<br /> Lee Letter: a039

Washington and Lee University

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

I hope you recd dearest Mary my letter from San Antonio of the 13 Ulto. It was short & hurried but will serve to show you that I had recd your letter of the 19th – 23rd Sept. written after your first return to A[rlington]. I grieve very much over your affliction & pray daily for your recovery, which I hope & trust has taken place ere this. I fear you are not sufficiently careful of yourself, undertake too much & exert yourself beyond your strength.You must not do so. It is better to let minor matters fail, & endeavour to keep the main matters staright, than to lose all & your health & comfort too, by undertaking too much. As regards money matters for instance, unless you can manage the whole, you had better leave them to me. Both cannot manage them without throwing them into confusion. For example, the check I gave on the Virga Bank for the dividends &c has been returned to me saying the money had been delivered on your letter. There is not money enough in the Alexa bank to meet the checks I sent you, & supposing the money deposited in the Bank of Commerce was to my credit, I directed it to be invested. None are matters of much consequence, but it is unpleasant to give checks on Banks & not have there funds to meet them. People may think I am endeavouring to swindle. We must now endeavour to rectify matters. The four checks I sent you on the Farmers bank in Alexa viz, 28 July for $400. 4 Aug for $200. 11 Aug for $200. & 25 Aug for $141.50 amounting to $941.50 equals the whole amt of dividends viz $758.50 / $185.00. As you had already drawn $258.50 / $183.00. There was only $500.00 to meet those checks. You had better therefore substitute my checks for yours and place all the money to your credit, when you can draw it as you want it. I hardly think Mr Vail will pay Fitzhugh the amount of your check. He may if he thinks us honest, but it would be irregular, & you can see, if a person could draw money out of a bank because he deposited it to the credit of another, this last would have no security. I expect therefore you will have to remit Fitzhugh $400. from the Farmers Bank of Alexa. If Mr Vail pays your check, there will be $400. less in the Bank of Commerce to meet my order for investment. But that is of no consequence. Do not place to my credit there, what you have in Alexa. Keep what you have & let me know whether Fitzhugh recd the money.

I arrived here on the 28th after 27 consecutive days of travel. The distance was greater than I had anticipated, being 730 miles, & I had to push my little mules, until I knew I was within reaching distance, as I could get no information, until I struck the Rio Grande. I was detained one day on the road by high water, in consequence of the rising of a creek. Had to swim my mules & get the wagon over by hand. My mare took me over comfortably, but all my wardrobe, from my socks up to my plume, was immersed in the muddy water, Epaulettes, sash &c &c. They are however all dry now. We had much rain. It prevented dust & gave us cooler weather. I am encamped outside the Garrison. All the Court are present & yesterday we commenced the trial of our old friend Giles Porter. I hope he will clear himself of the charges against him. I do not know that you have many acquaintances on the Court. Major Thomas traveled with me from Fort Mason & we are encamped together. Capt Bradford of the Ordnance, whom we knew at Old Point, is on the Court. Col Chapman of the Infy from Georgetown, related to the Chandlers, is also one of the members. Capt Marcy another. Col. Bainbridge, Col Bomford, Col Ruggles, Col Seawell & Capt sibley an old classmate of mine. Col Waite is President of the Court, & Capt Sam Jones of the Arty Judge Advocate. The latter has brought his wife & child with him, in a six mule road wagon from Linda, about 120 miles up the river. They encamped along the road, but have a room in Garrison to live in. She is a nice little lady. Unfortunately for our business he is sick today, so we have had to adjourn. I am writing with much inconvenience from a stiff finger caused by a puncture from a Spanish bayonet, while pitching my tent on the road, which struck the joint. It occurred more than a week ago, & ought to have been well long since. Every branch & leaf in this country nearly are armed with a point, & some seem to poison the flesh. What a blessed thing it is that Precious life & Rob are not here. They would be ruined. I am very sorry to hear of Genl Stantons death. I hope Mrs Macomb has recovered. I have heard that Mr Chandler White, & Mr and Mrs Cummings, who resided in he cottage of evergreens, also died of the yellow fever. Col Church is also dead but not of yellow fever. May God prepare us for the same fate! It is true as your father says, that Mr Winstons not living on the place is a great objection. Still by having a good man there visiting it regularly, punctually & honestly, settling the accounts &c is a great advantage. Whoever is put there will have to be looked after, else I fear he will do exactly as his predecessors. I had hoped Mr W[inston] might keep things right. it was the best arrangement at this distance I could think of. I hope however he may be able to make a better. It will be useless however to write to me. I shall not be able to respond in time. He must therefore do what he thinks best. I see no prospect now of being in San Antonio, before the 1st of Nov. Probably the middle or last. You know how long these Courts last. I hope my letters will be stopped in San Antonio. If they are not, it will be nearly 3 weeks later before I can get to Camp Cooper to receive them, which will be an additional delay. Write to me at San Antonio as usual & tell the children why I cannot write to them. I write now in hopes to get an opportunity to Brownsville. Give much love to your father, Markie, & all the children. I will answer Marys letter by the first opportunity. God bless & preserve you & all with you is the constant prayer of your husband

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. 172 – 76.