Thursday, November 19, 2020

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 10, 1860

SEMINARY OF LEARNING, February 10, 1860.

DEAR GENERAL: I received your note yesterday, and feel sorry that you are troubled by the condition of affairs now. All things are working here smoothly. All appearance of dissatisfaction has disappeared and recitations and drills have not been interrupted one moment. Parents too have responded so manfully that the cadets see their mistake – their complaints of tyranny and treatment like negroes are ridiculed by their parents.

I had a very long interview with Mr. H—s and Judge C—1 yesterday. Showed them the record, orders, delinquincies, and class reports and Mr. H—s admitted there was not a break in the chain and that I could not have acted otherwise. I had received two letters for Cadet S. M. H—s which I handed his father. He made us read one from him, which was so proper, manly, and father-like, that I warmed to him at once, and felt deep sympathy. Could I have obeyed my mere feelings I would have offered no obstacle to the return of S. M. H—s, but I am convinced that under the most favorable circumstances he can never hold office here or occupy a position of trust or confidence, that consequently he will never be content but prove a restless example, that all I can now advise is that his resignation be accepted by the Board and the record thus made clear. And then he will return home with his father and study some new profession. The other son is more seemingly anxious to remove some of his reports, already exceeding fifty demerits, and to make an effort to proceed in his studies. If he do this I will favor him all possible.

Mr. Cushman whom we installed as acting first sergeant is intelligent, manly, ambitious – very forward in study, and forms the company and calls the roll better than H—s. Indeed there is a palpable manifest improvement in the tone here since the emeute horrible.

Mr. H—s yesterday remarked unguardedly that the military feature of this school would soon be changed. I expressed myself emphatically that personally I was unconcerned but that it would be fatal. One hundred young men in this building under a civil government would tear down the building and make study impossible. With our frequent roll calls, and the other regulations it is all we can do to keep quiet. I think both Mr. H—s and Judge C—1 changed their opinions before they left. Mr. H—s did not clearly indicate his line of conduct but said he would be out again. I cannot again receive H—s under his old appointment, unless by a formal resolution of the Board of Supervisors, which to me would be an order. I have no objection to his informal resignation. I am sorry I allowed P—n and C—d to resign – but I then thought it safest — and least liable to abuse.

I have just received yours of to-day and will make up an abstract of T—r's recitations — he has been reported to me several times for neglect of studies. If anybody has spoken an unkind word to him I know it not. This general mode of complaint is not worthy of notice. Mr. T—r will be most welcome here, and a visit might benefit the son

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 145-7

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