San Antonio, Texas 1 July ’60


I have recd dear Mary your letter of the 18th Ulto (No. 3), from which I hope that you are all as well as usual. I am very thankful for this, & that you are able to enjoy the society of your friends. I fear it will be a long time before the bridge is repaired & your communication with Washington will thus be interrupted. The Aqueduct is a great Comfort to Custis in his daily peregrination, & I hope he finds his horse agreeable & useful. The constant rains must retard his operations exceedingly, though they will serve to keep vegetation fresh & green. I am sorry to hear that Charlotte has been sick. It may be occasioned by her residence, or the return of her last years disorder, produced by Cold. In either case it is unfortunate for her & her child, & the apprehension of a repetition of this disease, will I fear mar much of her pleasure at the White House. I have scanned the papers with anxiety to See if the ravages of Storms insects &c that have visited different parts of the State, had extended to New Kent & King Wm. I have noticed no account of the destruction of crops in those regions, but presume they have shared the common calamity, & that therefore my hopes of good crops this year, will again be disappointed. Man proposes, but God disposes, & we must be content. I hope that Fitzhugh will keep well indeed. If all become sick, it will be a bad business. I have not heard from him for some time, & know that during harvest he will be very busy. I have written to him twice since my return from the Rio Grande, & to Charlotte once. I hope my letters reached them safely. I recd recently a letter from dear little Rob, whom I think I love more than ever, telling me of the change in his feelings, & the devotion of his heart to God. He also informed me that Mr. Ambler said he was fully prepared to enter the University & to keep up with the course, & that he was not only willing but desirous of going there. If this is the case I think he had better do so, for though he is young he has got to employ himself somehow till he is older, must prosecute his studies, & where can he do so with more advantage? He will be exposed to temptations everywhere, & none will be more formidable than idleness, or the absence of the necessity of application & occupation. I have written to him however that I had said every thing on that subject that I Could say; that at this distance I could not pretend to decide; but would leave the matter in his hands, yours, Custis’ & Mr Amblers. He must therefore make up his mind at the close of his school term & let me know. I would furnish him with the funds to support him respectably & Comfortably at College, & that he must do the rest. I am glad to see that his class reports speak so favourably of him, & hope that if he determines to go to C[harlottesville] he will continue to do well. As to your own plans dear Mary, you must also decide upon them. I am too far off to be of any assistance to you, & fear if I was nearer, I would be no better. You have your children around you & you must make use of them. In my last letter I believe I delivered myself fully on this subject, both as regards yourself & Custis. The time is approaching for you to decide & act. I will send Custis a check for my July dividends by the next mail, so that you will have everything in your own hands. I am hoping to hear from his daily whether Mr Winston’s account had been paid that I might know how I stood, or would have sent it before. I am very glad to hear that Miss Holly Randolph has married so much to the satisfaction of her friends, & as it must be entirely to her own, it is a subject of general Congratulation. I wish them & Mrs Toler too, all happiness. As to your impression about its being time for a wedding in our family, I must refer you to Cousin Charlotte & the young people themselves. Whenever they think it time, it is time; & they need not wait for my return, which is uncertain & may be protracted beyond the limit of their patience. Mr Charles Calverts fate ought to tire a man of doing good, so small is his recompense. Tell Cousin Charlotte that at least one person gives him credit for his virtues and good deeds & that is, her humble servant. I join with her in wishing that he may at least be rewarded hereafter. You must give much love to all the children. Tell Markie that the merits of Painters are not oftener rewarded than those of other people. She must bear in mind her Cousin Charles, & not be too persistent in her devotion to art. I hope she may have a pleasant summer & that Conquest in what she prefers may attend her.

I have nothing more to relate. Major Maclin,1 the successor of Major Chilton,2 has arrived with his family. He is said to be a fine gentleman & appears to be so. I hope his tour of service may be pleasant to him. Again with love to all I am truly & devotedly yours

R E Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 257, Section 14, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 April 25




1. Major Sackfield Maclin (1809-1876), a native of Tennessee, who served as paymaster in the army. During the Civil War, he worked in the Commissary Department for the Confederate army. He is buried in Mississippi.

2. Robert Hall Chilton (1815-1879), who served in the Mexican War and worked as a paymaster before the Civil War. He was a native of Loudon County, Virginia, and graduate of West Point. He joined the Confederate army in 1861. From September 1862 to April 1864 he worked as chief of staff for Robert E. Lee. From May to November 1864, he was commander of the 57th Virginia regiment, though he eventually returned to a staff assignment in Richmond. After the war, he moved to Georgia, where he worked in manufacturing. He died in Georgia but is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.