<br /> Lee Letter: v029

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Charles Carter Lee

My dear Carter

Your letter of the 9th Inst. arrived this morning, and as I have been waiting for some time to know of your “whereabouts,” I will reply to it at once. I must tell you in the first place that your letter from the Camp, enclosing the deed etc for the land Sold by you, was safely arrived, and the deed properly executed, transmitted as you requested to Mr Archibald Stuart, Patrick Ct House. Rose and I have as yet done nothing towards the division of the remainder with Mr B. though as he talks of coming to Arlington soon, I hope we may then make the best arrangement in our power on the Subject. I have grieved over your relinquishment of the Camp, with perhaps its few but wholesome comforts, its hunting grounds and the improvements erected by your labour and attention. Yet I have little doubt but that your present location has much the advantage in realizing a speedy and golden harvest; and though the distance between us is greatly increased, yet provided you have the “almighty dollar” at your controul, this will easily be overcome. I hope your new abode has health as well as plenty, without which in my opinion all other possessions are valueless, and that you may not be disappointed in your calculation of crops. Should these be favourable you will be able in the Western vernacular, after two years to “go ahead.” Since your departure from Virginia many things have taken place which I would have before informed you of, had I known where a letter would have reached you. That of the first importance is the death of our dear beautiful Bella! It was announced in the Baltimore and Richmond papers, and may probably have met your eye. She died at Ann’s in B. on the 17th of Decr without a groan or sigh, and with one long breath her fine Spirit, took its flight for the eternal world. I saw her one week before her death, and never was there any thing half so lovely on earth. Her sickness had had no effect upon her appearance, her complexion was like alabaster, and her eyes and cheeks had a dazzling brightness not of this earth. She was engaged to be married to a Mr Stephenson of Baltimore, who with Anne, Mr M. her Physicians, Misses Donelson & Harrison and Charlotte Carter watched by her bed when she closed her eyes in everlasting night. Uncle Wms had been traveling about with her all the Summer and Fall; had visited Cape May, and carried her to N. York & Phila to consult the Physicians there. On his return to B. he left her at Ann’s and encouraged by the Phys he half distracted set out for the South where he said his business imperitively required his presence. He was somewhere in Florida when her death took place, Williams was written for but did not arrive till the day after she was buried. Her disease within the last three weeks of her life, seemed to fall upon her lungs, and changed to a rapid consumption, or perhaps that was its seat long before it was suspected – And this perhaps kept her Physicians so much in doubt as to its termination, for although they had no hope of her final recovery, yet they had no apprehension of immediate danger. No one can know better than yourself the loss thus occasioned to her acquaintances, or appreciate the deep grief of her friends and relatives. I have still another affliction for your affectionate heart. And the subject though nearer to us has made so happy a change from this world of sorrow, that however much we may grieve for the parents there can be but little regret for him – I now refer to little Arthur – Mildred’s second boy. I received a joint letter from M. & Mr. C telling of their affliction and it was easy to see how deeply they felt it – Their letter was dated Munich 9th Nov – just after Mr C. with his own hand had laid the marble remains of their bright eyed boy in the cold, cold grave, and placed upon his golden head the strange sod, which in natures course his tiny hand should have done for him. They filled his little place of rest, his coffin and his grave with wreathes of flowers, and left him alone to our great and good God. Who during their absence will spread flowers on his narrow resting place? I can fully sympathize with their bitter bitter grief, the thought of the experience of which makes one shudder, And which I pray God I may never feel. He had suffered greatly in teething, so much so as to produce convulsions in February – Since which time he had never perfectly recovered. He had had for some time a disease of the bowels, when the Cholera made its first appearance at M – – and carried him off – when he wanted but a few days of being 19 months old – Anne and her little boys have been suffering from the whooping cough nearly all the winter. When last heard from – they had nearly got over it. Mr M. has been quite sick, something of a pleurisy, though he is now recovering. We are all well at A – – and Mary appears to have quite recovered. The children are growing fast and are in perfect health – Cousin Anna has just left there after spending a week or so, and is very well. Miss Virginia Price, Miss <Betts> and Matilda Mason have also been spending some time with us. When are we to look for you? Smith, Nanie & their boy are very well at Clermont. I suppose they will now be going to R – – I have written in much haste and in the midst of interruption and have neither room or time to tell any of the news of the day, all of which you will gather from the papers – It is needless to say, that Mary and the rest at A – – not being apprised of my writing can only send in their names much love

Your brother

R E Lee

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

This letter is addressed “To C. C. Lee Esqr, Counsellor at Law, LaGrange, Fayette County, Tennessee.” It is postmarked “26 Jan. Washington, D.C.” The return address is “R. E. Lee, Jany 26 1837.” There are many pen marks on the page with the address, probably written by a child.