• The Lees of Virginia
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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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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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Lee Family Digital Archive

Camp Cooper, Texas

4 Aug 1856

 

I had hoped my dearest Mary to have heard from you before this, but nothing has Come to hand Since your letter of the 29th June (no 1, new Series) which I acknowledged on the 28th Ulto: At the date of your letter, you were still on your bed, & I have been anxiously expecting another, stating your release. I trust it has taken place long before this & that you, your father & the children, are in Some healthy region. At this distance I can do nothing for you, but pray to our heavenly father for your preservation & Comfort, into whose hands I trust you & all that belongs to me with that faith & Confidence, which is my only Consolation.

I inclosed in my letter of the 28th my check of that date, to your order, on the Br Farmers Bank of Virga. Alexa., for $400.00, which I now mention lest it should have miscarried, that you may stop its payment at Bank. As you state that he desires to return to Cambridge. I now enclose my check of this date on the Br Farmers bank of Virga. Alexa. for $200.00 to your order, which if he determines on returning, you Can no doubt yet Mr Mackey to pay by a check to his order on New York, & give him. In that event, just endorse the check, & let him take it into Alexa. & get the matter arranged. You may possibly have to pay one dollar or so, for difference of exchange. Should he on the Contrary determine on going to the Virginia University, Virginia funds will answer. I make the check payable to your order, as he may possibly have left before it reaches Arlington. I wrote to him by the last opportunity, giving my views as to his future course & him the option of either finishing his Collegiate Studies at Cambridge, the Virga. University or giving it up altogether. Although anxious & ambitious for his improvement, education & success & usefulness in life, I have no desire, for his nominal standing, when he wants the real. It is the Substance, not the show I desire for him. If he Cannot, or will not attain the former, I wish him to abandon the chase of the latter. He has to make his head in the world, for I cannot aid him always & must therefore make up his mind as to the means of attaining it. All I Can do for him, he Can rely on. It is time he began to think of Something else besides running about amusing himself, & I wish him to do so at once.

I am very glad to hear that Wm & Rose are doing So well. When you write you must express the pleasure I experienced at their success & hope they are Satisfied that they adopted the wisest Course to ensure it. I wrote on the 28th to your father relative to Mr Nelsons accts: & telling him of Mr Winstons offer to undertake the management of his Estates & the terms. ($500.00 per annum, & expenses in attending to Sales &c) all of which I repeat, lest the letter may have failed to reach him. I hope he Continues well & enjoyed his usual celebration of the 4 July. Mine was spent after a march of 30 miles on one of the branches of the Brazos, under my blanket elevated on four sticks driven in the ground as a sun shade. The Sun was fiery hot, the atmosphere like the blast from a hot air furnace, the water salt. Still my feelings for my Country were as ardent, my faith in her future as true, & my hopes for her advancement as unabated, as if put under more propitious Circumstances. The weather Still Continues hot & dry.

There seems to be no prospect of rain, the grass is parched & our hopes for a few cabbage plants & wasting ears, have passed away. We must bear it. The worst is the Clear fork  no longer deserves its title & is Converted into fetid stagnant pools. We however enjoy good health, have plenty of bread & meat & have great Cause for gratitude & thankfulness. Col. Mansfield, the Inspr. Genl., arrived here on a tour of inspection last thursday. I pitched him a tent by the side of mine & set him a plate at my table. He is a capital officer & a good man, & I have enjoyed much pleasure in his society. You may recollect, he was formerly in the Engineers. He leaves me this morg. for Belknap, & thence to the States. I have been So much occupied with him, exhibiting the state of instruction of the Command, Condition of affairs &c, that I have been unable to do much else, than keep along with my official matters. I will endeavor to write to Mary, but must postpone the pleasure of doing the same to Anne & Agnes, till another opportunity. As regards Mr R_____i[1] tell Alice, I will have no Control over his movements. I have recd. orders to Send his Compy. to the Sabinal, nearer the Rio Grande, which will also bring him, nearer San Antonio. I will despatch the Compns in a day or two & he will then be beyond my command. She must recollect what Mrs Stiles says, “Young people are really sometimes very queer”. Ella I suppose thinks she has as good a right as others to do queer things & to make herself as miserable as she chooses. A life in the cavalry will be a hard one. I hope if she chooses it, it will be to her at least a pleasant one. Mr. R_____ continues to send his respects. You must give much love to your father, all the children & all friends. God bless you all.

Truly & sincerely yours

R E Lee

 


[1] Charles (Carol) Radziminski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1805. He took part in the Polish revolt in the 1830s and was given the opportunity to emigrate to the United States than face punishment in his home country. He settled in Washington, D.C., and became a civil engineer with the James River Kanawha Canal Company in Richmond. On 1847 March 8 he became a second lieutenant, appointed in Louisiana. He later joined the regiment of Dragoons. After the Mexican War, he continued his work as an engineer and surveyor, In May 1851, he went to San Antonio, where he surveyed the new U.S.-Mexico boundary. In 1855 he became a first lieutenant in the Second Cavalry Regiment, which was commanded by Albert Sidney Johnston and which had Robert E. Lee as second in command. In March 1856, Lee and Radziminski traveled together from San Antonio to Camp Cooper in north central Texas. Radziminski contracted tuberculosis and died on 1858 August 18 in Memphis and was buried there five days later. For more information, see Stanley F. Radzyminski’s article in Chronicles of Oklahoma, Volume 38 (winter 1960-1961), 354-368.

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