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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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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.



13 April [1844]

My dearest Mother,

Mary Seems to have finished what she had to say, & I will take advantage of the page she has left unfilled. She still suffers from the effects of the cold in her face, though I hope she will now experience no further inconvenience as the cause of the inflamation of the jaw has been removed. I was much alarmed at an attack which Rooney was seized with about 10 days since. He complained in the morg of pains in his legs, which I rather laughed at, & indeed even reproved him for, as it was not the first time he had made similar complaints during the week. After Breakfast finding I was going to the city, he petitioned to accompany me, to which I objected on the score of his ailments. They had then however as usual all disappeared & when I was about setting off, he was so importunate that I consented, especially as I had not much to do in the city, was going alone & wanted among other things to purchase a hat for him. I found while walking about the city that he did not get along very well & insisted on taking my hand all the way. I however attributed his tardiness to the effects of a pair of new shoes he had put on that morg for the first time, especially as he made no further complaints in consequence perhaps poor little fellow of my reproof in the morg, which merely consisted in my telling him, that if he complained of pain which he did not feel, some time when he really was in pain I would not know whether it was so or not. After I had completed my business I began to fear that he was not well & therefore put him in a carriage & rode down to the ferry where we had left our horses & t hen came home. He went to bed immediately on his arrival & next morg could not rise. He complained very much of pains in his legs & feet which continuing through the day notwithstanding the local application of camphor, laudanum @c, I gave him a dose of salts & at bed time steamed him in a tub of water as hot as he could bare it. Next day he was better, with still some pain. The hot bath was repeated again at night, but the next night as I began to fear it was something of inflammatory rheumatism, I gave him a tepid bath & repeated it in the morg. He then began sensibly to mend, but did not get out of bed for five days, except when lifted & during the first two or three days, even this was attended with great pain. What made it worse too, was that poor Mary was suffering with her face, & Mary Cole was occupied with the baby, so that he had me for chief nurse, & except at night I could only make him flying visits. Perhaps however it was as well as he Seemed to think my touch hurt him less than any one elses. He is now quite well again, running up & down stairs as merry as ever & jumped into my bed this morg with his right arm extended, which he yesterday carried in a sling, to shew me that the pain had left that. I do not know what was the matter unless he had taken a violent cold which seized upon his limbs, either from the sudden check of perspiration or by sitting on the ground. Perhaps both. I am however truly grateful that he is now apparently well again, for Oh I was wretched the second day of his attack.

I hope you are well my dear Mother & that the Major & their dear little girls are in their usual health. Tell the former I send him the Express of Saturday & that he may see to what extend some men are carried by their evil passions & which indeed is calculated to excite some apprehensions for the peace & prosperity of the country. They are certain resolutions passed by the “Anti-Slavery Society” at their late annual meeting in N. Y. & are found in the 2nd Column of the 1st Page. He will see that they contend for the ruin of the present American church & the destruction of the present Union, That the pulpit is denounced as the great stronghold of slavery, The founders of the constitution & the fathers of the Revolution swindlers, in accomplishing that which after fifty years trial is found to be a curse & not a blessing. I thought too perhaps that you might like to see the report of the proceedings of some of the religious societies which it contains.

Adieu my dear Mother. Remember me to all & believe me very affy your Son



Fort Hamilton                                                                                                                                                    18 1/4

N. Y. 13 May

To Mrs M. L. Custis


near Alexandria D. C.



Source: Photocopy of original letter, Mss1 L5 114 c 6, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 July 12

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