Lexington Va 9 Oct ‘65


My dear Mary

I have recd your letters of the 1st & 4th Inst: The latter was brought by Custis. Life is indeed gliding away & I have nothing of good to shew for mine that is past. I pray I may be spared to accomplish something for the benefit of mankind & the honour of God.

I am glad that you are comfortable in health, & that you are all well. I hope I may be able to get the house prepared for you in time for you to reach here before the cold weather. Dr. Madison has sent me word that he will vacate the house on the 16th Inst: this day week. I will Commence to make some outside repairs this week, so as to get in the inside the next, & hope by the 1st Novr that it will be ready for you. There is no furniture belonging to the house, but we shall require but little to commence with. Mr Green of Alexa to whom I had written, says that his manufacturing marching &c have been so much destroyed, that although it has been returned to him, he cannot begin to resume operations till next year, but that he will purchase for us anything we desire. I believe nothing is manufactured in Richmond, everything comes from the north, & we might as well write to Baltimore at once, for what we require. What do you think? I believe nothing of Consequence is manufactured here though some few things can be procured. I will see this week what can be done.

I have no desire to sit either to Mr Valentine or Elder, but if it will gratify them, or Mr Caskie I will submit. They can come any time that is most Convenient to them. All times will be irksome to me. I think the earlier the better, as the days will be warm & longer now than later.

I am glad you had such a pleasant visit from Mr. Dana. I have recd a letter from Smith who saw Mr Dana & recd from him a Similar report Concerning A[rlington]. Smith also saw Selina. He has not been to A__ himself. He wrote from Mecklenberg, & expected to be in Richmond the past week on his return with Nannie to Ravensworth. All accounts agree in representing A in an unenviable Condition for a future residence, even if it can be recovered. I hope it will be recovered , but I cannot move in the matter, until the Pres: shall think proper to include me in his proclamation of amnesty. If I can recover it, I think it will be better to relinquish it to Custis, & let him do with it as he thinks best. It will be all the same a hundred, years hence, when all that we are interested in will have ceased from troubling.

I am sorry that Robt has had a return of his chills. I think he had better remain with you till he recovers, & unless it is necessary for him to return to the W. H. to Come up with you. A trip to the Mts: might permanently restore him. Smith is going to reside at Richland & will have Fitz, John & Henry with him to help him work. He goes there this Fall, & it will be a great Comfort to him to have his fine boys with him. Dan has gone to Bordeaux as 3rd mate of a large ship. Smith is at Sea, & he desires to place Robt at school. I should be glad if he Could send him here, & will offer to take charge of him. There will be no spare room for him in our house, but he could take his meals with us.

I am very much distressed at Lucy Renshaws death. She was the person no doubt, Mrs Pendleton referred to & not Lee Byrd, as I mentioned in my former letter.

Mrs. Cocke speaks of going home tomorrow. In that event I will give her this letter, & also one for you & one for Mildred, which I recd by mail. Capt Edmund goes with her. I have been able to See but little of her, since her arrival, which I very much request, as I have for her a very high esteem. I am very sorry to hear that Mrs Prestons son has broken his arm. He is young though & will soon recover. Remember me to her, Miss Caruthers & the boys. I have been looking for something that Mrs. P. would like here, but can find nothing. I receive letters frequently from persons in her condition & can do nothing for them.

Annie & Miss Belle will be here tomorrow according to their arrangement, but I think will be detained some days, as the navigation from the mouth of North river to this place is suspended.

Give much love to my precious children & believe me most affy yours.

R E Lee




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 598, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 September 20