Indianola, Texas 20th March 1857
I reached here dearest Mary in due time, after a tedious passage in the stage coach with nine fellow sufferers. The Court met this mng & Commenced the preliminaries for the trial of Capt Van Bokkelen. I seem much nearer to you here than in the interior & the broad Sea is spread out before me. I wish I was on my way to you instead of being obliged to retrace my steps, after the adjournment of the Court. But I hope this will find you improving, & that the severity of the Winter may have passed & that your suffering may be diminishing. I stated your Case to Dr McCormick the Senior Surgeon in this Dept, while in San Antonio. He is Considered a very skilful physician, & his patients wherever he has been, have the greatest Confidence & admiration for him. He certainly has the merit of much kindness, & at my request wrote out for you the enclosed prescription. He also made up the pills & sent them by a friend going to Washington to Col Cooper for you. Send & get them. They were forwd by Mr Mechling, who married the daughter of Major Dashiels. Should you still suffer, & not be in a fair way of recovery, I think you had better try his prescription. It will do no harm, if it does no good. The pills are composed of quinine & opium. I took some myself & they will do no harm. Should they not reach you the following will supply their place. “Take at bed time ten grains of quinine & thirty drops of laudanum in a table-spoonful of cold water” & follow the rest of the prescription.
He says you had better get a pound bottle of the acetate of potassa at once, & mix up the solution as you require it. You will in all probability need a pound, & it will be much cheaper than getting it by the ounce. Shew the prescription to Dr Riley or to whoever is attending you, & it will be much cheaper than getting it by the ounce. Shew the prescription to Dr Riley or to whoever is attending you, & get his opinion. If you Commence on it, give it a fair trial. There is more rheumatism in this state than in any other in the country, in consequence of the violent Northers & sudden change of temperature, & I have heard persons say they have experienced great relief from the Drs prescription. I myself have been rheumatic for the last two months, whether from sympathy with you or old age, I Know not, & if the warm weather does not relieve me, I shall go through a course of the Drs prescription myself. My legs are very painful. I have written to Mr Vail, Cashr. to send to you the three Virga bonds he purchased for me last Fall, after cutting off the coupons due last Jany, or to Mr Richd Smith, Cashr of the Bank of the Metropolis, for you, if more convenient. Let me know where you want them. Cut off the July coupons & place the bonds in the Famers Bank Alexa with the others. The July Coupons will increase your travelling fund. I shall send you a check for $200 next steamer. I found here some books on Courts Martial I asked Capt Williams to send me. Thank him for them & tell him to send you the bill, the fine fellow. Major Porter is to be married too, I understand to a Miss Cook, & Mr Perry to a Miss Adams of Augusta, Georgia. Col Frank Taylor arrived last night without his daughters. Major Thomas has brought down Mrs T. I have no time for more. Give much love to every one. I have several matters to prepare for this steamer. Affy & truly yours
R E Lee
Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51c 192, Section 10, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 November 7