<br /> Lee Letter: a051

Washington and Lee University

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

I believe I announced in my letter of last week dearest Mary, that the Court in the great Giles Porter case, having exhausted all the witnesses present for the defense, has resolved to await the arrival of others that had been previously summoned. I accordingly wrote to San Antonio for my letters, & hope next month to hear from you. I trust I shall get good accounts of you all & learn what you are doing. Time passes very heavily. The Atlantic returned from New Orleans on Wednesday last & brought Col Frank Taylor, his two daughters & two youngest sons. They arrived in garrison on Thursday from the mouth of the river, but as none of their furniture has yet got on from Fort McHenry, they are merely camping in their quarters. Miss Sally looks very well. Miss Mary has grown up a tall woman & the two boys, Alfred & Sidney, are stout fellows. As we have heard in some way that there has been a separation between the Col & Mrs Sophia, I have not ventured to ask after her. I suppose he will tell me all about it in time, as he is very confiding. He will have here to make love to the Mexicans, for I know of no one else he can devote himself to. He seems to have been agreably disappointed in his new station & is in fine spirits. I have only seen Miss Sally that day of her arrival, & did not learn from her any news, or anything that was going on in Baltimore. Se said she had heard nothing of you or Mary, & my interrogations extended no farther. No intelligence has arrived in reference to our absent witnesses, nor did Frank know anything of them. Yesterday was a grand day in Matamoros. It was the Anniversary Celebration in commemoration of the patron Saint of Mexico, the Lady of Guadaloupe. The ceremonials commenced Wednesday night & continued until 12 last night (Friday). The day was ushered in & out by cannon, bells & music. Yesterday mng the appropriate services were performed in the church & last night the whole population were assembled in the plaza, to participate in or to witness the dancing, gambling &c there celebrated. Having been present in the City of Mexico during a similar festival, I did not go over to witness the celebration either in the morg or evg. Most of the officers & some of the ladies however attended. I do not know how they were pleased. I am able to give you very little news as but little transpires here, & I scarcely see anyone outside of the garrison. My daily walks are alone, up or down the banks of the river, & my pleasure is derived from my own thoughts, & the animals & flowers I there meet with. The birds of the Rio Grand form a constant source of interest & are as numerous as beautiful in plumage. The partridge Jay & Blackbird are peculiarly rich & abundant, & the ducks are of all variety. The other day I met for the first time in my life the wild hog of the country, which I believe is what is called he peccary, or musk hog. he was apparently young & of a slut colour. I have made many acquaintances among the snakes, & daily wish, I could get you the roots of some of the luxuriant vines, that cover everything, or the seeds of the innumerable flowers. Last Sunday Mr Passmore administered the Communion. He had a small table, I was sorry to see & among them only three officers. The day was cold & rainy, & the congregation a slim one. He seems to be a very amiable & good man, kind & sociable. His wife looks very delicate & I should think enfeebled by the climate. She has one little girl. They both seem content. Have a small comfortable house, with flowers & orange trees around it & I hope are happy. He has a strong proclivity to High Churchism of which I am not fond. Waiving more serious objections, I think it unsuited to our people & institutions, & not calculated to extend episcopacy among the masses & therefore impolitic. I got from him the New York Churchman, & also a number of the Southern Churchman. I get plenty of papers here, but all of old dates. Things seem to be going on as usual in the States & Mr Buchanan it appears, is to be our next President. I hope he will be able to extinguish fanaticism North & South, & cultivate love for the country & Union, & restore harmony between the different sections. I am anxious to see who is to be our Secy of War. I trust he will be a good one & be able to administer the department well. If anything should turn up in the way of promotion, ask your father if suitable & proper to apply in my behalf. The office of Inspector Genl would suit me well if one should be made, & I should be considered able to fill it. I repeat in case of miscarriage, that I sent you on the 26 Ulto my checks of that date on the Bank of Virginia Richmond, & the Bank of the Valley of Virginia Winchester payable to the order of the Cashr Br Farmers bank of Virga for my Jan dividends, & also my check of same date payable to your order, on the Br Farmers bank of Virga Alexa for said dividends. I also on same day sent Fitzhugh a draft payable to his order on the U.S. Asst: Treasurer of New York, for $200.00. Should Marshall pay his note which becomes due in Jan, I wish it invested in State Stock. For this purpose you have better ask Mr Riggs in Washn to purchase for me a $1000. bond of the State of Missouri, Virga, N. Carolina, Georgia or Tennessee as may be most advisable. By last quotation, they ranged from $88. to $92. The note principal & interest, will amount to $795.00. The amount of coupons in your hands, due Jany, with Mr Biddles check, will amt to $1035.00. Total $1795.00 not sufficient for two bonds. After purchasing my bond, which you must retian with the others, should you not require any of the balance of the coupons, I wish you would have them deposited to my credit in Bank of Commerce in New York & tell me the amt. Give much love to your father, Markie, Mary, all the children & friends. A happy Xmas to you all.

Truly yours

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. 231 – 34.