Mrs. M. C. Lee             Camp 7 Aug ’64

 

I have recd dear Mary your letter of the 4th & those of Dr. Hughes & Miss Manly. I do not know what you must do about the former. Although I highly appreciate he kindness that prompts his actions yet it is difficult to express it & in this & similar cases impossible to return it except in feeling. That is very unprofitable to the recipients & in present times I fear destructive. I trust God will restore you & enable you to devise some material mode of shewing the appreciation of both of us of his unselfish & untiring attentions. As regards Miss Manly you ought not to have let her undertaken such a labour. I am however extremely obliged to her & her kind colabourers, & impressively touched by the sad thoughts which must have been interwoven with their stitches. May God lighten their sorrows & gladden their hearts by good works. I went up to Richmond friday evg to see the Pres: on matters of business, intending to return saturday evg as my time was very limited, & business pressing. On going to the depot I found there was no train & I came down early this morg leaving the whole household asleep. I was very glad to get a glimpse at Mary, Custis, Smith, & indeed all the occupants of the house, & was sorry you & your fellow travellers were not there. I only had a glimpse of them though, for I was all the time with the Pres. Little Annie was sick & I only saw her on my first arrival. I was saddened too to hear of the death of our good old Uncle Wms. It was however a great relief to think he was now beyond the reach of his cowardly persecutors the Yankees, & enjoying the mercy of an everloving God, & I trust his pardon & forgiveness. It has been revolting to my feelings when I have thought of his destitute position & the indignities to which he was subjected. He died Saturday morg & was to be buried sunday evening in Richmond by the side of his wife. With the exception of Mrs. Fitzhugh he was the last connecting link to the persons whom I enjoyed in my boyhood & who made my days so happy. I found Mary pretty well. She complained of being weak, was very thin, but in her usual spirits. She seemed to enjoy little Lizzie Wickham as much as Mildred did Custis Morgan. She is indeed a dear little child. I do not think Mary will leave R[ichmond]. I think she prefers it. She sees more people, &c. I hope she will keep well. Do not make yourself uneasy. Custis is vey well & very kind & affectionate. I was glad to be with Smith too. He looks very badly I think. I hope you have recovered from your fall. It must have been a dreadful blow in your condition. Present my kind regards & warm thanks to the kind people around you. Tell my precious Agnes I will reply to her kind letter. Kiss Life for me.

With true aff

RE Lee

 

    

1. Dr. Alfred Hughes was born on 1824 September 16 in Wheeling, Virginia [now West Virginia]. He was a doctor of homeopathic medicine who attended Philadelphia’s Homeopathic Medical College. Early in the war, he was arrested by Federal authorities for his support for the Confederacy, but he was released and took up residence in Richmond. One of his patients was Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee. Hughes became a member of the Virginia legislature later in the war, and he volunteered to take up arms during the Dahlgren raid of 1864. He was an advocate for the enlistment of African American soldiers into the army, though the measure was not carried out until the last weeks of the ar. After Lee’s defeat, Dr. Hughes moved to Baltimore, where he died and was buried in 1880. 

2. Williams Carter (1782-1864), a veteran of the War of 1812 and planter in Caroline County, Virginia. He was the son of Robert Carter of Shirley plantation and the brother of Robert E. Lee’s mother, Anne. In his will of 1864 July, he left property to William Fanning Wickham. He apparently died on August 6, which was a Saturday. He is buried in St. John’s Episcopal cemetery in Richmond.  

3. A pet squirrel, named after Custis Lee and John Hunt Morgan.

 

 

Source: Transcribed from photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L 51 c 539, Section 27, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2022 March 9