Rockbridge Baths

28 July 1866


My dear Robert

I was very glad to See from your letter of the 2nd, the progress you are making in your farm. I hope things may move prosperously with you, but you must not expect this result, without Corresponding attention & labour. I should like very much to visit you, but it will be impossible. I have little time for anything but my business, I am here with your mother, waiting to see the effect of these waters upon her disease, before proceeding to the warm springs. She is pleased with the bath, which she finds very ageable, & it has reduced the swelling in her feet & ankles, from which she has been suffering for a long time, & in fact from her account, entirely removed it. This is a great relief in itself, & I hope may be followed by greater. I do not think she moves with more facility, though I think she walks (on her crutches) oftener & longer than heretofore, & probably with more Confidence. She has been here too short a time to pronounce positively as to the effects of the water, & will remain three or four weeks, before we determine whether she will go farther. I am unwilling for her to lose the whole Summer here, unless it promises Some advantage, & after the middle of next week unless some marked change takes place, shall take her on to the warm springs. Custis has gone to the white sulphur, but expects to be in Richmond on the 6th Aug: to meet Fitzhugh with a view of going to the warren white sulphur springs in N. C. to witness the erection of a monument over dear Annie, which the kind people of that County have prepared for the purpose. My attendance on your mother, which is necessary to her, prevents my being present.

Agnes & Mildred are here & I think the baths have been beneficial to them already, though they have not been here a week. I will leave them to describe the place & visitors. I applied the dressing of salt to the old meadow at Arlington, with the view of renovating the grass. I believe it is equally good for the Corn. It was refuse salt, Liverpool, which I bought cheaply in Alexa. from the sacks having decayed & broken, but I cannot recollect exactly how much I applied to the acre. I think it was about 2 or three bushels. You had better Consult some work on farming as to the quantity. I would advise you to apply manure of some kind to all your land. I believe there is nothing better or cheaper for you to begin with than shell lime. I would prefer cultivating less land, manured in some way, than a large amount unassisted. We are always delighted to hear from you, & I trust with care you may escape the chills. The incentives I spoke of were a sweet wife & child. Gold [sic] bless you my dear son. Most affy

R E Lee           



Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c, Section 31, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 April 4