<br /> Lee Letter: a006

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Charles Carter Lee

My dear brother Charles

Your letter of the 26 April has been forwd to me here where I was suddenly sent to organize the Regt, & set the officers recruiting for their Compies. Col. A. S. Johnston, not our Joe, but formerly Secy of War for Texas, & Col. of the Regt, not having been heard from or his whereabouts known. I was relieved from duty at West Point on the 12 April & directed to take his place during his absence. I believe it had not been determined to remove me from the Acady till after the Examination in June, but for this necessity, which caused us to break up in a hurry. I spent 2 days in Washington endeavouring to get the address of the different officers of the Regt, & to get them relieved from their duties, & arrived here on the 20th & commenced giving them their instructions. All that I could reach are now at work, & making good progress in enlisting their men. Some of the Captains & Lts. that were appd from the Army, are out in Washington Territory, Oregon, California, Texas, & much time must elapse before they can be recalled. Some of the officers of each Compy however are available & at work. I hope by the Fall the Regt will be complete. I am expecting Col Johnston every day, & after his arrival & informing himself of what has been done, I expect to leave & shall visit some of the recruiting rendezvous to insense some of our men and officers appd from civil life. I must I must then go to Washington and endeavor to close all my account of disbursements, of which I have not had a settlement since my return from Mexico, & which I am unwilling to have open unnecessarily, while in a distant & hazardous expedition, the result of which can of course be known to none. What time I shall have at my own disposal & when I can go Master Carter I cannot say, but hope that we shall meet somewhere. You have of course seen the arrival of the Mississippi. My last letter from Mary said he was expected at home the day she wrote, & I trust he is with his Nannie & boys. I hope to see him at least when I go East. On reaching Baltimore we found poor Anne so prostrated & afflicted, that we left Mary (daughter) with her. I have never seen her in such low health & spirits. The day we were there she seemed to rally a little but the next morg was apparently no better. Mary writes she is better now & more cheerful, & she thought of paying a short visit to the E. Shore with Miss Esther & Mary Whitingham, provided she continued so. Mary when I left her was walking very well, but I feared & still fear, she will bring her trouble back by imprudence. What makes your people do so Sis-Lucy? I am glad to hear that you are out again, & you must not think I intended to charge you with imprudence. Now that you have got up to your new house, & engaged in your improvements I hope you will be entirely restored. I have grieved over the death of my good old Uncle Fitzhugh, whose kindness to me & us all & our dear Mother, I shall never forget. I hope he is happier now than I fear he was in this world. Perhaps it is as well that his property will be distributed among all his relative. It will leave a remembrance to each & not be too much for any. For myself I had expected none, but fear there are others that will be disappd. I will sign the Answer in Chancery as soon as it reaches me. I only saw Cousin Marie one afternoon for a few moments. She looked very well though was suffering from a slight cold. Mary has seen her several times since & she has been out to Arlington. Annie Agnes Robt & Mildred are at A. & the Major seemed much cheered to get Mary & all of them back again. I believe that reconciled him to my transfer to the Cavy. The two girls & Robt will have to go to school in the Fall, though he will still have enough. I am glad to see his is to deliver the oration at the Celebration at Jamestown. I should hope it might induce him to visit the W.H. being within reach, but I believe it would be attended with no good, & would give him no pleasure. Roon is at Harvard. I fear not satisfied, or making the most of his opportunities. Still I trust learning something. Custis is at Amelia Isd. on the coast of Georgia. I have met here with an old college friend of yours. A Mr Pope who speaks of you, Lloyd, Chirley Carter &c. The surrounding country is looking very beautifully. The grass is so green & the blossoms of the trees so rich & gorgeous. There has been great suffering during the winter among the farmers, & they are hauling corn from here into the rich districts South to keep their stock alive. All their grain & provender was exhausted. They killed many of their cattle, & lost others. Genl Preston told me that 22 of his hogs died of starvation, & others lost in proportion.

I hope the experience of this year, will make farmers & others more cautious & economical. When they are getting $2.50 a bushel for wheat, surely they ought not to suffer. Lay yourself out to work Master Carter. But you civilians do not know what work is. It is all play with you. You must give much love to all friends. Kiss the boys and Sis Lucy for me, & believe me always & most affectionately’

your brother

R E Lee


Transcribed in Francis Raymond Adams, Jr., An Annotated Edition of the Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, April, 1855 – April, 1861, pp. 11 – 15.