Staunton March 10 1866
letter in relation to the importance of the Covington & Ohio Railroad was
duly received. If we were (?) actively engaged in pressing forward a bill
providing for the making of that great work.
The bill passed our Legislature & the Legislature of West Virginia
having been completed in the latter body only half an hour before the session
expired by constitutional limitations. For
the particulars of the plan I refer you to Dr Graham who as Chairman of the
Committee on Roads was most active & efficient in forwarding the result.
The commissioners named by the two States will meet very soon in
Washington City to look after the duty confided to them & already I have
assurances that seem very reasonable & promising that we shall have at least
two responsible companies competing for the work.
I need hardly assure you that I have the success of this great measure
very much at heart & that I will do all I can to promote & forward it.
If the Covington Road is once put under contract in responsible hands the
Valley Road will be able to work its own way & this part of Virginia will
receive an impetus such as rarely been witnessed in this century.
I congratulate you upon the passage of the College Bill.
It would seem to be but a small --?—of congratulations that the State
was induced to do an act of such sheer justice toward so meritorious a class of
creditors but those of us who understand extreme money panic & prepare under
which the Legislature acted during the last session are obliged to attribute
this relief of the colleges to a very strong feeling in their favor.
I learn from Mr. A. S. Colyar of Tennessee that he has two sons at
Washington College. He has consulted me about sending hem there & wrote me
that in accordance with my advice he has sent them.
Mr. Colyar was a Representative in the last Confederate Congress & it
happened that I served with him on several committees & was thus thrown into
relations of personal intimacy & friendship with him.
He one of the few men I met in Congress whose personal career was marked
by the integrity and earnest devotion of a true patriot & I learn from many
sources that he is regarded as one of the first lawyers & most hightened (?)
gentlemen of Tennessee. In a letter
to me he says “My boys have had so bad a chance during the war that they may
not be able to enter the college, but if not, I want them to enter some school
in Virginia. Your people, their
fidelity & noble fortitude, in that dark & bloody struggle, have a high
place in my affections.”
If anything shall occur to these boys to require the attention of a
friend or advisor if they shall need help of any kind please let me know of it.
Please present my respects to Mrs. Lee & to Miss Mary & believe
me with great respect & regard
John B. Baldwin
on reverse in General Lee’s handwriting:
10 March ‘66
J. B. Baldwin
reference to Va: Cen
R. R. etc