Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter XXIII: A Round of Visits: Alexandria

The Document

His next letter is from Alexandria to my mother:

"Alexandria, Virginia, July 15, 1870.

"My Dear Mary: I arrived here last evening from Goodwood, and was glad to hear from Burke this morning that our Aunt Maria was as well as usual. I wish to get out to Cassius Lee's this afternoon, and will spend to-morrow on the Hill in visiting General Cooper, Mr. Mason, the Bishop, etc. ["Aunt M---" was Mrs. Fitzhugh of "Ravensworth," and "Burke," her coloured servant; Cassius Lee, my father's cousin; General S. S. Cooper, Adj. General of the C. S. armies; Mr. J. M. Mason, Senator in U. S. and C. S. Congress; the Bishop, Bishop Johns of Virginia, all at that time living on the "Hill"--or Seminary Hill-- about two miles from Alexandria.] Next week I shall go to Ravensworth and from there think I shall proceed to Lexington. It is so hot that I shall be obliged to forego my visit to Nannie and the 'White House.' It is intensely hot here and I am unable to bear the heat now. I took cold yesterday in the cars or elsewhere and am full of pains this morning, and was unable to sleep last night.

"I have seen Mr. Smith [Mr. Francis L. Smith was my father's lawyer. The matter referred to which caused the remark, "The prospect is not promising," was the chance of getting back the estate of Arlington from the U. S. Government. Mr. Smith and Mr. Cassius Lee were my father's advisers in this matter. "Nannie" was the widow of Captain S. S. Lee, my father's brother.] this morning and had with him a long business talk, and will see him again after seeing Cassius. The prospect is not promising. I got your letter at Charles's. Thank Agnes for hers. All were well there and on West River, and sent you all messages of love. I will give all particulars when we meet. I am at the Mansion House, where it is piping hot. I had felt better until I caught fresh cold, but no one can avoid it in such weather. Love to all. I cannot fix yet the day of my return, but it will be the last week in July.

"I hope Custis has got off, though I shall not be able to see him.

"Most truly and affectionately,

"R. E. Lee.

"Mrs. R. E. Lee."

Next: A war-talk with Cousin Cassius Lee

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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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