Lexington, Va 22 Mar ‘69

 

My Dear General

I am very much gratified at the reception this mnt of your letter of the 16th inst.; enclosing for my perusal one that you had recd from Genl A. C. Dodge, and which as you have given me permission, I will retain, not merely for the expression of his kind sentiments towards me, which I feel I illy deserve, but in remembrance of the writer. Were it worth his while to refer to my political record, he would find that I was not in favor of Secession and was opposed to war. In fact, that I was for the Constitution and the Union established by our forefathers. No one is now more in favour of that Union and that Constitution, and as far as I know it is that for which the South has all along contended, and if restored, as I trust they will be, I am sure that there will be no truer supporters of that Union and that Constitution than the Southern people.

But I must not wander into politics, a subject I carefully avoid, and return to your letters. Your Communication of the 15 Jany, last, was especially pleasing to me, and I am very glad to have authenticated under your own name, statements which were made to me at the time of Genl Gratiot’s removal, as well as your high opinion of his character. I have never associated with a person who as far as my knowledge extended, laboured more earnestly or more honestly for the Government and the welfare of the people than he did. When you next come to Virginia I hope that you will not halt on the borders, but penetrate the interior of the State, and that you come to Lexington. We shall be very glad to see you and I hope that you will be repaid for your journey by the pleasure which you will see your visit afford us. Though rather late, I must thank you for introducing me to your friend, Mrs. Nairm, who I met last summer at the Warm Springs. We found her and her sister most agreeable companions and charming ladies. I wished to write to you at that time but they can tell you how closely I was occupied night and day in nursing a sick daughter. I have thought of your friends very often since their departure, and hope that their health has been permanently benefited by their visit to our mountains and that they will be encouraged to repeat it.

Please present my kindest regards to every member of your family, especially to your brave sons, who aided in our struggle for States rights and Constitutional Government. We failed, but in the good providence of God, apparent failure often proves a blessing. I trust it may eventuate so in this instance. In reference to certain articles which were taken from Arlington about which you inquire, Mrs. Lee is indebted to our old friend Capt James May for the order from the late administration for their restoration to her. Congress, however, passed a resolution forbidding their return. They were valuable to her as having belonged to her Great Grand Mother, and having been bequeathed to her by her father. But as the Country desires them she must give them up. I hope their presence at the Capitol will keep in the remembrance of all Americans, the principles and virtues of Washington.

With my earnest prayers for the peace and happiness of yourself and all your family.

I am with true regard

Your friend and obedient servt

R E Lee

 

 

 

Source: Richmond News Leader, 1927 September 15

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 Mach 14

 

 

1. George Wallace Jones, who was a senator from Iowa (1848-1859) before the Civil War. He apparently received the rank of general after his service in the Black Hawk War. During the Civil war, he was arrested for having Confederate sympathies. He was released after 34 days behind bars, but he had two sons who served in the Rebel military.