugh Since their return to Arlington, one from Anne & Agnes while at Staunton, one from Robt & Mildred, Fitzhughs Since his return from Cedar Grove, & one from Custis of 13 pages. I am obliged for the present to acknowledge them thus Collectively, but each will receive a more Careful perusal & proper attention at Some future time. During my absence many things have accumulated requiring immediate action & it will be as much as I can do to prepare the public matter to go by the present Courier. I have been much grieved to learn of your Sufferings from rheumatism & am Sorry that you were not released from your room when you last wrote. I hope long ere this reaches you you will have been well again.
I much regret also Fitzhughs sickness & the necessity it was considered to impose on him to leave his College. I hope it was all right & may be for the best. It has broken into one of the best years of his education, from which I hoped much & in which he Seemed to be improving. Bilious fever Seems to be a strange disease for the latitude of Cambridge. I fear it was produced by his visit to A[rlington] & vicinity last Summer, & there Seems to be a fair prospect of its being repeated this.
I am quite uneasy about you all now. I can scarcely, hope that you will escape the Autumnal fevers, which in time will wear you all down, & in addition I have feared that the virulent fever that devastated Norfolk & Portsmouth last Summer & which has been travelling North for Some years, may this Summer ascend the waters of the Chesapeake & possibly reach Washington.
It would have been much better for you to have gone to Staunton for the Summer with the little children & Staid with the girls at Some farm house, than to have brought them to A_____ It is however too late now for me to advise. I send my check of this date on the Farmers Bank of Virga. Alexa. to your order for $400, which you may require if you go anywhere, & if not will be wanting for other purposes, the tuition of the Children &c.
I have sent Mr. Mackey an order for my July dividends, which he no doubt will have recd by the time you present this Check. I have never yet heard whether you recd. the money for the Check last Sent you from San Antonio, 17 March, when you first presented it the interest on the Kenawha bonds had not been paid. Have you ever got the whole amt:? Let me know, & what it was.
I have written to your father telling him of Mr Winston offer to take charge of his Estates on the Pamunkey for $500 per annum & his necessary expenses in Selling the Crops &c. It is the same he has been paying Mr Nelson & his other managers. Mr W—has a high character for probity & attention to business & at this distance I know nothing he Can do better than to engage him. He is an expert penman & man of accounts, Can take an inventory of all the property there, which Can be verified by the overseers on each place, & at the proper time, release Mr Nelson from the charge. Or I might get Wms Wickham to assist him, provided your father does not appoint Some other person. Chas. Calvert & Washn. Peter, might attend to it.
You must let me know how many Coupons you, deposit to my credit in the Bank of the Metropolis & the exact amt: deposited by Marshall. I wish to add enough to his, to invest in a State Bond, so as to keep up the regular amt: of interest.
I had a long trip, 40 days, & traversed by the separate Columns 1600 miles of country. The main Column, which I accompd. traversed 800 & we visited the Hdquarters of the Wichita, & Brazos rivers. The Double Mts: & all the branches of Double Mt: fork & in five separate Columns, on our return, swept down the vallies of the Concho, the Colorado & the Red Fork to the SanSaba County & Pecan Bayou. We Could find no indians & all the traces of them were old. The Country had been fired in many places. In some it was still burning, & abandoned. At this season of the year they are generally north of the Arkansas, hunting Buffalo. We came up with a small party, 4 men & one woman, whom we had traced for nearly 200 miles. The men were killed & woman captured by the advance. Their horses, 13 in number, & all their property were taken. The woman I have sent to the tribe below me where her father resides. These were the only indians seen. The weather was intensely hot & as we had no tents had the full benefit of the sun. The men were generally healthy. The water was scarce, & bad—Salt, sweet, bitter & barkish [sic]. I enjoyed good health. I find on my return some changes. Three of the comps now here have to be removed. Among them is Mr. Radziminski, who goes over towards the Rio Grande but nearer San Antonio, which he will like. Three other companies are to take their places. Two of them are to be Infantry which have arrived. Mr Dick belongs to one. Give much love to everybody. God bless you.
R E Lee
Source: Lee Family Papers, Section 9, Mss1 L51c 158, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 April 14
 Williams Carter Wickham (1820-1888) was a lawyer, judge, and politician, who served in the Confederate army during the Civil War.