<br /> Lee Letter: a046

Washington and Lee University

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

I wrote to you dearest Mary last Saturday 15th, but as I have just learned that the steamer Seewanee which is to carry some of the troops from this place to Florida, is to touch at the Balize with the sick & will convey a mail to New Orleans, I have determined to write a few [m]iles & avail myself of the opportunity, as promising the most speedy mode of communication with you & by this means my present letter may outstrip some of the preceding. I have nothing to relate in addition to what I have already said, except that the two Compies of the 4th here, have arrived & the exchange of garrisons is now being made. The river steamer got up last night. A hard rain commenced soon afterwards & has continued all day. The troops in Qrs: have had to march out, to allow those to march in, & so with the officers. Two of the latter have families Capt Dawson & Lt Morris & the move has been anything but pleasant, inasmuch as Qrs: had to be vacated for their reception before they could get in. This process has turned out Mrs. McCormick, who accompanied her husband from San Antonio, who was summoned here as a witness before this court. It has also turned out Mrs Sibley & Mrs Ruggles, wives of two of the members of the Court. Major Thomas & I vacated our room to Mrs Sibley that she might have a place of shelter & two of the young Lts vacated theirs from Mrs Ruggles. They have therefore come into the bachelors block, a long one story house, & have to pitch tents for their servants outside, & cook out of doors or in their rooms. A pleasant alternative. The more I see of Army life in Texas, the less probability do I see of your ever being able to join me here. Our family is too large & unwieldy to commence campaigning. Major Thomas & I have gone into a room with Lt Howard, who being but recently married & his wife living with her friends in Brownsville, he only occupies his room in the day, & at night the Major and I will have it to ourselves. He has moved his things in one corner, the Major occupies another, & I the third. I think it probable we may soon have an applicant for the fourth. You know I am not fond of this community of living. I would infinitely prefer my tent to myself in all weather to a room in common, but must accomodate myself to circumstances. I told you in my last of Mr Howards marriage to a young lady of Brownsville, Miss Pauline Fox. I have since been to pay my respects to the bride. She is quite young. I am told just 17, & very pleasing. She is living with her mother & married sister. Her father is in California. Her brother in law is a lawyer in Brownsville & her sister seemed to have two or three children. How they all manage to live in their small habitation I do not know. I was able to give the bride some description of her future home, Fort Leavenworth, & an account of the different ladies whom she would meet there, many of whom were newly married like herself. She has never been to sea & therefore anticipates nothing unpleasant in the voyage to New Orleans in the schooner. I hope she may find it agreeable. It is a beautiful thing to see the young so hopeful. It is sad to think how soon the clouds of disappointment darkens the prospect of life horizon. Yet how glorious the hope of the life beyond the skies! I again had the pleasure of attending church last Sunday. It was a bad day & the congregation was very small. Mr Passmore is not a captivating preacher, but I hope an efficient one. I went also in the afternoon. He merely read the evg service. Whether the smallness of the congregation caused him to forego the sermon, or whether he usually preaches but once a day I do not know. He is not a felicitous reader. But who can feel otherwise than diminutive in uttering the sublime exordium “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!” Mr S D Lee has just called in to bid me good bye. His pants rolled up to his boot tops. His overcoat buttoned up to his ears & his lantern in hand. He goes down on the boat, which starts early in the mng. His Compy is encamped on the river bank, & he is going to prepare his kit to strike his tent at reville. He is a nice young man, lighthearted & merry. He sent his regards & remembrances to you & Mary. Mr Pelouze & Mr Weed also take their departure. Col Taylor (Frank) I understand is expected in the next steamer from New Orleans. Also Capt Van Vliet & family. I suppose you are all well. You must give much love to your father, Markie, Mary & all the children when you write to them. I hope to hear from them all when I get back. Remember me to Cousin Anna, & all friends in Alexa. Smith, Childe, Marshall & Anne. In my last letter I asked you to send over to the office of the National Intelligencer $3.00 with the request that they would send me the weekly Intelligencer, directed to me at San Antonio. It will give me a summary of events. We are much in the dark as to what is going on in the outer world. I am anxiously looking for some arrival to give us the result of the late Presidential election. I saw no hope of Mr Filmores election, & though I do not fear Mr Fremonts, I am anxious to see that Mr Buchanans is certain, & that the Union & Constitution is triumphant.

Yours very truly & sincerely

R E Lee


Transcribed in Francis Raymond Adams, Jr., An Annotated Edition of the Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, April, 1855 – April, 1861, pp. 210 – 14.