<br /> Lee Letter: v021

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Charles Carter Lee

My dear Carter

Your letter of the 10th Inst. (Rec Sulphur) arrived yesterday. I am most happy to learn that our dear little Belle is improving & thank you for your history of her case which is more satisfactory & more in detail than any I have yet received though our Uncle Wms did mix in his account some hard words that I could not understand – I have no doubt – that your trip to the healing Springs has been interesting & improving & wish I could have accompanied you to witness the miracles they perform in pleasure & pain. But I suppose I must continue to work out my youth for little profit & less credit; & when old be laid on the shelf – We heard from Arlington yesterday, Mrs. C – – had seen no one since her return from this place the week previous, The weather was intensely hot, & some few cases of cholera in W Arlington & Alex – a – All well at Arlington – Anne left us last Friday & returned to Baltimore, we could not prevail on her to remain & go up to the District to day with us – She must return to B. she said & nothing could change her – Her health was much improved & in fact she was as well as I am afraid she ever will be – Before her arrival she had been suffering great pain & almost constant, was very feeble & looked badly, But the Salt water soon relieved her & she became strong, fat & very cheerful – She remained with us only a month – I believe she would have staid longer, But during the last week of her stay, Orders received for turning over this work (Ft. Monroe) to the Com – g Officer of Artillery stationed here, Gen Armistead – to complete & directing the Engrs, to take position at the Rip Raps with all persons there employed. The Major & Mrs Custis took water next day for home & the Wanze [appears to be a nickname for Lee’s sister, Ann Marshall] was as anxious to take flight – But fully knowing the great advantage it was to her, I resisted strenuously & detained her another week – This order was issued by John Forsyth, Act – g Secretary of War, & after a personal Inspection & upon the report of Genl Macomb – It was further stated that there should be but one Engr Officer attached to this Harbour, consequently two of us must move – I have been, patiently waiting for 2 weeks, & was in hopes to have been able to have made my final arrangements by to day so that I should not be obliged to return here, but can hear nothing – I go up to day to carry Mary who will go with her Mother over the Ridge & take the Boo. God bless him, The trip I think will be beneficial to all, Both Mother & Son have not been altogether well this Summer, – I shall return immediately & witness the results of this order – I am sorry to inform you that by this proceeding those in authority have thought proper to cast an insult upon the Engr Dept & pointed censure upon the Officers of Engrs Charged with the Work, The first I believe to be as uncalled for as the second is undeserved, & as I am conscious of having endeavoured fully to discharge my duty for the last 2 years when I may almost have been considered as the principal, & am aware that since I have been here, nothing has been omitted by the Chief Engr, to apply the Funds appropriated to the best advantage, Capt Talcott with my full concurrence & advice had demanded a Court of Inquiry & we shall insist upon a thorough investigation, & further should there be no cause of blame discovered, as none has as yet been hinted at, but merely to subserve some of Gen Macomb’s ideas & to gratify some of the Arty Officers here, & no reparation granted. I shall refuse to enter upon any other duty – That is unless it will be assuming too much responsibility upon myself, for work done under the direction of my Superior Officer, upon which subject I shall have a full understanding with Capt T – – If Government wish to contract the work, as it has been stated by the Scientific Cap that it is already more than sufficient for the defence of the Harbour let such orders be given as may be necessary, but let those orders be carried unto effect by the proper Officers who have hitherto been entrusted with the charge of the work, & after expending great labor & care, expected this year to have bought it to a close, I think it unjust to give it now to another Branch of the Army, who will take the credit & give reason to the World at large to believe the proper Officers were incapacited for its completion – Charles Turner arrived from the W. Indies a few days since & spent a couple of days with us – Mr & Mrs Lewis & Miss Peck are at Audley, just returned via the Springs from Louis – a It is no secret now that our Cousin Tiffin is engaged to a Mr Conrad of that Country, formerly from Virgin – a He is expected in daily to remain to the Fall – Cousins Hill & M. have not been here, being afraid of the whooping cough & meazles they were at Shirley when last heard from – Charlotte has left Richmond with Mrs Green for the Springs, & Wms was to follow with her Clothes – It is reported that Wms is engaged to Miss Parke – I believe I told you that Shirley had sold Cloverland to Beverly Heath for $18000. He is in Richmond, Beverly is going to repair Build etc & reside there – Mrs Lorenzo Lewis has twins – I hear nothing from Smith – I am very glad to learn that the 1st Vol – of Napoleon is out – & shall look forward with great anxiety to get it – I saw some mention of it in Gallegnani – Mary sends much love & I remain as ever &

in haste

R E Lee

Boo went up with his GrMother – Louis & Lee become fat & hearty – both fine Boys –

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

The end of the letter after “Shirley” is written on page one, perpendicularly to and over the original script. This letter is addressed “C. C. Lee, Counsellor at Law, Spring Camp, Near Stoney Fork, Floyd County, Virginia.” The postmark is “Old Pt Comfort, Aug. 22.”