From the following letters--all that I can find relating to this part of the journey--it appears that the travellers started for Virginia, stopping at Charleston, Wilmington, and Norfolk. Of their visit to Charleston I can find no record. He and Agnes stayed at the beautiful home of Mr. Bennet, who had two sons at the college, and a lovely daughter, Mary Bennet. I remember Agnes telling me of the beautiful flowers and other attentions lavished upon them.
At Wilmington they spent a day with Mr. and Mrs. Davis. His coming there was known only to a few persons, as its announcement was by a private telegram from Savannah, but quite a number of ladies and gentlemen secured a small train and went out on the Southern Road to meet him. When they met the regular passenger-train from Savannah, General Lee was taken from it to the privateone and welcomed by his many friends. He seemed bright and cheerful and conversed with all. He spoke of his health not being good, and on this account begged that there would be no public demonstration on his arrival, nor during his stay at Wilmington.
On reaching that place, he accompanied Mr. George Davis [Attorney General in Mr. Davis's cabinet] to his house and was his guest during his sojourn in the city.
Mrs. Davis was a Miss Fairfax, daughter of Dr. O. Fairfax, of Alexandria, Virginia. They had been and were very old and dear friends and neighbours. The next morning my father walked out and called on Bishop Atkinson, with whom he had been well acquainted when they both lived in Baltimore, some twelve years before, the one as rector of St. Peter's (Episcopal) church, the other as Captain of the United States Engineers, in charge of the harbour defenses of the city.
There was a dinner given to my father that day at Mr. Davis's home, and a number of gentlemen were present. He was looking very well, but in conversation said that he realised there was some trouble with his heart, which he was satisfied was incurable.
The next day, May 1st, he left for Norfolk, Virginia, where Dr. and Mrs. Selden were the kind entertainers of his daughter and himself. Agnes told me that in going and returning from church the street was lined with people who stood, hats off, in silent deference. From Norfolk they visited "Lower" and "Upper Brandon" on the James River, the homes of the Harrisons; then "Shirley," higher up the river. Then they proceeded by way of Richmond to the "White House," my mother having arrived there from Lexington a short time previously. The General wrote from "Brandon" to his wife:
"My Dear Mary: We have reached this point on our journey. Mrs. Harrison and Miss Belle are well and very kind, and I have been up to see Mr. William Harrison and Mr. George and their families. The former is much better than I expected to find him, and I hope will recover his health as the spring advances. The ladies are all well, and Miss Gulie is very handsome. Agnes and I went over to see Warrenton Carter and his wife this morning. They are both very well, and everything around them looks comfortable and flourishing. They have a nice home, and, as far as I could see, everything is prospering. Their little boy was asleep, but we were invited in to see him. He is a true Carter. Mrs. Page, the daughter of General Richardson, is here on a visit, and Mrs. Murdock, wife of their former pastor, arrived this morning. We are to go up to Mr. George Harrison's this evening, where the children are to have some tableaux, and where we are expected to spend the evening. In Norfolk we saw all our friends, but I did not succeed in getting out to Richard Page's as I desired, on account of the heavy rain on the appointed day and engagements that interfered on others. Agnes and Mrs. Selden rode out, however, and saw all the family. Everybody inquired kindly after you, down to Bryan, and all sent their love. 'Brandon' is looking very beautiful, and it is refreshing to look at the river. The garden is filled with flowers and abounds in roses. The yellow jasmine is still in bloom and perfumes the atmosphere. I have not heard from you or from Lexington since I left Savannah. I hope all are well. I am better, I trust; am getting fat and big, but am still rigid and painful in my back. On Tuesday night I expect to go to 'Shirley,' and on Thursday, 12th inst., to Richmond, and on Friday to the 'White House,' unless I hear that you are crowded, in which case I will submit myself to the doctors for two or three days, as they desire, and then go down. Agnes now says she will accompany me to the 'White House,' so that I shall necessarily pass through Richmond, as our baggage renders that route necessary. Therefore, unless something unforeseen prevents, I shall be with you on Friday next. All unite in love. Agnes, I hope, is better than when she left Lexington, but is not strong. You must give a great deal of love to Fitzhugh, Tabb, my grandson Robert, and all with you.
"Most truly and affectionately,