<br /> Lee Letter: a033

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee

Since the reception yesterday of your letter of the 14 Ulto: dearest Mary, my mind & thoughts have been entirely engrossed by two subjects. Your continued indisposition & suffering, & the death of my sister Mildred. This last has come upon me very unexpectedly, & in the course of nature I might have never anticipated it, as indeed I had never realized, that she could have preceded me on the unexplored journey on which we are all hastening. Though parted from her for years, with little expectation but of a transient reunion in this life, this sudden, harsh & terrible separation has not been the less distressing, because it was distant & unlooked for. It has put an end to all hope of our meeting in this world. It has cut short my early wished & daily yearnings. And so vividly does she live in my imagination & affections that I cannot realize she only exists in my memory. I pray that her life has just begun! I trust that her merciful God, only so suddenly & early snatched her away, because he then saw it was the fittest moment to take her to himself! May a pure & eternal life now be hers, & may we all so live, that when we die, it may be opened to us!

For yourself dear Mary I feel much concern. I have hoped that each letter would have brought me information of your restoration to health, nor do you in this last tell me the state in which you are. I fear it must be bad from your determination to go to the springs, as you are always loath to do anything for yourself, while ever ready to act for others. I am very glad you are going, & hope for your speedy recover. At this distance I can do nothing for you. You must make your own arrangements & carry out your own plans. I am at a loss however to know where you will get funds for your journey, as it seems from your letter, that you have deprived yourself of those you had in possession, before you knew how you could replace them. Knowing that you had these funds made me more dilatory in supplying you with others as I had written to you to use them, if occasion required.

In my letter of the 28th Ulto, I sent you a check on the Br Farmers Bank of Birga at Alexandria for $400.00, & in that of the 4 Inst: another on the same bank for $200.00. I now send you a third check on the Br Farmers Bank of Virginia, at Alexandria, of this date, to your order, for $200.00, which will absorb all my July dividends, provided they have all been collected. The interest on the Kenawho bonds is so irregularly paid now, that I do not know when to calculate on it. Unless it has been paid in July, my two former checks will have exhausted my credit there. Ascertain from Mr Marbury how I stand, when you present this last check.

I am at a loss to know from your letter, whether the coupons & Marshalls draft are deposited to my credit in the Bank of the Metropolis, Washington, or in the bank of Commerce in New York, & also what is their exact amount. You must be very particular dear Mary when you deal in money matters. You know I cannot draw upon a bank, unless I know, where the money is, and its exact amount. You say you “deposited them in the bank of the Metropolis, the cashier said he would send them on, that all amount including the bond to 1735 dols. I shall keep Mr Biddles check.” In another part of the letter you say “I have determined to send Mr Biddles check also.” Now am I to understand that you deposited them in the bank of the Metropolis, for the Cashr to send on to New York to my credit, as Marshall seemed to advise, & that I shall find the money in the Bank of Commerce, or was the Cashr merely to collect them & place them to my credit in the bank of the Metropolis? And was the $1735.00 the whole amt: or exclusive of Biddles check. Just let me know, in what bank the money is deposited to my credit, & the exact amount, & I will soon make arrangements for its investment.

I regret very much that Fitzhughs check has missed its destination, & feel mortified that his creditors are kept out of their money. I fear all his affairs are loosely managed. He seems only to have time or thought for running about. If he could ever find time to learn the situation of things & let me know, it might be rectified. Give much love to all. Affectionately & truly

as ever

R E Lee


Ely-DeButts PapersLibrary of Congress

Transcribed in Francis Raymond Adams, Jr., An Annotated Edition of the Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, April, 1855 – April, 1861, pp. 143 – 46.