Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter XXIII: A Round of Visits: Preference for country life

The Document

Mr. Andrew Cameron owned a fine farm near Lexington, and kindly took care of my father's horses when he was away in the summer; also at different times supplied him with a cow and took care of any calf, if there happened to be one, till it was of service. My father constantly rode out to see him, and enjoyed talking farming as they rode together over his fields. His delight in every aspect of Nature was real and ever present. These letters show, too, his care and consideration for animals.

His letter to his daughter Agnes is in lighter vein. His playful moods, so usual with his children, never entirely left him.

"Hot Springs, Bath County, Virginia, August 23, 1870.

"My Dear Agnes: I have received both of your letters, the last the 17th, and thank you for them as well as for your care of my room and clothes. The former I understand is used for a multiplicity of purposes, and the cats and kittens have the full run of my establishment. Guard me against 'MISS SELDEN' [Mildred's kitten], I pray you. I am sorry that you are not with me, as it possibly may have benefitted your neuralgia. But if MISS BELLE is with you, I am sure she will be of greater service, and tell her she must remain till I come, that she may cure me. That you may have some other inducements than your flowers and weeds to take you out of doors, I will write to your mother and send for the horses as soon as she can make arrangements to have them cared for, and then you and Mildred and Miss Belle, the one on Traveller, the other on Lucy, can scour the country and keep us in eggs and chickens. I am sorry for the death of our good cow, but glad that she is out of misery.... I do not think any of your friends are here. Mr. Washington has been vibrating between this place and the Healing, but does not seem to be well. Miss Alman, from Salem, Massachusetts, whom you may recollect as having been at the White last summer, is here with her father and mother. Miss Mollie Jourdan left to-day, and Colonel Robert Preston arrived. The Chestnuts and Le Verts are still here. I hope that you are well and that all is well with you. When Custis comes, ask him to see to the horses and the cow and that they are gently treated and properly fed. I know nothing of Henry's capacity in that way. I hope to be home next week and am very anxious to get back.

"Your father,

"R. E. Lee."

Next: Chapter XXIV: Last Days

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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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