Thursday, November 19, 2020

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, February 3, 1860

SEMINARY, Feb. 3, 1860.

I am half sick to-night—have had the trouble that I anticipated with these boys. Some of them are very good but some are ill bred and utterly without discipline. A few nights since one cadet reported another—it resulted in mutual accusations, the lie, blow, and finally the knife—fortunately it was not used. I dismissed the one with the knife instanter—the other after examination I thought equally to blame for first giving the lie.

Yesterday the friends of all parties came and after making all sorts of apologies I had to listen. Fortunately both were fine young men and no doubt the affair was one of passion and of sudden broil.

It is against the rules for cadets to use tobacco—but we know that they do use it, but this morning one did it so openly that I supposed he did it in defiance. I went to his room to see him but he was out and in the drawer of his washstand I found plenty of tobacco. I, of course, emptied it into the fireplace. Soon after the young gentleman named C—d came to me, evidently instigated by others and complained of ill treatment and soon complained of my opening his drawer, intimating that it was a breach of propriety. Of course I soon advised him that his concealment and breach of regulations well known to him was the breach of honor. He said he would not stay and after some preliminaries I shipped him. Another came with a similar complaint and I sent him off and then the matter ended. These two last were dull at books and noisy quarrelsome fellows and a good riddance. We had fifty-three now fifty one.

We have refused to receive many after the first instant and I have now an application from thirty in one school, but we think it best now to await the action of the legislature to ascertain what they propose to do for us and I also think it best to prepare some forty steady young men as a nucleus on which to build the hereafter.

The weather has been very fine for the past ten days—except one frosty day. It is now pretty warm and the grass and trees begin to indicate spring—gardens are being fixed for vegetables—here the land is too poor, and yet there are fine orchards of apples, pear, plum, peach, and fig. All say they have abundance of figs and peaches and they also boast of pears and plums. Apples and cherries not so well.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 140-2

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