My dear Nephew[1]       Philada April 7th 32.


I have recd yesterday by Mr Childe your letter of 4th Inst. from Arlington. I very much regret that the tardy steps of “Le Promeneur”[2] were too late to overtake the fleet movement of “the Pioneer” at that point in the ecliptic where the bright “Virgo” of our nature clime was relinquished for the colder “scales” of northern regions—already had he put his golden hoof upon the horn of “Aries,” & at a single bound transcended the beaming front of the Zodiacal Bull, the illumined beauty of the Gemini [letter damaged] heat of cancer, & the Lion, while yr worthy “wacker-out “your” carpet: Knight had only been threading the designs of a few mountains. I wish you could have seen him, how much at home, he felt among the Stars—how his bright eye wd mirror them in his flight, & without blinking gaze upon the comets as he lept from sphere to sphere. He is indeed a miraculous horse, but I don’t know how he will even get down from his present altitude, to travel in the “torrent paths” of Handy.

I shd be very happy my dear Carter, if you can [realize in the way] of the metallic enterprises you have in view, & by some alchemy convert those views into gold. The childe has the deed & I dare say we shall sign it tomorrow [especially] if there is no money to be paid.

With respect to Morgan, I shall see Bernard about him tomorrow & if I can get any insight from the judge & find it worth while to ride to Huntendon & Northampton counties[3], may possibly think of it. Any further advices I get, I shall forward [letter is torn] Wardensville [torn] I send this in haste to [torn] that it may reach you there

God bless you my dear Boy is the prayer of [your un]cle

B [M] Carter[4]


Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.177, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 November 3



[1] The original letter is torn where the recipient’s name is printed on the back of the last page. All that is readable is the name Carter. It was most likely addressed the Charles Carter Lee.

[2] Meaning “walker” in French.

[3] In Pennsylvania.

[4] Bernard Moore Carter (1780-1842) was born at “Shirley,” the son of Charles Carter (1732-1806) and Anne Butler Moore (1756-1810). His sister was Ann Hill Carter (1773-1829), the mother of Robert E. Lee. Historian Paul C. Nagle in The Lees of Virginia has described Carter as a “harmless eccentric,” who abandoned his family for long periods in order to wander through Europe. His wife was Lucy Grymes Lee (1786-1860), whom he married (most likely at Stratford) in 1803. As a wedding present, Bernard was given “Woodstock” in Fauquier County. In 1812, Bernard left the family for Europe. Lucy complained his absence caused her “mortification and vexation.” Lucy preferred living in Philadelphia. She even went so far as to threaten to burn “Woodstock” to the ground (see Ethel Armes, Stratford Hall: The Great House of the Lees). She got her wish, and the couple eventually moved to Philadelphia.