Francis H. Smith Outgoing Correspondence
June 1-17, 1859

Smith 1859-1860 top level     Smith Papers top level  

 Francis H. Smith, circa 1862Va Mil:Institute/June 1st 1859
J. B. Cary Esq'r/ Hampton Va/ DS

I write now to say to you that I would recommend to you as a successor to Mr. Edmonds, Mr.Wm Keiter of the graduating Class. Mr.K. is a fine scholar -- much more mature than our ordinary graduates, being some 24 or 25 years of age & I think will suit you in all respects.  By reference to the Register you will see that he occupies a high position in his Class having graduated 5th in math & 2d in Chemistry in a large class.  As he has other offers it may be well to give him a definite reply without delay or you may fail to secure a good assistant.  He of course expects to get the same salary &c as Mr.Edmonds.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 1st 1859
Hilary Harris Esq./ Powhatan Co Ho Va/ DS
     I have rec'd through Col.P.St.Geo Cocke your request with reference to a teacher for your boys, & I take this occasion to write to you & to say that I can secure for you the services of Mr.A.G.Hill, a member of the graduating class of this year; & a native of King Wm Co.  Mr.Hill is one of the best young men I have ever had in the school.  He is a member of the P.Ep.Church,
of firm character & will I think give you great satisfaction.  He
graduated 2d in Latin in a large Class & is fully qualified to take your boys through the usual course preparatory to this school.  You will find him faithful & conscientious & a pleasant member of your family.  As other openings are presenting themselves it is important that I should know your wishes & at
what time his services would be required.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 1st 1859
Rev'd Philip Slaughter/ Near Mitchells Depot/ Culpepper
() Co Va/ MD Friend
     I am sorry to learn that the health of Mrs.S continues so bad and that you will in consequence be unable to visit us at this time.  Mrs.Smith begs me to give her kindest love to her and we both (...) she may soon be better.  My "boys" were disappointed that the hopes that I had encouraged of your being here were not to be realized.  There is work for you here among them whenever you can come, and I do so much wish you could give them a few talks prior to the visit of Bishop Johns which I see is appointed for 26th June.  Think of this.--I have given myself much care in reference to a teacher for your brother-in-law and I would recommend to you and to him Mr.J.W.Lyell a member of the graduating class of this year.--The Register which I send you will give you his record.  You will be able to judge for yourself of his scholarship and deportment, for the record exhibits both. Without detriment to Mr.Steptoe, now with your brother-in-law, I can say that he is a better scholar and in every way better qualified for such a post as I understand his school to be.  He is a gentleman mild yet firm and will teach thoroughly whatever he undertakes.

I have mentioned the matter to him, and he seems desirous of accepting it but has had some overture from King George County and in consequence must first communicate with his father in Richmond County -- (Warsaw).-- Should I fail to secure Lyell, I would bring to your notice either Clarke or Steptoe of the same Class, whose records will be found in the same Register.--I prefer Lyell because he is a State Cadet and is dependent upon his own energies to make his way in the world.-- Steptoe looks to the Ministry and will go to the seminary in another year, if he does not this year.-- Clarke has feeble constitution.  If therefore I may close an agreement with Lyell, I will do so as soon as he hears from home and gets his father's approbation, and shall therefore expect to hear from or to see you -- which latter would of course be more agreeable to me and satisfactory to yourself.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 2d.1859
Mr. Philip St.G.Cocke/ Powhatan/ DS
     I have duly rec'd your letter in reference to a school teacher for Mr. Harris, and I have delayed a reply until I could make the requisite arrangements.  I think I have secured him a capitol young man by the name of Hill who I am sure will give his satisfaction.  His standing in studies is not very high except in Latin, in which he stood 2d but he has full qualifications for the school Mr. Harris has -- and he is a reliable gentleman a member of the P.E.Church.  and one that will be a pleasant
companion for his boys.

Va Mil:Institute/June 6th 1859
Mr.Wm Ham/ Hampton Va/ DS
     I have rec'd your favor of the 30 May, enclosing Messrs Tho Peck & son's check for $55 68/100 on Exchange Bank Norfolk. which I have placed to the credit of Cadet Ham with this Institution.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 6th.1859
Cadets Hobson & Griffith/ Military Institute.  Nashville
Tenn/ DSs
     Your joint letter of the 28th May has been rec'd.  The app'ts of cadets in this Institution will be made by the Board of Visitors about the 24 of this month.  If you will send to my address the usual testimonials of qualifications, it will give me pleasure to submit your names at the proper time.  I send you a copy of our Register.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 6th 1859
Joseph Segar/ Hampton Va/ MDS
     Your letter in behalf of your nephew John Segar has been received and it will give me pleasure to lay it before the Board of Visitors.--The difficulty in his case will be chiefly from the cause of his District being now represented.  If any thing can be done for him I am sure the Board will give him every opportunity of success.

Va Mil:Institute/June 6th 1859
Jeremiah Turner/ Marion Smythe Co Va/DS
     Your letter of the 1st Inst making application for appointment as State Cadet from the 41st Sen District has been rec'd and it will give me great pleasure to lay your application before the Board of Visitors.--The same mail brought me a letter in your behalf from Col.B.R.Lloyd.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 7th 1859
Mrs.M.N.Otey/ Care of Dexter Otey Esq'r.Lynchburg/ DM
     The testimonials of your son Charles W. Terry have been duly rec'd and it will afford me great pleasure to lay them before the Board of Visitors, and I hope there may be no difficulty in his receiving an appointment.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 7th 1859
W W Mosby Esq'r/ Lynchburg Va/ DS
     Your valued favor of the 4th Inst. was this morning rec'd. It will give me great pleasure to lay the claims of young Terry before our Board of Visitors.  There is an unusually large list of applicants for this year but I hope there will be no difficulty in Mr.Terry's receiving an app't as his claims seem to be more than ordinarily strong for it.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 7th 1859
Hon.G.M.Wayne/ Associate Justice Sup.Ct./Washington D.C./DS
     Your esteemed favor of the 4th has been rec'd and it will give me great pleasure to present the name of your grandson, the son of my old army friend Dr. Cuyler. to the consideration of our Board of Visitors:  I send to your address a copy of our Regulations last annual Register & Report & a Copy of a Special Report on Scientific Education in Europe which I have recently prepared by the order of our Board.  These documents will place you in possession of full information respecting the Institution. Applications for admission must be presented in time to be acted upon by the Board of Visitors at their general meeting which commences on the 24th of June & closes 4th of July.  Provision has been made for the admission of students from other States than Va but the list of applicants is so very large for our own state, as well as from other states, that it will be impossible for us to accommodate all who apply.  By what rule the Board may make selection I cannot say, but I am sure they would most favorably consider the application of one whose father & grandfather had so long served their country.  Successful applicants are immediately notified of their app't & they will be required to report for duty by the 1st of Aug't following.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 7th 1859
President L.C.Garland/ University of Ala:  Tuskaloosa/ DS
     Your esteemed favor of the 24 of May, in favor of the application of F.M.Stafford of Ala. for app't in this Institution has been rec'd, and it will give me great pleasure to present his claims to the consideration of the Board of Visitors.  The list of applications is so very large this year, that I am apprehensive we shall not be able to provide accommodations for many who are anxious to enter.  By what rule the Board of V. may make selections I cannot say but I am sure your testimonial in behalf of any applicant will be rec'd by them with the most distinguished consideration.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 7th 1859
B.B.Minor Esq./ Richmond Va/ DS
     I am in rec't of your (sic) of the 2d Inst. enclosing check for $85.00 which I have placed to the credit of Cadet W.N.Mercer on the books of the Institution.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 7th 1859
Wm M.Blackford Esq./Lynchburg Va/ DS
     Your esteemed favor of the 6 Inst. in behalf of young C.W.Terry has been rec'd & it will give me great pleasure to lay the claims of Mr.T before our Board.  We have an unusually large list of applicants for this year & it is possible that the Board will have to select from them such as may be rec'd but I (sic) sure the claims of young Terry must give him a fine prospect of success.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 7th 1859
J.Kyle, Esq'r/ Cloverdale Botetourt Va/ DS
     I have rec'd your esteemed favor of the 6th.  It will give me pleasure to permit your son to go home for a few days after the 4th July.  It is not usual to grant these indulgences at that time to members of the 3d Class.  but the condition of his mother's health furnishes a ground upon which I can with great propriety make an exception.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 8th 1859
J.W.Scott Esq'r/ Westminster.  Carroll Co Md/ DS
     Your esteemed favor of the 6th Inst. has been rec'd and it will give me great pleasure to present the name of your son to the consideration of our Board of Visitors.  Arrangements were made at the last annual meeting of the Board for admission of Cadets from other states, & public notice has been given to this effect in some of the papers.  The number of applications has so greatly exceeded our means of accommodation, the Board of Visitors will be compelled to select those who can be admitted. I do not know by what rule they will make selections, but I am sure the claims of your son, commended as they are, by one so much esteemed by us as Judge Tyler, will receive from the Board a most favorable consideration.  The annual expenses, including clothing, average about $375. payable semi-annually in advance of which due notice is given in the printed Circular.  The Board will meet on the 24 June & the app'ts will be issued between that day & the 4th July.  I send a copy of our last annual Report & also a copy of a Special Report on Scientific Education in Europe. which may interest you.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 8th 1859
Mr.Paul Bossange/ No 20 Beckman St. N.Y./ DS
     Yours of the 3d is rec'd.  I thought your charges were included in the am't which I forwarded.  As I was mistaken in this I now enclose a check for $11.04 as stated.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 10th 1859
Joseph Ryland Esq./ Bruington King & Wueen Co Va/ DS
     Your esteemed favor of the 6th Inst. enclosing application of young Acue for app't as a state Cadet has been rec'd & will be laid before the Board of Visitors at their annual meeting.

 Va Mil:Institute/ June 10th 1859
Mr.Lemuel Chenowith/Beverly. Randolph Va/DS
     I am in rec't of your favor of the 6th Inst. enclosing a check for $100. which I have placed to the credit of your son. We have just  closed his account finally before his graduation & the balance due the V.M.I. is $223.  The deposit now made will reduce this $100. leaving $123 to be paid.  As I have allowed you much indulgence in your payments, I hope you will be able to meet this balance before our Board meets on the 24 June in as they were disposed to complain of my indulgence in some of the cases before them last year.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 10th 1859
J.L.Walthall Esq'r/ Newbern N.C./ DS
     Your esteemed favor of the 6 Inst. has been rec'd and I will at the proper time lay the claims of your son before the Board of Visitors.  Mr. Murfee knows so well the qualifications likely to give success to an applicant, that I hope it will be the pleasure of the Board to give him an app't.  I send you a copy of a Special Report which I have just published which may interest

Va Mil:Institute/ June 11th 1859
Mr H.H.Janney/Martinsburg Va/DS
     Your claims for app't as State Cadet will be laid before our Board.  You should forward at once testimonials of your character, & of your parents inability to educate you as a pay Cadet.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 16th 1859
P.A.Hardy Esq/ New Orleans LA/ DS
     Your esteemed favor of the 4 Inst has been rec'd & it will afford me much pleasure to lay the application of young Breedlove before the Board of Visitors for app't as Pay Cadet.  I take this occasion to say that your sons are well and are busy preparing for their Examination.

Va Mil:Institute/June 16th 1859
Chas Lumsden Esq'r/Petersburg Va/ DS
  Your favor of the 13 Inst is rec'd.  I will take great pleasure in laying the claims of your son before the Board as a state cadet & I hope it will be their pleasure to give it to him. I can give him a very warm recommendation.  It may be well however for you to strengthen your application, by a letter from some one or more of your friends, showing your present inability to continue him as a Pay Cadet.  I have not replied to your note with reference to your late check.  As an answer was made to it by Mr. Catlett our Treas'r.  I would like you to deposit the balance due on the Draft before the Board meets on the 24. of this month.

Va Mil:Institute/June 26th 1859
Col.Eppa Hunton/ Brentsville VA/ DS
     Your esteemed favor of 11 Inst has been rec'd, and it will give me much pleasure to lay the testimonials of young Latimer before the Board of Visitors.  I take this opportunity of sending you a copy of a Special Report which I have recently prepared & which may interest you.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 16th 1859
Jos King Esq'r/ Lynchburg Va/ DS
     The testimonials of your brother will be laid before the Board as soon as they assemble.  You must not be too sanguine of his success.  The number & strength of the applications are very much more than usual.  It will give me pleasure to do all I can for him.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 16th 1859
Col.R.A.Claybrook/Piedmont.near Lottsburg,Northumberland Va
     Your favor of the 6 Inst coverning the application of young Crittendon for a state Cadet app't has been & will be laid before the Board.  I cannot express to you how much I regret that we shall not be favored with your presence at the usual meeting of the Board.  I was just on the eve of writing to you after consultation with Gen. Richardson, to request you to deliver the usual address to the Graduating Class.  when the executive app'ts for this year were rec'd. I take it for granted your name was omitted, in obedience to your own wishes, as I understood them to be expressed when I saw you in Richmond.  It is always our custom to consider those who have given their time & labors in the duties of our Board, as HONORARY members, and I hope you will always continue the same interest for us, which you have so kindly and so efficiently shown hitherto.  For myself, I shall ever cherish with pleasing recollection your many personal kindnesses to myself, & if I can at any time, serve you or any of our friends I hope you will not hesitate to command me.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 16th 1859
Mr G.M.Edgar/ Norfolk Acad'y.  Norfolk Va/DS
     Your letter of the 10 Inst. was rec'd by me last night, & I lose no time in replying to it.  The official note which I addressed to you a short time after you left the Institute, was written for two reasons 1st as due to those who might succeed you here, & 2d by that you might on your entrance into life be guarded against any seeming neglect of what might at the time be an unpleasant duty.  I thought, under the circumstances you were making a captious objection to the discharge of a duty which had been assigned to you under the order of Maj Preston, and that your leaving the Institute with this duty undischarged & without signifying to me that you declined discharging it, was throwing a labor upon myself at a time when I needed every moment, which you might readily have discharged in an hour or two, I thought then you acted in a wrong spirit & I still think so but I hope you have long since felt this yourself -- and I have never thought of allowing an indiscretion to interfere with my high regard & respect for you, or with any substantial service that I could render you. hence I told Maj's Preston & Jackson altho' my recommendation of you had not been solicited, that I should most cheerfully give you my cordial support for the Proff at Davidson College.  This I herewith, enclose and I hope it may be the pleasure of the Board to confer the Professorship upon you.  I have said to Maj's Preston & Jackson that you will find more difficulty in filling the chair vacated by Maj. Hill than in going into most of our Southern Colleges.  Maj'r Hill is an unusually able teacher & any of our graduates would follow him with disadvantage.  Your qualifications are fully equal to his when he came to W-- College & if therefore you will apply yourself with the same diligence that he has you will obtain distinction as he has.  There is a defect in your system of instruction which you must guard against.  Don't allow a young man to take his seat upon a refusal until you have explained to him what he is ignorant of.  Let him receive by your instruction an equivalent for his low mark.  & it will tell in the long run.  I mean this as a general rule.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 16th 1859
D.W.Floweree Esq'r/ Independence Jackson Co Mo/DS
     Your valued favor of the 4th Inst. with the bond of $800 was rec'd last night, and I herewith enclose you the original one which had been formerly sent.  In releasing a state Cadet from the duty of teaching. the Board of Visitors aim to app't an additional state Cadet to render the service which he has been excused from.  The am't which they receive therefore is used in this way, and this is the reason of the requisition which the Board make (sic).  I will lay your brother's application before the Board & I hope there will be no doubt in his app't altho' our list of applicants is unusually large.  I send you a copy of my Special Report on Scientific Education in Europe which I know will interest you.  I perceive you have perhaps incidentally dated the bond whicb I retain 1 June 1859 instead of 1858.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 16th 1859
L.L.Stevenson Esq'r/ P.M. Staunton Va/ DS
     There was a balance of $36.49/100 due this Institution by your grandson Cadet Kinney when he left here to go to West Point. and also the sum of $160--. in consideration of the sum advanced to him as a state Cadet his being released the obligation assumed, when he entered this Institution.  Our Board of Visitors will meet on the 24 of this month, and if you can in whole or in part discharge these obligations I will be much obliged to you. I am unwilling to press either of these claims upon you but my duty to the Institution requires me to call your attention to them & I hope you may be able to meet them.

Va Mil Institute/ June 16th 1859
Hon Wm C.Rives/ Cobham P.O. Albemarle Co Va/ DS
     I am in rec't of your valued favor of the 15 Inst. and it gives me great pleasure to respond to your enquiries with reference to the subject matter of your letter.  I am much indebted to your kindness in thinking of this Institution in connection with the benefaction of your friend, and I hope I shall not so far abuse this confidence as to allow my parcialities (sic) to over estimate the field of usefulness which is immediately opening for your friend's consideration here. Your lettler comes to me at an opportune time.  I am just arranging the materials of my annual Report to our Board, and I shall make the views which I design to present to them, the basis of my reply to you.  The Special Report on Scientific Education in Europe which I had the honor to submit to your perusal a few weeks since (and now send another copy) in connection with the Supplemental Report on Agricultural Education presents a distinct scheme for the immediate organization of a school of Agriculture, as one of the main specialities of this Institution.  This scheme tho' virtually accepted by the Board, has not yet been put into operation, at their annual meeting commencing on the 24th Inst. I shall recommend the organization of the school of Agriculture on the basis of Maj Gilham's Report, and the app't of one or more Professors.  the establishment of an Agricultural Museum:  and the purchase of a farm for practical & experimental instruction. Altho' the Institution has not the means at command for the full execution of either of these important objects, still, the organization of the scheme may suggest means by which it may be made practicable at some early day.  So that in answer to your first enquiry, I would say that the annual revenue from $10,000, which your friend designs to "an Agricultural School or Professorship in Va" might be immediately directed towards the endowment of one of the Professorships, say, the Professorship of Agriculture in this Institute.  It would of itself, be insufficient for this endowment, but it would be a material aid in organizing it.  As next in importance, the $10,000 might be appropriated to the erection of a Hall, for an Agricultural Museum, (the Hall to bear the name of the Donor) upon the plan of that at the Agricultural school, at Hohenheim.  This Hall would contain specimens of seed, roots, wool, cotton, tobacco & other Agricultural productions; also of timber in connection with forestry, specimens of soils -- and models of approved agricultural impliments.  Such a museum would contribute a most important auxillery (sic) in the course of agricultural education as is shown by the experience of the best agricultural schools in Europe.  The sum of $10,000 would be abundantly sufficient for this purpose.  Or finally, the sum of $10,000 might be at once advantagiously (sic) applied to the purchase of a farm, for experimental purposes, and one can be had at this time, within 30 minutes walk of the Institue at this sum containing 200 acres: so that in either of these three ways, your friend might give direction to his benefaction and act in harmony with plans already under the consideration of our Board, & all of which will in due time be put into efficient operation.  You ask also "is there any prospect of obtaining other funds. either from the state or individuals for the same purpose" of course my reply must be conjectural.  The present annuity from the state is $9710 of which sum $1500 are appropriated by the Literary Fund.  an effort will, in all probability be made before the Legislature, to increase the $1500 to $6000 and the reasonbleness of the application will, I think be made as apparent, that I can hardly dout its ultimate success.  Indeed it would seem strange that with an overwhelming list of applicants asking admission to the school, as we have at this time, facilities for their instruction should be withheld, from the surplus revenue of a fund wisely set apart for the special cause of education in Va.  But more than this.  I am inclined to believe, that the sum of $20,000 donated upon conditions. by our friend Col. Cocke, to the University of Va but declined by that Institution, will ultimately come to the Agricultural Department of this school.

I do not say this by authority, but in the confident belief that Col. Cocke is becoming daily more and more convinced that his bennificial (sic) design can be made more available to the important interests which he designs to promote by appropriating the amount to this Institution than in any other way.  I think the application of your friend's beneficence here would strengthen these convictions:  and this actig & reacting, they would be suggestive to the liberal minded men of wealth in our country of ways of usefulness the benefits (sic) of which we can scarcely measure.  With reference to your last enquiry, I would say, that this Institution is governed by the state, through a Board of Visitors app't annually by the Gov' of which Board the Adjutant Gen'l is an ex-officio member.  I have been connected with it from its organization in 1839. and I can scarcely conceive it possible for a public Institution to be conducted by those who, from the nature of our free institutions have so much to do with politics and yet be freer from PARTY politics altho' the Democratic party has been in the ascendent all the time I have held by office, with the known principles of a decided      Whig and the President of our Board Col Cocke is also a Whig. The Board of Visitors make it my duty each year in their name to invite two special visitors to be present at their examinations. I had not discharged this duty when your letter came to hand & it gives me pleasure to say to you & to your friend, that it would be most agreeable to the Board and to the Officers of this Institution, if you would be the guests of the Board as special visitors during the approaching session of the Board, commencing on the 24 June & terminating on the 4th July.  While the presence of yourself & that if your friend would enable the Board to derive the advantages of your own enlightened experiences, it would afford both of you the best possible opportunity for knowing all that might be essential to right decision of the question, in aid of which I have given you, I feel assured, but an imperfectly full response.   

Va Mil.Institute/ June 16th 1859
J.B.Cary Esq'r/ Hampton Va/ DS
Your favor of the 6 Inst was rec'd on the eve of my departure for Court as a witness in Botetourt. & hence a delay has arisen. When I recommended Mr. Keiter to you, I did so under the conviction that he possessed the qualities which, under all the circumstances of your school, made him the best one I could think of for your service.  I still think so, and altho' not so good a scholar as Lyell. he has more age. & intends to make teaching his profession.  Since the rec't of your lettler I have seen Mr. Lyell & he prefers to go to Rappahannock to teach in a private family at the same price offered by you.  As between Keiter & Cutshaw, there is no necessity to draw a comparison now. inasmuch as Keiter has just had an offer at Winchester at $1,000 & he will go there.

Va Mil.Institute/ June 17th 1859
Alfred Caldwell Esq'r/ Wheeling Va/ DS
     Your esteemed favor of the 13 Inst. has been rec'd & it will give me pleasure to lay the claims of youong Jones before our Board of Visitors. You have omitted an important item in the app't of a state Cadet viz, that the applicant is unable from his limited means to bear the expenses of a pay Cadet.  If you will let me hear from you immediately on the rec't of this, your letter will be in time to be acted upon by the Board.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 171859
G.J.Kollock Esq/ Savannah Ga/ DS
     I am in rec't of your esteemed favor of the 13 Inst. with the enclosed testimonials.  It has been very well you have forwarded them, for our list of applications is so very large, that I hardly see how all can be admitted & the strong testimonials which you have supplied will surely give your son great advantage over most applicants.

Va Mil:Institute/ June 17th 1859
Rob't Park Esq'r/ Ravenswood Va/ DS
     I am in rec't of your favor of the 11th Inst. enclosing an order on P.Trotter of $30.00 and a check on Bank of Va for $25-- in all $55-- which I will place to the credit of your son on the books of this Institution.  I have also rec'd a check for $30 payable to the ordedr of your son, which I will hand to him to pay his expenses home on furlough.    

Va Mil:Institute/ June 17th 1859
Wm D.Stewart Esq'r/Richmond Va/ DS
     I found your letter of the 10th on my table when I returned from Fincastle wither I had been as a witness at a County Court. I have very carefully read your schemes to the Governor, & of course I think the place the very one we should have, I am apprehensive, however, that to get such a thing adopted, it must be made more general. applying to the University & also to the colleges, & embrace pay as well as state students.  The thing is worth acting upon, but I would suggest to you to make your communication to our Board of Visitors.  They will have time to consider it will suggest difficulties if any exist in its application, and if they approve of it in whole or part will recommend it to the Gov'r & transmit your letter with their Report.  I suggest this as the best mode of directing public sentiment.  How would you like to take the Professorship of Math in the State Military School of Louisiana at $2500 a year?  This is a new Institute & will I think be filled with 6 of our graduates to conduct it.  Let me hear from you on this point -- & if you are favorably inclined, you had better run up and see me, that I may talk to you about it, more fully than I could now have time to write.