<br /> Lee Letter: c004

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Annette Carter

Your long silence was most agreeably broken by your letter of the 13th instant and I was delighted to find that you were alive and well and still in America. I could not find out until I received General Bier’s letter what had become of you, or what you were doing, for I have lost communication with my scouts in Maryland, but fortunately far me the Adjutant General of the State aware of my being cut off from all intelligence came to my aid. You may well say you reproached yourself for not having written earlier, for you knew how much I wanted to hear from you, but your kind letter has dispelled all my fears concerning you and I am as content as a man can be who cannot see you. I am unable to visit Baltimore this winter or indeed any other place unless I become better than I am now, for I can make no exertion or undertake the fatigue of a journey. It is this that has retained me at home and prevented my attending the Peabody obsequies. I am glad that your father has all his children around him or near him and I hope that he is enjoying it as I should if they were near me. I am so sorry to hear that Ella is not well. Tell her there is nothing the matter with that little heart of hers, except that it loves overmuch my Cousin George. The Doctors cannot cure her of that. Absence is her best remedy and she had better come to Lexington and bring you with her. Probably if she had visited the mountains last summer, she might have escaped this visitation. I have seen very wonderful effects produced on a prostrate nervous system by the Rockbridge Baths though like other remedies they are not infallible, Still they are easily reached in the summer and could bring her near us. I therefore recommend them to her.

My expectation of seeing you this winter Annette was based on the hope that you would come to see your poor Uncle and Aunt, or that I could get to Goodwood, not Baltimore. I want to visit you at Goodwood once more, to see you all and the place too; but I can form no plans for doing so now. Your Aunt Mary speaks of going to the White House in April to see her children and grandson but I do not know that she will accomplish it. Her plan is to take the packet boat to Richmond, three days and nights, and to be transferred from the wharf to the cars for the W.H. I tell her that all whom she desires to see can more easily visit her and spare her the pain and fatigue, but you know how difficult it is to eradicate from the mind of anyone who has the Calvert blood, an opinion once formed. So that if she adheres to her wish I will make every arrangement to facilitate its execution. Mildred is now there, having paid her visit to Richmond and speaks of going on to Baltimore, where she has been invited by Miss Belle Duer, with whom she proposes to spend a week or two and then come home. Agnes wishes to be in Richmond in April to attend the wedding of one of her friends so has postponed her visit till next month. She has suffered more with neuralgia this winter than usual, but I am glad that she is not confined to the house with it but is able to go out and to partake of the amusements of the place.

We have had a very nice young lady staying with us occasionally during the winter. Miss Maggie Johnston, daughter of General Albert Sidney Johnston, who was killed at Shiloh. She and her mother are on a visit to Col. Preston Johnston, who you may recollect lives beyond the rim. Miss Johnston is now with us to attend the celebration and festivities of the 22nd. Last night she accompanied the girls to a Cadet Hop and did not get back till three this morning. Consequently I have seen none of them yet. I hope they had a pleasant time, for the thermometer this morning at sunrise stood at 2° below zero, and the whole community is astir filling the ice houses, the first opportunity that has occurred this winter. Tonight the Washington Literary Society of the College have their celebration, which is generally very interesting to the young people – all the belles of the town will be present, prepared with bouquets to shower upon their favourites. Your Cousin Custis will I know keep firmly aloof. He never permits himself to be inveighed into such frivolities and I shall not be able to be present. You must give our loves to Ella and tell her that her female cousins are very incredulous as to the superiority of her baby over my grandson. For my part I have seen so many prize children and have had some myself that I am prepared for anything. You must also remember us to Alice, the Governor and their household when you visit Annapolis, and give our cordial love to your father, Mildred, May and General Bier, not forgetting Bernard and his family. And now Annette . . . writing is more irksome to me than usual, and brevity which was generally agreeable to me has now become necessary. God bless you and keep you is the sincere wish and prayer of your Cousin.

R. E. Lee



Transcription based on dealer’s catalog.