Derwent July 18th 1865

 

I was so glad to hear from you again my dear Caroline & to know that you had not forgotten us.  Also to see from your photgraph that you are looking so well   I regret very much that I am not to keep all of them.  Genl Lee I am sure never received your note or he would have certainly complied with your request tho= his locks are very thin now.  I regret very much my absence from Richmond will prevent my seeing your friend Mrs Cochrane & hearing particulary of you all.  Abbey writes to me every once in a while but I have not had a line from Helen nor do I know if she had more than one child.  How I should love to welcome you all once more at my dear old home but will that ever be, God only knows    You did not mention my cousin Mrs Petit   How is she?  You must give my affectionate love to her, I am sure she feels with us in our severe disappointments & the suffering (Page 2) of our unhappy South.  You would suppose from the title of this retreat that we were in sight of cool lakes & romantic scenery but it is retired little place with a straight up house & the only beauty it possesses is a fine grove of oaks, which surround it.  Thro= the kindness of a friend who has given us the use of it.  It has been rendered habitable & all the out buildings are dilapidated & the garden is a mass of weeds.  As we probably shall not remain here long enough than the season we shall not attempt to cultivate it & the kindness of our neighbors supplies us with vegetables meat & ice so that we want for nothing - Our future will be guided by circumstances, I have not looked into it, all seems to dark now, but we are tempted to think God has foresaken us yet we have many blessings, one of the first that all my children have been spared to me from this cruel war   God took my precious Annie to himself & (Page 3) for that I bless his holy name.  Oh how much agony she was spared which her tender spirit could ill have borne.  Th Genl has gone on a visit to his brother Carter of a few days & I may have sent this letter before his return thus you do not mention whether Mrs Cochrane will remain long or not.  I will collect all the photographs I can for you   the girls have not had any taken & mine is a miserable affair   you must kiss little Robert for me    I will tell my Rob he must consider himself as sponsor   He and Roon are down at the White House working hard with their own hands.  They staid there a week without any shelter save the sky & slept on their blankets on the ground for which their military life for the last 4 years had well fitted them   Now they have put up a shanty   the enemy had destroyed every vestige of a habitation on the place & their is no fence for more than 8 miles around.  They are young & hearty & able to struggle with their destiny - Custis has been with us & has (Page 4) been offered a --?-- in Lexington which he will accept if the Institution can be sttarted again.  Mary has gone on a visit to Staunton & the other 2 girls are with me & desire to be affectionately remembered to you    The lady who has afforded us this shelter for our --?-- is Mrs Elizabeth Cooke & she has been to Kentucky recently   you may have met her - she went to see after some property of hers there which fortunnately she found uninjured    I should be so glad to hear from you very often.  Caroline any letter sent Richmond to Rev Jones, Mr Caskie  corner of Clay & 11th Ave will be forwarded to me in course of time - for we have no mails now   that is too much of a luxury to be accorded to Rebels.  When you write Helen you must send much love to her & tell her she must write to me.  There are many opportunities in Richmond where she can send her letters to Mr Caskie for I do not trust the Post Office there implicitly tho= many letters have been allowed to reach me   Remember me to your husband & believe me as ever your old friend


M C Lee