Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter XXIII: A Round of Visits: Baltimore

The Document

Judged by what he says of himself, my father's trip South did him no permanent good. The rest and change, the meeting with many old friends, the great love and kindness shown him by all, gave him much pleasure, and for a time it was thought he was better; but the main cause of his troubles was not removed, though for a while held in check.

During the month of June he remained in Lexington, was present at the final examinations of the college, and attended to all his duties as usual. On July 1st he went to Baltimore in order to consult Dr. Thomas H. Buckler about his health.

While there he stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Tagart.

My mother had returned to Lexington after her visit to "Bremo," together with my sister Agnes. To her, on July 2d, he writes:

"Baltimore, Maryland, July 2, 1870.

"My Dear Mary: I reached her yesterday evening at 9:15 P. M. Found Mr. Tagart at the depot waiting for me, where he had been since eight o'clock, thanks to his having a punctual wife, who regulates everything for him, so that he had plenty of time for reflection. I believe, however, the delay was occasioned by change of schedule that day, of which Mrs. Tagart was not advised. We arrived at Alexandria at 5:00 P. M., and were taken to Washington and kept in the cars till 7:45, when we were sent on. It was the hottest day I ever experienced, or I was in the hottest position I ever occupied, both on board the packet and in the railroad cars, or I was less able to stand it, for I never recollect having suffered so much. Dr. Buckler came in to see me this morning, and examined me, stripped, for two hours. He says he finds my lungs working well, the action of the heart a little too much diffused, but nothing to injure. He is inclined to think that my whole difficulty arises from rheumatic excitement, both the first attack in front of Fredericksburg and the second last winter. Says I appear to have a rheumatic constitution, must guard against cold, keep out in the air, exercise, etc., as the other physicians prescribe. He will see me again. In the meantime, he has told me to try lemon-juice and watch the effect. I will endeavour to get out to Washington Peter's on the 4th and to Goodwood as soon as Dr. B--- is satisfied. Mr. and Mrs. Tagart are very well and send regards. The messenger is waiting to take this to the office. It is raining, and I have not been out nor seen any one out of the house. I hope all are well with you, and regret that I was obliged to come away. Tell the girls I was so overcome that I could not get up this morning till 8:00 A. M. Give much love to everybody, and believe me most truly,

"R. E. Lee."

The advantages of early rising my father ever held out to his daughters, so that he knew they would enjoy hearing of his being late in getting down in the morning. During this visit to Baltimore he took advantage of his proximity to many old friends to visit them.

Next: Alexandria

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How to cite this article

Lee, Robert E. jr., The Recollections & Letters of Robert E. Lee,, webpage created by Rickard, J (8 June 2006),

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