<br /> Lee Letter: v051

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Charles Carter Lee

My dear brother Carter

Your letter of the 22nd March, written shortly after your return from a visit to Uncle Wms, which reached me 3 weeks since; has not been answered before, in consequence of my absence from the City. I have been over to the Valleys of Tolu – a & Cuernavaca for the purpose of gaining some knowledge of the roads & country; & have just returned. I must first offer you my congratulations upon the birth of a son & heir, & say thanks to my dear Sister Lucy for this additional happiness she has given us. I am truly thankful that Mother & child are so well & trust that the latter may be a constant & increasing source of felicity to his parents. I had begun to grow a little impatient for this event, & remember having sent some message on the subject to my Sister in my last letter. I now beg pardon for allowing my confidence in her to be shaken by a little delay & acknowledge her triumph in anticipating its arrival. I take it for granted his name will be Henry & will so register him in my heart, in the trust that he will be as good as great. But that will be her part. A child learns all that it has of good from its Mother. You will have learned of Genl Scotts arrival in the U.S. before this reaches you. He was so kind as to wish to take me home with him, but upon finding that Genl Butler objected, I was unwilling by accepting his offer, to furnish his enemies with the opportunity of further attack & to charge him with withdrawing officers from the field whose services were were wanted by the Commanding Genl. It was at the same time apparent to me that my place could be better filled by those here now under me, so that in reality the Service would have gained rather than lost by my absence. This made the matter harder to bear. The opinion prevails very generally among the citizens as well as in the Army that the Mexican Congress will within the next two weeks ratify the treaty as it has come from our Senate. Those who have the best opportunities for judging, Genl Butler, Miss – r Servier Clifford etc express themselves very confident that it will be so. I must confess that with every wish & hope that they are correct in their opinion. I have seen these people go so often contrary to reason, that I have ceased to expect them to follow its dictates, And yet when I ask myself what they can do except make peace, I am at a loss for an answer. I do not doubt but that those having the administration of the Govt: anxiously & earnestly desire the ratification of the treaty, but whether they can reconcile the discordant elements opposed to it remains to be determined. One party, the Puros with Almonte at their head, clamour against it for political purposes hereafter, & talk of national honour, fame etc. Another party, Rich proprietors, men of property, commerce etc, finding their possessions & gains etc more secure, & free from exactions, under our government than before, & fearing at our departure a recurrence to the old system of Pronunciamentos & taxation, wish us to remain. A third, the Military & factions hope by keeping up the war & strife, to maintain their positions & wipe out their disgrace, & refer to our embarrassments, as giving prospects of success. The fourth party, composed of those who wish to preserve the nationality of their country, see the danger to its existence by a further prosecution of the war, & the necessity of sacrifices to obtain peace & secure its integrity, are fortunately those now in power & the more numerous party. I hope they will prevail. You will see Peria y Peria’s address to the Congress. It is an able & manly paper & does him credit as a patriot. The treaty has been referred to a committee in each chamber. A favourable report is expected from both, especially in the Senate. In the mean time the Factions are stirring up opposition & the Government marshalling its friends. What will be the result? I will tell you 2 weeks hence. If the treaty is ratified, it is understood that we march down towards the coast agreably to one of its articles, when I presume the troops will be embarked as soon & as fast as circumstances will permit. We shall fall upon a bad season for such an operation & can hardly hope to get out of the country, with as little loss as we entered it. I trust we shall not have to consign to the sea, as many brave men as we shall leave in Mexican earth. Such is the fate of war. You ask about the feeling in the Army, at the recall of Genl Scott. I presume you allude to certain memoirs which have reached us through the papers of the U.S. I am happy to say that those memoirs were untrue. There has been no open outbreak or violation of discipline. The Army knew that nothing could have more distressed him, whom they wished to honour than such conduct. The mortification that he felt at his own treatment would have been increased an hundred fold by any misdemeanors on their part. Their feeling, their disgust, was however not the less strong, less deep. It was painful to see the distress on both sides at his departure. The Court of Inquiry closed its session about 3 P.M. on Friday. It was somehow found out at night that the Genl intended leaving next mor – g. The street in which his Qrs: were was thronged with Officers till a late hour hoping to get sight of him. His staff were down at the gate, doing all they could to repress their efforts to go up. Some few could not be restrained. In the mor – g, there was a recurrence of the scene, with the hope of seeing him enter his carriage. As he drove along the street all were uncovered. On reaching the Peron gate, & entering on the causeway, there was a long row of Officers on horseback who had been waiting to give him a parting salute. As he drove by, it was done in silence, neither party being able to speak, & the murmur of prayers for his safety & happiness was all that could be heard. The dissatisfaction in the army is great. The men are deserting & the officers trying to get home. Mind this account is merely for yourself. I had intended to give Sister L. some account of my visit to the Sword Mountain & the great cave of Cacahuamulpa. So must your patience be. Give much love to my Sister & Nephew & All friends. I hope my dear Uncle Wms has entirely recovered. Remember me to Selden with my congratulations etc. I am very glad to hear such good accounts of dear Cousin Anne W. and all at Shirley

Very truly affect your brother

Robert E. Lee

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

The last sentence and the closing were written perpendicularly to the rest of the letter.