From Lexington I had gone to Baltimore for a short visit, and had spenta week with Mildred at the home of our cousin, Mr. George WashingtonPeter, near Ellicott City. Soon after getting back to my farm, Ireceived the following letter from my father, still trying to helpme along in my work:
"Lexington, Virginia, February 8, 1867.
"My Dear Son: I was very glad to learn from your letter of the 31stult. that you had enjoyed your visit to Baltimore, for I feared whenyou left us that you might have a visit from your shaking enemy. Itrust, however, that he has now left you never to return. Still beprudent and watch his approach closely. I hope you may be able toprocure some good mules in Richmond, as it is a matter of importanceto your operations. If you can get the lime delivered at ten cents,I do not know a more economical application to your land. I believeyou will be repaid by the first crop, provided it acts as I think itwill. Of this you must judge, and I can only say that if you canaccomplish it, and wish to try, I can send you $300, and will send itby draft to you, or to any one in Baltimore that you will designate,as soon as I hear from you. I commend you for not wishing to go indebt, or to proceed faster in your operations than prudence dictates.I think it economy to improve your land, and to begin upon the systemyou prefer as soon as possible. It is your only chance of success,so let me know. I have to write in haste, as the examination is inprogress, and I have to be present. George and Robert both came upto-day in the subjects in which they are respectively weakest, so givethem your good wishes. I received yesterday a letter from Mildredregretting your departure from Baltimore, and expressing the pleasureshe derived from having been with you even a short week. I hope shewill continue well and return to us soon. We are all about as youleft us. The weather has moderated and the ice disappeared from theriver, though the boats have not yet resumed their trips. Mudpredominates now instead of snow.... Wishing you all happiness, Iam, Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee.
"Robert E. Lee, Jr."
The Robert and George mentioned here were two of his nephews whom hewas educating at the college, the sons, respectively, of his brothers,Sydney Smith Lee and Charles Carter Lee. They were members of hishousehold and were treated as his own family.