<br /> Lee Letter: a072

Washington and Lee University

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

After an absence of over seven months I have returned Dearest Mary to my Texan home. I arrived yesterday in a cold Norther, apparently as intense as any during the Winter. Ice formed in my tent the preceding night, & early mng was bitter to the feelings. I brought up all my convoy safe, though I had only five men to guard 30 horses. I heard of Indians but met none. I feel always as safe in the wilderness as in a crowded city. I know in whose power hands I am, & in them only, & feel that in all our life we are upheld & sustained by Divine providence. But that Providence requires us to use the means he has put under our control. He deigns no blessing to idle or inactive wishes, & the only miracle he now exhibits to us, is the power he gives to truth & justice, to work their way in his wicked world. After so long an absence, I found my valuables in better condition than I anticipated. My life stock had mostly disappeared, but my household furniture generally was intact. My tent had frequently been prostrated by the storms, but always rose again. It was of course attended by a natural crash, not worth considering, could you replace, your crockery, buckets, horns &c. In time I hope to do so. In the meantime I just do without. My german cook does not come up to my hopes, though my expectations ought not to have elevated him higher than reality. But what would this life be without hope? I hope to get back to you again; to find you well; Everything prospering. The children, wise, good & happy! God grant it may be so, & that I may deserve all that may be in store for me, is my earnest prayer. I believe I have no one with me whom you know. Among the young officers who have joined the Regt of the last graduating class, our acquaintances have gone to other Posts. Two appointed from civil life, have come here. A Mr Clay Wood from Maine, & a Mr Harrison from Washington. They seem genteel young men. The only graduate here is Mr Herman Biggs, whose name even I suppose is not familier to you. But among a mass of papers awaiting my arrival was your letter of 3rd of August last. Written from the Hot Springs. Though of old date, it was very interesting to me, & I could not help sorrowing over your sufferings though past. Among the narrations I enjoyed was dear Cousin Mary Carters return to Shirley. My thought could never revert to it with pleasure during her absence. I hope whatever was wrong has been righted & that they are all happy again. I enjoyed also exceedingly the extract from dear Carters letter. It confirmed the hope I entertained, derived from other sources, & about which I have hitherto been silent. His having become a more earnest Christian. By the time this reaches you, you know I am a month distant now, I hope the weather will be such as to enable you to repair to Bath, or such other place as you may select, for trial of the mineral waters & that you may be prepared for the journey. You might also try Capon, if you found Bath proved ineffective, before going to a greater distance. I hope you will make up your mind to give the waters a fair trial, & make a proper effort to regain your health. You must not be deterred by the expense. Money cannot be better spent. You have enough now I hope to establish you where you wish to go & support you till the July dividends are available. You can make arrangements with Mr Marbury to draw on him from time to time for such sums as you may require. Should you not have enough for your purposes till that time, Tell me where I must direct, & I can make arrangements to send you $200. for incidental expenses till then. I pray and trust your efforts may be successful & that you may be perfectly restored to health & our usual activity.

You must give much love to your father, the children, Markie & all friends. I have nothing particularly to say, & much to prepare, by this opportunity to San Antonio. Farewell. May every blessing attend you. Direct to me as usual. “San Antonio, Texas” & tell me how to direct to you.

Very truly & affy

R E Lee


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. 330 – 32.