Sept 23rd, 1872

My darling Mother

Charlotte died yesterday morning about 7 .oc. after nearly twelve hours of agony almost. She passed away very quietly, her last moment not being distinguishable. She was worn out by her sufferings & by her struggles against suffocation & died from exhaustion. We are so thankful that it so ended, for we were gravely apprehensive that from the nature of her disease, her actual end would be caused by strangulation. She was anxious up to a few moments before her death, but all during the night her mind wandered at times, though in the intervals she was perfectly clear. But her intense suffering prevented her saying much to us or we to her. She had always expressed herself to me & to her mother as perfectly willing to die. But until the last day had hopes of getting well. That indefinite hope against hope, that we all have to stay with our friends here. But at no time had she the slightest fear or doubt. And her sufferings were so terrible & her recovery so perfectly hopeless, that we all thanked our Father that he has at last taken her to Him. For now I know she is bright beautiful perfect & happy. Mr Haxall[,] Barton[,] Fanny[,] Rosalie & Mrs Wise will go to the funeral.1 Her mother, Agnes & I will remain here. She will be buried from the monumental church tomorrow @ 12m & be laid in her family’s lot at Hollywood. They’ll all leave here tomorrow morning at 5 o c, & reach Richmond by 9.30. She is now lying in her own room, on her sofa, dressed in her bridal clothes, that she wore only ten short months ago, covered with roses, fresh from the garden, & looking as great & beautiful, as pure & happy in her body as I know she is now in the spirit.

God gave her to me dear mother, & he has taken her away. He has a right & I do not gainsay it for one moment. But it is so terribly hard so it seems to me, that I should never have been any more. So much had we hoped & looked forward to this time when we would have come up & seen you preparatory to our journey to our own home.

But I know it is right & I pray that I may be strengthened to bear her loss as becomes a Christian & that it may be the means sent by God to draw me nearer to him. I never deserved the blessing & happiness of her pure love, & I do not murmur against my maker now he has taken her away.

I will leave here Wed morning at 12m & will be in Lex Thursday at 1 am. I beleive [sic] is the time the stage arrives Leave a light for me & the door open & a note by the lamp where I am to sleep, so I wont disturb any of you when I come. I expect to stay with you five or six days before I return I need your sympathy your love & your comforting advice more than ever. I can take Tabb down if she is ready to come when I do. All here are quite well. Mrs. Haxall very much worn by her long and assiduous nursing

Love to all & believe me ever your loving son




Source: Checked against original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 g 16-23, Section 6, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 July 23



1. Charlotte was the daughter of Richard Barton Haxall (1805-1881) and Octavia Robinson Haxall (1814-1892). Her siblings included Fanny (1850-1875) and Rosalie Thompson Haxall Noland (1852-1935). Her sister Harriett Haxall Wise (1841-1893) married Henry Alexander Wise (1834-1869), the son of the governor of the same name.