<br /> Lee Letter: a045

Washington and Lee University

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

Another week has passed my dearest Mary & I am still here. We have however made some progress since I last wrote this day week. Delays & embarassments have resulted from the embarkation of the troops for Florida with which Col: Waite has been more or less occupied, but the last of the 5th Infy departed day before yesterday, & the three Compies of Arty only remain to embarass him. The streamer that is to bear them off, we learn has reached the mouth of the river & has brought the two Compies of the 1st Arty to relieve them. As soon then as the <illegible> come up, the latter will go down to embark.

I believe I mentioned in a former letter, that Col Frank Taylor was ordered here to command. I presume he will come in with his family, & I am glad he will have such a comfortable post <illegible> quarters <illegible> the company <illegible> Major Porter, but they are <illegible> comfortable, & so superior to anything I have seen in Texas that I look upon them as elegant. They contain five rooms with a piazza all around them. There is also some pretty shrubery, & Miss Sally can luxuriate in cool shade & pretty flowers. The town of Brownsville in close proximity affords the means of procuring necessaries & furnishes a respectable market for meats & vegetables. So I am in hopes they will be very comfortable. On Wednesday last one of the young Lts of Arty Mr Robert Howard was married to a young lady of Brownsville, Miss Pauline Fox. The ceremony took place at eight in the Episcopal Church, & the party adjourned to the Brides house, which is a little box of a place across the street. I did not attend the wedding, not being expected, at least so I considered, hearing it was to be private, & that the smallness of the house precluded any company. I heard afterwards however the officers were expected, but I have not yet had an opportunity of seeing her. I must endeavour to do so this evg, as the vessel has arrived to take the company to New Orleans. I fear a trip by sea at this season of Northers in a schooner with a company of soldiers, their battery equipment &c will make a terrible inroad into their honeymoon, but such is a soldiers fate. Mr Howard belongs to Capt Phelps Compy which is ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was promoted for good conduct during the Mexican War & seems to be a good soldier. Capt Phelps is ordered on an Artillery board directed to assemble at Old Point Comfort Va. Capts Hunt & Berry are on the same board & Capt Phelps consequently will go with his Compy. I have told him when he goes to Washington <illegible> see you & let you know <illegible> must not let my young daughters fall in love with him, for he is not a marrying man & they would be disappointed. He attended the wedding of his Lt: on the ground that he had reached an age that it was necessary he should shew his approbation of the institution. My Passmore performed the ceremony & Messrs Soloman & Weed were the groomsmen. I went last Sunday to church for the second time since I have landed in Texas. The first was at Galveston where the steamer touched on her way to Indianola. I have not seen an Episcopal Church since. Mr Passmore has a small but good brick church in Brownsville & if all his congregation were present last Sunday, it was certainly small too. It was however very attentive, & among them were several soldiers & their wives. It was pleasant to join in the prayers again, & Mr P gave us a plain but good sermon. I see though he has brought to this wilderness the colouring of the high church which had much better be left behind. There is already enough of Romanism in this country inherited from Mexico, & there is more want of “the worship of spirit & of truth” in all the beauty of its sincerity & holiness. When I see its perversion by man from the purity preached by our Saviour, there is an inward rebellion over which I have no control, & I think it better for me to remain in the wilderness from whence I came & adore the Great God with all the power & all the strength he has given me free from the detraction, & disturbing forces around me. Mrs Passmore & some ladies that sat around her formed the choir & among them I saw Miss Pauline Fox, who <illegible> a Sunday School scholar of Mr Passmore. I have made no acquaintances in Brownsville. The Court generally sit from 9 A.M. to <illegible> P.M. <illegible> with the hours <illegible> so much of the day that I have not yet got over to Matamoros. The mornings before breakfast & the afternoons I spend in walking & the evenings in visiting the inmates of the garrison. I am getting tired of taking my meals at the restaurant & wish I was back to my camp fare. It is very wearisome to me to be thrown into a crowd of uninteresting men so constantly, & I often forego my meals rather than be subjected to it. I can get no good servant here, capable of cooking & carrying on a kitchen & must therefore per force submit. From a notice I saw in the Alexa papers I am glad to find that your father has visited the agricultural fair near Phila. I hope he had a pleasant time & enjoyed his visit. The interchange of thoughts & views on these occasions are improving, & the dissemination of varied experience of the members & visiters profitable. I am very anxious to get tidings of you all, & particularly to hear how you are. I trust you are well & happy, & that the children are doing all they ought for you & themselves. I cannot say when the Court will get through. Several of he witnesses called by Major Porter have not yet arrived, & though I think they will not come, & if they do that their evidence will not be so material to his case as he thinks, yet I fear if he desires it, the Court will adjourn to await their arrival. This will occasion more delay in my hearing from you unless the interval of adjournment is sufficient to enable me to reach San Antonio & return in time. In which case I will do so that I may get my letters & trust they may give me good news of all of you & of everything. I see also by the papers that Mr Bonaparte has returned to this country. <illegible> You must give much love to your father, Markie & all the children. Write to me as usual & tell me all about yourself, your plans & all the children. Tell me also about Childe, Anne, Smith & Carter, Cousin Anna & all friends. I hope to get your letters in time & learn of you all. May God protect & bless you all is the earnest prayer of yours

very affectionately & devotedly

R E Lee

P.S. I wish you would send over $3. to the office of the National Intelligencer & request the Editors to send to the address of “Col. R E Lee U.S.A. San Antonio, Texas ” The weekly National Intelligencer & get a receipt for the same for the subscription for a year from its commencement. REL

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. 204 – 8.