Showing posts with label Louisiana State Seminary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Louisiana State Seminary. Show all posts

Thursday, November 19, 2020

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 2, 1860

SEMINARY OF LEARNING, ALEXANDRIA, Feb. 2, 1860.

SIR: I enclose you herewith the original proceedings of a Board assembled by my order to examine and ascertain the truth touching the affair between Cadets H—s and H—h. To hesitate one moment in showing the judgment of the institution on the great criminality of actually brandishing and threatening to use a keen dagger, would in my judgment endanger the actual existence of our authority. Therefore I dismissed Mr. H—h forthwith, and after awaiting a day or so will make up his accounts and return to his parents the balance of cash due him and hold his books and private property subject to his order.

In the case of S. M. H—s there was not the same reason for the assumption of power on my part: but there is no less a necessity that even handed justice be done. By the testimony, Mr. H—s did first address H—h, did first use the word "lie,” which is among all boys deemed a fighting insult, and moreover H—s did strike the first blow. He was in a position of trust and authority. He is full grown, larger that H—h, has been at the Military School at Nashville and was every way supposed to be a leader from age, qualifications, and experience.

I therefore think there are no palliating circumstances and on the rule that he caused the blind anger that made H—h resort to a [weapon], he too should suffer the penalty, the same as H—h. And be dismissed firmly, mildly, but without recall.

With two such prominent examples we shall never again I hope hear the lie, or have the life or safety of a cadet in danger from a pistol or knife.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 139-40

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

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

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 8, 1860

SEMINARY, Feb. 8, 1860.
DEAR GENERAL

It is all moonshine about twenty or thirty leaving. H—s and W—s flattered themselves as being leaders and that their influence would be fatal to us. We have not lost a drill, a recitation, and have all slept more comfortably since. Indeed had I yielded one jot last Sunday and Monday, farewell to government, cadets, not professors would have ruled. I believe all now see their mistake. W—s and H—s thought we could not do without them. The new Orderly Sergeant Cushman is a better soldier than either today.

The affair of H—h was thus: last Saturday at supper, we heard too much noise at the table. Mr. Smith stepped to the door and whilst there H—s, the younger, the one now here made some offensive remark—he was the head of one table; S. M. H—s, the elder, the head of another; Mr. Smith at once removed H—s from his place, and allowed H—h who sat next to him to act as carver temporarily.

He is no longer carver, was changed as soon as this inference was noticed—the boy only acted as marcher from the porch to the table – he had no authority, but even that was temporary. Of course I had nothing to do with this. It fell exceedingly under Mr. Smith, and was accidental. The elder H—s was not spoken to, in no wise concerned, and sat as the carver at the head of his table up to the time of his departure. Therefore no distinction was made between them—both on the same footing. I understand he is over at Mrs. W—s. I enclose a note I got from her yesterday. She understands the point. The whole truth is this: both H—s and W—s presumed on their importance and feeling others creeping up to and past them thought to soften their certain downfall.

I enclose to Bragg to-day your bill (a copy thereof) and wrote him to favor Wickliffe's bill. Let any one who finds fault with the removal of obstreperous apply to Bragg—he understands the case.

Yesterday morning all the blackboards and chairs in Dr. Vallas's section room were bedaubed with hair grease. It took the drummer and two black boys all day to clean it off with hot soap suds; but I got a thread, unravelled it and found the party to blame. He insisted he did not do it and as the proof was not conclusive, I told him he should be charged the expense of cleaning and repainting, which he consented to do. I cannot now overlook anything.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 144-5

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

P. T—R to George Mason Graham, February 9, 1860

CHENEYVILLE, LA., Feb. 9, 1860.

DEAR SIR: I am induced to address you in reference to the officers of the State Seminary from the prominent position you occupy and have occupied as the most persevering and untiring friend of that institution. I believe it to be the last best hope of Louisiana's sons. Therefore its interests are mine and every other citizen's.

Will our sons submit to the arbitrary commands of dictators or shall the officers be governed by the laws of the institution? If the Board of Trustees enact and enforce a code of laws which regulates the conduct of officers and students good may be effected; but I fear the effects of stringent personal command. I am aware that boys are hard to be pleased or governed and especially if they suppose the government to originate in the mere will of the superior.

I hope the Board of Directors will speedily enact a code and publish it to the students. I depend particularly upon General Graham for the future usefulness of that institution and hope he will make immediate inquiries into the condition and government of the institution.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 147-8

George Mason Graham to P. T—R., February 9, 1860

TYRONE PLANTATION, February 10, 1860.
DEAR SIR:

I understand the subject of your letter to be that the cadets at the State Seminary are spoken to by the officers of the institution in too authoritative a manner, and that their commands are sometimes “arbitrary.” If you will spend a day at the Seminary I think you will understand the better. There everything must move by the clock and to the minute. This requires quick motion on the part of every one (to which, as you doubtless know, our boys are but little accustomed - except, indeed, when they are after mischief, and then they are rather too quick); hence the quick, authoritative, decided tone of voice necessarily assumed by military men. This at first, and for some time, grates harshly on the ears and feelings of boys who have been accustomed to home tones and to take as long time as they pleased to do a thing, or to go to a place that they haven't much fancy for, and it is natural enough therefore that he should be, even unduly, sensitive under it.

It is for us at home, parents and citizens, to guard ourselves that we do not suffer the reflection of this sensitiveness to exercise an undue influence on our feelings. I think that some gentlemen have sent chronic cases to this institution as their last hope for a cure, but we do not intend to keep that kind of a hospital. Before we have been able to get rid of them, however, they have sown some bad seed, which will take a little time, care, and patience all round, to eradicate.

As to the regulations, for the government of all connected with the institution, they were prepared with much care and labor about the middle of November by a Board convened for the purpose by an order of the Board of Supervisors at a meeting in August last, and composed of three members of this Board and the members of the Academic Board. That they were not published and placed in the hands of each as was intended to have been done, was no fault of any member of the institution or myself, but arose from the [illegible], though doubtless well-intentioned, assumption of authority on the part of an individual member, in whose hands the manuscript had been placed for preservation, but [who], when called for it by the superintendent at the moment of his departure for New Orleans, to take with him to be printed, refused to give it up for that purpose, on the ground that they had not been submitted to the Board of Supervisors, although that Board had adjourned from August to next May, having ordered the institution to be opened on the first Monday in January, and the regulations to be prepared for its government.

In this dilemma, I directed the superintendent to have such portions as related to the duties, studies, division of time, and deportment of cadets, copied in writing and placed on order boards in the hall where all could see, read, and copy them.

That the professors should not sometimes be irritated at the unaccountable tricks of the boys, would be expecting too much of even professors' nature. As an example a morning or two since, when the professor of mathematics met his class, he found his own chair and all of his blackboard thickly smeared with hair-grease, which it took the only two servants the institution is able to afford, near half a day to cleanse them of, and then they had to be repainted. The only punishment the superintendent imposed on the offender, who was brought to taw, was to make him pay the expense of cleansing and repainting.

The cadets are allowed, and encouraged, to go to church on Sabbath day. A list is taken of those desiring to go, and they are placed under the charge of the most responsible cadet of the squad. In two instances citizens of Alexandria reported to me that some of them were seen in grogshops. In the first instance I apprised the superintendent, in the second I wrote him a letter designed for effect on the young men. To show you the character of the man it has been our real good fortune to obtain the services of for this position, I enclose you his reply - and have no objection, to your showing it to some of your friends, although it is written with the unreserve of private correspondence.1 . . . Whilst he will require them to discharge their duties, one alike to themselves, their family, and their institution, he is loath to believe ill of them, and I stand up in their defense.

It can hardly be expected that everything will work smooth at the [beginning) in such an institution as this. Time, patience, care, and forethought is – to use a surgical term - the “lubricating fluid” (illegible), and then it will be a gallant ship entering on an open sea of success after having surmounted the shoals and quicksands of navigation.

A great help to this will be in home-folk impressioning the conviction that “there is no other name known unto men, whereby he can” get creditably through this institution, but order and industry.

_______________

1 See pages 128-129. — ED.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 148-50

Friday, October 30, 2020

George Mason Graham to Dr. S. A. Smith, January 21, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, Jan. 21, 1860.

DEAR DOCTOR: . . . I endorse you, herewith, a draft of an act for making the Seminary a Military Academy by law, and I hope the reflections of your mind will bring you to the conclusion to support it. Look at the immense sum, $1,500,000, expended by the state in educational efforts; and where are the results? Not a vestige of them remains for any useful purpose. Look at the youth of the state, and the low grade of education pervading it. Look at the lethargy of the parents in regard to the education of their sons, and the reluctance of the sons to submit to control or guidance either at home or at school. The superintendent told me that already a very insubordinate . . . disappointment is manifested by several of the boys. The Academic Board has no power to punish in case of any difficulty; a meeting of the Board of Supervisors can hardly be obtained before next spring. The state must lend the whole aid of its power and influence to enable the institution to exercise a beneficial control. This can only be done by a military government — this makes the young men themselves a part of the power for governing themselves that soon becomes attractive and works better than any other system of college government. But the boys themselves will be very quick to perceive the difference between a system established by a gentleman and one established by a legislature authorizing with the little pomp and circumstance of military parade in music, colors, etc. The people of the state will be brought to take an interest in it that they never will take in any other kind of school or college. This I witnessed at Lexington, Va., in July, 1857, when six hundred people, come to witness the “commencement” of the Virginia Military Institute, dined at one of the hotels of the place.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 133-4

Report of the Board of Supervisors the Louisiana State Seminary, January 1860

REPORT OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
JANUARY, 1860

. . . The Board of Supervisors has adopted every means in its power, by the publication and circulation of circulars, newspaper articles, individual correspondence, etc., to disseminate information in regard to the institution, through the State. . . It will take some time to make it generally known, but the Board feels every confidence that when the people of the state shall become aware of the character of the able, upright, enlightened, patriotic, and in every respect most admirably qualified corps of professors, which it has had the good fortune to combine in an Academic Board for this institution; and with the order, regularity, method, neatness, sobriety, habits of study ensured by the military system of government, any harshness, in which it will be the constant study and aim of each and every instructor to temper with parental care and kindness; that then the institution will be filled to its utmost capacity with the high spirited and emulous youth of the state. The Board from its first organization, was deeply impressed with the necessity, and with an earnest anxiety to find some means of avoiding, for this school, the fate of every other previous effort on the part of the State of Louisiana to establish educational institutions, in which it has expended a million and a half of dollars, every one of which has ended in total failure. The Board has looked at all the various systems of education and of school government, and has come to the almost unanimous conclusion that the safest system for us to adopt, and that most likely to ensure success, is the military system of government, combined with a certain degree of military instruction, similar to the State Military School at Lexington, in the State of Virginia.

The Board is of opinion that the greatest obstacle in the way of the success of southern schools is found in the inherent propensity of southern youth to resist authority and control from any quarter with which they have no sympathy. This difficulty is admirably overcome by the military system in which the young men are themselves made an essential element in the governing power. But to do this effectually, and to give this school, and this experiment with it, a full and fair trial, it is indispensable that the General Assembly should lend the full force and aid of its influence, and the Board, therefore, earnestly and urgently recommends to, and asks of the General Assembly to make this a military school by law, changing its style and title from the long and inconvenient one of “The Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana,” to the shorter, more convenient, and more expressive one of “The Louisiana Military Academy,” assigning to the professors military rank and title, as in the Virginia school, where it is found to give them a prestige and influence with the young men which they could not otherwise enjoy. In the words of our circular: . . .

The military system is not necessarily designed to make soldiers, but it teaches subordination to the laws and constituted authorities of the state; it exercises a wise and wholesome restraint over young men, at a period of their life when restraint is necessary and proper; and also teaches them the use of arms, and the science of organization, a knowledge of great importance to every civilized government. Moreover, it does not withdraw their minds from study, but affords them healthful exercise during hours otherwise devoted to listless or mischievous idleness.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 134-5

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, January 30, 1860

SEMINARY OF LEARNING, Jan. 30, 1860.

SIR: A case has this day arisen requiring my prompt action under the paragraph of regulations quoted below:

“In extraordinary cases of resistance to authority, calling for immediate action, the superintendent may adopt the measures necessary to maintain order and good discipline, but in all such cases he shall forthwith submit to the Board of Supervisors his report in writing of all the facts and reasons for his action.”

 Cadet D. F. H—h was reported to the commandant of cadets, by Cadet S. M. H—s, acting as sergeant for some delinquency. He made an excuse in writing, which the commandant of cadets referred to Mr. H—s for explanation. Just before drill this p.m., Mr. H—s spoke to Cadet H—h about the excuse; some words passed resulting in Mr. H—s using the word “lie.” H—h retorted the same when H—s struck. H—h then went to his room and returned with a dirk knife, and renewed the altercation with the knife open, and threatening to use it. I have the knife and it is of the bowie knife pattern.

 Mr. Smith happening to be near, interfered and caused Mr. H—h to go to his room and remain there during drill. At the moment I was showing some visitors through the building. As soon as the matter was reported to me, I forthwith informed Mr. H—h that no possible cause or provocation could justify or palliate the use or display by a member of this Seminary of a deadly weapon: and that he must leave. I made an order to that effect, and although I told him he could remain till morning, still he preferred to leave to-day.

 I will to-morrow cause the whole truth to be determined and recorded, and if Mr. H—s is to blame, he too must be punished according to the degree of offence. The word “lie” must never be used here, with impunity, but I assert the broad principle, that no word, or even blow must for a moment give a pretext for the use of a deadly weapon.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 137-8

Order of Dismissal of Cadet D. T. H—h, January 30, 1860

SEMINARY OF LEARNING, January 30, 1860.

ORDER No. 9. Cadet D. T. H—h, having in an angry controversy with another cadet drawn a dirk or a bowie knife, is hereby summarily dismissed.

The superintendent in this connection does not deem it necessary to look to the provocation. Here no possible provocation can justify such an act.

W. T. SHERMAN, Superintendent.
JNO. W. SEVIER, ADJ. S.S.L.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 138-9

An Academic Court Martial, January 31, 1860

 SEMINARY OF LEARNING, January 31, 1860.

ORDER NO. 10. Professors Vallas, Smith, and St. Ange will assemble at the office at 3 p.m., this day, and examine into all the facts of the altercation between Cadets S. W. H—s and D. T. H—h, between the hours of 4 p.m. and the drill call of yesterday, and will report the same as soon as concluded, with a synopsis of the testimony elicited. The Board will question witnesses, who are bound by the obligations of honor, and good faith to reveal without prejudice or favor the whole truth.

2. During the pending of this inquiry, Cadet S. M. H—s will be suspended from the duties of acting orderly sergeant, and the commandant of cadets will name some other cadet to call the rolls.

3. The Board, if necessary will adjourn from time to time to such hours as will not materially interfere with the academic exercises.

W. T. SHERMAN, Superintendent.
JNO. W. SEVIER, ADJ. S.S.L. 

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 139

Saturday, February 1, 2020

George Mason Graham to S. A. Smith, January 21, 1860

ALEXANDRIA, Jan. 21, 1860.

DEAR DOCTOR: . . . I endorse you, herewith, a draft of an act for making the Seminary a Military Academy by law, and I hope the reflections of your mind will bring you to the conclusion to support it. Look at the immense sum, $1,500,000, expended by the state in educational efforts; and where are the results? Not a vestige of them remains for any useful purpose.

Look at the youth of the state, and the low grade of education pervading it. Look at the lethargy of the parents in regard to the education of their sons, and the reluctance of the sons to submit to control or guidance either at home or at school. The superintendent told me that already a very insubordinate . . . disappointment is manifested by several of the boys. The Academic Board has no power to punish in case of any difficulty; a meeting of the Board of Supervisors can hardly be obtained before next spring. The state must lend the whole aid of its power and influence to enable the institution to exercise a beneficial control. This can only be done by a military government – this makes the young men themselves a part of the power for governing themselves that soon becomes attractive and works better than any other system of college government. But the boys themselves will be very quick to perceive the difference between a system established by a gentleman and one established by a legislature authorizing with the little pomp and circumstance of military parade in music, colors, etc. The people of the state will be brought to take an interest in it that they never will take in any other kind of school or college. This I witnessed at Lexington, Va., in July, 1857, when six hundred people, come to witness the “commencement” of the Virginia Military Institute, dined at one of the hotels of the place.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 133-4

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, January 20, 1860

SEMINARY, Friday p.m., Jan. 20, 1860.

DEAR SIR: . . . I enclose herewith officially a letter received last night. You know how difficult it is to receive a cadet so far into the session. Indeed one class is kept confused by those arriving now. We have now forty-five. One great point to be arranged in the future is to devise some means whereby our classes will all start fair. I know fully that such a thing is impossible this term, and will receive all pay cadets come as they may – but the state cadets should be held to a stricter compliance or they are not so welcome. There are now eight state cadets now present. This warm weather gives me good time to clean up and I regret that you cannot come out to see us. I want to have the road opened, trees trimmed, and grading done as far as possible by the time the trees begin to leaf. I use only the servants during the time they are not engaged in sweeping and carrying wood. I shall at the end of January pay Jarreau and all the professors, taking vouchers. I think I ought to charge for my services in November and December at $1,000 a year as superintendent — little more than Jarreau received – $83.33 per month, waiving all claims to pay as professor for that time. Will you approve it?

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 132

Thursday, November 7, 2019

William T. Sherman to Thomas Ewing, January 29, 1860

SEMINARY, Jan. 29, 1860.

DEAR SIR: . . . I perceive no signs of insubordination on the part of the cadets. On the contrary they are well behaved. No person here would think now of suspecting me, though I have made no promises or advances. The governor too, Wickliffe, in his message, congratulates the people of Louisiana in having secured so good a faculty, and the new governor, Moore, has I know expressed himself well pleased at all I have done. I have initiated the Seminary, and its details work as smoothly as an older college, and already bills are introduced into the legislature to appropriate annually the sum of $25,000 which in addition to the fund accruing at interest on the proceeds of sale of U.S. lands will place us in good financial condition. Also, it is proposed to enlarge the number of State cadets to forty-eight, one from each parish, and to establish here a State Arsenal. If these be done or only in part this Seminary must become an important institution. It is furthermore proposed to change our title to the Louisiana Military Academy. The State of Louisiana is comparatively wealthy, and she is abundantly able to do these things handsomely. . . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 131

Saturday, October 5, 2019

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, January 29, 1860

SEMINARY, Sunday Evening, January 29, 1860.

DEAR GENERAL: I received this p.m. your official letter on the rumor in town that some cadet had gone into a common grog shop and drank liquor. I forthwith embodied it into an order and published it at retreat. I will bear my testimony to the general good behavior of the young men here, and I will not allow my mind to be prejudiced against them by any mere general assertion of any person in Alexandria. I do not believe the report. It may be true, and even if so, I hope we are able to plant the roots of this institution so deep in the soil of truth, honor, knowledge, and science, that it cannot be shaken by the mere clamor of any town. If the men of Alexandria have the interests of us at heart let them deal by us as fair men.

If young men go into saloons, let them convey to me or to you openly, or even confidentially a statement, naming persons, and dates, and not [make] general, blind assertions, intangible, calculated to do mischief, and utterly incapable of good. I know there are some who may elude us, their teachers. We did it when boys, and boys will outwit their masters long after you and I are gone, but I know that generally the conduct of the young gentlemen here, at Alexandria, going and returning, has been as proper and fair as that of any other equal number at West Point or Lexington. I have indirectly satisfied myself of these truths, and shall permit a portion of them each Sunday to go as now under marchers and to return as now for dinner here. I do not expect them to do any thing else than young gentlemen but should any well established case of drinking or rowdyism occur, it shall be punished summarily. But I beg of you to demand of any informer specific facts.

I hear that complaints are made by merchants, apothecaries, booksellers, and hotel-men - even Dutchmen who cannot speak English - damning us because they can't make any money out of us.

I repeat, the young men here, now fifty-one, are generally well behaved, appear well-satisfied, are with a few exceptions progressing in their studies, and I never saw such manifest interest in the drill, we can hardly keep them back. They attend roll calls with great punctuality and we have no complaints of them other than would be naturally expected. They write many letters, the best kind of advertisement, and they can better spread the necessary information of the characteristics of the school than we could do by advertisements, circulars, or letters.

I did intend to send Bragg a copy of your bill,1 but I send the copy herewith to you. Mr. St. Ange will make you another copy, and if necessary you can send this to Bragg. I wrote him fully. I also wrote yesterday to Dr. Smith. I still have many letters of inquiry; all of which I answer fully or by sending an appointment. As you say we must jog along in studies at this irregular term till the legislature determine the exact character of this school and until a new working, practical Board of Control is organized. I hope that will be soon.

I have been out fighting a fire which threatened a fence, and now have a tooth-ache, not calculated to make me cheerful. Sunday to me instead of a day of rest is one of dread, for fear of these very disagreeable rumors which I cannot help. . .

[P.S.] By the way a Mrs. C— brought a son here a few days since, of proper age and appearance and I received him. She said she was in the family of Mr. Chambers, that she did not know the rules, etc., but that as soon as Mr. C— got up from New Orleans, she would send me the money. It is time I should hear from her. Do you know of her? Can you find out, as I had to act on her bare words, she being an utter stranger. The boy is a fine, bright, handsome boy, though not smart. I have notified Mrs. D— that she must send money for her son, and that without it I could [not] procure for him the uniform, about which they are very anxious.

Can you imagine where we could get fifty-five bayonets and scabbards? There are none in the State Arsenal at New Orleans. The U.S. Arsenal at Baton Rouge is under a citizen, else I would make a desperate effort there, promising to pay, unless I could get an order from the Secretary of War. I would not dare approach Mr. Floyd, as Sherman is not a fair sounding name there just now. My aim is to have fifty-five muskets [privates] and five sergeants and corporals, all uniformed early in March.
_______________

1 A bill providing for a more efficient organization of the Seminary. — Ed.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 128-31

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

William T. Sherman to Governor Thomas O. Moore, January 18, 1861

JANUARY 18, 1861.
GOVERNOR ThomAs O. MooRE,
BAToN ROUGE, LA.

SIR—As I occupy a quasi-military position under this State, I deem it proper to acquaint you that I accepted such position when Louisiana was a State in the Union, and when the motto of the seminary was inserted in marble over the main door, “By the liberality of the General Government of the United States. The Union, Esto Perpetua.” Recent events foreshadow a great change, and it becomes all men to choose. If Louisiana withdraws from the Federal Union, I prefer to maintain my allegiance to the old Constitution as long as a fragment of it survives, and my longer stay here would be wrong in every sense of the word. In that event, I beg you will send or appoint some authorized agent to take charge of the arms and munitions of war here belonging to the State, or direct me what disposition should be made of them. And furthermore, as President of the Board of Supervisors, I beg you to take immediate steps ~ to relieve me as Superintendent, the moment the State determines to secede; for on no earthly account will I do any act, or think any thought, hostile to or in defiance of the old Government of the United States.

With great respect, &c.,
w. T. SHERMAN.

SOURCE: Charles B. Richardson, Our Great Captains: Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, and Farragut, p. 90-1

Thursday, September 5, 2019

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, January 24, 1860

Seminary Of Learning, Alexandria, Jan. 24, 1860.

Dear SIR: . . . There are two cadets that may call for action on my part, unless you think different: D— and one of the L—'s are so ignorant and evince so little effort to learn, that labor on them seems lost. I might construe the first month as a preliminary examination, and being disqualified let them return home. This only after all possible means to excite ambition or industry are exhausted.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 128

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, January 24, 1860

Seminary, Jan. 24, i860.

. . . Things along here about as I expected. We have had many visitors – ladies with children, who part with them with tears and blessings, and I remark the fact that the dullest boys have the most affectionate mothers, and the most vicious boys come recommended with all the virtues of saints. Of course I promise to be a father to them all.

We now have fifty-one and the reputation of the order, system, and discipline is already spreading and I receive daily letters asking innumerable questions. The legislature also has met and the outgoing Governor Wickcliffe has recommended us to the special attention of the legislature, and a bill is already introduced to give us $25,000 a year for two years, which is as long as the legislature can appropriate. I think from appearances this bill will pass, in which case we can erect two professors' houses this summer.

This sum of money will enable us to make a splendid place of this. In addition it is also proposed to make this an arsenal of deposit, which will increase its importance and enable me to avoid all teaching which I want to do, confining myself exclusively to the supervision and management. Thus far not a soul has breathed a syllable about abolitionism to me. One or two have asked me if I were related to the gentleman of same name whose name figures so conspicuously in Congress. I of course say he is my brother, which generally amazes them because they regard him as awful bad. . .

Professor Smith and Boyd are very clever gentlemen and so are Vallas and St. Ange but these are foreigners with their peculiarities. We have also a Dr. Sevier here, of Tennessee, a rough sort of fellow but a pretty fair sort of man. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 127-8

Monday, July 15, 2019

William T. Sherman to Mary E. “Minnie” Sherman, Sunday, January 22, 1860

Seminary, Alexandria, La., Jan. 22, 1860.

Dear Little Minnie: I have not written to you for a long time, but I have sent many messages to you and the children through your Mama, but as my letters have come very irregularly, I suppose mine to you have also been very irregular. It has rained very hard here, and the roads are so bad, that the stage which brings the mail can hardly travel. We have no railroads here and no telegraphs.

Our school began the day after New Year's and every day since cadets have been coming, sometimes one and sometimes two a day. I have to write many letters to their fathers and mothers, who think I must take particular care of their children, but I cause all to be treated just alike. They all recite every day in algebra, French, and Latin, besides which we drill them like soldiers an hour each day. At present I help the other professors, but after a while that won't be necessary, and therefore I will have more time. We now have fifty young men, some of whom are only fifteen years old and some are men, but all of them eat, sleep, study, and recite their lessons in this building.

We put three or four in a room. All have their beds, which they make on the floor; at daylight they make up their beds, roll them up and strap them. They then sweep out their own room, and study their lessons till breakfast at seven o'clock, then they commence to recite and continue reciting till 4 p.m. when they are drilled an hour. At sundown they get supper and study their lessons till 10 o'clock, when all go to bed and sleep till day-light.

They all seem to like it very much, and the governor of the state is much pleased at our arrangements and system. He has made a message to the legislature, recommending much increase, and that suitable buildings should be erected for me and another professor, who has a family. If the legislature will do this then I will see that we have a good house, so that next year you and Mama, Lizzie, Willie, Tommy, and the baby will all come down to Louisiana, where maybe we will live all our lives. I think you will like it very much.

There is no snow here now. We had snow only two days this winter, and there is plenty of good wood, but to-day it was so warm we did not need fires at all. The grass is beginning to grow, and the trees begin to look as though we would soon have flowers, but generally the leaves do not sprout until about March.

I find the professors here very nice gentlemen, especially Mr. Boyd and Mr. Smith. Mr. St. Ange is a real Frenchman, and we laugh a good deal at his oddities. Mr. Vallas has a family, several boys and one fine little girl about three years older than you. I know you will be nine years old when you get this letter. . .

Your Loving Papa.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 125-7