West Point 8 Oct 1852


I shall be too sorry dearest Markie if I should not be able to get to New York before your departure to say “goodbye”. I shall endeavour to do so, but I cannot leave the Point at this time, & do not now know when I shall have an opportunity of so doing. But whether I do not Markie, you will carry with you my earnest prayers & warmest wishes for a prosperous voyage & happy meeting with all your kind relatives beyond the big water; & may be sure of the true affection & constant recollection of those you leave behind. None will sympathize more in your pleasures or rejoice more in your happiness than your cousins at West Point, or offer sincerer supplications to that kind Providence in whom you place your trust, that he will guard you from all sorrow. May he restore you to us when your mission is done as pure & true as you go. You must not be cast down at the prospect of your departure Markie. Kind friends await your approach, & warm hearts will gladden at your arrival. Those you leave behind, though saddened by your absence will hold you as close & dear as if you were present. Then cheer up Markie & carry a brave as well as true heart for every occasion of life. To enliven the tedium of your voyage a little, I have introduced you to two young Englishmen, Mr Henry A. Bright & Mr Barbee, who have taken passage in the steamer which will carry you. They brought letters to me from Mrs. Wainwright of Washington & appear to be intelligent & gentlemanly I introduced Lawrence to them, that he might be able to present them to you on your embarkation. They very kindly offered to give you every assistance, in their power to afford. You must not let them engross you too much Markie, but think some times of your Cousin. I am very sorry that you are still suffering from your back. I hope the voyage will entirely restore you. In the meantime I know your kind friends the Sisters will do all in their power to relieve you. Present me to the ladies & remember me to the Major.

Lawrence will give you all the news of the Point. I am very solitary, & now that Miss Rosalie R___ has gone, have nothing bright to look at. My good dame as is natural is lingering with her parents. Her departure is always a sorrowful event to them & sad to her. She will probably be on by the last of the month. I have cajoled a little kitten to keep me company. M’s last letters informed me that my dear Mother had been very sick, & though easier, was confined to her bed. I do not wish her to leave as long as her presence is necessary to her. Goodbye my dear Markie. May every blessing attend you. Do not forget your very affectionate friend & cousin

R E Lee




Source: Scan of original letter, Letters of Robert E. Lee to Martha Custis Williams, Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 August 17