5 Nov 1861
My dear Mary
I recd. last night your letter of the 2nd & would have ansd. it at once but was detained with the Secr till after 11 P.M. I fear now I may miss the mail. Saturday evg I tried to put down to you to Spend Sunday but Could find no Govt boat going down & the Passenger boats all go in the Morg. I then went to the stable & got out my house, but it was near night then & I was ignorant both of the road & distance & I gave it up. I was obliged to be here Monday & as it would have Consumed all Sunday to go & Come I have remained for better times. The Pres: said I Could not go to day, so I must see what Can be due tomorrow.
I will come however wherever you are, either Shirley or the W.H. [White House] as soon as possible, & if not Sooner, Saturday at all events. If you wish to Come to R____[Richmond] Come to Spottswood. That is the only place I Can see you & there but rarely as I am occupied all the time & in illustration I Commenced my letter to you the first thing this morning & now at 1 P.M. I have progressed thus far.
I am glad to hear you are well & the baby better.
I have sent the letter to F_____[Fitzhugh]. Custis is still in N.C. I have not got the letter enclosed to him. Hoping to See you very soon with much love to C.[harlotte] & all at S____[Shirley].
I am as ever
R E Lee
Source: Mss 1 L51c 321, Section 16, Lee Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 August 25