Civil War Institute Life
VMI Board of Visitors Minutes, July 15-16, 1864
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Va. Military Institute
July 15th, 1864
The Board of Visitors met this morning in special session upon the call of the Superintendent. Present Hon. Wm. H. Macfarland, President; Genl. Wm. H. Richardson; T. J. Michie; R I. White; & Jas. Neeson, Esqrs., & Capt J.M. Patton. The President called the Board to order.
On motion--the Board proceeded to an inspection of the ruins of the public buildings, lately destroyed by the enemy, and to the public property saved therefrom, and after sometime spent therein, returned to the Superintendent's office.
On motion--a recess took place until 6 p.m. with the view of giving time for absent members expected by the stage of today to arrive.
6 p.m.-- As the members expected by the stage did not arrive, the Board stood adjourned until 10 1/2 a.m. tomorrow. /signed/Wm. H. Macfarland, Prest.
July 16th 1864
10 1/2 A.M.
The Board met pursuant to adjournment. Present same members as yesterday, and Col. A.C. Cummings & Wm. M. Burwell Esq. The report of the Superintendent with the accompanying reports of the Professors were read. The President announced the following standing committees.
Finance/Wm M. Burwell, Mr. Neeson & Mr. White
Discipline/Genl. Richardson & Col. Cummings
Q.M. Dept/Mr. Michie & Genl Richardson
Arsenal & Arms/Col. Patton & Mr. White
Sub Dept/Col. Cummings & Mr. White
Supt & Professors' Reports/Col. Patton, Mr. Neeson, Mr. Burwell, Mr. Michie & Col. Cummings
on motion of Mr. Burwell, Resolved, that so much of the Report of the Professor of Military Science and Tactics, as relates to a modification of the rules of discipline, be referred to the Committee on Discipline, with instructions to report such amendments in the same as they may deem proper.
The Board took a recess until 5 p.m.
July 16th, 5 p.m.
The Board of Visitors met pursuant to adjournment. Same members present as in the morning.
The following resolution of enquiry was offered by Mr. Michie and adopted.
Resolved--That a special committee of five (5) enquire into the liability of the Cadets to be called into military service, as a component part of the army, and if so liable, by whom may the call be made. The committee to consist of Mr. Michie, Genl. Richardson, Mr. Burwell, Col. Cummings & Col. Patton
The Committee appointed to consider the Supt & Professors Reports, after sometime spent thereon, made a verbal report and asked to be discharged from the further consideration of the matter referred to them, with the view of a general consideration of the same in Committee of the whole.
On motion, the Committee was discharged from the further consideration of the same and the subject was referred to the Committee of the whole.
On motion, the Board adjourned to meet again on Monday at 10 a.m./signed/Wm. H. Macfarland
July 18th, 1864, 10 a.m.
The Board met pursuant to adjournment. Present same members as on Saturday.
On motion of Col Patton, Resolved that immediate steps be taken for the earliest practicable resumption of the usual exercises of the Institute.
On motion of Col. Cummings, Resolved that temporary arrangements be made for resuming the exercises of the Institute at (passed over).
On motion of Col Patton, Resolved that the Superintendent be requested to report to a meeting of the Board to be held this afternoon a comparative estimate of the expense of [hutting] the cadets, procuring lecture rooms & c at this point, and of renting at some other point suitable buildings for their temporary occupation for lecture rooms, professor's houses & c, till (with the assent of the Legislature) the permanent rebuilding becomes practicable.
Resolved, that so much of the report of the Supt. as refers to the expenses incurred by the Cadets on their late march, be referred to the Special Committee of Five.
Resolved, that this Board postpone at this time to fill existing vacancies in the State Cadets, ten in number, in as much as the absence of the Cadets in the field and the unsettled condition of the country, made it impracticable to give sufficient notice of the vacancies.
Resolved, that the Supt certify to the Sec of War the names of the First Class of Cadets, in the order of merit as duly graduated, with the unanimous recommendation of the Board that these graduates be employed in the military service in such positions as their military education may qualify them to fill.
Resolved that the President in the annual report make suitable notice of the services performed by the Officers and Cadets in the military service.
On motion the Board took a recess until 5 p.m.
July 18th, 1864. 5 p.m.
The Board met pursuant to adjournment. Present same members as in the morning.
The Special Committee appointed to enquire into the liability of the Cadets to be called into military service, and so much of the Supt Report as refers to the expenses incurred by the Cadets on their late march, submitted the following report which was unanimously adopted.
"The Special Committee to whom was referred the question of the liability of the Cadets to be called into military service, as a component part of the army & c, and to whom was also referred so much of the report of the Superintendent as refers to the expenses incurred by the Cadets on their late march, beg leave respectfully to report that they have carefully examined the laws organizing the Institute, and have unanimously concluded that those laws do not subject the Cadets to any military service, save that of guarding and preserving the buildings, arms, ammunition and other public property, belonging to the state and appurtenant to the arsenal at Lexington; and that in respect to the duty above mentioned, they are under the exclusive jurisdiction and control of the Board of Visitors. Your Committee are also of opinion that the provision found in the several laws regulating the powers and duties of the Board of Visitors, by which they are authorized to proscribe (among other things) the "kind" and "nature of their service," would empower the Board of Visitors (and them alone) to send them into such active service, as might be indispensably necessary in the defense and protection of the public property committed to their charge. As authority for our conclusions we could refer to the Act of Assembly of 29th March 1839 and to the 34th Chapter of the code of 1860Your Committee do not at all regret the fact that the Cadets have been heretofore called into the active service of the country. They believe that the Corps bore itself on those occasions in a manner becoming the children of their "mother" state, and rejoice in the belief that by their noble bearing they reflected high honor both on the Institute and the Commonwealth. The duty of the Board is none the less clear however to place the future exercise of the power of employing the services of the Cadets in duty, dangerous however honorable, in the hands entitled to wield it, and to remove so far as in them lies all doubt that may heretofore have rested on this subject. The importance of now deciding this question of bringing it to the notice of the Governor, and through him presenting it to the notice of the Legislature (should he deem it necessary,) is illustrated by the difficulty which induced the Board to send to this Committee this second question submitted to them, and on which they submit the following remarks.
The cadets were in the active service of the state shortly after the Battle of New Market, having been regularly turned over by order of Genl. Breckinridge to the Governor, and found themselves at Staunton in great need of shoes and other articles worn out or destroyed in the severe marches to which they had been subjected. They were ordered to Richmond by the Governor, and it was indispensably necessary that they should be supplied with these necessary articles before the order could be executed. The Governor disallowed the bill made by their purchase, and felt it to be his duty to reject it. This bill having been made by Genl. Smith, not in his capacity as Superintendent of the Institute, but in that of an officer of the state in active service, he did not regard the bill as due by the Institute, but by the State, and accordingly did not charge the funds of the Institute with the amount of it but reported the facts to the Board. Your Committee approve the course pursued by him, and certainly could not feel that the Board would be justified in recognizing the claim as due by the Institute. That the Legislature will pay this claim as a part of the war debt of the state, your Committee do not doubt, and they suggest that the Board recommend the Legislature to do so. So far in the opinion of your Committee it may go, but no farther.
Your Committee further recommend that this Board respectfully request the Legislature to settle definitely the two questions submitted to them, and that in the meantime, the Board assume the authority believed by your Committee to be invested in them, in respect to the government and control of the Cadets."
On motion of Mr. Neeson, Resolved that the report of the Committee on Subsistence be recommitted, that the Committee may enquire into the circumstances of the alleged loss of books & papers, relating to the Subsistence Account, and to ascertain the extent of supplies on hand.
On motion the Board adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow
/signed/Wm. H. Macfarland, Prest.