• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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


 

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Fort Brown, Texas, 24 Jany 1857

I had the unexpected pleasure yesterday dearest Mary, of recg. your letter of the 13th Decr (as well as I could decypher the date) which through the kind intervention of Capt Williams was forwarded to me from Indianola. I wish it Could have informed me of any abatement in your malady. I pray the Good God to give us patience & resignation, & send you relief in his own good time. I hope you will exercise prudence & do not harass yourself with anxiety or a multitude of remedies which may produce more evil than good. I trust in the spring it may leave you. If not you must give the mineral waters a fair trial. Divest yourself of all unnecessary care for others & attend to yourself. I will not repeat what I have written on this Subject, but hope you will Consider it & let me know what you propose. That surely must be a mistake about Mr R[adziminski]. I recd a letter from Dr McCormick, in San Antonio, dated 20 Decr, who had a short time previously been at his Post & he said nothing touching his health. I have also recd a letter from Lt. Garrard1, adjt of the Regt: giving me items of news from the several stations & officers of the Regt: & he did not mention him. I should hope therefore that he has recovered, instead of becoming worse. I saw an account in a New Orleans paper, at the time of its occurrence of the death of Mr Turnbull2, whom I felt sure was Cary’s husband, but I did not mention it, knowing it would reach you soon enough. Sorrow is the lot of the young as well as the aged, & none can avoid the calamities of life. Happy are those who are prepared to meet them. I am truly sorry to learn the death of Lucia Talcott3. I suppose from what you say the whole family is in Cincinnati. The Captain is therefore happy in having them all with him, & should he remain there long enough, they will no doubt all become established in Ohio. The boys can find suitable associations in life, & his nice girls will be seized upon by amorous bachelors. I shall be glad to welcome Mrs Stockton at Camp Cooper. I hope it will not make her repent of her choice, though I fear she will not find a tent as commodious as her father’s Hotel.

I hear that my young Lts: have been very successful in their scouts during my absence. Capt Bradfute, Capt Johnson, Lts Jenifer & Wetherill, have each at different times, intercepted marauding parties of indians, & chastised them severely. Upwards of a dozen in the four encounters were killed, more wounded, & all their horses, animals, camp equipage &c captured.

It is a distressing state of things that requires the applications of such treatment, but it is the only corrective they understand, & the only way in which they can be taught to keep within their own limits. Two of our men were killed, shot through the heart with arrows, & three or four wounded. You do not mention the date of the letter you had recd from me, but I presume it to be that of 26 Nov enclosing checks for Jany dividends. I wish when you receive orders for money, you would mention the fact, & the amount &c, that I may dismiss the subject from my mind. I am glad to hear that Mr Winston was making arrangements to assume the management of the affairs at the White House. I hope your father will have more comfort in his administration than in his predecessors: He will at least I think have the satisfaction of knowing the condition of things, what is doing, & what he may expect. I know there will be difficulty in settling Mr Nelson’s accounts. I wrote him Mr Winston, previously, if Mr N. would not or could not give him my information, than presented in the statements & vouchers in his possession, there was no other course, than to settle them according to law & usage on the data before him, strike the balance & charge Mr N. with what was found due your father. I shall write to him again, as soon as I get back to San Antonio, where there may be some report from him. I think there is a prospect now of terminating this business here which seems almost as interminable as the accounts of Mr N.

It is ascertained that two of the four witnesses for whom the Court has been waiting cannot come. A third is at the mouth of the river & is expected here to day, & the fourth is probably on his way from N. Orleans. I think therefore that early next month the Court will adjourn finally. It will take me a full month to travel the distance back, & allowing a few days detention in San Antonio, for the transaction of Regimental  & other matters, I shall scarcely reach Camp Cooper before the middle or last of March. There is nothing new here to relate. The Taylors have become more composed. I saw Miss Sallie this morg sitting in her perch, to let the fresh air in she said to recuperate her eyes, which she had been obliged to use in arranging some work for her sister. Mr Passmore reads the service in church friday morgs. When the court is not in session I attend. His congregation I think on these occasions are as slim as Mr Millers used to be at Mt Calvary. This morg & generally, his wife, me & one or two of the civilians were present. Col: Taylor Capt & Mrs Jones & myself were in addition this morg. Lt Graham has just heard of the death of his brother in the Navy. You may recollect the two boys of Col Jas: Graham who sometimes visited at Audley & occasionally Arlington. The one here is the elder, the mark on whose forehead was removed by the Physician in Phila. The scar remains, which is as obvious, & perhaps more objectionable, than the original mark. You must give much love to your father, Markie, Mary, & all the children. I presume the girls succeeded in getting home Xmas. Our children I think are very energetic in their pleasures. I observe dear Mary you again complain of your wrist in writing. I fear you use it too much. Pray be careful

Truly & affy yours

REL

 

 

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

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 June 18

 

1. Kenner Garrard (1827-1879) was an adjutant to Robert E. Lee in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry in 1855. During the Civil War, he was promoted to brigadier general in 1863, serving in the Union army.

 

2. William Turnbull (1800-1857) served under General Winifield Scott (1786-1866) in the Mexican War as a topographical engineer in the U.S. army. He rose to the rank of colonel during the Civil War for his services as an engineer.

 

3. Lucia Beverly Talcott (1833-1856) was the first child of Captain Andrew Talcott (1797-1883) and Harriet Randolph Hackley Talcott (1810-1880). She died in Ohio, but was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.

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