<br /> Lee Letter: w045

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee
Lettie Burwell

My dear Letty

I was very glad to receive your letter tho’ it was rather shorter than I could have desired. & will commence a reply now that I have a few moments to myself. I suppose Dr Pendleton tiold you of the plan to repair & enlarge our old church which I thought was decided upon & perheps was the wisest course but some of the vestry were not content & had another meeting in which they determined to pull this down & put a new one of brick in the same spot & next week when the Dr goes to Convention they commence the pulling down but where the money is to come to complete the new edifice I cannot tell as we have not more than 12 thousand <illegible> from quarters unknown to us now – The “Memorial” window which I hoped to be able to pay for myself if I had got Arlington as I had before by this time, but a lady from Georgia a Mrs Tracey now living in New York has sent me word that she will make the Mem window her special case & thinks she can easily obtain sufficient for it I think money is very difficult to get now any where – The country is looking most lovely but the drouth is very great & the gardens afford but few vegetables – Since writing the above we have had a most delightful rain just when we had despaired of it altogether proving how much better our Heavenly Father is to us than we ever deserve & the verdue which had commenced to droop is magnificent – How I long to get out on the soft green grass & the bright hills but that can never be more in this life & I must be content with my lot I am much more helpless than when you saw me in consequence of my illness the past winter & am going to the “Hot” about the last of June where I shall reamin as long as it may seem to be beneficial to me Mildred is still unable to walk without without crutches & Agnes constantly suffers with neuralgia but they seem undisposed to go to the Hot yet I shall urge them to do so as I think it would be of service to both. Dr Cabell has arranged there the mineral mud bath which is most highly appreciated in Germany & which I am sure will benefit both my feet & Mildreds lame foot tho’ she can put it to the ground now & I hope it will now be better in the natural course of things, as she has been laid up with it nearly 10 months – The girls all write in love Mary is in Baltimore & is contemplating a trip to Europe if she can find a suitable escort & we can raise the means. I think it a pity that she should not have an opportunity of enjoying what I have so often longed for & expected someday to accomplish, but that day never came & now even if I was able to travel I should not care to go, I hope you are all well & that Rosa is coming in to see you & how is my friends Mr Mrs Creevy? He must still use his influence in my behalf tho’ it did bring down such a storm of abuse upon him, he must not be very in well doing They are new waiting to <illegible> my claim after the elections are over. What do you think of Grant & Wilson A worse combination could scarcely have been proposed & I do wish they had been defeated – but perhaps our cup of chastisement is not yet filled & we must be content to feel that God knows what is best for us – You will see by this my letter has been laying by for some time as we have been in the midst of an entire house cleaning which lasted about 2 weeks as all this furniture had to be oiled & the walls coloured but it is all through now & we look very nice & comfortable I like always to think of you at Avenel I hope you will never be obligated to leave I have suffered so much in the loss of my home that life is all changed to me I cannot get attached to the new one yet I am not with ample formal comforts & the kindness I have received here Love to all your family

yrs affectionately

M C Lee


Lee-Jackson CollectionLeyburn Library

1873 is conjectural year. Avenel is the home of William McCreery Burwell (b. 1809) of Bedford, Virginia, built c.1838. Burwell married Frances Callaway Steptoe (b. 1810) on 2 Nov. 1830. Robert E. Lee and his daughter Mildred visited Avenel in June 1867. Freeman says Burwell was a connection of Lee. The Burwells had at least one child, Rosa (b. 1845), who married Charles Henry Todd (b. 1838) on 15 Feb. 1865. Todd was born in Stockdale, Kentucky. Lettie Burwell kept a journal during the war, which makes up part of Our War: An Account of the Civil War in Bedford, Virginia (2004, edited by June B. Goode).