SHORTLY after the death of General Robert E. Lee the faculty of Washington and Lee University began the preparation of a "Lee Memorial Volume," but circumstances "delayed and finally prevented the publication" of this work. The manuscripts that had been prepared by members of the faculty and other papers that had been collected for this volume were turned over to Dr. J. William Jones and incorporated in his Personal Reminiscences of Gen. R. E. Lee, which was published in 1874. Among the "faculty contributions" to that volume were the valuable sketches by Dr. J. L. Kirkpatrick, Professor of Moral Science, by Dr. Edward S. Joynes, Professor of English, and by Col. William Preston Johnston, Professor of History. In June, 1917, the trustees of the university decided to collect all facts, then available, on General Lee's connection with the institution. The executive committee of the board later requested the professor of history of the university to undertake this work. In carrying out his commission he sent appeals to all living "Lee Alumni," as far as their addresses could be obtained, asking for every item of information, however small, that they could furnish, relative to their college days. A suggested list of topics was also sent to aid the alumni in determining the nature and scope of the information desired.
The responses to these appeals were hearty and generous, though it was impossible to overcome the handicap of a fifty years' delay in the prosecution of the work. It is safe to say that the contributions obtained in this way will perhaps be the last to be had from this source. They constitute a large part of the contents of this volume. Unfortunately, many alumni of this unique period had passed away before a systematic effort was made to gather and preserve their reminiscences for the benefit of future generations. At least two of the contributors to this volume, Mr. F. A. Berlin and Rev. Robert H. Fleming, have died since the inauguration of this work. In the course of a few more years the last of this honored group, who heard the voice and observed the daily movements of our great President, will cease to bear living testimony to his memory, and the record will be closed. The contents of this volume have also been enriched by the reproduction of valuable contributions which have appeared from time to time in ephemeral publications. Documents of this class were written either by members of General Lee's faculty or by others who came in personal contact with him after the war. Two brief extracts have been taken from standard biographies of General Lee, because the volumes from which they were taken are now out of print.
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