West Point       15 June ‘53


My dearest Horse


I take advantage of the transmission of a letter from sweet Mary Whittingham1 to send you a few lines, the only offering I Can now give you of my affection & interest. The Ex[aminatio]n will close early next week when I hope to have a little more leisure. It has progressed so far satisly but I fear we shall lose some of our friends. Comey & Campbell did very badly. I fear they will go. See how cruel it is for young men by their neglect & inattention to bring upon their parents & friends the mortification & distress of their failure.

Two nice lads too, but they preferred their own ease & pleasure to their clear & imperative duty.

Your brother will Come up in Chemistry tomorrow. I hope he may do as well as Philosophy. I heard from your mother yesterday. Your Grdfather is better & she is thinking of returning to the Point. He will come with her. My little people are well.

With much love

I am your father

R E Lee


Wm H Fitzhugh


Tell Miss M. W. she must come up & see us. That you will bring her & return her  REL



1. Mary Ann Whittingham Wilmer was the daughter of William Rollinson (1805-1879) and Hannah Harrison Whittingham (1795-1885). She was born in New Jersey on 1834 October 4 and baptized on 1835 July 5 in Newark. Her father, a native of New York, was an Episcopal priest and the Bishop of Maryland. Robert E. Lee knew the Whittinghams from his days in Baltimore at Fort Carroll, and he worshipped at Mt. Calvary, where Bishop Whittingham presided. Mary was named after her infant sister who died in 1834. She married Charles Wilmer in November 1864 and was listed in the 1900 census as living in Baltimore and is listed in the 1907 Baltimore city directory. 




Source: Scan of original letter, The Papers of Robert E. Lee, 1830-1870, University of Virginia Special Collections, Charlottesville

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 November 15