20 June ‘65

I cannot leave Richmond dear Markie without thanking your for your kind note of the 4th Inst. You must not be so sorrowful. We all have much to be thankful for, & you who Can do so much good, & make yourself useful to others, have great cause for joy. I can do but little but am resigned to what is ordered by our Merciful God, who will I know do all that is good for us. I shall next week take your Cousin M. to Cumberland Co. about six miles from Cartersville on the Canal. She can only travel by water without pain, & I have therefore selected a house in that region for her benefit, otherwise I should have preferred Orange Co – That you may see how time has dealt with me since we parted, I send you the last photograph of me. I am glad to hear that you like the white beard, as that is so prominent in the picture. It would indeed be a great gratification to me to visit Europe. But there is much to detain me here, & at present at least it is my duty to remain. I shall avoid no prosecution the Govt thinks proper to institute. I am aware of having done nothing wrong & cannot flee. There is nothing my dear Markie that I want, except to see you, & nothing that you can do for me, except to think of & love me. It would require you to become a Fairy & turn what you touched to Gold to take me to Europe, but I would not desire you to change your nature for my benefit. I prefer your remaining as you are. All are as well as usual & all unite in much love. Give mine to Lum

Truly & affy yours

R E Lee




Source: Scan of original letter, Letters of Robert E. Lee to Martha Custis Williams, 1844-1870, Huntington Library, San Marino, California              

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 September 26