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Lexington Va: 15 Oct ‘65


My dear Mary

Capt Edmund proposes to return to Oakland tomorrow, & I take advantage of the opportunity thus afforded to write to you. Although I have not heard from you since I last wrote, I hope you are all well, & as comfortable as you can be. I am very anxious to get you all here, but have made little progress in accomplishing it so far. Dr. Madison expects to vacate the house this week but I fear it is not certain he can do so. There is some member of the family in the house he has engaged in Staunton too ill to be moved, & it is not known that the house will be vacated. I engaged some carpenters last week to repair the roof for us, stable &c, but for want of material, they Could not make a commencement. I hope they will thus. There is no lumber lime &C at hand. Everything has to be prepared, I have not been in the house yet, but I learn there is much to be done. We shall have to be patient. As soon as it is vacated I will set to work, & I think it will be more expeditious & cheaper to write to Renwick,1 to send what articles of furniture will be required, & also to order some Carpeting from Baltimore. Annie & Miss Belle are at the Hotel with me. They came up last tuesday, but finding the manufacture of the Canal between this & Lynchburg, suspended, they determined to remain awhile. They now expect to leave tuesday evg. The water we are told has been let in the canal, & the boats are expected to resume their regular trips. I have enjoyed their Compy very much, though I See but little of them during the day. Yesterday we had made arrangements to visit the natural bridge which is only 14 miles distant, but a steady North Easter rain set in during friday night & Continued till this morg. I am very sorry for their disappt. Warrington is with them, I was very desirous for him & Custis to take them down during the week, fearing a change of weather, but they said they preferred writing till Saturday when I could accompany them, & I fear they have missed the opportunity of Seeing one of the wonders of the country. Mrs. Cocke does not propose accompy Capt Edmund but will remain longer with her brothers family. Mrs. Preston I think contemplates a visit to her friends in Phila & Mrs C. will aid Miss Phebe in taking care of the family. Miss Phebe is a very sweet young lady, Converses very delightfully & I am told is a fine performer on the Piano. I have made few acquaintances as yet. The weather has been very pleasant, & I endeavour to take a ride every afternoon which I find essential to me.

I hope Robert has escaped his chills. I hear they are very prevalent in Richmond, & that it has been very hot & dusty. There are many of Roberts Companions of the Rockbridge Arty here, & I have frequent inquiries after him. Some of them have entered the College & are striving for an education. Perhaps he would like to join them this winter. If he Can he had better Come up with you. Students for the College are Coming in slowly. There are about 70 here now & more expected. The exercises of the Mil: Institute commence on Monday (tomorrow) but four Cadets have yet reached here. Custis is very well & quiet. How are Agnes & Mildred, & how do they amuse themselves? Tell them I shall want them very much in arranging our domicile. I have heard Miss Belle speak of Sunday letters recd from Agnes which she intends replying to; she & Annie charged me to give you all much love, in which Custis joins me. I have nothing new or interesting, & I think I am becoming more Solid every day.

You must give a great deal of love to my children. I have not heard of Mary. Present my kind regards to Mr Thos: Cocke, Mrs Preston & Miss Caruthers. I hope Wm is doing well.

Very truly & affy

R E Lee


Tuesday 17 Oct

Mr Edmund did not go Monday as he intended, but proposes to leave tomorrow, as he may be disappd. I will put this in the mail. Mrs Cocke looks very well, & I hope her health is much improved by her trip to the Mts: Mr Preston is busy at his studies & is doing very well. Annie & Miss Belle visited the natural bridge yesterday & were much charmed. Neither Custis or myself could accompany them. Warrington was their escort, & they took Nora & the children, who were much delighted with their ride. Julia can walk, says a few words, whistles for the dogs & has three teeth. she is considered as wise as she is beautiful. They all leave this evg for Lynchburg by the canal, whence they will take the R. R. Annie for Richmond, & Belle for Baltimore & Washn. Custis & I will be left alone. The carpenters made a beginning on the house yesterday. I hope it may be vacated this week. I will prepare your room first. The rest of us can bivouac.

Love to all

most affy

R E Lee



1. Cabinet maker in Baltimore.



Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 600, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 September 7