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Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

 Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

The letter to his son Fitzhugh is mostly upon business, but some ofit relates to more interesting matters:

"Lexington, Virginia, April 17, 1869.

"My Dear Fitzhugh: I expect to go to Baltimore next Tuesday, if wellenough. The Valley Railroad Company are very anxious for me toaccompany their delegation to that city with a view of obtainingfrom the mayor or council a subscription for their road, and, thoughI believe I can be of no service to them, they have made such a pointof it that it would look ill-mannered and unkind to refuse. I wishI could promise myself the pleasure of returning by the 'White House,'but I cannot. If I go to Baltimore, I must take time to pay certainvisits and must stop a while in Alexandria. I shall, therefore, fromthere be obliged to return here. If I could stop there on my wayto Baltimore, which I cannot for want of time, I would then returnby the 'White House.' I shall hope, however, to see you and Robduring the summer, if I have to go down immediately after commencement.But it is so inconvenient for me to leave home now that I cannot say....Poor little Agnes also has been visited by Doctor Barton of late,but she is on the mend. 'Life' holds her own. Both of her cats havefresh broods of kittens, and the world wags cheerily with her. Custisis well, and Mary is still in New York, and all unite with me inmuch love to you and my daughter Tabb and my grandson. I hope thelatter has not formed the acquaintance of his father in the samemanner as Warrington Carter's child.

"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee.

"General Wm. H. Fitzhugh Lee."

In order to induce the city of Baltimore to aid them in building theirrailroad from Staunton to Salem, the Valley Railroad Company gottogether a large delegation from the counties through which it wasproposed the line should pass, and sent it to that city to lay theplans before the mayor and council and request assistance. Amongthose selected from Rockbridge County was General Lee. Lexington atthis time was one of the most inaccessible points in Virginia. Fiftymiles of canal, or twenty-three of staging over a rough mountain road,were the only routes in existence. The one from Lynchburg consumedtwelve hours, the other, from Goshen (a station on the Chesapeake &Ohio Railroad), from seven to eleven. On one occasion, a gentlemanduring his first visit to Lexington called on General Lee and on biddinghim good-bye asked him the best way to get back to Washington.

"It makes but little difference," replied the General, "for whicheverroute you select, you will wish you had taken the other."

It was, therefore, the desire of all interested in the welfare of thetwo institutions of learning located in Lexington that this road shouldbe built. My father's previous habits of life, his nature and histastes made him averse to engaging in affairs of this character; butbecause of the great advantage to the college, should it be carriedthrough, and a the earnest request of many friends of his and of theroad, he consented to act. General John Echols, from Staunton, ColonelPendleton, from Buchanan, Judge McLaughlin, from Lexington, were amongstthose who went with him. While in Baltimore he stayed at the house ofMr. and Mrs. Samuel Tagart, whom he had met several summers at theWhite Sulphur Springs.