<br /> Lee Letter: wl073

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Sam Beach
Recipient: Robert E.Lee

My Dear Sir,

I shall dispatch by to-day’s mail a copy of Genl Patterson’s vindication; which in a former letter I had promised to send. You will see, that the General has sent it in his own name; and, least you should suppose that I had assumed the liberty of using your name, I will state the circumstances connected with it. After readg the copy which my nephew had loaned me, I requested him to purchase and send me one; as I had no doubt you would be glad to read it. He suggested, that the Genl would no doubt give me a copy: and I therefore begged him to ask for one; telling him, I wished to send it to Genl Lee. This, I presume he did; and in this way, doubtless, it came to be presented to you by the author. I make this statement, least you should suspect me of having asked your name without your authority.

I have never heard any thing from the friend in Washington to whom I sent a request for Genl McClellan’s Report of his Campaign in Western Virginia, together with all other reports of military operations by Federal Officers. Whether he ever received and acted upon my letter, I know not; and am at a loss to explain his silence. In order to ensure and answer, and also the dispatch of the Documents to your address, I enclosed a stamp; requesting him to inform me, what he had paid for postage. I hope he may have sent what I requested; and only forgotten to reply to me.

The unusual inclemency of the winter and the badness of the roads have hindered my attention to another matter referred to in previous letters – the reputed possession of one of you pictures by a person in this region. So soon as I am able, I propose visiting you in the South.

I note with great pleasure that two subscriptions of $10,000 each have been made to Washington College. May the good cause succeed to your utmost wishes.I trust that no portion of your funds will be invested in U.S. Bonds. I feel as if God would “blow” upon wealth acquired in a war so wicked as our’s was; and that he can surely be expected to secure a debt contracted in its prosecution. The course pursued and evidently worked out by the party in power is in most respects saddening enough and yet, in one respect I find some consolation in it. It is proving to the world, that resorting to arms to defend their inherited rights the Southern States were not mistaken in the character and designs of the Republican party. That their “platform” proclaimed was not what the party designed. They are only doing now, what they always asked to do, and what under some pretext, or other, they would have done, had there been no secession. The democratic party, too, so far as it is basely united in supporting the war, is beginning to see, that in helping to prostrate the South, it has sacrificed its own liberties.

I have for the last few months been much impressed with the importance of the South having a complete system of Textbooks prepared by Southern men. From Primer up to College books Southerners should be preparing them; and it has occurred to me, that your son, Genl Custis, might add to the fame of his family name by preparing something in his department. I have heard him spoken of as one of rare acquisitions in branches of military education; and hence, I presume, would be well qualified to compose treatises on Mathematics in several of its branches. His name would give currency to his books. I long to see every Yankee text book supported by those of indigenous Southern growth. I am, dear Sir,

Your’s with cordial esteem,

Sam Beach Jones


Robert E. Lee CollectionLeyburn Library, Washington and Lee University

Endorsed by Lee: “5 FEBY ’66 Revd S. Beach Jones sends Genl Patterson’s report. Has heard nothing of McClellans report of Campaigns in W VA – Donations to College Course pursued by the Radical party, proves that the South is resorting to arms to defend their inherited rights, were not mistaken in the characters & designs of the Rep party – They are only doing, what they always wished to do, & would have done under some pretext had there been no secession. Importance of the South, having all its best books, from primers up, prepared by Souther men – Ansd 4 May.”