Francis H. Smith Outgoing Correspondence
August 1 - 11, 1859

Smith 1859-1860 top level     Smith Papers top level

 Francis H. Smith, circa 1862 Notes on the transcription-- stuat

  • Salutations (My Dear Sir, etc) and closings (Very truly etc.) are omitted. All letters were written from VMI unless noted otherwise. FHS=Francis H. Smith.
  • Some of the original letters are faded and illegible in parts. Illegible or omitted words are enclosed in parentheses.
  • Francis Smith was Superintendent of VMI for fifty years, from the Institute's founding in 1839 until his retirement in 1889. He died in 1890. Additional biographical information is located here.

August 1, 1859
W. M. Palmer. Black Walnut, Halifax, VA
Cadet William M. Palmer, Class of 1859, a recent graduate.
By a letter rec'd from the Governor I find that Mr. Loraine the chief Engineer of the James River & Kanawha Canal Co, will take charge of the Survey to which I called the attention of you. The Gov. wants 5 or 6 of the Class to accompany Mr. L. Are you willing to go, your expenses being paid by the state? Let me hear at once, & if you will go start at once via Richmond & report to Mr. L. at the J. R. & K. Office, & if he is not there, come here.

August 1, 1859
Mr. J. H. Lane. Mathews Court House, VA.
James Henry Lane, Class of 1854
I have recommended you for the situation referred to in the within letter. If agreeable to you, write at once to the gentlemen. I think your prospects are not good for the Southern, for there are many & strong applicants for it. There seems to be a good opening in Ky. Return the letter.

August 1, 1859
Mr. Vincent Taylor, Rockbridge Alum Springs, Va
RE: Cadet J. V. Taylor, Class of 1863
I was aware before the rec't of your letter, that your son had left the Institution. He came to me the morning after he entered with a request that he might return to the Springs to see you. This I declined, stating that it would be better for him to go to work without delay, & take advantage of his being here to get himself uniformed. He surely knew that he ought to have seen me before he left, & if he really thought that he had been put under arrest, a very little trouble on his part would have enabled him to ascertain his duty by asking the advice of the officer in camp to whom he had been committed. However, this is a trifling matter, & would constitute no barrier to his returning to his duty, and any error which he may have committed in going off without leave or authority will be overlooked. From my observation of him while here, I am afraid he has not been subject to much control, and that he may not relish the restraint which subjection to the authority of the Institution may require. You will know his character in this respect well enough to determine how far you have wisely chosen a school for him. Col.Thomas will tell you that submission to orders is an essential element in a Military School, as it is, in fact, in all schools. If your son will return with a resolute determination of doing his duty faithfully and abstaining from all forms of vice, we will do a good part by him. If he has any qualification on either of these points, his term here would be profitless to him. I am thus particular with you because I do not wish either you or your son to act without full understanding on the subject. If he returns he should do so by the 1st Stage, & I will do my part by him faithfully.

August 1, 1859
Judge A. F. Hopkins, White Sulphur Springs, VA
RE: Cadet William L. Hopkins, Class of 1863
I have the pleasure to acknowledge the rec't of your letter of the 28 July. Since I saw you at the Va Springs, this Institution has been thrown open to students from other states, and our Bd of Visitors at their last annual meeting appointed as many as our accommodations enabled us to receive. We are now full. It is possible & indeed very probable, that some who were app't'd may not be able to report & that vacancies may exist between this & 1st Sept. If therefore you desire an app't for your son, it would give me great pleasure to consider his application among the first appointments that may be made. I send you enclosed a statement of the estimated expenses one-half payable in advance. The Institution is now in operation, some 45 of the new cadets having already reported for duty. The course of study commences 1st Sept. You will please advise me where a letter would reach you in the month of August, during which month, I shall know whether your son can be app'ted.

August 1, 1859
Powhatan Ellis. Hot Springs, VA.
I am in rec't of your favor of the 29th July. This Institution has during the last year been thrown open to students from other states, our BD of Visitors at their last annual meeting app't'd as many as our accommodations would enable us to receive. We are now full. It is however possible that between this period & 1st Sept when the academic year begins, there may be vacancies, & as a consequence additional app'tments will be made to fill them. If you desire to present an application, it will give me pleasure to receive it without delay, & to give it attention. Cadets from other states are rec'd upon the same terms & conditions as those from the state. I send by this mail a copy of a special Report recently presented to our Board.

August 1, 1859
E. M. McDonnell. Atlanta, GA
RE: Cadet Edward M. McDonnell, Jr., Class of 1863
I am in rec't of your of the 26 July enclosing draft on Bank of Republic., NY. for $25 which I have placed to the credit of your son with this Institution. The deposit through Dr. Johnson of $50 was also duly rec'd & credited. I am pleased to say your son is well & doing well & that there is every promise that he is going to make a fine soldier & scholar.

August 1, 1859
Dr. W. T. Moseley. Buckingham Co., Va
RE: Cadet William P. Moseley, Class of 1863.
Your son duly reported to me on Saturday & I have assigned him to duty with instructions to the officers in charge to use care with him in consequence of his recent indisposition. He has deposited with me $115, a part of which I will use in procuring for him the necessary articles of outfit & the balance to his credit on his cadet acc't.

August 1, 1859
B. T. Blewett. Russellville Co. KY
RE: James H. Lane, Class of 1854.  I would recommend to you Mr. J. H. Lane, a distinguished graduate of this Institution, & also a graduate of some of the schools of the University of Va. Mr. Lane was for some time an assistant Professor of this Institution, & has been teaching for several years. I do not know to what religious persuasion he belongs, but I know you will secure, if you get him, a reliable man.

August 1, 1859
Col. S. B. Gibbons. Harrisonburg, VA
TO: Simeon B. Gibbons, Class of 1852: RE: Randolph R. Miller, Class of 1863.
I am in rec't of your letter of the 27th. Young Miller has reported & his father has made the req'd deposit. He seems to be a fine young man & promises to do well. Should any delay occur in Dr. M's future deposit I will of course extend him every indulgence.

August 1, 1859
J. A. Broome. LaGrange, GA
RE: James A. Broome, Class of 1863
I have rec'd by the hands of Maj. Preston a check for $200 which I have placed to the credit of your brother cadet J. A. Broome. He is a fine young man and he is doing as well as could be expected.

August 1, 1859
W. W. Jacobs. Washington D.C.
I am in rec't of your favor of the 28th July and regret to inform you that there is no existing vacancy among the state cadets of this Institution. Col. P. St. Geo Cocke of Jefferson P.O. Powhatan has the right to app't two state Cadets under a condition of a donation of $20.000 which he has recently made to this Institution. I do not know whether he will exercise this right, but this is the only way in which I know of any chance for your son's appt this year.

August 1, 1859
G. W. Bowman. "The Constitution" Washington DC
I have rec'd your bill for printing for Virginia Mil. Institute amounting to $11 as enclosed. I this day remit to the office of the "States" $7 in full for the same am't for printing. Do not Newspapers advertise by like rules? & if so, may there not be some error in the account?

August 1, 1859
J. DeHass. "States." Washington DC
I enclose a check for $7, am't of bill of printing for V.M.I., rec't of which please acknowledge.

August 1, 1859
Charles DeSilver, Esq. Philadelphia.
Textbook and supplies order
You will please send us
40 Scotts Infantry Tactics
30 Danas Manual Mineralogy
19 Mitchells' Geog & Atlas
36 Field fortifications
36 Davies Descriptive
48 Analytical Geometries
84 Davies Geometrics
36 McH Evidences of Christianity
41 Burtons Astronomy
41 Lardners Third Course Nat Philosophy
12 Pieot No 5
60 Bullions Eng Grammar
24 Copies Virgil
12 Anthons' Caesar
18 Bullions Latin Grammar
12 Dillaway's Terence
36 Blairs Rhetoric
30 Whateley's Logic
12 An Latin Dictionary
12 Courtneys Calculus
15 Rms good Let Paper - blue - lines distinct
1 Rm acc't. Paper
12 Gross Steel Pens
1 Gross India Rub. Bands

Please fill the order at once. Direct to the Institute and send to the care of Bacon & Baskerville, Richmond. We would like to have the books here by the 15th and if the order cannot be filled entirely send such as you have and the rest as soon as they can be gotten.

August 1, 1859
Messrs W. H. Horstmann and Co. Philadelphia
You will please send us 8 Doz Dress Caps like those sent us last year with accoutrements complete. No. (Quantity)- 10, Size 6 5/8 ; 31, 6 3/4; 31, 6 7/8; 12, size 7; 8, size 7 1/2; 4, 7 1/4. Gross 96.

Also 4 Doz Extra Pompoms; 12 Doz V.M.I. Plates; 2 Doz (House) Plates; 4 Doz Eagles

I wish you would give dispatch to the above order as we would like to have the caps as soon as they can be forwarded -- say by the 15th. Direct to the Institute and send as heretofore to the care of Messrs Bacon & Baskerville, Richmond.

August 2, 1859
W. D. Stewart. Richmond, VA
TO: William Dabney Stuart, Class of 1850.
RE: Richard G. Wharton, Class of 1862.
I wrote to you by yesterday's mail informing you of difficulty in which young Wharton has been involved. The proceedings of the court have since been laid before me and he has been convicted fully of the offence of maltreating a new cadet. My duty has been a plain one & that is dismissal. The extent of my sympathies for his sorrowing mother may be understood when I say to you that my own son was his accomplice & is involved in the same penalty & in the same disgrace. I have now before me a communication which has been pressed with much earnestness by Maj. Gilham, from the corps of cadets, interceeding in behalf of these young men & pledging an entire abolition of the disgraceful practices for themselves. I have many misgivings about such pledges and am not sure any penalty can be sufficient satisfaction for the violated law but dismissal yet I hardly know how I can resist a respectful application, made with more than ordinary sanctity, & it is possible I may come to some compromise by which these infatuated youths may be saved, but it will only be by confining them to the limits for 6 months & limiting their demerit to 50, & then making my action on the matter subject to the revisal of the Board. I have a letter from Mrs. W this morning, see her at once, & let her know the facts & say to her, not to think hard of the fact that son does not go down. It may be an element in his reformation & an essential one too, that he be made to feel that this new trial is brought upon his mother -- that he does not bear his trial alone, but that she, whose comfort he should cherish, is bowed down by the sorrow which his conduct has brought upon her.

August 2, 1859
Major E. C. Bunker. Morgantown, Va
RE: Charles H. McLane, Class of 1863
I am this morning in rec't of your esteemed favor of the 28 July enclosing a check on Com: & Farmers Bank of Baltimore for $104 89/100 which I have placed to the credit of cadet C. H. McLane with this Institution. I am pleased to say he is well & is getting to know his duties. Some 45 or 50 of the new Cadets have reported & the camp looks very lively.

August 2, 1859
P. A. Hardy. New Orleans, LA
RE: Horace F. Hardy, Class of 1862
Your valued favor of the 24 July was rec'd this morning. Since my last letter to you, Col. Breedlove has been with us. He had a long interview with our Surgeon & finding your son so much improved, he has acted upon the advice of the Surgeon & taken him with him to the Va Springs. He left here about a week ago. The case was one so clearly pointing out this as the proper course in the case he was sure you would act in the same way had you been here. I am pleased to say your son's health had greatly improved, & that I have reason to believe will be fully restored when he returns on the 12th Ag't.

August 3, 1859
J. R. Jones. Lawrenceville, Brunswick, VA
TO: Joseph Ravenscroft Jones, Class of 1848. RE: James H. Morrison, Class of 1860
I have this morning rec'd your esteemed favor of the 30th July with reference to the report of Cadet J. H. Morrison. I will premise what I have to say by remarking, that I have not the least idea of any abuse of the liberality of our mutual friend Col. Cocke. The expenses of Cadet Morrison exceeded very much the estimate, and I think he is inclined to use more clothing than is absolutely necessary for decency & comfort. Our estimates are liberal, especially for the State Cadet, and altho' the Officers of the Institution do control in a great degree these expenses, the wants of a cadet for the necessary clothing must be supplied -- & altho' under restrictions their expenses will gradually swell beyond the amount estimated. What has been the cause which has operated with Cadet M. I cannot say, but I do not think he has allowed himself in the practice of self-denial when he wanted an article, and as his wants had always been liberally supplied by his father -- so they sh'd be liberally supplied here. To show you more plainly the correctness of my report, I make a synopsis of his expenses from our books. His first year as a Pay Cadet, his expenses exceeded the estimate by $115.64. For the two years he has been a state Cadet, he has had deposited $576.69. Deducting the balance against him on the end of the 1st year, viz. $115.64. there would remain $461.05. for his expenses for two years as a State Cadet & he has spent all of this but $10.17 making his annual expenses as a State Cadet $225 -- an excess of $50 -- over the estimate each year. This is exclusive of pocket money sent by his father & which passed through my hands. The object of adverting to this matter in the Circular, is to call forth such an explanation as this letter conveys & the effect will generally be to restrain the tendency to extravagance if it exists. Cadet M is so correct a young man in all particulars, that I sh'd not have adverted to this point but from a sense of my duty to him & to his father & to restrain others who may be less able to meet the expenses.

August 3, 1859
J. Norfleet. Tarboro, N.C.
I send you enclosed a statement of the annual expenses of a Cadet. This Institution is now full, but as it is possible that vacancies may occur between this and the 1st Sept at which time vacancies are finally filled from the list of applications then before the Board, you will please inform me at an early day whether your wards will be applicants. I send you also a copy of our Special Report on Scientific education in Europe.

August 3, 1859
W. R. Bishop. Littleton P.O. Sussex, VA
RE: Benjamin F. Bishop, Class of 1862.
I am in rec't of your favor of the 1 Ag't enclosing check for $90 which I have placed to the credit of Cadet Bishop.

August 3, 1859
Cadet W. H. H. Harris. Nicholas Court House, VA
Harris did not enroll
Your letter of the 28 July is this day rec'd. I will wait until 1 Sept. for you. You can with economy support yourself upon an average expense of about $120. The estimate is made liberal that it may not deceive any.

August 5, 1859
Dr. W. F. Alexander. Hall Town, Jefferson Co. VA
I am in rec't of your esteemed favor of the 1st Inst. I have been pained to learn from you the sad record which time has impressed upon your household and Mrs. Smith desires me to express to you her warmest sympathies in these severe trials. I think you have acted wisely with regard to your son. I certainly should receive him with many apprehensions. True, many who are predisposed to consumption are sent here for the invigorating effects of our system of Military discipline, but I always avoid, when I can, such a responsibility -- altho' the universal result has been favorable. I hope you may be spared another trial with this son, & that he may be long spared to you as a comfort. Mrs. Smith writes with me in kindest remembrances to you, & it would afford us both great happiness to see you or any of your family at our home.

August 5, 1859
Mr. G. J. Walthall. Powhatan Court House, VA
In reply to your letter of -- date I would state that the annual expenses of a state Cadet are $175.

August 5, 1859
Robert E. Scott. Warrenton, VA
Your favor of the 2d Inst. was rec'd enclosing state bond for $1000 & I send you receipt for the same, for which please accept my thanks.

August 5, 1859
Jordan Anthony. Pattonsburg, VA
RE: Robert I. Anthony, Class of 1863.
I have rec'd your esteemed favor of 3d Inst. Your nephew has reported for duty and is now regularly at work. Your check for $90 has been placed to his credit. I hope he will do well for your own sake, as well as for those who are dependent on him & it will give me great pleasure for me to do all in my power to aid him in his work.

August 5, 1859.
Mr. Andrew Houck. Harrisonburg, VA
RE: John W. Houck, Class of 1861
Your son reported to me yesterday & handed me your letter of the 2d Inst enclosing $150 which I have placed to your son's credit. I will not draw upon you for the $50 but if you willremit a check for the am't by the 1st Sept it will suit our convenience. I have said to your son that he must make a fresh start this year & insure he will do better.

August 5, 1859
Rev'd R. T. Brown. Fairfax Court House, VA.
RE: George Wilmer Brown, Class of 1863.
The Fairfax Brigade without its Brigade Major duly reported for duty on Wednesday morning and they are already initiated into all the mysteries of the Shanghai step. They seem to be a good hard set & I expect to have much pleasure in making good reports of them. I have placed to your son's credit $90.

August 5, 1859
Rt. Rev'd J. H. Otey. Tennessee
RE: University of the South; Cadet William Newton Mercer Otey, Class of 1863 (name changed to William Newton Mercer)
Your valued favor of the 30th July was rec'd this morning. The enlarged accommodations which we have this year enable us to receive 50 additional Cadets making our total number 200. We have now on our rolls about 210. I am anxious to provide for the sons of your friends and if they can punctually report themselves by say, not later than the 1st of Sept & as soon before as possible I will endeavor to make places for them, some vacancies will probably occur in intervals or we may be a little crowded for a few weeks, but by the 1st of October, we shall be about full, with a corps of young men, who are disposed to work. I send you a blank letter of app't which will answer for each of the young men. I am glad your son returns to us, I am anxious to make something out of him. These early trials are a necessary part of the discipline of many young men, and coming early in life, they tend to form the character, to develop men of virtue & true manliness. I shall avail myself of the past as a warning -- and at the same time as an encouragement to your son. I am glad to learn such favorable acc'ts of your great enterprise of the University of the South. I think it the most important educational movement that has taken place in my day, and I look forward with much encouragement to the successful accomplishment the great work before it. Most gladly would I accept your kind invitation to be present with you at the meeting of your Board on the 10th of Aug't but my public duties here, place it out of my power to leave before the 10 Aug't. I hope you will say to the associate members of the Board that I shall esteem it a privilege to supply any information which my experience or observation may enable me to give in the furtherance of their great undertaking. I send to your address by todays mail half a dozen copies of my Special Report on Scientific Education in Europe., which, altho' referring to topics more particularly relating to this Institution may suggest some useful hints to you in the orgnization of your university. We have had some liberalities bestowed upon the Institution at the recent meeting of our Board. Col Philip St Geo Cocke has given us $20,000 & a friend the Hon. W. C. Rives $10,000. These acts of benefaction are contagious, & I hope you may realize this, more & more, in your own enterprise.

August 5, 1859
Dr. J. J. Thompson. Putnam VA
RE: John K. Thompson, Class of 1863
Your son J. duly reported for duty, and has already made considerable progress in his military and other duties. He has handed me your letter of the 23d July and he has already interested me very much by his evident desire to do well here. I have consulted with him in reference to his room-mates, & I think he is forming connections that promise a profitable year for him. It will give me great pleasure to watch over him & I hope it will always be in my power to give good acc'ts of him.

August 5, 1859
R. Chew. Kabletown, Jefferson Co., VA
RE: Roger Preston Chew, Class of 1862
Your son has duly reported himself for duty, and he has been already making considerable progress in his work. He is doing well & I think bids fair to make a good student. I have supplied him with the necessary outfit of clothing req'd on admission, in his letter of app't amounting to the sum of $35.50 for which he has paid -- and he has also placed to his cadet acc't the credit of $54.50. The deposit req'd is $200 so that you can remit at your convenience, the balance of $145.50 with such deposit for pocket money as you may judge proper. This deposit will cover his expenses to the 1st of January. The next deposit, say $175 being made about the 10 Dec.

August 5, 1859
Thomas Love. Fairfax Court House, VA
RE: James M. Love, Class of 1863
Your son J. M. Love has duly reported for duty, & is now in the full routine of a soldier's camp life. After providing him with such articles as he needed, I have placed the balance of the check of $225 to his credit. It will give me great pleasure to do all in my power to advance the best interests of your son & I hope I shall at all times be able to give you good acc'ts of his progress & conduct.

August 6, 1859
Messrs J. & J. Poague & Co. Fancy Hill, Rockbridge [Co., VA]
I have been so much pressed by my incessant engagements since 20 June that I have allowed your account to remain over. Had you presented it in person it would not have been delayed. I enclose you a check for $340.65.

August 8, 1859
Mr. Wm. Keiter. Bloomery Hampshire Co, VA
William Keiter, Class of 1859, a recent graduate
I am in rec't of your favor of the 3d. I am sorry I did not hear of your disappointment about Winchester, as I might have aided you in securing a better situation. At present I have none at command, & can only promise to bear you in mind. Winchester surely ought to command a first class school. Why not cast in your lot there? & show by your determination to make good scholars, that you are worthy of their support? Remember, we must breast the current if we would rise, & the stronger the opposition, the greater the merit in success. Anyone could float with the tide but it requires a man to rise against it. Can you tell me the Post Office of Cross?

August 8, 1859
Judge A. F. Hopkins. Alabama
RE: Cadet William L. Hopkins, Class of 1863
I am in rec't of your favor of the 5th. The letter of app't gives your son ten days after the 15th Aug't to report. He should not be later than the 1st Sept. And indeed to secure good room-mates & a good room the sooner he is in the better for him. The bill on New York will be entirely acceptable to us & the am't will fully cover all incidental outfit, & should any remain will be placed to his credit, on his cadet acc't. I will endeavor to carry out your wishes with regard to your son, & hope I shall always be able to give you a good account of him.

Aug't 8th.1859 Col. G. W. Wilson/ Fincastle Va/ DS In reply to your letter of the 3d. I would state that I have no authority to issue any armes from the Arsenal, without an order from the Governor. It will give me pleasure to deliver those needed by your son's company, upon the requisite order.

August 8, 1859
Col. Joseph Tuley. Millwood, Clarke Co. VA
My attention has been directed to a communication in the May 1857 No of the Southern Planter, which I understand came from you proposing to raise $100,000 to organize an Agricultural Department in the University of Va and generously proposing, on your own part, to give $5,000 toward such an object. As the scheme for the University seems to have failed I would ask the liberty of calling your attention to the recent development in that direction which has been given to this Institution. For this purpose I enclose you a copy of my Special Report on Scientific Education in Europe, which was published by order of our Board of Visitors. The scheme therein proposed has been carried out by the recent action of the Board in the organization of a school of Agriculture in connection with this Institution. Relying upon the ability of this school to do for the Agricultural interests of the state, what had been designed in the Department proposed for the University, & indeed seeing that such a development here was more in harmony with the general scope of this institution, Col. Philip St. Cocke has given to the Agricultural school the $20,000 he had originally tendered to the University -- & upon the endowment Maj. Gilham has been elected Professor of Scientific Agriculture. Subsequently, & upon a more careful investigation of the claims of this institution, the Hon. W. C. Rives has tendered to it $10,000 which he held as a gift from a friend, toward the promotion of the interests of Agricultural Education in Va & upon this donation, a second chair, embracing Natural History, Physiology & Botany, will be organized in October. If your examination of the matter shall satisfy you, that this Institution is able to fulfill, and is placing itself in a position to meet, the wishes of the Agriculturalists of Va., I would respectfully solicit your attention to it, as a medium through which your generous benefactions may be made available for the great purposes contemplated by you. I am sure the deliberate spontaneous action of Col. Cocke & Mr. Rives, furnishes a guarantee that your confidence will not be misplaced -- or misused.

August 8, 1859
Mr. Wm. H. Clarke. Richmond, VA
William H. Clarke, Class of 1859, a recent graduate
Your favor of the 4th has been rec'd and I regret that I shall not be able to get you a place in the Engineering Corps. Taking it for granted that you would go to Williamsburg, I did not think of you in connection with the party, and now I might have gotten you a place but the Gov. has added some two or three volunteers upon it, so that the number is more than full. Should any vacancy occur, you will be written to. I have been pained to hear of your recent affliction. It is a blessed privilege to have the comfort of religion sustaining those who are thus tried, but how unspeakably great are the comforts to those who pass away.

August 8, 1859
Wm. D. Stewart. Richmond, VA
TO: William Dabney Stuart, Class of 1850.
RE: Richard G. Wharton, Class of 1862.
In reply to your letter of the 4th I would state that a cadet under confinement is always permitted to visit his parents when they visit here. If Mrs. W. has not left Richmond, I would esteem it wrong to punish her for the error of her son, & if she prefers her son's going to Richmond for a week, to her visiting Lexington, I would grant the indulgence.

August 8, 1859
Alfred L. Rives. Washington City D.C.
Alfred Landon Rives, graduate, Class of 1848
I have delayed a reply to your esteemed favor of the 24 June until I could give you the fullest information as to the action of the Board. In conformity with the recommendation contained in my Report, the Board has organized a Department of "Mechanique Appliquee" and it is proposed to put it as soon as possible upon the same footing in all respects, as the other chairs of the Institute. The salary will be at present $1500 with fuel and quarters am'ting to $250 more in all $1750. This salary we all feel to be below the real worth of the Officer & it is proposed to raise this as soon as funds can be secured for these purposes. To this end the most earnest application will be made to the next legislature to increase our annuity from the Literary Fund, which is now only $1500 to some $10,000. This sum, with some liberal benefactions which are receiving from private sources, one of $10,000 through the kind agency of your father will enable the Board to fully organize all these departments & put the Institution upon a career of usefulness which must add greatly to its reputation. I shall take pleasure in submitting your name, as I have already done to the Board of Visitors for the chair of "Mechanique Applique" and I hope, if the duties shall be acceptable to you, to find ourselves within a few months, in a condition to say to you that your services are required for it.

August 8, 1859
Col. Philip St. George Cocke, Powhatan Co, VA
Member, VMI Board of Visitors, 1846-1852; 1858-1861
I am much obliged to you for your kind suggestion in relation to Col. Tuley. I know him well & I have written him a letter today, a copy of which I forward to you, I hope it might lead the public spirited gentleman to do for us what may tend more & more, to make the Institute what its warmest friends desire most for it. We are very full & very quiet in camp. Between 50 & 60 new cadets have reported, one has been a student for 4 years in Europe, & another, the son of Henry Turner, 2 years. The material is the best we have ever admitted -- & promises finely -- we have now 215 on our roll, expect to be reduced to 200 by 1st Sept.

August 10, 1859
J. Mohler. Alma, Page Co., VA
RE: Elisha G. Mohler, Class of 1862.
I am in rec't of your favor of the 6th Inst -- enclosing a check for $200 which I have placed to the credit of your son Mohler.

August 10, 1859
R't Rev'd J. H. Otey. Beersheba Springs, Tenn
RE: Cadet William Newton Mercer Otey, Class of 1863 (name changed to William Newton Mercer)
Your son reached here yesterday morning, & has once reported for duty. This morning I am in rec't of your favor of the 4th enclosing two checks of one hundred dollars each which I have placed to his credit. I am pleased to see how much he has improved since I last saw him & especially in what a good spirit he resumes his duties. He has succeeded in getting a good set of room-mates & I really look forward with much hopefulness to the future for him.

August 11, 1859
H. K. Burgwyn. Stribling Springs, VA
RE: Henry K. Burgwyn, Jr., Class of 1861
Your son reported to me yesterday and I have at once put him to work. He is a fine looking fellow, and from the preliminary Math examination which we gave to him yesterday, he bids fair to make a high standing in the 3rd Class, which he preferred to enter. The class of young men entering this year is very superior. Two have been educated in Europe, one the son of our old friend Henry S. Turner, and the other a son of Cap't Magruder of the Navy, a nephew of John Magruder, so that your son will have "foremen worthy of his steel." It will give me great pleasure to do all in my power to promote his well being here. His outfit of clothes has cost him $34.55 which I have paid for out of his deposit of $225, and placed the balance, viz. $190.45 to his credit on his Cadet ac't. I am sorry to know that your daughter is unwell, but I hope that she will soon be able to convince you to visit Lexington.