Francis H. Smith Outgoing Correspondence
June 28-July 13, 1859

Smith 1859-1860 top level     Smith Papers top level  

Francis H. Smith, circa 1862 

June 28th 1859 

W.Overton Esq'r/ Poindexter's Store Louisa Co/ 

     I am in rec't of your esteemed favor of the 25 inst. enclosing draft on Messrs Harrison & Gibson for $200. which I have placed to the credit of your son.  He (sic) demerit is high but I think he will get through.  It is remarkable that without vice, he should let them grow upon him so. but I agree with you, that his final year will work a change.

July 7th 1859 

Mr. J. H. Chenoweth/Beverly Randolph Co Va/ 

     It is made by duty to inform you that the Academic Board appointed you yesterday an Assistant Prof: of this Institution, the department or departments of instruction to be assigned to you being regulated by them as the wants of the Institution and your own qualifications may suggest.  It is also understood that you will discharge the duties of Assistant Instructor in Infantry & Artillery Tactics, as they will be assigned jointly to all the other assistants. and that in the discharge of these duties, you will fully cooperate with the Commandant of Cadets in the enforcement of the discipline of the Institute.  If you accept the appointment you will please report yourself by the 1st Sept for duty, and in the event of non acceptance. notify me at the earliest day.

July 7th 1859 

Mr. Scott Shipp/  

     It is made by duty to inform you that the Academic Board yesterday appointed you an Assistant Prof: of this Institution, the department or departments of instruction to be assigned to you being regulated by them as the wants of the Institution and your own qualifications may suggest. it is also understood that you will discharge the duties of Assistant Instructor in Infantry & Artillery Tactics, as they will be assigned jointly to all the other Assistants, and that in the discharge of these duties you will fully cooperate with the Commandant of Cadets, in the enforcement of the discipline of the Institution.  Should you accept the appointment you will please report yourself forthwith for duty, & in the event of non-acceptance, notify me at the earliest day.

 July 7th 1859 

Mr. J. McCausland/ Point Pleasant Mason Co Va/  

     It is my pleasure to inform you that (. same as above ..) ... earliest day.  There are three young men from your neighborhood coming in this year two grandsons of Col. Beale & a son of Mr. Hall.

 July 7th 1859 

Dr. L.S.Poynes/ Richmond Va/ 

     I beg leave to acknowledge the rec't of your favor of the 1 Inst: enclosing a check on the Bank of Va for $189.78/100 which I have placed to the credit of Cadet Browne with this Institution.  I will acknowledge the rec't also to Dr Browne.

 July 7th 1859 

Dr P.F.Browne/Accomac Ct.H./ 

     I have rec'd by the han of Dr. L.S.Poynes of Richmond a check for $189.78/100 which I have placed to the credit of your son on the books of this Institution.

 July 7th 1859 

Hon. H .A. Edmundson / Salem Roanoke Va/ 

     Your favor of the 2.Inst making application for an appointment as state Cadet in behalf of John C. Kyle was rec'd too late.  The appointments had all been made, when your letter came to hand.  If the friend of Mr. Kyle could support him as a Pay Cadet he would receive the benefit of an appointment.

July 7th 1859 

Messrs S.H.Prichard & Bro./San Francisco Cal./Gent 

     I beg leave to acknowledge the rec't of your favor of the 4 June enclosing your draft on Messrs Hunter & Co, New.York for $200. which I have placed to the credit of Cadet W.B.Prichard.  I am pleased to inform you that the examination of Cadet Prichard has just closed & that he has passed No 1 in his Class.

July 7th 1859 

W.E.Taylor Esq'r/ Norfolk Va/ 

     Your favor of the 28 June enclosing a check for $25. has been rec'd & I have the am't to the credit of your son. & will also give to Cadet Hart the credit of $50 as directed.  I have been so overwhelmed with work & more so now. that I can't say to you all that I would. The meeting of the Board has been a most important one. Col. Cocke gave us $20,000. and we expect a donation from Hon. W.C.Rives of $10,000 more.  William is a Serg't.  Blow will tell you of the flare up into which his Class got at the examination. all was set right.  I had some idea of making Wm Orderly Serg't of the Plebes this year as there are over 100 to come in.  This would interfere with his going home, altho' as a matter of duty he ought perhaps to go.  I will see what I can do in the matter. and you will know whatever is done, will be done to promote his best interests.

July 7th 1859 

Gen'l J.L.Kemper/ Madison Co Ho Va/ 

     The enclosed letter was received while our Board was in session. & under the belief that it was a letter having reference to some application for admission, it was opened under the general rule of the Board.  I send it at once to you, seeing that it is not what it was suppsed to be.  We had a pleasant meeting of our Board, & there was general sentiment of regret among your old friend that you were not with us.  I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you one of these days.

July 7th 1859 

Col .C. Crozet/ Washington City D.C./ 

     Your favor of the 24 June was rec'd by me when I was engaged in the usual routine of our annual meeting of our Board, & this fact must be my apology for a delay in my reply.  You ask me for some kind of a testimonial in connection with some professorship now open, with regard to your participation in the organization of the Institution from the year 18837, to 1845.  The record of the Institute show that you were the President of the Board of Visitors for the first 6 years of its operation.  That you discharged a most important duty in framing the original regulations of the School, and in a most important degree gave tone to the scientific character which has marked its character,  and I may say, with truth, that all the early friend of the Institution have been held in grateful remembrances the distinguished services which you rendered to it in this regard, during its early years.  I cannot too highly estimate these services myself. and I have always esteemed it a privilege to bear my testimony to them. whenever an occasion to do so was presented.

July 7th 1859 

Hon W. C. Rives/ Cobham P.O. Albemarle Co/ 

     Since the letter which I had the honor to address to you on the 16 June, I have met the Board of Visitors of this Institution and they have acted upon the recommendation which I have submitted to them with reference to the Agricultural school, and I have the pleasure now to inform you that they have organized a School of Agriculture, as a branch of this Institution with two professorships viz -- one of scientific & Practical Agriculture, and one of Physiology Veterinary Medicine & Botany.  I have the pleasure also to announce to you that Col Philip St. George Cocke has offered to this Institution the $20,000 which he had formerly tendered to the University of Va and that this offer has been unanimously accepted by the Board of Visitors with the conditions annexed and that upon the exercises of the right of nomination by Col. Cocke Major Gilham has been elected unanimously by the Board Professor of Agriculture.  The second chair which has been established was considered by the Board as essential to a proper organization of the Agricultural school, & should it be your pleasure to tender to this Institution the $10,000 placed in your hand by your friend, the Board of Visitors have made arrangements with other fun at their command, to put this department into full operation immediately, and they will meet in Richmond during the month of October to appoint the second Professor.  Should the arrangements made in this regard meet your approbation. With reference to the Museum & experimental or illustrative farm. no action was taken, at this time, these subjects being reserved for future consideration.  I may say to you, that it is the purpose of the Board of Visitors to do all in their power to give the fullest efficiency to the school of agriculture which they have organized, and in harmony with the spirit of my Special Report. and I am persuaded no efforts will be spared on their part to make the school worthy of the state & of the confidence of those who may be looking to it as an important agent in the development of the important interest to which its energies will be now prominently directed.  Should you desire therefore to make any communication to the Board, it will give me pleasure to further your wishes in any way in my power. I have handed to Col. Cocke the letter addressed to him by you, & which you had enclosed to me.  He requests me to say to you, that a copy of the proceedings of our Board in connection with the recent re-organization of the Institution -- and also a copy of Col. Cocke’s proposition with the action of the Board on the subject.

 July 8th 1959 

T.R.Love Esq'r/Fairfax Ct Ho Va/ 

     Your favor of the 5 Inst has been rec'd.  At the request of  Rev:Mr. Brown the name of your son J.M.Love was presented to the Board of Visitors for appointment as a Pay Cadet and an appointment was duly dispatched to him on the 5 Inst.  I presume this is the son of whom your letter now applies & that your wishes have been anticipated. if I am mistaken & this is a second son, for whom also you wish an appointment. I would say that the

school is now full & I will give him the benefit of any vacancy that may occur between this & the 1st Sept.  A State Cadet appointment at large was on the same day forwarded to the son of Mr. Brown.

July 8th 1859 

Thos Hardeman M.D./ Oka Chickama.Miss./ 

     Your favor of the 2d July has been rec'd, & in reply I would say that the remittance of $200 made on account of your son's expenses was duly received & acknowledged, & the amount sent to your son for his furlough expenses was also rec'd by him & he has been granted a furlough for the summer.

July 8th 1859 

P.A.Hardy Esq'r/ New Orleans La/ 

     I am in rec't of your favor of the 28th June enclosing draft on New York for $125 -- which I have placed to the special credit of your son Julien.  I have consulted with our surgeon in reference to his health & to the application for a furlough & before acting upon your letter, I have thought it best to communicate with you & give you his opinion.  He has complained

of nocturnal emissions during a part of the year & the surgeon thinks it may be better for him to have the bracing air & vigorous exercise of Camp life into which he now goes.  His debility the Surgeon thinks will soon in this way be removed -- and he will thus be restored to sound and good health.  The Surgeon fears that the debilitating climate of New Orleans may be injurious to him in the summer, & that our mountain air may be

the very best restoration for him.  He has been studying hard this winter, will probably stand 2d in his class & he seems only to need relaxation to make him stout & healthy.  He has today gone on a party of pleasure with my son & some ladies to the Natural Bridge & thus by a proper care during the summer relaxation, all the debility of which he has complained may be removed.  I have therefore thought it best to write to you fully on this point & await your wishes with regard to him.

July 8th 1859 

Mr. Wiley A.Clement/Mocksville Davee Co N.C./ 

     All the vacancies in this Institution have been filled.  It is possible some may occur between this & the 1st Sept & if so the vacancies will be filled from these applications which may be on file.  If you desire an appointment you will please inform me without delay.  The enclosed paper give you the information you solicit.  If you are appointed you would be expected to report as soon as possible afterward.

July 8th 1859 

His Excellency/ Henry A. Wise/ Richmond Va/ 

     Your communication of the 27th June was handed me by Gen'l Richardson in the midst of the incessant engagements incident upon the annual meeting of our Board of Visitors.  This must be my apology for a delay in my reply.  I did not delay however in bringing its contents immediately to the notice of Prof. Crutchfield & those members of the graduating Class who had volunteered their services for the interesting duty to which they had been called.  There seem to be some serious obstacles to any effective work in the limited time assigned for the amount of labor to be performed.  A party of two could not run more than one mile to a mile & a half a day. if the duties of rod men chainmen & axe men are discharged by them -- and the distance between 5 parties would be too great to keep up a joint survey. The time allowed would barely permit more than a mere guess and this would be valueless in the determination of the watershed & drainage of the creeks named, & the leading features of the topography of the surrounding country.  On these accounts Prof. Crutchfield thinks it would be useless for him to undertake a work promising so little substantial & reliable information to you and no reputation to himself or the Institution of which he is member.  He however proposes that lines of level be run along the route or routes under consideration.  If these routes are much more impracticable than the one by Dunlaps Creek. these levels will show it & all further exploration will be needless. If on the contrary. the level of any of the near routes is more practicable. then that would be equally indicated & the result decisive. would then depend upon the facilities of draining, tunneling &c &c & the supply of water to be had &c.  The necessary exploration could then be prosecuted by a competent Corps at another time.  I will add further, that most of those tending their services for this exploration are POOR.  They would be willing to work without COMPENSATION, but they could not afford to work at THEIR OWN EXPENSE.  If necessary expenses of travel as well as SUBSISTENCE are met by the contingent fund of the state, they would be glad of this opportunity to render a gratuitous service to the Commonwealth.  I think a little consideration of the difficulties in the way will satisfy you that the objections of Prof. C. are well founded, and that the months of July & August would be too short a period for such a work s you contemplate.  While there is great reason in the pecuniary drawback to which I have referred as operating upon the members of the 1st Class.  Their names are with me & altho' they have left the Institute they are ready for a call upon the terms proposed.

July 8th 1859 

John S.Harris Esq'r/ White Plains, Brunswick Va/ 

     When I addressed you my last letter, I was not without hope that I might do something for your son.  Indeed I was willing to encourage some hope in him. that it might operate as an inducement to him to amend his ways.  I have been deeply pained to say to you that all your expectations have been disappointed-- so far from redeeming the promise which he made to me when I last wrote to you, he has been ever more remiss in his duty--& has I fear been deeply indulging in dissipation to drown the feelings of remorse which have disturbed him.  It has thus become the necessary duty of the authorities of the Institution to send him home & he has been directed to do so.  I have just had a long interview with him.  He is at last fully awake to the realities of his position.  I have advised him at once to go to his home-- to acknowledge all his faults to you & to endeavour by a correct life to restore the wrong which he has done.  I trust he will do so.  As soon as his acc't can be closed by our Trea'r I will send it to you.  I cannot close this letter without expressing to you the gratification I have felt at the consideration which you have manifested in your letters in reply to the painful communications which I have made to you, and that a sense of this has impelled me to use every effort in favor to save your son.    

July 9 1859 

I enclose beneath a check for Eighty-Eight 45/100 dollars in full of your act. the rec't of which please acknowledge.  We are about to put steam coil in the rooms corresponding with the western wing of our new Barracks for that purpose we need 14 (col?) for the rooms belonging to PAGE 506 that wing with the main pipe & necessary connections.  Will you please fill the enclosed order with dispatch as the time is short to do the work

To Messrs Stratton & Bro./ 719 Walnut St.Pa/    

 July 11th 1859 Col.S.Thomas/ U.S.Army/ Georgetown/ D.C./ 

 Dear Colonel:      I am in receipt of your valued favor of the 7th inst. and have the pleasure to inform you that an appointment has been forwarded to young Taylor.  I avail myself of this opportunity to send you a copy of a special Report which I have recently presented on Scientific Education in Europe./I remain Your's Respec'y/F.H.Smith     

July 11th 1859 / Ed.T.Jeffress Esq'r/ Jeffress Store/ Nottaway Co Va 

Yours of the 4th July is received and I have the pleasure to inform you that an application was duly sent to your son, & I hope it has been received ere this./ I remain Your's Respectfully/ Francis H. Smith  

July 11th 1859 Miss E.H.Fauntleroy/ Warsaw/ Richmond Co Virginia/ 

 Dear Miss Fauntleroy:     Your letter of the 18th June was received in the midst of labor incident upon a meeting of our Board of Visitors.  I was compelled to lay it aside until it could be replied to a careful examination into his accounts &c.      The estimate of his annual expenses as a State Cadet was $175.  He has been two years a cadet so that his estimated expenses would reach $350.  He has deposited in all $297.60  He owes to 1st July    297.60    48.54      346.14      3.86  Showing that the estimate is fully sufficient for his expenses and he has spent $3.86 less than the estimate.  The balance due to July 1859 and the advance payment to Jan. 1860 will require $100 to $120, and his estimate for this his last year will again be over the actual amount required of him.  The Institute supplies the State Cadet his tuition & board only.  With regard to the circular which reported "no Standing assigned." I would simply remark that this was a report in the circular of all the cadets, and was not exceptional on your brothers case.  This remark is made wherever the Classes have been reciting too short a time after an examination to justify the professor's in fixing a relative grade.  The October circular always goes this way.  It w'd be a deceptive circular to report any thing else.  I am sure that your own experience will satisfy you that no Professor in this school could have reason for prejudice toward any Cadet except that was founded on his own conduct.  When your brother has done badly his misconduct or neglect has been faithfully noticed.  When he has done well he has been as certainly credited.  He has done well since Jan. and I am highly pleased to say so; but there is no foundation in the thought that any prejudice existing against a namesake could be transformed to him.  Each cadet stand upon his own merit and upon this he rises or falls.  Nor and I aware that any injustice has been done to Mr. Lyell.  He has always been reckoned among the best scholars of his class, & as such has been honored with our confidence & regard./  I remain yours Respectfully/ Francis H. Smith  

July 12th 1859 /Lt. E.S. Gay/ Paymaster Ar Richmond Va/ 

I am in receipt of your favor of the 9th. your son was defeated four times by other competitors the chief obstacle being his age. He was finally admitted upon a statement made by me authorizing me that we might receive 4 additional state Cadets. The minimum height prescribed by the regulations is 4 feet. PAGE 508 9 inches -- This I presume he will reach, altho' had I been able to consult with you I would have advised a delay of a year in his application.  As he is well advanced it may be best for him to go to work & I hope he may realize the proverb that "precious packages are put up in small quantities."  He should lose no time reporting.  The earlier he enters the better for him.  He will form his associates before he goes into Barracks to study -- and will be under careful preliminary instruction before he commences his fall work.  Two have already entered -- & the class will number 100 admitted this year.  I will do all in my power to advance his interests.  

July 12th 1859 / Peyton Johnston Esq'r/ Richmond Va/ 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 8th and I will place the amount of your bill against V.M.I. to your son's credit.  Let the young soldier report for duty as soon as (he) can get ready.  It will in every way be better for him.  He will get fully into harness before his studies commence, & he will be under careful preparatory instruction so as to get a good start in the fall. Two have already come in & more will be in next week.  Two have already come in & more will be in next week.  The new class numbers 100.

July 12 1859 H. K. Burgwyn Esq'r/ near Graysburg N.C./ 

I am in receipt of your favor of the 8th.  The cadets are now in Camp, and your son will at once fall in with the usual rough & tumble of such a life as a soldier lea.  Of which your own experience will have taught you something.  He will meet with the good & bad mixed together & he will be able to select those with whom it would be best for him to associate.  We have some very choice young men in Camp now, & it will give me pleasure to aid him & yourself in every way in my power.  You can find a moderately good Hotel here -- but we are just in the midst of the springs, having two fashionable places in our county one only 10 miles distant where your family may be well accommodated.  If you will let me know in time, I will get you rooms as you may desire.

July 12th 1859 / Mrs. Mary B. Kirby/ Richmond Va/ 

I am in rec't of your favor of the 20 Inst. enclosing $90 which I have placed to the credit of your son.  I am constrained to decline the permit of going to church out of ranks.  Long experience has satisfied me that these privileges are abused, & altho' your son may not do so, others would, who would present the application, should his be successful.  When he becomes a member of the church he will have this privilege.  I will not forget the letter in behalf of your son to Gen. Scott.

July 12th 1859 / Messrs Blair & Chamberlayne/ Richmond Va/ 

I am in receipt of your bill of the 9 Inst. & it will be settled in a short time.  I notice that the bottles were very defectively packed -- Two of them leaked out before they were rec'd, and those which I examined were so badly corked that I could pull the cork out with my fingers.  The wonder is that any were received safely.  The sweet oil has not come to hand.  

D.L. Wooldridge Esq'r/ Richmond Va/ 

The accompanying circular will show that your son is deficient in Mathematics and has over the maximum limit of demerit.  These facts in connection with the special complaint existing against him of which you were advised -- induced the Board of Visitors to refer his case to the final consideration & action of the Academic Board.  They have authorized me to accept his resignation & this has been done accordingly.  I would mention to you that Maj'r Gilham reported him to me as being under the influence of liquor at drill during the meeting of the Board.  As other questions were under consideration which made action in this case unnecessary, no enquiry was made of it.  I am very much pained at the necessity which makes this course necessary of your son but duty to the school made it indispensable.

July 12th 1859 / J.J. Phillips Esq'r/ Chuckatuck Va 

I very cordially recommend the Chuckatuck academy under the care of Mr. J. J. Phillips.  Mr. P-- is a graduate of this Institution, and subsequently discharged with great credit the duties of an assistant Professor of Math.  He is competent, faithful & laborious -- and I am sure will give full satisfaction to all who may patronize his school.

July 12th 1859/  W. D. Stuart Esq'r/ Richmond Va/ 

I am in receipt of your favor of the 11 enclosing $95 which I have placed to the credit of Cadet Wharton.  I am still overwhelmed with duties but I enclose you the testimonials you want.  

July 12 1859/ Mr. J. T. Murfee/ Near Warrenton VA/ 

Your favor of the 24 June was received amidst the incessant engagements for our annual meeting & I have been compelled to postpone a reply.  I had previously recommended two of our graduates for the 1st two chairs to whom my influence had been promised.  I have also conditionally promised my aid for the 3d but should anything occur to prevent his being an applicant, I will cheerfully give you my aid.

July 12th 1859 Dr Chas Bell Gibson/ Richmond Va/ 

I am in receipt of your valued favor of the 30th June and laid before our Board the question of the tuition fee.  After a careful examination of the matter the Board was unanimous in the propriety of the regulation as it stood -- & that it was not proper to refund the tuition.  In this respect they have thought that their action is in accordance with the rule of all our institutions of learning & the question has recently been decided favorably to the claim, in a case in which the Institute was interested.  I am sure the B'd would not have hesitated to refund the fee, if they had not felt an important principle involved. 

June 12th 1859 / His Excellency/ Rob't C. Wickliffe/ near Alexandria LA/ 

I beg leave to present the names of R. E. Rodes of Ala. and F. W. Smith of Va for app't to two of the Chairs to be filled by the Board of Supervisors of La. viz. the chairs of Engineering, Architecture, & Drawing & of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy & Artillery Tactics respectively.  Mr. Rodes is a native Virginian & graduate of this Institution and for three years held the office of Principal Assist't Professor.  He has been for seven years in the successful prosecution of his profession as a Civil Engineer, & is at this time the Chief Engineer of a large Rail Road in Ala.  I know Mr. Rodes qualities well, & I do not know an individual better suited than he is for the chair to which he is recommended, especially when that chair is associated with the general Superintendence of the Institution.  It is in the latter connection, that I would especially press his claims before your honorable Board.  Mr. R. has the talent & the tact for such peculiar duties--He is a gentleman of high tone, holds correct views of discipline & government, & would be an honor & an ornament to the Institution knowing as I well do, that the success of your enterprise depends on the individual who shall be selected to govern it:  I do say without qualifications that if success be practicable it will be made so by the untiring zeal skillful government & high toned character of Mr. Rodes.  He is address is Tuscaloosa Ala:  The qualification of Mr. Smith for the Chair of Mathematics &c are no less marked.  He graduated with the highest honors of this Institute in a class of 33 members & receiving a higher mark by 300 than his next competitor.  He then graduated in the schools of Math, Nat. Phil, Latin & Greek at the University of Va and after improving himself by an extensive tour of foreign travel, took a course of scientific lectures in the celebrated school of Ponts et Chaussees  last winter -- He is now an Assistant Professor in this Institution & with the exception of the chair of modern European languages, can fill any vacant chair in your Institute.  Both of these gentlemen unite high social qualities, & I have selected them from among many aspirants among the graduates of this Institute because of their peculiar fitness for the duties of which I have recommended them.

July 13th 1859 / D. Truehart Esq/ Richmond Virginia  

      I am this morning in receipt of your letter of the 10th and will at once write to the board of Supervisors giving in your name for the Chair of Chemistry & Infantry Tactics.  You must yourself at once write a formal letter of application which should be at Alexandria before the 1st August. not September, and let your University testimonials follow as soon as they may be received.  I have so much to do today that I have time to do no more.    (In Smith's hand) V. Military Institute/ July 13 1859 His Excellency Gov. Wickliff/ Sir      I beg leave to present the name of Mr. Daniel Truehart Jr. of Va for the chair of Chemistry, Mineralogy Geology, & Infantry Tactics in the state Seminary of Learning of La.  Mr. T is a distinguished graduate of this Institution having passed 2nd in a superior class on the chief scientific branches.  So superior were his acquirements that he was called (sic) the Institute as an Assistant Professor of Math & Infantry Tactics after he graduated and remained in the position nearly three years.  From my knowledge of his talent, the tact in discipline, I do with great confidence recommend him to your honorable body for the chair which has been designated.  I need scarcely add that Mr. T is a gentleman whose social position will adorn the Institution of which he seek's to be a member.   PS.  I had the honor of addressing you on the 12 inst recommending Rob.E.Rodes of Alabama for the chair of Eng'r & Sup't and Francis W. Smith of that of Math. Nat. Philosophy & Artillery.

July 13th 1859 / Mr Geo A. Goodman/Gordonsville Virginia 

This is to certify that Mr. Geo Goodman is a graduate of this Institution & has conducted with satisfaction the duties of a teacher in a village school for the several years which have elapsed since his graduation.  He is a young man of correct character, & is a member of the Baptist Church.