Thursday, November 19, 2020

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 6, 1860

SEMINARY OF LEARNING, February 6, 1860.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to enclose your two papers, being the resignation of Cadets S. M. H—S, A. P. W—s, and state cadet R. A. W—1.

As these persons have all left the Seminary without leave, or authority and in a spirit of defiance, I shall report them tomorrow as “deserted,” and give their parents a statement of their accounts, with an outline of the facts attending their departure.

Cadet S. M. H—s is the person first installed as acting first sergeant. Whilst in that capacity I reproved him for using his office to expose a young gentleman just arrived as a sentinel with a broom stick on one of the gallaries. Again he was the party who first began the affray with Cadet H—h, for which he was deprived of his office. Since that time he has been careless, absenting himself from roll call, etc. And this morning in connection with Cadet W—s he handed me the enclosed resignation which I told him should be forthwith transmitted to the Board of Supervisors. He told me he should not wait for their action but was going off, as he did not like the way things were managed generally. I informed him he had a perfect right to complain, and if in writing I would forward his complaint—but that he would not do. And without further ado he has gone.

W—s's case is somewhat similar except in this—last week he was reported by Professor Boyd for singing in a loud voice from one of the upper windows in a tone which enabled Professor Boyd on the ground to distinguish the words, “a Blackguard Song." For this, I reproved him. And yesterday, Sunday, he asked leave to go and see his mother. I refused him permission, and told him why.

Many of the cadets have recently made urgent applications to me for spending money. I always must know to what purpose it is applied. And have in most instances refused, because of the quantity of tobacco used, fouling our galleries and rooms to a filthy extent. I will not be privy to the purchase of forbidden articles.

On Saturday a state cadet, W—1, applied for money. I asked him what for—he answered the “Dentist.” I then gave him a written order on a dentist in Alexandria to properly fix his teeth. After some time he returned complaining that that was no way to treat a gentleman, On Sunday, yesterday, he again made application or rather a formal complaint. In the interview I even explained my reasons, but he was evidently pushed forward by others, for he seemed to feel that he was wrong, but this morning he again applied to go to town to the dentist asking for the first time a specific sum of five dollars.

I then told him that I would send in for the dentist and for him to be ready at 11 a.m. —this too puzzled him. He wanted money, for some specific purpose but not for the dentist, for he came again and said I need not send for the dentist. He openly boasted of the wealth of his parents and connections leaving on my mind an inference I need not express, as he is entered as of indigent parents. He too has gone. And I will add that the Seminary is no loser in any who has gone.

We have fifty left, one or two more may renew their vain struggle to do as they please, but I have no apprehensions of more than two. If any cadet absent himself stubbornly, and with avowed purpose from his recitations and roll call, I will dismiss him summarily. If they resign I will refer their resignations. But if they leave without awaiting the answer of the Board, they must stand of record “deserted.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 142-4

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