Lexington Va: 17 Sept 1868
My dear Nephew
I have just recd your letter of the 3rd from Edinburgh, & hasten to say how sorry I am that you did not bring my niece with you. We shall be glad to see you however in whatever condition you may Come, So arrange your business so as not to have your hands or mind burdened & give us all the pleasure of your Comy you can. We are all at home again, your Aunt, Mary, Agnes & Mildred. The former is tolerably Comfortable. The two next as usual, & the last slowly recovering from a very severe illness with which she was afflicted at the Warm Springs – without a misadventure I hope she will soon be restored, with the loss however of her hair, brows, & lashes. A small sacrifice for restoration to health. Custis is also here & very well & we shall all be glad to see you. We are expecting this Fall Fitzhugh & our daughter Tabb & I hope that you will see them. The Goldsboroughs from the E. S. [Eastern Shore] of Md: will probably be here the last of this month all of whom I believe you Know.
The best route for you is by R. R. via Washington, Gordonsville, Charlottesville, Staunton to Goshen & there take the stage to Lexington. Inquire at Staunton whether the present schedule is in operation & whether you will have to submit to any detention at Goshen. Stages also run direct from Staunton, (36 miles) as well as from Goshen (21 miles) & you may take your choice of routes. No matter which you take you will wish you had taken the other. And now my dear Nephew having told you all the news in which you are immediately interested, & with the strong hope that I shall soon have the pleasure of a face to face talk, I will for the present say farewell. The College opens to day & I have some 300 young aspirants for wisdom & fame to advise with, so you will excuse my brevity. Tell my dear niece how sory I am not to see her this Fall as I had hoped, but she gave me the next best thing to her sweet self – You & her affectionate letter- Your Cousin Henry Lee (Smiths son) is to be married next Thursday 24 inst: to Miss Sally Johnston of Abingdon, Relative of Mrs. Floyd & Genl. J. E. Johnston.
Wishing you success & happiness
I am affy your Uncle,
R E Lee
P.S. If it was Known I was writing to you you would receive many messages.
Mister Edward L. Childe
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 4, M2009.363, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 September 28