Camp Fredg 20 May 1863

My dear Miss Mary

            I am so much obliged to you for your Kind invitation of the 16th. I should greatly have enjoyed being present at your coronation, & to have made my obeisance to the queen of Love & beauty. You Know you have long been enthroned in my heart. But I had to deny myself the pleasure, & was obliged to attend to matters that Could not be postponed. My thoughts were with you however, & I have not yet Ceased to regret my inability to be present. Should I visit Richmond again I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you1

                                                            Very truly yours

                                                            R E Lee



1. As Lee’s flirtatious words suggest, Haxall (1849-1892) was popular in Richmond. In 1873, she inspired a duel between John Mordecai and Page McCarty in which Mordecai was killed and Page injured. Mary eventually married Captain Philip Haxall (1840-1897), a veteran of the Confederate army. Her sister Charlotte (1848-1872) married Robert E. Lee, Jr. On the duel, see Walter S. Griggs, Jr., Hidden History of Richmond (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2012).   



Source: Transcribed from facsimile of original, vertical files, Jessie Ball DuPont Library, Stratford Hall

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 January 27