"Lexington, Virginia, March 22, 1870.
"My Dear Fitzhugh: Your letter of the 17th inst. has been received. Lest I should appear obstinate, if not perverse, I have yielded to the kind importunities of my physicians and of the faculty to take a trip toward the South. In pursuance of my resolution, I shall leave here Thursday next in the packet-boat, and hope to arrive in Richmond on Friday afternoon. I shall take with me, as my companion, Agnes, who has been my kind and uncomplaining nurse, and if we could only get down to you that evening we would do so, for I want to see you, my sweet daughter, and dear grandson. But as the doctors think it important that I should reach a southern climate as soon as practicable, I fear I shall have to leave my visit to you till my return. I shall go first to Warrenton Springs, North Carolina, to visit the grave of my dear Annie, where I have always promised myself to go, and I think, if I accomplish it, I have no time to lose. I wish to witness her quiet sleep, with her dear hands crossed over her breast, as if it were in mute prayer, undisturbed by her distance from us, and to feel that her pure spirit is waiting in bliss in the land of the blessed. From there, according to my feelings, I shall either go down to Norfolk or to Savannah, and take you if practicable on my return. I would ask you to come up to Richmond, but my movements are unknown to myself, as I cannot know the routes, schedules, etc., till I arrive there, but I have promised not to linger there longer than necessary; so I must avoid temptation. We are all as usual. Your mother still talks of visiting you, and when I urge her to make preparations for the journey, she replies rather disdainfully she has none to make; they have been made years ago. Custis and Mary are well, and Mildred writes that she will be back by April 1st. We are having beautiful weather now, which I hope may continue. From
"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee."
To his daughter Mildred he writes again, giving her the minutest details as to the routes home. This is very characteristic of him. We were always fully instructed, all the roads of life were carefully marked out for us by him:
"Lexington, Virginia, March 23, 1870.
"My Dear Daughter: I wrote to you the other day, telling you of my intention of going South and of my general plan as far as formed. This morning your letter of the 21st arrived.... I hope you will get back comfortably and safely, and if you can fall in with no escort, you had better go as far as Alexandria, the first stage of your journey. Aunt Maria, Cassius Lee, the Smiths, etc., would receive you. If you wish to come by Goshen, you must take the train from Alexandria on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, so as to arrive here about twelve o'clock at night. By taking the train from Alexandria on the alternate days, Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, you will reach Staunton that evening by four P. M., remain all night, and come over by daylight the following day in the stage. By taking the train from Alexandria to Lynchburg, Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays, you will reach there the same afternoon, about four P. M., then go IMMEDIATELY to the packet-boat, and you will arrive here next morning. This last is the EASIEST route, and the best if you find no escort. Tell all the conductors and captains that you are my runaway daughter, and they will take care of you. I leave to-morrow evening on the packet-boat. I told you that Agnes would accompany me. Tell my cousins Washington, Jane, and Mary that I wish I were going to see them. I should then anticipate some pleasure. But the doctors say I must turn my face the other way. I know they do not know everything, and yet I have often had to do what I was told, without benefit to myself, and I shall have to do it again. Good-bye, my dear daughter. All unite in love.
"Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee.
Letters to Mrs. Lee from Richmond and Savannah--From Brandon--Agnes Lee's account of her father's greetings from old friends and old soldiers--Wilmington and Norfolk do him honour--Visits to Fitzhugh and Robert in their homes