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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



San Antonio, Texas

8 Sept 1857

My dear Cousin Anna,

I am much grieved to hear of the injury you have sustained by the upsetting of the stage in your journey to Capon. I hope it is not worse than related by Agnes in a letter just rcd from her, though I fear that may prove painful, & the consequent confinement irksome & wearisome. I am however truly thankful it is no worse, & that the great Lord in his merciful providence shielded you in your imminent danger & saved you from greater harm. May he soon restore you to health & return you to your home & friends. Mary in her last letter before leaving Arlington for Berkeley, spoke of you as being & looking so well, that I anticipated for you a pleasant visit to the mountains, & an agreable summer. I hope my anticipations may yet be realized, as far as this untoward circumstance will permit. I am very glad that Mr Charles Kerr escaped comparatively unhurt. You must not think dear Cousin Anna, that because I seldom write, you are therefore the less in my thoughts. I think of you constantly, wish always to see you, & sympathize in all that affects you. Living in a distant & uninteresting country, with pursuits & associations little in harmony with those from whom I am separated, my letters I am aware must be as burdensome to my readers as they are to the mails. I am therefore equally disinclined to afflict either. I do not however omit any opportunities to gather tidings of my friends, & of you I am kept regularly informed by letters from Mary.

It is grievous to me at all times to be so far from all I hold dear, but it becomes almost intolerable when occasions of sickness or afflictions might make my presence to them beneficial. I can bear to be absent in seasons of happiness, but my heart yearns to offer its sympathy in times of distress. In my present circumstances & present life, I must hope & trust that my presence is not necessary to those I love.

You may have probably heard that in consequence of the withdrawal for a season of Col A. S. Johnston from Texas, I am for the present stationed at this place. Although having a house & other comforts that I have been sometime without, I fear I am not more satisfied than when destitute of them. In truth the wilderness of Texas is more agreable to me than its cities, & the only advantage I enjoy in my present sojourn, is the facility it affords for communicating with my friends.

I Can think of nothing that would interest you in this paradise of the Texans. It is as far as I can judge as good as any of their cities, but the only thing attractive to me is the river;  a stream here, rather wider than the Accotink, which takes its rise in some magnificent springs 4 miles above & flows in a pure hight & rapid current. Some few pecans adorn its banks. The country beyond is a naked prairie, parched crisp & destitute of vegetation, [words missing] has almost literally

been of hap, the earth beneath our feet of iron, & the rains of heaven powder & dust. Yesterday we had a sweet rain, which is greatly continued to day, & the hopes of men & cattle are revived. Nearly all the latter have been driven from this lower Country near the mountains, where there is some grass, but the roadsides are strewn with their carcases.

I can tell you nothing of the society of the place, as I have so far confined myself to my army acquaintances. I see much of Major & Mrs. Chilton whom you know, & their nice little children. The rest are all strangers to you. Mrs Wilson, the daughter of Major Donaldson’s first wife, & sister of my friend Andrew of the Engrs: is one of the residents. On my first visit here, last spring twelvemonth, I called to see her. She is very unlike her mother, & as I was not as captivated with her spouse, as she very properly was, I have not thought it necessary to renew my acquaintance.

And now dear Cousin Anna I will bid you good bye. With prayers for your health & happiness I remain with much affection

Mrs AM Fitzhugh



9th Sept

P.S. A letter from Mary just recd, dated 20 Aug Jordans Springs, gives me the pleasing intelligence that you are walking about, & that Mrs Kerr is with you. I hope by this time you are entirely well. Please remember me to Mr K




Source:  Digital scan of original letter, The Papers of Robert E. Lee, 1749-1975, Rubenstein Library, Duke University

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 June 8


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