<br /> Lee Letter: a037

Washington and Lee University

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

I have recd dearest Mary your letter of the 2 Aug from the Warm Springs. I am very glad to learn that you are there, & trust you may be entirely relieved by its waters. I also hope you will have visited the White Sulphur. Besides the curative effects of its waters, I know of no place where I had rather pass the Summer, or where I have ever experienced a more pleasant atmosphere. You must not consider the expense. We have to pay for all we get in this world, whether knowledge or pleasure, & if we get the value of our labour or money, it is all we ought to ask. I know nothing we can so well afford to pay for as health, & I hope all your party will get its share of that, as well as its allowance of pleasure. I am glad you took Mary & Rob with you. It will be a pleasure & a benefit to them I hope, & Fitzhugh you could not have done without. I hope he may be cured too of his ills. I only wish you had taken your father & the girls also, & money enough for all your purposes. I have no other object for it, than the benefit & happiness of you all. I was very much in hopes your father would have gone, & thought he would have taken pleasure in the scenery & company he would have encountered. Besides his own health would have been improved, & the waters might have relieved him of the erisypelas which sometimes troubles him. It is however too late now to remedy it. I recd the note forwarded in Annies letter & have answered it. I hope you also have recd my letter in reference to Mr Winston. I wrote at the same time to your father, telling him of his proposition, & at this distance, know no better course than to accept it, & advised that he should correspond directly with Mr Winston, to save time. As soon as it is known that Mr Nelson is to leave he will have many applicants, & may find something better than Mr. Winston. At the time he wrote he had not been able to settle Mr Nelsons accounts, nor have I heard from his since. I am very sorry to hear that my dear Custis has been unwell & hope he will be able at least to get up as far as Cass to see Mrs Stiles. We are all in the hands of a kind God, who will do for us what is best, & more than we deserve, & we have only to endeavour to deserve more & to do our duty to him & ourselves. May we all deserve his mercy his care & protection. Do not give yourself any anxiety about the appointment of the Brigadier. If it is on my account that you feel an interest in it, I beg you will discard it from your thoughts. You will be sure to be disappointed, nor is it right to indulge improbable & useless hopes. It besides looks like presumption to expect it. I have written you all about money matters. In my last, of Aug 25th I sent you my check of that date to your order on the Br Farmers Bank of Virga at Alexa for $141.50, which ought to be the balance to my credit in bank, after paying my three former checks, provided the usual dividend, &c had been made. I repeat for fear of miscarriage. I also have written all about the children & hope that all will do their part. They will all have left for their respective destinations before this reaches you, provided my wishes have been carried out, & therefore I will say nothing more on the subject. I am very glad to hear that Annie recd so many prizes. I am sure she tried to deserve them & am very glad she succeeded. She has those principles that will impel her to do her duty. I am also very glad to hear of Agnes success. She is less constant than Annie in her application, but I am in hopes will improve with years. Both of them wrote me very pretty letters, as well as pleasing, but said nothing of their medals. I am glad to hear that Cousin Nat still preserves us in his remembrance. I wish you could have been with dear Cousin Anne at the Warm Spring. It would have added so much to pleasure. I have thought of her very often since I have been out here, more so than usual. I hope her health has improved. She was not strong when I saw her. Where do Uncle Wms & Aunt Maria go this Summer? My poor Sister Anne was doubtless shocked to hear of Mildred’s death. It shook a stronger frame than hers, & brings at every recurrence of the thought, scalding tears & sad reflection. I rejoice to hear of her dying in prayers. It is the only comfort I have yet recd. I have written to Childe but know not where he is. I wished to write to Anne but cannot. I have nothing now to relate. Col Hardee writes that Major Barnard had gone on leave. Is he in Virga, or is he married yet? Time I think will smooth him. He will be able to have his children & their good aunt with him, & that will soften them. I leave tomorrow mng at early dawn for the Rio Grande. I have my clothes yet to put up & to arrange my other matters in the boxes to be left. I suppose I shall hardly get back before the last of Nov. The northers commence I understand in Nov. So I must go prepared for cold weather. There has been an agreable change in the atmosphere the last few days. We have had several hard rains, which have cooled it amazingly. It looks too, as if there might be a continuance of it. The wind is easterly & clouds threatning. Our river is booming again. The water at the ford is up to saddle girths & the parched grass is green & flourishing. I am told there is generally rain enough in September. I hope there will not be enough to render the streams impassable. I fear I have not more than sufficient time to reach Ringgold Bks: by the 1st October. The day of the meeting of the COurt. I do not know the distance nor as yet the best route for me to take. I shall find it out as I go along. You must remember me very kindly to all friends. Give much love to your father, Markie, & all the children. Write to me as usual, & recollect always, that it takes two months for a letter to go & come. So you must look ahead & anticipate things. I trust you will be entirely restored by your trip & bring back all with you well and hearty. With prayers for you & all with you

I remain as ever yours

R E Lee

Notes:

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. 163 – 67.