Harpers Ferry

6 Decr 1859


My dear Henry


Your letter of the 28th ulto only reached me yesterday. I am sorry I am not in position to enable me to Comply with your request. But I was picked up on the 29th & sent up here to look after the friends of Mr. John Brown. “Poor fly he done buzz” as the crazy man said, but I think I shall remain till after the 16 to prevent the necessity of returning. I will however send your letter to Arlington & ask some of your Cousins to copy the Coat of Arms, from the plate in the House. I do not know that we have any other, but perhaps there may be. Mr John A. Washington of Mt. Vernon no doubt has it, & could give it to you more accurately.

I hope the Society of which you are a member may flourish, & that you may be an ornament to it. Do not decline any post of honour, but fit yourself for it. I am very glad that you have the opportunity as well as desire to improve yourself & become a good & useful man. That is the main object of life & I am sure you will not loose [sic] sight of it.

I left your father & mother (& C) at Arlington but fear they will have left before my return. I very much regret not being with them while there, for I have scarcely seen them since my return from Texas.

I have with me here 4 Comps of Artillery from Ft. Monroe, about 280 men. Sam Cooper is attached to one of the Comps. The weather for the last three days has been very disagreable, & we are not the most agreably situated for winter storms.

The military from Charlestown are returning daily, almost hourly to their homes, & I suppose the force is rapidly diminishing. Reports of alarm still Come in, & last night I was informed that 1400 men were on their way to meet us. I want to bed known & find this morg they did not arrive. In fact I hardly think they will be here this month, & these young soldiers will have to return to their oysters at old Point, without their breakfast on the sympathizers.

I am glad to hear that you are well & doing well & remain your affectionate

Uncle R E Lee  




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Robert Carter Lee Papers, Mss1 L51 d 3, Virginia Historical, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 April 19