Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter XVI: An Advisor of Young Men: Fitzhugh's wedding

The Document

So it was all settled satisfactorily; my brother gained his point, and my father arranged his affairs so that he could absent himself without detriment to his work at the college. He left on the appointed day and hour, and the morning after arriving in Richmond, writes my mother:

"Exchange Hotel, Richmond, November 26, 1867.

"My Dear Mary: We reached here yesterday about 4 P. M., after a not uncomfortable journey, and found Fitzhugh waiting for the important event. I doubt whether his house will be finished, from his account, till January, though he thinks it will. His plans, I believe, as far as he can form them, are to leave Petersburg the morning after the wedding for Baltimore, where they will probably send a week gathering up their furniture, etc., and after that all is undetermined. I renewed the invitation for their visit to us, but he could not decide. Robert is expected to-morrow. Mildred is well and seems to be perfectly happy, as she had on, last evening, a dress about two yards longer than Norvell's. I saw Mr. Davis, who looks astonishingly well, and is quite cheerful. He inquired particularly after you all. He is at Judge Ould's. No one seems to know what is to be done. Judge Chase had not arrived yesterday, but it was thought probable he would reach here in the ten o'clock train last night. I have not heard this morning. I will present myself to the court this morning, and learn, I hope, what they wish of me. Williams Wickham is here, and will attend the wedding. Annie will also go. Fitzhugh is to go out to Hickory Hill this morning, and return this afternoon, to pay his adieux. Mrs. Caskie was not well last evening. The rest as usual, and send much love. Custis is well, and I have my clothes. I left my sleeve-buttons in my shirt hanging up in my dressing-room. Ask Cornelia to take care of them. Mr. Alexander said he would send you up some turkeys, and Colonel Johnston, that he would help you revise the manuscript. It is time I should get my breakfast, as I wish to transact some business before going to court. Give much love to the girls and everybody. I hope you are well and will want for nothing while I am away. Most truly yours,

"Mrs. M. C. Lee. R. E. Lee."

General Lee was summoned this time as a witness in the trial of Mr. Davis, but after some delay a nolle prosequi was filed. General Lee after the war was asked by a lady his opinion of the position and part Mr. Davis had taken and acted during the war was asked by a lady of his opinion of the position and part Mr. Davis had taken and acted during the war. He replied:

"If my opinion is worth anything, you can ALWAYS say that few people could have done better than Mr. Davis. I knew of none that could have done as well."

On the morning after the wedding he writes to my mother:

"Petersburg, November 29, 1867.

"My Dear Mary: Our son was married last night and shone in his happiness. The bride looked lovely and was, in every way, captivating. The church was crowded to its utmost capacity, and the streets thronged. Everything went off well, and I will enter into details when I see you. Mr. Wickham and Annie, Mr. Fry, John Wood, and others were present. Mr. Davis was prevented from attending by the death of Mrs. Howell. The Misses Haxall, Miss Enders, Miss Giles, etc., came down from Richmond. Fitzhugh lee was one of the groomsmen, Custis very composed, and Rob suffering from chills. Many of my acquaintances were present, and everybody was very kind. Regrets were often expressed that you, Mary, and Agnes were not present. I believe the plan was for the bride and groom to start on their travels this morning, but I doubt whether it will be carried out, as I thought I saw indications of a change of purpose before I left, which I had no doubt would be strengthened by the reflections of this morning. I shall remain to-day and return to Richmond to-morrow. I wish to go to Brandon Monday, but do not know that I can accomplish it. Until leaving Richmond, my whole time was taken up by the august court, so that I could do nothing nor see anybody there. Mildred was all life, in white and curls. I am staying at General Mahone's and have got hold of one of his needlepens, with which I can do nothing. Excuse illegibility. No one has descended to breakfast yet. I received, on arriving here yesterday, at 3 P. M., a kind note from our daughter asking me to come and see her as soon after my arrival as convenient, which I did and carried over the necklace, which she pronounced very pretty. Give my love to all. Most truly yours,

"R. E. Lee.

"Mrs. M. C. Lee."

Next: The General's ovation at Petersburg

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How to cite this article

Lee, Robert E. jr., The Recollections & Letters of Robert E. Lee, http://www.historyofwar.org/sources/acw/lee_letters/chapter16e.html, webpage created by Rickard, J (8 June 2006),

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