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

Yours etc

Rathmmell Wilson

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

Cuvier                                                                                                                                                  5

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

Rathmell Wilson

encloses catalogue

of books he proposes

sanding to Washington



Ansd  Feby