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Francis H. Smith Outgoing Correspondence
June 17-28, 1859

Smith 1859-1860 top level     Smith Papers top level  

 Francis H. Smith, circa 1862 

June 17th 1859.  D.L. Wooldridge Esqr. Richmond Va. 

My letters and reports to you have expressed to you more or less dissatisfaction with the conduct of your son; and while I have, at times hoped that your own influence combined with my authority were giving a better direction to him, which increasing age would serve to confirm, I have not been at any time without apprehension that he was not doing as he ought. For the last two or three months, he has been constantly on the sick list; sometimes excused from all duty, but chiefly from military duty -- until finally he has been forced to go into the Hospital. This morning I sent for the Surgeon to examine into his cases, & he has informed me that he is suffering with V--C disease. You know that all well regulated institution can take but one view of the conduct of a student whose respect for his parents & regard of his own health & the well-being of the Institution, cannot restrain him from a vice such as that involved in this case. I do not know how long it has been upon him -- but the regulations of this Institution place the vice among the most serious against which its penalties are attached. I am aware that sometimes young men, whose conduct is otherwise proper have been led astray by the temptations which beset them, and I have seen cases here when I have been able to press home upon the conscience the great wrong that had been done and thus awaken an influence that has led to the deepest & most sincere repentance. I shall not fail to use these influences with your son, but I confess that when one so young goes astray, & his conduct is associated with other forms of irregularity & neglect -- I have but little hope that any efforts in his behalf can be of much avail. The safest plan (in) such a case is with the parent, that his authority as well as counsel may be brought at once to bear upon him, before it be too late to make him operative for good. I shall take no action in his case until I hear from you. I cannot express to you the pain which it gives me to make this communication, I know the sorrow it will occasion you, and most gladly would I have been spared the unpleasant duty which I now discharge. But it is my duty, & I can only express the hope that his trial may eventuate in good by leading your son to see something of the sorrow which his conduct has occasioned those who have so deep an interest in his happiness.

June 18th 1859/ Mr J.C.Baltzell/Abington Va/ 

 I am in rec't of your favor of the 14th Inst. enclosing check for $75 which I have placed to the credit of Cadet J.P.Baltzell on the books of the Institute.

June 18th 1859/ W.G.C.White Esq'r/Abington Va/ 

Your esteemed favor of the 15 Inst. has been rec'd & it will give me pleasure to present the name of your friend Mr. Hannam for app't as a cadet this session. Our Board meets this day week & as soon as they may act upon the applications, the successful candidates will be notified.

June 18th 1859/ H.W.Thomas Esq'r/ Fairfax Ct Ho Va/ 

Your favor of the 15 Inst. accompanied by that of Mr. Alfred (?) in behalf of the app't of Mr.G.W.Brown as a state Cadet has been rec'd & will be laid before the Board at their annual meeting convening next Friday. I hope it may be the pleasure of the Board to receive so deserving an applicant.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 18th 1859 James Orr Esq'r/ Petersburg Va/ 

Your favor of the 16 Inst. is at hand & it will give me pleasure to lay the name of your son "J.E.Orr" before the Board of Visitors for app't. If selected, you will be immediately notified of the fact.

 June 18th 1859/ G.N.Musgrove Esq'r/ Pond's Shop Southampton Va/ 

I will lay the names of J.S.Gilliam & R.H.Leigh. before the Board of Visitors at their session. which convenes this day week, & if they are selected they will be immediately notified of the same, & of the am't of deposite & other necessary information req'd for a candidate on admission.

June 18th 1859 /H.K.Burgwin Esq'r/ Near Graysburg N.C./ 

Your valued favor of the 14 Inst. with the letter of the Pres't of the University of N.C. has been rec'd and will be filed with your son's application. Our Board meets this day week & as soon as they ca act, you will be notified & the letter of app't will convey all the information necessary as to deposites &c. Can't you come up & witness our examination & especially our exercise on the 4th July?

June 20th 1859/ His Excellency/ Henry A. Wise. Richmond Va/ 

The graduating exercises of this Institution will take place on the 4th July and it will afford the Officers & Cadets of this Institution great pleasure if you will be present on the interesting occasion and deliver diplomas personally to the members of the graduating class. The Class is a very large & fine one, numbering 29 members, & their own interest & desire for your presence are exhibited by the enclosed communication which they have spontaniously (sic) desired me to present to you. Should it be in your power to join us on the occasion I will detail an Officer of the Institution to meet you at Goshen & escort you to my quarters where I should be pleased to have you as my guest.

June 20th 1859 /L.T.Peters Esq'r/Lynchburg Va/ 

Your esteemed favor of the 9 Inst. was rec'd just as I was leaving home to attend Botetourt Court as a witness, & my reply has been in consequence delayed. I think I can with great ease supply Mr Payne with one of our graduates as a teacher, but the price which he offers is much below what is offered. I am now making engagements for several of them, & no one offers less than $00 & board -- while the prices of others varies from this sum to $1000. Of course dependent upon the worth & merit of the graduate, I might succeed in getting the services of a graduate at the price stipulated, but as in every thing else, the quality would be regulated by the price paid. I never like to recommend a young man as a teacher unless I can do so with a clear conscience and then the services are really worth $400. Your letter does not state how many pupils will be taught -- nor the subjects req'd to be taught. If Mr. Payne can give no more I will do the best I can for him if I hear before the 4th July.

June 20th 1859/ Alfred L.Rives C.E./Washington City D.C./ 

I sent to your address at W a copy of my Special Report on Scientific Education in Europe, which I hope came safely to hand. You will have observed that many important changes are there contemplated, all of which will be brought to the notice of the Board at their present session commencing 24 Inst. Among the changes, is the organization of Civil Eng'r uniting the courses embraced in the "ecole des ponts et Chaussees -- & the ecole des mines at Paris" This will make necessary an increase of our Professional Corps; and among them will probably be a Professor of the Mechanics of Engineering -- embracing the applications of the courses of mechanics to the full range of Civil Engineering. Would the duties of such a chair be acceptable to you. I do not write by the authority of the Board, but as it will be my duty to meet it, should my views be carried out, and your name has suggested itself to me. and has been honorable mentioned by one of your Classmates Mr. Rhodes, in this connection. The arrangements of the Dep't are not of course definitely settled, & will be subject to future consideration, so as to enable us to divide the Dep't of Engineering into two chairs say, one of graphic Engineering -- & the other the Mechanics of Eng'r or something to this kind. I should be glad to hear from you as soon as convenient.

June 20th 1859 /Mr J.C.Councill/ 

It gives me pleasure to recommend the male Academy under the charge of Mr J.Calvin Councill. Mr Councill is a distinguished graduate of this Institution and discharged with great credit the duties of Ass't Prof. of Mathematics for one year. He has been engaged in teaching for about 10 years & has given great satisfaction to those who have employed him. or who have been under his instruction. I do with great confidence recommend his Academy.

June 20th 1859 James H.Lane Esq'r/Upperville. Fauquier Co Va/ 

I have yours of the 11 Inst & have only time this morning to give you a brief note. I think there will be a vacancy in the Norfolk Acad'y as Edgar who is now there is seeking to go to Davidson College N.C. under pretty fair chances of success. Perhaps you had better write to him for there is a good opening there. I am in the midst of my annual Report. Our Board meets on Friday, so this must excuse by brevity.

June 20th 1859 Hilary Harris Esq'r/ Powhatan Co Ho Va/ 

I write now to say that I have enclosed the engagement with Mr. Hill upon the basis of your letter of the 7 June. Mr. Hill will probably visit his classmate Mr. Tabb at his father's and while in your neighborhood, will visit you and make the necessary arrangements for the opening of the school in the fall.

PAGE 486 59L14 Va Mil:Institute/ June 20th 1859 R.E.Rhodes Esq'r/ C.E. Tuskaloosa Ala/ DS The State of La is about organizing a State Military School upon the basis of the V.M.I. and I have been written to by a member of the Board to ascertain whether I could aid them in securing the right sort of men to take the Professorships. The pay will be from $2000 to $2500 for the Professors & $1000 additional to the Sup't. Would the duties of Sup't in connection with the Chair of Engineering -- or Chemistry -- be agreeable to you? Salary $3500? If so -- let me know at once. You will see Gov'r Wakliff's advertisement in the Nat: Intel:. I am overwhelmed in work in preparation for our annual meeting & have not time to say more except that the Institution will be organized in January.

June 20th 1859/ Gen.G.Mason Graham/ Tyrone Plantation near/ Alexandria, Louisiana/ 

Your valued favor of the 30th of May was received a few days ago, and has been read with much interest.-- I had also received the newspaper containing a report of your proceedings and it was a source of high gratification to me that you had so successfully begun so important an enterprize as that which is associated with the founding and organization of a Seminary of learning for the State of Louisiana -- As soon as I knew of what you were doing I sent you seven copies of my late Special Report on Scientific Education in Europe and as you may need more of them, for distribution among the friends of the scheme, I send you by todays mail 6 additional copies and will supply you with more should they be needed.-- You are right in the view which you take of the importance of having the proper sort of men to put the machine into operation.-- I have not yet seen the Governor's advertisement, but I gather from the papers which you were so kind as to send me what your wants will be.-- I think I can aid you in selecting some of these officers and I am now in preliminary correspondence with two who are preeminently well qualified for stations in the Institution. I will write to you, however more fully, as soon as I can write definitely. In the meantime do not hesitate to command my services in any way that I may be useful to the work before you. I am now in the midst of pressing duties in preparing my annual Report for the meeting of our Board commencing 24th Inst.--Mrs. Smith unites with me in kindest remembrances to Mrs Mason & yourself.

June 20th 1859 Mrs Lucy H.Wharton/ Richmond Va/ 

Madame I am in rec't of your letter of the 18th Inst. asking a leave of absence this Summer. You are perhaps not aware that, by the existing regulations, the Class to which your son belongs is expected to remain here during the Summer and unless the case be one of urgent necessity, I should feel at liberty to part from it. As constituting a part of the policy of the regulation, I would add, that as a State Cadet, your son's expenses would be augmented by an annual visit home. to an am't that would be more than one half his annual expenses. While you might be very able to bear this expense. the example of one suggest to others  a like desire, and thus parents who are really unable to bear this additional charge, and have to submit to an expense which the regulation serves to check.

June 20 1859/ A.C.Cummings Esq'r/ Abingdon Va/ 

Your esteemed favor of the 15th Inst. enclosing an application in behalf of Mr J.E.Grant for the App't of state Cadet has been rec'd and it will give me pleasure to lay the same before the Board of Visitors. You are aware that Cadet Baltzell of your Co is the present representitive (sic) for your Dist & that young Grant could only get in by having an app't from some other Dist: or from the state at large. We are overwhelmed with applications this year & I can't say that the prospects of his success are strong. If he could be maintained here for one year as a Pay Cadet he might so commend himself by his good conduct & scholarship as to take Baltzell's place next July a year say 1860. I wish you could attend our commencement this year. You would everything (sic) much changed since you were a cadet. & we should be pleased to see you. Young Preston is doing very well as a student but he has an excessive number of demerit arising chiefly from carelessness.

June 21st 1859 /R.A.Young Esq'r/ Petersburg Va/ 

 Your favor of the 18 \inst has been rec`d. It is usual for the class to which your brother belongs to remain on duty here during this Summer & unless there are urgent reasons making the application of a leave of absence a proper exception to the rule we do not grant furloughs.

June 21st 1859 /His Excellency H.A.Wise/ Gov of Va Richmond, Va/ 

I have received through the Adjutant Gen'l Richardson an enquiry from you as to the possibility of securing the services of some 5 or 6 of the members of the graduating Class of this Institution as volunteers to make a survey of a canal route in the county of Giles during the months of July and August. I beg leave to say that Capt Crutchfield the Adjunct Professor of Mathematics of the Institution has volunteered to take charge of the party, and eighteen of the best men of the graduating Class have tendered their services to you for the work in hand. I would respectfully request a letter from you stating specifically your views &c, and such a selection will be made from those who have offered to go as shall best promote the object. I am deeply sensible of the honor you have conferred upon this Institution in thinking of it -- in this connection. It is another instance of your appreciation of the distinctive sphere of usefulness to the state, which, it is the special aim of this Institution to cultivate and I hope that its graduates will prove themselves deserving of the confidence you may repose in them.-- Should a Geological Survey be conducted with the Engineer exploration, Maj.Gilham desires me in his name to hand in his services of the work.-- I hope the interest -- which attaches to this enterprize may be argument with you to be present with us on the 4th July when you could deliver your views personally to those who might be selected by you for the work.

June 21st / 1859 Bol (?) Christian Esq'r/ Staunton VA/ 

 I am in receipt of your esteemed favor of the 20 Inst. and it will give me great pleasure to present the claims of young Christian to the attention of our Bd of V. & I will see that the papers presented in his case last session are also referred at this time.-- There are several applicants from this Dis't -- but I am sure your recommendation will secure the fullest consideration of the Board.

June 21st 1859 /R.W.Cunningham Esq'r/ Brandy Station Culpepper Co Va/ 

Your esteemed favor of the 17th Inst enclosing a check for One Hundred Dollars of Cadet E. Cunningham's furlough expenses has been received and I have handed it to him for that purpose. The deposit of $400 at the time you mention will be abundantly early for the purposes specified.

June 21st 1859/ Mr. Wm B. Hardy/ Harmony Village/Middlesex Co Va/ 

Your letter of the 15 Inst has been received and it will give me pleasure to lay your application before our Board of Visitors.

June 21 1859 /Dr. P.F.Browne/ Accomac C.H. Va/ 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 8th Inst. I have placed the second draft of Messrs Actworth & Allen to the credit of your son. I see that the firm to which the first draft was sent declined paying it, because the shipment made by Mess A&A upon which it was predicated had not been received.-- The delay has been no inconvenience to us & I am sorry if it should be an annoyance in any way to you As soon as the first draft is returned I will forward it to Messrs A&A.

June 21st 1859 /E. T. Jeffress Esq'r/ Jeffress Store Nottaway Co Va/ 

Your esteemed favor of the 17th Inst. with reference to the app't of your son L.M.Jeffress as a pay Cadet has been rec'd & it gives me pleasure to give you the information you solicit. The expenses of a Pay Cadet average about $375 a year, which includes his clothing, uniform bedding &c. the articles being supplied as they were when your son Col.W.S.Jeffress was a cadet. The expenses exclusive of clothing am't to $250. exactly -- & the estimate is that $125 will cover the usual charge of clothing. It will give me pleasure to lay his name before our Board which meets on Friday & if he does as well as his brother did, you will have cause of much pride in him.

June 21st 1859 /Maj'r G.E.Hutter/ U.S.A. Charleston S.C./ 

Your esteemed favor of the 17. Inst covering your check on N.Y. for $200. has been rec'd and will be placed to the credit of your son J.R.Hutter. Your son Edward had mentioned to me his views about remaining here next year & I have said to him that I will mention his name to the Academic Board immediately after the 4th July, when arrangements are made for Assistants for the next year. I was sorry to hear that you could not be present at his graduation.

June 22d 1859 W.Gatewood Esq'r/ Strasburg Shenandoah Co Va/ 

Your esteemed favor of the 17 Inst is rec'd & it will give me great pleasure to lay the claims of young Miller before our Board of Visitors for app't as state Cadet.

June 23d 1859 J.T.Mohler Esq'r/ Luray Page Co Va/ 

My absence has delayed (answering your) favor of the 16.May. I have made enquiry of the drummer in reference to your grandson's overcoat, & he says it was left for him to sell for the benefit of your grandson. This matter does not change in any matter the character of the claims of the Institute. There is no doubt that the overcoat was delivered to Cadet Heath, & that he used it, & that it is right it should be paid for. The Institute has nothing to do with the delivering of it to Crocken, or to any one else., unless this was authorized by the Supt. I am sure that you will see that it would be unreasonable thus to charge us with it. At the same time, I will see Crocken & if any funds be in his hands belonging to Cadet Heath they shall be refunded to you, altho' he says the coat was given to one of the Cadets. You will please pay, therefore to Dr. Yerby the am't due the Institute and his rec't will be acquittal to you of what is due.

June 23d 1859 Rev'd G.T.Wilmer/ Williamsburg Va/ 

I have rec'd your esteemed favor of the 20 in reference to the app't of the son of Mrs. Sherwell a cadet in this Institute. I had previously rec'd a letter from her on the same subject, & it will give me pleasure to lay his case before our Board when the app'ts of new Cadets comes up.

June 23d 1859 /F.R.Lubbock Esq'r/ Houston Texas/ 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 13 Inst. covering a check on Messrs J.H.Brown & Co New York. for $200 which I have placed to the credit of your son. I am sorry to say that he has a large number of demerit, & some of them tell badly against him, involving absences from quarters at night. Such reports always gives us concern, because they generally involve the danger of imorallity (sic) in some form. I call your attention to this because the distance of a young man from his home makes fidelity on the part of the Institute in this respects more imperative.

June 23d 1859 /Thos A. Hardy Esq'r/ Norfolk VA 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 20 Inst enclosing a check for $200. which I have placed to the credit of your son Edward. I regret to know today, that he has been reported by one of our Professors for drinking yesterday. I immediately sent for your son, but he was then in town without permission & he remained absent from about 10 oclock until after 1. He was seen by the Prof. in front of the Hotel. I have not been able as yet to make any examination of the matter, but will do so at once. Our Board meets tomorrow & the business of getting my annual report ready has absorbed all my time today. I saw your son this morning & he positively affirms that he had not been drinking. He gave me an excuse of his absence from the Institute all the morning without permission, except that he had business to attend to. If the business had been necessary he could have obtained the permission by applying to me for it. I bring the matter at once to your notice, as a matter of duty which altho' painful to me, is a duty to you.

June 23d 1859/ John S. Harris Esq'r/ Brunswick Co Va/ 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 11 Inst. & I avail myself of the first convenient opportunity to reply to it. I must say to you, that the conduct of your son since I last wrote to you has not been satisfactory to me, & by no means such as I had reason to hope it would have been under the circumstances. He has been absent from many of his duties & has increased his demerit. I sent for him this morning to read your letter to him & to express to him my surprize & mortification at his conduct. He says he had been waiting to hear from you & this kept him in an uncertain & restless condition. That he had rec'd your letter & you had req'd certain pledges from him, that he had today given you these pledges & that I would find his conduct undergo a change from this date. This is a critical period in his life, & I assure you I am embarrassed to know how to act. & I write now to say as our Board of Visitors meet tomorrow I will confer with them as to my best duty in the case & as soon as I can receive instructions how to act I will again write to you.

June 23d 1859 Rev'd John Cole/ Culpeper Co Ho Va/ 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 21 Inst. and it will give me pleasure to lay the claims of your young friend Yancy to the consideration of our Board of Visitors for app't as a state Cadet. You do not state the age of Mr. Yancy & this is a point of great importance, inasmuch as the law limits minimum age at 16.

June 23d 1859 /Heber Ker Esq'r/ Eastville Northampton Va/ 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 15 Inst. and I will very cheerfully lay the case of your brother to the attention of the Board. I was sorry to see that he had been involved in the foolish difficulty which sent off so many of his class. The def't to which you refer to on the Treas's report is as you remark against Cadet Hugh Ker.

June 23d 1859 /E. Robinson Esq'r/Richmond Va/ 

Your esteemed favor of the 11 Inst. has been rec'd and I will with great pleasure lay the application of young Pleasants before the Board of Visitors -- & I hope it will be in their power to give him an app't.

June 23d 1859/ W.E.Dodson Esq'r/ Yatesville N.C./ 

I am in rec't of your favor of 14 Inst. enclosing a check of $200 which I have placed to the credit of Cadet J.E.Dodson on the books of this Institution. I am sorry to say that he has many demerit & has made but slow progress in his studies. His examination commences tomorrow & I hope he may be able to give a good acc't of himself.

June 23d 1859/ Hon J.M.H.Beale/ Point Pleasants Mason Co Va/ 

Your esteemed favor of the 15 Inst. has been rec'd and it will give me great pleasure to lay the claims of your grandsons before the Board of Visitors which meets here tomorrow, for app't as pay Cadets. Altho' we have an unusually heavy list of applications, I think your grandsons have claims which place them before any applicants now before us. and I am sure they will receive the favorable consideration of the Board. The letters of app't will state the time at which they must report & the deposits to be made.

June 23d 1859 /Hon W.C.Rives/ Albemarle Co Va/ 

I am in rec't of your valued favor of the 21st and also that of the 22d enclosing a communication to Col. Cocke. I have a letter from the Col by which I am informed that he will be here tomorrow or the next day. and as soon as he arrives, I will deliver to him your letter. after consultation with him upon the subject of your letter of the 21st I will write more fully to you.

June 23d 1859 /Jacob Lynch Esq'r/ Abingdon Va/ 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 20th Inst enclosing a check for $233.40/100 which I have placed to the credit of your son David Lynch. I have had constant necessity of restraining his tendency to extravagance. He applies to me for twice the quantity of clothing which I deem necessary. & I have been compelled to decline his applications. He is still excessive in his demerits, and I am very much afraid he will allow himself to exceed the number prescribed by the Regulations. I have given him an opportunity to re-write his excuses & I will again review his demerits to see if this number can be reduced.--

June 23d 1859/ Daniel Truehart Esq'r/ Richmond Va/ 

Yours of the 22d came hand (sic) this morning. You may know that I am overwhelmed with engagements as our Board meets today. I wrote to Stewart to know whether a chair of Math would suit him in a new Military Institute in La. I have not the authority to confer the app't and have been only called upon to mention the names of those best qualified. I have selected 2 or 3 names for the Chair of Math. that of Stewart being one of them & among the 1st I could mention for this post. Should he decline, I feel myself in some sort committed to at least one other in advance of you and cannot therefore tell you whether your chance will come in or not. In making selections for the positions. I had looked at all the elements essential to give success & while you are perhaps fully equal in talents & ability to teach to some of these I had thought of, I had feared you had become disgusted with the irksome labors of such a life & throw up before you had done justice to yourself or the Institution. I am glad to know that you are seeing the importance of more FIXIDNESS of purpose in these matters. and as you have time you had better run up any how, because I amy be able to effect something for you. There are 6 Professors wanted. See the Nat. Intelligencer.

June 23d 1859 /Col.H.B.Tomlin/ Old Church Hanover Co Va/ 

I was upon the eve of writing to you, to give me permission to present the claims of young Burke again before our Board. Altho' I cannot say that he will be successful, yet you had said so much to me more than you can well express in writing, favorable to his claims, I was anxious that I might have an opportunity of saying to the Board all that you said to me. And yet to all appearance his chances are about the same as last year. We have fully 4 applicants this year to 1 last year, & if you could read the testimonials which have passed through my hands from perfectly reliable men you would see the difficulty of the Board in deciding these questions, and how many poor boys there are in this state who really present meritorious claims to their considerations. I will do all I can for your boy however not only as due to him, but as expressive of my respect & kindness for myself personally.

June 28th 1859/ P.A.Hardy Esq'r/ New Orleans La 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 15 Inst. enclosing remittances of $417.50/100. which I have placed to the credit of your son (sic) J.B.&H.Hardy. I think they Alexandria LA/have themselves more in demerit in the last quarter. It proceeds altogether from thoughtlessness & I have no doubt, it will be overcome in time.

June 28th (1859) /Gen G. Mason Graham/ Tyrone Plantation/ near 

I have rec'd this morning a letter from Was'h'g Jackson, New Orleans enclosing a check for $110.21/100 in full of acc't with Cadet Ellzey with this Institution.

June 28th 1859/ Hon W.O.Goode/ Boydton Mecklenburg Va/ 

I am in rec't of your esteemed favor of the 24th Inst enclosing a draft of Messrs N.M.Martin & Co for $170. which I have placed to the credit of your son. I am pleased to inform you. that he was confirmed in the P.E.Church here last Sunday in company with 3 other Cadets & 1 of our Professors.

June 28th 1859/ Dr.Thos Hardeman/ Oka Chickama Miss/ 

I am in rec't of your esteemed favor of the 14th Inst. enclosing a draft on New York of $200. which I have placed to the credit of your son. We are now in the midst of our annual examination. That of your son in Nat. Phil: having closed this morning. he will be entitled to a furlough as soon as the examination is completed.