Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter XXIII: A Round of Visits: "Ravensworth"

The Document

His next letter is from "Ravensworth," where he went after his visit to the "Seminary Hill:"

"Ravensworth, Virginia, July 20, 1870.

"My Dear Mary: I arrived here yesterday from Alexandria and found Aunt Maria well in general health, but less free to walk than when I last saw her. She is cheerful and quiet, but seems indisposed to try any of the healing baths, or, indeed, any of the remedies resorted to in cases of similar character, and seems to think nothing will be of avail. I hope in time that she will be relieved. Her niece, Mrs. Goldsborough, the daughter of her sister Wilhelmina, is with her. She seems to be a nice little lady--has a big boy of eight months, and is expecting her husband to-morrow, so nothing need be said more on her account. Mr. Dickens was over last evening, and reports all well with him. All the family are to be over this evening, so I cannot say more of them. Ravensworth is looking very well--I mean the house and grounds, but little of the farm seems to be cultivated, and is growing up with pines. I received your letter directed to Alexandria after my return from my visit to Cassius, also Colonel Williamson's. Resolutions will not build the church. It will require money. Mr. Smith did not give so favourable an account of Mr. Price as did Mr. Green. I did not see Mr. P---, for it would have been of no avail without having the plans, etc., and I cannot wait here to receive them. I shall have to send them, or to invite him to Lexington after my return. I propose to leave here, if nothing prevents, on Monday, 25th inst. If I go by Goshen, I hope to reach Lexington that night, or Tuesday morning after breakfast. I have heard a rumour that the water has been withdrawn from the canal above Lynchburg for the purpose of repairs. If that is so, I shall have to go by Goshen. My cold continues, but is better. The weather is very hot and to me is almost insupportable. At 6:00 P. M. yesterday, the thermometer in Ravensworth hall marked 86 degrees. This morning, when I first went out, it stood at 84 degrees. Thank Agnes for her letter. I cannot respond at this time. The letter you forwarded from Mrs. Podestad describes the sickness her children have passed through. She is now with them at Capon, and Miss Emily has gone to visit Mrs. Barksdale in Greenbrier. Mrs. P--- says she will be ready to visit you any time after the middle of August that you will notify her. I am glad all are well with you, and hope the garden will give you some vegetables. I am anxious to get back and see you all. Give much love to the girls, including the Misses Selden. Tell them they must not leave till I return, that I am hurrying back as fast as rheumatism will let me. I have abandoned my visit to Nannie and the boys on the Pamunkey. Tell them it is too hot and that I am too painful. Aunt M--- sends love to all. Remember me to all friends. I must leave details till I return.

"Most truly and affectionately,

"R. E. Lee.

"Mrs. R. E. Lee."

The building of the church here referenced to was the Episcopal church in Lexington, which it was proposed to take down and replace with a larger and better building. My father was a vestryman, and also a member of the building committee.

Next: Letter to Doctor Buckler declining invitation to Europe

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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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