Philada Feby 6th 1866
Gen. Robert E. lee,
Pres. of Washington College.
In conversation with Mr. Townsend Warde of this city some time since, I expressed a desire to present a portion of a valuable scientific library (left to me by the Will of my late Brother Thomas B. Wilson) to some Institution in the Southern States which was in successful operation: it was therefor with much pleasure that I perused your note to that gentleman on the present situation of Washington College, and the prospects of its permanent existence.
No one can more deeply deplore than myself, the suffering, devastation and vandalism which accompanied the raids made by our army in the late unhappy conflict, and my wish is to repair in some measure the effort the effects produced by its excessive and wanton destructiveness.
It may be some months before I shall be able to send all I desire to present to your Institution as the Library is large, and I am selecting out of it works for societies, of which my late Brother was a member.
The first installment will be principally composed of periodicals, of which I send you a sort catalogue, that you may not be at the expence (sic) of purchasing back numbers, should your Librarian subscribe to any of the publications. Most of those mentioned are complete up to Jan. 1866. I shall retain the separate Nos. and have them bound to correspond with those sent you.
You will much oblige by informing me whether the R Road to Staunton is now in operation or which route I had better forward them by, to reach Lexington at the nearest depot: also please have an account kept of the freight due that I may refund the amount.
With much respect I am
919 Clinton Street
Enclosure to letter:
No of Vols
Sillimans Journal 84
Reports of the British Association 30
Journal of the Geological Soc., London 18
Proceedings of the Philosophical Society 12
Edinburg Philosy Journal 9
London & Dublin Phild Magazine 10
Natural History Review 7
Orfila Chimie 2
Journal of the Franklin Institute 80
American RRoad Journal 20
Transactions of the Royal So of Edinburgh 25
Transactions of the Amer. Phil Society 10
Malloy Archer for Anatolia & Physique 30
I think there will be near a thousand volumes for your Library, embracing many departments of Scientific Studies RW
Notation on basic letter by General Lee in his handwriting:
6 Feby >66
of books he proposes
sanding to Washington