<br /> Lee Letter: a041

Washington and Lee University

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

I again my dear Mary sit down to write to you from this place, & still do not see when I shall be able to leave it. The Court has been three weeks engaged in the trial of major Porter, & have but got through the examination of two witnesses. At every stage of the proceedings & almost at every question, the counsel of the accused interpose objections, & submit long written arguments in support of their positions which have to be examined & decided on, & no sooner is one matter disposed, than another is introduced. Major Porter has for his counsel two Texas lawyers, a Judge Bigelow & Col Powers, very shrewd men, accustomed to the tricks & stratagems of special pleading, which if of no other avail, absorbs time & staves off the question. The longest lane they say has a turning, & so with time & patience I hope we shall get to the end of this. If I could hear from you & knew that you were all well, I should be better satisfied, but this uncertainty is by no means pleasant. I must remain in ignorance until I can get back to San Antonio. I am told it requires 5 weeks to get an answer from San Antonio, which has deterred me from writing for my letters, & even in that time it is very uncertain. I must therefore wait, patiently if I can, but at all events wait. I trust in a kind Providence to keep you & all with you safe & well, & hope the children are progressing at their schools & doing what they ought to do. I have written to you by every opportunity since I have been here, & hope my letters have reached you, but it seems to me there is much uncertainty in the mails along this river, & I am therefore prepared for miscarriages. The letters are sent from here to Brownsville, & are transported thence to New Orleans by steamer. But in the first place, we learn that in consequence of recent rains the country below is flooded, & that the last carrier despatched, has been unable to pursue the road. Then comes the uncertainty of the sea transportation & uncertainty of the steamers. In my last letter 17th Inst, I sent you my check on Br Farmers bank of Virga at Alexa for $195.00 the July dividend of Bank of the Valley, which from Mr Marburys statement I see is still to my credit, exclusive of the $941.50 for which you had previously my checks. I repeat, that should my letter not reach you, you may stop the payment of the check at the bank. I wished you to be able if occasion required it to furnish Fitzhugh his second quarters allowance, provided my remittance should not arrive in time, & which I shall not be able to send until my arrival at San Antonio I fear. My check was dated 17th Oct, payable to your order. I have little or nothing to tell you. The movements of the troops to Florida will not take place I presume until the beginning of Nov. In the meantime they are packing up & getting ready. The officers are selling their surplus beds & chairs, cows goats & chickens. I am sorry to see their little comforts going, for it is difficult on the frontier to collect them again. Col Chapman told me this morg he had sent up to Rio Grande City, his mattress & bedstead & come to his blankets. Mrs Sibley told me her cow & chairs had gone, & Mrs Waite her goats. The pigeons & chickens are disposed of on the table. Genl Vidauri in his attack on Camargo seems to progress pari passu with the Court. We do not hear of his nearer approach & indeed a rumour has reached us this morg that he is retiring & that the Govr of Tamaulipas is marching on Monterey. It is of very little consequence I think whether the report is true or not. It seems very clear he does not advance. I learn that he established his me gun 3 miles from Camargo, & wished to know the effect of artilly at that distance. I am more interested just now in the state of health of my man Johnson, who has been taken with fever. I have been obliged to send him to the Hospital. I hope it will prove a slight case for his sake & mine, for though a poor cook, he is all I have, & neither the major or myself can stand these long & uninteresting sessions of the Court without eating. I believe I told you that I left my Mexican youth behind: not thinking his services were worth his transportation. I have read in a stray number of the New York Time, that has reached here somehow, a violent attack upon Secy Davis for the removal of Profr Sprole. He makes out a severe charge against the Secy, the merits of which, though I am sorry for the Profr, I am too dull to see. The Secy & Pres: have surely the right to appoint whom they think best to fill the station. I sincerely hope that he will not as the writer seems to think, suffer on account of his losing his place. He has some strong friends in the city of New York, who I hope will not let him suffer. At any rate you had better write on to Miss Becky to stay with you, till her father is located. In the same paper also there are some ill natured strictures upon the Army, full of errors & untruths, & of ridiculous accusations against the Secy. The writer is violently opposed to the new Regiments particularly & calls for their early disbandment, or they will be permanently fastened upon the country. They may suit themselves in everything relating to my services, & whenever they tell me they are no longer required, they will not be obtruded on them. You must give a great deal of love to your father, Markie, & all the children. Though I cannot hear from them tell them I think of them constantly & wish to see them. All that I can do, is to remember them morg & evg & at all seasons in my poor imperfect prayers, which I pray may be heard & answered. Tell your rather I have selected from the garrison a fine yellow cat, that I must try & take with me to the Indian country. There are plenty of cats here, & as they will all have to be left, I can take my choice. May God guard & protect you & all with you is the earnest prayer of

yours truly & affy

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. 183 – 86.