General Lee.                                                     Staunton March 10 1866

            Dear Sir

                                    Your 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

                                                                        Yours truly

                                                                                    John B. Baldwin


Notation on reverse in General Lee’s handwriting:     

            10 March ‘66

Col: J. B. Baldwin

In reference to Va: Cen

tral R. R. etc

and the Messrs

Colyars students

of Washington College