Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

 Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

"Baxter" and "Tom, the Nipper" were Mildred's pets. All of us hada fondness for cats, inherited from my mother and her father, Mr.Custis. My father was very fond of them in his way and in theirplace, and was kind to them and considerate of their feelings. Myfather was very fond of them in his way and in their place, and waskind to them and considerate of their feelings. My mother told ofhis hearing one of the house-pets, possibly Baxter or the Nipper,crying and lamenting under his window one stormy night. The Generalgot out of bed, opened the window, and called pussy to come in. Thewindow was so high that the animal could not jump up to it. My fatherthen stepped softly across the room, took one of my mother's crutches,and held it so far out of the window that he became wet from fallingrain; but he persuaded the cat to climb up along the crutch, andinto the window, before he thought of dry clothing fo himself. "LucyLong" was my father's mare, which had been lost or stolen at the endof the war, and which I had just brought back to him. I will givein the following letter his account of her:

"Lexington, Virginia, September 4, 1866.

"Dr. C. S. Garnett.

"Dear Sir: I am much obliged to you for your letter of the 23d ult.and the information it contained. The mare about which my son wroteyou was bred by Mr. Stephen Dandridge, of 'The Bower,' Berkeley County,Virginia, and was purchased from him for me by General J. E. B. Stuartin the fall of 1862--after the return of the army from Maryland. Sheis nine or ten years old, about fifteen hands high, square built,sorrel (not chestnut) colour, has a fast walk, easy pace, and shortcanter. When I parted with her she had a full long mane and tail. Irode her in conjunction with my gray horse from the fall of '62 tothe spring of '64, when she was sent back for refreshment; and it wasin recalling her in the spring of '65 from Mr. Hairston's, in HenryCounty, that she got into Major Paxton's stables of public horses andwent to Danville with them. I think she might be recognised by anymember of the Army of Northern Virginia, in Essex, unless much changed.I now recollect no distinctive marks about her except a blaze in herforehead and white hind-legs. My son, General W. H. F. Lee, residingat the White House, in New Kent, might recognise her, and also myson Robert, who resides near West Point, in King William. CaptainHopkins, to whom you refer in your letter, is dead, but Major Paxton,who had general charge of the public stables, and to whom I referredyou letter, has sent me the accompanying affidavits of two of themen employed by him. Should their evidence not be satisfactory, hewill procure statements from some of the officers, which probablymay be more definite. I should be obliged to you, if the mare inquestion is the one I am seeking for, that you would take steps torecover her, as I am desirous of reclaiming her in consideration ofthe donor, General Stuart.

"Your obedient servant, R. Lee."

It was proved to the satisfaction of all parties that the mare inquestion was "Lucy Long," and my father reimbursed the man who hadbought her from some one who had no right to her. She was broughtto my place and I recognised her at once. She stayed with me untilI was ready to pay my Christmas visit to Lexington. She then was puton the train and sent to Staunton, where I met her. I found thereColonel William Allan, a professor of Washington College, who had abuggy and no horse, and as I had a horse and no buggy, we joined forcesand I drove him over to Lexington, "Lucy Long" carrying us with greatease to herself and comfort to us. My father was glad to get her, ashe was very fond of her. When he heard how she came over, he wasreally shocked, as he thought she had never been broken to harness.She lived to be thirty-three years old, and was then chloroformed,because my brother thought she had ceased to enjoy life. For the lastten years of her life she was boarded out in the country, where shedid nothing but rest, and until about a year before her death sheseemed in good health and spirits.