PGBC Senior Prom - Stepping Out In Elegance - August 10th

Liverpool July 20th 1853


My dear Ellen,

With heartfelt thanks to our heavenly Father for His gracious protection, I announce my arrival at the haven where I would be, last night at nine o’clock, after a passage of ten days & four hours. I had a Stateroom to myself all the time, & had no sea sickness—not having missed a meal during the passage.

            We had head winds & thick fog or rain half the passage—only one perfectly bright day, & that was charming.

            Yesterday as we came up the channel the weather cleared up fine, & we had a good view of old Snowdon & the other Welsh mountains—& the full moon greeted us in Liverpool harbor, with great brilliancy. I got lodgings at the Waterloo Hotel—at 10 o’clock—where I now sit writing after breakfast—which was crowned with a plate of Strawberries as large as your early figs, which I took by the Stem as I would a Seckle [sic] Pear.

            I am going to my Banker & also to deliver some letters, & then decide upon my movements. I shall perhaps go to Dublin tomorrow, & see the great Exhibition there, & then go to London as the Parliament is still in Session, & I wish to be there before it is prorogued. The Queen has just gone to Osborne. (Isle of Wight) where she has the measles. I will wait her recovery before I present myself.

            Among my fellow passengers was Mr. James Robb[1] of New Orleans, whose acquaintance I made, & Mr. [Wilson?] formerly of Mobile. We had a very pleasant voyage on the whole, having had only one day of rough weather & a pleasant company of 150 passengers of all nations. The Baltic is a noble vessel. I shall engage a berth on her for the return trip directly, I think.

            Write to me often & regularly, not forgetting the address, Messrs. J & T Malcomson & Co., No 5, Goree Piazza, Liverpool. With much love to all & kiss to my dear children. I am your truly devoted husband,

Nath’l P. Knapp.[2]


9 P. M.  It is still quite light, the twilight continuing till 9 o’c at this high latitude. Indeed it is light at 10. And again at 3 in the morning. I have arranged my funds for London & shall go tomorrow morning I believe, to have the best of the remaining season in London. I can go thence to Scotland & take Ireland on my way back. In the meantime the Queen will have recovered & will have prepared to go to Dublin, as she was about to do, when Prince Albert took the measles & gave them to the Prince of Wales & Her Majesty. I should like to meet her there. I called on the Dumonts’ Sister this forenoon, but did not find her at home. I exchanged cards with Mr. George Martin. Mrs. M. is at New Brighton, over the River, where the people go to bathe. He hoped that they would be at home on my return visit to Liverpool. The ladies had an uncomfortable voyage. Mrs. M is with her parents, but only so so.

            My last visit was to the [letter is ton] Hammond, who was very polite & kind to me. He was with me to the Malcolmsons, who very kindly offered to anything they could for my accommodation. John & his wife were to leave London tomorrow for Scotland. But I may find them when I reach the Metropolis, or overtake them in Scotland or Dublin [letter is torn] here. I met Mr. Cannon or Cha [letter is torn] much surprised to see me. S [letter is torn] brought very forcibly to my [letter is torn] off my mind as any [letter is torn] for all that I bore best [letter is torn] my darling & may you [letter is torn] blooming as a young Sailor Boy. I look quite like a Sailor now, having improved very much in appearance as well as in real condition. I hope to find you as much improved when I shall again take my place as the head of the household. Once more God bless & preserve you & all our flock.

Ever your own devoted





Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.220, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 November 23

[1] Robb (1814-1881), a native of Pennsylvania, worked in finance and the railroad and gas industry. He lived in New Orleans from 1837 to ca. 1858. He was in the North during the Civil War, but afterward, he returned to New Orleans. He died in Cincinnati. 

[2] Rev. Knapp, who was born in Massachusetts, was the rector of Christ’s Church in Mobile, Alabama. He was married to Ellen McMacken Bedford Lee, the daughter of Ludwell Lee, who was born 1802 April 5. She was first married to Thomas Bedford of Kentucky, who died in 1841 in Alabama. She married Rev. Knapp in May of 1844 and had two children: Ludwell Lee Knapp (1845-1883), who was born in Alabama and later moved to New Orleans, and Caroline Frances Knapp (b. 1847), who married Rev. John Richard Joyner.