Home Page
Louisiana Anthology

William Tecumseh Sherman.
General W. T. Sherman as College President.

William Tecumseh Sherman, 1860


  1. Election Of The Seminary Faculty. Sherman Comes South
  2. Preparing For The Opening Of The Seminary
  3. The Beginning Of The First Session
  4. Student Troubles — Sherman Plans To Go To England
  5. The Reorganization Of The Seminary
  6. The Close Of The First Session
  7. The Vacation Of 1860: Ohio, Washington, New York
  8. The Second Session. The Coming Of Secession
  9. Secession — Superintendent Sherman Resigns
  10. To New Orleans And The North



For assistance in gathering and preparing the material printed in this book I am indebted to the kindly services of many friends, especially to Philemon Tecumseh Sherman of New York City, who has permitted the use of all letters and documents in his possession relating to his father’s life in Louisiana; to Leroy S. Boyd, Esq., of Washington, D.C., who has turned over to me a mass of manuscript, pamphlet, and newspaper material relating to the early history of the Seminary; to President Thomas D. Boyd and Professors Albert M. Herget and William O. Scroggs, of Louisiana State University, who have given material assistance in the collection and preparation of the documentary material. My wife and her mother, Mrs. David F. Boyd, the widow of Sherman’s most intimate friend in Louisiana, and Miss Theo Jones, have assisted me greatly in verifying names and dates and in deciphering crabbed hand writing.

Walter L. Fleming.

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.

August, 1911


Purpose of the collection. Sherman’s plan for such a publication. His brief account of the organization of the Seminary. Sources of the material here reprinted. The organization of the Seminary.

The purpose of this work is to bring together upon the occasion of the semicentennial of the organization of Louisiana State University the material, chiefly documentary, relating to the beginnings of the Louisiana State Seminary (now the Louisiana State University) and to the life in Louisiana of William Tecumseh Sherman, the first executive of the institution. Late in life General Sherman planned such a collection and gathered material for it, but he did not publish it. In 1889 he wrote the following prefatory statement to a collection of letters and papers which with considerable additions are here published:

In Sherman’s Memoirs, published by the Appletons, volume i, pages 172-193, will be found a brief statement of the public events in Louisiana with which I was connected, and which immediately preceded the great Civil War. I now propose to supplement that statement by preparing in advance, not with any purpose of immediate publication, but rather for preservation in a convenient form, a series of letters which seem to me may become of value to posterity.

At a meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning, at Alexandria, Aug. 2, 1859, I was elected professor of engineering, architecture, and drawing and superintendent thereof. The action of the board was wholly the result of the recommendation of Major Don Carlos Buell, then in Washington, and of Gen. G. Mason Graham, half-brother to my old chief, Gen. [R. B.] Mason, in California.

This institution was designed to be a military college, and was located three miles north of Alexandria, a town of some importance on the south bank, and about a hundred miles up Red River. The funds for its maintenance were the proceeds of sales of public lands donated by the national Congress for this very purpose and held by the state in trust. The main building was already finished; was in every way suitable and appropriate and over the main entrance was inscribed: “By the liberality of the general government, the Union — Esto perpetua.”

The general control of this institution was committed to a Board of Supervisors, citizens of the State, of which the Governor was ex-officio the president.

Accordingly I first reported to Governor Wickliffe at Baton Rouge, the state capital, who informed me that the cares of his office engrossed his whole time, and that he wanted me to go on to Alexandria to confer with his successor, Governor-elect Thomas O. Moore, and to co-operate fully with Gen. G. Mason Graham, a member of the Board of Supervisors, who was in fact the real creator of the institution, and resided on his cotton plantation, “Tyrone,” nine miles above Alexandria, on the right or south bank of Red River (or its overflow channel, Bayou Rapides), whereas the Academy was on the left or north bank in the pine woods, on high and healthy ground.

Gen. G. Mason Graham

I then proceeded to Alexandria by stage, stopping over night with Gov.-elect Moore on Bayou Robert, and then to Gen. Graham’s plantation, where we soon began the work of preparation. The professors had already been chosen at the same time with myself, and were within call.

Gen. Graham and I soon got to work agreeing perfectly that we should make a start on the 1st day of January, 1860 and should be ready to provide for and instruct about one hundred cadets. We had a limited amount of money, and everything had to be supplied in advance. A Mr. Jarreau was selected as steward. Tables, benches, blackboards, etc. had to be manufactured on the spot, and text books, bedding, and room furniture bought in New Orleans. Regulations had to be prepared and printed, circulars had to be prepared and circulated. All was accomplished and practical instruction was begun on the 1st of January, 1860.

The letters herewith will give a far better understanding of the private thoughts and feelings of the men who afterwards bore conspicuous parts in the Civil War than any naked narrative, and I merely intend this as a preface to them.
New York, Dec. 1, 1889.

W. T. S.

The collection here printed was gathered from various sources. It contains the letters collected by Sherman himself; other letters written by him or to him, and furnished to the editor by his son, P. T. Sherman, Esq.; a few extracts from Sherman’s Personal Memoirs which serve better than editorial matter to connect the letters; letters and documents from the archives of Louisiana State University; and correspondence relating to the Seminary from General G. Mason Graham, Major P. G. T. Beauregard, Captain George B. McClellan, Captain Braxton Bragg, Governors Wickliffe and Moore, and Dr. S. A. Smith.

These letters and documents will serve not only to show the beginnings of Louisiana State University, and Sherman’s part therein, as well as his views upon problems then agitating the nation, but they will throw light upon the social and political conditions of the time, and upon the feelings and actions of the southern leaders on the eve of the Civil War.

The Louisiana State Seminary (since 1870 called the Louisiana State University), which opened its doors on January 2, 1860, was the first institution of college grade in Louisiana to enjoy the undivided support of the state, and of the numerous colleges and universities, supported by the state, it alone has survived. It corresponds to the state universities of other states which were established on the foundation of Federal land-grants, but it was organized much later than the universities of states no older than Louisiana. This delay in establishing a state seminary or university was due to conditions within Louisiana: there was a lack of homogeneity in the population of French and Anglo-Americans — each with its distinctive ideals and religion; the educational system was decentralised and each geographic section, each church party, each nationality claimed its state-subsidized college.

This decentralized system was continued with some what unsatisfactory results until near the middle of the nineteenth century, when by the constitutions of 1845 and 1852 a state system of public schools was inaugurated and a single state supported “Seminary” authorized. The Seminary was to receive in addition to state appropriations the income from the sales of the public lands donated by the Federal government to the state of Louisiana in 1806, 1811, and 1827 “for the support of a seminary of learning.” These lands were not placed on the market until 1844. From 1845 to 1852 the legislature wrangled over the question of the location of the school. In the latter year it was decided to locate it near Alexandria in the Parish of Rapides; and in 1853 a site was selected three miles from Alexandria on the north side of the Red River. In 1859 the buildings were completed and a faculty selected.

The leader in all matters relating to the Seminary from 1845 to 1860 was General George Mason Graham, a Virginian, educated at West Point, and a veteran of the Mexican War. It was largely through his influence that William Tecumseh Sherman was elected superintendent of the State Seminary. Sherman, who was born in Ohio in 1820, was graduated from West Point in 1840, and after several years’ service in southern posts, was on staff service in California under General Roger

B. Mason, a half brother of General G. Mason Graham. He resigned from the army in 1853 and was for several years a banker in California and New York. At the time of his election he was practising law in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Walter L. Fleming.


Meeting of the supervisors in May, 1859. The Seminary to be a literary and scientific institution under a military system of government. Advertisements for professors. Description of the building and grounds. D. C. Buell writes to Sherman about the Seminary. The election of a faculty for the Seminary. Graham’s account of the building and the professors. Sherman’s plans for the Seminary. Advice of Captain George B. McClellan relative to the organization of the Seminary. Sherman’s views on John Brown, slavery, and secession. Sherman arrives in Baton Rouge.

In May 1859 the Board of Supervisors of the State Seminary met at Alexandria and by a majority vote decided that the new college should be “a literary and scientific institution under a military system of government, on a program and plan similar to that of the Virginia Military Institute.” The several departments of instruction were established, and the salaries fixed. In order to secure the most competent professors Governor Wickliffe was asked to advertise for applications. The following statement, taken from the National Intelligencer, July 4, l859, Washington, D.C., was published widely over the South and the North.

Executive Office, Baton Rouge, La., May 10, 1859.

At a meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the State Seminary of Learning, held at Alexandria, in the Parish of Rapides, the following resolution was adopted:

Resolved, that the President of the Board, in his official capacity, advertise for applications from persons competent to fill:

  1. A professorship of mathematics, natural and experimental philosophy, with artillery tactics; to which office shall be attached a salary of twenty-five hundred dollars per annum — $2,500.
  2. The office of instructor of English and ancient languages; to which office shall be attached a salary of two thousand dollars per annum — $2,000.
  3. Instructor of engineering, architecture, and drawing; to which office shall be attached a salary of twenty-five hundred dollars — $2,500.
  4. The office of instructor of chemistry, geology, and mineralogy, and of infantry tactics; to which office shall be attached a salary of twenty-five hundred dollars per annum — $2,500.
  5. The office of instructor of the modern European languages; to which office shall be attached a salary of two thousand dollars per annum — $2,000.

From the five professors selected a superintendent will be chosen, who shall receive one thousand dollars — $1,000 — extra consideration in virtue thereof.

Furnished rooms to be provided to the professors free of charge.

In accordance with the foregoing resolution, notice is hereby given to all such persons as may desire to present themselves as competent to fill the chairs above enumerated, to make application, accompanied with recommendations, etc., to me, at the Executive Office at Baton Rouge, until the 15th day of July, and after that time at Alexandria, in the Parish of Rapides, until the ist day of August, 1859; at which time and place the selections will be made to fill the several professorships and a superintendent chosen.

The appointments thus made will take effect on the first Monday of January next (1860), at which time the institution will be opened.

The same issue of the National Intelligencer contained the following editorial written by General G. Mason Graham, vice-president of the Board of Supervisors.

In another column will be found the advertisement of Governor R. C. Wickliffe, president, ex-officio, of the Board of Supervisors of the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana, inviting applications from persons competent to do so and desirous of filling the five chairs and the office of superintendent in that institution. . .

This institution, which is about to be organized as a scientific and literary institution, under a military system of government, on a programme and plan similar to that of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, in Virginia, is founded on a fund arising from the sales of land given by the general government many years ago to the Territory of Orleans for the establishment of a Seminary of Learning. The principal of this fund is, by the constitution of Louisiana, perpetually invested, at interest, in the hands of the state; the interest alone to be used in the establishment and maintenance of the school.

The really beautiful building for this institution, the main bodies of which are of three lofty stories, capped by a heavy cornice-wall finished in crennel work, and the five towers are of four stories, terminating in circular turrets, built on three sides of a quadrangle, one hundred and seventy feet front by one hundred and seventeen feet deep, with back buildings in reverse, so as to leave the fourth side of the area entirely open, is located in the open pine hills, where the trees have a growth of seventy-five feet and upwards to the branches, unobstructed by undergrowth, on a tract of four hundred acres owned by the institution; about three miles from the village of Pineville, on the north side of Red River opposite to the town of Alexandria, with which it is connected by a steam-ferry.

Alexandria — distant about thirty to thirty-five hours by steamboat from New Orleans — is a distributing post office, with a daily mail from New Orleans, and lines of four-horse post coaches running north, south, east, and west from it — contains a Catholic, an Episcopal, and a Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church having a chapel in Pineville.

Early in 1859 Sherman was a member of the law firm of Sherman, Ewing and McCook of Leavenworth, Kansas. Having decided to look for a more lucrative position, he wrote to the War Department asking about possible vacancies in the Pay Department. In reply Major D. C. Buell sent to him the advertisements given above, and the following letter.

Washington, D.C., June 17, 1859.

Dear Sherman: I received your letter this morning. It is unnecessary to make declarations when you already know so well that it would give me sincere pleasure to serve you. At present I see nothing of the kind you mention to suggest to you, but I will look about with hope that I may. There is no certainty of a vacancy in the Pay Department, though one of its members is now in serious difficulty about his account. If a vacancy should occur I know no reason why you should not endeavor to secure it, and succeed, too, if it were dependent on the merits which your case could be made to present.

You must remember, however, that in these times everything turns on political or other influence. If you can bring that kind of influence to bear on the President let it be done at once to secure a promise of the first vacancy; for it would be filled before I could even get the news to you by telegraph after it had occurred, so ready and pressing are the aspirants. . .

In the meantime, however, I enclose you a paper which presents an opening that I have been disposed to think well of. The only trouble is that the Academy has not yet been secured by state laws, though I think it al together probable that it will be. If you could secure one of the professorships and the superintendency, as I think you could, it would give the handsome salary of $3,500. The paper is sent to me by [George] Mason Graham, General [R. B.] Mason’s half-brother, and explains the whole matter. If you think well of it I have no doubt I can write him such a letter as will secure you a valuable advocate at first, and a useful supporter afterwards. You will observe there is not much time to spare. . .

[Endorsement by Sherman in 1889.] This was the first suggestion received by me on this subject, and to Gen. Buell I owe my election as superintendent of the Louisiana Seminary of Learning. He was seconded by Gen. G. Mason Graham, half-brother to my old chief in California, Col. R. B. Mason. Generals Bragg and Beauregard did not even know I was an applicant.

W. T. S.]

The advertisements attracted much attention and nearly a hundred applications for professorships were received. General Graham, vice-president of the Board of Supervisors, who was determined that a military man should head the school, had carried on a wide correspondence with a view to the selection of a suitable person. Having decided upon Sherman as best qualified for the superintendency he proceeded to use the press in his behalf. The following, from the Louisiana Democrat [Alexandria, La.] of July 20, 1859, is an editorial written by General Graham.

It is stated that Captain W. T. Sherman is one of the applicants for a professorship in our new State Seminary, and also for the position of the superintendency. He graduated at West Point in the class of 1840 and stood No. 6 on the merit roll. He was commissioned in the artillery and did his first service in California as adjutant-general for General R. B. Mason. He was brevetted for gallant and meritorious services and was subsequently appointed a captain in the general staff of the army. He resigned in ’53 to take control of the business of an extensive banking house in California which he managed with great skill. During his residence there he was made general of militia. Captain Sherman is spoken of as “standing high in the army as a scholar, soldier, and a gentleman — a man of great firmness and discretion and eminently remarkable for his executive and administrative qualities.”

From what we can hear there seems to be no room to fear an insufficient number of applicants for professor ships in the Seminary. The greater the list the better enabled will the Board of Supervisors be to make a good selection. It is to be hoped that the reputation, learning and ability of the corps of professors will be such as to render our new Seminary one of the fore most institutions of the South.

The supervisors, on August 2, 1859, proceeded to the election of the first faculty of the Seminary. The Louisiana Democrat of August 3 gives this account of the proceedings.

Agreeably to adjournment the Board of Supervisors of the Louisiana State Seminary met on Monday, Aug. ist. His Excellency, Governor Wickliffe, president ex officio of the Board, presided. The members in attendance were T. C. Manning, Esq., Gen. G. Mason Graham, Col. Walter O. Winn, S. W. Henarie, Esq., Hon. M. Ryan, Hon. P. F. Keary, Hon. J. A. Bynum, Hon. W. W. Whittington, Hon. W. L. Sanford, Col. Fenelon Cannon.

The principal business before the Board was the selection of a superintendent and a corps of professors for the Seminary. Some idea of the difficulty of their task may be formed from the fact that there were forty applicants for the chair of ancient languages, twenty for that of mathematics, nine for that of modern languages, nine for that of chemistry and mineralogy, and three for that of engineering.

These applicants were from all sections, Maine, New Hampshire, the northwest, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia; and even graduates of European universities were among the candidates. One enterprising person, a Mr. Goodwyn, Ichabod Goodwyn, was candid enough to acknowledge himself a “republican” (“Black Republican” in politics, but trusted that the little circumstance would make no difference!) Mr. G. will have his name registered in the list of unsuccessful candidates. The Board would have admired his candor if they had not been astonished at his impudence. Mr. G. would be a splendid superintendent of a brass button manufactory. Teachers enough for the young men of Louisiana can be found without employing any of Greeley’s brazen faced disciples. We shall refer to Mr. Goodwyn’s application again hereafter.

After full examinations of certificates, the Board made choice of the following:

Major W. T. Sherman, superintendent, and professor of engineering, architecture, and drawing; Anthony Vallas, PH.D., professor of mathematics and of natural and experimental philosophy; Francis W. Smith, A.M., professor of chemistry and mineralogy; E. Berte St Ange, professor of modern languages; D. F. Boyd, A.M., professor of ancient languages.

Of Major Sherman’s qualifications, we have spoken in a recent issue. Dr. Vallas, is a graduate of the University of Pesth, Hungary, in which institution he has filled with distinction a professor’s chair. He is the author of several scientific and mathematical works held in high estimation. Mr. Smith is a graduate of the Virginia University, and also of the Military Institute of that state. Mr. St. Ange, is a native of France, and has served with distinction as an officer in the French navy. He has taught in the University of Louisiana, and for some time also in this Parish. Being known to most members of this Board as a thorough instructor his election was unanimous. Mr. Boyd is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and like the rest highly recommended for proficiency and talent.

The traditional account of Sherman’s election was written down nearly forty years later by D. F. Boyd from whose manuscript the paragraphs given below are taken.

[Sherman’s] application for position in the Military Academy was characteristic of him. When Governor Wickliffe and the Board of Supervisors met on the hot, sultry summer day in 1859, to make the faculty appointments, there were many applications; and after they had waded through a mass of testimonials — flattering words of loving, partial friends, genealogies, etc. — such hand some nothings as only enthusiastic southerners can say of each other, and of their ancestors for generations back, when an office is in sight, a half-sheet letter was opened and read about to this effect:

Governor Wickliffe, president, Board of Supervisors.

Sir: Having been informed that you wish a superintendent and professor of engineering in the Military Academy of Louisiana, soon to be opened, I beg leave to offer myself for the position.

I send no testimonials. . . I will only say that I am a graduate of West Point and ex-army officer; and if you care to know further about me, I refer you to the officers of the army from General Scott down, and in your own state to Col. Braxton Bragg, Major G. T. Beauregard, and Richard Taylor, Esq. Yours respectfully,

W. T. Sherman.

The First Faculty
The First Faculty:
(1) William Tecumseh Sherman; (2) Powhatan Clarke; (3) Anthony Vallas; (4) D. F. Boyd; (5) Francis W. Smith
Dr. Clarke’s portrait is of 1910; the others are of 1860. No portrait of Professor St. Ange can be found

No sooner was this letter read, than Sam. Henarie, a plain business man and member of the Board, exclaimed: “By G—d, he’s my man. He’s a man of sense. I’m ready for the vote!” “But,” said Governor Wickliffe, “we have a number more of applications. We must read them all.” “Well, you can read them,” rejoined Henarie, “but let me out of here, while you are reading. When you get through, call me, and I’ll come back and vote for Sherman.” Sam heard no more “testimonials.” Sherman was elected. . .

To the successful applicants for positions the governor sent formal notices of appointment while General Graham entered into a lengthy correspondence with the newly elected superintendent in regard to the work that was still to be done before opening. Typical letters are here selected.


Executive Office, Baton Rouge, La., Aug. 5,1859.

Sir: I have the pleasure to inform you that at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Seminary of Learning, held at Alexandria on the 1st of August, you were elected to fill the chair of professor of engineering, architecture, drawing, etc., and as superintendent of the institution.

You will please inform me at what time, between this and the first of December, it will be convenient for you to meet a committee of the Board of Supervisors, to make necessary arrangements for the organization of the institution.


Steamboat Minnesota, descending Red River, La.,
August 3, 1859

Sir: I have the gratification to inform you, in advance probably of your official notification by Gov.

Wickliffe, that the Board of Supervisors of the Seminary of Learning, State of Louisiana, yesterday elected you to the chair of engineering, architecture, and drawing in that institution, and to the post of superintendent thereof. . .

I am now en route to join my family at Beer-Sheba Springs, Tennessee, where I shall remain until the last days of August and thence to Washington City all the month of September. My address there will be to “care Richard Smith, Esq., cashier, Bank of the Metropolis.” Hope to be at home by first of November, where from the 1st to the loth, shall be glad if you can join me, making the headquarters of your family at my house, where we have abundant room, but are nine miles distant from Alexandria, thirteen from the Seminary.

If entirely convenient and comfortable to your family, however, to remain behind, it would be wisest for you to come down alone at first, as there are no residences yet provided, and you will all have to quarter at first in the building. Yourself and Dr. Vallas are the only two married men on the Academic Board, and the Board of Supervisors has taken the initiatory for the creation of two dwellings, but it requires the authorization of the legislature, which assembles on the 3rd Monday in January.

It will be necessary for you to be here as soon as possible after my own return, as the preparation for, and the starting of, the whole machinery has been devolved mostly on you and myself, including the furnishments of the building, as you will see from the published accounts of our proceedings which will be forwarded to you (apropos: the statement in the governor’s advertisement that “furnished apartments will be provided the professors in the building” was an error of our secretary’s. It should have read “Apartments will be furnished the professors in the building free of charge therefor” le meublant of them however to be left to themselves).

I enclose to your address at Leavenworth, to be mailed with this in New Orleans, a packet containing four publications from the Virginia Military Institute, one of them a copy of its “Rules and Regulations,” so that in devoting in advance, what leisure moments you may have to the preparation of your plans, you may have the experience of our model before you.

If an article in the Daily National Intelligencer of Monday, July 4th, headed “Louisiana Seminary” met your eye, you will have gathered from it a pretty exact idea of its locale. A little ground plan which I have endeavored to make amidst the tremulous motion of the boat, and enclose here, will enable you to form some idea of the capacity of the Building.

LSU Floor Plan

Doctor Vallas is an Episcopal clergyman (which quality he sinks entirely, that is, in the exercise of it, so far as the institution is concerned), an Hungarian, an accomplished gentleman, an erudite scholar, a profound and practised mathematician and doctor of philosophy. Has occupied various chairs in the colleges of Vienna and at the time of the establishment of the Revolutionary Government in Hungary, was professor of mathematics in the University at Pesth, in which capacity he was ordered by that Government to organize a military department to the University in which he superintended the instruction of about five hundred young men for two years, when the Austrians recovering possession of Pesth he was dismissed from the Military school and was himself court-martialed. Saving his head, they only removed his body from the office of professor of the university, and altho’ there is satisfactory evidence that he might have been restored to that position, he preferred a voluntary expatriation. He resides in New Orleans, readily at hand.

Monsieur St. Ange seems to be a gentleman and well educated scholar — has served in the Marine Corps of France. Is in Alexandria.

David F. Boyd, an eleve of the University of Virginia and native of that state, is now teacher in a school in the northerly part of Louisiana. He, too, is therefore readily at hand.

Francis W. Smith, native of Virginia andeleve of its military institute, is a very young man, a nephew of both Col. Smith, the superintendent, and of Major Williamson, one of the professors in the V.M.I. He comes strenuously recommended as eminently qualified to fill any chair in our school, except that of modern languages, being only a French scholar. Is now at Lexington, Virginia or Norfolk, where his family reside.

In concluding this long, and to me wearying paper, I beg to say to you that much is expected of you — that a great deal will devolve upon you, and to add that at our Board dinner yesterday, Governor Wickliffe with great cordiality and kind feeling proposed your health and success, and that it was responded to by the other members in brimming glasses.

P.S. If you know Mr. and Mrs. A. I. Isaacs, now I think residing in Leavenworth, they can tell you all about our country here.


Lancaster, O., Aug. 20, 1859.

Dear Sir: I wrote you a few days ago, in part answer to your very kind note addressed me at Lancaster. I am now in possession of your more full letter sent by way of Leavenworth, and shall receive to-day the printed reports to which you referred.

These will in great measure answer the manifold questions propounded by me. When in full possession of these I will again write you, and when I know you are at Washington, I may come there to meet you, and to make those preliminary arrangements as to furnishing the building, selecting text books, etc., all of which will no doubt have to be approved by the Board of Education in Louisiana.

I can easily secure from West Point the most complete information on all the details of the management and economy of that institution. Then, being in possession of similar data from the Virginia Institution, we can easily lay a simple foundation, on which to erect, as time progresses, a practical system of physical and mental education, adapted to the circumstances of Louisiana. I shall not take my family south this winter, and shall hold myself prepared to meet you at Alexandria, or elsewhere, at the earliest date you think best. I feel deeply moved by your friendly interest in me, and both socially and in the new field hereby opened to me I will endeavor to reciprocate your personal interest and justify your choice of a superintendent.

I have seen a good deal of the practical world, and have acquired considerable knowledge, but it may be desultory, and may require some time to reduce it to system, and therefore I feel inclined to see the Board of Education select a good series of practical books as textbooks.

If this has already been done, I will be the better pleased; if this devolve on the professors it will require some judgment to adjust them, lest each professor should attempt too much, and give preference to text books not intimately connected with the other classes. The adjustment of the course of studies, the selection of the kind and distribution of physical, muscular education, and how far instruction in infantry, sword and even artillery practice shall be introduced are all important points, but fortunately we have a wide field of choice, and the benefit of the experience of others. As soon as I learn you are in Washington, and as soon as I know all that has been done, I will give my thoughts and action to provide in advance the knowledge out of which the Board of Education may choose the remainder.


Willard’s Hotel, Washington, Sept. 7, 1859.

Dear Sir: On arriving here night before last I had the pleasure to receive from Mr. Richard Smith your two favors of the 15th and 20th of August, and Major Buell, with whom I have not been able to meet until this morning at breakfast, has shown me yours to him of the 4th inst. which he was in the act of opening when I joined him, and from which he has allowed me to take a memorandum of the dates of your proposed movements. The information contained in your letter to Buell has been of considerable relief to me, for whilst it would be very gratifying to me to meet with you I did not see any good commensurate with the expense, time, risk, and trouble to yourself, to result from your coming all the way here merely to confer with me when it was not in my power to specify any particular day when I would be in the city, as the business which brings me here lies down in Virginia, whither I go tomorrow morning, if the violent cold under which I am now suffering shall permit, and the consummation of it is contingent on the action of a half dozen others than myself.

I had desired very much, if it suited your convenience, that you could visit and see into the interior life of the school at Lexington, Virginia, where everything would be shown to you with the most cordial frankness by Col. Smith, who has taken the warmest and most earnest interest in our effort, and who writes to me of you, sir, in very high terms of congratulatory appreciation, and where one of your classmates, Major Gilham, is a member of the Academic Board.

In the event that this will not be practicable to you, as I infer from the programme laid down in your note to Major Buell it will not be, I shall write to Col. Smith asking him to give us all necessary information of details not contained in the “Rules and Regulations” the preparation of the code of which for our school is confined to the joint action of “the faculty” and “A Committee consisting of Messrs. Manning, Graham, and Whittington.” I would rather have had the Board adopt for the present the code of the Virginia school, because under the Governor’s resolution, about which he did not confer with me beforehand, it cannot well be done until on or about the 1st of January, when it ought to be done in advance. I do not see therefore that we can do otherwise than adopt, at first, the code of that school. I have no apprehension but that whatever you, Mr. Manning and myself may agree upon, will be acceptable to all the rest.

In regard to “furnishing” the building there will not be much trouble. My idea will be for each cadet to furnish his own requisites in the way of room furniture, as at West Point. There will then be nothing to furnish but the class-rooms, the kitchen and mess hall — as I believe I mentioned to you before, the statement in the Governor’s advertisement that “furnished apartments would be provided in the building for the professors,” was an error of our not very clear-headed secretary. The intention of the Board was simply to apprize all interested that there were no separate dwellings for the professors. . .

I met with Mr. F. W. Smith in Richmond and travelled with him to this place. He is about sailing for Europe to be back the 1st of December. All my anticipations of him fully realized. I cannot close without mentioning that in a visit to the convent in Georgetown yesterday my sister (Mary Bernard) poured out her joy on learning (to do which she en quired with great eagerness) that the superintendent of our school was the husband of that “one of all the girls who have passed through our hands here that I believed I loved best and was the most deeply interested in.”

In regard to “authority and control,” although it is not yet exactly so, I hope the next session of the legislature will place our school on precisely the same footing as the Virginia school, making the superintendent the commanding officer of the corps of cadets, giving to him and the other members of the Academic Board, rank in the State’s military organization.


Lancaster, Ohio, Sept. 7, 1859.

Dear Sir: I am now in full possession of all documents sent to my address at Leavenworth including the papers containing the printed proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of August 2. I have written to you twice at Washington, but suppose you are not well arrived, and as I find it best somewhat to qualify my offer to come East, and visit with you the Virginia Institute, I write you again.

I have written Governor Wickliffe that I will be at Saint Louis, Oct. 20 and at Baton Rouge Nov. 5, prepared to meet the committee of supervisors, or the academic faculty at any time thereafter he may appoint. But it may be more convenient for that committee to meet at once in Alexandria or at the institute [Seminary] itself, so that I can be there at any date after Nov. 5, which may prove agreeable to all parties.

To-morrow I will go to Frankfort, Kentucky, to be present at the opening of the session of the Kentucky Military Institute and I will remain long enough to see for myself as much of the practical workings of that institute as possible. Colonel Morgan in charge will, I know, take pleasure in making me acquainted with all details that I may desire to learn.

From Kentucky I shall return to this place, and about the 25th inst. I will go to Chicago, where I expect to meet Captain McClellan of the Illinois Central Railroad, who a few years since visited many of the European establishments, and who can therefore give me much information. I will then go to Leavenport and afterward St. Louis delaying at each point a short while, but you may rest perfectly certain that I will be on hand, when the committee meets and that I will acquire as much practical knowledge of organization as possible in the meantime.

I hope you will find it both pleasant and convenient to visit the Virginia Military Institute and that you will make inquiries that will be of service — thus ascertain the exact price of each article of dress, and furniture furnished the cadets, price of each text-book — how supplied, cost of black-board, drawing-board, mathematical instruments, drawing-paper, paints, pencils, etc. The name of the merchant who supplied them. Have they a single store, like an army suttler who keeps supplies on hand, and whose prices are fixed by the Academic Board, or does their quartermaster provide by wholesale and distribute to cadets charging them? Are all cadets marched to mess hall? Do they have regular reveille, tattoo and taps?

Can we not select a dress more becoming, quite as economical, and better adapted to climate than the grey cloth of West Point and Virginia?

It occurs to me that climate will make it almost necessary to make modifications of dress, period of study, drill, and even dates of examinations. This may all be done without in the least impairing that systematic discipline which I suppose it is the purpose to engraft on the usual course of scientific education.

Ascertain if possible, the average annual expense of each cadet — clothing, mess hall, books, paper, etc., lights fire, and washing and tuition.

I will try and ascertain similar elements in Kentucky and elsewhere, so that we may begin with full knowledge of the experience of all others. Should you write me here the letters will be so forwarded as to meet me with as little delay as possible.

Sherman’s views on slavery, politics, etc., were moderate. Had he taken an active part in public affairs he would probably have been an Old Line Whig. His brother John was already noted as an anti-slavery Republican. Just before leaving for Louisiana Major Sherman wrote to his brother urging him to take a moderate position on sectional questions.


Lancaster, Ohio, Sept., 1859.

I will come up about the 2Oth or 25th, and if you have an appointment to speak about that time, I should like to hear you, and will so arrange. As you are becoming a man of note and are a Republican, and as I go south among gentlemen who have always owned slaves, and probably always will and must, and whose feelings may pervert every public expression of yours, putting me in a false position to them as my patrons, friends, and associates, and you as my brother, I would like to see you take the highest ground consistent with your party creed. . .

October, 1859.

Each State has a perfect right to have its own local policy, and a majority in Congress has an absolute right to govern the whole country; but the North, being so strong in every sense of the term, can well afford to be generous, even to making reasonable concessions to the weakness and prejudices of the South. If southern representatives will thrust slavery into every local question, they must expect the consequences and be out voted; but the union of states and general union of sentiment throughout all our nation are so important to the honor and glory of the confederacy that I would like to see your position yet more moderate.

During the summer while at Lancaster, Sherman wrote to several officers of the army with whom he had been associated, asking for their views on certain problems of military school organization. The following letter from Captain George B. McClellan is the only one that has been preserved. It was taken from the Seminary in 1864 by an officer of Gen. Banks’s army and was returned to Louisiana State University in 1909. It bears the following endorsement by Sherman: “Capt. McC. went to Sebastopol and reported to our government. He spent more than a year in Austrian, Russian, and English camps and is a gentleman of singular intelligence.”


Illinois Central Railroad Company,
Vice President’s Office, Chicago,
Oct. 23, 1859.

My Dear Sir: I regret exceedingly that I have so long delayed replying to yours of the 30th, ult. I hope this will reach you at Baton Rouge in time to serve your purposes, and must beg you to consider my rather multifarious duties as my excuse for the delay; in truth I was desirous of taking some little pains with my reply, and it has been difficult for me to find the time.

I think with you that the blue frock coat, and felt hat with a feather, with perhaps the Austrian undress cap, will be the most appropriate uniform, the grey coatee is rather behind the age.

If the academy is in the Pine Barrens, it would seem that the period from September 1 to June 20, with the two examinations you speak of, would answer every purpose. It would be almost impossible to have an encampment, I should suppose, yet you might in a very few days teach them how to pitch tents, and the more important parts of camp duty, such as guard duty, construction of field kitchens and ovens, huts for pioneers, etc.

You will find in Captain Marcy’s new book The Prairie Traveller a great deal of invaluable information in reference to camps, taking care of animals, etc., on the prairies. I think you would find it worth while, if not to make it a text book, to require or advise to students to procure copies. It is a book they will read with great interest and profit — it fills a vacuum of no little importance.

I think I have at home the plates belonging to the French “Instruction pour l’enseignement de la Gymnastique.” This will give you all the information you need as to the appliances required for a gymnasium. The title is Instruction pour I’enseignement de la Gymnastique dans les corps de troupes et les etablissements militaire (Paris, I. Dumaine).

If my copy is lost I would advise you to import it. There is also a very good little work published by Dumaine, called Extrait de l’Instruction pour l’enseignement de la Gymnastique, etc., par le Capitaine C. d’Argy.

In addition to the regular instruction in the infantry and artillery manuals, I would by all means have daily practice in the gymnasium, or fencing with the foil and bayonet, and the same exercise at least half an hour a day ought to be devoted to this.

With regard to the course of instruction necessary to lay the foundation for a thorough knowledge of engineering, I do not think that the general course at West Point can be materially improved upon. We have all felt the want of practical instruction on certain points when we left West Point — e.g. in the actual use of instruments, both surveying and astronomical, topography and field sketches, railway engineering, etc. — but it is impossible to do everything in a limited time, and I would suggest that you follow in the main the West Point course, retrenching a little from some of the higher branches and adding a little to the practical instruction.

I know of no complete work on the construction of railways, it is thus far essentially a practical business. Collum and Holley’s work on European Railways contains some valuable information. Lardner on the Steam Engine, Parbour on the Locomotive and Steam Engine, Collum on the Locomotive are all useful. Borden’s Formula for the Location and Construction of Railroads, Haupt on Bridge construction, Moseley’s Mechanical Engineering, Edwin Clarke on the Brittania and Conivay Tubular Bridges, Arolis series of Rudimentary treatise on Engineering, etc., are all of value.

I regret that I am rather pushed for time tonight, as I would have liked to write more fully, but I start for St. Paul in the morning and must do the best I can in a limited time. If I can give you any further information it will afford me great pleasure to do so at any time. With my best wishes for your success in Louisiana, I am very truly yours, GEO. B. McCLELLAN.

In October, 1859, Sherman started for Louisiana but stopped at St. Louis to attend to business affairs and to visit friends. From here he wrote to General Graham and from Cairo and Baton Rouge he wrote to Mrs. Sherman who, it was decided, could not go to Louisiana until the superintendent’s house should be built.


St. Louis, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 23, 1859.

Dear Sir: . . . It is absolutely impossible for me to leave here before Thursday of this week, the 27th, as I have some old matters of business here which I have put oft until now. I was delayed two or three days by the low water of the Missouri. Therefore, however much I would like to be with you on the “Lizzie Simmons,” I must not attempt it.

I will, if there be any faith in steamboats, be at Baton Rouge, Nov. 5 and I suppose I have made a mistake in promising to see the governor at all, instead of the committee of trustees, to whom is left the preparation of things; still, as I have written the governor to that effect, I must do so, but will not delay an unnecessary moment, but hurry on to Alexandria and there meet the committee.

Knowing, as you do, the rates of travel, you can better form a judgment when I can reach your Alexandria; and if your committee will have progressed in their work they may go on, with a certainty that I will zealously enter on any task they may assign me. It seems to me no time is to be lost in preparing regulations and circulars for very wide circulation among the planters whose sons are to be cadets.

But we will soon meet and go to work, and I begin to feel now that we have a noble task and are bound to succeed.


Steamer L. M. Kennett [at Cairo], Saturday, Oct. 29, 1859.

. . . Should my health utterly fail me or abolition drive me and all moderate men from the South, then we can retreat down the Hocking and exist until time puts us away under ground. This is not poetically expressed but is the basis of my present plans.

I find southern men, even as well informed as — as big fools as the abolitionists. Though Brown’s whole expedition proves clearly that [while] the northern people oppose slavery in the abstract, yet very few [will] go so far as to act. Yet the extreme southrons pretend to think that the northern people have nothing to do but to steal niggers and to preach sedition.

John’s position and Tom’s may force me at times to appear opposed to extreme southern views, or they may attempt to extract from me promises I will not give, and it may be that this position as the head of a military college, south may be inconsistent with decent independence. I don’t much apprehend such a state of case, still feeling runs so high, where a nigger is concerned, that like religious questions, common sense is disregarded, and knowledge of the character of mankind in such cases leads me to point out a combination of events that may yet operate on our future.

I have heard men of good sense say that the union of the states any longer was impossible, and that the South was preparing for a change. If such a change be contemplated and overt acts be attempted of course I will not go with the South, because with slavery and the whole civilized world opposed to it, they in case of leaving the union will have worse wars and tumults than now distinguish Mexico. If I have to fight here after I prefer an open country and white enemies. I merely allude to these things now because I have heard a good deal lately about such things, and generally that the Southern States by military colleges and organizations were looking to a dissolution of the Union. If they design to protect themselves against negroes and abolitionists I will help; if they propose to leave the Union on account of a supposed fact that the northern people are all abolitionists like Giddings and Brown then I will stand by Ohio and the northwest.

I am on a common kind of boat. River low. Fare eighteen dollars. A hard set aboard; but at Cairo I suppose we take aboard the railroad passengers, a better class. I have all my traps safe aboard, will land my bed and boxes at Red River, will go on to Baton Rouge, and then be governed by circumstances.

The weather is clear and cold and I have a bad cough, asthma of course, but hope to be better tomorrow. I have a stateroom to myself, but at Cairo suppose we will have a crowd; if possible I will keep a room to myself in case I want to burn the paper of which I will have some left, but in case of a second person being put in I can sleep by day and sit up at night, all pretty much the same in the long run. . .


Baton Rouge, Sunday, November 6, 1859.

I wrote you from the Kennett at Cairo — but not from Memphis. I got here last night about dark, the very day I had appointed, but so late in the day that when I called at the governor’s residence I found he had gone to a wedding. I have not yet seen him, and as tomorrow is the great election day of this state I hear that he is going down to New Orleans to-day. So I got up early, and as soon as I finish this letter, I will go again.

I have been to the post-office and learn that several letters have come for me, all of which were sent to the governor. Captain Ricketts of the army, commanding officer at the barracks, found me last night, and has told me all the news, says that they were much pleased at my accepting the place, and that all place great reliance on me, that the place at Alexandria selected for the school is famous for salubrity, never has been visited by yellow fever and therefore is better adapted for the purpose than this place. He thinks that I will have one of the best places in the country, and that I will be treated with great consideration by the legislature and authorities of the state. I will have plenty to do be tween this and the time for opening of school. I have yet seen nobody connected with the school and suppose all are waiting for me at Alexandria, where I will go tomorrow.


First impressions of the Red River Valley. General Graham. The Seminary Building. Preparations to be made. Finances of the school Servants and laborers. Welcome from Braxton Bragg. Sherman’s account of his first weeks- in Louisiana. He goes to the Seminary to live. Making rules for the Seminary. The work at the Seminary. The Seminary location. Sherman at work on the regulations. The difficulty of procuring text-books. Governor Moore on educational conditions in Louisiana. Meeting of the supervisors. Opposition to the military system. Professors notified to come to the Seminary. Two factions in the Board of Supervisors. Purchase of supplies in New Orleans. Danger that John Sherman’s political course may embarrass W. T. Sherman in Louisiana. Helper’s Impending Crisis. Sherman’s views on slavery “are good enough for this country.” Appointment of cadets. Braxton Bragg on Seminary affairs. Ready for the opening of the Seminary. Lack of dwelling houses near the Seminary. Slavery and politics. Final preparations for opening. Sherman and the negro servants.

After a short stay in Baton Rouge for the purpose of consulting Governor Wickliffe, Sherman went to Alexandria. The newspapers that mentioned his coming were crowded with news of the John Brown raid and the trial of Brown and his fol lowers. If Sherman had a sense of humor he probably sent copies of the Louisiana Democrat to his brother John. To Mrs. Sherman he wrote on November 12 giving his first impressions of Louisiana.

Alexandria, La., Sunday, Nov. 12 [1859]. I wrote you a hasty letter yesterday whilst the stage was waiting. General Graham and others have been with me every moment so that I was unable to steal a moment’s time to write you. I left the wharf boat at the mouth of Red River, a dirty, poor concern where I laid over one day, the stage only coming up tri-weekly, and at nine o’clock at night started with an overcrowded stage, nine in and two out with driver, four good horses.

Troy coach, road dead level and very dusty, lying along the banks of bayous which cut up the country like a net work. Along these bayous lie the plantations rich in sugar and cotton such as you remember along the Mississippi at Baton Rouge.

We rode all night, a fine moonlight, and before breakfast at a plantation we were hailed by Judge Boyce who rode with us the rest of the journey. His plantation is twenty-five miles further up, but he has lived here since 1826 and knows everybody. He insisted on my stopping with him at the plantation of Mr. Moore, who is just elected governor of Louisiana for the coming four years, and who in that capacity will be President of the Board of Supervisors, who control the Seminary of Learning, and whose friendship and confidence it is important I should secure. He sent us into town in his own carriage. Alexandria isn’t much of a town, and the tavern where I am, Mrs. Fellow’s, a common rate concern, as all southern taverns out of large cities are. Still I have a good room opening into the parlor.

General Graham came in from his plantation nine miles west of this, and has been with me ever since. At this moment he is at church, the Episcopal. He will go out home tonight and to-morrow I go likewise, when we are to have a formal meeting to arrange some rules and regulations, also agree on the system of study. He is the person who has from the start carried on the business. He was at West Point, but did not graduate, but he has an unlimited admiration of the system of discipline and study. He is about fifty-five years, rather small, exceedingly particular and methodical, and altogether different from his brother, the general.

The building is a gorgeous palace, altogether too good for its purpose, stands on a high hill three miles north of this. It has four hundred acres of poor soil, but fine pine and oak trees, a single large building. Like most bodies they have spent all their money on the naked building, trusting to the legislature for further means to provide furniture, etc. All this is to be done, and they agree to put me in charge at once, and enable me to provide before January 1 the tables, desks, chairs, blackboards, etc., the best I can in time for January i, and as this is a mere village I must procure all things from New Orleans, and may have to go down early next month. But for the present I shall go to General Graham’s tomorrow, be there some days, return here and then remove to the college, where I will establish myself and direct in person the construction of such things as may be made there.

Louisiana State Seminary in 1860
Louisiana State Seminary in 1860

LSU Ruins
LSU Ruins
Campus Ruins in 2013.

There is no family near enough for me to board, so I will get the cook who provides for the carpenters to give me my meals.

It is the design to erect two buildings for the professors, but I doubt whether the legislature will give any more, $135,000 having already been expended. The institution, styled by law the Seminary of Learning, has an annual endowment of $8,100, but it is necessary for the legislature to appropriate this annually, and as they do not meet till the third Monday in January, I don’t see how we can get any money before hand. I think when the appropriation is made, however, my salary will be allowed from November 1.

When I first got here it was hot, but yesterday it changed, and it is now very cold. I have a fire here, but several windows are broken, and the room is as cold as a barn, and the lazy negroes have to be driven to bring in wood.

I expect plenty of trouble from this source, the high wages of servants and the necessity to push them all the time to do anything. I would hire whites, but suppose it would be advisable and good policy to submit to the blacks for the present.

On arrival here I found your and Minnie’s letters, seven days in coming, which is better time than I expected. Mails come here tri-weekly by stage by the route I came. . .

Braxton Bragg, formerly captain of the artillery company in which Sherman was a lieutenant during the forties, wrote from his plantation welcoming his old comrade to Louisiana.

Near Thibodaux, La., November 13, 1859.

My Dear Sherman: It was a great pleasure to receive your note from Baton Rouge, and I sincerely hope that we may soon meet. I should have written to you at once on seeing your election to the important position you are to fill, but did not know where to find you. The announcement gave me very great pleasure, though my influence to some extent was given against you, never dreaming you could be an aspirant. I had united with many gentlemen in New Orleans to recommend Professor Sears, with whom I have no acquaintance, but simply on the ground of his being a graduate of West Point. Indeed, my letter was general, and might have applied to any graduate. Had I known your application I should have attended personally to forward your wishes. But as it is all is well.

Since seeing your appointment I have taken pains to try and advance the institution, and several friends speak of sending their sons. Whatever is in my power will be most cheerfully done for your personal interest, and for the institution generally. We must meet, but it is impossible for me to leave home now. Until nearly Christmas I shall be overrun with business, or rather confined by it. We are in the midst of [sugar] manufacturing, and a cold spell is now on us which inflicts a heavy loss every day lost. I even work on Sunday from this time to the end.

At home I have leisure, and am most happy to see friends. Kilburn, who is stationed in the city, [is] coming tomorrow to spend a few days. Why can’t you do so? You can take dinner with me after breakfast in the city. Kilburn can put you in the way, should you have time to come down. I heard something of your misfortunes and sympathised most deeply with you, but it is not too late for a man of your energy and ability to repair such a disaster.

Your institution I hope will prove a success. It is fairly endowed and has strong and enthusiastic friends. Among them you will find the master spirit my friend, General G. Mason Graham. My acquaintance with him was very short, but very agreeable. Friendships formed under the enemy’s guns ought to last. I knew he liked me, and I admired his gallantry and devotion. Present my regards to him. You may safely trust to his friendship. Our new governor will be your friend, too. He is a plain man, but of excellent character, business habits and very large fortune, placing him above temptation and demagogery. Your professor of mathematics, a foreigner is very highly spoken of; the others I do not know.

Mrs. Sherman and the little ones are not with you I suppose from your not mentioning them. We should be most happy to see them when they come to join you. In the meantime, when you can see enough to form any plan, let me hear from you again, and when and where we may meet. About January 1, I expect to be in Baton Rouge.

Accept my cordial wishes for your success, and happiness.

About the time of the arrival of the new superintendent the Louisiana Democrat [Nov. 10, 1859] had the following editorial notices of the Seminary and its officers.

We would respectfully ask it as a special favor from our contemporaries in other parishes and in the city that they would notice the fact that the Louisiana State Seminary will go into operation on the first day of the incoming new year. The magnificent building, large enough to accommodate a fine company of cadets, is now nearly ready for their reception. One of the professors, Dr. Anthony Vallas, the distinguished author of valuable mathematical works, arrived some days ago. Major Sherman, the superintendent, is on his way hither and all the accomplished corps will be on the ground in ample season to aid in organizing this new institution. . . The institution will in all probability be completely organized before the day fixed for the initiation of its active career of usefulness.

Applications for cadetships or admission as pupils must be addressed to the Board of Supervisors through its president and directed to this place, and not to individual members of the Board. Applicants must be fifteen years of age, and residents of Louisiana. Cadets are to be appointed by the Board in equal numbers from the several senatorial districts. There being thirty-two senatorial districts and the Seminary building being capable of accommodating one hundred and sixty cadets the proportion will be about five appointments from each District. . .

The unrivalled salubrity of its location, the convenience and elegance of its chief building, the munificent donation from the federal government which secures its independent support, and a full corps of teachers of eminent attainments and superior capacity for instruction, will combine to place the Military Seminary of Louisiana among the first seats of learning in the South.

We note with pleasure that a distinguished officer of the U.S. Army, a graduate of West Point and a Creole of Louisiana, Major Beauregard, of New Orleans, has already made application to the Board for the appointment of two sons as cadets. This appreciation of our new state institution on the part of this worthy officer is significant. . .

Sherman in his Memoirs [vol. i, 172] gives a more connected account of the first weeks of his work in Louisiana, from his arrival in Baton Rouge on November 5 to November 18 when he moved to the Seminary building in order to supervise the completion of the carpenter’s work and the equipment of the building.

In the autumn of 1859, having made arrangements for my family to remain in Lancaster, I proceeded, via Columbus, Cincinnati, and Louisville, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I reported for duty to Governor Wickliffe, who, by virtue of his office, was the president of the Board of Supervisors of the institution over which I was called to preside. He explained to me the act of the legislature under which the institution was founded; told me that the building was situated near Alexandria, in the Parish of Rapides, and was substantially finished; that the future management would rest with a Board of Supervisors, mostly citizens of Rapides Parish, where also resided the governor-elect, T. O. Moore, who would soon succeed him in his office as governor and president ex officio; and advised me to go at once to Alexandria, and put myself in communication with Moore and the supervisors.

Accordingly I took a boat at Baton Rouge, for the mouth of Red River. The river being low, and its navigation precarious, I there took the regular mail-coach, as the more certain conveyance, and continued on toward Alexandria. I found, as a fellow-passenger in the coach, Judge Henry Boyce, of the United States District Court, with whom I had made acquaintance years before, at St. Louis, and, as we neared Alexandria, he proposed that we should stop at Governor Moore’s and spend the night. Moore’s house and plantation were on Bayou Robert, about eight miles from Alexandria. We found him at home, with his wife and a married daughter, and spent the night there. He sent us forward to Alexandria the next morning, in his own carriage.

On arriving at Alexandria, I put up at an inn, or boarding-house, and almost immediately thereafter went about ten miles farther up Bayou Rapides, to the plantation and house of General G. Mason Graham, to whom I looked as the principal man with whom I had to deal. He was a high-toned gentleman, and his whole heart was in the enterprise. He at once put me at ease. We acted together most cordially from that time forth, and it was at his house that all the details of the Seminary were arranged.

We first visited the college-building together. It was located on an old country place of four hundred acres of pine-land, with numerous springs, and the building was very large and handsome. A carpenter, named James, resided there, and had the general charge of the property; but, as there was not a table, chair, black-board, or anything on hand, necessary for a beginning, I concluded to quarter myself in one of the rooms of the Seminary, and board with an old black woman who cooked for James, so that I might personally push forward the necessary preparations. There was an old rail-fence about the place, and a large pile of boards in front. I immediately engaged four carpenters, and set them at work to make out of these boards mess-tables, benches, black-boards, etc. I also opened a correspondence with the professors-elect, and with all parties of influence in the state, who were interested in our work.

In November a committee of the Board of Supervisors met with Sherman, Vallas, and St. Ange to make regulations for the government of the school and to arrange a course of study. The name “Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy” was adopted. Several expressions in Sherman’s correspondence indicate that he considered the name a monstrosity. A circular dated November 17, prepared by Sherman, was sent out by Governor Wickliffe announcing the approaching opening of the school.

During November Sherman was busied at the Seminary urging the construction work to completion, clearing the building of rubbish and getting it ready for equipment. In his correspondence with Mrs. Sherman and General Graham he describes his daily occupations.


Alexandria, Seminary of Learning,
Nov. 19, 1859.

Since my last I have been out to General Graham’s who has a large plantation on Bayou Rapides, nine miles from Alexandria. There met Graham and Whittington, and Sherman, Vallas, and St. Ange, professors, to make rules for the new institution after the model of the Virginia Military Institute. We took their regulations, omitted part, altered other and innovated to suit this case, and as a result I have it all to write over and prepare for the printer.

Yesterday I moved my things out and am now in the college building, have taken two rooms in the southwest tower and shall make the large adjoining room the office, so as to be convenient. There are five carpenters employed here and I take my meals with them.

It is only three miles to Alexandria. I walked out yesterday, and in this morning; but Captain Jarreau, who is appointed steward, lent me a horse for the keeping, so that hereafter I will have a horse to ride about the country; but for some days I will have writing enough to do, and afterwards may have to go down to New Orleans to buy furniture, of which the building is absolutely without, being brand new. The weather has been excessively dry here, but yesterday it rained hard and last night it thundered hard. Today was fine clear and bright like Charleston. . .


Seminary Of Learning, Alexandria, Nov. 21, 1859.

Dear General: . . . The entire article you call Mr. Boyce’s was written by me rather hastily, and has some typographical errors which I will take the liberty to correct, though I wrote it rather to give Mr. B. the substance of an article from himself, but he inserted it without change, making it rather meagre and curt. Still what we need is publicity as soon as possible. I think all the appointments should be made absolutely and finally by say December 10, that we may know the number of books and articles absolutely requisite by that date. By that time we can know exactly what may be procured here and what of necessity must come from New Orleans.

I will keep a note of my ferriages, which I prefer, as it is unsafe to trust the account of the ferryman. If the Board think I am entitled to my salary from November 1 then I would not ask renumeration, but if all salaries are by law, or propriety, fixed for January 1, then I would ask simply reimbursement of actual outlays, to which end I will keep a note of my expenses.

I have been to see Mr. Manning, Dr. Smith, Mr. Ryan, and Henarie several times and will renew my visits and on all proper occasions will touch on the points suggested. If we have, say one hundred at the start it might be well to open with a speech say from Mr. Manning himself, and if Governor Moore could also be present, it would have a good effect and convince these gentlemen that we want the development of as much literary talent as possible.

For my part I am willing that as much time may be given to literary pursuits as the Board of Supervisors may prefer. It will in no wise interfere with the military rule. Only what mathematical studies we do undertake let us make them thorough and not superficial. I have a couple of letters, one from Major Barnard, a very distinguished scholar and major of engineers, written in a very bad hand, which I send with this, for you to decipher if possible. I enclose also for your perusal one from Gilmore and Bragg.

I have had such absolute control of business for some years, that I find myself running off with the bit in my teeth. I ask you as a friend to check me if you see me usurping the province of the directory.


Seminary Of Learning, Alexandria, Nov. 25, 1859.

I am still out here at the Seminary, pushing on the work as fast as possible, but people don’t work hard down here. The weather has been warm and spring-like, but tonight the wind is piping and betokens rain. This is Friday. I have been writing all week, the regulations, and have been sending off circulars — indeed everything is backward, and it will keep us moving to be ready for cadets January 1. The Board of Supervisors are to meet on Monday, and I will submit to them the regulations and lists of articles indispensably necessary, and I suppose I will be sent to New Orleans to make the purchases.

The planters about Alexandria are rich but the town is a poor concern. Nothing like furniture can be had. Everybody orders from New Orleans. General Graham is at his plantation nine miles from Alexandria and twelve from here. I get a note from him every day urging me to assume all responsibility as he and all the supervisors are busy at their cotton or sugar.

I believe I have fully described the locality and the fact that although the building for the Seminary is in itself very fine, yet it is solitary and alone in the country and in no wise suited for families. Of course I will permit no family to live in the building. There happens to be one house about one-fourth mile to the rear, belonging to one McCoy in New Orleans, but that is rented by Mr. Vallas, the professor of mathematics, who now occupies it with his family, wife and seven children. They are Hungarians and he is an Episcopal Clergyman, but his religion don’t hurt him much. He seems a pleasant enough man, fifty years old, fat, easy and comfortable. . . They have an Irishman and wife as servants and have plenty of complaints. The house is leaky and full of holes, so that they can hardly keep a candle burning when the wind is boisterous. Indeed the house was built for summer use and calculated to catch as much wind as possible. The design is to ask the legislature to appropriate for two professors’ houses for Vallas and ourselves.

If they appropriate I will have the building and will of course see to their comfort, but I will make no calculations until the amount is settled on. I fear the cost of the building will deter the legislature from appropriating until the institution begins to make friends.

The new governor, Moore, lives near Alexandria and will be highly favorable to liberal appropriation. We have fine springs of pure water all round, and I doubt not the place is very healthy. Indeed there is nothing to make it otherwise unless the long hot summers create disease. I am now comparatively free of my cough and am in about usual condition — have to burn nitre paper occasionally. It is very lonely here indeed. Nobody to talk to but the carpenters and sitting here alone in this great big house away out in the pine wood is not cheerful. . .


Seminary, Nov. 25, 1859.

Dear General: Young Mr. Jarreau is now here and says his wagon is near at hand, with a quarter of mutton for Mr. Vallas and myself. As I am staying with “carpenters’ mess,” I thank you for the favor and will see that Mr. Vallas gets the whole with your compliments. Work progresses slow, but sure. I have the regulations done and several other papers ready for the meeting Monday. As time passes, and Mr. Vallas is not certain that he can get one hundred copies of Algebra at New Orleans I have ordered them of the publisher in New York. . .

Please let Mr. St. Ange give you the title of his text books, grammar and dictionary. All other text books, ought to be approved by the Academic Board, but as that can’t assemble in time, we must take for granted that these preliminary books are absolutely required in advance. I take it for granted the particular grammar and dictionary can be had in New Orleans. . .

To Thomas Ewing, his father-in-law, Sherman wrote on November 27, in regard to the Seminary and about educational conditions in Louisiana.

A minority of the Board of Supervisors was opposed to the military system of government which was championed by General Graham. This opposition which gave trouble to Graham and Sherman is hinted at in the letter from Graham to Governor WicklifTe given below. Public opinion supported Graham’s policy. This is indicated by the two newspaper editorials from the Madison Democrat and the Louisiana Democrat, which are typical press notices.


Seminary Of Learning,
near Alexandria, La.,
Nov. 27, 1859.

Dear Sir: . . . Congress granted to Louisiana long ago, some thirty years, certain lands for a Seminary of Learning. These lands have been from time to time sold and the state now holds the money in trust, giving annually the interest sum $8100.

The accrued interest and more too has been expended in an elegant structure, only too good and costly for its purpose and location. The management has after a series of changes devolved on a Board of Supervisors, composed of fourteen gentlemen of whom the governor is ex-officio president and the superintendent of public education a member. These have selected five professors to whom is entrusted the management of the Seminary. The state has imposed the condition of educating sixteen free of charge for rent, tuition, and board. . .

This building is three miles from Alexandria in a neighborhood not at all settled, as the land here is poor and unfit for cultivation, all the alluvial land being on the south side of the Red River. There are therefore no houses here or near for families, and to remedy this an appropriation will also be asked to build two suitable houses for the married professors, Vallas and myself.

Governor Moore, just elected for four years, says that all educational attempts in Louisiana hitherto failed, mostly because religion has crept in and made the schools and colleges sectarian, which does not suit the promiscuous class who live here. He doubts whether at the start the legislature will feel disposed to depart from recent custom of refusing all such applications, but doubts not if we can for a year or two make good showing, and avoid the breakers that have destroyed hitherto endowed colleges, that this will be fostered and patronized to a high degree.

I shall therefore devote my attention to success, before I give my thoughts to personal advantage; and I find too much reliance is placed on me. I have no doubt I can discipline it and maybe control the system of studies to make it a more practical school than any hereabouts. And as parents are wealthy and willing to pay freely it may be we can get along for a time with little legislative aid further than we can claim as a right.

A small balance of the last appropriation still remains which I am now expending on the necessary furniture, and the Board of Supervisors being now in session at Alexandria I expect they will send me to New Orleans to procure the necessary outfit, in which case I will go down the latter part of this week, being absent about ten days. Red River is now low, still boats go and come with considerable regularity.

I met to-day among the Board of Supervisors a remnant of the old congressional times, Jesse A. Bynum, a little dried up old man, who moved to Louisiana from North Carolina, and who has a horror of an abolitionist. I was told he was angry at my election, because he thought all from Ohio were real abolitionists, but to-day he was unusually polite to me, and told me much of his congressional experience. . . Yours affectionately,

W. T. Sherman.


Alexandria, Nov. 30, 1859.

Dear Sir: . . . Only six members of the Board of Supervisors convened on Monday 28th and the same number again on yesterday. Dr. [S. A.] Smith was sick, but his presence would not have made a quorum. So we did nothing — only talked. There was this done however; that as the only means of getting the money from Doctor Smith with which to prepare the building for the reception and accommodation of cadets, I gave him my individual obligation to hold him harmless, which we all thought a rather unnecessary piece of fastidiousness on the part of the Doctor. . .

Major Sherman will now go to New Orleans on Saturday to make the requisite purchases. . .

I was also requested in the same capacity, to call another meeting of the Board for Saturday, Dec. 10th, which I have done, but do not anticipate any different result, as Mr. Sanford is in Virginia.

As it is manifest that Mr. Henry Gray will never at tend any of our meetings, I wish very much that you would oblige us by at once appointing Doctor Lewis Magruder in his stead. He is a gentleman of education and intelligence, a son-in-law of Mr. R. C. Hynson, stirring, active man, with a growing family, and will make a good and attentive member, is a warm advocate for the military feature of the school, to injure which in indirect modes the two or three opponents of it in the Board are now making efforts. If you can at once dispatch an appointment to Doctor Magruder, it will reach him in time for the next meeting, and greatly relieve me, for I cannot make head against Manning and Smith, with Ryan playing “fast and loose” between us all the time.


[The State Seminary] is to be conducted upon a plan similar to that of the Virginia Institute at Lexington. . . This is a move in the right direction. Our legislators have, for once, at least, acted with a view of promoting the moral as well as the intellectual advancement of the people of the state.

Every father in the Parish of Madison, who has a son over fifteen years of age, that can read and write well, and can perform with facility and accuracy the various operations of the four general rules of arithmetic . . . should at once send him to the Louisiana Seminary of Learning, even if he should be compelled to mortgage his plantation to pay the annual expense of four hundred dollars. . .

We heartily rejoice that a military school of a high grade has been established in our state, because we know that military discipline only can make a school effective for good in this, our perverted age, when almost every youth scarcely out of his teens considers himself independent of all moral restraint, and at liberty to do as he pleases.

Military schools make the pupil not only a soldier, ready to defend our rights and our institutions, but they impart, by the principle of subordination upon which they are conducted, a moral training, which will impress him with the conviction that in order to be able, at some future day, to command, it is indispensably necessary to learn first how to obey.


Over fifty applicants for cadetships have been received and warrants issued for them. This, with other appointments, will insure an opening number of about seventy-five, and we feel confident that ere this session shall have closed the buildings will be filled. There were some misgivings, early in the fall, that the State Seminary would not be ready to commence operation on the first of January, but it is now settled, and everything is prepared that the institution will open on the day mentioned.

[The faculty] have been selected from over eighty applicants marked for distinguished merit and ability, and, as far as we are competent to judge from a short personal acquaintance, we honestly assure all parents, guardians, or others who may have charge of the education of youth, that if their sons or wards are placed in the State Seminary, if they are capable, they will be returned to them thorough scholars.

We would also, in this connection, disabuse the public, or at least a portion of it, of the idea that a school organized upon a military basis must needs make only soldiers. It is a false notion that because a youth is compelled to be methodical, to learn to obey, and at the same time, keep his self-respect, that all this is to be done at the sacrifice of time which should be devoted to study. A military school differs from other colleges, in a single, but very material particular, only: the time which is generally given up to the student to be used in any manner his natural proclivities may suggest is, in the State Seminary, economized in the shape of military duty, and though it may at first work a little harsh, yet after a time, with a proper thinking youth, it becomes a pleasure, and as it does not in any measure interfere with his scholastic duties, we do not see why any objection could or should be made against it-certainly it does not detract from the merits of any gentleman to be considered to have a savoir faire in the matter of handling arms.

The late events which have, in some degree, agitated the public mind certainly indicate the necessity of each slave-holding state encouraging and supporting at least one military school within its own limits. We know that others of the Southern States have made it a matter of such consideration that these institutions are looked upon as a chief feature in their defensive material. Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and of late Missouri have all appropriated certain sums for the establishment of like institutions and in Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee these schools have for a period of years been working with complete success.

If we admit the facts, and certainly we can consistently do so, where they are self-evident, that such establishments are necessary and that the terms of scholar and soldier are not incompatible, then the success of our State Seminary is no problem. . .

The plan upon which the State Seminary is to be worked is so methodical that it will be found to be the cheapest school in the country. We don’t mean cheapest in an immediate dollar and cent signification, but cheapest because of the paramount advantages it offers. A youth’s time is so regulated that dissolute and expensive habits cannot be contracted. Expensive dress, dogs, horses, billiards, etc., will certainly be myths with a cadet at the State Seminary, and parents will find that in the end they will have saved a considerable item in this particular. In most colleges, the modern languages, drawing, book-keeping, etc., are charged as extras . . . which when paid for as such at the termination of a four years’ course, will be found to amount to quite one-third of the regular tuition. . . The particular location of the school, three miles from this place, is a matter of some moment. The cadets cannot be subjected to the malarious influences of the low lands of the river, as the buildings are situated on an elevated stretch of table land, surrounded by a healthy growth of pine forest, together with the best of water. There cannot be any possible chance of an epidemic reaching any of its inmates; though we may be visited, as any part of the state is more or less liable, by an epidemic disease, still we confidently believe that with anything like consistent precaution the State Seminary will always escape. . .

About a month before the opening, Sherman notified the professors elect to be on hand before the appointed time. The fol lowing letter was sent to Professor Boyd, who was then ill at Mt. Lebanon, Louisiana.


Seminary Of Learning,
near Alexandria, Nov. 27, 1859.

Dear Sir: Mr. Manning tells me that he has written you that your presence here is not required till after Christmas. That may be, but it would seem to me better that we should all have been here at least a month earlier to confer, agree upon our textbooks, and provide such of them in advance as will be necessary on the start. I have sent to New York for the mathematical textbooks, and will send to New Orleans for the French grammar at least; and I think you had better order at once from New Orleans the grammar you design to teach. I think much of our future success [depends] on the appearance of our start, and therefore any want of preparation at the outset would be embarrassing. With arithmetic, algebra, French and Latin grammar, we can at least begin at once, and then the Academic Board or faculty must as early as we can all come together, agree upon the entire course and textbooks, when by a system I can see that these textbooks are provided in advance.

Little or nothing can be had in Alexandria, and I judge we will receive no part of our salaries till after the legislature meets and appropriates. Therefore I advise you to prepare accordingly, and to bring with you such room furniture as you have that admits of transportation.

I am a stranger in these parts and confess my ignorance of your locality and station, and make the above points for your benefit. Applications for admission come in pretty freely, and I think early in January we will have from sixty to one hundred.

Mr. Vallas and Mr. St. Ange are here, both foreigners. I shall, therefore, count much on your capacity of teaching and social qualities. Think well over the branches assigned to you, and on arrival give us the best course and textbooks you can select. I may have to go to New Orleans to provide for the tables, room furniture, etc., needed by the first of January.

The controversy in the Board over the question of military government gave some concern to Sherman who, however, was not in favor of so severe a régime as was General Graham. He refers to the matter in the following letters to General Graham and to his wife.


Seminary, Friday, Dec. 2 [1859].

Dear General: I was in town [Alexandria] yesterday at 8 a.m. and waited till ten to prove the paper which we left with Mr. Boyce. I then got the first page and corrected it. He had not prepared the paper and would have to strike off the whole number of sheets of the first matter before trying the second page. I therefore assured myself that it was in proper order, and left Boyce to correct the second page and came out with Captain Jarreau.

I think we have made fair progress now, and I have given Mr. James written instructions with drawings of what remains to be done, and by my return from New Orleans I hope to see all the necessary tables, benches, desks, blackboards, stands, shelves, and hooks all done. I have one man cutting wood, and Jarreau promises another next Tuesday, so that I feel confident that we shall be more than ready by Christmas.

I think also that in New Orleans I will be satisfied to depend on Alexandria for blankets of which both Robertson and Henarie have a good supply at fair prices from $3.25 to $4.50 a pair. Same of brooms, glass tumblers, assorted hand soap and castile soap. I think also we may depend on the Trechur for wasH——basins and dippers. All else on my list I will try and bring up. I feel a little embarrassed by Mr. Ford’s offer to make twenty-five or thirty mattresses without naming price. It would be better to have mattresses made uniformly by one responsible person, but as in case of accident to Mr. Ford and there being no other mattresses to be had in Alexandria I may purchase more than otherwise might seem prudent.

In New Orleans, I will ascertain the price of everything needed by us in future, and then if persons in our neighborhood apply we can encourage the manufacture of about the quantity needed at standard prices. . .

I generally have strong opinions on a subject of importance, but experience has taught me the wisdom of forbearance, and as the Board will again attempt to meet on the tenth during my absence, I will only say now that I listened to your argument and that of the other members with great interest.

I have always believed that a Military Academy was only possible, when the state made present compensation, or held out future inducements, to compensate the cadet for the usual drills, guards, and restraints customary in such colleges, here and abroad. I doubt whether we could when cadets pay all expenses enforce that rigid obedience without which the system would become ridiculous. I am satisfied that we can make certain drills, guards, and military parades and exercise so manifestly advantageous to the cadets, that their own sense, judgment, and fancy will take the place of compulsion, and the course of studies being more practical, and useful, will be preferred by cadet and parent to the old routine of grammar and everlasting lexicon.

As to the encampment, I think in the regulations there is no mention made of an encampment, nor do I recall any expression that would lead to it. Therefore they will need no amendment on that point. The Board can pass over the point in silence. If you are not fortified in the legislature it might also be wise to allow a few years to slide along till we have four classes of well drilled cadets. Let them at first have the vacation allowed in Kentucky, elsewhere, and at all literary colleges. If our system of instruction be good, and if we take good pains to impress the cadets with our kindness, justness, fairness, and give them a manly bearing, good ideas of truth, honor, and courtesy, and withall teach them practical wisdom, by going home they will spread the good seed, and actually serve the cause of the institution in its infancy, better than they could in the mere routine duties of a camp. I do not think an encampment necessary to our course of instruction, nor does it seem to me prudent to prevent cadets from going home; if such be the custom, and if their parents desire it. I don’t think Captain Jarreau will object as his contract runs for only six months, and longer if we are all satisfied. My idea is to make all things conspire to the economy, cleanliness, good order, and proper instruction of those cadets, till we naturally pass into the system which is to last, for some system “must endure.”

Should the legislature of this state determine to put an arsenal here, the necessity of a guard is then patent and she would naturally offer to pay us, and make it to our interest to guard her property, afford a safe place for arms, rendezvous, and safety for this at present remote district of valuable country. We would then have a good necessity, a good reason for an encampment, which now would be a mere naked ceremony. Nevertheless my theory is that the Board must legislate, and I will try to execute their resolves and policy. . .


Seminary Of Learning,
Alexandria, La.,

Dec. 2, 1859

. . . Last Monday there was a meeting of the Board of Supervisors called but the governor could not come, and consequently there was no quorum and the Board had to work informally. They could not adopt the regulations, but called another meeting for December 10. I attended the meeting and found they were willing to vest me with ample powers but they will be embarrassed in their finances unless the legislature help or unless we have more students than we now expect. We shall prepare for one hundred, but sixty are as many as I expect. I will have no teaching to do this year unless I choose, but will have all the details of discipline and management.

I found that there are two distinct parties in the Board — one in favor of a real out and out military college and another who prefer a literary seminary, only consenting to the military form of government. The former party led by General Graham, want a continuous course, without vacations, as at West Point, the summer vacations to be taken up with a regular encampment. This would keep me here all the time until everything had settled down into such a fixed system that I could go away. I can hardly forsee how it will turn out but for the present believe we will have a summer vacation of two months, during which I can come to Ohio.

The legislature meets the third Monday in January, soon after which we will discover their temper and whether they will be willing to build any buildings for the professors, but I believe they will not, as I notice a hesitation to ask it and unless it be asked and urged very strongly of course they will not appropriate. All kinds of labor, building especially, costs so much that though the state as such is liberal, yet they cannot answer half the calls made on them for such purposes.

I am lonely enough out here alone in this big house, but will have plenty to divert me the next two weeks, and afterwards, the session will be so near at hand with new duties and new things. I suppose my patience will be tested to its utmost by a parcel of wayward boys.

After seeing the Seminary building put in order, Sherman went to New Orleans to purchase supplies. The remote situation of the school was a source of constant irritation to the faculty and students. The following letter to General Graham shows how difficult it was to get the necessary equipment for a school in the back woods of Louisiana.

New Orleans, La., Sunday, Dec. 12 [1859].

Dear General: . . . Late last night I got the dispatch that the books have been shipped; so I think we may safely count on them in time. I could only after long search find four of the French grammars required by Monsieur St. Ange. So of necessity had to telegraph for one hundred. The steamer leaves New York to-day and ought to be here the 22nd and at Alexandria by the 1st — rather close cutting for us.

All other things I have purchased here. Many things went on Friday by the “Rapides.” I will bring some tomorrow in the “Telegram” and balance will follow next week in the “Rapides.” I have paid in full all bills but furniture and have paid $1,000 toward furniture out of about $1,500. I have drawn only $1,920, but will buy about $50 more of little odds and ends, and bring with me in cash to make up the $2,500. The balance will remain to your credit, and I think you had better meet me at the Seminary about Friday to examine the bills and receipts, to receive the cash I bring up, and to see the kind and quality of furniture. I hear your letter-press, book, brush, etc., cost about $13. You had better come with your buggy and receive it. It had, for convenience, to go with our packages. I have sent up a cooking range, cost $175, and want Jarreau forthwith to move one or more servants out to clean up and get ready.

Many of these items of purchase were hard to find, and my time has been too much taken up to enable me to attempt to make acquaintances. I dined yesterday with your friends, the Frerets, who had many kind inquiries for you.

I have a drum and drummer, also a fife, but thus far have failed to get a tailor or shoemaker. I have examined shoes, boots, clothing, cloth, etc., and know exactly how to order when the time comes.

I have a letter from Bragg which I will show you; he coincides with you in the necessity of making a military academy by law, and wants you to meet him in January at Baton Rouge. Our first paramount duty is to start on present economical basis and enlarge as means are provided. It is easy to increase, but hard to curtail. Unless it be convenient for you to come over, write me at the Seminary, to bring in your press, money, and accounts, and appoint a day and hour, for I must work smart as you know.

The inflamed state of public sentiment in regard to the issues arising out of slavery caused Sherman much uneasiness. His brother John, then a candidate for the speakership of the House of Representatives, was bitterly opposed by the southern members of Congress because of his endorsement of Hinton Rowan Helper’s Impending Crisis, an intemperate arraignment of the slaveholders. The following letters to Mrs. Sherman and to John Sherman refer to these matters.


New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 12.

. . . I am stopping at the City Hotel which is crowded and have therefore come to this my old office, now Captain Kilburn’s, to do my writing. I wish I were here legitimately, but that is now past, and I must do the best in the sphere in which events have cast me. All things here look familiar, the streets, houses, levees, drays, etc., and many of the old servants are still about the office, who remember me well, and fly round at my bidding as of old.

I have watched with interest the balloting for speaker, with John as the Republican candidate. I regret he ever signed that Helper book, of which I know nothing but from the extracts bandied about in the southern papers. Had it not been for that, I think he might be elected, but as it is I do not see how he can expect any southern votes, and without them it seems that his election is impossible. His extreme position on that question will prejudice me, not among the supervisors, but in the legislature where the friends of the Seminary must look for help. Several of the papers have alluded to the impropriety of importing from the north their school teachers, and if in the progress of debate John should take extreme grounds, it will of course get out that I am his brother from Ohio, universally esteemed an abolition state, and they may attempt to catechize me, to which I shall not submit.

I will go on however in organizing the Seminary and trust to the future; but hitherto I have had such bad luck, in California and New York, that I fear I shall be overtaken here by a similar catastrophe. Of course there are many here such as Bragg, Hébert, Graham, and others that know that I am not an abolitionist. Still if the simple fact be that my nativity and relationship with Republicans should prejudice the institution, I would feel disposed to sacrifice myself to that fact, though the results would be very hard, for I know not what else to do.

If the Southern States should organize for the purpose of leaving the Union I could not go with them. If that event be brought about by the insane politicians I will ally my fate with the north, for the reason that the slave question will ever be a source of discord even in the South. As long as the abolitionists and the Republicans seem to threaten the safety of slave property so long will this excitement last, and no one can foresee its result; but all here talk as if a dissolution of the Union were not only a possibility but a probability of easy execution. If attempted we will have Civil War of the most horrible kind, and this country will become worse than Mexico.

What I apprehend is that because John has taken such strong grounds on the institution of slavery that I will first be watched and suspected, then maybe addressed officially to know my opinion, and lastly some fool in the legislature will denounce me as an abolitionist spy because there is one or more southern men applying for my place.

I am therefore very glad you are not here, and if events take this turn I will act as I think best. As long as the United States Government can be maintained in its present form I will stand by it; if it is to break up in discord, strife and Civil War, I must either return to California, Kansas or Ohio. My opinions on slavery are good enough for this country, but the fact of John being so marked a Republican may make my name so suspected that it may damage the prospects of the Seminary, or be thought to do so, which would make me very uncomfortable. . .


New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 12.

Dear Brother: . . . I have watched the despatches, which are up to Dec. 10, and hoped your election would occur without the usual excitement, and believe such would have been the case had it not been for your signing for that Helper’s book. Of it I know nothing, but extracts made copiously in southern papers show it to be not only abolition but assailing. Now I hoped you would be theoretical and not practical, for practical abolition is disunion, Civil War, and anarchy universal on this continent, and I do not believe you want that. . . I do hope the discussion in Congress will not be protracted, and that your election, if possible, will occur soon. Write me how you came to sign for that book. Now that you are in, I hope you will conduct yourself manfully. Bear with taunts as far as possible, biding your time to retaliate. An opportunity always occurs.

To Professor Boyd whose illness had prevented him from coming to the Seminary, Sherman wrote from the school on December 15, 1859, giving information in regard to the opening of the school, and the appointment of cadets.

Seminary Of Learning, Alexandria, Dec. 15,1859.

My Dear Sir: . . . I wrote you some time ago, addressed to Mount Lebanon, advising you to come on at once, to get in position before, we will be all in confusion by the arrival of the cadets. All the professors are now here at hand but yourself, and I think you should come on at once. I have just returned from New Orleans where I purchased all the room furniture for cadets, but I bought nothing for professors, and advise you to bring your bedding, indeed any furniture you may have, as Alexandria is a poor place to supply. I think you will be as comfortable here, and your health be restored as fast as anywhere in the state. All books must be ordered from New York. I found the supply in New Orleans very poor, and we want a list of your first text books, grammar, and dictionary as soon as possible, that they may be ordered, but, as I suppose we can fully employ the students the first few months in French and Algebra, I will now await your coming.

The want of certainty has caused many to doubt whether we could commence January 2, but you may announce that it is as certain as that the day will come. About thirty-four appointments have been made by the Board of Supervisors. I suppose sixteen will have been made by the governor. So you see thus far we have not an adequate supply of cadets. The right to appoint rests in the Board of Supervisors, but I know their views so well, and there being no time for formalities you may notify Mr. Gladney, and indeed any young men between fifteen and twenty-one, who can read and write, and who have some notion of arithmetic (addition, etc., as far as decimal fractions) to come on by January second and we will procure for them the appointment and receive them.

Each young man should be of good character with a trunk and fair supply of clothing, and must deposit two hundred dollars for six months’ expenses in advance. We think we can make the aggregate year’s expenses fall within four hundred dollars.

I wrote and sent you circulars to Mount Lebanon which I infer you did not receive. No cadet can be received except from Louisiana.

Please state these leading facts to some prominent gentleman of your neighborhood, assure them that its success is determined on, and that as soon as the Academic Board can meet, deliberate, and refer their work to a Board of Supervisors, full rules and regulations will be adopted, published and adhered to. Until that time we can hardly assert exactly what are our text books, or what the order of exercises.

It is however determined that the Seminary shall be governed by the military system, which far from being tyrannical or harsh is of the simplest character, easiest of enforcement and admits of the most perfect control by the legislature.

One of Sherman’s strongest supporters in Louisiana was Braxton Bragg. He was greatly interested in the Seminary, was a strong advocate of the military system of discipline, and sympathized with Sherman’s embarrassments due to the fact that he was a northern man and that his brother John was an anti-slavery leader. The following letter from Bragg to Sherman refers to these matters.

Thibodeaux, La., December 16, 1859.

My Dear Sherman: I received your letter from the city. Had your visit only been a week later I could have met you, as my confinement is over for the present. My crop was finished on the 12th, and is by far the most profitable one I have made — giving me a net profit of $30,000 on an investment of $145,000.

On the first Monday, January second, I intend in Baton Rouge to enter on the duties of an office to which I am just elected, “Commissioner of the Board of Public Works,” a new office in this state, but the duties are old, have been discharged heretofore by swamp land commissioner, engineers, etc. The new board is to form a bureau for the general supervision and control of all state work, to appoint all officers and agents, etc. The duties are heavy, expenditures large (over $1,000,000 a year) and the patronage extensive.

Peculations, frauds, swindling and ignorance all combined to render the previous system obnoxious, and I am told the new law was intended to clear off the whole debris, that a new state of affairs might be inaugurated. I did not and do not wish the office, as it gives no prominence and little compensation, but friends, principally Richard Taylor, son of the old general, pressed me to accept a nomination, as they could find no other man whose name could defeat the rogues. Under this pres sure I gave up my privacy, and shall strive to inaugurate an honest administration of affairs.

If I do no more I shall at least deserve the thanks and probably receive the maledictions of many who do not or will not understand the merits of my conduct. How long the duties will retain me in Baton Rouge on my first visit I can not foresee; but long enough I hope, to see many members of the legislature. I believe I have some influence with R. Taylor, the senator from this district, and I will try to intrest him in the Seminary. He is a very plain, straightforward man, of great independence, candid, honest and clearheaded. Whatever he promises we may rely on, as he has great influence. I have but few others to look to as acquaintances now, except the senator from Terrebonne, F. S. Goode, who is like Taylor, and with whom I shall intercede. The representatives from this parish are very poor sticks and unreliable.

We must try and secure an additional allowance or an appropriation to pay for the sixteen state cadets. I clearly see that you will need funds very soon, unless this can be done, for the people of the country are not yet sufficiently aware of the institution and its plan, etc., to patronize it beyond your suggestion. In time I have no doubt, if we can sustain it in its infancy, it will become popular and self-supporting. In the meantime, we must try to harmonize conflicting interests and opinions.

We all aim at the same great end — to furnish the most suitable and most useful education to the rising young men of our state. High literary institutions are growing up around us in every direction, but in the scientific and military we are sadly deficient. No class of people on the face of the earth are more dependent on science and discipline for success than the southern planters. Scan the whole area of our state and see what proportion of its capital and labor is devoted to science. See our levees, canals, for navigation and drainage; our steamers, our foundries, and last, our plantation machinery. Then apply this science to our soils, and see our woful deficiency and waste in our want of system in cultivation. The very plantation is a small military establishment, or it ought to be. By military I don’t mean the old fogy notion of white belts, stiff leather stocks and “palms of the hands to the front,” but discipline, by which we secure system, regularity, method, economy of time, labor and material.

This all tends to secure better health, more labor and less exertion, and with infinitely less punishment, more comfort and happiness to the laborer, and more profit and pleasure to the master. The other consideration weighs no little with me. We have a large class of our population in subordination, just and necessary. Where do we find the fewest mutinies, revolts and rebellions? In the best disciplined commands. Human nature is the same throughout the world. Give us all disciplined masters, managers, and assistants, and we shall never hear of insurrection — unless as an exception — to be suppressed instanter without appeal to foreign aid.

As I shall not have time now to write General Graham, you can show him the foregoing. No consideration can overcome my preference for a military school, but I am open to policy in the course necessary to obtain it. For the present your course is plain, it seems to me. You are an agent selected to carry out the views of others. Your opinion might be expressed as a candid man, but your action should be confined to carrying out the system laid down for your government. When called upon for your views, give them freely. At all other times execute faithfully what is laid down for you. But this is advice I need not give you as from your letters it is the sensible view you have taken of the subject.

The other question, personal to yourself, I can readily see is calculated to make you sensitive and uncomfortable. I hope no one will be so unjust and indelicate as to refer to such a matter, but should it be done, keep silent and refer the matter to your friends. I will answer any such insinuations and vouch for your soundness in any and all ways. I have known you too long and too well to permit a doubt to cross my mind as to the soundness of your views. What sentiments your brother may entertain will be a subject for our representatives at Washington. It is all right and proper that you should wish him success. I do not, of course, know his opinions, but I believe that if he had your experience with us we should have no cause to fear him. His recommendation of that fellow’s incendiary work was unfortunate, but I have no doubt was done without reflection or a knowledge of what he was doing, and that he heartily repents of an inconsiderate act. I have not the same charity for a good many of our northern representatives. They go too far, as do some of our own, but they being the aggressors there is some palliation on our side.

Mrs. B. joins me in regards and wishing you every success.

In letters written to his wife and to his brother-in-law after his return from New Orleans, Sherman refers to political matters, to his fear that his position might become difficult and outlines the views that he held on slavery and secession, views which he did not modify or conceal while in Louisiana.


Seminary, Alexandria, La., Dec. 16, 1859.

. . . I wrote you and Minnie from New Orleans as I told you I would. I did start back in the “Telegram” Monday evening, and Red River being up, we came along without delay, reaching here Wednesday morning. I had despatched by a former boat a good deal of freight, brought some in the same boat, and all the balance will be here in a day or so. I walked out from Pineville, which is the name of a small group of houses on this side of Red River, and sent the cart in for my trunk and for the drummer I had picked up in New Orleans. I wanted also a tailor and shoemaker, but failed to get them. On getting out I was much disappointed at receiving no letters, but was assured that all the mails had failed for a week; and last night being mail night I sent in my new drummer who brought out a good budget, among them your letters. . . So, as you seem to know, this is an out of the way place without telegraphs, railroads, and almost without mails.

It so happened that General Graham came out the very day of my return, not knowing that I was here, and he brought with him Mr. Smith, the professor of chemistry, who is one of the real Virginia F. F. V.’s, a very handsome young man of twenty-two, who will doubtless be good company. He is staying with General Graham, but will move here in a few days. General Graham seemed delighted with the progress I had made, and for the first time seemed well satisfied that we would in fact be ready by January 1.

I have not yet been to Alexandria, as I landed on this side the river and came out at once, but I shall go in on Monday and see all the supervisors, who are again to meet. I know the sentiments of some about abolitionism, and am prepared if they say a word about John. I am not an abolitionist, still I do not intend to let any of them reflect on John in my presence, as the newspapers are full of angry and bitter expressions against him. All I have met have been so courteous that I have no reason to fear such a thing, unless some one of those who came, applicants to the post I fill, with hundreds of letters, should endeavor to undermine me by assertions on the infernal question of slavery, which seems to blind men to all ideas of common sense.

Your letters convey to me the first intimation I have received that the project of —— had not long since been abandoned. . . You remember I waited as long as I decently could before answering Governor Wickliffe’s letter of appointment, in hopes of receiving a word from —— who promised Hugh to write from London. Not hearing from him and having little faith in the scheme, I finally accepted this place as the best thing offering. Even yet I think this is my best chance unless the question of slavery and my northern birth and associations should prejudice me, and should —— make his appearance here I should have to be very strongly assured on the subject of pay and permanency before I would even hint at leaving. Of course if I could do better, there is no impropriety in my quitting as there are many strong applicants for the post, many of whom possess qualifications equal if not superior to me. I still do not believe that —— is to be relied on and I don’t expect he has the most remote intention of coming here. . .

These southern politicians have so long cried out wolf that many believe the wolf has come and therefore they might in some moment of anger commit an act resulting in Civil War. As long as the Union is kept I will stand by it, but if we are going to split up into sections I would prefer our children should be raised in Ohio or some northern state to the alternative of a slave state, where we never can have slave property.

I have already described this place to you — the building being of course not at all designed for families — and I shall not, as long as I control, permit a woman or child to live in it. The nearest house is an open, cold house a quarter of a mile distant occupied at present by Professor Vallas, wife and five children. During my absence at New Orleans they had here bitter cold weather, the same that killed all the orange trees at New Orleans, and Mr. Vallas tells me he and his family nearly froze, for the house was designed for summer, of the “wentilating” kind.

There are other houses between this and Alexandria of the same general kind, but they are from one and one-half to two and one-half miles distant, too far off for any person connected with the Seminary to live. The plan is and has been to build, but the Seminary is utterly unable to build, nor can it hope to get the money save by a gift from the legislature. General Graham thinks they will appropriate $30,000. Governor Moore, though in favor of doing so, has his doubts and was candid enough to say so. Without that it will be impossible for me to bring you south even next winter. The legislature meets in the latter part of next January and we cannot even get our pay until they appropriate, but they must appropriate $8,100 because it belongs lawfully to the Seminary. . .


Seminary, Dec. 23, 1859.

. . . I have the New Orleans papers of the 18th. I see that the election of speaker was still the engrossing topic, John’s vote being 112, 114 being necessary to a choice. Still I doubt his final success on account of his signing for that Helper book. Without that his election would be certain. I was at Alexandria yesterday and was cornered by a Dr. Smith, a member of the Board of Supervisors and at present a candidate of this Parish for a seat in the state senate, to which he will surely be elected. He referred pointedly to the deep intense feeling which now pervades the South, and the importance that all educational establishments should be in the hands of its friends. I answered in general terms that I had nothing to do with these questions, that I was employed to do certain things which I should do, that I always was a strong advocate of our present form of government, and as long as it remained I should be true to it, that if disunion was meditated in any quarter I should oppose it, but that if disunion did actually occur, an event I would not contemplate, then every man must take his own course and I would not say what I would do. I still believe somehow or other efforts will be made to draw me out on these points and I shall be as circumspect as possible.

A good many gentlemen and ladies have been here to see the Seminary which begins to attract notice. All express great pleasure at seeing the beautiful building and hope it will become a center of attraction. About the time you receive this we will begin to receive cadets and then things will be pretty lively. I will have nothing to do in the way of teaching this term, my time will be mostly taken up by supervising others, and seeing to the proper supplies and furnishment. . .


Seminary near Alexandria,
December 23, 1859.

Dear Tom: I received last night a Leavenworth paper addressed in your handwriting and I wish you would repeat them. I get the New Orleans papers regularly, but they never say Kansas; indeed I know not if they are admitted south, Kansas being synonimous with abolitionism.

You can readily imagine the delicate position I now hold at the head of a seminary to open January 1 next, for the instruction and training of young men to science and arms, at the same time that John Sherman’s name is bandied about as the representative of all that is held here murderous and detestable. Thus far all have had the delicacy to refrain in my presence with but one casual exception, but I would not be surprised if at any time I should be officially catechised on the subject. This I would not stand of course.

I would not if I could abolish or modify slavery. I don’t know that I would materially change the actual political relation of master and slave. Negroes in the great numbers that exist here must of necessity be slaves. Theoretical notions of humanity and religion cannot shake the commercial fact that their labor is of great value and cannot be dispensed with. Still of course I wish it never had existed, for it does make mischief. No power on earth can restrain opinions elsewhere, and these opinions expressed beget a vindictive feeling. The mere dread of revolt, sedition or external interference makes men ordinarily calm almost mad. I, of course, do not debate the question and, moderate as my views are, I feel that I am suspected, and if I do not actually join in the praises of slavery I may be denounced as an abolitionist.

I think it would be wise if northern people would confine their attention to the wants and necessities of their own towns and property, leaving the South to manage slavery and receive its reward or doom, let what may come.

I am fully conscious that respectable men here not only talk but think of the combinations to be made in case of a rupture. It may be that they design these military colleges as a part of some ulterior design, but in my case I do not think such to be the case. Indeed it was with great difficulty the Board of Supervisors were prevailed on by an old West Pointer to give the Seminary the military feature, and then it was only assented to because it was represented that southern gentlemen would submit rather to the showy discipline of arms than to the less ostentatious government of a faculty. Yet, I say that it may result that men are preparing for the wreck of the U.S. government and are thinking and preparing for new combinations.

I am willing to aid Louisiana in defending herself against her enemies so long as she remains a state in the general confederacy; but should she or any other state act disunion, I am out. Disunion and Civil War are synonimous terms. The Mississippi, source and mouth, must be controlled by one government, the southeast are cut off by the Alleghany Mountains, but Louisiana occupies the mouth of a river whose heads go far north, and does not admit of a “cut off.” Therefore a peaceable disunion which men here think possible is absurd. It would be war eternal until one or the other were conquered — “subject.” In that event of course I would stand by Ohio. I always laughed when I heard disunion talked of, but I now begin to fear it may be attempted.

I have been to New Orleans, purchased all the furniture needed, and now await the coming of January 2 to begin school. We expect from sixty to seventy-five scholars at first. I will not teach, but supervise the discipline, instruction, supplies, etc.

How are your plans, political and financial, progressing? If Congress should organize I suppose we will have the same war over the admission of Kansas.

Of the final preparations before the opening of the school, Sherman made report in the following letters to General Graham, the vice president of the Board of Supervisors.

Seminary, Dec. 21, 1859.

Dear General: . . . I have also another long letter from Bragg, who warms in our favor, and he will be a valuable coadjutator, should you seek legislative action. He discusses two suggestions I made: First, let the state maintain their sixteen cadets, or double the endowment. Meet Uncle Sam half way. I think the latter the simplest offer, and if they do this we should ask nothing in the way of building; with a certain income of $16,200 we could annually enlarge to the extent of three to four thousand.

I think to ask any large sum such as $30,000, would startle the friends of the Seminary, whereas to do as much for their Seminary as the United States have done, would be in the nature of a fair banter and could easily be debated.

I would like much to come up Christmas, for I am lonely enough here, and may do so if the day be temptingly warm. Still I now have Jarreau’s negroes all at work — scrubbing, cutting wood, etc., and would hate to leave, as when the cat is away, etc., and I see they watch me, as I make my round about twenty times a day. All my New Orleans purchases are here safe and sound, except some forty tables which I hourly expect. Still I have forty on hand enough to study by even should a mistake have occurred. I bought eighty, but they had to be put together after I bought them. I go to Alexandria tomorrow to buy a few small items. I beg you will give yourself no uneasiness about the regulations. I am in no hurry about them. I have boards, like the bulletin board in the main hall, on which I will post “roll call,” “mess hall regulations,” “regulations for rooms,” etc., in the form of orders, and each cadet will study and remember them quite as well as if they were printed.

After Monday next I will be prepared to entertain gentlemen or ladies, and think then a visit here would be opportune.

Seminary, Dec. 25, 1859.

Dear General: . . . I wish to be understood as perfectly willing that encampments should be inaugurated at once, but only that I, comparatively a stranger, should not seem disposed to make this too military, against or with the lukewarm consent of the people of Louisiana. The proper rule is for me to execute the decrees of the legal authorities, leaving them to determine the objects of the Seminary.

I take pleasure in informing you that our mathematical books have arrived and I will send for them to-morrow. The publisher deducts ten per cent for cash. So that I advise you to cause the cashier of the Mechanics’ and Traders’ Bank to remit to A. S. Barnes and Brown . . . the sum of $448.65 to the credit of the “Seminary of Learning.” A prompt business-like mode of payments will give us good credit, and be of vast service to us, should we ever get into a tight place. I am satisfied our present funds are sufficient, and in a few days, we will be reimbursed in full, by the sale of these books and furniture to the cadets.

I am uneasy about the steward being fully ready. I have his sub-steward here at work as cook, he got supper and breakfast. Our range requires more draft than the flues in the side-chimney afforded. I changed it to the inner large fireplace, walling up its front, and it now works to a charm. I also apprehended a scarcity of wood. I have failed in every effort to get negroes, or men to cut and draw wood. Can you advise when they are to be had. Or if you can send or cause to be sent two, immediately, I will give them a month’s employment, trusting to Jarreau’s boys after that. He has only three left that are worth a sou, and he will need two of them. It will take the three girls every day this week to clean up.

I have also offers from New York for our clothing, much more satisfactory than any in New Orleans. Coat from $13 to $16, vest and pants from $3.50 to $4.00; samples of cloth are with the offer. A beautiful suit of good flannel — navy — all wool, can be made, coat $7, pants $4, vest $3, a really beautiful article. I have also samples for overcoats from $10 to $16. After the arrival of cadets by taking their measures carefully, sending them on, I would in six weeks have everything delivered. It can’t be done at all in Alexandria. In New Orleans I found too many if’s and and’s: New York is the great commercial center of America, and it would be in my judgment extreme squeamishness to pay more for a worse article elsewhere.

If prejudice, non-intercourse, such as Mr. Manning evinced is to restrict me in supplies, we shall be at a stand still soon enough, for I assure you, New Orleans could not fill our small orders for books, which left New York the day my letter reached the publisher. Admitting we buy in New Orleans, your merchants there are northern men or would at once order of northern men, thus subjecting us to double profits and commission. Of course in matter of clothing, arms, and accoutrements I will not be called on to act till after cadets are here, and I know I will see you in the mean time.

I have been quite unwell for two days. I attributed it to an attempt at chicken-pie by our old cook, but since the receipt of yours I suspect the oysters. This cause and my unwillingness to entrust our property here to irresponsible servants deter me from accepting your kind invitation for to-day, as also a similar one from Mr. Henarie and Professor Vallas. My Christmas pleasure must consist of thinking of my little family, enjoying as I know they do all they could wish, in their snug home at Lancaster. . .

I’m afraid from our frequent letters, the Post Master will think we have commenced courting again.

While getting the building in order and getting in the equipment and furniture, Sherman boarded with the carpenters who were employed on the work. This gave the foundation for the newspaper story of later days that the State of Louisiana, gathering all its resources for war, refused to pay Sherman’s salary and thus reduced him to such straits that he was forced to board with the servants. His own account is given in a letter to Mrs. Sherman.

Seminary, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 1859

. . . . I was disappointed the two last mails at not hearing from you, but to-morrow I feel certain. I will go to town myself and take this. The time is now near at hand for opening the Seminary. I have the mess started in the building, all the carpenters are out, all the furniture ready, a pretty good stock of wood on hand and generally all things are about as far advanced as I could expect. Still I am the only one ready. The steward is sick on his plantation twelve miles off, his son and niggers are here, a good for nothing set. He has a white under steward who has some work in him and another white boy to help, and I have three negro women scrubbing out from top to bottom.

The weather is rainy, sloppy, warm and misty, every thing is wet and uncomfortable, yet I have pushed things so that I at least am ready. Smith is sleeping on the floor in my room on a bed I bought for the cadets and he is waiting for his furniture from New Orleans. None of the other professors are here excepting Mr. Vallas whom I have told you about. There have been forty-three pay appointments and sixteen public, so we may expect fifty or sixty this year, which is a reasonable number as this is no time to begin. Everybody has made arrangements for this winter. Had we begun in November it would have been better. Still as this affair is designed to last forever it may be well to commence moderately first.

I had rather a lonely Christmas, nobody here but my poor drummer and myself. The three negro women rushed to my room at daylight and cried “Christmas gift, Massa,” and the negro boy Henry that chops wood and the old negro woman Amy that cooks in an out house for the carpenters all claimed Christmas of me thinking I am boss and as rich as Croesus himself. I disbursed about $5 in halves as each of them had done me some service uncompensated.

The old cook Amy always hid away for me the last piece of butter and made my breakfast and dinner better than the carpenters’, always saying she “knowed” I wasn’t used to such kind of living. She don’t know what I have passed through. Negroes on plantations are generally allowed holiday the whole week, but we can’t give it here, as this week is devoted to cleaning up after the dirt of plastering, painting and tobacco spitting over seventy-two rooms, halls and galleries. An immense quantity of dirt is cleaned away, but enough yet remains to find fault with.

As to Christmas I had invitation to General Graham’s, to a Mr. Henarie’s in Alexandria and Professor Vallas, all declined, because of the property exposed here, which it was not prudent to leave unprotected. Soon all these things will be distributed, others will be here and sentinels to guard when I take my holiday. . .


Beauregard. Obstacles to successful administration. Students arrive slowly. Politics again. Prospects of the Seminary before the legislature. Evidence of confidence in Sherman. Details in regard to Seminary finances, enrollment, needs. Young man rides one hundred, twenty-five miles to see if the Seminary is open. Beauregard’s views on the proper education of youth. Newspaper notice of the opening of the Seminary. Extracts from the regulations prepared by Sherman. John Sherman’s explanation of his endorsement of the Impending Crisis. Seminary routine. Improving the Seminary grounds. Sherman considers the purchase of slaves. Sherman’s plans for his family. Ignorant cadets. Rumor of cadets in grogshops. Proposed legislation in regard to the Seminary. Arguments in favor of legalising the military system of government and discipline. Report of the Board of Supervisors.

The Louisiana State Seminary began its first session on January 2, 1860. The superintendent was at his post several days earlier, busy organizing the administration, receiving and placing students and professors, assuring parents that he would take proper care of their sons, and all the while corresponding with those interested in the school. Owing to the disagreement in the Board between the party which favored an organization and curriculum patterned after the Virginia Military Institute and those who preferred something like the University of Virginia, the book of regulations prepared by Sherman in November was not published. Consequently much of the information therein contained had now to be given out through correspondence.

Upon the superintendent devolved also the duties of treasurer and commissary, and, while Captain Jarreau was ill, he was forced to take charge of the steward’s work, oversee the boarding department and direct the ill-trained servants.

During the first month everything was gotten into fair running order. Candidates for entrance were examined and classified, text-books were obtained, uniforms and military equipment ordered, drills begun, the course of study planned, the faculty or Academic Board organized, and the Seminary put upon a cash-paying basis.

Meanwhile Sherman continued to be uneasy about the political situation, not only because he foresaw embarrassment in his own position but because he feared more serious sectional strife. An offer was then made by a commercial concern to send him to London to open a branch house and under the circumstances this offer was seriously considered.

The activities of the first days of the session are described in letters written to General Graham and to Mrs. Sherman. Graham and Sherman exchanged letters nearly every day and to Mrs. Sherman and her father, Thomas Ewing, he wrote intimately and with detail about Seminary matters, political conditions, and the difficulties in his way. The letters from Major Beauregard, a firm friend of the Seminary and of Sherman, are typical of many received by Sherman at this time. Beauregard placed two sons and a nephew under Sherman’s care.


Seminary, Jan. 1, 1860.

Dear General: A happy New Year to you and yours. . . I see plain enough that the impression is abroad that state cadets are “free” and it will take time and patience to put the matter aright. The first re ported cadet is named Tempel from Bayou Sara; he is a state appointee, had with him $37 which he deposited, and I provided with a complete outfit at about $28, bed, table, etc., and he looks quite comfortable in Room 23. He takes his meals with the officers.

Cadet Taliaferro’s father remitted for his use $250 in his draft on New Orleans. I propose to pay this to H. Robertson and Company as cash for blankets. I have discharged all carpenters and to-day must settle with them. I will in any contingency act, things here shan’t stop or take a check on my account, for as commanding officer I shall assume all power subject at all times to account. I will keep full accounts of all things — money, property, etc., and will only insist that the treasurer shall have no commission on my disbursements. Of course our finances are not on a sound basis, we will be short, but it is all important the cadets should be well provided in all things, that the system should be made to work well, that the institution should have the best credit, and therefore I will pay all bills off and keep the cash system, and if at the end of the year, the cash be short, let the professors’ salaries be behind.

As to rank, legislation, etc., I prefer to leave all to you, for you are more fully impressed with the importance of these things than I pretend to be. If Dr. Smith and Mr. Manning have secret designs to legislate against our place, they should be met by friends there on the spot. I think if consistent with your other duties of life, you could be at Baton Rouge, about Governor Moore’s inauguration it would be appropriate. To be sure you have labored enough, but having built the arch, drop in the keystone, and then you can rest at ease.

Please encourage the visits of ladies, gentlemen, and all strangers especially to a visit. I will make it a point to attend them, and can do much to convince all that the military system is the truly watchful, parental system, instead of the neglectful one of common academies. Mr. Smith and Mr. St. Ange are with me. Also Mr. Sevier all provided à la cadet.

It is fortunate I got my things in New Orleans. Mr. Ford has not delivered a single mattress, and I doubt if he will. I have seventy-five good mattresses, pillows, sheets, covers, straps, etc., for one hundred beds, trusting to Ford for twenty-five mattresses. If cadets come in pretty fast I shall order twenty-five from New Orleans, and refuse to take Ford’s because he has not come to time. . .


Seminary, Jan. 4, 1860.

Dear General: . . . We began recitations to day. Mathematics and French, tomorrow mathematics and Latin. Mathematics five days a week; French and Latin on alternate days, two hours each. To-morrow we commence drills one hour a day — and two hours on Saturday. Everything works well. . .


New Orleans, Jan. 4, 1860.

Dear Sir: Allow me to introduce to you the bearer, my son René T. Beauregard, who goes to report to you under the charge of W. I. N. Reid of this city, for my occupation will not permit me to accompany him. . .

May I take the liberty to ask you to find for my son a proper roommate, one of studious and steady habits who has not seen much of city life and habits, for on this first start in life will depend his future career.

You will no doubt find him a very studious, correct, and upright boy in every respect. I desire fitting him for a commercial life. . .

P.S. I beg you to furnish my son with whatever objects he may have need of during his stay at the Seminary and draw on me for the same.


Seminary, Jan. 4, 1860.

. . . Since my last I have been pretty busy. Last week was very cold and stormy. The snow fell one night to depth of five inches and lay all next day. On New Years however it cleared off and was bright. Monday was our opening day — was bright cold and clear. All the professors were on hand and nineteen cadets made their appearance. Since then four more. To day we begin reciting in mathematics and French. To morrow mathematics and Latin. These studies and drilling will occupy this year till June. There are sixteen state appointments and forty-three by the Board — fifty-nine in all, so that there are about thirty-six to come yet. Not punctual, according to southern fashion, but partly occasioned by the severe weather of last week which has interrupted travel.

If I were to tell you of the thousand and one little things that stand in the way of doing things here you would be amused. As a sample, in New Orleans I could not find the French grammars wanted by the professor. I telegraphed to New York and got answer that they would come in time; they reached New Or leans and were sent up this river by boat, but the boat did not land them, and they have gone up to Shreveport and when they will get here we cannot guess.

The Latin professor did not get here until the Saturday before the Seminary opened, and now he has to begin instruction without text books. But I am determined they shall teach, and I cause the young men to be marched to their recitation rooms, where the professors must teach by lecture till we get our books. Even New Orleans is badly supplied with books and we must order everything from New York. Some of the hot-bloods talk of non-intercourse with New York, but that is absurd, everything but cotton and sugar must come from the North.

Professor Boyd is a young man of about twenty-five years, and a very clever gentleman. Indeed on the whole the professors are above mediocrity. The young cadets too are a very clever set of young men. Our messing arrangements are also quite complete, and things work well.

You say that —— still thinks of coming south. I still am incredulous and shall do or say nothing to commit me till I am sure. Seven thousand five hundred dollars a year secured for two years would be better than the post I now hold, as I do not believe this Seminary without legislative aid can pay us the salaries they have agreed to do. Thus the state has compelled us to receive sixteen cadets without pay. Their board, clothing, books, etc., have to be paid for by the Seminary out of the endowment of $8,100. The actual cost of board, etc., of these sixteen will be near $4,000, leaving about the same amount out of which to pay professors salaries amounting to $12,500, or in other words we shall receive only one-third the pay stipulated for. The pay cadets pay barely enough to support themselves. Every thing will depend on the legislature for this year, and the whole matter will be fully submitted to them.

Now that I have fairly got the Seminary started, a great point about which there was much doubt, I shall apply myself to this, to procure legislation that will put the college on safe financial ground. The governor and many members are highly favorable and none thus far has breathed a word against me on John’s account. I was in hopes that General Graham would go down to Baton Rouge, but he says he cannot, that he has an antipathy to such business — politics and politicians being obnoxious to him as they are to me. .


Seminary, Friday, Jan. 6, 1860.

Dear General: Things move along so so — only twenty four cadets. Captain Walters brought his boy of fourteen years and eight months and I will receive him. Vallas is so zealous that he keeps his class nearly four hours in the section room. I may have to interfere, but for the present will leave him full scope to develop his “Method.” To-morrow, Saturday I will have a drill and afterward daily.

We had some conversation about John Sherman. You have seen enough of the world to understand politicians and the motives which influence and govern them; last night I received a letter from him, which explains his signing that Helper book. He is punished well and deservedly for a thoughtless and careless act and will hereafter look at papers before he signs them. I also send you a letter he wrote me before he left home to go to Washington. Whatever rank he may hold among politicians I [know] he would do no aggressive act in life. I do think southern politicians are almost as much to blame as mere theoretical abolitionists. The constant threat of disunion, and their enlarging the term abolitionist has done them more real harm than the mere prayers, preachings, and foolish speeches of distant preachers. It is useless for men to try and make a party on any basis. The professional politician will slip in and take advantage of it if successful and drop it if unsuccessful.

The true position for every gentleman north and south is to frown down even a mention of disunion. Resist any and all assaults calmly, quietly like brave men, and not by threats. The laws of the states and Congress must be obeyed; if wrong or oppressive they will be repealed. Better to bear, etc. I don’t pretend to endorse republicanism, John Sherman or anybody else — but I send these letters to show that he is no abolitionist. As he is my brother, is honest, of excellent habits, and has done his duty as a son, brother, neighbor, etc., and as I believe, he will fill any post creditably I wish him success.


Alexandria, Tuesday morning
[Jan. 7, 1860]

. . . . I have just paid every bill due by the Seminary and hereafter the cash system shall prevail. We now have thirty-six cadets (five state). . . John Sherman is tetchy about seeming to yield to clamor, but if Dr. Smith explains the manner in which the letter came to him, nobody can object. We are working smoothly. I have found my books — in Henarie’s loft where they had been three weeks! — too bad. They were marked plain. . .


State Seminary, Alexandria,
Jan. 8, 1860.

Dear Sir: As you can well understand I am in the midst of busy times, answering letters, making reports, issuing orders, etc., all pertaining to the organization of a new school on a new plan for this part of the world. The weather has been exceedingly boisterous. Snow fell here last week, five inches, but it lay only one day. To-day was like May with you. But the rains and frosts have made the roads bad and have in a measure delayed the coming of our cadets. They have been so used to delay and procrastination that they could not understand the necessity of time.

I took things in hand a la militarism, usurped full authority and began the system ab initio. We now have thirty-two cadets who attend reveille and all roll calls like soldiers, have their meals with absolute regularity and are already hard at work at mathematics, French, and Latin. I am the only West Pointer, but they submit to me with the docility of lambs.

A good many gentlemen have attended their sons and are much pleased with the building and all arrangements. They occasionally drop the sentiment of their gladness that thus they will become independent of the North and such like, but not one man has said one word about John or anything at which I could take exception.

The supervisors seem glad to devolve on me all the burdensome task of details, and are now loud in their determination to besiege the legislature to so endow the Seminary that it shall be above all danger or contingency. The governor sent me word to-day to give him some points for his message, and I have written him at length urging him to get the state, out of her swamp lands, to double our endowment. The present comes from the United States. If Louisiana gives equal we will have an income of $16,200, which would put us above all want. Or if she will simply appropriate to pay for the sixteen cadets which she forces us to educate and support. . .

This however is too good a berth to risk. I perceive I have a strong hold there. The South are right in guarding against insidious enemies or against any enemies whatever, and I would aid her in so doing. All I would object to is the laying of plans designed to result in a secession and Civil War. The valley of the Mississippi must be under one government, else war is always the state. If I were to suspect that I were being used for such a deep laid plan I would rebel, but I see daily marks of confidence in me and reliance upon my executing practical designs, and if I were to say that I contemplated leaving I would give great uneasiness to those who have built high hopes. Still if —— is in earnest and I can hold off till the legislature shows its temper (it meets Monday, the 16th) I will be in better attitude to act.

Here at $3,500 I could save little after bringing my family, but I would have good social position, maybe a good house and, taken all in all, a pleasant home, for such I should make it, designing to keep my children here summer and winter, always. Epidemics never originate here. Sometimes they come up after having sojourned some time below. . .

We must absolutely have help this year or the Seminary cannot pay the salaries stipulated for, nor build houses for the families. I now handle all the moneys and am absolute master of all the business. We have a treasurer twenty miles off, under bond, whereas I, in fact, have in my possession all the moneys, $6,000 nearly, and for its safety they have never asked of me a receipt. I cannot therefore mistake the confidence of the Board. Caution must be my plan now.


Seminary, Monday, Jan. 9, 1860.

According to your request, I prepared yesterday and will mail today for Governor Wickcliffe:

  1. A copy of our morning report of yesterday giving numbers of officers, cadets, and servants.
  2. Distribution of rooms, showing easy accommodations for one hundred forty-three cadets, and in case of necessity fifty more.
  3. Copy of our register of cadets, giving names, etc., of thirty-one cadets (now thirty-two). . .
  4. Copy of the proceedings of the Academic Board, showing the basis of instruction, text books, etc. Still subject to change, before being finally referred to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

And lastly I wrote him a letter, giving him such details and suggestions as occurred to me at the time. Of all these I retain copies, and would send them to you only they are voluminous, and are always here of record, and will be examined by you on your next visit. Our mess arrangements, drill and recitations work as smoothly as I would expect. . .

Dr. Smith sent me word to send him about the close of this month at Baton Rouge full details for his use. I think I had better do so, carefully and minutely.


Seminary, Wednesday, January 11, 1860.

Dear General: . . . I will receive all who apply whether appointed or not, and would suggest that you send me a few blank appointments. This idea is suggested by the fact that a young man named Stokes rode one hundred twenty-five miles from Monroe on horseback simply to find out whether it “am a fact” that such an institution was in existence. He brought the enclosed letter. I tried to prevail on him to stay but he was ordered to return. I wrote Mr. Noble to send him back forthwith with two hundred dollars. He thought he could go and return in seven days but I allow ten. . .

In the Louisiana Democrat of January 11, 1860, is an editorial notice of the opening of the Seminary based upon notes sent to the editor by Superintendent Sherman. It was found necessary to remind prospective students of the necessity of coming early and to advise the public in regard to the nature of the academic work offered, the disagreements in the Board having been made public.

To this date the number of cadets who have reported themselves at the State Seminary is over forty, the arrivals having been at the rate of about six per day. The cadets who have arrived are creditable representatives of Young Louisiana, averaging in age about seventeen years and in height about five feet six inches. A considerable proportion of them are well advanced in academic studies and several have been members of military schools in other states.

By the energy and forethought of the superintendent, the professors and members of the Board, due preparation had been made for this promising influx of cadets, who are now, consequently, already beginning their studies. It is very desirable that all students who intend to go to the Seminary during the current session should report themselves at the earliest day practicable. . .

While on this topic we might as well advert to a serious error into which some have fallen concerning the course of study at the State Seminary. It is assumed by these that, as the organization of this institution is military in character, the course of study will of necessity be purely scientific, to the exclusion of classical studies. On the contrary provision is made for as complete a course of tuition in Latin and Greek as can be enjoyed in any American College. The chair of ancient languages is filled by an able professor, chosen by the Board of Supervisors from a large number of applicants, and recommended as well by his attainments as by his success as a teacher. Our State Seminary has therefore all the features of a collegiate institution of the first grade; its military regulations and discipline will not interfere at all with the classical and scientific pursuits of the cadets, as we have already fully explained.

The following extracts from the regulations prepared by Sher man are of interest as giving his views on questions of curriculum and discipline. Though drawn up in November and December, 1859, and put into operation in January, 1860, the regulations were not printed until the vacation of 1860. The scheme of grading and the valuation of the subjects in the course of study were borrowed from the West Point system. The original manuscript copy in the handwriting of Sherman was taken from the Seminary in 1864, when General Banks raided the Red River Valley. In 1909 the manuscript was returned to Louisiana State University.

  1. Each candidate, before he is admitted as a cadet, must be able to read and write the English language well, and to perform with facility and accuracy the various operations of the four ground rules of arithmetic (addition, substraction, multiplication, and division), of reduction of vulgar and decimal fractions, of simple and compound proportion.
  2. No married person will be received as a cadet, and if any one shall marry whilst a cadet, such marriage will be considered as a resignation.
  3. The Course of Instruction will be substantially as follows: mathematics — embracing arithmetic, algebra, geometry, plane and spherical trigonometry, mensuration, descriptive geometry, analytical geometry, differential and integral calculus.
  4. Natural Philosophy — embracing mechanics, optics, acoustics, magnetism, and electricity. Astronomy.
  5. Chemistry, with its application to agriculture and the arts; mineralogy and geology; infantry tactics.
  6. Surveying, civil engineering, military engineering, as far as the construction of field-work of attack and defense; topography, perspective drawing, sketching in pencil and colors; architecture, description of the ancient orders and modern styles.
  7. The English language, composition, and elocution ; geography and history; mental and moral philosophy.
  8. The Latin and Greek languages.
  9. The French and Spanish languages.
  10. Practical instruction will be given in the infantry and artillery drill, and with the sword when practicable.
  11. The relative weight to be given the different subjects in forming the roll of general merit shall be expressed by the following numbers:
course chart
  1. The minimum mark of any subject shall be one-third the maximum, intermediate merit being represent ed by the terms of an arithmetical series, the extremes of which are the highest and lowest marks, and the number of terms the number in the class.
  2. No cadet shall keep a waiter, horse, or dog.
  3. No cadet shall in any way use tobacco, nor have it in his room or in his possession.
  4. No cadet shall cook or prepare food in the Seminary building, or have cooked provisions in his room, without permission.
Letter page 1
Letter page 2
Letter page 3
Letter Of Major P. G. T. Beauregard To Sherman

After the Seminary routine was somewhat fixed, the correspondence of Sherman shows that he felt more sure of his position. His own views were understood by his associates and he had been assured that neither his political opinions nor those of his brother would interfere with his Seminary work. During the long contest in Congress over the election of a speaker of the House, W. T. Sherman asked his brother John why he had endorsed Helper’s book. John Sherman answered: “It was a thoughtless, foolish, and unfortunate act. I relied upon the representation that it was a political tract. . . I was assured that there would be nothing offensive in it and so . . . I told Morgan, a member of last Congress, to use my name. I never read the book, knew nothing of it. . . Everybody knows that the ultra sentiments in the book are as obnoxious to me as they can be to anyone and in proper circumstances I would distinctly say so, but under the threat of Clark’s resolution I could not with self respect say more than I have.” General Graham secured this letter and quietly sent it around among the prominent politicians of the state. It eased the situation considerably, though later letters show that Sherman continued to be “somewhat morbid” on the subject.


Seminary, Jan. 12.

. . . I have allowed more time than usual to pass without writing. Indeed I have had a good many calls upon my time not properly belonging to me. The steward was sick of sore throat that made it imprudent of him to come so I had to supervise his mess affairs. I had a parcel of lazy negroes scrubbing and cleaning, and lastly new cadets arriving and receiving their out fits. I have to do everything but teach. We have now forty cadets all at work reciting in mathematics, French, and Latin, also drilling once a day. I drill one squad, but as soon as I get a few of the best far enough advanced to help I will simply overlook. Hereafter I will have none of this to do.

Everything moves along satisfactorily, all seem pleased, and gentlemen have been here from New Or leans and other distant points who are much pleased. I have knowledge of more cadets coming, and this being the first term and being preceded by so much doubt I don’t know that we have reason to be disappointed with only forty. The legislature meets next Monday, and then will begin the free discussion which will settle the fact of professors’ houses and other little detailed improvements which will go far to make my position here comfortable or otherwise.

Nobody has said boo about John. Indeed I have two letters from John which I showed to General Graham who gave them to the senator from this Parish, who took them to Baton Rouge. In them John tells me he signed the Helper card without seeing it, not knowing it, but after Clark introduced his resolution he would make no disclaimer. He was right, and all men acquainted with the facts will say so. Even southern men. The supervisors can’t spare me. I manage their affairs to their perfect satisfaction, and all here in the parish would never think of complicating me. But the legislature may — we shall soon see. . .


[January and February, 1860].

Dear Brother: I received your letter explaining how you happened to sign for that Helper book. Of course it was an unfortunate accident, which will be a good reason for your refusing hereafter your signature to unfinished books. After Clark’s resolution, you were right, of course, to remain silent. I hope you will still succeed, as then you will have ample opportunity to show a fair independence.

The rampant southern feeling is not so strong in Louisiana as in Mississippi and Carolina. Still, holding many slaves, they naturally feel the intense anxiety all must whose property and existence depend on the safety of their property and labor. I do hope that Congress may organize and that all things may move along smoothly. It would be the height of folly to drive the South to desperation, and I hope, after the fact is admitted that the North has the majority and right to control national matters and interests, that they will so use their power as to reassure the South that there is no intention to disturb the actual existence of slavery.

. . . The excitement attending the speakership has died away here, and Louisiana will not make any disunion moves. Indeed, she is very prosperous, and the Mississippi is a strong link, which she cannot sever. Besides, the price of negroes is higher than ever before, indicating a secure feeling. .

I have seen all your debates thus far, and no southern or other gentleman will question their fairness and dignity, and I believe, unless you are unduly provoked, they will ever continue so. I see you are suffering some of the penalties of greatness, having an awful likeness paraded in Harper’s, to decorate the walls of country inns. I have seen that of Harper, and as the name is below, I recognize it. Some here say they see a likeness to me, but I don’t.

. . . I don’t like the looks of the times. This political turmoil, the sending commissions from state to state, the organization of military schools and establishments, and universal belief in the South that dis union is not only possible but certain, are bad signs. If our country falls into anarchy, it will be Mexico, only worse. I was in hopes the crisis would have been deferred till the states of the northwest became so populous as to hold both extremes in check. Disunion would be Civil War, and you politicians would lose all charm. Military men would then step on the tapis, and you would have to retire. Though you think such a thing absurd, yet it is not so, and there would be vast numbers who would think the change for the better.

I have been well sustained here, and the legislature proposes further to endow us well and place us in the strongest possible financial position. If they do, and this danger of disunion blow over, I shall stay here; but in case of a breach, I would go north. . .


Seminary, Friday Night, Jan. 13, 1860.

Dear General: . . . We are getting along well enough. On Monday next a week, I will order break fast at seven, Mathematics, five classes a week from eight to eleven, French from eleven to one, Latin two to four, drill one hour daily- and that order will carry us to June. The tailor was to have been out to-day to measure for uniforms, but as usual he did not come. As soon as I have measures I will order fifty uniforms -coats, vests, and pants, hat and forage caps, also a suit of fatigue flannel — fifteen dollars per coat, vest, pants.

I think there is no objection to the use of the extract of Bragg’s letter. I also do not object to a reasonable use of John’s letters to me. I think he would not like to appear to seek to counteract any prejudice against him in any quarter, save privately among gentlemen. Not for the public and press. Congressmen think their public record hard enough to reconcile to the changing opinions and prejudices of a wide-spread people.

I saw him last summer, had much talk with him on this subject, and used all my influence to prevail on him to assume a high national tone, and understood him as asserting that no bill could be offered for any purpose in Congress without southern politicians bringing in some phase of the negro question. But on the subject of slave property in the states where it exists, or any molestation of the clear distinct rights relating thereto, guaranteed by the compact of government, he expressed in a speech in my hearing as emphatic a declaration as any one could. But as to nationalizing slavery or get ting Congress to pass a distinct law about it in the territories that he will not do. I sent you his letter to show you my reason for asserting that he is no abolitionist. I could not understand his signing the Helper’s card and wondered why he did not explain it in his place, but he could not do so after Clark’s resolution.

I did apprehend for a time that any feeling against him might be turned against me — not injuring me materially as I have still open to me the London offer, but that my being here might prejudice the Seminary, a mere apprehension of which would cause me to act promptly-but I do not apprehend such a result now.

Our grounds are being materially damaged by the hauling of heavy loads of wood by the front gate, over the only smooth ground we have for a parade; the ground being soft and the wagons turning upon the Bermuda grass, which is firmer than the road I feel much tempted to alter our fences — thus to run a fence from the rear of building straight to the road, and compel all loaded wagons for Jarreau or ourselves to enter to the side and rear. I think I could do all fencing by the men employed to saw and distribute wood, especially as the weather grows warm giving more time. I could get the board for the fence of Waters, on account of his son who is with us. I estimate the entire cost of all the fencing necessary at two hundred dollars and I could do all that is necessary at one hundred fifty dollars, and it would add greatly to the appearance of the place.

I made the measurements to-day and will make a diagram showing my meaning but of course I will do nothing without your sanction. We will have some of the construction fund left- as our furniture will all be taken by cadets at a small profit over cost. With present fences and gate constantly open our enclosure is full of hogs. We dare not kill them, and they root about and keep our premises nasty. I am full aware of the absolute necessity for economy and allude to the subject only, as I might now work in labor of men we must keep employed at the wood-pile; by using split posts I could further reduce cost; little by little anyway I will smooth the ground for drill. . .

Saturday Eve. I have been busy all day in taking measures for clothing, in drill, examining applications for leave to visit home for Sunday, etc., and now as the hour approaches to send off my mail, I have no time even to look over what I wrote last night. Smith and Boyd go to-day to visit some Doctor from Virginia — to be absent till Monday — thirty-nine Cadets present.


Tyrone Plantation,
Sunday, 1:15 p.m.,
January 15, 1860.

Dear Sir: Captain Jarreau has just left here, after bringing me yours of Friday night. I can well comprehend the pressure on your time, which keeps you constantly busy, and therefore makes you write hurriedly. I have more letters on hand now myself than I shall ever have time to answer. You were in this sort of hurry when you wrote me on the eleventh. .

I entirely approve and authorize your suggestions in regard to approaches and enclosures. You will see where I formerly had the gate put, in the neighborhood of where [you] propose to put it now, with the express view to avoid injury to the front ground. Its removal to its present site was the work of more thoughtful heads that succeeded me.

In regard to the fencing, pine posts, whether sawed or split, will rot off very quick, the more lasting is the chinkapin, of which a good deal is generally to be found in the ravines and branch bottoms. If you cannot get it convenient to yourself the Pinewood’s wagoners can get it for you, if they will. The gates I would move immediately. . .

Rest assured that I neither have made nor will make any use of Colonel Bragg’s or your brother’s letters to you that you could yourself object to, although you could not show them to those that I can. The only persons I have shown them to are Dr. Smith, Mr. Manning, Captain Elgee, and Mr. Halsey and Goodwin in my room at Mr. Fellows’ on Thursday night, and I should now return them to you but that there is one other person I am desirous to show them to. I showed them to Mr. Halsey not as an editor, yet because he is an editor too, in order that he might in that capacity say nothing ignorantly, but principally from the estimation in which I hold him as a gentlemanly and right minded man, as far as the occupation, that of a hired partizan editor, he is engaged in, will permit. . .

I think the declaration of your brother in the House in one of the early days of the present session of Congress, and in the debate on the President’s message in 1856, republished in the National Intelligencer of the twentieth ult. ought to be sufficient for any thinking, reflecting southern man, who has reason enough in him to admit of a difference of opinion between himself and other people.

Demagogical politicians and partizan editors make all the mischief. Since 1830-1833, I have always believed and never hesitate to express myself so on all occasions, that southern people of the above classes, many of them northern and eastern born, have had quite as much to do with producing the troubles of the country as any body else.

For yourself, my dear Sir, if I had never seen you at all, a knowledge of the facts that you had passed through the Military Academy, had served and resided in the south, and enjoyed the confidence and friendship of Colonel Bragg, was enough for me. The use that I desired to make of your letters was to forestall any apprehensions on the minds of others, not to remove any that I knew of. Am truly glad to learn from you that your own mind is quiet on this point.

W. T. Sherman’s views on politics and slavery were in 1860 more moderate than those of his relatives. He disliked slavery and negro servants but saw no other solution of the labor problem in the south. His letters on this point are somewhat amusing. Writing to his brother-in-law in regard to the prospect of Mrs. Sherman’s coming south, he describes the situation as it appears to him.

Louisiana State Seminary
of Learning and Military Academy,
Alexandria, Jan. 21, 1860.

. . . I have no doubt one of our first troubles will be that Ellen’s servants will all quit, after we have gone into debt to get them here, and then she will have to wait on herself or buy a nigger. What will you think of that — our buying niggers? But it is inevitable. Niggers won’t work unless they are owned, and white servants are not to be found in this parish. Everybody owns their own servants. I suppose next fall we will bring some down from Ohio and after they leave and get married to some roving Texas trader or carpenter with a few hundred dollars in pocket, we will be without servants and compelled to do without or buy.

I have made this point to Ellen, and you must be careful in your Black Republican speeches not to be down on us too hard, for your own sister may be forced by necessity to traffic in human flesh. Niggers in a cotton or a sugar field are invaluable, but about a house they are dirty and of no account, but they monopolize the business and white girls or boys as servants won’t come. Carpenters and mechanics are white, but nearly all labor is by slaves. Without them the cotton and sugar fields would relapse into cane brakes.

We have sixty-four cadets, next year the number will be double. I have had my share of petty troubles and annoyances, but thus far have got along; but I won’t be boastful how long I can keep it up, as the boys here are wilful and govern their parents despotically.

The following letters by Sherman to his eldest daughter and his wife give interesting glimpses of Seminary life and show an other side of the efficient superintendent’s nature.


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.


Seminary, Jan. 24, 1860.

. . . 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. . .

The first month of the session closed with affairs in good shape, as shown by the correspondence, which, however, dis closes the existence of certain irritating local conditions, both at the Seminary and in Alexandria.


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.


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 forth with embodied it into an order and published it at re treat. 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, 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.


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 be come an important institution. It is furthermore pro posed 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. . .

During the latter part of January the Seminary authorities were busy preparing a bill for the reorganization of the institution, the previous law having been found defective. State Sena tor S. A. Smith was in charge of the Seminary legislation. Since he disliked the military system and favored the University of Virginia organization it was necessary to consider his views in forming the proposed new law. Governor Wickliffe, the out going executive, was favorable to the military system and in his message recommended that it be fixed by law. The Board of Supervisors in their annual report to the legislature asked that the title of the institution be changed and its military character be established by statute.


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?


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.


. . . 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.


Student troubles at the Seminary. Sherman dismisses the delinquents. Hair grease on Dr. Vallas’s blackboards. Parents approve Sherman’s discipline. One father’s protest. Graham explains the necessity for strict discipline. Why the regulations were not printed. Troubles subside. Sherman receives the offer of a commercial position in London. His family and relatives wish him to go. Graham’s proposition to induce him to remain. The legislature seems to be unfavorable to the Seminary. Sherman agrees to defer until the legislature acts. Bragg’s account of the legislative attitude toward the Seminary. Sherman goes to Baton Rouge. The Seminary measures before the legislature. Sherman publicly expresses his views on slavery. He decides to accept the London offer. Visits New Orleans. Goes to Ohio on a visit. Decides to remain in Louisiana.

It was not until the close of the first month that insubordination occurred among the students. Before this the novelty of school life had occupied the attention of those undisciplined young men who had been sent to the Seminary as a last resort by their parents. The outbreak was unexpected and Sherman acted characteristically, both in firmly suppressing the trouble and in becoming discouraged afterward. The correspondence relating to one of the cases discloses the state of affairs with which the authorities had to contend until ten or twelve of the insubordinate students were expelled.


Seminary Of Learning, Jan. 30, 1860.

Sir: A case has this day arisen requiring my prompt action under the paragraph of regulations quoted be low:

“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 deter mined 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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ad vised 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. . .


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——l.

As these persons have all left the Seminary without leave, or authority and in a spirit of defiance, I shall re port 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, 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 in stances 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——l, 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.”


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 to day.

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 en close 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.


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——l 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——l 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 in formal 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.

The firm stand of the authorities in dealing with the student outbreak and the dissatisfaction of some of the remaining students with the rigid military system which exacted of them unaccustomed obedience caused protests from certain parents fearful for the liberties of their sons. A typical case is here illustrated.


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 en force 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 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.


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 our selves 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 ex ample 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. . . . 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. . .


Saturday, Feb. 10, 1860.

Dear General: Mr. Smith goes to visit you to-day. St. Ange is sick, and I am ordered by a higher power than our tyrannical military dictator to teach Spanish — I mean by tyrant necessity. Well I can give them the true “greaser” pronunciation which is the Spanish they will use in after life as we ride over and trample down that vestige of a once brave and noble people that stands in the way of our boasted civil progress.

Every time I think of Mr. T——r’s letter I feel inclined to laugh. The idea of T——r’s being oppressed is too good. Last evening after drill I could not resist the temptation to call him to me, and ask him who had op pressed him here. He said Mr. Boyd. What had Mr. Boyd done? Why one boy tied a pig’s-tail to another boy’s coat, as they were marching into their recitation room, and he was so convulsed with laughter thereat that Mr. Boyd ordered him to quit the section-room.

That was the tyranny, and that was all, the precision of time, the fine course of study spread before them, the regular and good supplies of food, clothing, lights, etc., everything that any gentleman’s son could expect are nothing; but because T——r was ordered to quit the section room very properly by his professor, he must tell a cock and bull story to his father and he must undermine the authority of gentlemen whom he has never seen. There is the radical cause of the destruction of every educational establishment in Louisiana. Parents while they boast of the hardships they overcame in early life and admire the brave and noble deeds of the past, are willing to listen to and extend the whims of their boys, who have nobody to wash their faces and comb their hair in the morning.

Indeed are you the rock, alone on which can be built any structure in Louisiana, with any chance of stability. I say this in no spirit of flattery, and I deeply, painfully regret that you are afflicted both in your eyes and the unceasing calls on your time and patience. I ought from this cause alone to abstain from boring you with long letters, in so rapid and illegible a hand.

I have read your letters to Mr. T——r, to Mr. Smith, and to Mr. Boyd and we could not help laughing at T——r’s complaint.

[P.S.] St. Ange is in no serious danger. We have had some pretty bad dinners, but the day before yesterday it came to a crisis and brought St. Ange to death or rather his injective apparatus. The rest of us bear with patience Jarreau’s prolonged absence, and the want of foresight and preparation that must not be — for the first time yesterday the report came in of a scarcity of meat on the cadet’s tables which I must notice.

Early in February, 1860, the commercial concern which had already made Sherman an offer to act as its representative in Lon don sent an agent to Louisiana to renew the offer and to urge its acceptance. The correspondence shows that Sherman, owing to disturbed political conditions, to the opposition directed against the military system, and to the uncertainty about a legislative appropriation for the support of the Seminary, was disposed to accept the position. But the offer afforded an opportunity for those in authority to convince him that he was appreciated in Louisiana.


Seminary, Feb. 8th, 1860.

Dear General: As to-morrow is mail day I will begin now to make up a budget for you; first your letter from Dr. Smith is returned and along with it I send an other of later date, more pointed, showing a weakening on the subject of the Seminary. I was sorry to see this, for, as Governor Wickliffe had broken the ice, I thought his friends and Governor Moore’s united would settle it without contest. I enclose my answer for your perusal asking you to seal and forward by the succeeding mail.

I am now in possession of certain facts that may affect me. You know that a certain commercial company offered me a certain salary to go to London and I was actually in correspondence with them when advised I had been elected to this post. The first overtures came to me at Leavenworth after I wrote my application to the Board of Supervisors.

Upon notice of my election to this I notified those parties that I preferred the certainty and stability of this to their project. Time has passed on. Their preparations are all made, and certain of their European co partners having committed themselves on condition that I should be, in London, the depository of their bonds and securities have renewed their efforts, and on January ninth held a meeting in Cincinnati, during which they agreed to guarantee and secure to me fifteen thou sand dollars for two years’ service, salary to begin on my acceptance and a certain amount three thousand five hundred dollars, to be subject to my draft now — and furthermore they appointed one Wm. F. R-n to proceed to this place, to confer with me and contract with me on the above basis. R-n writes me under date of January 17 that he starts from Cincinnati the next day for New York-whence he will come to New Orleans and Alexandria, prepared to develop to me the plan and details, to be here between the fifth and tenth of February. I expect him daily.

Mr. Ewing, Mrs. Sherman’s father, writes me urgently to go, and even Mrs. Sherman prefers it to coming South with our children. Still I mistrust all financial schemes. Just seven years ago I was similarly situated in New Orleans, commissary U.S. army, when Mr. Lucas and Henry Turner, two as fine gentlemen as ever lived, came and prevailed on me to go to California as banker with prospects more brilliant than those now offered me. I went and without any fault, negligence, or want of ability I was involved by the losses of others; so that I am mistrustful of finance and financiers.

I think if this were a state seminary with the stability of one I would stand by it, but if it is to struggle alway, dependent on the whims and caprices of boys, unaided, even burdened by the state by an unjust tax (the support of sixteen), and as subject to accident as any other private scheme, I would do myself and family an injustice to prefer this to the other — for by the other I am certain of $15,000 for two years — of which I would save a large fraction, whereas here all I would look for would be an honorable position, and pleasant future for my family and children.

Mr. Ewing in urging me to accept this project, did so, on an inference that because John Sherman had made a mistake I might be suspected here, my position weakened, and the cadets rendered thereby insubordinate, and he further advised me to decline to receive any compensation for the past, as my leaving might subject me to the imputation of an unfulfilled contract. I have written him and all my northern friends, that no gentle man here has spoken one unkind or disrespectful word of John Sherman, but on the contrary that I thought John’s carelessness in allowing his name to be used for a purpose as foreign to his mind and heart, as of yours, deserved failure. He is young, ambitious, and let him be more circumspect in future.

In like manner, though the boys here last week were insubordinate, that too cannot be attributed to any idea of theirs that they can displace me. Every professor here will bear testimony that the dismissals thus far were absolutely necessary, and has resulted well.

Dr. Smith’s letter is the first positive event that has shaken me, and made me seriously think of R——n. I will not say one word more till he come, except, that then I must act accordingly to my convictions. Only I promise to give full time for a successor and to do everything in the premises a gentleman should. . .


Tyrone Plantation, February 9, 1860.

My Dear Sir: Although well aware of all the troubles, perplexities, worriments and annoyances to which your new career of executive life subjects you in its outset, yet here is a matter, which with all my repugnance to be obtrusive, my sense of everything that is right will not allow me to refrain from inflicting on you.

You will see from the enclosed copy of a letter received last night, with some official communications from Major Sherman, and which I have risen at five o’clock this morning to copy, that we are in imminent danger of losing our irreplacable superintendent, the apprehension of which has kept me awake for more than half the night.

Although coming to me under the injunction implied by the mark “confidential,” I have felt that a higher duty required that I should communicate it to you in both of your official capacities, saying to you at the same time that I have no objection to your using it with the same discreet confidence among those you may desire to confer with. Particularly I would be glad that you would show it in this manner to Doctor Smith, Doctor Clarke, and Mr. Wise. I would also be gratified that you would confer with Colonel Bragg because he has known Major Sherman intimately for twenty years and understands his character and qualities better than I do.

I have seen enough, however, to satisfy me that we could not hope to get again exactly such another man for the position — one of so clear, quick, and decided a mind — such practised administrative and executive qualities — such experienced and varied knowledge of men, the world and its business, combined with such kindliness of heart and parental care and thoughtfulness. I have found fully realized in him all which General Gibson, Colonel J. P. Taylor (brother of the late president), and other gentlemen told me in Washington last September, when they said, in the words of Colonel Taylor, “if you hunted the whole army from one end of it to the other, you could not have found a man in it more admirably suited for the position in every respect than Sherman.”

In this connection also I beg to ask your perusal of the enclosed letter from Major Buell, one of the assistant adjutants-general of the army, at present and for some time past occupying the position of confidential military adviser to the secretary of war-I also beg to enclose you the first letter I ever received from Major Sherman, regretting that I have not also to send you his letter of application to the Board.

Now! What is to be done? I wish to be prepared for Mr. R——n’s arrival, hoping that the accidents of travel and business may have delayed him long enough for me to hear from you in the meantime. Already too prolix, I will answer my own question in brief. Let us offer Major Sherman, if necessary to retain him, five thousand dollars a year, and as an excuse for doing so let us add to his duties those of treasurer and purser, which now he in reality discharges. And I assure you that the State of Louisiana will never have invested money that will pay a better interest. Many men may be capable to make laws for a nation, to govern a state, to preside on the bench, but I tell you a man competent to govern, control, instruct a large educational institution is of rare occurrence. And if we throw away this one there is but little likelihood that we can replace him. This is but fifteen hundred dollars more than he now receives, and whilst I am satisfied that no such idea as increased compensation, with such a view, has entered his mind, for he has repeatedly said “you pay your professors very liberally, and have a right to expect them to work” and I have never known a more unsordid and unselfish gentleman, yet I think that an assurance of that amount, with a comfortable house for his family, will decide him immovably against Mr. R.’s offers. Action in this matter either by the General Assembly, or by the Board of Supervisors, cannot be had immediately, but if you and Dr. Smith determine that it shall be done, there will be but little difficulty in effecting it, and in the event of such determination, let us three, you, Smith and I, guarantee to Major Sherman five thousand dollars a year for five years, conditioned of course, on the retention during that time of his health and efficiency.

It will not be this amount of money which will influence him so much, as the relief he will thereby experience from the apprehension which is becoming somewhat morbid with him, that occurring political events, and the position of his brother in the U.S. Congress, may or do conspire to affect his position and impair his usefulness here. This is the feeling which unless clearly and decidedly removed from his mind, will compel him to accept R.’s offer.

I heard authentically of this association, and its offers to Major Sherman, in Washington in September, with many of the names, of whom I only recollect now those of Rupell, the great Utah army contractor, Roelofson of Cincinnati, where two or three others of them re side, and Beverly Tucker, U.S. Consul at Liverpool. Professor Smith told me on his arrival here, that when Mr. Tucker came over to Paris to attend the obsequies of the late American Minister, he told him, Mr. S. of this association and its proportions, which comprise an interest also without capital on his part, in the business to Major S., remarking to him that he could well see therefore, that if our Sherman and their Sherman was one and the same man, he would not be able to retain him. Begging to hear from you in this matter after no more delay than may be absolutely necessary, for Mr. Roelofson may be here, and Major Sherman’s decision made in a very few days (tho* I will interpose all the delays that I can).

[Endorsement on retained copy of the above letter] Wrote the Governor again on February eleventh of the arrival of Mr. Roelofson, and that although very urgent for the Major to make an immediate acceptance and go right of! with him, I had obtained from him a delay of ten days within which the Major would give his answer. This was to enable me to hear from Baton Rouge, whither on fourteenth Major Sherman proceeded him self.


Seminary, February 10, 1860.

. . . I have now crossed the line and suppose must rest satisfied with the title of the ‘Old Man’ the ‘cross old schoolmaster’ but time won’t wait and we must rush on in the race to eternity. . .

We have just passed through a critical week, the struggle for mastery resulting in five boys being gone. It would take a volume to record it, but I am now rid of five noisy, insubordinate boys. Fifty-one still remain, not a recitation was missed, and I am fully supported. There can be but one master.

I was prepared for this resistance but it hardly gave me a moment’s concern, but since, I learn from Dr. Smith in the legislature that it is doubtful whether Governor Wickliffe’s bill will pass. Since old Brown has run out, Congress organized, Texas taken strong ground against secession, the Louisiana politicians have cooled down, and they are less zealous to build up a military school. Dr. Smith wrote me to let him know the least sum we needed from the state to carry us through the year. I have notified him that Governor Wickliffe’s sum is the least, that the institution must be sustained at the start, and that proper provision must be made for the professors in the way of buildings.

I wrote to General Graham telling him the outline of the London proposition and that I expected Roelofson daily, and that if I did not see in the proceedings of the legislature some signs of providing for the institution and for me personally, I should be forced to leave. I have just received a letter from him and he seems in great distress. He has worked so long and so hard to build up this college; he is so delighted at present management and prospects, and so impressed with the be lief that I alone can manage its multifarious interests, that he says while he will not stand in the light of my interest, he will not lose my services to the state. . .

I see by the papers that John was defeated for speaker, but is likely to be prominent in the House, but he will be more careful hereafter in signing papers before he reads them.


Seminary, Feb. 12, 1860.

Dear Sir: Roelofson arrived yesterday at about 11 a.m. I was on the point of hearing a Spanish recitation, the regular professor being sick. I read your letter of January 14 with great care and told Roelofson I had received other letters and a copy of the resolutions of the informal meeting at Cincinnati, January 7. As the case at that moment stood I admitted I should prefer his proposition to the terms of my present engagement, but that no consideration could induce me to leave here without the willing concurrence of the gentlemen with whom I have acted. We accordingly started for Alexandria where we found General Graham and five other members of the board in informal session. I placed in their hands all the papers and in formed them orally of R’s presence. I did not resign. I did nothing, but allowed them to infer the conclusion. I also told General Graham that of course if the present legislature did not act that the Seminary could not maintain its ground.

They passed this informal resolution, a quorum not being present:

Resolved that we deeply regret the prospect of losing the valuable services of Major Sherman as superintendent of the Seminary of Learning.

Resolved that we deem him eminently qualified as a gentle man and disciplinarian, that we will do everything in our power to retain his services; but in consideration of his private affairs we will yield with regret to his declination but hope it will not be necessary.

G. Mason Graham and five others.

I advised General G. some days ago that Roelofson was coming and he immediately wrote to Governor Moore and Dr. Smith, senator from this parish, pro posing that they should at once make me a distinct guarantee of a good house and a salary of $5,000, and yesterday they asked me if I would delay any action for ten days. General Graham stated the whole case fairly to Roelofson and after consultation we agreed that I might remain silent and uncommitted for ten days.

The Board seem to attach vast importance to my services. I acted summarily and decisively in several cases last week in which they sustained me, and I keep affairs here so regular and systematic that they seem determined to hold on. My mind is therefore made up that if the state endow the Seminary with twenty-five thousand dollars a year for two years, allow me to build a good house for my family and pay me five thousand dollars a year I will stay. Otherwise I will resign, and give them a reasonable time to replace me, and come north about April i. I am bound to determine conclusively and finally on the 21st inst. and I will cause Roelofson to be telegraphed from New Orleans of the final conclusion. I left Roelofson last night in Alexandria with this agreement, to which he assented. He said he would be in Cincinnati the eighteenth, when he will write you fully. He seemed pleased at our beautiful Seminary but regarded it as a kind of exile. Either of the schemes now at my choice is good, and I will choose that which has the best future chances and least risks. I can’t afford to run any more risks, and have been buffeted about enough.


Baton Rouge, February 13, 1860.

My Dear Sherman: Your two favors are received, the last this morning with its enclosures. I find a general feeling in favor of the Seminary; and most of its friends, as far as my acquaintance extends, are decidedly in favor of military organization. Still there is great cause to fear a failure of every efficient measure for its organization and support. All agree when the subject is mentioned that it is all right and proper that they will vote for it, etc., but all this amounts to nothing. Nobody seems to work, and the subject is not yet even before a committee, and the session is half over. One such man as General Graham in the legislature would do more to forward its cause than forty lukewarm friends who are content to say “I agree with you and will vote for it when it comes up.”

Dr. Smith is strongly for the Seminary, by no means in favor of the military organization except as a mere incident, and I conclude from what he has said to me, very willing to see a failure of that part. He wants a great Seminary to make learned men, its operations to commence just where nineteen-twentieths of our young men end. The thing is a myth, an ignis fatuus and a dead failure certain, for want of means if nothing else. It would cost us from fifty thousand to one hundred thousand dollars a year, and you can’t get it. In a conversation with the doctor a few days since, I regretted to observe what I took to be a lurking satisfaction at the troubles you had in enforcing what he called rigid military discipline. I most emphatically expressed my hope that you would carry the thing out in its fullest extent, and I am glad to find I was not mistaken in you and show the boys at the start that you were their commander and intended to be so. Unless this is done in the outset we had as well give up the experiment for it must share the fate of all previous efforts in the state.

The more you see of our society, especially our young men, the more you will be impressed with the importance of a change in our system of education if we expect the next generation to be anything more than a mere aggregation of loafers charged with the duty of squandering their fathers’ legacies and disgracing their names. I hoped, and still hope, your Seminary may be the entering wedge for a reformation, but should it fail under the auspices now before us I shall despair. A few weeks will determine whether the state intends to sustain it. Suspend your decision, if possible, on the advantageous offer made you. Under any circumstances I would not advise you against closing with such an advantageous offer. I can only hope we may be enabled to make your present position more desirable.

At the request of Dr. S. and some other gentlemen, I have given them a rough sketch of a bill for establishing an arsenal with you, and making your cadets the military guard of the “Munitions of War” belonging to the state. I hope it may pass. As we are now, our arms are thrown away as fast as received.

I am getting heartily tired of the honors of office. Of all the loose, disorganized, mal-administered state of affairs I have ever seen, the public affairs of this state are the worst. Nobody is responsible, every disbursing officer keeps his own accounts, draws his own warrants on the treasury, and if he can only get a dishonest man to consent to sign a voucher and a warrant, they draw the money and there is the end of it. No one ever settles an account with the state. One of our Board, dis missed from the army as a defaulter, with these visions before him, is giving us infinite trouble. So far, he has failed in every effort, but he has kept the board from any duty. The other members are tender toward him, and hope to conquer by mildness. I prefer the military system and go at him rough shod.

My regards to General Graham, and thank him for his bill. I am for it first and last, but still am willing to take less if we can’t get all. But like Oliver Twist I should “ask for more.”


Seminary, February 13, 1860.

. . . I received yesterday your letter of January 31. Roelofson came Saturday, and was in a great hurry to go off. He said he must be in Cincinnati February 18 to attend to some business. I found the scheme was pretty much the same condition as it was last winter.

. . . All admit the healthfulness of the place [the Seminary] which is inferable from the kind of ground. Indeed if you hear that I have concluded to stay here, just make up your mind to live and die here, because I am going to take the bit in my mouth, and resume my military character, and control my own affairs. Since I left New Orleans, I have felt myself oppressed by circumstances I could not control, but I begin to feel footing and will get saucy. But if I go to England I shall expect a universal panic, the repudiation of the great national debt, and a blow up generally.

I suppose I was the Jonah that blew up San Francisco, and it only took two months’ residence in Wall Street to bust up New York, and I think my arrival in London will be the signal of the downfall of that mighty empire.

Here I can’t do much harm, if I can’t do any good; and here we have solitude and banishment enough to hide from the misfortunes of the past.

Therefore, if Louisiana will endow this college properly, and is fool enough to give me five thousand dollars a year, we will drive our tent pins and pick out a magnolia under which to sleep the long sleep. But if she don’t, then England must perish, for I predict financial misfortune to the land that receives me. . .


Alexandria, Feb. 13, 1860.

Dear Doctor: Your favor of — inst. was received by Saturday night’s mail, and sent yesterday to the superintendent, both as more encouraging than your previous communication to him (which had made him very gloomy), and in order that he might cause to be prepared the copies you ask for, but which can hardly be got off, I expect, before next Saturday’s mail. That which I have to copy from our minutes I know cannot, for I am greatly over-worked. I got up at three o’clock the other night, as I had very often to do, to write a letter of four pages to P. T——r, who had written me com plaining of his son being arbitrarily spoken to.

By this boat, the “Perry,” goes a letter to Governor Moore advising him of the arrival of Mr. Roelofson, from whom I had obtained ten days . . . for Major Sherman to give him reply to the offer made him. I hope that you and the governor will have agreed to my suggestion. We will always regret it if we lose Major Sherman.

There is no more constitutional objection to changing the name of this school than there is to changing mine. The name was conferred by the act of 1853. A primary school as well as a university is a “Seminary of Learning.” Mr. Manning saw this very quickly on my showing him the constitution and the act, when he and I were discussing the draft I sent you. There is just as little constitutional objection to appropriating a portion of the common school fund to preparing teachers for the common schools; and that is the easiest fund to get the money from.


Seminary Of Learning, Monday, Feb. 13, 1860.

Dear Sir: I enclose you Dr. Smith’s letter which I have read with concern. I thought of copying our regulations in full — but the task is too large. Dr. S——r is up at Dr. Bailey’s and entre nous, Dr. S. is not the kind of man for contact with young men or association with. Still charity is a virtue and he should have the benefit of it.

I understand Jarreau is now here at Parker’s. I am glad of it, as the irregularities in the mess and washing must cease. Mr. Smith, under the contract, has prescribed the bill of fare, and will hereafter inspect the mess before meals. And I will give notice that if cadets have their clothes properly marked, and delivered to the laundress at the right time, the value of any article lost shall be charged. I know Jarreau has an awful dull set of niggers, and he himself has been sick and away, but to secure system and economy somebody must do their work right. Again as to regulations, I thought of sending a copy of the Virginia rules — erased and altered, but on comparison I find the alterations too numerous and important to trust to interlineation.

It occurs to me, that as things now are working smoothly and well, I might take these regulations and move down to Baton Rouge, appear before their committee and satisfy them fully, and return in a week. At that time, too, I could judge for myself the temper of the legislature and come to a conclusion as to my own proper course. I must give R. a positive answer by the twenty-first or twenty-second instant at furthest. I have promised him to do so and I have never failed to comply in my life. But whether I go or not I assure you I won’t leave here till you have a successor of your own choice, as well if not better qualified, than I am. Before the middle of March the cadets will be well drilled, armed, and clothed. All books necessary for this year will be here, and all supplies needed by then. Books will be opened and records properly arranged, and the money affairs so adjusted that the machine would work of itself. And if the legislature meanly act by the Seminary you could save the salary of the superintendent.

As to your giving a personal guarantee, while I ad mire the spunk, I think you ought not to do it. I think the matter should be treated as any business transaction. If the legislatures of the country are going to trammel the Seminary, entitled to help, you ought not to intervene. . .

[P.S.] Have you the letter to Madame D. from the assistant engineer? She sticks to her belief that the governor knew what he caused to be written her — that all her son’s expenses should be paid. Yet she begs delay and promises if the legislature do not provide support for her boy that she will. She wants that letter, and I think I sent it to you.

Sherman went to Baton Rouge in February and to the Senate Committee on Education he gave detailed estimates of expenses, income, needs, etc. It was understood that Sherman was willing to stay in Louisiana if the requested appropriations were given. Appropriations to cover all of them were made later.

While in Baton Rouge Sherman was treated with the great est consideration. He found, instead of opposition to him on account of his own and his brother’s views, a strong desire on the part of those interested to keep him in Louisiana. That this was somewhat surprising as well as gratifying to him is indicated in his letters.


Baton Rouge, LA., Feb. 16, 1860.

Dear General: We got here last evening; I soon found out Colonel Bragg, who is here living in the mess of Richard Taylor and two other gentlemen of the sen ate. I also found Dr. Smith and many others in authority. All seem very generally well-disposed to us. The whole subject was referred to the Committee on Education, and I have been most of the day in copying a long report of Dr. Smith tracing the history of the Seminary from its first inception to the present moment.

This report is designed to accompany a bill which is substantially agreed on in committee, viz: to amend the old bill by modifying the provisions for indigent State cadets so that we educate fifty, one from each parish and two additional from New Orleans — these to be designated by the police juries, the state further to appropriate eleven thousand dollars for two professors’ houses, five thousand dollars for chemical, philosophical, and other apparatus and books; and to provide for the election of a vice president to the Board of Supervisors, who with four others shall compose a quorum, to have all the powers of the present Board.

Bragg has also prepared a bill to make the Seminary a State Arsenal. For the fifty state cadets no provision is made for tuition and they are limited to three hundred dollars each and an appropriation made for them of fifteen thousand dollars per annum. Dr. Smith of course is leader. He will not consent to a change of title or to modify it further, but he still says he can get a liberal appropriation for its support.

The committee was willing to grant the superintendent the rank of Colonel, but as long as it is not military by law, I think a naked rank would be ridiculous. Dr. Smith, Bragg, Mr. Taylor, another, and myself dined together to-day and they pitched into the Doctor with out grace, telling him now was the time to make this the Military Academy by law. All agreed that the legislature would be almost unanimous but Dr. S. will not budge. A simple bill, with few clauses and liberal appropriations, Mr. Taylor says, would pass without difficulty, but as the Committee of Education have it in hand, it must come through them or be attached to their bill by way of amendment.

All admit that Governor Wickliffe’s recommendation has no weight, and that the constitution limits the school fund to a “distribution to parishes in the pro portion of the white children.” The legislature has no control over it. The clause certainly reads so, and I can’t imagine why Governor Wickcliffe should have overlooked. But the general fund is large, and all admit willingness to provide amply.

Dr. Smith will not report your bill, but will [report] the one now in committee maybe the day after to-morrow. Taylor may offer a substitute to test the sense of the senate. I will stay here till this matter is deter mined. In the bill for an Arsenal they provide five hundred dollars for the superintendent. I can not commit myself till next Tuesday, when I must. I would much prefer to see the Seminary made the Military Academy by law, when its character would be fixed beyond change, but unless the Senate be very strong that way he will not change. . .


Baton Rouge, Feb. 17, 1860.

. . . I wrote you day before yesterday. I dined yesterday with Governor Moore, to-day am to dine with the attorney-general and on the whole am treated with so much consideration, that I cannot mistrust the general expression of a hope that I will not leave them.

The legislature promise to build me a house, to endow the Seminary and to put all things on the best footing. They seem to think that I can accomplish great good, and as they have dealt by me so fairly I am loath to quit.

We have now pretty well agreed on a bill for the legislature which is liberal and which will easily pass. It provides six thousand dollars for a house for us, and also makes provision so that the Board can enlarge my salary. I hope by Tuesday it will pass so that I can telegraph and write to Roelofson as I agreed. Still I will defer it to the last minute so that if any contretemps should arise I can take advantage of it. Here they want me to say if they pass the bill I will stay.

I tell them whether I stay or no the provisions made for the Seminary are essential to its success. Still I do think it would be more agreeable for you here than in England. We have beautiful warm weather now, flowers and trees in bloom. . .


BATON ROUGE, Saturday, Feb. 17, 1860.

Dear General: I know how anxious you are and must be about our affairs here. I have met a great many gentlemen here, dined with the governor, am invited to dine with Mr. Moise to-day, and by all am assured of the deep interest felt in our affairs. Could any bill come before either branch with few provisions, and ample appropriation it would pass. But the whole matter having been referred to the School Committee it is proper it should report its bill, when anything may come in on amendment. First Dr. Smith will not consent to your bill or any new bill. He insists on clinging to the old bill, but is willing to modify it in any way, that may be politic. He now agrees to amend so far as to style the Seminary “The Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy,” also to add a clause making the cadets, officers, etc., a military body, with commissions, etc., also to make five supervisors a quorum for the transaction of business. The Board of Supervisors retaining all other full powers as now.

As to appropriations we feel now confident that there is rightfully in the treasury — $12,330, arising thus — coupons for eighteen months on $137,000 bond, nine percent is $12,330. We have this on the signature of the auditor and the treasurer admits that sum to be in the treasury subject to appropriation. It also appears that in former years, $119,000 were appropriated, and that only $112,000 have been drawn, leaving a balance due the Seminary on that score, of exactly $6,930 which we will also ask to be re-appropriated.

Dr. Smith will also ask the Seminary Fund to be relieved of the condition of refunding the $30,000, and ask to cry quits on that score of our claim to compound interest. I have just had a full conversation with Randall Hunt who is an eminent lawyer and says the courts here have compelled the payment of compound interest, when the money has been used, as was the case with Louisiana.

Now if the legislature will repeal the clause requiring that $30,000 to be paid back, and will further relieve us of the charge of indigent youth — it would be well not to press the claim for compound interest.

Now I understand the Committee to intend to recommend the fifty indigent youths, the state to pay all the expenses but tuition. I have explained fully that such would not help us much, and Colonel Taylor and Mr. Goode and others say it will ruin our institution as planters will not send their children to a school with a preponderance of pauper children. All admit a perfect willingness to appropriate $5,000 for chemical, philosophical, surveying, engineering, etc., books; also $11,000 for two professor’s houses.

Therefore the points now in dispute are the indigent student clauses. If they reënact the sixteen clause they will appropriate threë hundred dollars a piece — if they provide for fifty, then fifteen thousand dollars. If Messrs. Taylor and Goode represent public sentiment properly, I think the best plan would be to give the Board of Supervisors the six thousand dollars cash, and let them reduce the tuition fee to all as low as possible. That would enable us to educate as cheap as any college.

We all meet again tomorrow, Sunday, and will dis cuss these points. I want the school committee to report on Monday or Tuesday next, as I want to hear the action of the Senate. Bragg was compelled to go down to his plantation yesterday and may not return before I leave, but he put me in such good relation with his friends that really they overcome me with zeal. They pitched into Dr. Smith so, at dinner, that he was alarmed for the safety of the nation. They so damned the volunteers and elevated the regulars that the Doctor feared for the safety of the liberties of the people.

I have your bill in my pocket — also one prepared by myself — but I now abandon any hope of a new bill, and shall confine my efforts to so modifying the old one as to bring in the military element, and to get the State aid which all seem so anxious to give. I am now in the library and shall see if there be not some books we could get. The librarian, named Carrigan, is trying to get a state appointment for a friend in New Orleans. I would for myself be almost willing to give him the appointment on easy terms if he would give me a list of duplicate books that a resolution could secure them. They have a good library here.

The knowing ones say the Arsenal Bill will also pass, and the blank be filled with $150,000 for the purchase of arms and building a structure — but I doubt it. If we can get five thousand stand of arms, then a field battery and the usual proportion of equipments, it would be all we could expect — and in vain if the room so dedicated get ten or twelve thousand dollars to build a mess hall and kitchen separate.

On Thursday next I am bound to give Roelofson a categoric answer and feel a little confused thereat, for the solicitude of my family which I have heretofore disregarded now troubles me.


Baton Rouge, Feb. 17, 1860.

Dear Tom: . . . I am down here at the legislature log rolling for a bill to the interest of our institution. I have no doubt of success. I cannot but laugh in my sleeve at the seeming influence I possess, dining with the governor, hobnobbing with the leading men of Louisiana, whilst John is universally blackguarded as an awful abolitionist. No person has said one word against me, and all have refrained from using his name in vain. . .

As to your prospects, I see as chief justice you ran ahead of your ticket. I doubt not you can be elected as senator. For the chances it is best, though for a firm solid foundation the judgeship is preferable. Still I think I know enough of you to say your mind is made up and like the fellow engaged to some girl goes round and asks advice leaves room for but one side to the question. I advise you then to go to the senate, be moderate and take the chances.

If they find me advising with you and John, two desperate Blacks, they will suspect me of treason and hang me. No, this is not so, we discuss all public questions here with fairness. Louisiana is not ultra. She has property valued at four hundred millions of dollars which is all based on slave labor. It is no new open question to them; they must be prejudiced in favor of their interests, and I know and often assert that such persons as you and John are not inclined to molest this property. I state your position thus: in Kansas the party known as Democratic did endeavor to impose slavery on Kansas and resorted to extraneous force and fraud. This led to force and violence on the other side, and then, as in all similar contests for colonizing, the North beat, because she has one hundred who can emigrate where the South has one. I understand the moderate Republicans to be opposed to slavery in the abstract, to its extension, but not committed to its molestation where it now exists. I hope the party will not attempt the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law, and that courts and legislatures will not take ultra ground, individuals and newspapers may, but judges and legislatures cannot without committing whole communities.

The relation between master and slave cannot be changed without utter ruin to immense numbers, and it is not sure the negro would be benefitted. If John had not signed that Helper book he could have been elected and would have had a fine chance of showing fairness and manliness at a time of crisis. As it is now he can only growl over expenses and waste; that the Devil himself cannot stop.

Louisiana will not join in any South Carolina measure, but her people and representatives are nervous on the nigger question, and I have to be on my guard all the while as Ohio is looked on as a regular Bogey. Bragg and others here know me to be national, and they back me up too strong, so that I am coaxed and begged not to leave them. I know this sentiment to be sincere and the professors begged me by all the considerations possible to stand by the Institution, as they think that I can make it successful and famous. If too by being here, with such relatives as you and John, I could also do something to allay fears and apprehensions which I believe unfounded I could do patriotic service. Yet the itching for change and adventure makes me strongly inclined to go to London. My life here would settle down into a plain, easy berth.

The Democratic Party will try to keep Kansas out by manoeuvre, but I take it if a fair square vote can be had Kansas must be admitted as she is. I shall be glad to see your name as senator. I dined yesterday with Governor Moore, to-day with the attorney-general, so you see I am in the land of clover as well as molasses.

In his Memoirs, Sherman gives a summary account of his trip to Baton Rouge in the interests of the Seminary and relates an interesting story of how he made known his views on slavery to a gathering of public men.

During our first term many defects in the original act of the Legislature, were demonstrated, and, by the ad vice of the Board of Supervisors, I went down to Baton Rouge during the session of the legislature to advocate and urge the passage of a new bill, putting the institution on a better footing. Thomas O. Moore was then Governor, Bragg was a member of the Board of Public Works, and Richard Taylor was a senator. I got well acquainted with all of these, and with some of the leading men of the state, and was always treated with the greatest courtesy and kindness.

In conjunction with the proper committee of the legislature, we prepared a new bill, which was passed and approved on the 7th of March, 1860, by which we were to have a beneficiary cadet for each parish, in all fifty-six, and fifteen thousand dollars annually for their maintenance; also twenty thousand dollars for the general use of the college. During that session we got an appropriation of fifteen thousand dollars for building two professors’ houses, for the purchase of philosophical and chemical apparatus, and for the beginning of a college library. The Seminary was made a State Arsenal, under the title of State Central Arsenal, and I was allowed five hundred dollars a year as its superintendent.

These matters took me several times to Baton Rouge that winter, and I recall an event of some interest, which must have happened in February. At that time my brother, John Sherman, was a candidate, in the national House of Representatives, for speaker, against Bocock, of Virginia. In the South he was regarded as an “abolitionist,” the most horrible of all monsters; and many people of Louisiana looked at me with suspicion, as the brother of the abolitionist, John Sherman, and doubted the propriety of having me at the head of an important state institution. By this time I was pretty well acquainted with many of their prominent men, was generally esteemed by all in authority, and by the people of Rapides Parish especially, who saw that I was devoted to my particular business, and that I gave no heed to the political excitement of the day. But the members of the state Senate and House did not know me so well, and it was natural that they should be suspicious of a northern man, and the brother of him who was the “abolition” candidate for speaker of the House.

One evening, at a large dinner-party at Governor Moore’s at which were present several members of the Louisiana legislature, Taylor, Bragg, and the Attorney-general Hyams, after the ladies had left the table, I noticed at Governor Moore’s end quite a lively discussion going on, in which my name was frequently used; at length the governor called to me, saying: “Colonel Sherman, you can readily understand that, with your brother the abolitionist candidate for speaker, some of our people wonder that you should be here at the head of an important state institution. Now, you are at my table, and I assure you of my confidence. Won’t you speak your mind freely on this question of slavery, that so agitates the land? You are under my roof, and, what ever you say, you have my protection.”

I answered: “Governor Moore, you mistake in calling my brother John Sherman, an abolitionist. We have been separated since childhood — I, in the army, and he pursuing his profession of law in northern Ohio; and it is possible we may differ in general sentiment, but I deny that he is considered at home an abolitionist; and, although he prefers the free institutions under which he lives to those of slavery which prevail here, he would not of himself take from you by law or force any property whatever, even slaves.”

Then said Moore: “Give us your own views of slavery as you see it here and throughout the South.”

I answered in effect that “the people of Louisiana were hardly responsible for slavery, as they had inherited it; that I found two distinct conditions of slavery, domestic and field hands. The domestic slaves, employed by the families, were probably better treated than any slaves on earth; but the condition of the field-hands was different, depending more on the temper and disposition of their masters and overseers than were those employed about the house;” and I went on to say that, were I a citizen of Louisiana, and a member of the legislature, I would deem it wise to bring the legal condition of the slave more near the status of human beings under all Christian and civilized governments. In the first place, I argued that, in sales of slaves made by the state, I would forbid the separation of families, letting the father, mother, and children, be sold together to one person, instead of each to the highest bidder. And, again, I would advise the repeal of the statute which enacted a severe penalty for even the owner to teach his slave to read and write, because that actually qualified property and took away a part of its value; illustrating the assertion by the case of Henry Sampson, who had been the slave of Colonel Chambers, of Rapides Parish, who had gone to California as the servant of an officer of the army, and who was afterward employed by me in the bank at San Francisco. At first he could not write or read, and I could only afford to pay him one hundred dollars a month; but he was taught to read and write by Reilley, our bank-teller, when his services be came worth two hundred and fifty dollars a month, which enabled him to buy his own freedom and that of his brother and his family.

What I said was listened to by all with the most pro found attention; and when I was through, some one I think it was Mr. Hyams struck the table with his fist, making the glasses jingle, and said, “By God, he is right!” and at once he took up the debate, which went on, for an hour or more, on both sides with ability and fairness. Of course, I was glad to be thus relieved, be cause at the time all men in Louisiana were dreadfully excited on questions affecting their slaves, who constituted the bulk of their wealth, and without whom they honestly believed that sugar, cotton, and rice, could not possibly be cultivated. . .

At the end of the time in which Sherman was to make his decision he concluded, that since his family so desired it, he would accept the London position. To his wife’s brother, Thomas Ewing Jr., he wrote: “I confess I sever the relations between myself and present associates with deep regret. Their behavior in all things has been frank, manly and generous.” He then began preparations looking toward the selection of his successor, but the Board of Supervisors urged him not to decide finally until he had visited Ohio to see the officials of the London company and looked more closely into the merits of the projected enterprise.


New Orleans, La., Feb. 21, 1860.

Dear General: Dr. Smith has finished his report and bill, which though a medley of old and new ideas, maybe falling within the parable of new cloth in old garments, I was forced to assent to as the best compromise. As it stands, “A Seminary of Learning and Military Academy,” possessed in fact of military organization, it may (by keeping that idea clear and distinct be fore you) be made to fulfill your sanguine hopes.

At all events I see no reason why it should not. The report and bill were to be printed, and as the senate had dispersed to Thursday I came down to see if I could not pick up a tailor and shoemaker — and pay up a few small bills owed here. I have paid the bills but as yet have not heard of a tailor or shoemaker willing to come. I must return to Baton Rouge to-morrow, but will in the meantime continue to look for tailors who do not seem indigenous to your otherwise fertile soil.

I have also opened communication with Mrs. Sherman, by telegraph, and she is so strongly in favor of the London project that I must decide. This is my last day of grace, and I must, as the case stands, choose the London project, but as I told you I will do all I can to give you a successor better than myself, and use any influence my acquaintance with Bragg, Colonel Taylor, and others may give to secure to the Seminary all the help that this legislature can grant. I have in my mind two gentlemen, one named Trowbridge, who married in Savannah — resigned and is now in the Coast Survey Office, who graduated head of his class some ten years ago. Also Captain Stone who is now I fear in Sonora, Mexico. I have written to Buell, advising each to apply for my vacancy, and to send credentials, which however they need not tender, as their records are perfect.

If the legislature appropriate you should have a superintendent, but if it make a shabby appropriation you could so manage this term to save the cost of that officer. I propose to hold on till you can spare me, but would like to get off about April i, so that I could spend a few days in Ohio, before again embarking in the stormy sea of finance. I confess I make this step in doubt, and the strong preference of my family is all that turns the scale in my mind. I therefore announce to you my determination, and will give you an official document as soon as I return to the Seminary.


New Orleans, La., February 21, 1860.

. . . I write to General Graham that the day has arrived, and that as the case now stands I must choose London. I really feel sorry. General Graham’s whole soul was rapt up in the success of this college, and he seems to feel that I am essential to it. Would I accept he would make up the difference from his own purse; indeed he made such an offer to the governor but I would not listen to it. The success of the institution depends on the parents of the boys.

There are many good men to replace me but none seems to be at hand. General Graham almost associated a Providence with us, the deep affection for you by his sister, the confidence in me by his dead brother, united with the accident of my application made him believe it, a special Providence; and now he sees that Providence don’t control it. But enough of this.


Baton Rouge, Feb. 21, 1860.

Dear Sir: . . . I have had but little conversation with Major Sherman relative to the Seminary, my time during the sitting of the legislature being so constantly occupied with business in my new sphere, that I am too much wearied when I get from the State House to think of anything but rest. The Major has been ab sent in the city two days, which I did not know until yesterday. . . I went to the Harney House to invite him to take a room at my house, as I had a comfortable one, and would have him with me, where I could talk to him at my leisure, and will invite him as soon as he re turns to do so, and will do all I can to induce him to remain at the head of the Seminary.

I do not feel disposed to make myself responsible with others for the $5,000 salary, as, if it were necessary for the Board of Supervisors to give the amount to retain him, and I should be in favor of it, it might be supposed or charged that I was so, from the fact that I have guaranteed to him the amount.

With the amount now on hand and that, that Dr. Smith hopes to have appropriated, we can afford to give the Major an additional one thousand dollars which I trust will retain him, but I would agree to the five thousand dollars sooner than lose him, and have no doubt the Board would vote it. . .


New Orleans, Feb. 23, 1860.

My Dear Major: Allow me to introduce to you my nephew, Master Stephen R. Proctor, who desires to become a member (a distinguished one I hope) of your Military Academy. If he could be put in a separate room with my son René, his cousin, without any violation of your internal arrangements, I would consider it a great favor to both of them, as the one would have to remain silent when the other wished to study. Other wise may I request you to select him such roommates as you would give to one of your own sons.

I have written to Capt. G. W. Smith the substance of our conversation of yesterday, with hope that he might be willing to become your successor for he would be the best one that I know of, otherwise he may be able to recommend one to us whose claims he might be happy to support, but I must request you not to be in too great a hurry about carrying out your intention of resigning.


Seminary Of Learning,
March 1, 1860.

Sir: As I have advised you in advance I find myself so placed, as to require me thus to place my resignation in your possession. That no misapprehension may ever occur, I now assert that I am well pleased at all that has occurred here, and that I believe this institution must prosper, as long as the parents of cadets sustain the authority in the maintenance of good discipline. But I am offered a most lucrative post at London, which is so pressed on my acceptance by my family, who depend on me for support, that I cannot disregard their claims. For this reason and no other I tender my resignation, only asking that I may be relieved of duty here about April 1, next. I submit herewith an alternate proposition.


Seminary of Learning, March 1, 1860.

Sir: I send you herewith the resignation concerning which I have already troubled you too much. Had not the relations between us become more than official I should not have complicated this move by an expression of my private views and feelings, but I believe you and all are sincere in the many expressions of respect shown me, and that you are really willing to bear a little with me, and even overlook an inconvenience that no change should occur in the organization of the academic staff at this time.

I therefore admit that personally I should prefer to remain here trusting that, in the progress of this institution, the Board of Supervisors will do all in their power to make me and my family comfortable, but I am so far from them that letters are inadequate to explain these things to them, and pressed as they are by interested parties, they remain so urgent that I am in a measure forced to comply with their claims to my protection.

Yet I have an idea, that if I could go to Ohio, I might change this naked view of the case. The salary offered me abroad is so much better than what this institution can or should offer, that they cannot for a moment make a favorable comparison; but it may be that by going to Baton Rouge, seeing that the bills reported are either the law or have sufficient probability of being so, I might in four or five days reach Ohio, and if possible return with my family by the close of March. In which [case] I should be most willing to remain and abide the fate of the Seminary, be it fully successful or otherwise. On this score I should ask no guarantee or promise of any kind, but place myself where I now am.

I am fully conscious that I may utterly fail in this move [because] our people have an utter dread of the yellow-fever and other epidemics of the South, not so much for themselves as for children, but I do believe if my family could stay here a few years, this prejudice would wear away, and then I could have that conscious faith that would enable me to devote all my time, energy, and experience to my real duty here. But you know full well how disturbing it is to reside in one place, with a family in another place ever disturbed by fears and anxieties however ill founded.

If therefore you in your individual capacity will con sent to my thus leaving, I will start early next week, satisfy myself at Baton Rouge of the situation of our interests there and thence proceed to Ohio. If possible I will return with expedition bringing my family or I will send you prompt and emphatic word as to my absolute determination — all within March — and in either event I will return, to turn over my charge here to a successor. In the meantime you and others could cast about for a successor or arrange for my final departure. If this be not entirely, fully, and absolutely satisfactory I beg you will treat this as private — and put the formal resignation herewith before the Board for their final action. I need not add that I could any day close my accounts and hand my cash balance to any party appointed to receive it.


Seminary Of Learning, March 5, 1860.

Sir: Agreeably to the terms of your letter of the first instant I propose on tomorrow to avail myself of the permission therein contained, to visit Ohio and shall . . . proceed to Baton Rouge, satisfy myself as to the actual state of our business at the capital, thence to New Orleans, as the speediest mode of reaching the north, thence without delay by railway to Lancaster, Ohio, which I expect to reach by the fourteenth instant. Two or five days at furthest will suffice to come to an absolutely final decision on the points heretofore ex plained, the result of which will be telegraphed to Governor Moore and thence sent to you. In the meantime it would be well for you and all the supervisors to do all you deem prudent in advance to select a proper person to succeed me, in the event of the vacancy occurring.

I herewith enclose you an order on S. W. Henarie with whom I deposit my accounts current in full to date. I have also caused an approximate inventory to be taken of all property, of which in the shape of books, furniture, etc., there are on hand an abundant supply for all 1860 and over.

All accounts are paid up, and there are no outstanding matters save the clothing, which I am informed by telegraph would be sent from New York by the first steamer of March. The bill for clothing will range from $2,500 to $3,000. I deliver to-day to Professor Smith $1,221. I have remitted to the Mechanics’ and Traders’ Bank $3,986; amount of check drawn by you at my request, $2,033, leaving there $1,953.

Therefore there is money enough on hand to pay this bill. It was my purpose to segregate all items of purchase, to see what has been spent for permanent furniture, salaries, board, etc., but the writing, day-book, ledger, press books, and the ten thousand little items of writing require a vast amount of writing. But gradually I advise this labor to be distributed among cadets. Thus I have named Cadet Irwin, as acting quarter master sergeant. Soon we can name an acting sergeant major who will keep the account of delinquencies, thus relieving the superintendent and commandant of a large bulk of labor.

I have endeavored to foresee every possible contingency during my absence.

As to further improvements I have studied the ground, and am satisfied that a rough design, this day handed Professor Smith, will best fulfill our future, and will admit of any amount of enlargements. Nevertheless if the Board of Supervisors prefer, they might in person examine, and prepare a plan and cause all improvements to conform thereto. I advise at the earliest moment a good fence to be made — with two side gates and two handsome front gates — the whole to embrace about twenty-four acres of ground. I think for all fencing and lumber to be used, a good bargain could be made with Dr. Carson who has a sawmill close by, and who would, I am informed, be willing to exchange sawed lumber for timber of which we could furnish an abundance. Killing two birds with one stone viz: Clearing our grounds, and procuring lumber without the payment of money. This bargain should be made at once and the mill started in cutting fencing inch boards — five thousand feet, one foot wide and ten thousand feet, six inches wide, cypress or chinquepin posts should be contracted for four hundred posts — eight feet long, one or two sawed faces.

I will most certainly return in March, and if I resume my duties as superintendent and am charged with the contemplated improvements, it would be a large step, to have the foregoing provided in advance. I have gone over these points fully to Mr. Vallas, and Smith, and believe that no inconvenience or prejudice can result to the Seminary during my absence.


Steamboat Hodges, March 6, 1860.

Dear General: . . . We will reach Baton Rouge by three. I will at once see Dr. Smith and Governor Moore, and then take post at the wharf boat, calculating in my mind the quickest chance of reaching Ohio — by going to New Orleans or back to Vicksburg. If I could reach the city by daylight tomorrow I could be at Lancaster next Saturday — otherwise I will be caught by Sunday at Cincinnati. I will not attempt to write you from Baton Rouge unless it be a P.S. to this letter, taking it for granted that you will hear from there from other parties.

I was a little disconcerted yesterday by two things — Jarreau who has heretofore held out to me his willingness to board me and family until a house could be built, told me very frankly that his wife was unwilling, being fearful Mrs. Sherman would not be satisfied. I then tried Poussin whose house I visited and found very good, but he tells me he intends to move in very shortly. The only other chance is the house of Biossat — now occupied by McNight. It is rather in a tumble down condition good enough for summer but calculated to give an Ohio lady the horrors. Still I won’t let trifles bar my present movements. If I bring my family I may come by way of New Orleans and bring up all essentials for housekeeping, relying on your hospitality till I find other accommodations. But I do think it would be well in any event to take preliminary steps to procure the lumber, lime, etc., for the two professors’ houses, certain to be built. I am aware that plans, drawings, specifications and estimates should precede any purchases, but still if that saw mill could get to work at once it would facilitate every thing. You may rely on my giving you the quickest possible notice of my final determination by telegraph from Ohio. . .

[P.S.] 8 p.m., Tuesday. Reached Baton Rouge, 4 p.m. Saw Dr. Smith. His bill amended by the House to embrace fifty-one beneficiaries — and fifteen thousand appropriated therefor. Our idea of the University all mistake. In senate the beneficiary opposed on the ground of giving our institution the character of the indigent college, but it passed by the casting vote of the lieutenant-governor, is now the law. I am perfectly willing. The Arsenal Bill will pass if reached but no appropriation will be made for the present use of arms. I expect to reach New Orleans by 6 a.m. and to start north at 7:30 to reach Cincinnati Friday, and home Saturday. On Monday maybe will again go to Cincinnati and telegraph you or Governor Moore by Wednesday or Thursday. Dr. Smith says I can have the house of Mrs. —— next Robertson’s. If the telegraph announces my coming with family, I shall depend on you some what to help me to temporary quarters. . .


New Orleans, March 7, 1860.

Dear General: . . . Being oppressed with time, and finding myself snug at my old Commissary Office, I am forced to bore you again. In the belief that you may deem it wise and prudent to call the super visors together to organize under the new law and to transact other business I will send you with this a diagram of the mode in which I recommend the improvements to be made. Also a drawing of one style of house, which would work in all our brick, be comfortable and within our estimates. On the whole I advise the use of brick as far as the front buildings are concerned: First to use up stock on hand — to obviate the necessity of buying that much weather boarding, and by using slate a couple of feet above ground it will with good projecting roofs and porches make the walls dry enough. In that case porches all round.

I also left with Christy a rough draft of a good looking house which is larger than this but designed to be wholly of wood. On further reflection I think we had better use the brick. By so doing and by getting Dr. Carson’s mill we could save a big item in building and lay it out in the embellishment of ground. On this point I might enlarge a little — where a little vine creeps by the window side, look for virtue and not vice — where a taste for beauty and fine scenery is inculcated, look for the qualities that adorn society and give stability to a state. I would thus at the Seminary attach much importance to embellishment. Not costly gravelled walks, and artificially trimmed trees, but a general care of the natural features, with enough art to set it off. Our military movements being on right angles, force us to rectangular fences, and road, but subordinate to them may in time be planted walks and paths to suit the shape of the ground. I am satisfied the general group will be most striking by arranging all in lines of parallelism with the main building and each having some part finished of the Tudor style of battlement, so as on its face to connect itself with the center of the picture. Those general ideas of style explain why I have placed the two contemplated professors’ houses symmetrically with the Seminary and it so happens that each falls on high commanding sites. It may be that Professor Vallas would have his a little further back, but I would have it so. This is a matter of much importance and should be well studied by the Board and acted on independently of me, Vallas or anybody else. Only let the decision be made, so that when I return we may go to work.

The last two weeks of March, 1860, were spent by Sherman in Ohio. As the supervisors hoped, he decided not to accept the London position but to return at once to Louisiana. His reasons for the change of mind are given in the following letters.


LANCASTER, OHIO, March 15, 1860.

Dear General: . . . At 5 p.m. of Wednesday, I was seated in the car, and soon whirled along Pontchartrain marshes, out into the pine woods and about 4 a.m. was at Canton, Miss. Then transferring to another train we again whirled along through Mississippi and at 8 p.m. Thursday we reached Jackson, Tenn., just three minutes too late for the cars — a failure caused, the conductor stated, by the watch of the other conductor; but my solution was that he wanted us to spend some money at a friend’s hotel there. Next morning, Friday, we again started at noon were on board the steamboat which ferries the twenty miles from Columbus, Ky. to Cairo. By comparing the various railroad programmes we found our delay at Jackson, Mississippi would cause us a further delay on the Ohio and Mississippi, but by going round by Indianapolis I found we could save time, so I adopted that route, and reached Cincinnati at 11 a.m. One hour too late-but at 4:40 p.m. I took a freight train and reached home Sunday morning by daylight. So in spite of interruptions I made good time. I find Mr. Ewing is in Washington and Roelofson has gone to Europe — thus confusing me somewhat-but as I had made up my mind to treat with one Gibson of Cincinnati a man of real wealth and business quality, I went down to Cincinnati on Tuesday, and saw Mr. Gib son. I found him disinclined to assume any personal responsibility and anxious to put me off till Roelofson’s return. This I would not do, and put the point to him, clear of all secondary matters, that I would not vacate my place in Louisiana [unless] he, Gibson, would pay me $3,750 cash and secure me the remainder of the $15,000. I could sell the 1/10 share put to me for $5,000, thus making $20,000 for two years’ work. Although Gibson was willing to bear his proportion, I am not willing to treat the affair as a corporation and not a partnership, by which each partner is liable personally for all contracts and liabilities. Therefore I notified Gibson that I would return to Louisiana.

Mr. Ewing telegraphs me he will be here to-morrow, Friday, when I will telegraph Governor Moore. My family are all in good health, living comfortably in a house which I hired for them last summer; the lease will not expire till September, and as I have no place fit for them in Louisiana I think I will let them remain here and I will come back myself next week, reaching the Seminary nearly as soon as this letter, provided it be as long on the road as letters usually are.

You may therefore drop the idea of my successor. I will return and will no longer entertain this London proposition — only for Mr. Ewing’s sake I want to see him, before I finally speak positively — but as soon as he comes I will so telegraph to Governor Moore and tell him to write you. By leaving here next Monday or Tuesday I will be at the Seminary several days before the close of March, in time to make up all accounts — and make the first quarterly report. . .


S.S. John Raine, Louisville, Ky.,
March 21, 1860.

Dear General: I have already written you that I have declined the London proposition, and that I retain my place at the Seminary, withdrawing my proposed resignation. I am now en route for Alexandria having left Lancaster Monday. I might be at Vicksburg by railroad the day after tomorrow, but I have taken this boat here and will reach Red River about Thursday next and, I hope, the Seminary the next day — the reason of my taking the boat here is that I have with me a valuable horse that I do not think should or could be safely conveyed without my being along and I am well assured that I am on the swiftest boat going down. The “John Raine” is the regular New Orleans packet.

I hope the Board of Supervisors will have organized under the new law, that it will have instituted the measures to build the two professors’ houses and the fencing so that the summer will find them well advanced. I do not bring my family because there is no house for them, and because I think they will be better to remain in Ohio till Fall. I shall count on remaining in Louisiana all summer in place of this opportune leave of absence.

I received at Lancaster your letter enclosing the copy of your correspondence with Governor Moore, which you will remember you showed me in your letter book and the Governor’s reply. Still these copies were most acceptable to my friends and show them the strong inducements I had for choosing Louisiana in preference to London. . .


Louisiana State Seminary
of Learning and Military Academy,
Alexandria, March 30, 1860.

Dear General: You see I am back, one day behind time, caused by the boat’s delaying that long in picking up freight along shore. Of course I want to see you, but Mr. Smith and the Doctor are under engagement to visit the ladies at Judge Boyce’s, and I always encourage that spirit in young gentlemen.

I have just come from the declamations for this week, which show fine progress; also the new uniforms look fine. The young gentlemen are as proud as peacocks and have hailed my return as though I were their grand father. I had to make them a speech to-night, which has filled up the gap of my absence, and I may now work again. This is the end of the quarter-I must write to the parent of each cadet, and must settle all accounts, etc., so that next week I shall be busy.

Dr. Smith and Mr. Manning were out to-day and told me that the Board of Supervisors would meet next Saturday. If you can reorganize on that day I will endeavor to be ready with all papers and reports they may call for.

The clothing has come, fifty-one suits of cloth and fifty-one of flannel, hats, caps, and many spare articles, amounting to $3,000. Have you that money in New Orleans? We have here, Smith says, about $1,800 more than enough to pay all salaries, mess accounts, etc. Write me on this point also. Did you get my account current and vouchers left at Henarie’s? . . .


Alexandria, March 30, 1860.

. . . I wrote you from Louisville and Memphis. The boat was elegant and landed me at ten o’clock Wednesday night on the wharf boat at Red River arid at two o’clock same night the boat “Morning Light” came along, and Clay and I embarked, reaching Alexandria yesterday at sundown. I rode him out last evening. He is, you will be pleased to hear, in fine condition well pleased with the trip and has no dread of steam boats. He had a fine opportunity to study steam engine, and is now familiar with all the parts.

The cadets seemed glad to see me, and in their new uniforms they looked finely. Everything has worked well in my absence, and now I can begin to provide for the future. I shall be pretty busy next week in making up the accounts and sending the results to parents. The Board of Supervisors have only awaited my return, and will soon meet and consider and order the improvements, enlargements, etc., embracing the new professors’ houses. Of course, the style and general plans of these will rest with me, and I will try and get as good houses as possible for the money. With tri-weekly mails and no telegraphs we are as much out of the world here as a hermit could desire.

I find the trees in full leaf, the dogwood in blossom, and the season about a month in advance of Ohio. The sun is agreeably warm, but the evenings are cool enough for a small fire.

The wedding of Captain Lindsey and daughter of Judge Boyce came off some time since and Miss Ann Patterson is now at the plantation, twenty-four miles off. She has visited the Seminary and two of the professors were so pleased with her, that they are going to ride up tomorrow. I shall avail myself of some opportunity to call when she comes to Alexandria. Mrs. Isaacs is to start for Washington tomorrow and I will ride in to see her for a few minutes and as it will afford me an opportunity to register this letter, I enclose a hundred dollar bank bill. I can’t get any drafts on the North here now. This is a risky mode of remitting money, but I must make it. Give my love to all the children and folks at Lancaster. . .


Reorganization under the new law. More work for Sherman. His plans for his family to come south. Meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Faculty resolutions on the military system. Dr. Vallas’s Memoir. Circular letter to police juries. “Effort to undermine the military and utilitarian character of the school.” Faculty amusements. House building plans. May Party. Declamations. Sherman’s lectures on history. St. Ange cheated in a horse trade. John Sherman’s New York speech. Political matters. Plans for the summer vacation. Graham objects to the attack on the Seminary policy. Bragg’s apprehensions on account of the Seminary. Student mischief. The Mose Chicken Case. Difficulty of obtaining supplies. Circulars of information is sued. National politics in 1860.

Immediately after Sherman’s return from Ohio the Seminary was reorganized under the new law. A new Board of Super visors was appointed and a new policy was inaugurated, minimizing to some extent the military and scientific work, while emphasizing the classical. No definite plan of academic government and no definite curriculum was agreed upon before the end of the session, and, as the correspondence shows, the uncertainty was somewhat demoralizing.


Baton Rouge, April 4, 1860.

Dear Sir: Yours of the 30th ultimo advising me of your return to the Seminary was received this morning, and am sure all concerned are as happy as I am at the event, and trust we can make it to your interest to remain and render your family (if they accompany you) comfortable and happy. . .

Trusting the condition of affairs at the Seminary may continue to improve, and the result of your labors prove satisfactory to the whole country, I remain, your friend and obedient servant.


New Orleans, April 7, 1860.

My Dear Major: I have just received the enclosed letter from Captain G. W. Smith, which speaks for itself. I agree with him in his observations. In default of Smith, Lovell would be a very proper man, provided you still intend to resign, but I hope you will conclude to stay a while longer.

My son seems to be more and more pleased with your institution, although at times a little homesick, but that is natural and I expected it. . . When will your second term commence? My second son will probably enter then. . .


Louisiana State Seminary,
Alexandria, April 12, 1860.

Dear General: I have been pretty busy in obeying the orders of the Board of Supervisors and of the Academic Board in writing constantly according to their dictation, and last night learned with some surprise that I was to continue to act as treasurer, bookkeeper, etc., whilst Henarie was to hold the money. I have been in town all day to find out what is meant. I can’t see the system, though Dr. Smith insists on its being carried out and expects me to try the system. I can see very well that all moneys appropriated by the legislature and that arising from the tuition fees of cadets, should be appropriated by the Board of Supervisors, and, as it will be paid in large amounts [it] could be held in the bank at New Orleans without risk and without cost, whereas as I now look at it you are to pay Henarie six hundred dollars for that whilst I am as heretofore to ask for money to pay the cadets’ wants, supply them and keep the accounts.

Here is a work that employs about a dozen at West Point, at least three at Lexington, Va., and yet I must do it all. I can do it all, not thoroughly but good enough, if the treasurer resides here and relieves me of the necessity of taking care of so many little items of books, clothing, and every species of things needed by cadets. If the institution be pressed by want all of us can do extra work, but this six hundred dollars now is absolute wastage, and negatives the idea of poverty. Still that is none of my business and from present appearances I see I will have my hands full.

The atmosphere has changed since I went north, and I will find out its drift. I think I see where it lies, and I think I divine your plan of defence. Judging from the personal nature of your colleagues and their fondness of disputation I only say that if their intention be to submine our regulations, you can by encouraging discussion on the earlier passages cause them to desist from a close examination of clause by clause, and have them generally adopted as originally agreed on by the committee appointed to draft them. . .

If you can get the regulations substantially adopted, and adjourn with an order for their publication, and an agreement as to the arrangements of the terms, I will be willing to go on keeping the individual accounts of cadets through this term, but if my powers are substantially curtailed, or any overt disposition made to complicate matters too much I may have cause to regret my sudden refusal of the Roelofson proposal. I have abiding faith in you — and knowing that you can prevent their meeting for mischief now, that without you they cannot act at all, and that you can command a quorum always, I will continue to have faith.

I do think the new fence ought to be built to keep out hogs and cattle, and because I made a distinct point be fore the committee at Baton Rouge. Were you to make the want of fences next year a cause of application for more money it would be detected. Still if you have postponed it till after June, I will give Ledoux notice that at the close of April, I will discharge one and may be two of his negroes, as all wood-cutting and carrying has ceased, and Henry with occasional assistance can sweep the galleries and empty the water. I will await the result of your Saturday meeting, and conform thereto.

Smith tells me you are down on him for gallanting. I ought to take the blame. At the wedding he appointed a revisit to the party, and on Sunday at church he asked my leave to accompany them to Mrs. Flower and Dr. Bailey. Miss Patterson is the daughter of a particular friend of mine in St. Louis. I gave Smith permission because I was glad to see him attentive to that party. Not an iota of duty was lost. Boyd heard his class. I drilled and had evening parade and he was home by tattoo, and if we must conform to every rumor we will lead a devil of a life here. If we do our work the public ought to be well satisfied. I think had Miss Patterson been of Rapides Parish, Smith would not have been complained of. . .


Louisiana State Seminary,
April 15, 1860.

. . . This is Sunday. Some of the cadets have gone to church, some fishing and the balance are walking about. The Board of Supervisors are now sitting in a large room only two removed from me, and I hear them wrangling and quarreling over points of discipline and instruction which they have been now discussing for two days.

They have authorized me to make plans and estimates for the two houses. And I expect a builder to be out any moment to help me estimate. The Board approve my selection of the site for the two new houses, and I believe the one selected for ours the best, being on a fine high point, distant from the college building yet over looking its grounds. There is a fine spring near by. The weather continues warm and excessively dry and all are praying for rain to bring up the corn and cotton which has been planted for a month.

I have your several letters asking the price of servants, etc., but I cannot answer as all servants here are scarce and most everybody owns their own. I suppose ten dollars a month will hire a black woman but it is impossible to hire a strong man fit for field work at less than $25 a month and board. If Emily and Gertrude come with you we will still need a man and maybe a black girl, as white girls won’t work down here long. Still we can agree to pay them a bonus if they stay a year. But as I wrote you there is no chance of your coming down for a long time, may be November.

Dr. Smith one of the supervisors, a physician of long standing, says that October and November are the sickly months. July and August though hot are perfectly healthy. So that he favors those months as the vacation. So great is the variation of opinion that I let them fight it out as it is proper that they who have lived here all their lives should determine the question. I hope to get the builders to work in the course of a month but all such things proceed so slowly here that I doubt if we can finish this year. Nobody seems to pay any attention to time or appointments. . .

Red River too has already begun to fall and soon will be navigated only by the smallest kind of boats and it will be next to impossible to procure anything from New Orleans, the only point where furniture can be had. The stores in Alexandria contain nothing of the kind. Indeed California in its worst days had a better market than this country. There are no farmers here. The planters produce only cotton and sugar on a large scale and deem it beneath their dignity to raise anything for market. Some of the negroes raise a few sweet potatoes, corn, etc., which they sell about Christmas time, but all the year else everything must come from New Orleans. We are now paying for corn one dollar and ten cents a bushel and hay costs about forty-eight dollars a ton. Everything is proportional, so that I doubt if my four thousand dollars will more than barely maintain us.


Louisiana State Seminary
of Learning and Military Academy,
Alexandria, April 17, 1860.

Dear Sir: . . . The reason I am particular about this [payment] is that I sent the order for clothing through a friend of mine in New York to the most responsible clothiers, utter strangers to me, and directed him to guarantee payment on the receipt of the goods. I know that New Yorkers are punctilious on such points, and when this bill is paid our credit must stand on its own bottom. It would be better to have clothing come from New Orleans, but as you remarked an order sent to New Orleans would be sent to New York and we might as well do that ourselves. On the supposition that the first bill of books will be paid I will send them the measures of our un-uniformed cadets . . . and limit our efforts at uniform and military instruction to that number.

I went to town this morning and put into the hands of the printer, a circular letter, 45 embodying the resolution of the Board with other parts by myself which substantially covers the points of your letter. . . These circular letters will be ready Thursday and mailed by me in town. I have a list of parishes and will prepare the envelopes before I go in. I think I had better withhold such circular letters from the police juries to which I have already written, urging them to confirm the appointees by Governor Wickliffe now here, lest it produce confusion.

Madame Delahoussaye has already sent the enclosed paper, which, though informal, evidently is a committal on the part of the members of the police jury of St. Mary’s. I think I must consider him [her son] as a beneficiary till the Board act. I will write to her to get the Board formally to vote in June for her son, to have the resolution authenticated by president and secretary and their signatures certified by the parish clerk under seal.

If the session be as now fixed, and I don’t wish to disturb it, we will need summer clothing-white jackets, vests, and pants with straw hats would be neat and be coming, but a well fitting unbleached linen sack would be better, and more appropriate, but not as becoming. Still I will not presume to order anything more with out positive approval beforehand of the Board of Supervisors. I do think that part of the cadets’ money, not specially set apart for tuition, board, washing, and medical attendance should be absolutely under my control, and a margin left over for a surplus which we must have on hand. I see Colonel Smith 46 has on hand eight thousand dollars of stores, and he is within two or three days of a market whereas we are months off.

I think I had better wait till after your meeting of the 28th, before I estimate for funds needed to carry them through August, but I will see that all know the present resolution that they may write home about it. Robertson assailed me furiously about it in town to-day, and I had to ward off his blow by telling him that the matter was absolutely beyond my control, and the act of his own townsmen. I shall expect you out with the ladies on Saturday.

There was some opposition in the faculty as well as among the supervisors to Graham’s plan of vesting all authority in the superintendent, to the military system, and to the emphasis given to scientific studies. Soon after the passage of the new law by the legislature the faculty passed the following resolutions which are explained in part by the extracts taken from a Memoir written in 1864 by Dr. Vallas.


RESOLVED: that the Academic Board respectfully ask the Board of Supervisors to define the true nature of “The Seminary of Learning and Military Academy,” according to the recent act of the legislature-whether it is merely a military institute, designed for the promotion of military and scientific knowledge, or shall the literary department be put on an equality with the scientific, with the military department added only for the sake of discipline and order?

RESOLVED: that the Academic Board respectfully re quest the Board of Supervisors to define, in general terms, under the recent law of the legislature, the relations and duties which exist between the superintendent and other professors.


Of all the professors it was only Professor Vallas who constantly refused to be assigned to any command, to teach any military branch or to have any commission. On account of this refusal, he was often charged with throwing impediments into the way of the institution, and had to meet the frowns of the military party.

About the same time an important change took place in the Board of Supervisors. Up to this time the super visors were appointed from all parts of the state. The new Governor Thomas O. Moore took a different course [and] filled all the vacancies in the Board with his neighbors and dependents of this parish, and this he did without regard to qualification; and by doing so he lay open the institution to all the untoward influences of a village neighborhood, which influences soon centered in a single family.

Two important questions soon turned up and agitated the faculty and Board of Supervisors during the first session of the institution. The first was: whether all the professors stood in the light of military subordinates to the superintendent; the second, whether all the professors should wear a uniform or not. The opposition in the faculty was headed by Professor Vallas, in the Board of Supervisors by Mr. Manning; and both questions were decided against the wishes of the military party. . .

The circular printed below is one sent out to the parish police juries by Sherman explaining the meaning of the legislation of 1860, relating to the Seminary. The original is in French. All official notices and reports of the Seminary were printed in both French and English.


Louisiana State Seminary,
April 17, 1860.

Sir: I am directed by the Board of Supervisors to communicate to you their request that in nominating a beneficiary cadet for this institution . . . you make that nomination at your regular meeting in June, with the understanding that the cadet shall enter this institution at the beginning of next session, that is, the first of November, 1860, for it is very important that all cadets enter their classes at the same time. I take this opportunity to say also that it will be well if you will send me the name and address of your candidate in order that I may communicate with him in regard to the text books which he must study and the outfit with which he should provide himself before coming here. If the nomination is made in June, the cadet whom you choose will have time to prepare for admission in November with a better chance of success in his classes, and since his appointment lasts four years, it makes little difference whether the appointment dates from June or from November.

The present session will end about the middle of Au gust. Our classes began on the second day of last January and are so far advanced that a young man coming in now could not successfully keep up with his comrades nor could the professors do justice to him.

Your candidate should be between fifteen and twenty-one years of age, should know how to read and write and should have a knowledge of the fundamental principles of arithmetic. With that foundation he can, during the interval between his nomination and the time for his admission here, easily prepare himself to fulfill the conditions of admission.


Baton Rouge, April 19, 1860.

Dear Sir: Your favor . . . was received this morning, in which you state, “efforts are being made in the Board which if carried into effect will inevitably undermine the military and utilitarian character of the school.” I trust such will not be the case, at least to the extent which you seem to apprehend, as I have under stood there would be no opposition to the military branch of the institution, so it did not interfere with the other important branches of education. These are my views. We may differ as to how far the former may interfere but it seems that some satisfactory and beneficial compromise could be made, and I hope will. I much fear my becoming a member or rather the president of the Board will not add to its usefulness, as my experience in such matters, with but a very limited education, gives me but little confidence. . .

The next letters show Sherman engrossed in routine work, planning for the erection of a dwelling for his family and finding amusement in the horse trading experiences of the Gallic professor, St. Ange.


Seminary, Saturday, April 21, 1860.

Dear General: Pursuant to your emphatic order (the wit of which has not got through St. Ange’s head yet, which you know is not the clearest of our solons here), I conveyed it to Major St. Ange, Smith and Boyd — also Dr. Clarke. Mr. Boyd really has no penchant for such things and preferred to stay, and St. Ange fearing that if Boyd staid and he went an invidious comparison might be instituted between them, he was loth to go, but I found that he had a lingering fear that your emphatic order embraced the payment of twenty-five dollars which from former experience he knew to be the charge for the ladies’ stand. No poor Major was any more befuddled than he was, and knowing that fifty cents was all he had in his pocket I lent Smith twenty dollars and told him to offer St. Ange ten dollars to buy a ticket. Of course I understood that you had provided tickets at the places named.

Well at last Smith, St. Ange and Doctor Clarke sallied forth for the races leaving me with the figuring and Mr. Boyd at his class. The idea of your styling him major, and being a grave and serious general yourself, he did not doubt your power to order him to go to the races and to buy a twenty-five dollar ticket. His little composure was all gone. When at the ferry, it seems Smith met some messenger from you with a note in a lady’s hand writing amounting to a countermand. Smith returned to the Seminary forthwith — the Doctor got back at 4 p.m. and St. Ange not till 8 a.m. to-day, driving a new horse in a neat buggy. It seems he disposed of a little seventy-five dollar tackey and bought horse and buggy for two hundred fifty dollars. He must have bought on credit for he had no money.

Mills came out at last. He and I figured on a good house until we got above our money. We then tried to cut off here and there but at last abandoned it. We then settled on two plans — either of which can be made handsome and good enough for the money — and another better house admitting of enlargement in case it should ever become necessary, substituting in lieu of a wing a temporary frame-kitchen like your negro quarters. I will try and have three plans for your Board next Saturday, and as the committee is absent it might be right and proper that the Board resume the power thus delegated and act themselves. The river is already so low, that I am of opinion that, in building, this year is lost and that if procrastination and delay are necessary here that we had better let the matter take its natural course, and the buildings be finished when they are finished. . .


Louisiana State Seminary,
Alexandria, April 26, 1860.

Dear General: I will send as usual for the mail to-day and I suppose you will expect to hear from me. There is nothing new. All things move along. We have a new cadet, No. 61, Cadet Bogan, nephew of Bogan of Alexandria. I expect the Board on Saturday. I have made plans and elevations of a very good house that Mills will undertake to erect by October 15, at $5,000. As this matter is of much importance and interest maybe, if you have room it would be well to pick him up and bring him out. There are one or two slight modifications in his plan that I would make and his assent should be obtained. It will be cutting close to finish well at our figures. We at one time thought of a plan that would admit of additions and alterations as we became better able, but on reflection I concluded it would be wisest to adhere to the idea of finishing absolutely for the money appropriated, as new wants will arise faster than our means.

As for the treasurership, until you intend to employ assistants to mathematics and English to whom could be assigned the duties of treasurer and librarian, I would prefer to wag along as now, getting Dr. Clarke and the drummer to help me in posting. I don’t think you can waste a cent on any sinecure office. You know in large bills, there is no trouble in paying — it is in the small items which [are] necessarily innumerable.

Some days ago some cadets handed me a subscription-list for a “May party.” I returned it to them because the sums were unequal and too large — from one dollar to five dollars. I explained to a few of the oldest cadets that I would not oppose a moderate May party on a Saturday or maybe of a Friday night after the week’s study was over, but all concerned must be equal, and share alike, and the expense should not exceed a dollar or dollar and half each, but that no further steps should be taken till Saturday that I might submit the financial question to the Board.

Last night Gus Jarreau brought me out a printed copy of the invitation for Friday next two weeks. They are crazy to show their uniforms to the girls and as they have really made good progress in study and drill, and cannot have a party at examination — midsummer &mdashj; I think we had better permit it. I can control the invitations and expense, and see they are proper and moder ate. My opinion is that the studies and military exercises being regular and thorough, relaxation and amusement outside thereof will be salutary. I hope the Board will take this view of it, as it is very important that these cadets when they go forth should be content and enthuiastic in favor of our system. Some may think this wrong but too much study made Jack a dull boy.

Every Friday evening “all hands” attend in the large section room to declaim. After they are through I generally speak half an hour or so on some interesting piece of history. They take great interest in it; next Friday I must in connection with my last, approach and maybe recount the leading events of the Conquest of California. Although not liking a critical audience, if you happen to be here on Friday night, you may be admitted, but if a critical audience ever comes, I’ll produce St. Ange, the orator of our institution.

The elegant Black of St. Ange is a “sell.” After his drive to Judge Boyce’s and back he struck dead lame. St. Ange is bound to have a lawsuit because he bought under warrantee from one Levy of Alexandria and gave his note, negotiable of course, at six months for two hundred fifty dollars. His letter to Levy is a masterpiece -but I doubt much if it produce any other effect than to give him time to transfer his negotiable paper. I would give one hundred dollars to be free to take Levy’s case — put St. Ange on the stand and make him describe his drive to Judge Boyce’s and back — he first described the journey as enough to kill any horse, but now that his horse is lame he insists it was a sweet ride and not enough to hurt a colt. There is plenty of fun in the cause. Tell the lawyers the case is worth five hundred dollars cash.

To his brother, John, Major Sherman wrote in April asking for a copy of a speech made by the former in New York, and “if national I will have it circulated.” John Sherman sent the speech stating that it contained “a good deal of bitterness, natural enough, but which you will not approve.” The speech was not “circulated” but given to the “Southern Rights” member of the faculty — Professor Boyd — among whose papers it was found fifty years later. To his brother and brother-in-law Sherman usually wrote freely on political matters.


Alexandria, La., May 8, 1860.

. . . There is one point which you concede to the Southern States, perfect liberty to prefer slavery if they choose; still, you hit the system as though you had feeling against it. I know it is difficult to maintain perfect impartiality. In all new cases, it is well you should adhere to your conviction to exclude slavery because you prefer free labor. That is your perfect right, and I was glad to see that you disavowed any intention to molest slavery in the district.

Now, so certain and inevitable is it that the physical and political power of this nation must pass into the hands of the free states, that I think you can well afford to take things easy, bear the buffets of a sinking dynasty, and even smile at their impotent threats. You ought not to expect the southern politicians to rest easy when they see and feel their crisis so long approaching, and so certain to come absolutely at hand. . . But this year’s presidential election will be a dangerous one; may actually result in Civil War, though I still cannot believe the South would actually secede in the event of the election of a Republican. . .


Louisiana State Seminary
of Learning and Military Academy,
Alexandria, May 11, 1860.

Dear Tom: I have received one or two Leavenworth papers reminding me of the place, which I have read with interest, and I see that you and McCook are still at work. I hope business goes prosperously; I sup pose the Democratic Party does not love Kansas or its memory, and that some pretext will be sought out and found to keep her out of the Union till after the presidential election. The adjournment of the Convention in Charleston without a platform or nomination looks like a break up of the Democratic Party, and I have my fears of the consequences.

I know that our general government has not the moral or physical power to subdue a rebellion, and should one be attempted by Alabama, South Carolina or other extreme states I fear the consequences. Of course I would advocate the policy of force, for if a state may at its pleasure withdraw, leaving a gap in the seacoast or frontier, the government would not be worth preserving.

People here are somewhat troubled, they regard the Republican Party as hostile to their paramount interests, and their politicians might stir them up to resistance in the case of the election of an extreme Republican. I hope that party will [not] nominate Seward, but take up some man as McLean or Bates, who though Republicans are moderate men. I suppose your political success being based on the Republican success you will go in heart and hand to sustain the Chicago nominee, be he whom he may. John is of course committed beyond hope. That the physical and political power remains with the North is now manifest, but I hope that moderate counsels will prevail until that fact be more fixed and conceded.

I am getting along here very well, we have sixty-two cadets. Vacation is fixed for August 20 to November 1. I think I shall go for Ellen in September and return in October. I have just contracted for a good house to be built by October 15. Our institution is acting up to the expectations of the most sanguine, and the belief is that next year we will have one hundred fifty a number about as great as we can accommodate.

Thus far with the exception of a couple of weeks in April our weather is cool and pleasant. I still wear woolen clothes and sleep under a pair of blankets, but this is unusual and the crops, sugar, cotton, and corn are very backward. . .

The following letters relate to Sherman’s plans in behalf of the Seminary which he wishes carried out during the summer vacation, and to the fear of Bragg and Graham that the new Board of Supervisors will reverse the military and utilitarian policy of the first board.


Louisiana State Seminary, Alexandria,
May 23, 1860.

Dear General: . . . Paid for the straw hats, and all outstanding matters, leaving me enough to carry me till the new instalments are called for from the parents, which I will now take in hand, first having completed “posting” all accounts. Yesterday befell me an accident, which compels me to ask you for a duplicate of the check you sent me for my pay for April. I did not ask for the check as I was waiting for this month to expire so as to get two months at once. But the check you sent me is lost, and lest you may suppose me careless I will explain.

For the first time I succeeded in getting Ledoux to ride over the road. I put your envelope with the checks in my pocket — and rode in with Ledoux, examining the road he wants, which lies to the east and south of his house. A straight line goes I think full three hundred yards to the west of his house. Still we rode over it carefully. I was in town, paid Robertson for hats and other little bills, put the other check (of course not yet endorsed) in an envelope along with receipts and came out at midday taking P. along. We rode along, around and across Rocky Bayou and I only am thankful that I got out with any clothes. My horse left hair enough to mark the trail and among other things lost was this envelope with contents. I have been thinking all day to retrace steps and look for it, but think it would be impossible and therefore I ask simply a duplicate of the same check. I will write a note to Mr. Davis, who knows my signature perfectly to caution his cashier against the original, should it have fallen into wrong hands, and a forged endorsement attempted.

You need be in no hurry about this, but as you have occasion to send to Whittington for other checks, ask his signature to the duplicate. Be sure to write “Duplicate” in red ink if you have it across the face of the check.

Whittington spoke to me about escorting his daughter north this summer. I don’t know that I accepted it with sufficient vim. It would afford me great pleasure to do that for him-and there is a fitness in it. Mrs. Sherman is a particular friend of the Lady Prioress, your sister.

Lancaster is on the way to Washington and I must go to Washington to make a strong quota of arms for 1861, which I think Governor Moore and the Adjutant-general Grivot have promised us positively. I have asked the governor to place in my possession the usual requisitions and receipts, or to commission me to receipt for the quota of arms of 1861 and I will during vacation, without charge to state or Seminary go to Washington and try to get them in time for our November opening. I must go to New York about clothing.

Therefore I can escort Miss Whittington, with perfect safety and without additional expense. Of course every step of the journey is as familiar to me as the road hence to your house — indeed more so. I will not how ever be able to leave till a week or so after cadets are gone as I take it then there will be many things for me to see to, and everybody else will run at the drop of the curtain. Vallas may be excepted.


Tyrone Plantation, May 26, 1860.

Dear Sir: . . . As to the “satisfactory and beneficial compromise” which you suggest, all compromises are temporary expedients, and I never have seen a temporary expedient resorted to that did not result in permanent trouble. When a thing is right adhere to it as right, and you avoid much trouble. In the case under our consideration, a very full Board, with two dissenting voices, determined that this school should be “a literary and scientific school, under a military system of government, on a program and plan similar to that of the Virginia Military Institute.” The public sentiment of the state has sanctioned this, the voice of the legislature has ratified it, every application for professorship in it was made with a distinct knowledge that this was to be its character; and because this was to be its character, is it right, proper, just, in any sense whatever, that a constant warfare of side blows should be kept up against the system adopted, thus forever keeping the minds of these most intimately connected with it, and most immediately interested in the institution, in a state of doubt and uncertainty? If things are to be constantly changed, how is there to be any stability? What is the use of the shadow of anything if there be no sub stance to it?

The circumstance to which I had most particular reference in my letter of 16th ult. and which incited me to that letter, was the effort made, and still pending, in the Board to declare that these professors who do not teach any purely military branch are not under the military government of the superintendent, but stand to him only in the relation of professors to a president of an ordinary college, coupled with a right of their “instructing” the superintendent to do a thing, thus creating two kinds of power, and two kinds of government in one institution.

I do not apprehend that you and I differ at all in our “views” as to what shall be taught in the school. I desire to have everything taught that is taught at the Virginia School, which comprehends everything necessary to a useful, practical education. In addition to what is taught there I would have Spanish taught here, as being both a utility and an accomplishment, but I would have neither Greek nor Hebrew taught here (neither being taught there), at least until the educational wants of the people of the state require it, because, useful to but few, they take too much time from studies of greater utility. There are plenty of other schools where those can go who desire to acquire a finished classical education. There is no school in the state, and but few out of it, of the utilitarian character that we desire to give to this one, where those arts and sciences shall be taught which are of practical use in the every day employments of life, together with a fair degree of useful literature.

Still in deference to the wishes and opinions of the few, the professor of English and ancient languages is required to teach Greek to those who desire it; yet in an institution where there is a regular routine of studies, duties, and hours, optional studies, as a part of the course, are impracticable. They may be pursued in private, but unavoidably throw everything out of gear if attempted in the course. Hence the Professor of ancient languages advises that Greek be either made compulsory on all alike, or else omitted altogether. English and Latin are enough for one man to teach. . . How many of the boys of Louisiana want to learn Greek? or will go to an institution at all where they will be compelled to study it?

What I am solicitous about, however, is that the classic studies should not be given a preponderance over the scientific, and that the military system of government for the institution should be clearly and entirely maintained. This thing of elevating the standard of education in our state, giving it a utilitarian character, and making it attractive and attainable at home, has long occupied my thoughts — the past five years of my life have been devoted to it — it has been the subject of a good deal of study and of considerable correspondence with me. . .


Lafourche Near Thibodaux,
June 14, 1860.

My Dear Sherman: Your letter has been too long without a reply, but procrastination steals on us imperceptibly. My time at home has been in fragments only for the whole year, and not having been accustomed to manage my own business by a proxy it annoys me no little. Even now I am worrying over matters of detail so as to have things ready that I may leave home for a few weeks for my health. A short trip to the mountains after five years here is advised for me. By 14th July I shall be off to be absent two months.

Parts of your letter caused me pain, for I clearly foresee the downfall of the Seminary if Smith succeeds. All such efforts under abstract theorists have gone down with the curses of their patrons and a loss of the endowments. On the contrary I never had a doubt of perfect success under practical common sense men. I fear that Smith is backed by Governor Moore, and though both of them may mean well, neither has any knowledge of education or mental training; but they are governed by abstract theories which no reasoning can reach. Nothing ever brought Smith to yield as far as he did last winter but down right abuse from some half dozen of your friends at Taylor’s table. Taylor and Goode both told him plainly they would take active measures to abolish the whole thing if he did not give up his University theories.

I pray that you may be successful for your own sake, and because I believe it the only institution which will succeed in this country. Friend Graham writes me he has suggested my name to the governor for the appointment of supervisor. I believe it will not succeed. Where Dr. Smith got his authority for saying I would not accept I do not know. Neither to him nor any other man did I ever say so. Upon the contrary, I thought the governor ought to have offered me the appointment when the legislature with so much unanimity made it a “Military Academy.” I would then have accepted, in deed desired it. But no opinion was ever expressed to anyone on the subject. Nothing could have induced me to appear in the light of seeking a position of honor.

Now I doubt if I could consistently accept. Holding two offices — trifles it’s true — in my parish — Levee Inspector and School Director — my time is all occupied.

If you yet have any organization or definite regulations let me hear. The commencement and end of your academic year, times of examinations, vacations, if any, etc. Our police jury gave my young friend Perkins the appointment from this parish. I don’t know that they will send you any notice. The note I enclosed him is official from the president of the jury.

I have heard nothing as yet from the old Battery. When in Washington this summer I will see Col. Craig and try to effect the object.

When in New Orleans in May last I met by accident with our old friend Steptoe. Sadly changed, poor fellow, and still more sadly situated. He was on his way home from Cuba, where he had spent the winter nursing a charming wife, far gone with the consumption and he is himself a sad victim to the same insidious disease. It was a sad but pleasant meeting, so unexpected to both of us. He has resigned.

I will write to Friend Graham soon.

The student outbreak of February did not end such troubles. Toward the close of the first session Sherman was forced to solve a problem involving the peculiar student code of honor. There were no further serious troubles during this session.


Louisiana State Seminary,
Alexandria, June 16, 1860.

Sir: It is proper I should announce to you my pro posed course in relation to the affairs at the spring. The wasting of water, the ducking the negro, and hiding his buckets, are small things in themselves, but still if allowed cadets will let who pleases them take water and no body else. Next with regard to stable, houses, wood, and all other Seminary property. Obstructing the servant was a “violence;” the perpetrators should be punished, but the cadets think it is mean to tell on each other.

Two are dismissed not for that act simply, but be cause they are in all scrapes and don’t tell the truth. I have come to a new set who won’t tell because it is thought mean to tell on one another. Campbell and Ringgold now are willing to tell, but I don’t want the facts from them, but first from Stafford, next from Hillan and so on in order. Stafford admits he was there, knows all about it but won’t tell. He is in arrest. There are no disputed facts, but simply our wheels are locked, he will not tell. I have again and again explained to him the inevitable consequence but he goes farther and says even if his father advise to the contrary he will not tell. Unless you order otherwise after giving his father full notice he too must go. I have given Hillan notice that unless Stafford tell, he must, that I must know the truth be it better or worse than I conceive, and that the perpetrators must bear that measure of punishment they deserve for obstructing the operations of the Mess Hall, and for disobedience of orders, in not answering pertinent questions.

My orders on the 6th of June published on parade and well discussed in the “Mose Chicken Case” were in these words: “The superintendent will call on no cadet to expose the little peccadillos of his fellow, but when these peccadillos amount to violence, breaking the laws of the state, and insults to superiors, the case is different and it should be the pride of every cadet to help and check these things, for they aim at a destruction of the institution itself. There is a wide difference in the two classes of cases. Older and better informed are now cautioned against being drawn into the custom of concealing real wrongs and outrages, because it looks like ‘tattling.’ Mischievous cadets will try to establish this rule, because it will shelter them in their mischief.”

The rule is now established, and the question arises shall it be the rule of this honorable institution that cadets may steal and rob, and plunder, trespass on the premises of neighbors, combined in all sorts of outrages called by them mischief, and when we trace it to the very lookers on, they can answer — we saw it, but we did it not ourselves and are restrained by a sense of honor from tattling on our fellows. In the case in hand — Ringgold and Campbell did it not — of course — Stafford and Hillan, very intelligent clever boys — yea more, saw it all, admit it, but no! the cadets think it wrong to tell on one another.

Now I conceive I am armed with full power to do right. This is a state institution, we must be above wrong. The truly penitent shall never appeal to me in vain, but hypocrisy and falsehood shall, when I can, be spotted and blotted out. Ringgold and Campbell are dismissed. Stafford must follow or tell. Same of Hillan, and same of all who were there. We have a right to know the truth and must have it. ’Tis useless longer to postpone this issue. Have I your personal and official sanction?

P.S. All the circulars issued to appointees.


Seminary, June 28, 1860.

. . . Last week I dismissed summarily two cadets of good families and large connexions. One has appealed to the Board of Supervisors who may be weak enough to yield to such influence. And if they do it will severely weaken my power and influence and may shake my faith in my hold on their confidence. They meet on Saturday. This is Thursday and I will then see whether I am to govern here or be governed by the cast off boys of rich planters.

So well impressed are all gentlemen here of the necessity of some restraint on the boys, who have been indulged at home to an unlimited extent, that I doubt not they will approve my acts, but like all deliberative bodies they may take some half way course and recommend me to receive them back on their promising reformation. I will not do so unless they command me, which they have a right to do.

We will celebrate the 4th of July by a cadet oration and Declaration of Independence, etc., and our examination July 30 and 31 will be celebrated by a large attendance.

The weather has been warm but never as warm as at St. Louis or in Ohio. The summers here are long, but the proximity to the sea gives us the same air as we felt off Cuba which I think perfect. Indeed I don’t object to the summers here. All are well and healthy and there is no apprehension of epidemic. These always originate in New Orleans and spread by the steamboats so that here they always have full warning and can take due precaution. Take the year all round this must be a healthy place.

The only drawbacks and they are serious are servants and marketing. All here own their slaves and there are properly speaking no servants for hire. White girls or boys will not come from New Orleans though in time they may. All groceries and meats must come from New Orleans — the grass is so poor that sheep and cattle are skeletons and milk exceedingly scarce. Goat milk will be better. This year the drought has been unbearable destroying all gardens, but the season is so long that they can plant two or three times. The soil on the river bottom is very perfect, here in the pine hills as poor as poverty itself. Still by care we can make lettuce, potatoes sweet and Irish, beans, peas and such things when the season favors. There are no market gardens; the negro slaves have small patches which they are allowed to cultivate and sell off — but these are all on the other side of the river. . .

In June, 1860, the authorities sent out appointments to scholarships for the next session and at the same time Sherman framed circulars to be distributed for general information. These are useful to throw light on internal arrangements at the Seminary. In the second circular the omitted portions contain information embraced in the preceding circular.


In answer to the very numerous inquiries addressed to me, I have obtained from the Board of Supervisors the necessary authority to make this Circular for general information.

This institution is in part maintained from a fund held for its benefit in trust by the state, and also by direct appropriation on the part of the legislature. It is re quired by law to educate fifty-three cadets, for and on account of the state, and we are prepared to undertake the education and training of about one hundred young gentlemen, other than those before referred to as state cadets.

The next term will commence on the 1st day of November, 1860; and all who present themselves in person at the Seminary between the 29th day of October and the 1st day of November, with or without the formality of a previous appointment, will be examined and, if found qualified, will be assigned to rooms and classes and at once enter upon their studies and duties. The conditions of admission are: that each applicant shall be between fifteen and twenty-one years of age, of good moral character and free from any infectious or contagious disease; he must be able to read and write the English language well, and to perform, with facility and accuracy, the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, vulgar and decimal fractions, and simple and compound proportion.

After admission a printed copy of the regulations will be placed in his hands, and he will be required to conform to them strictly. The greatest regularity in all duties and recitations will be enforced, and every violation of the regulations will be punished by marks of demerits, one hundred of which for a term of six months, will be punished with dismissal. Any great disorder, disobedience or other irregularity, endangering the hon or, reputation or safety of the Institution itself, will be followed by dismissal. But every facility will be afforded to the obedient and studious cadet to obtain a good education.

Each cadet will be expected to bring from his home a good trunk, seven good shirts, four pairs of drawers, seven pairs of cotton socks, two pairs of good shoes or boots, six pocket handkerchiefs, four pairs of white drilling pants, two pairs of white Berlin gloves, six towels, one clothes brush, one hair brush, one tooth brush, and one comb; also two bags for soiled clothing. All of which should be indelibly marked. He will need at the Seminary as an outfit to be paid for in cash: 1 chair — $1.50, 1 single mattress — $4, 1 linen cover to wrap the bedding — $1.15, 2 straps — $1.00, 2 pairs of good blankets — $8.00, 2 pairs of sheets — $2.80, 2 pillow cases — 60 cts., 1 feather pillow — $2.00, 1 looking glass — 75 cts., 1 water bucket — 30 cts., 1 dipper — 30 cts., candlestick and snuffers — $1, 1 uniform hat — $8; in all say — $32. These articles may be brought from home but will be at the Seminary for sale at cost prices, about as above. They should last four years with care.

The expenses for a session of ten months are estimated as follows:

Experience shows that some Cadets will need other things not enumerated above, such as postage stamps, letter paper, matches, gloves, etc., but no cadet should be allowed to spend more than $400 in any one year. Each cadet should bring with him $35 for outfit, and $200 for six months’ expenses in advance. Of this money an accurate account current will be kept at the Seminary, each cadet having a pass book in which his own account will be kept. There is no necessity for pocket money; yet, if parents desire their sons to have it, they are requested to advise the superintendent by letter to allow at his discretion a moderate sum, not to exceed two dollars per month; for which a special deposit must be made.

No cadet will be permitted to have money otherwise than above, and it is positively prohibited by the regulations for cadets to apply for or receive money from their parents, or to contract any debt whatever. All shop keepers in this neighborhood are well acquainted with this rule, and parents are requested never to pay such bills, as cadets have no necessity to incur any debts in any manner whatever, without the distinct written permission of the superintendent.

The government of the institution is military, similar to that at the Academy at West Point; but the course of study has been selected with great care, and embraces more of the classic languages and literature than is usually taught in military schools.

SIR: — I am officially informed that you have been appointed a State Cadet in this Institution, and I hereby request that you will present yourself here in person, between the 29th and 31st of October prepared to be examined on the 1st day of November for admission.

The qualifications for admission are: Age from fifteen to twenty-one years, of good moral character, free from any contagious or infectious disease; you should read the English Language fluently and well, write a plain legible hand, and be able to perform with facility and accuracy the operations of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Vulgar and Decimal Fractions, Simple and Compound Proportion ; and indeed to understand all subjects embraced in the ordinary Books on Arithmetic. That of Davies’ is adopted as our standard, and it would be well for you to procure it and study it well. You will be examined on the foregoing subjects, and will immediately enter on the regular course of study, begining with Davies’ Algebra (Bourdon,) Geometry (Legndre) the French Grammar of Noel & Chapsal, the English Grammar by Noble Butler, and the Latin Grammar by Rudiman. If these Text Books can be procured at home you will do well to get them, and study them before coming here, as all such knowledge will be so much gained, and will be of marked advantage to you in your class.

Bring with you a good trunk, 7 good shirts, 4 pairs of drawers, 4 pairs of white drill pants, 7 pairs of cotton socks, 2 pairs of good stout shoes or boots, 2 pairs of white Berlin gloves 6 pocket handkercheifs, 6 towels, clothes brush, hair brush, tooth brush, comb, and 2 bags for soiled clothing well marked.

You will need here as an outfit 1 chair $1.50, 1 mattrass $4, 1 linen cover to wrap the bedding $1.15, 1 pair of leather straps $1, 2 pair of good blankets &s, 2 pair of sheets $2 80. 2 pillow cases 60 cts., 1 feather pillow $2, looking-glass 75 cts., water bucket 30 cts., dipper 30 cts., candle stick and snuffers $1 and 1 uniform hat $8, in all say $32. These must be paid for in cash, unless brought from home.

The appropriation by the Legislature for the two next years, amounts to $283 per annum for each State Cadet, and the amount is distributed as above. It is probable you may absolutely re quire more clothing, and also that you should have other minor articles such as letter envelops, postage stamps, ferry money when you go to church or for such like expenses and if possible you should deposit with the Treasurer a small sum of money, say about $25, to be disbursed by order of the Superintendent for your account. The articles enumerated as outfit should last four years.

No Cadet will be permitted to contract a debt without the written order of the Superintendent, and parents are earnestly requested to recognize no such debts as the Merchants here are well informed of this rule, and one of the chief objects of this Institution is to establish habits of order, system and economy.

As soon as you are examined and admitted you will be placed in a room with three or four other Cadets, provided in all respects like yourself, a copy of our printed regulations will be placed in your hands and you will he required to conform to them with absolute strictness. Every departure even in the slightest degree will be noticed, and will be marked with demerits according to its degree, and should your number of demerits exceed one hundred in six months you will be liable to dismission. In like manner any marked disobedience or disorderly conduct calculated to impair the discipline or bring discredit on the Institution will be followed by a summary dismission.

If however yon come with an earnest desire to obtain a good education, you will find your professors indulgent, patient and forbearing. Your success must depend entirely on yourself, for your teacher can only guide you in the right path to honor and fame.

This is peculiarly a State Institution. The Regulations encourage the practice of true Religion and Morality, and will aid you in the enjoyment of your religious duties, but there are no Religious Ceremonies connected with the Institution itself, and none can be compulsory. Ministers of the Gospel frequently visit it, in which event Cadets are encouraged to attend, but when such is not the case, the Cadets are permitted under proper restrictions to attend the Church of their choice in the town of Alexandria, three miles distant.

The Cadets are organized into companies and drilled, the first year as Soldiers, and in sequent years as Corporals, Sergeants, Lieutenants, Captains and Field Officers. The daily routine of duties and discipline will be the same or similar to that of West Point, but our course of study will embrace more of the Classic Languages and Literature than is usually taught in Military Schools, however, this is not designed for professional Soldiers, but to train tip and prepare you for the high duties of a good citizen.

If you home, satisfied with’this prospect, and are determined to reap the advantages thus afibrded you by a generous State, you will find your course, though laborious, useful, honorable and pleasant, but if you paint to yourself a less honorable course, you had better change your mind and save the expense of a journey hither, and the cost of an outfit.

I am, with respect,

Your obedient servant,

W. T. SHERMAN, Superintendent.

Sherman’s Instructions To State Cadets
(Two Plates)

Daily marks are kept of each recitation. These are consolidated quarterly, and a report thereof made to each parent or guardian, with the number of demerits up to the end of such quarter and the state of the money account.

Before the money deposited with the treasurer is exhausted, the superintendent will make his requisition on the parent for the amount needed for the remainder of the term. It will be seen the institution receives no compensation other than the $60 charged as annual tuition fee — all other moneys are simply held for the account and benefit of the cadet, the institution keeping an accurate account thereof, subject at all proper times to the inspection of the cadet, his parent, or guardian. The annual expenses are reduced to as low a figure as possible and the actual amount to be expended by any cadet will depend upon the care which he takes of his books and clothing.

This is peculiarly a state institution. The regulations encourage true morality and religion, and aid cadets in the performance of their religious duties. But there are no religious ceremonies connected with the institution itself and none can be compulsory. Ministers of the gospel frequently visit it, in which event, cadets are encouraged to attend; but when such is not the case, the cadets are permitted under the proper restrictions to attend the Church of their choice in the town of Alexandria, three miles distant.

All cadets are organized into companies and drilled: the first year as soldiers, and during subsequent years as corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, and field officers.

The text books for the first year are Davies’s University Arithmetic, Bourdon’s Algebra and Davies’s Legendre’s Geometry, Noel and Chapsal’s French Grammar, Noble Butler’s English Grammar, Rudiman’s Latin Grammar, and Josse’s Spanish Grammar. All knowledge of these books acquired before coming here will give a great advantage in the first organization of the classes.

W. T. Sherman, superintendent.

In June after hearing of Lincoln’s nomination and the threat ened split in the Democratic Party, Sherman wrote to his brother John.

. . . Though Lincoln’s opinions on slavery are as radical as those of Seward, yet southern men, if they see a chance of his success, will say they will wait and see. The worst feature of things now is the familiarity with which the subject of a dissolution is talked about. But I cannot believe any one, even Yancey or Davis, would be rash enough to take the first step.

If at Baltimore to-day the convention nominate Doug las with unanimity, I suppose if he gets the vote of the united South he will be elected. But, as I apprehend will be the case, if the seceders again secede to Richmond, and there make a southern nomination, their nomination will weaken Douglas’s vote so much that Lincoln may run in. The real race seems to be between Lincoln and Douglas. . .

Now that Mr. Ewing also is out for Lincoln, and it is strange how closely these things are watched, it is prob able I will be even more “suspect” than last year. All the reasoning and truth in the world would not convince a southern man that the Republicans are not abolitionists. It is not safe to stop to discuss the question: they believe it, and there is the end of the controversy. . .

Of course, I know that reason has very little influence in this world: prejudice governs. You and all who derive power from the people do not look for pure, unalloyed truth, but to that kind of truth which jumps with the prejudice of the day. So southern politicians do the same. If Lincoln be elected, I don’t apprehend resistance; and if he be, as Mr. Ewing says, a reasonable, moderate man, things may move on, and the South be come gradually reconciled. But you may rest assured that the tone of feeling is such that Civil War and anarchy are very possible. . .


Announcement of the annual examination. Braxton Bragg on Seminary matters. Fourth of July celebration. Plans for closing exercises. Wine on the professors’ tables. Politics and slavery again. Beauregard’s plans for his sons. Attempt to secure Bragg’s Buena Vista battery and a supply of cadet muskets. Rumor that the Seminary is a godless institution. The South would prefer the devil to a Black Republican. Poor food at the Seminary. Sherman demands control over professors and cadets. Professor Boyd placed in charge for the vacation.

The correspondence of the last month of the session related mainly to local matters. Sherman has less to say in letters to relatives about politics and the negro question. Some rather important matters relating to student discipline, the authority of the superintendent, and the future policy of the Supervisors were being discussed. The appointment of Supervisors opposed to the view’s of General Graham seemed to indicate a reversal of policy which might embarrass Sherman. The latter, however, insisted upon one thing only — that he, as superintendent be vested with authority over students and professors. This question was not settled before the close of the session. The correspondence also mentions preparations for the public exercises on the Fourth of July and at the annual examination, plans for the vacation, and matters relating to the Seminary finances, supplies, etc.

In the south it was customary to close the session of a school or college with a formal public examination, which in its social features corresponded to the present day commencement. The following program for the Seminary examination was published on June 23, 1860.


Alexandria, June 23, 1860.

The annual examination of the Cadets at this institution will take place on Monday and Tuesday, July 3Oth and 31st proximo.

The order of exercises each day will be as follows: from 8 to 11 a.m., examination in mathematics; from 11 a.m. to i p.m., examination in French and Spanish; from 3 to 5:30 p.m., examination in English and Latin.

There will be a drill at 6:30 p.m., each day, terminating with the usual dress parade at sundown.

From 8 to 11 in the evening there will be speeches, declamations, and compositions.

The meals of the cadets will be served at the usual hours, and one hour thereafter, : 2 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. dinner and supper will be provided by the steward for all visitors who will give him previous notice. The ferry boat at Alexandria will run till midnight, affording a good opportunity to all to honor us with their presence at the evening exercises.

The parents, families and friends of the cadets and the public generally are most respectfully invited to at tend.

W. T. Sherman, Superintendent


Lafourche, Thibodeaux, P.O., June 27, 1860.

My Dear General: Since yours of April I have heard nothing from the Military Academy except from one of the cadets. Yet I have hoped you were working on smoothly and successfully. Much, indeed all, depends on an organization which will give a proper working Board of Supervisors, near the institution, and even then, a large discretion must be allowed your superintendent and Academic Board. Discipline to amount to anything must be firm, decisions prompt, and their execution immediate and irrevocable, except in very extraordinary cases. Hard cases arise under all laws, and it is better to do some injustice than to break down from laxity. This duty is the more difficult and trying from the very loose system which prevails in our southern society, and which has reduced parents to a subordination to children. But you have a man in Colonel Sherman who is admirably suited to initiate and carry out such a system, at the same time that he will temper it with good sense, moderation, and the best ad vice. And I venture to predict that he will secure a hold on the affections of his cadets which will make obedience easy, and the discharge of duty a pleasure.

Not having heard the result of the election of vice-president, I feel anxiety for your success — for, candidly, I have no confidence in the capability of our friend Dr. Smith. That he wishes success to the institution, I do not doubt, but his notions are so crude, so impracticable, so prejudiced, and he withal so ignorant of how to carry them out, that failure must be the result of any power placed in his hands. Last winter things were forced through the legislature in spite of him, when in reality he considered himself the special champion of the cause.

In a few days I shall visit Baton Rouge on business, and hope to see the governor. But I fear he is too much of a friend of Smith to allow me any influence. The only conversation I can recollect with Dr. Smith on the subject of a Board of Visitors, was simply to advise what I had already suggested to Governor Moore, the appointment, or invitation of some “influential gentle men from different parts of the state to attend the examinations.” I neither said nor intimated anything in regard to myself, nor would I ever do so to any one in regard to any office. I have done my share of public duties in this life, and seek no more of them for honor or profit. Yet I am always ready to do my share in the advancement of a good cause and to fill my station as a good citizen.

I regret that I shall not be able to attend your first examinations, as I leave for the Springs soon after my visit to Baton Rouge. I predict that every unprejudiced observer will acknowledge greater progress in the same time, with the same means, than has ever been known in the state.

If defeated in your place of administration, don’t give up. It must succeed in the end, and no one can do as much as yourself for its ultimate triumph, or deserves so much the honor of success. Remember me kindly to Colonel Sherman. . .


July 4, 1860.

Dear General: My supply of official paper is running low, and I take this sheet to tell you in a private way that our celebration to-day passed off perfectly well. The march by platoons from our usual parade ground to the stand was handsome, arms were stacked, and cadets seated. I had chairs enough for all ladies of whom the attendance was really very fine.

The marshal, Taliaferro (vice Spencer quit), per formed his part with modesty and propriety, the Declaration was read by Cushman in a clear, manly voice, and the oration delivered by Cornelius gave general satisfaction. Boyce wants it for publication. At first I thought best to advise adversely, but of course I knew the speech before it was delivered and see no impropriety in its publication. I think I will prevail on Cornelius to have it published. Of course I know full well these are the mere ephemera of the hour, and next week will seem stale, but it will be an advertisement, and if good may spread beyond the circle of the Red River American.

I will now set about for the examination. I know the expectations of the public are too high and you must wink at any little stage play. The professors must favor their pupils at the examination, leaving us to grade them honestly and strictly according to our knowledge of their real progress.

As the Board has invited a public orator for the occasion, I want to know his name as soon as possible that I may advise with him as to his preference. Public speakers are as fickle as young ladies. They prefer sometimes out of doors to speak, some the length of the room, some across the room, etc. As to the cadets I will study to arrange for them to the best advantage. By a little management to-day we have made a decided hit. I have the regulations nearly done, amended pretty extensively. If the Board want to revise them they must act, for if they devolve on me any duty, my rule is to do it, though I do it wrong. . .


Seminary, July 6, 1860.

Dear General: I have received your note of yesterday with Colonel Bragg’s letter which I have read with great satisfaction. I had written him some ten days ago urging him to come up if possible at our examinations. I had no knowledge of course that he had been invited to deliver an address. I think that will tempt him. He writes, as you know, well and can speak his thoughts clearly and with emphasis, the best kind of oratory, still I don’t think he has an ambition to be styled an orator.

Still if he do accept I will be more than pleased. Though it will not be reasonable to expect too much of us at our first examination, yet if the professors will use some little discretion I have no doubt we can satisfy all. As you will have learned our 4th passed off well. Not a particle of noise, disorder, or confusion. Everyone played his part modestly and well.

As our examinations will consume two whole days and nights and as our benches have no backs, I have taken the liberty to order twelve dozen chairs not to cost more than twelve dollars the dozen, from New Or leans. I could not procure with any certainty the hide bottoms and have ordered wood bottoms — similar to our mess hall chairs, which have lasted well, not one broken yet. These chairs will do to sell to cadets next term. I am fully authorized to do this by a resolution of the Board, yet I should have procured your sanction first; but I was not convinced of the pressing necessity till I experienced the necessity. I will have them in time for the examination.

I have never been to Bayou Robert since my first arrival and propose to-day to go down to visit Governor Moore, Colonel Chambers, Mr. Ransdell, General Bailey, etc., start this p.m. and return to-morrow. Governor Moore sent a fine lot of cake for the cadets and a basket of wine for the professors. The former was added to their stock and enabled them to set a nice table for the ladies. The wine is untouched and I hardly know how to dispose of it. I think it prudent we should exhibit as little wine as possible in our rooms or table. I have always paid and advised the professors to pay largely toward the general hospitality, and thus far we have done so without wines, except claret. Work on house, fence, road, etc., progressing fast and I hope you will get notice of the appropriations for houses and apparatus before examination.

I send you Bragg’s letter and would write him again if I thought his time would admit of his receiving my letter. But he will have decided before I could get my letter to him. If he do not speak, some member of the Board [must speak]. I have official notice of twenty-five state cadets, none from New Orleans yet.


Alexandria, July 10,1860.

. . . I feel little interest in politics and certainly am glad to see it realized that politicians can’t govern the country. They may agitate, but cannot control. Let who may be elected, the same old game will be played, and he will go out of office like Pierce and Buchanan with their former honors sunk and lost. I only wonder that honorable men should seek the office.

I do not concieve that any of the parties would ma terially interfere with the slavery in the states, and in the territories it is a mere abstraction. There is plenty of room in the present slave states for all the negroes, but the time has come when the free states may annoy the slave states by laws of a general declaration, but that they will change the relation of master and slave I don’t believe.

All the congresses on earth can’t make the negro any thing else than what he is; he must be subject to the white man, or he must amalgamate or be destroyed. Two such races cannot live in harmony save as master and slave. Mexico shows the result of general equality and amalgamation, and the Indians give a fair illustration of the fate of negroes if they are released from the control of the whites. Of course no one can guess what the wild unbridled passions of men may do, but I don’t believe that the present excitement in politics is anything more than the signs of the passage of power from the southern politicians to northern and western politicians.

The negro is made the hobby, but I know that northern men don’t care any more about the rights and humanities of the negroes than the southerners. At present negroes work under control of white men and the con sequence is the annual yield of $200,000,000 of cotton, sugar, and other produce that would not be without such labor; and so long as that is the case, I don’t fear a change in this respect. . .


New Orleans, July 10, 1860.

Dear Major: . . . I should like much to be able to accept your kind invitation to attend your examinations but my occupations and this intolerably hot weather will not permit me to do so. I have no doubt however that the result of these examinations will do credit to your institution and be satisfactory to yourself and assistants.

Not wishing to send money by mail and supposing you would, for a like reason, prefer a check, I send one herewith for $50 on the Bank of Louisiana, of which one half is for my son, less the amount due by him or for him and the other half for Mr. Reid’s son for the purpose of bringing them home. Should young Proctor have need of any I will send him some, for his father and family have gone to the Virginia Springs for the sum mer, where he is to go to meet them.

I have just succeeded in getting off from the superintendency of West Point, where I was to have been ordered this summer. The thing is delayed for one or two years longer.

I am going to send you my youngest son Henry in October next to be prepared for West Point; he will stay with you two years nearly. I want him to do credit to himself and honor to your Academy. So you must have an eye on him. He has been appointed in René’s place a state cadet from the Parish of St. Bernard. René will go back as an ordinary cadet. . .


Louisiana State Seminary
of Learning and Military Academy,
Alexandria, July 16, 1860.

Dear Sir: . . . I have had some correspondence with Cadet L’s father, and have assured him that I would lay before the Board his letter, asking that his son be allowed to resign, instead of being reported “Dismissed” or “Deserted.” I explained to him the difficulty as other cadets were similarly placed and the rule must apply to all. It was by threatening Cadet L—— that I obtained the constitution of the marauders, but he knew full well that he was in no danger of dismissal for the bucket affair. I suppose you have already been troubled too much about it. Still I enclose along with his letter the notes made by Mr. Boyd of the long conversation that preceded L’s going away. Of course I shall oppose no resolution for clemency, only the truth should be made “manifest.”

I also enclose you a letter received last evening from Colonel Bragg. I guess to secure that battery we must get an act of Congress. I have General Grivot’s promise but they forget promises sometimes and I will again write to him. Governor Moore said to me that he was satisfied we needed the muskets, and a resolution of the Board now will be too late, as after the resolution passes I will have no time to follow it up, for unless I can get the official requisition I should not ask Colonel Craig to transfer to Baton Rouge the cadet muskets.

Cadet muskets you know are scarce and I doubt if they are to be found except at Springfield, Mass. Now we will need one hundred and fifty in December or January next year, and that is the reason why I thought it best to go to Washington, to get Colonel Craig to transfer them south in advance.

Bragg tells me that the rumor that I oppose religious observances here has found its way to his place. I am not surprised when Mr D— himself takes upon him self to advise gentlemen on steamboats not to send their children here, if they value religion. He told me him self he had done so. Now I have strictly adhered to the rule we laid down, and have never denied a cadet the privilege and facility of going to Alexandria every Sunday, although I know some of them habitually abuse it. But I will not argue the case with you, for I know that this is one of the difficulties we have to contend with in the future, and any rule the Board will lay down I will execute honestly and fearlessly. I write to Bragg more fully on the subject to-day. Of course all the professors have been told that under the old and new regulations they must ask of the Board of Supervisors leave of absence. . .


Louisiana State Seminary,
Alexandria, July 22, 1860.

Dear Tom: . . . The fact that Congress did not admit Kansas must be a disappointment to you all, but the certainty of her giving a Republican vote was too much for a Democratic Congress, with the almost certainty of the election going into the House. Down here no one thinks of Lincoln. The struggle will be between Douglas and Breckenridge; the latter will win. . .

If Lincoln should win I don’t know but that some thing would turn up to my liking, but it won’t do for me to say Lincoln down here. The devil himself would be a more welcome guest than a Black Republican, yet I have no fears myself of the election of anybody; if our form of government will not endure any man as president it is not a fit machine and should break up; but of course I know that no man would now disturb property in slaves; as to the limitation of its sphere, that is comparatively a small matter. . .


Louisiana State Seminary,
Alexandria, July 23, 1860.

Dear General: Charles whom we sent for the mail has just returned without the mail, but had your Sunday letter which I have just read with great satisfaction. The idea of our first examination without your presence would have been truly the play of Hamlet without the Prince, but as it is I am satisfied. I had already made all the checks except that for Mr. St. Ange, who did not apply for it because I suppose I told him I wanted all persons to pay the Seminary their dues to the stores, which in his case will take a good part of his month’s pay. I may be too severe a stickler in finance, but as I view the case clothing, being sold without profit, is cash and should not be allowed to stand on our books like a store account.

I have every cadet’s account made up to the cent. All orders are stopped and this cash balance cannot be changed. In actually paying Jarreau in checks I exceeded your authority, but his bill necessarily entered into all the cadet’s accounts, and it was important these accounts should thus be closed before the hurly-burly of the examination. In two hours of Wednesday I can pay every account and dismiss all hands. Whilst the examination progresses the Board of Supervisors can pass a few formal resolutions. One authorizing the publication in Alexandria or New Orleans of three hundred Registers. There is already a resolution authorizing me to compile and have printed one thousand regulations. Professor Smith at my suggestion wrote his uncle and ascertained the cost of two thousand regulations to have been in Richmond $250. Ours is less in volume, and ought not to exceed for one thousand copies say $150, yet this expenditure had better be left blank. I think a more compact volume would be neater and more appropriate.

I have the regulations done in manuscript and bound ready for the printer; would like you to examine it though a large task; but it must be in print next November for it is wrong thus to hold young men to obedience to rules, imperfectly understood. Both Hillan and Spencer want to come back in the fall, and we might receive them on the ground of being “minors” whose acts are incomplete without the ratification of parents, and their parents both roundly disapproved their course.

I have so written to Spencer’s father, but said I could not commit the Board, who might prefer a more stringent rule. I want you to frame some word — less harsh than “deserted” or “dismissed” for such cadets, who have simply quit. I am at a dead loss. “Deserted” is all the word I know that tells the story, but it may be too severe for this condition of things.

Very many of our cadets have diarrhea, owing they say to fritters and molasses for supper. They complained so much of the melted butter, that Captain Jarreau agreed to give fritters and molasses. These and melons and fruit are causes enough. We have ordered toast and tea for supper, and will discourage stale fruit and melons. I hope they will recover this week. Otherwise they may make a sorry appearance. I bear in mind your suggestion to get Dr. Smith to have a resolution passed, asking for the quota of [arms for] 1861. The govern or’s silence and that of his adjutant-general look to me ominous.

I try to write plain, but it is no use. For so many years I have had clerks to copy my letters hastily and illegibly written that the habit is fixed, and I trust you will not think my seeming haste is an intentional tax on your sight and time. Where hard to read you can skip, with the knowledge that you lose nothing.

The busy time of the annual examination is not described in the letters. The session closed on July 30-31 with public examinations and a ball. Professor D. F. Boyd was then placed in charge of the Seminary and Sherman went to his home in Lancaster, Ohio, for a short visit before going to Washington and New York on Seminary business.


Alexandria, Aug. 2, 1860.

Dear General: I came in this morning with the register complete and it is now in the hands of the printer, with a promise that it shall be done on Saturday ready for proof. I will be in again on Saturday to prove the sheets, when there will be no further cause for my delay, and therefore I will be ready to start north next Tuesday.

I have had an interview with Mr. Manning and we have gone over the regulations together. As Colonel, of course I command in a military sense all commissioned officers and cadets of the institution; as superintendent also I should have equal control or command over every person including the professors at the institution, subject always to the resolutions of the Board of Super visors. Else I cannot be responsible. This is the only real point in which I find I differ with Mr. Manning, and this radical difference must be solved by the Board. Mr. M. tells me he has applied to the governor to call the Board together.

I can leave the regulations to be forwarded to me at Lancaster and I will have them printed at Cincinnati, or you can have them done by Bloomfield and Steel in New Orleans. But the regulations must be printed by November 1 or I am done, for in every circular I have made, this assurance was given that a copy should be placed in the hands of every cadet on arrival. It was my intention to have furnished one hundred suits of uniform clothing and all those things, like paper, blank books, etc., that I know will be needed next session, to be here Nov. 1, to be paid for out of the cadets’ money.

But the Board misunderstood my purpose. I have no business at New York. To go there would cost me $150, but I feel so desirous to start next session fair and well supplied that I was willing to incur that expense. I shall enclose all the requisitions of the several professors for text-books, stationery, etc., with my statement of articles required at the outset next session, to be by you laid before the Board of Supervisors, that they may make the necessary arrangements for the purchase. I have been foiled in every attempt heretofore made to get supplies of books and clothing here or at New Orleans, but the Board of Supervisors better experienced in such things may be more successful.

I beg to recall such part of my letter as refers to going to New York, as it would be superfluous. I will nevertheless go to Washington and try to secure the quota of arms for 1860.

If you think my presence here necessary, I can delay my departure, and I know you fully agree with me that this question of supplies is far more important than is generally supposed. All the professors look to me to procure their supplies and I have so estimated that pro fits just about cover the excess on hand. Cadets on arrival will need instantly near $8,000 of clothing, books, stationery, and bedding. None of these need be paid for till the cadets make their deposit, and the Seminary is only out the surplus — and the profits of say ten per cent ought to cover that.

Still this plan was the only one I could adopt. The Board has never approved or disapproved and I have gone on controlling the purchases and issues. I think now the matter ought to be done formally. Resolve that I shall do it, or that Robertson shall fill the estimates. In the divided state of feeling in this country, it is best, that business be done formally. Those views are ex pressed to you that they may be communicated to the Board which meets Aug. 13 by order of Governor Moore, as I see by the letter sent to Mr. Manning after I began this hurried letter.

I shall write more from the Seminary, to-morrow, and will be here Saturday and Monday. I doubt if I should leave before the Board meets, but my young folks are most crazy and they are now looking for me. Still duty first. If you think you can manage, it might be well for me to be away, but I must have control over professors. That is the point at issue.


Louisiana State Seminary, Aug. 5, 1860.

Sir: By virtue of authority vested in me by resolution of the Board of Supervisors, I hereby delegate to you all the authority and power thereby conveyed to me, for the purpose of protecting and guarding the buildings, fences, trees, grounds and property of all kinds and descriptions belonging in any wise to this institution. I beg you will enter into charge of the same and do all things deemed by you proper to secure the end in view.

In the first place I hereby leave with you in checks and money the sum of $780.42, being my exact cash balance this day, as per cash book already deposited with you.

The merchandise book, styled journal, has an inventory of merchandise on hand. The Seminary owns a mule and cart, which with slave Henry, should be profitably employed in gathering firewood for the coming session. Two boys, Dick and Manuel, can be employed in cutting wood when not otherwise engaged.

This period of vacation is designed as the time for re furnishing the building; as we have gone over it in per son and noted down in writing the exact number of tables, bookcases, and clothes presses needed, and as the carpenters are actually employed in their manufacture, I think I need say nothing further than that it would be well to see that they keep well up to time, so that they will surely be able to finish all in October.

The work under stairway should be well done.

All the boys are paid up to Aug. 1, except Dr. Smith’s boy, and I will leave an amount and check for him.

I design to order merchandise from New Orleans and New York, but will be here myself when it arrives. Still should I be delayed, or should any come prematurely, store it in this large room, near the south end, leaving this office end clear.

All cadets’ articles of furniture should be in the Chemical Academy, and should be looked to occasion ally, as thieves might rob them very easily.

The fact is your own judgment will be better than mine in all things that may arise. All letters open — if private, up to Oct. 1, send me at Lancaster, O if public, answer, and copy your answers. Though your summer stay here will be lonely, I hope it may be one of health and comparative comfort, and surely I will remember in the future your sacrifice to enable us to visit our friends and families this summer.


Sherman goes to Ohio, Washington, and New York. His correspondence with General Graham and Professor Boyd. Plans to bring family to Louisiana in October. Instructions as to work on the Seminary buildings. Politics in Ohio. Arms and equipment for the Seminary secured at Washington. National politics. The Seminary regulations are revised. Graham resigns. Sherman disapproves of the changes. Books and instruments ordered in New York. Graham criticises the conduct of Manning and Smith in Seminary affairs. Professor Boyd’s work at the Seminary. Boyd’s views of politics. A press notice of the Seminary. Preparations for the second session. Shipment of goods from the North. Difficulty of getting supplies to the Seminary. Shortcomings of the steward’s department. Sherman explains his objections to the revised regulations. White laborers from the North cannot be obtained. Louisiana politics. Life in Ohio. End of the vacation. Sher man returns to Louisiana.

The closing exercises of the Seminary attracted wide attention in Louisiana and the authorities were well pleased by the favor able impression created. The students were now dismissed to their homes, the members of the faculty scattered, and Sherman went north.

In his Memoirs [vol. 1, 178] Sherman gives a brief account of his movements during the early part of his vacation period.

Major Smith and I agreed to meet in New York on a certain day in August, to purchase books, models, etc. I went directly to my family in Lancaster, and after a few days proceeded to Washington, to endeavor to procure from the general government the necessary muskets and equipments for our cadets by the beginning of the next term. I was in Washington on the 17th day of August, and hunted up my friend Major Buell, of the adjutant-general’s department, who was on duty with the secretary of war, Floyd. I had with me a letter of Governor Moore’s authorizing me to act in his name. Major Buell took me into Floyd’s room at the war department, to whom I explained my business, and I was agreeably surprised to meet with such easy success. Although the State of Louisiana had already drawn her full quota of arms, Floyd promptly promised to order my requisition to be filled, and I procured the necessary blanks at the ordnance-office, filled them with two hundred cadet muskets, and all equipments complete, and was assured that all these articles would be shipped to Louisiana in season for our use in the fall. These assurances were faithfully carried out.

I then went on to New York, there met Major Smith according to appointment, and together we selected and purchased a good supply of uniforms, clothing, and text books, as well as a fair number of books of history and fiction, to commence a library. When this business was completed, I returned to Lancaster and remained with my family till the time approached for me to return to Louisiana.

From Ohio Sherman corresponded with General Graham and Professor Boyd. To them he writes in detail of his trip to the East to secure Seminary supplies, of the political situation in the North as it appears to him upon closer view, and of the striking contrast between North and South as to crops and general agricultural conditions. Boyd wrote to Sherman of conditions in Louisiana. Graham’s memorandum gives his view of the change of policy which, it is evident, gives trouble to Sherman, whose authority is considerably curtailed by the revision made in the regulations after he left Louisiana.


Lancaster, Ohio, August 12, 1860.

Dear General: I left Alexandria in the stage on Tuesday morning, reached the wharf boat [at the mouth of Red River] that night at 1 o’clock, waited till 4 p.m. of Wednesday, when the fine boat William M. Morrison came along in which we proceeded to Vicksburg by Thursday at 3 p.m., when we took cars to Jack son [and] Cairo, reaching Cincinnati Saturday morning at 7:30 o’clock. It so happened that the train connected with a railroad taking its departure at 7:45 from a depot west of the city, whereas the daily train of our Lancaster road leaves the depot at the eastern end of the city. Therefore we had no time to traverse the city in time and I took my young charge to the Burnett House.

Then I began a series of inquiries as to the quickest and best mode of [reaching] my home, when I found in the same hotel Mrs. Ewing, the old lady and her son P. B. Ewing. After discussing the subject in all its bearing I concluded to leave Miss Whittington at the Burnett House, in the protection of Mrs. Ewing, to spend this Sunday there and come here by the morning quick train of Monday. Miss Whittington had been travelling two nights in the cars and readily consented, so I came up last night in the freight train arriving here about day-light and finding all my people well and hearty. They have been hanging on me all day, and I have had them on horseback and chasing ever since dinner, and have only stolen away for a few minutes to write you this.

I am amazed at the change from the pinewoods to this. I never saw such crops of corn, fruit, and vegetables. Mr. Ewing says in his whole experience, which goes back to the first settlement of Ohio he has never seen such plenty. Orchards which had been barren for eight years are now loaded with fine fruit, peaches, grapes, melons, everything in wasteful abundance.

Wheat and small grain are gathered and safe. Corn is as fine as possible and beyond danger of any contingency. Hay of all kinds will be so abundant that it must go away for a market. This is not only true of Ohio, but of all the states east of the Mississippi. May it not be providential? May it not be one of the facts stronger than blind prejudice to show the mutual dependence of one part of our magnificent country on the other. The Almighty in his wisdom has visited a vast district with drought but has showered abundance on another and he has made a natural avenue between. This is a grievous fact — true it may advantage one part at the expense of the other, but next year it may be reversed.

I find as much diversity in sentiment here in politics as in the South — I shall keep aloof — only asserting that whoever is elected, be it the devil himself must be endured for the time being. Nobody will be rash enough to disturb slavery where it exists, and its extension is now only a theoretical not a practical question.

In Cincinnati I found a publishing house that will print us one thousand copies of our regulations for $105. When the manuscript is revised I will send it down, and follow it ten days thereafter to prove. I will bring them along with me.

Miss Whittington will be here to-morrow, I will take her to Georgetown [D.C.] on Wednesday. In Washington I will see about arms, equipments, and munitions. I will then go to New York and purchase books and clothing on a credit payable after November — and have them at Red River by Oct. 15. When I will meet them. If the river be navigable all right-if not, such as are absolutely necessary must be wagoned up and the rest kept in store till navigation opens.

I will not bring my family till I know that the house is done, and that Mrs. Sherman can bring with her from Cincinnati carpets, curtains, and furniture complete. Better this delay than the privation and confusion of a house ill supplied. It is our duty to foresee necessities and provide for them in advance. After my return from New York I will write in full what I have done. Mr. Ewing has just called to take me to ride and I must close. He is as active now as forty years ago and I would not be astonished if he would visit Louisiana next winter when my family comes down.


Lancaster, O. (Monday), Aug. 13, 1860.

My Dear Friend: I arrived here yesterday morning, and found my family well. I left Miss Whittington in Cincinnati with Mrs. Ewing to rest over Sunday and to come here to-day. On Wednesday I will go to Washington, and on Saturday to New York, and as soon as I make up my catalogue of books I will send it to you. My chief idea in going to New York is to elect some one person of good credit who can buy for us . . . such books as any of us want. My only acquaintance with booksellers now is of that general character that is formed by dropping in and buying a single or couple [of] volumes. This time I will come to clear distinct terms as to purchase, commissions, credits, etc., same with clothing, and same for hats, caps, and shoes. But your five hundred dollars of books shall be purchased absolutely, paid for and shipped in all September, and I advise you to have prepared a case of shelves. The textbooks must also be bought on a credit, and then they can remain in their own boxes till issued and sold to cadets — same of clothing, shoes, hats, etc.

Now Red River will not be navigable by October 15, and I foresee trouble, but trouble only stimulates my endeavors. I will arrange that all purchases go to New Orleans; if Red River be navigable October 15, then these things to be shipped, if Red River be dry, then I will want to hire five wagons at or near the Seminary, so that on my arrival there I can conduct them to Snaggy Point, or even the Mississippi River, and haul up those things, such as bedding, textbooks, etc., which must be on hand to the hour. Therefore, if about October 1 the river be as now, unreliable, see Coats, or Baden the cooper in Pineville, or some other of that class, and tell them on my arrival October 15 I will want to hire five wagons, and for them to be prepared for an offer.

Keep the carpenters well at the tables, bookcases, and wardrobes, the woodcutters to their work, and I foresee a plain easy beginning to our critical session.

It is utterly impossible to conceive of a wider contrast than exists between the Pinewoods and where I now am. Since the first settlement of Ohio, there has been no season of such prolific yield as the present: wheat, oats, hay, fruit, corn, everything have been or are perfect. I never saw such corn fields; not a stack missing, high, strong and well-eared. If I could transfer the products of this county to Natchitoches I would prefer it to all the mines of California. Horses and cattle roll with fat. I hear this is the condition of things in all this region, and God grant it may be one of the many causes to teach men of prejudice and fanaticism of the beautiful relation that should exist between parts of the same country.

The same diversity of opinion in politics exists here as elsewhere, but Lincoln will doubtless carry this state, partly from the diversion caused by the nomination of the three adverse candidates, Douglas, Breckenridge, and Bell. Mr. Ewing tells me he was consulted about the organization of the Union Party. He advised it, but against the nomination of a candidate-intending to hold their strength in reserve, to be cast in favor of the most national of the candidates of the adverse party. He thinks this sentiment forced the Republicans to reject Seward and take Lincoln, of whom he speaks in moderately favorable terms. My brother John is in the north of this state, where a more violent anti-slavery feeling prevails, and where a moderate conservatism would be styled Dough-facism. Therefore he is radical. I shall see him this summer, but can not expect to influence him. Still, I know that even if Lincoln be elected, he will not dare do anything hostile to any section. Political majority has passed to the North, and they are determined to have it. Let us hope they will not abuse it.

I saw Roelofson in Cincinnati, and though not entirely satisfied at my not going to London he had to say that I had a right to be cautious of all new financial schemes. He will go himself to London. I hope the Board of Supervisors to meet at Alexandria to-day will not modify materially my plans, but even if they do, I will execute their plan another year, and if we find the mixed system too weak for success, I feel assured they will yield. If, however, they devise some impracticable scheme I will be disposed to hesitate to risk my comfort and reputation in a doubtful result. . .


Washington, D.C., Sunday, Aug. 19, 1860.

Dear Mr. Boyd: I wrote you from Lancaster. I left there last Wednesday reached here Thursday evening deposited my charge, Miss Whittington, in the convent same day, and have been two days well employed here. I have a large acquaintance here, and was there by enabled promptly to succeed in my undertaking of getting arms for our institution — orders are already issued for the shipment to Alexandria of 145 cadet muskets, making with 55 on hand 200 — 10 long range minnie rifles, with sabre bayonets — 10 pistols for belts — 200 cartridge boxes, bayonet scabbards, belts, etc., for 200 cadets — 10 sergeant’s swords and belts, 10 musicians’ swords and belts and a whole lot of extra springs, screws, etc., to keep all in repair. This will give us a good outfit for 210 cadets, a number as great as we can hope for some years to come. I did want ammunition but this is not allowed by law, and I may provide some at New York, wherewith to teach the practical use of these modern long range weapons.

Of course politics here are on every tongue, but I keep aloof. I notice a few facts, which to me are far more convincing than any political platform or dogmas. All the public buildings here are being built in a style of magnificent proportions and development, which looks like increasing rather than diminishing the proportions of our country. All the hotels are cleaning and painting ready for the usual winter influx of politicians. There is no diminution in the price of property, rents, or even of negroes.

You know that money is as sensitive as the mercury and in Europe an ugly remark of Louis Napoleon will affect stocks. So would any political event here, if people believed it — but nobody believes in a secession, though they talk and write of it. Lincoln’s chances of election were very good, but two events have just transpired which to me look important. In New York the Bell and Douglas parties have fused — and have made a joint elective ticket, which can cast the vote of New York for Douglas or Bell, as events may make necessary. Again Seward at Boston made another of his characteristic speeches in which he renewed his assertion of the irreconcilability of slave and free labor. Now if Lincoln remains silent as he doubtless will, the moderates will accuse him of thinking as Seward does, whereas if he does, as he should, announce his belief that our government as framed is harmonious in all its parts, he will lose the Seward wing or faction.

There have been magnificent crops made in all the Northern and Middle States and they will have in abundance, corn, hay, flour, bacon, and those thousand and one things needed at the South, and as this commercial dependence and exchange should, they no doubt will have a good effect, in showing the mutual dependence of all the parts of this vast and magnificent country, the one on the other. Whilst Lincoln loses strength in the way I have stated, Breckenridge has lost vastly by the vote of his own state, being so overwhelming against him, and the press is gradually settling into identifying him with a secession faction. Between this faction of the South and Lincoln of the North, Bell or Douglas if united as they have done in the New York may be elect ed by the people and that gives us four years of peace, during which I trust this ugly feeling of suspicion may subside, a consummation devoutly to be wished. . .

To-morrow I will commence the purchase of books and will fill out your list first. I will then see to clothing and make such arrangements that in the future we can order as we need and have the means of payment. I wish you would keep me advised at Lancaster, Ohio, of the progress of things. In boxing up the space under the stairway, have a double bolted door made to fasten to an upright stancheon, which can be taken out-this will be necessary, as we must store there large boxes, which will require a large opening. Please also have the space E of the hall boxed up for a guard room. We will need that for storage at first. In all November we will have a good many stores to receive, distribute, and issue. Your book case you will need in October, as I will direct the shipment of books in September.


Lancaster, Ohio, Aug. 30, 1860.

My Dear Friend: I am just in receipt of your letter of 18th and Mr. Manning’s enclosing the amended regulations, which I have just put up for the publisher in Cincinnati. I must send them off at once, and follow in ten days to prove them. Your experience with the register will show you that it is no easy task and it will take a slice off my visit home. One reason why I wanted them with me was because I was in New York a week, during which I could have had them printed and proved. Whereas now after traveling three weeks at heavy personal expenses, I must allow for a week at Cincinnati.

Of course I submit to a decision of the Board of Supervisors with as good a grace as possible because they have a right to govern according to their judgment. I think they mistake in giving the Academic Board, in its capacity as such, the trouble, labor, etc., of a standing court, because this in time might easily and well have been devolved on Assistant Professors or even cadets, to take and record testimony. Whereas now on every little muss the whole Academic Board must sit. As to limiting my power, at the same time it limits my responsibility, and I can let things slide and take care of themselves. But the truth is that these changes are made not for the good of the institution, but because there is a scramble for the honors supposed to be coming out of its success, and in that scramble they may lose the prize itself. Well I will have the regulations printed and will do what I can to enforce them, but of course my interest is materially lessened in its success.

I bought your books in New York and paid five hundred dollars. I had some bought in paper and will have them bound in uniform style. There will be over four hundred volumes, and substantially cover your list. I made such arrangements that we can order other books as we need them, the price to be governed by catalogue and discount according to time of payment. New York is booming full of people, and I got away lest I should be tempted to run hopelessly in debt. I could have spent fifty thousand dollars in books easier than five hundred dollars. I will enclose with this a list of books bought for you. Smith was there and made arrangements so that when Red River rises he can buy his books and chemicals and have them sent out.

I did the same for my books and instruments, but your books and all text books I ordered to be shipped by October i, and if need be they must be hauled up from Red River mouth. I don’t mind Frank’s running off he can easily be replaced, though I do want to economize by having the drummer as clerk, for it is physically impossible for me to do the writing-though it will have to be as large again as last year. My brother John will be here to make a Republican speech tomorrow and will spend Sunday with me. From him I shall learn the secrets of their party, of course they will carry Ohio, as the Republicans have made the question very narrow, strong, and no slavery for the territories.

I could tell you a thousand little things of interest here but truly I have been a little troubled with the reflection that I have another year of doubt and uncertainty before me. I know that you are so full of zeal to enlarge the sphere of your duties, that you will not be disposed to bother yourself with the duties of others, but you know others are not so well disposed.

I will surely return, but feel some scruples about my family, as it will involve a good deal of expense. Graham’s ceasing to be vice-president will also make it more difficult for me, as the Board does not act in reason to me. Whenever I act and any family is offended they effectively reverse me. They yield to any outside pres sure — and yet relieve me from none of the duties of treasurer, clerk, quartermaster, storekeeper, and general drudge, for which I was not employed. This is true and yet Manning writes me of the great confidence they have in me officially and individually. They feel that they can use me as they choose. Maybe — excuse this growl — I’ll write you a letter from the sunshine and rich fields of Ohio in a day or two.


Lancaster, Ohio, Aug. 30, 1860.

Dear General: I wrote you and Mr. Whittington from Washington of my entire success in procuring a full and ample supply of arms. Thence I went to New York, where Smith joined me from Norfolk and there I purchased clothing for next term, books for Mr. Boyd’s library, text-books, and very little for my department of engineering. These will not be needed for some time, so I confined myself to selecting instruments, books, etc., with prices so that I can order them, with a foreknowledge of cost. I left New York on Sun day arrived here Tuesday and yesterday, Wednesday, received from Mr. Boyd the budget of regulations amended.

I was in hopes that the Board would forbear another year, and if we had failed to realize our promises, that then the change would be applied, whilst admitting our entire success, they clip my wings, and make me occupy the unhandy position of servant to the Board of Super visors, and Academic Board at the same time. I know well your opinion, but regret that you saw proper to resign the vice-presidency, because the Board will con fer it on some one else, who may still further complicate two incompatible systems into one, and make a hotch potch that may not only defeat the original design, but bring reproach on all connected with it.

Nevertheless I will have these regulations printed and will come down in October. I feel more embarrassment on the score of the removal of my family. I shall not attempt it till I know that Red River is navigable, for I must procure furniture and supplies for the new house. These will cost me near two thousand dollars, a sum I cannot afford to risk at this era of my life.

Manning’s letter to me expresses great confidence in my administration, but you know that a simple paragraph of the regulations changed may initiate an impracticable system that no one man can enforce, and that sooner or later may result in my downfall. Of course as a prudent man I ought to look ahead as far as possible. I doubt if the cadets would submit to Vallas’s government, though some native of Louisiana could steer the middle channel now adopted better than I can. Vallas has a way of hinting and insinuating that is peculiarly offensive, and I doubt if Smith will teach a class under him. If Vallas has no assistance, and Smith refuse to teach a class under Vallas, we will be at a dead lock the first day of our next session.

My wife and children are all well and comfortably placed, and I hate to move them, though Mrs. Sher man having despaired of my ever living here at Lancaster is willing to go south. . .

The following memorandum or rough draft of a letter or speech was found among General Graham’s papers after his death. It gives his views of the changes which Sherman mentions in the letters printed above. It was probably written when the amendments to the regulations were being considered.


[Summer of 1860]

Mr. Manning’s whole course of conduct, his verbal profession to the contrary notwithstanding, shows a deep rooted hostility, embittered by personal pique, to the military government and character of this school. To the superintendent he seems to have a badly concealed personal, sectional, political antipathy. I have tried to shut my eyes to this, and to think differently, but the conviction is irresistible. The sneering tone and manner in which he said to me last winter, when I submitted to his inspection my draft of an act for the organization and government of the Seminary as a State Military Academy, “he is to be a Colonel, is he!” was alone enough to satisfy me of this, without the one thousand other evidences that he has given.

How inconsistent with the dignity, gravity, caution, and circumspection which should surround him in his character, as a member of the Board of Supervisors, is his boasting declaration in the Board, that he had advised Dr. Vallas orally, and in writing, to disobey an order of the superintendent, thus striking at the very roots of all government, of any kind whatever, in the institution! And then telling us that he had that morning insulted Dr. Vallas for not following his advice. His added remark that now that he had found he was wrong he must apologize to Dr. Vallas is no palliation for so total a want of every attribute becoming a member of the Board of Supervisors. His declaration that he was ignorant of the existence of the regulation under which the superintendent issued the order to the professors which he advised Dr. Vallas to disobey, is no palliation.

It is his duty to know the regulations. He had the regulations in his possession for more than a month last winter, when he took advantage of my courtesy and confidence in placing them in his hands for his perusal, and refused to deliver them up when I wrote to the superintendent to call on him for them for the purpose of taking them with him to New Orleans . . . to have printed ready for the use of the school on 1st January last.

So far from apologizing to Dr. Vallas, as he had said in the Board he should have to do for speaking to him so insultingly as he said he had done in the fore noon, I am informed by gentlemen who were on the outside of the hall, that on the night of 31st July that he spoke to both Dr. Vallas and the superintendent in regard to matters pending before the Board in a most imperious and dictorial tone and manner, amounting in the whole to a prohibition to them to take any further step in regard to those matters in opposition to his wish, although all that they had done was simply in compliance with instructions to them from the Board of Super visors. But as Mr. Manning was not present at the session of the Board at which these instructions had been given they had not received the imprimatur of his sic volo, sic jubeo.

As to Mr. Manning not understanding the impropriety of his course towards Dr. Vallas until after he was in the session of the Board on Tuesday afternoon, he was first met on his arrival there on Monday forenoon by another professor to whom he expressed his surprise at seeing him in his uniform. That professor explained to him the authority of the superintendent for issuing the order to the professors to wear their uniform at the examination, and the propriety of their doing so. Mr. Manning and myself had had a similar conversation at his office several days before. So that he understood the whole thing [before] he met Dr. Vallas, and before he came into the session of the Board on either Monday or Tuesday afternoons — and it all only strengthens my conviction that the whole thing was only intended as a lever with which to impair the authority, influence, and usefulness of the superintendent with a view to producing as soon as possible a dissolution of his connection with the institution, and the overturning of its practical, utilitarian, and military character, and establishing on its ruins a high sounding program for a grand university of empty halls, for that programme requires a larger acquaintance with Latin and Greek before a young man can enter it, than the most of our southwestern young men have acquired when they leave college.

Dr. Smith has never concealed his opposition to the military character of this institution, but only relaxed it under the influence of a conviction of its popularity. He has said openly “it will break down in a year or two, and then we’ll take hold of it and make something out of it.” The fullest meeting of the Board that we have ever had has after ample discussion, declared with only two dissenting voices that this shall be “a Literary and Scientific Institution under a Military System of Government on a Programme and plan similar to that of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington.” The people of the state have sanctioned, and the legislature has ratified it.

Doctor Smith and Mr. Manning have both admitted to me that they believed it was the popular idea. Is it right in them then — shall they be permitted to continue to pursue this step-father course towards this institution of undermining it in this stealthy manner by giving it every side blow that their position enables them to inflict on it? For I warn gentlemen now, who desire to maintain the present character of the school, but yet who may be carried away by other considerations to vote for these measures, that that will be the inevitable result of them. Let them not then say hereafter that they would not have voted for them if they had thought that such would be the result. I tell them now that these are but the entering wedge, blow after blow on which will be struck, until the present superintendent of the institution is driven from it, the friends of its present form of government around this Board either entirely withdrawn, under the influence of that power behind the throne which is so manifestly anxious to have itself considered greater than the throne itself, or else reduced to so helpless a minority as to form no obstacle to the designs of its step fathers on this institution.

But I have too much confidence in the present govern or of the state not to hope and believe that he will not countenance any measures calculated to frustrate the wish of the people, or to impair the usefulness to them of this institution. I claim as much right to speak to and of the present governor as any other man in the state — all my interests are in it — my manhood’s life has been spent here, my children are born here-what of property I possess has been acquired here. On another. But in my estimation inferior, score I claim to stand in that respect on a footing of perfect equality with any other citizen of the state. I voted to place him in his present position, and I recommended every other man that I could to do the same thing. I have known him longer, with one exception, than any other member of this Board — for thirty-one years I have watched his course with kindly interest, and there is no man in the state who feels less unpleasantly than I do at the success and prosperity with which a kind providence has rewarded the exertion of his energies. I repeat then that I have too much confidence in the present governor to believe that what I am satisfied are the misguided designs of Dr. Smith and Mr. Manning in regard to this institution, will meet with his approbation, and I trust that the members of this Board will not suffer them selves to be influenced by any outside considerations to vote for measures of so fatal a tendency to the success and the usefulness of this institution. . .

Professor Boyd who was left in charge of the Seminary during the vacation made frequent reports to Sherman. The following letter is selected as typical.

Louisiana State Seminary
of Learning and Military Academy,

Alexandria, Aug. 30, 1860.

Sir: . . . Altho’ nothing new has transpired here, still I had better drop you a line to say that every thing is going on well. Floyd has nearly finished the tables, and I think there is no doubt of his making, in proper time, all the shelves or presses, and also fixing the stairway. He has worked faithfully since you left. I will see, too, that Mills fixes the partitions. He is now busily at work at the professors’ houses, and though he seems a little behindhand with them, he can still complete them in time. You know that carpenters have had a poor chance to get lumber this summer, as the drought and scarcity of water have stopped what St. Ange calls the sewing machines.

I have kept the negro boys constantly getting wood, within your Seminary enclosure. A good deal has been cut and hauled, but the timber is so heavy that you can scarcely miss it. I have perhaps had cut down more of the pine trees than you wished, and I believe it would be well to cut them all down at once. In the winter we occasionally have some terrific blows, and when once a pine forest has been thinned out, it is so easy for those left standing to come down. Ledoux and Poussin of fer to hire a boy apiece. What say you? I think they might be profitably employed.

Cooper has not yet put up the chimneys, as you direct ed, but he makes such a fair promise that they will be fixed soon, that I am inclined to wait with him a little longer. Have no fears about them, for either he shall fix them or they shall be run up with sheet iron.

I have bargained with a carpenter to put up my book case, and it shall be ready. By the way, we have commenced begging for books, maps, etc., for a library. Can’t you do something in Ohio? How do you think it would do to have a circular letter printed and sent over the state, calling on the public to send us all books and specimens of minerals and fossils that they can spare? If you write a short letter to that effect in your capacity as superintendent, I think I could get it printed in Alexandria free of charge, and it might meet with much success.

Politics is beginning to wax pretty warm. Bell’s prospects are brightening fast, and there is no doubt of his carrying this state. My own impression is (and I am sorry to say it), that Breckenridge will carry but one Southern State, and that is South Carolina. Nor would he carry that state if the vote were submitted to the people. Bell’s party is very strong all over the South, and even Douglas has many more supporters than the blind advocates of Breckenridge can see. Whilst I deprecate the unfortunate split at Charleston and Baltimore, and think the territorial question entirely ill-timed, still as the issue has been thrust upon us, and I believe Breckenridge’s views to be correct although they may never meet with a practical application, I shall vote for him. If we who approve his views fail to support him, then the people of the North would say that the South disapproves those views, when really a large majority of us think it hard that there should be any law which either expressly or impliedly denies us equal rights with our northern brethren to the common property of the whole union. We don’t wish to appear on the statute books as inferiors.

I am beginning to think that Lincoln will not be elected. If he should be, there is no telling what trouble we may have. I do not believe any state will formally secede, but disunion might be brought about in many ways. In many places in the South, whoever accepts or hold office under Lincoln will be lynched. He (Lincoln) will of course attempt to enforce the laws; that attempt will be resisted, and once the strife is begun God only knows where it will stop. What is the use of that Republican Party? As you say, slavery will always go where it pays, in spite of Sewardism, and it will never go where it does not pay, in spite of Yancey-ism. Let the law of nature say you shall not take your slave here or there, but let not a clause of the Constitution, or an enactment of Congress, say it. It then becomes a threat hurled by one section at the other, and threats ill-become the people of a union. But whatever be the result of the election, let us hope there will be no disunion. Rather, like Governor Wise, radical as he is, let us settle our troubles in the union and not out of it.

The burning of the towns in Texas has produced much excitement here, and a negro was arrested near Nacogdoches, Tex., who said that among other towns to be burnt soon was Alexandria, La.; consequently a guard is stationed to watch for the coming incendiary, and no doubt Bootjack (Biossat) and Co. will be much disappointed if he doesn’t make his appearance. . .

I have received several letters making applications for admission of cadets, and others asking for information. General Graham’s unfortunate publication last fall — that only five could be admitted from each senatorial district — is still injuring us; and we have no money with which to advertise, I begged Boyce to publish in his paper next Monday an article enlightening the public on that point, muskets, etc., with the request that all the city and parish papers publish it, and he promised to do his part. . .

[P.S.] The crops here are almost a total failure. Very little corn and sugar, and only about one-third the usual crops of cotton will be raised. Suppose there is disunion, will they keep all the corn north of Mason’s and Dixon’s fence? . . . Don’t think of the river being in boating order in October. I will see to the wagons.

From the Alexandria [La.] Constitutional, September, 1860, the following notice is taken. It was written by General Graham who prepared most of the press notices of the Seminary.

We are informed that Col. Sherman has succeeded in procuring at Washington a large number of minnie rifle-muskets made especially for the use of cadets, together with other arms and accoutrements, so that he can now fully equip a corps of two hundred and fifty cadets.

That looks like getting the sons of Louisiana ready for any emergency of Civil War or servile insurrection that may arise; the thanks of the people of the state are due Colonel Sherman for his promptness and efficiency, not only in this important matter, but in everything that pertains to the good of the Seminary.

We also learn that steps are being made to secure Bragg’s famous “Buena Vista Battery,” which gave the Mexicans “a little more grape,” and the presidency to General Taylor. Colonel Bragg generously offers to purchase it for the Seminary if the authorities at Washington can be induced to part with it.

While speaking of the Seminary, we should correct a wrong impression in regard to the admission of cadets for next session. It is generally believed that no one can be admitted who has not obtained, before the beginning of a session, a special appointment from the superintendent; this is not so. The session commences the first of November, and anyone between fifteen and twenty-one years of age, with a knowledge of the primary English branches, who presents himself in person at the Seminary may be received as a cadet. . .

We will also warn the public not to judge of the course of study by that of any other military institution, where very little attention is paid to literary studies. The Board of Supervisors of the Seminary being firmly of the opinion that a thorough study of language is the one of the best means of mental discipline and development, has determined that every facility shall be given for literary culture. Hence there will be taught a very extensive course of ancient and modern languages. . .

The regulations as revised by the Board of Supervisors were sent to Sherman who had them printed in Cincinnati. The sup plies purchased in the East were sent by water to New Orleans for transportation shipment up the Mississippi and Red Rivers. The correspondence of September and October relates mainly to the preparations being made for the approaching opening of the second session.


Lancaster, O., Sept. 7, 1860.

Dear Boyd: I am still here, but already a little tired at “nothing to do” and therefore for want of better employment I begin to imagine all sorts of troubles to be encountered and overcome the coming year. I will endeavor to meet the books and clothing in New Orleans, and if the river be navigable, all right; if not, I will bring them up to Snaggy Point, or even the mouth, and then arrange to haul. The bedding will be bulky, books heavy, and clothing so so, and if all reach New Orleans when I calculate we can make good load.

The regulations are in the hands of the publishers in Cincinnati and instead of pitching in, they, of course, write back for some minor instructions about eight dollars and twelve dollars. The result will be I must go down and stay there during the printing.

I have heard a good deal of political speaking, and the conclusion at which I have arrived is that whoever is elected will be installed and forthwith will be renewed the war of secession. The nigger is a blind, and though all the politicians pretend to believe in a crisis, they know it is all humbug.

I was over yesterday to see Blondin walk his rope in a neighboring village. There was an immense crowd and Blondin walked his rope, eight hundred feet from steeple to steeple, right over the housetops and streets. At Cincinnati or Orleans I will try and get a successor to Frank but I suppose we had best train some darkey, because boys are restless and overestimate their importance. I could get a host of them here, but if accident befall them as was the case with some I took to New Orleans in 1853, the parents [would] have a feeling against me.


Norfolk, September 9, 1860.

My Dear Boyd: Your letter was received today and though much of its news has been anticipated by ad vices from Sherman . . . I think if I did not intend giving myself the pleasure of a charming drive this afternoon, with a still more charming young lady, I would, for want of nothing else to do, work myself up into a muss. But that would rumple my shirt collar, so I will even answer you very coolly, viz:

Your kind proposition about assisting Vallas your self, I cannot allow myself to entertain for one moment. In the first place, you would transfer part of your class to me and thus break that unity of mode of instruction so necessary to those in the same class. And really too I am but little prepared to conduct any but your lower classes. Indeed I thank you very much and appreciate the disinterested kindness of your offer; but I think your other idea far preferable. I would therefore prefer . . . that, if the Board deem that the finances of the institution do not justify the employment of an assistant to Vallas, and if they deem it right that I should take some class or other, that they will, for the coming session, attach to my chair the “Branch of Natural Philosophy.” This branch will be confined to those of last year’s class who will be passed to the third class of ’60-’61. This will give me, in connection with my duties as commandant and a barely possible chance of a small chemistry class, fully my share of work. If further assistance is still needed, I will take any class, which the Academic Board may see fit to give me. I will not specify what that class may be. The Academic Board, as fixee of the course of study, should best determine. Please do not let General Graham make this proposition to the Board as coming from me; he may state, if he pleases my concurrence in it. My reason for not offering any assistance is simply this: I have no official right to know that my services will be needed, as at the time I left the Seminary, it had been decided that two assist ants should be appointed, the only question being as to their mode of appointment. Our weather cock board has changed all this since I left, and I do not choose to let my services or my offer of such follow their vagaries.

General Graham and yourself both know my willingness to assist the Seminary in any proper way. I have assisted Vallas, I would cheerfully and willingly assist you, I have helped Sherman. I even offered to help St. Ange until he informed me that he was Professor of Tongues. . . I am only repeating my willingness to do what I can, though I do not profess to say that I prefer doing that to confining myself to my own department. You can let General G. see this letter, and he may do what he thinks best. . .


Lancaster, Ohio, Sept. 16, 1860.

My Dear Friend: I came up from Cincinnati last evening, whither I had gone to prove the sheets of our regulations of which I will have one thousand copies fifty of which with a blank leaf at the end of each article, so that amendments may be made and noted as they arise. I will not have them bound but covered with stiff paper. I doubt if I can send any till about the 1st of October when or soon after I will have all boxed and shipped from Cincinnati to New Orleans, where about October 15 I will meet them and our other stores.

By the way on my arrival last night I found your letter of September 3, which put me in possession of a correct knowledge of the status of things on that day, enabling me to prepare: the bedding, 80 mattresses, cases, etc., 500 volumes of books, 1000 of text-books, arms, accoutrements, etc., about 8 boxes of 150 Ibs. each, etc., will have to be transported up before November 1. The clothing can follow. If Red River be dead low as you say and on my arrival at New Orleans my information confirm it, I will write you to hire from four to five wagons under one leader if possible, to meet me at the mouth [of Red River] on a certain day say about the 2Oth, with my horse all saddled, when I can load the wagons and conduct them to the Seminary. See Coats and agree on a price per hundred pounds, but don’t close a bargain till the last moment. Baden who has the crapshop in Pineville has a fine team and wagon, the very thing for a load of mattresses.

We have hit on an unfavorable year — low river, undefined powers, unfortunate political crisis, unlimited expectations on the part of the community, but all these must only stimulate us to more strenuous exertions. I know this year will decide our fate, another the fate of the institution confided to us, and I will give it all my best energies and experiences, but I confess the combination of ill influences are calculated to damp my ardor.

I cannot take my family from their present comfort able and bounteously supplied home, for those desolate pine woods, but I will try and cause the coming session to pass off as smoothly and harmoniously as the past, which can only be done by making the studies and duties flow in an uninterrupted current, from the first to the last day of the session.

J. has not the requisite energy and I fear he will be so cramped with debt as to impair what little efficiency he does possess. His department is all important, but as I regard it, he is independent of me. He is steward by lawful appointment. I am only as superintendent or kind of supervisor. “Supervision” is the word, and if any failure occur in his department, I shall claim to be absolved from all responsibility. By a personal introduction to my personal friend in New Orleans, I gave him credit, which I fear he has abused, and it shall not occur again. I cannot incur personal liability in that manner again.

I think the three boys can get out enough wood for the winter and if the fallen timber encumber the ground too much we can make heaps or burn it up, so as to be ready next spring for embellishment. I will try to have one or two white boys for drummer and fifer who can clean the section rooms, tend the lamps, and do some writing. I have not got them yet but will try at Cincinnati and New Orleans on my way down. I could get them here, but I feel a delicacy in taking white men from here lest they should excite undue suspicion.

I admit I am uneasy about political causes or rather local prejudices. Reason can be combated, but suspicion cannot. Here I must resist the opinion that the South is aggressive, that they have made compacts of compromise of 1821 and 1850 which are broken and slavery made national instead of local — in the South that the North are aggressive endangering southern safety and prosperity, both factions argue their sides with warmth and an array of facts, that is hard to answer and I must content myself with awaiting the result.

I send you a speech made by my brother John in Philadelphia a few days ago. I heard him here and had much talk with him, and he told me he should prepare his speech for Philadelphia with care and stand by it. Therefore this speech is the Republican view of this section of the Confederacy.

An unexampled prosperity now prevails here and it is a pity that so much division pervades the Democratic Party, as it enables the Republicans to succeed. Even Bennett’s Herald admits the probability of Lincoln’s success. But I would prefer Bell to succeed because it would give us four years truce, but I fear it is not to be. But I am equally convinced that Lincoln’s success would be attended with no violence. He is a man of nerve, and is connected by marriage and friendship with the Pres-tons of Kentucky and Virginia, and I have no doubt he will administer the government with moderation. No practical question can arise, whereby men of the South would be declared on the statute book as unequal to their northern brethren. There is now abundant slave territory and we have no other land fit for it, but Texas, and that is all slave territory by treaty.

If we go to Civil War for a mere theory, we deserve a monarch and that would be the final result, for you know perfectly well the South is no more a unit on that question than the North — Kentucky and Carolina have no sympathy. I heard Leslie Combs speak at Circleville a few days ago, and his language would have been Republicanism in Carolina. He has been elected clerk by twenty-three thousand majority in Kentucky.

In Ohio here we have all sorts of political parties and clubs, but it is admitted that it will vote the Republican ticket. My brother has no opposition at all in his district, and is therefore helping others in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He resides at Mansfield, seventy-five miles north of this. I will go up to visit him and my sister in about ten days; but as to modifying his opinions further I cannot expect it.

I wanted him to repudiate openly the “irrepressible conflict” doctrine — but he has not done so, though he made a left handed wipe at Seward and Giddings as extremists. These men represent the radicals of that party but John laughs at me when I tell him in the nature of things that class of men will get control of his party. He contends that they — the Republicans — are the old Whig Party, revived solely by the unwise repeal of the Missouri Compromise. Of course you and I are outside ob servers of political events, and can influence the result but little, but this is no reason why we should not feel a deep and lively interest in the development of a result that for better or worse must interest us all.

At Cincinnati I attended the U.S. Agricultural Fair. Joe Lane was there and I esteem him a humbug, from his Mexican War reputation; other notorieties were there, among which fat hogs, calves, pumpkins, apples, etc., competed for prizes, and I think on a fair unbiased opinion the pumpkins were entitled to the first premium over vain conceited men.

I wish however we had Cincinnati near us at the Seminary. We should not then be troubled to get provisions, books, or furniture. If Red River were navigable, and I would find a boat for Alexandria or Shreveport direct, which often occurs in season, I would buy a full outfit of everything for my house at a blow. As it is I now must wait, as transportation by wagon must be out of all reason.

Think of corn fifteen to twenty-five cents a bushel, hay at two dollars and fifty cents a ton, etc. Beautiful horses from one hundred and twenty-five to two hundred dollars. Though no gourmand I will turn with regret from the apples, pears, vegetables, meats, and luxuries of Ohio to the poor bread and poor meat of the pine woods. It does seem to me our lot is cast in the remotest parts of the present civilized world. Your letter is two weeks old — by twelve each day I get the Cincinnati papers here, published one hundred and twenty-five miles away, and containing news from all the world. Even John Sherman’s speech was telegraphed entire.

Tell Mills I shall not bring my family and he may finish Vallas’ house first. Whitewashing the fence is not necessary till next spring. Gates should be done at once — same of chimneys, spring cleaned out well cistern full of water and pump in good order. Am glad Floyd progresses with tables, etc., let tables, presses, and shelves be distributed to the rooms, shovel and tongs and andirons to each room. Try a black board as an experiment on the wall of your recitation room, where in case of failure it can be covered by a map. Have the spaces to right and left of hall partitioned off so as to be used for storage — Vallas’ next his section room and the other for storage, afterward a guard room.

I know and appreciate your loneliness, and hope at some future time to have it in my power to signalize my appreciation of your sacrifice by some act of favor. Have heard from Smith lately at Norfolk, but not a word of the Doctor [Clarke]. . . Send me some money if you can as I will be hard up — must pay one hundred and ten dollars of my own money for the regulations. . .


Lancaster, Ohio, Sept. 20, 1860.

Dear General: . . . I did regret and do still regret that under the circumstances you thought it your duty to your own feelings to vacate the position of vice-president and I will further venture the expression of my earnest hope that you will do nothing to show the public that you have lost confidence in the government of the Seminary. Your acts and your power have never been contravened, but I admit that at the last session the opponents to the military feature of our institution made a home thrust, more at my power than anything else. You know that many of my acts have been virtually re versed and now I am made to fill an office requiring me to carry out the resolves of the Board of Supervisors and of an Academic Board.

I certainly do not covet power, but if the public and my friends look to me personally to do certain things, they will misjudge me when my acts must be a zigzag course between the indefinite opinions of two deliberative bodies. Were you vice-president, I would still [act on my own responsibility] whenever occasion arose, but it may be different in case a less reliable occupies that vacant place. The Board of Supervisors mistake much in supposing that cadets will be safer under the Academic Board than under a Board ordered by me, whose acts I could revise, restrain, and even veto. The more I reflect the more convinced am I that the Academic Board should not be trusted exclusively with the enforcement of discipline, but it is now done and the next session must pass under the new system, and I must needs try the experiment, only I want it to be universally known that I will not compromise my military reputation by a seeming assent to a system of government that has ever failed, and must fail in this instance.

I wish to be distinctly understood as not complaining at the personal application of reducing my power to a mere “supervisory” power-a right to complain to the Board of Supervisors — instead of what ought to be a right to control. If the cadets find out that my wings are clipped won’t they make it rather uncomfortable to me? Still I have had little experience in these matters and may be mistaken, and will try another session. I will leave my family where they are and come to Alexandria by way of New Orleans. . .

I feel uneasy about Jarreau. Still as my power is now merely “supervisory,” if he utterly fail in his contract I am in no wise responsible. I never mentioned to you that last November I introduced Jarreau to my friends Kennett and Co. of New Orleans, enjoining the latter in all cases to supply good articles of groceries. Jarreau bought of them to the extent of some $1,300 without paying one cent. They wrote to me and at my instance he sent down one of his monthly payments of $800, leaving still $500 due. I feel that Kennett looks to me for that and I don’t know but I am liable. Jarreau is too careless about such things and it may be said too that I was too careless in incurring such a liability, after my recent business experience.

I have several letters from Mr. Boyd, giving me reasonable assurance that the items of work devised for the summer will be substantially done. Frank’s desertion did not much surprise me — you mistake in saying my “favorite Frank.” I got out of him all sorts of work for which we could not afford to employ help clerical or other he never had charge of anything subject to larceny, except may be some blankets and I could readily have detected that. I employed Wright. In my absence Smith discharged him and Frank fell in because no body else was at hand and as the boy was willing we used him for “all work.” I think if he has stolen nothing more than Mr. Boyd reports his account is not much over. When I left he had $3 due him and had in his room (paid for) some $20 of merchandise.

I could get hundreds of intelligent young men here who would go with me for moderate wages; but a drum mer or clerk, the only posts I ought to fill, must from the necessity of the case be subject to the command of others, who would order them about in a style and manner to which Ohio boys are not used to, and the result would be “off.” So I discourage all who apply. One young fellow a good musician but neither drummer or bugler, says, he is going south anyways, but he must go at his own cost and risk. Smith at my suggestion applied at Old Point Comfort to my personal friend Captain Ord who says he can supply us. Smith writes about road expenses, and wages and I feel a little doubtful now, whether I have a right to make a bargain without the ratification of the Board. There is a resolution to “furnish” the building and to provide in advance the stores, but nothing about drummer and fifer. An army drummer and fifer would suit us better than boys picked up as we picked up Wright and Frank. Still I can not afford pecuniarily to run the risk of these private bar gains of hire. Still I think I will write to Smith that if Ord will recommend a drummer and fifer, both willing to work either as clerks, storekeepers, and sweepers of halls, lighters of lamps, etc., that I will agree to em ploy-expenses up from New Orleans to be paid by Seminary, to New Orleans by himself and myself jointly until the Board ratify. The family recommended to you by Captain Maynadier were of too delicate health to suit the present period of our establishment. All must work in some sphere or other.

Mr. Boyd says that the drought prevented the delivery of lumber, so that the roofs are not yet on — still even if done I would not bring my family now. I have writ ten to finish Mr. Vallas’ house first.

To a mere looker on the political game of our country is funny. In the South you are struggling between Bell and Breckenridge. Here their names are hardly mentioned, and the orators are noisy only for Douglas and Lincoln. Political majority has passed to the North and power must follow. Sooner or later the North will control, and the only question in my mind is, will she abuse it? Nobody now can say she will or she will not. I know some Southrons say they won’t await the chance. I think they will and should. Even the wide-awake Republicans here say they don’t mean interference with slavery. They opposed the repeal of Missouri Compromise and the events connected with Kansas, but of course I don’t look to word for meaning. I am satisfied no president in power will weaken the country over which he presides.

Of course I keep aloof from all political cliques and knots, and only express an opinion occasionally to the effect, that there are many men of action and ability at the South, who will act with prudence and decision when the time comes, but that danger does exist from the growing suspicion and distrust, between the two general sections of one country. My wife and family are well. Mrs. S. begs that I will thank you for your repeated offers of hospitality — but she ought not to budge from here till she can move straight into a house of her own.


September 27, 1860.

. . . I am much obliged to you for the copy of your brother’s speech. It is an able production and marks him, as he had already proved himself to be, a deep thinker and a strong reasoner. I regret very much that he is on the wrong side his premises I do not grant him. I believe he designs no other injustice to the South than to keep slaves out of the territories, and since the Supreme Court says that under the Constitution they can be carried there, the mere agitation of that matter, free-soilism (not abolitionism), is not sufficient cause for the South to attempt to break up the Union; but I am afraid Seward and many others will never rest till they attempt the abolition of slavery in the states, and when that comes, then “let the Union slide” (according to Governor Banks).

As long as Seward is the acknowledged leader of the Republicans, has not the South reason to fear that the abolition of slavery in the Territories is but the entering wedge to overthrow it in the States? I think, and hope, that your brother will yet openly renounce Seward’s “irrepressible conflict” doctrine. But I must say, I like to read Seward’s speeches. I have learned more politics of him lately than from all the rest of the politicians put together. However false his position, he talks more like a philosopher than any of them. There is nothing of the humbug about him; he is honest in his views, and for that very reason, he is the more dangerous enemy, first to the South, and finally to the whole Union.

However unpleasant it is to be separated so much from your family, I think you have acted wisely in not bringing them down to Louisiana. If you could see the Pinewoods now, after they have been burnt so bare that there is hardly a sprig of vegetation to be seen, you could not help exclaiming, What a picture of starvation! And it is reported that some poor devils are actually starving in Natchitoches; but I suppose they are of the “rosin heel” tribe, and are really too lazy to live. . .

Bell will certainly carry Louisiana. Poor Breck! I am afraid he will only carry S. S. Prentiss’s “Harry Percy of the Union,” South Carolina, and, maybe, he is not ultra enough for the Fire-eaters. . .


Lancaster, Ohio, Sept. 30, 1860.

My Dear Friend: . . . I am much obliged to your letters which have kept me easy. Time now begins to approach the season of action, and I see no better cause for me to pursue that what I have heretofore designated. . . By the way all the books, text and library, are already en route to Converse, Kennett and Co., New Orleans, from New York, and the regulations ought to be done and shipped to-morrow. So that by or before October 15 everything we need will be there.

My orders are to ship to Pineville if possible and by the Picayune I see that occasionally a boat gets up to Alexandria. But if on my arrival there I find all our things I will promptly write to you to send to me at mouth of Red River four or five wagons and my horse, that out of the whole I may select the books, bedding, and hardware necessary and leave the balance to follow when navigation opens. The arms will be delivered at Alexandria by Uncle Sam, and if freight is excessive we don’t care.

My own preference is that our cadets should not exceed one hundred and fifty in number and I doubt if we can do them or ourselves justice if in greater number. Tell Manning if he or Smith intend to engineer the Seminary through, they must look well to this question of number. Have new mess hall tables made, same width as the others but four feet shorter, because four of the present length in a row make too close a fit. Tell Manning that I hope the mere manner of appointment did not defeat the assistant professor of mathematics. Such an officer should be there the very day we begin. Even if his qualifications are limited to arithmetic. Our teaching must be practical and adapted to the capacity of the cadets, and all hands must recite daily in mathematics, and it is a physical impossibility for Vallas to hear all or half. I have been quite sick, bad cold and some of the bilious that was in me all spring, but I feel better now, though my face is much broken out with four blisters.

This week is a busy one for our village fair, races, etc. This country has thirty thousand people, town six thousand, the finest farms in the world, and such horses and cattle as would do you good to see. We have men here who can afford to own such stock as “Fashion,” and one of our men imported an eight thousand dollar English horse, “Bonnie Scotland,” which is a beauty.

At this instant the Prince of Wales is in Cincinnati. Some of the ladies wanted me to go down one hundred and twenty miles to see him, but I begged off and they got other escort. He is having a jolly good time and enjoys his trip exceedingly, as he should, for he makes his progress during fine weather and when fruits are at perfection. I would like to see the youth, but will trust to the newspapers for a description.

My brother John continues to circulate, making Republican speeches and everybody says that in case Lincoln be elected he will have a high seat in the synagogue. Judging from the mere local clamor here, and remembering the wild and foolish schism in the Democratic Party it is more than probable that Lincoln will be elected. But there is so wide a difference between the Seward Republicans and Corwin Republicans that in case of success the party will break into flinders worse than the old Whig Party used to do and then will begin the war of the Roses.

Which wing of the Democratic Party is the Simon pure? That seems now the only effort of the Democrats north is to try and see which wing of the party shall be construed as the true heir to the rights and glory of the old Democratic Party. Douglas here is the Democratic but in the South Breckenridge is.

The truth is that the present territories — Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and the desert ain’t worth quarrelling over, and practically nobody can be tempted to go there except as governor, marshal, judge, etc., of sup posed future states. No sensible man with liberty of choice would think of taking his slaves there. Consequently all this clamor about rights in territories is a theoretical one, but as you say it involves a principle and therefore is contended for.

If any calamity should befall our country in this question, the future historian would have the pleasant task of chronicling the downfall of the Great Republic, because one class of — - would not permit theoretically another class of to go, where neither party had the most remote intention to go, for I take it that no sensible man except an army officer who could not help himself ever went to Utah, New Mexico, or Arizona, or even proposes to do so. And as our dominions now reach the Pacific, and our frontiers are all “rectified” we have no further necessity of taking in any more “worthless Mexican waste land. I hope therefore that the result of this angry controversy will be no more extension of territory, but that all states will confine their efforts to perfecting and improving their internal resources. You can readily under stand that I am sick of this war of prejudice. Here the prejudice is that planters have nothing else to do but hang abolitionists and hold lynch courts. There, that all the people of Ohio are engaged in stealing and running off negroes. The truth is they both do injustice to the other; and if all would forget and mind their respective interests, it would be found that slave and all other property in the United States are now at a most prosperous standard.

Yesterday I was out all day with my boys gathering nuts. I had a single horse spring-wagon and filled it with black walnuts and chestnuts — and what with roasting, boiling, and eating chestnuts there is no peace in the house. When I began the young ones had gone to church but they are back now, and it requires more nerve to write in the midst of their noises than if a régimental band were in full career.

Mrs. Sherman has put up for me an amount of cur rant jelly, quince jelly, and marmalade and all sorts of preserves — but I doubt if I can take them down. If Red River were navigable I would send them down to New Orleans from Cincinnati to Kennett and have him re-ship them. I am trying to stop smoking. It and bad food had reduced me to a skeleton, and I am still thin. I was fifteen pounds lighter than ever before in my life when I reached home. I had paid no attention to it and Mrs. Sherman thinks I am so careless of what I eat, that she really believes we are starved down there. I don’t know what she will think when she has to depend on Schwartzenberg and Alexandria for her daily supplies.

I know they are well off here and therefore shall leave them statu quo till I send for them, but in the meantime will myself occupy the house built for me, though I still think Vallas’ house should be plastered and painted first, and Mills can do so. I take it the plastering will all be done before I arrive and that one and may be two coats of paint on.

The moment I arrive at New Orleans I will write you whether I want the wagons sent to the mouth of Red River. The distance is sixty-five miles, time three days, load say two thousand pounds for two yoke. Total time of trip one week — about twenty dollars a load which would be three dollars a day-or better one dollar the hundred, about that. There will be fourteen boxes of books, eighty rolls of bed and about six hundred weight of sundries. Keep your mind on four or five wagons. Wagons should have covers.

Write me very fully by the 12th October care of Ken-nett, Blood and Co., New Orleans, on these points-that I may act with the greatest chance of economy and certainty. Only make a written charter party, and allow for lay days at a price at the mouth. If you have one of those two hundred dollar checks left or any means of drawing send me some by letter as I shall be hard up on arrival at New Orleans; let me know also then who is vice-president. . .


Lancaster, O., Oct. 3, 1860.

My Dear Friend: . . . It is all-important the bedding, stationery, and textbooks, [and] your library books should all be on hand November 1. If Red River be at all navigable I will stick to it, but otherwise I must depend on wagons, and it is unsafe to judge of this be forehand. I will be much influenced by what I hear from you on arrival at New Orleans. I have knowledge that everything will be there in readiness by the end of next week. I will surely reach New Orleans by Saturday, 13th instant, and hope to be en route hence by October 15 or 16. If Red River be navigable I can come right along, otherwise I must wait at mouth of Red River till wagons come down.

I send you a copy of the printed regulations. I have twenty-five with me and one thousand are now enroute for New Orleans, where I will take them up — it was impossible to have them done before. I did not have them bound, as these one thousand copies will last us three years, by which time a new edition will be certain.

The weather here is cold and raw, and it is time for southern birds to take flight. Nothing new in politics, but the election of Lincoln is still regarded as quite certain here. The truth is New York and Pennsylvania control this result, and they are always uncertain.


The second session of this institution will commence 1st November and continue, without vacation, till 20th August, 1861.

Terms Of Admission: the applicant must be between fifteen and twenty-one years of age, of good moral character, and well versed in the primary English branches.

Expenses Of The Session: tuition, board, washing, lights and fuel — $220; uniform clothing, texts books, stationary, medical attendance and rent of fixed furniture — $120. A deposit of $200 must be made first of November.

Each cadet must bring with him bedding [and] the minor articles of room furniture, or purchase them at the Seminary at a cost of $30. He must also bring a supply of under-clothing. For further information apply to Col. W. T. Sherman, superintendent, Alexandria, La.


St. Charles Hotel,
New Orleans,
Monday, Oct. 15, 1860.

Dear Boyd: I arrived yesterday. This morning find that a part of our bedding has been shipped per “Eleanor.” Hardware all ready except some buckets and brooms, and these will be ready by Wednesday, when I think I will ship per “Era No. 7” twenty-nine boxes of books, text and library. One [box of] regulations and some ten of Vallas’ are here, and I will send all per “Era No.7” if in meantime a better boat do not come. I will either come up in the “Era” or the stage. I would leave to-morrow and reach Alexandria Thursday, but Jarreau wants me to get him two servants to wait on his table, and I want a drummer, if possible, vice Frank, deserted.

Tell Jarreau that Kennett was not willing that any more groceries should be sent him, as there is a balance due them of six months’ standing; but as I know these groceries will be wanted, I have agreed with Kennett to be responsible. I hope Mr. Vallas has his assistant en gaged. We must start November i to the minute. I find Ruddiman’s Grammar could not be had. Andrews and Stoddard has been substituted. No prefixes and suffixes — it is a book published solely for West Point and is not for sale.


The opening of the second session. Political conditions in Louisiana. Sherman’s account of his course. Beauregard plans a course of study for his sons. Examinations for admission. St. Ange objects to the methods of classification. Sherman is advised to vote in the presidential election. He decides not to vote. Evidences of coming secession. Views of the faculty on state rights and secession. Governor Moore calls a special session of the legislature. Disorder among the cadets a reflection of the political situation. John Sherman advises his brother to leave Louisiana. The latter predicts that secession will fail. Condemns the hesitation of the Washington government. Vigilance committees in control of Louisiana. Ammunition for the Seminary. Sherman declares that he will not go with the secession movement. His opinion on the situation in South Carolina. Christmas at the Seminary. Sherman’s annual report. Graham opposes secession. Lawlessness the real trouble. Sherman says too much democracy. Hope of Reconstruction.

Upon returning to Louisiana in the fall of 1860 Sherman was surprised to find the people in a disturbed state of mind over the political situation. Nor was he prepared for the swift movement toward secession that followed the election of Lincoln. Of such vital concern to him were the political happenings of the time that in his letters he has little to say of the internal affairs of the Seminary, but much of the drift toward secession and Civil War. His own views are clearly exhibited in his letters. From the Memoirs [vol. 1, 179] is taken the following summary account of the happenings in Louisiana in the early fall of 1860.

Reaching Alexandria early in October, I pushed forward the construction of the two buildings, some fences, gates, and all other work, with the object of a more perfect start at the opening of the regular term November 1, 1860. About this time Dr. Powhatan Clarke was elected assistant professor of chemistry, etc., and acted as secretary of the Board of Supervisors, but no other changes were made in our small circle of professors.

November came, and with it nearly if not quite all our first set of cadets, and others, to the number of about one hundred and thirty. We divided them into two companies, issued arms and clothing, and began a regular system of drills and instruction, as well as the regular recitations. I had moved into my new house, but prudently had not sent for my family, nominally on the ground of waiting until the season was further advanced, but really because of the storm that was lowering heavy on the political horizon.

The presidential election was to occur in November, and the nominations had already been made in stormy debates by the usual conventions. . . Bell and Everett, a kind of compromise [were] mostly in favor in Louisiana. Political excitement was at its very height, and it was constantly asserted that Mr. Lincoln’s election would imperil the Union. I purposely kept aloof from politics, would take no part, and remember that on the day of the election in November I was notified that it would be advisable for me to vote for Bell and Everett, but I openly said I would not, and I did not.

The election of Mr. Lincoln fell upon us all like a clap of thunder. People saw and felt that the South had threatened so long that, if she quietly submitted, the question of slavery in the territories was at an end for ever. I mingled freely with the members of the Board of Supervisors, and with the people of Rapides Parish generally, keeping aloof from all cliques and parties, and I certainly hoped that the threatened storm would blow over, as had so often occurred before, after similar threats.

At our Seminary the order of exercises went along with the regularity of the seasons. Once a week, I had the older cadets to practise reading, reciting, and elocution, and noticed that their selections were from Calhoun, Yancey, and other southern speakers, all treating of the defense of their slaves and their home institutions as the very highest duty of the patriot. Among boys this was to be expected; and among the members of our board, though most of them declaimed against politicians generally, and especially abolitionists, as pests, yet there was a growing feeling that danger was in the wind.

I recall the visit of a young gentleman who had been sent from Jackson, by the governor of Mississippi, to confer with Governor Moore, then on his plantation at Bayou Robert, and who had come over to see our college. He spoke to me openly of secession as a fixed fact, and that its details were only left open for discussion. I also recall the visit of some man who was said to be a high officer in the order of “Knights of the Golden Circle,” of the existence of which order I was even ignorant, until explained to me by Major Smith and Dr. Clarke. But in November, 1860, no man ever approached me offensively, to ascertain my views, or my proposed course of action in case of secession, and no man in or out of authority ever tried to induce me to take part in steps designed to lead toward disunion. I think my general opinions were well known and under stood, viz., that “secession was treason, was war;” and that in no event could the North and West permit the Mississippi River to pass out of their control. But some men at the South actually supposed at the time that the Northwestern States, in case of a disruption of the general government, would be drawn in self interest to an alliance with the South.

At the beginning of the second session, Major Beauregard sent both sons to the Seminary. One of these was Sherman’s adjutant and also assistant teacher of French. Braxton Bragg in his correspondence showed hearty interest in the prospects for the second session. Other correspondence of this time relates to Seminary routine, to politics, and to the prospect of war.


New Orleans, October 27,1860.

Dear Colonel: I send you according to promise my two sons René and Henry, the latter being a state cadet from the Parish of St. Bernard. . .

René, I think, is now prepared to enter your third class, but should he not be so in mathematics I hope he will be permitted to enter that class in all his other studies for he is very well prepared in them. Should he be appointed assistant teacher of French I hope he will be excused from his own French recitations, so that he may devote as much time as practicable to his other branches of studies. I do not desire that he should study Greek, as I wish him to receive, more especially a commercial education. I hope he will be considered worthy of the appointment of sargeant major, which he is anxious to obtain.

With regard to Master Henry, I desire having him thoroughly prepared for West Point, especially in mathematics and drawing, he is to enter there in June, 1862, and I wish him to do honor to your institution and to his name; hence I have particularly to request that he should not learn Latin and Greek but devote that time to the study of mathematics, drawing, English, French and Spanish, which I know from experience will be as much as he can accomplish in eighteen months’ application to his studies.

I hope he may be able to room with his brother, but should he not be able to do so, I hope he will be put with well-behaved and studious room-mates. I have to make the same request for his two cousins, young James Proctor and Charles Reggio — the latter is from the parish of Plaquemines — and I recommend them both also to your especial care as well as Master Clement Labarre of this city.

As I feel very solicitous about the health of my sons, I hope you will do me the favor to apprize me of the fact should they become seriously unwell, that I may come up or send for them and I sincerely hope that Mr. J. will do better with his department [the mess hall] than he has done heretofore as otherwise it may become a serious drawback to the success of your institution, for parents generally attach more importance to the health of children than to their intellectual developments. . .


At Home, near Thibodeaux, La.,
October 25, 1860.

My Dear Sherman: It is long since we last communed, but both of us have been travelers, and that seldom conduces to correspondence. . . When in Virginia I had a long letter from my old friend Graham, dated just after the examination, giving me most agree able information of the general success of our bantling (the Seminary), and especially of my young protege, Perkins. Intermingled with this was the unpleasant controversy in the Board of Supervisors, and a result injurious, I fear, to the permanent prosperity of the Academy. Yet we must not despair or cease our exertions in the right direction. Our popularity is growing daily with the influential people of the country, and I believe with perseverance we shall conquer all opposition. In deed, I don’t know but it is better for us to have it. We should never labor to accomplish our object with half the zeal or determination but for this very ignorant prejudice. But let me beg of you not to compromise your position by actively espousing either cause. Graham is able to fight the battle on our side, and your opinion will have more weight and influence when drawn out, as it must be, than if you were an active party in the controversy.

I hope our anticipations may be realized in having a full attendance at the opening of your session next week. I gave a letter this morning to a young man. . . I hope you may work him into some corner left open by non-attendance. I am told he has been a headstrong, willful, and lazy boy, hard to keep at any school. But his father has great hopes in the military enthusiasm, your system of regularity and accountability and in Fred’s influence. Fred [Perkins] has just called to bid me goodby. From being a thin, sickly, sallow boy, he is grown ruddy, erect, and manly in appearance. And by this great physical change and his admirable deportment since his return home, he has done much in this community to call favorable attention to the Academy. It is a source of no little pleasure to me, and your heart would be delighted to see the just pride of his good old white-headed mother as she admires her baby. He is her youngest, and born after his father’s death. I trust he may still continue to deserve the commendation of his superiors.

When north I had no opportunity of seeing anything about that old battery. But I do not see that anything can be done except in the way you propose — a donation — by the general government, and I see no reason why this may not succeed. Governor Moore told me it should have his cordial support. I could easily get the approval of the Senate, I suppose, through Mr. Slidell and my brother. What say you to a memorial from the Board of Supervisors headed by the governor? It would be indelicate for me to move in the matter, and may be egotistical for me to do even the suggesting. But I should feel a pride in your success and believe it would benefit the Academy. For a precedent you have only to see the donations to Missouri of guns captured by Doniphan in the affair of Sacramento. Guns do not cease to be national trophies because they may be entrusted to the keeping of a state, and a proviso might be added requiring their return whenever the state should cease to use them as proposed. Make a point, too, of their being “worn out” and no longer of any intrinsic value. But my sheet is full and egotistical garrulity must cease. . .

The correspondence during the months of November and December deals almost wholly with political matters. Sherman is uncertain whether it is better to bring his family to Louisiana or in expectation of secession and Civil War, to prepare to leave the state, but finally decides to leave them in Ohio until the result of the elections is known.


ALEXANDRIA, Nov. 3, 1860.

. . . This is a Saturday evening and I am seated at the office table where the Academic Board has been all week examining cadets. We have admitted in all some eighty; and rejected about a dozen for want of the elementary knowledge required for admission. To night, Saturday, we close the business, and on Monday recitations begin. Still many more will straggle in, and I expect we will settle down to about a hundred and twenty, less than we had reason to expect, but quite enough for comfort. . .

People here now talk as though disunion was a fixed thing. Men of property say that as this constant feeling of danger of abolitionism exists they would rather try a Southern Confederacy. Louisiana would not secede, but should South Carolina secede I fear other Southern States will follow, and soon general anarchy will prevail. I say but little, try and mind my own business and await the issue of events. . .

The country is very poor and nothing can be bought here but stewed beef and pork, vegetables are out of the question save potatoes at about five dollars the barrel.


Alexandria, Nov. 4, 1860.

Sir: Yours of 3rd inst. is before me having been received last night just after the Academic Board adjourned, having awaited your attendance one hour.

The duty of classifying cadets either of a new or old class belongs to the Academic Board, voting by a majority. The Academic Board yesterday after a patient sitting arranged all the cadets now present into two classes, third and fourth, lists of each being recorded in the proper book.

This classification must not be disturbed by any professor. It is your duty to arrange your sections, subject to that classification and I specially require that you make no list of cadets, for recitation in French, except the classification fixed by the Board. Were you to publish a list of sections, styling any cadet as a member of the Fourth Class, whom the Academic Board has adjudged a member of the Third Class, you must see plainly that you would be treating the Academic Board with contempt. And would introduce disorder and confusion, where system must prevail.

In all bodies where a majority rules, there must be a minority; and for a member of the minority to say he is treated with contempt he must show marks of contempt other than a bare fact that the majority thinks different from him. Now you remember that every member of the Board assured you repeatedly of their personal respect, called on you to suggest a remedy for the difficulty that surrounded us, and even adjourned one hour for thought and deliberation. Even then you could not suggest a remedy and the Board proceeded on their con sciences and honor to arrange the Third Class. If some cadets in that class are below the standard you think requisite, it is no fault of yours. You are not responsible for it, but the blame is justly chargeable to the Academic Board, whose clear duty it is to “classify” cadets (see par. 10). The mode of imparting instruction is left to the professor by par. 7. But that is a very different matter from “classifying” the cadets which is clearly the prerogative of the Academic Board.

You should have attended the session of last night, and if confusion in the recitations of tomorrow result therefrom it will be clearly traced to you. . .


Tyrone, Nov. 5th, 1860.

Dear Colonel: In a conversation with Mr. Sanford yesterday afternoon, we came to the conclusion to advise you that in case any other of the professors vote in the election to-morrow, you would do so also, if you are entitled to vote, lest cavillers should impugn your motives for refraining from voting, and say that you did so because there was no ticket here that suited you. We think too that the manifestation of independence in voting, provided any other professor vote, will have a good effect.

Your right to vote will depend on whether you were within the limits of this state on the 5th day of last November. The polls open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.


Alexandria, Nov. 10, 1860.

. . . We have had a week of cold rains but it has cleared off, and to-day is bright and warm. I am going into town today and will leave this at the post-office. The election came off on Tuesday and resulted in Alexandria in a majority for Breckenridge, next Bell, next Douglas. Of course there were no votes for Lincoln. Indeed he has no ticket in this state.

I received a note from a friend advising me to vote. I thought the matter over and concluded I would not vote. Technically I was entitled to a vote as I entered Louisiana just a year ago, but I thought I ought not to vote in this election, and did not. I would have preferred Bell, but I think he has no chance, and I do not wish to be subject to any political conditions. If I am to hold my place by a political tenure I prefer again to turn vagabond.

I would not be surprised to learn that my not voting was construed into a friendly regard for Lincoln, and that it might result in my being declared a public enemy. I shall however rest under a belief that now as the election is over all this hard feeling will subside and peace once more settle on the country. We have no returns as yet. Maybe the mail tonight will bring some returns from New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, those large states that determine this election, but I do not count on any clear knowledge till next Monday.

We began our recitations last Monday, and things have settled down into order and system. . .

No matter which way we turn there arise difficulties which seem insurmountable. In case Lincoln is elected they say that South Carolina will secede and that the Southern States will not see her forced back. Secession must result in Civil War, anarchy, and ruin to our present form of government. If it is attempted it would be unwise for us to be here. Still I hope for quiet. . .


Alexandria, Nov. 23, 1860.

. . . We are having a cold raw day and I avail myself of it to do a good deal of indoor work. I was out for some hours directing the making of the fence around our new house, but the work within proceeds very slowly indeed. Our house is all plastered and the carpenters are putting in the doors, windows, and casings. Also the painter is tinkering around, but at present rate the building will not be ready before Christmas. I now have all arrangements made for your coming down about that time, but prudence dictates some caution as political events do seem portentous.

I have a letter from the cashier that he sent you the first of exchange, the second I now enclose to you for two hundred ninety dollars. But by the very mail which brought it came the rumor that the banks are re fusing exchange on the North, which cannot be true; also that goods were being destroyed on the levee at New Orleans and that the Custom House was closed. I also notice that many gentlemen who were heretofore moderate in their opinions now begin to fall into the popular current and go with the mad foolish crowd that seems bent on a dissolution of this confederacy.

The extremists in this quarter took the first news of the election of Lincoln so coolly, that I took it for grant ed all would quietly await the issue; but I have no doubt that politicians have so embittered the feelings of the people that they think that the Republican Party is bent on abolitionism, and they cease to reason or think of consequences.

We are so retired up here, so much out of the way of news, that we hear nothing but stale exaggerations; but I feel that a change is threatened and I will wait patiently for a while. My opinions are not changed.

If the South is bent on disunion of course I will not ally our fate with theirs, because by dissolution they do not escape the very danger at which they grow so frantically mad. Slavery is in their midst and must continue, but the interest of slavery is much weaker in Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland than down here. Should the Ohio River become a boundary be tween the two new combinations, there will begin a new change. The extreme South will look on Kentucky and Tennessee as the North, and in a very few years the same confusion and disorder will arise, and a new dissolution, till each state and maybe each county will claim separate independence.

If South Carolina precipitate this Revolution it will be because she thinks by delay Lincoln’s friends will kind of reconcile the middle, wavering states, whereas now they may raise the cry of abolition and unite all the Slave States. I had no idea that this would actually begin so soon, but the news from that quarter does look as though she certainly would secede, and that Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Texas would soon follow. All these might go and still leave a strong, rich confederated government, but then come Mississippi and Louisiana. As these rest on the Mississippi and control its mouth I know that the other states north will not submit to any molestation of the navigation by foreign states. If these two states go and Arkansas follows suit then there must be war, fighting, and that will continue until one or the other party is subdued.

If Louisiana call a convention I will not move, but if that convention resolve to secede on a contingency that I can foresee, then I must of course quit. It is not to be expected that the state would consent to trust me with arms and command if I did not go with them full length. I don’t believe Louisiana would of herself do anything; but if South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas resolve no longer to wait, then Louisiana will do likewise. Then of course you will be safer where you are. As to myself I might have to go to California or some foreign country, where I could earn the means of living for you and myself. I see no chance in Ohio for me. A man is never a prophet in his own land and it does seem that nature for some wise purpose, maybe to settle wild lands, does ordain that man shall migrate, clear out from the place of his birth.

I did not intend to write so much, but the day is gloomy, and the last news from New Orleans decidedly so, if true. Among ourselves it is known that I am opposed to disunion in any manner or form. Prof. Smith ditto, unless Lincoln should actually encourage abolitionism after installed in office. Mr. Boyd thinks the denial to the southern people of access to new territories is an insult to which they cannot submit with honor and should not, let the consequences be what they may. Dr. Clarke is simply willing to follow the fortunes of the South, be what they may. Vallas and St. Ange, foreigners, don’t care, but will follow their immediate self interests.

Thus we stand, about a fair sample of a mixed crowd; but ’tis now said all over the South the issue is made, and better secession now when they can than wait till it is too late. This is a most unfortunate condition of things for us, and I hardly know how to act with decency and firmness, and like most undecided men will wait awhile to see what others do; if feeling in South Carolina continues they must do something, else they will be the laughing stock of the world, and that is what they dread. For of all the states they can least afford to secede, as comparatively she is a weak and poor state. This on the contrary is destined to be a rich and powerful one. . .


Alexandria, Nov. 26, 1860.

. . . I commenced writing a letter last night to Minnie, but a friend sent us out a newspaper of New Orleans, November 22 which had come up from New Orleans in a boat. For some reason the papers come to us very irregularly. The stage whenever it has passengers leaves behind the paper mail and only brings the bags when there are few or no passengers. Well, of late though letters come about as usual our papers come along very straggling. This newspaper so received brings intelligence, how true I know not, of a panic in New York, Baltimore, Virginia, and everywhere. Of course panics are the necessary consequence of the mammoth credit system, the habit of borrowing which pervades our country, and though panics transfer losses to the wrong shoulders still they do good.

But along with this comes the cause, the assertion that South Carolina will secede certain. Georgia ditto. And Alabama. Mississippi will of course, and with her Arkansas and Texas. This will leave Louisiana no choice. If these premises be true then indeed is there abundant cause for panic, disorder, confusion, ruin and Civil War. I am determined not to believe it till to withhold belief would be stupidity.

The paper also announces that Governor Moore has called the legislature together for December 10, and specially to consider the crisis of the country and to call a convention. You know that the theory of our government is, as construed by the southern politicians, that a state, one or more, may withdraw from the Union without molestation, and unless excitement abates Louisiana will follow the lead of her neighbors.

You will hear by telegraph the actions of the conventions of South Carolina and Alabama. Should they assert their right to secede and initiate measures to that end, then you may infer that I will countermand my heretofore preparations for a move. Then it would be unsafe for you even to come south. For myself I will not go with the South in a disunion movement, and as my position at the head of a State Military College would necessarily infer fidelity and allegiance to the state, my duty will be on the first positive act of disunion to give notice of my purpose.

December 10 the legislature meets. It is hardly possible a convention will be called before January and until the convention acts the state is not committed. Still I think the tone of feeling in the legislature will give me a clew to the future. I confess I feel uneasy from these events, and more so from the fact that the intelligence comes so piecemeal and unsatisfactory. . .


Alexandria, Nov. 29, 1860.

. . . This is a holiday, thanksgiving and prayer, but holidays and Sundays are my worst days, as then the cadets are idle and mischievous.

Governor Moore has issued his proclamation calling the legislature together for December 10, and the proclamation is couched in ugly language, different from his usual more conservative tone. It is manifest to me now that the leading politicians of the state have conferred together and have agreed to go out of the Union, or at all events to favor the new doctrine of secession. The legislature will determine the call of a convention, and the convention will decide very much according to the other events that may occur in the meantime. This imposes on us a change of purpose, and it will not do for you or any one to come south unless the state of feeling changes. I know the governor and believe him an excellent thermometer of the political atmosphere of Louisiana. I hear that business is dead in New Orleans, all of which is evidence that the abolitionists have succeeded in bringing on the “Inevitable Conflict.”

I am sick of this everlasting subject. The truth has nothing to do with this world. Here they know that all you have to do in Ohio is to steal niggers, and in Ohio though the people are quiescent yet they believe that the South are determined to enlarge the area of niggers. Like Burton in Toodles I say, Damn the niggers. I wish they were anywhere or be kept at their work.

I observe more signs of a loosened discipline here. Boys are careless and last night because the supper did not please them they smashed the crockery and made a riot generally. Pistols were fired, which scared Joe very much — his education has been neglected, but I think he will get used to it. We have dismissed five cadets and others must share their fate. I fear the institution is in danger from causes which arose after I left last summer. The alterations made after I left were wrong in principle, causing General Graham to resign, and since then he will take no interest in our affairs. Governor Moore is intent on politics, same of Dr. Smith, so we are left to the chances of the caprices of a parcel of wild boys. Still this is a small matter susceptible of remedy, but the secession movement underlies the very safety of everything. . .


Alexandria, Dec. 1, 1860.

Dear Brother: . . . The quiet which I thought the usual acquiesence of the people was merely the prelude to the storm of opinion that now seems irresistible. Politicians, by hearing the prejudices of the people and running with the current, have succeeded in destroying the government. It cannot be stopped now, I fear. I was in Alexandria all day yesterday, and had a full and unreserved conversation with Dr. S. A. Smith, state senator, who is a man of education, property, influence, and qualified to judge. He was during the canvass a Breckenridge man, but, though a Southerner in opinion, is really opposed to a dissolution of our government. He has returned from New Orleans, where he says he was amazed to see evidences of public sentiment which could not be mistaken.

The legislature meets December 10 at Baton Rouge. The calling a convention forthwith is to be unanimous, the bill for army and state ditto. The convention will meet in January, and two questions will be agitated: Immediate dissolution, a declaration of state independence, and a general convention of Southern States, with instructions to demand of the Northern States to repeal all laws hostile to slavery and pledges of future good behavior. . .

When the Convention meets in January, as they will assuredly do, and resolve to secede, or to elect members to a general convention with instructions inconsistent with the nature of things, I must quit this place, for it would be neither right for me to stay nor would the governor be justified in placing me in this position of trust; for the moment Louisiana assumes a position of hostility, then this becomes an arsenal and fort. . . Let me hear the moment you think dissolution is inevitable. What Mississippi and Georgia do, this state will do likewise. . .


Washington, D.C., December 9, 1860.

. . . I am clearly of the opinion that you ought not to remain much longer at your present post. You will in all human probability be involved in complications from which you cannot escape with honor. Separated from your family and all your kin, and an object of suspicion you will find your position unendurable. A fatal infatuation seems to have seized the southern mind, during which any act of madness may be committed. . . If the sectional dissensions only rested upon real or alleged grievances, they could be readily settled, but I fear they are deeper and stronger. You can now close your connection with the Seminary with honor and credit to yourself, for all who know you speak well of your conduct, while by remaining you not only involve yourself but bring trouble upon those gentlemen who recommended you.

It is a sad state of affairs, but it is nevertheless true, that if the conventions of the Southern States make any thing more than a paper secession, hostile collisions will occur and probably a separation between the free and the slave states. You can judge whether it is at all probable that secession of this capital, the commerce of the Mississippi, the control of the territories, and the natural rivalry of enraged sections can be arranged without war. In that event you cannot serve in Louisiana against your family and kin in Ohio. The bare possibility of such a contingency, it seems to me renders your duty plain, to make a frank statement to all the gentlemen connected with you, and with good feeling close your engagement. If the storm shall blow over, your course will strengthen you with every man whose good opinion you desire; if not, you will escape humiliation. When you return to Ohio, I will write you freely about your return to the army, not so difficult a task as you imagine. . .


Alexandria, La., Dec. 15, 1860.

Dearest Minnie: I have been intending to write you a good long letter, and now I wish I could send you all something for Christmas, but I thought all along that Mama and you and Lizzie, Willie, Tommy, and all would be here in our new house by New Year’s day. The house is all done, only some little painting to be done. The stable is finished, but poor Clay has been sick. . . In the front yard are growing some small oak trees, to give shade in the hot summer days; now however it is raw and cold, the leaves are off and it looks like winter, though thus far we have had no snow. Maybe we will have some snow at Christmas. In the back yard I have prepared for a small garden, but the soil is poor and will not produce much, except early peas, lettuce and sweet potatoes. The house itself looks beautiful. Two front porches and one back, all the windows open to the floor, like doors, so that you can walk out on the porch either upstairs or downstairs. I know you would all like the house so much — but dear little Minnie, man proposes and God disposes — what I have been planning so long and patiently, and thought that we were all on the point of realizing, the dream and hope of my life, that we could all be together once more in a home of our own, with peace and quiet and plenty around us. All, I fear, is about to vanish, and again I fear I must be a wanderer, leaving you all to grow up at Lancaster without your Papa.

Men are blind and crazy, they think all the people of Ohio are trying to steal their slaves, and incite them to rise up and kill their masters. I know this is a delusion — but when people believe a delusion, they believe it harder than a real fact, and these people in the South are going, for this delusion, to break up the government under which we live. You cannot understand this but Mama will explain it to you. Our governor here has gone so far that he cannot change, and in a month maybe you will be living under one government and I another.

This cannot last long, and as I know it is best for you all to stay in Lancaster, I will not bring you down here at all, unless some very great change takes place. If this were only a plain college I could stay with propriety, but it is an arsenal with guns and powder and balls, and were I to stay here I might have to fight for Louisiana and against Ohio. That would hardly do; you would not like that I know, and yet I have been asked to do it. But I hope still this will yet pass away, and that our house and garden will yet see us all united here in Louisiana. Your loving papa,

W. T. Sherman.


December 15[?], 1860.

. . . I started to write a letter to Minnie but got drawn into this political strain that is not for her but you. Read her so much of the letter as you please and the rest to yourself.

Governor Moore has assembled the legislature in extra session at Baton Rouge and I have seen his message which is positive on the point of secession. You will doubtless have the substance of it before you get this; and I observe such men as Dick Taylor, the general’s son, are in favor of immediate secession. I have scarce room now to doubt that Louisiana will quit the Union in all January. The governor recommends the establishment of a large arsenal here. We now have a limited supply of arms.

I have announced my position; as long as Louisiana is in the Union I will serve her honestly and faithfully, but if she quits I will quit too. I will not for a day or even hour occupy a position of apparent hostility to Uncle Sam. That government is weak enough, but is the only thing in America that has even the semblance of a government. These state governments are ridiculous pretences of a government, liable to explode at the call of any mob. I don’t want to be premature and will hold on to the last moment in hopes of change, but they seem to be pushing events ridiculously fast.

There is an evident purpose, a dark design, not to allow time for thought and reflection. These southern leaders understand the character of their people and want action before the spirit subsides. Robert Anderson commands at Charleston, and there I look for the first actual collision. Old Fort Moultrie, every brick of which is as plain now in my memory as the sidewalk in Lancaster, will become historical. It is weak and I can scale any of its bastions. If secession, dissolution and Civil War do come South Carolina will drop far astern and the battle will be fought on the Mississippi. The Western States never should consent to a hostile people holding the mouth of the Mississippi. Should I be forced to act promptly I will turn up either at St. Louis or at Washington. T. knows full well where I am, but he is angry at me about his charge against Ohio of nigger stealing. You remember my answer from Lancaster. I am very well. Weather cold and overcast. . .


Alexandria, Dec. 18, 1860.

. . . I cannot remain here much beyond January 23, the time set for the state convention to dissolve the connection of this state with the U.S. The legislature only sat three days and passed unanimously the bills for arming the state and calling a convention. That convention has only to decree what has already been re solved on and proclaimed by the Governor, that Louisiana cannot remain under a Black Republican president. The opinion is universal that disunion is resolved on, and the only open questions are what states will com pose the Southern Confederacy.

I regard the failure of Buchanan to strengthen Maj. Anderson at Ft. Moultrie as absolutely fatal, as the evidence of contemptible pusilanimity of our general government, almost convincing me that the government is not worth saving. No wonder Gen. Cass forthwith resigned. . .


Alexandria, Dec. 23, 1860.

. . There certainly are symptoms of a general breaking up or dissolution of all government every where. The people of the parish on the other side of Red River have constituted themselves into a kind of vigilance committee with power to execute their own sentence on suspected parties. These are the best gentlemen of the country and though I can never approve of organizations that may as easily be adopted by the evil disposed as the well disposed, yet they show the tendency toward a general anarchy here as well as all over the United States.

I take it for granted South Carolina has “seceded” and that other Southern States will follow and that Louisiana will be precipitated along. Her convention meets Jan. 23 and I will await patiently her action. . .


Seminary, Christmas, 1860.

Dear General: They [the cartridges] are a most appropriate present, and I hope they may all be used for holiday salutes, or mere practice. As you request I will not put them on my returns. Else they would have certainly gone on the books. When did you get cartridges? I could procure none in Washington or in New Orleans, and when the Parish Jury appropriated two hundred fifty dollars for ammunition to be stored here, I invested the money in twenty kegs of powder, lead, and fifteen thousand percussion caps: and now wait for the return of the Rapides for balls and buckshot, intending if necessity should arise to use our powder flasks and pouches till we have leisure for making cartridges. The mere fact of our having here these arms and munitions will be a great fact. Still, should unfortunately an occasion arise I could leave a strong guard here, and with a part of the cadets could move promptly to any point.

I have to Governor Moore, to Dr. Smith, and to the magistrate of this precinct defined my position. As long as Louisiana is in the Union and I occupy this post I will serve her faithfully against internal or external enemies. But if Louisiana secede from the general government, that instant I stop. I will do no act, breathe no word, think no thought hostile to the government of the United States. Weak as it is, it is the only semblance of strength and justice on this continent, as compared with which the state governments are weak and trifling. If Louisiana join in this unhallowed movement to dismember our old government, how long will it be till her parishes and people insult and deride her? You now profess to have a state government and yet your people, your neighbors, good, intelligent, and well-meaning men have already ignored its laws and courts, and give to an unknown, irresponsible body of citizens the right to try, convict, and execute suspected persons. If gentlemen on Rapides Bayou have this ab solute right and power to try and hang a stranger, what security have you or any stranger to go into these pine woods where it may become a popular crime to own a good horse or wear broadcloth?

My dear General, we are in the midst of sad times. It is not slavery — it is a tendency to anarchy everywhere. I have seen it all over America, and our only hope is in Uncle Sam. Weak as that government is, it is the only approach to one. I do take the [National] Intelligencer and read it carefully. I have read all the items you call my attention to, and have offered them to cadets but they seem to prefer the [New Orleans] Delta.

I do think Buchanan made a fatal mistake. He should have reinforced Anderson, my old captain, at my old post, Fort Moultrie and with steam frigates made Fort Sumpter [sic] impregnable. This instead of exciting the Carolinians would have forced them to pause in their mad career. Fort Sumpter with three thou sand men and the command of the seas would have enabled the government to execute the revenue laws, and to have held South Carolina in check till reason could resume its sway. Whereas now I fear they have a con tempt for Uncle Sam and will sacrifice Anderson. Let them hurt a hair of his head in the execution of his duty, and I say Charleston must [be] blotted from existence. ’Twill arouse a storm to which the slavery question will be as nothing else I mistake the character of our people.

Of course I have countermanded my orders for Mrs. Sherman to come south, and I feel that my stay here is drawing to a close. Still I will not act till I conceive I must and should, and will do all that a man ought, to allow time for a successor. Smith and Dr. Clarke are up at Judge Boyce’s, St. Ange lives in Alexandria. Boyd and I are alone. I have provided for a Christmas dinner to the cadets. Still your present to them is most acceptable, and what was provided by Jarreau can be distributed along. . .


Baton Rouge, LA., Dec. 26, 1860.

My Dear Sherman: The decision you have formed does not surprise me; indeed, I do not see how it could be otherwise under the circumstances in which you are placed; and you will yet do me the justice to believe it is most painful to realize the necessity. You are acting on a conviction of duty to yourself and to your family and friends. A similar duty on my part may throw us into an apparent hostile attitude, but it is too terrible to contemplate and I will not discuss it.

You see the course of events — South Carolina is gone, nothing can recall her. The Union is already dis solved. Mississippi has just elected a convention all the same way. Alabama the same. There will be a strong fight in this state. The city delegation will probably control the convention, and both parties are making great efforts there. But it all amounts to nothing; the Union is already gone.

The only question now is; can we reconstruct any government without bloodshed? I do not think we can, and the question is momentous. Yet we find a few old political hacks and barroom bullies are leading public sentiment, and will in many cases represent us in convention. They can easily pull down a government, but when another is to be built who will confide in them? Yet no one seems to reflect that anything more is necessary than to “secede.” Such a chaotic mass to work on has never presented itself to my mind, and I can see nothing but confusion to come of it.

We have had a preliminary meeting of our “Military Board,” and laid down a plan for the formation of military companies. We have five thousand stands of arms — muskets; are to proceed to New Orleans to-morrow to see what can be done in enlarging it. All received from the government so far are gone — issued to volunteers companies and thrown away without the slightest accountability. Unless brought into service and kept under discipline how are we to prevent the same thing again? A regular force is the only alter native.

I shall still continue to hope, though without reason, that Providence will yet avert the great evil. But should the worst come we shall still be personal friends. What are we to do to keep up our Bantam? Is either of your professors fit to take your place? Can we get a suitable man elsewhere? Confer freely with General Graham on the subject. We all have full confidence in your judgment, and it will go far in deciding our course if you leave.

The trouble about your salary was an oversight in not amending the estimates after the bill was passed. No appropriation was made. There can be no difficulty in getting it through the next session. I will try and get it done early in the session. Whenever a sup ply of arms are sent to you the board will employ a man as armorer or authorize you to do it, for their preservation.

The following report to the Board of Supervisors, of which only the French version has been preserved, was the last official report made by Superintendent Sherman. It explains in detail the conditions of the Seminary at the close of his administration.


Louisiana State Seminary
of Learning and Military
Academy, Alexandria, January 1, 1861.

To The President Of The Board
of Supervisors, Alexandria:

Sir: I have the honor to submit this, my Annual Report. Accompanying it you will find,

These contain all the information I am required to give at this time, but I am satisfied you will expect of me a more full exhibit of our financial prospects.

By an examination of the Balance sheet, marked i, you will observe that we begin the new year with: [$56,056.02]. . .

I estimate our expenses for this current year to be: [$43,746.42]. . .

Deducting this from the former sum and we should have a cash balance at the beginning of next year, of $12,310.60, of which balance the sum of $10,502.97 will belong to the “State Cadet Fund,” and must be held sacred. Deducting this from the former balance, leaves the sum of $1,807.63 over and above all the estimated expenses, which are full and liberal. From our isolated position, however, we must expect always to keep on hand a pretty large stock of merchandise for sale to cadets; and this will require a moderate capital to be retained in hand.

All other accounts, such as wood, tuition, furniture, and tailors, are self supporting.

The two professors’ houses are now substantially done, and will be occupied within a fortnight. The old rail fence has been removed, and a plain board fence constructed, so as to enclose the buildings in a rectangular field of about twenty-eight acres. The small balance of the appropriation for roads and fences, $243.06, will soon be expended on the main road, within the Seminary limits, and in connection with the road now under construction by commissioners of the parish.

It would be well, at this time, to demolish the old, dilapidated log cabin which stands by the east tower of the Seminary, as well as the shanty occupied by the tailor’s family, and to construct, in more retired localities, two plain but neat cottages, one for the servants employed about the Institution, and the other for the occupation of the tailor. These would not cost over seven hundred dollars, a sum that the very favorable condition of our finances will warrant. With these small changes, I do not see that any more buildings will be called for till the number of cadets exceed one hundred and sixty.

Central State Arsenal. By the act of your General Assembly, approved March 14, 1860, was established here, in connection with this Military Academy, an Arsenal under the above title. We then had on hand only fifty-five muskets and fifty sets of rifle equipments, and it appeared to me of some importance that a better supply should be procured before the opening of the present term. On my application, the adjutant-general of the state, M. Grivot, and Governor Moore, placed in my hands a requisition on the ordnance department of the United States, for the quota of arms due Louisiana for the year 1861. Availing myself of the August vacation, I went to Washington, at my own expense, had a personal interview with the secretary of war, Gov. Floyd, w r ho promptly and courteously gave the necessary orders for advancing these arms before the time they could be claimed under existing laws. Colonel Craig, chief of ordnance, promptly filled the requisition, so that we are now in possession of a complete sup ply of the very arms and accoutrements needed by this institution. The arms are of the newest and best pat terns. The jury of the parish, at its December meeting, appropriated the sum of two hundred, fifty dollars for the purchase and deposit here of powder, balls, and percussion caps. By an inspection of the return herewith you will see a complete list of them all.

To afford a proper and safe place of storage for these arms and ammunition, I enclosed the space under the main stairway, in such a manner as greatly to strengthen them, and to afford a magazine easy of access, easy to guard, and where the powder is remote from any walls containing fireplaces or flues.

It was my purpose to give in detail the history of events which attended our progress during the past year; to have explained the character of discipline, of instruction, and all things that would be calculated to assist you in your duty report to the legislature. But I find all these things so well described by your late vice-president, General Graham, in his report of April 28, 1860, that I have nothing further to add.

The rules and regulations for the government of us all, professors and cadets, have been so thoroughly canvassed, and adopted and printed for general use and circulation, that nothing remains but to give them a fair trial. Should, in their application, any defects exhibit themselves, I shall not hesitate to point them out, and at the very start I cannot withhold the expression of my earnest conviction that, in our course of study and array of text books, we have imposed upon the cadets a load they cannot bear, and that it is calculated to make imperfect and superficial scholars. In adding to a full scientific course of study a most complete classical one, we are apt to appall the mind of ambitious youth who contemplates the task he has assumed.

Our standard for admission is low, but not too low. The majority of applicants come to us very badly prepared, and with every disposition possible to yield to the wishes of parents, the Academic Board was constrained to reject twelve applicants at the beginning of this term.

All these things can be safely left to time, and, in the meantime, by adhering closely to the system which has been well begun, by maintaining a pretty severe discipline, and more especially, by keeping the classes of cadets constantly employed, at their studies and recitations, we can, beyond the probability of doubt, complete the work so auspiciously begun, and make this to rank among the first institutions of our country. A result in which I feel assured all, professors and cadets will continue to exhibit a pride and zeal worthy the cause.

I have the honor to be your ob’t servant,

W. T. Sherman, superintendent.

After the New Year the people of the state hurried on to secession. For the most part Sherman was a passive spectator declaring that in case Louisiana should secede he would resign. The seizure of the arsenal at Baton Rouge and the consignment to him of the arms there captured decided him to resign his position at once, since he regarded the seizure of the post as an act of hostility against the Federal government.


[January, 1861.]

. . . Louisiana will surely secede this month, but no hostile movements will take place for some time, and about the 4th of March the plots and counterplots of the politicians, who save the people of this country the trouble of government, will become manifest; then something must be done or all this confusion will be come a farce.

I happened to stumble on an article in the papers saying that Mrs. Anderson had appealed to the president in behalf of her husband. Her appeal would have moved any man of feeling, I know that well. Anderson is the very man for the place, and will do his duty, and if communication be opened to the sea, the war may be narrowed down to that point as it should. Other wise it may spread all over the country. We must wait as patiently as possible. . .


Tyrone, Friday Night, Jan. 4, 1861.

Dear Colonel: Your Christmas letter came duly to hand, and I beg to make you my acknowledgements for it, although it added fuel to the flame of the sad thoughts and feelings with which I am now constantly oppressed.

First of all, I thought of your little circle at Lancaster and felt provoked that instead of being absorbed in the enjoyment of their society you should have no better occupation on that day than in writing to me.

Then the already almost realized certainty that we shall lose you, for I feel as confident as I possibly can of any event not yet transpired, than an ordinance of secession will be rushed through the convention with breathless haste. The tone of the Louisiana Democrat ever since the presidential election has satisfied me of that its last issue confirms it. Less than four weeks ago I proclaimed from the steps of the post-office, to an unusually large crowd awaiting the opening of the mail, that “I stood by the Union, that secession was treason,” and no man in the crowd opened his mouth affirmatively or negatively, although I saw men there lifelong Democrats, too who, I knew, felt and thought as I did about it. A few days afterward a man who was in that crowd, and whose breath smells of whatever Governor Moore chews, told me that he was opposed to sending men of extreme views either way to the convention on Dec. 26. The same man said in my presence in Alexandria that he would not vote for any man for the convention who would not pledge himself beforehand to put the state out of the Union before the 4th of March.

And what men are we to vote for to that convention! So far as the talent and ability requisite for the occasion are concerned I look upon both tickets as sphinxs, having a common head. I shall vote for the courthouse sphinx, because that was made publicly in open day, by the people, where everybody had a chance to take a part — whilst the dark lantern sphinx was made nobody knows by whom, nobody knows where, but popped on to the Democratic stage by Locofoco jugglery.

The course you have marked out for yourself I had anticipated. There is none other left for you. In the event of the convention passing an ordinance of abrupt secession, I do not see that there will be the slightest obligation on [you], or propriety in your allowing time for a successor. Where is he to come from at this time except temporarily out of the present Academic Board? Some of our friends will be apt to think that they have accomplished more than they ever contemplated, and may come, possibly, to the conclusion that there are more things between heaven and earth than were ever dreamt of in their philosophy.

Having no papers or letters by yesterday’s mail, I am very much in a mist in regard to Bob Anderson’s sit uation (in Fort Sumter). I have heard that Mr. Floyd has resigned because he was not allowed to reinforce him. Am looking with intense anxiety for the mail of to-morrow night. I really think that Mr. Van Buren would have made longer strides after Gen. Jackson than poor old Buck.

I have been greatly engrossed during the Holy Days (?). The overseer for “Forked-Deer” has only now arrived, having been to Mississippi for his wife, and I have no overseer at Tyrone yet, though almost hourly pestered with applications so that I have the cares and troubles of both plantations on my hands, for it will take several days yet to get rid of “Forked-deer.” Onze Heurs, et mes yeux beaucoup fatigues.

Tomorrow I must work to get all the votes I can for the courthouse sphinx. . .


Alexandria, Jan. 5, 1861.

Sir: I have not acknowledged the receipt of the four kegs of cartridges. They are old, unserviceable, and much decayed. The powder is all caked and even the balls are partially damaged by the corrosion of the nitre.

Still these balls can be used for our practice in the spring, provided the parish jury will assent to the use of some of the powder which I have on hand purchased with their money.

I have made my annual report accompanied by statements of finances, property, etc., all of which I know will interest you much. I went to Alexandria on Thurs day to deliver them to Dr. Smith, but he had gone up to Mr. McNutts and I left them with Mr. Manning. If you go to Alexandria, and have leisure, I would be pleased to hear you have given them a careful perusal. My report may seem to you rather short. I did feel much tempted to avail myself of that opportunity to point out the inconsistent parts of our regulations and also to demonstrate that we have taken a course of study so voluminous as to result in superficial education, but our country is so agitated by political questions calculated to break down all governments, that these things might seem out of place.

My duty here is plain, simple, but not so easy as one would suppose. I think by keeping our studies and duties progressing without pause or interruption, that I will do my share to sustain the principle of government that is fast giving away all over the land, the only principle that can save us from a general anarchy. My only hope for the salvation of the constitution of the country is in the army. The law is or should be our king; we should obey it, not because it meets our approval, but because it is the law and because obedience in some shape is necessary to every system of civilized government. For years this tendency to anarchy has gone on, till now every state and county and town through the instrumentality of juries, either regular or lynch, make and enforce the local prejudices as the law of the land. This is the real trouble, it is not slavery, it is the democratic spirit which substitutes mere popular opinions for law. But I know you have bores enough to trouble you — and I wont add my share: but you will do justice to the difficulties that envelop me in my private relations.


Louisiana State Seminary
of Learning and Military Academy,
Alexandria, Jan. 5, 1861.

. . . I have finished my report and placed all the papers in the hands of Dr. Smith the vice-president. I walked into town the day before yesterday, poor Clay being dead and buried. Dr. Smith was away and I only remained a few hours. Alexandria at best is not a cheerful town, but now r decidedly the reverse. Everybody naturally feels the danger which envelopes us all in one common cause. I have had nothing said to me at all, and I discuss the questions of the day freely with my equals, and try to keep my peace with loungers about the street corners and ferry-boat landing, I always say what is my real belief, that though the slavery question seems to be the question soon it will sink into insignificance.

Our country has become so democratic that the mere popular opinion of any town or village rises above the law. Men have ceased to look to constitutions and law books for their guides, but have studied popular opinion in bar rooms and village newspapers, and that was and is law. The old women and grannies of New England, reasoning from abstract principles, must defy the constitution of the country, the people of the South not relying on the federal government must allow their people to favor filibustering expeditions, against the solemn treaties of the land; and anywhere from California to Maine any man could do murder, robbery or arson if the people’s prejudice lay in that direction. And now things are at such a pass that no one section believes the other, and we are beginning to fight.

The right of secession is but the beginning of the end; it is utterly wrong and the president ought never for one moment to have permitted the South Carolinians to believe he would not enforce the revenue laws and hold the public property in Charleston Harbor. Had he promptly reinforced Maj. Anderson the Charlestonians would have been a little more circumspect. My only hope is that Maj. Anderson may hold out, that more reinforcements may reach him, and that the people may feel that they can’t always do as they please. Or in other words that they are not so free and independent as they think. In this view I am alone here, but I do so think, and will say it. . .

If still this Civil War should pass over I shall require you all to come down regardless of consequences, for here I must stay summer and winter, or else give it up. . .

St. Louis will be paralyzed with Civil War, and California will be a foreign country. My only hope is that bad as things now look there may occur some escape, or if dissolution is inevitable that Ohio and Louisiana may belong to the same confederacy. I am so far out of the current here that I can only judge by newspapers and they all indicate a bias. The Louisiana convention will surely secede, but then the reconstruction. At all events I cannot do anything till that is over, if they turn me out I must stay and get my dues, and I will send you every cent I can. The house is now done and the carpenters leave it to-day for good. People begin to wonder why you don’t come down, and the fact is operating to my prejudice, but at this time it would be imprudent to do so. Maybe a change may yet occur. . .


Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 1861.

Dear Brother: . . . I see some signs of hope, but it is probably a deceptive light. The very moment you feel uncomfortable in your position in Louisiana, come away. Don’t for God’s sake subject yourself to any slur, reproach, or indignity. I have spoken to General Scott, and he heartily seconds your desire to return to duty in the army. I am not at all sure but that, if you were here, you could get a position that would suit you. I see many of your friends of the army daily. . .


Alexandria, Jan. 8, 1861.

. . . Things are moving along with the rapidity of revolutions. The papers announce that the people of Alabama have seized the arsenals at Mobile Point, Fort Morgan, and above Mobile. I think similar steps will soon follow at the forts at the mouth of the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain. I have been in town today and had a long talk with Dr. Smith who goes next week to Baton Rouge to attend the meeting of the legislature and convention. He knows well my opinions; I have not concealed them, that I cannot do any act hostile to the United States. . .

The Board is unwilling to entrust the management here to any one of the other professors. It takes me all I can do to suppress disorder and irregularity. I had a cadet threaten me yesterday with a loaded pistol be cause I detected a whiskey jug in his room and threatened him with dismissal. He did not await trial but went off. Although a large majority of the cadets are good boys still we have some hard cases.

From what I see in the New Orleans papers Anderson is still in possession of Fort Sumpter, and the general government has failed to reinforce him and will wait till he is attacked. This disgusts me and I would not serve such a pusillanimous government. It merits dissolution. This fact will increase the chances of an attempt to prevent Lincoln’s installation into office, and then we shall see whether the wideawakes will fight as well as carry cheap lamps of a night zigzagging down the streets.

I see every chance of long, confused, and disorganizing Civil War, and I feel no desire to take a hand there in. When the time comes for reorganization then will come the time. I feel anxious for your comfort and safety but these cannot be threatened. . .


Seminary, Jan. 13, 1861.

. . . I see no change to note here in public sentiment, the fact that Seward has been named as secretary of state to Lincoln enables the leaders to show that their suspicions were right that the Republicans and abolitionists are identical. I am therefore confirmed in my opinion that the cotton states are off and it is an even chance with all the slave states. I take the Missouri Republican and National Intelligencer which seem to oppose secession but they cannot stem the torrent.

The revolution has begun and the national government has shown weakness in all its attempts. Anderson is the only one who has acted. General Scott in sending reinforcements ought not to have trusted the Star of the West, the same in which we went to California some [seven?] years ago. She could not venture to receive a fire. Frigates and strong war steamers should have gone, which could have forced their way past the land batteries. I hope still this will be done. It will be a triumph to South Carolina to beat Uncle Sam.

Still Charleston is nothing to New Orleans and I am satisfied the forts at the mouth and the lakes will be taken by order of Governor Moore of this state before they can be occupied by the U.S. All these are acts of war. War has begun. And it is idle to say the South is not in earnest. Louisiana has not yet seceded, yet the delegates favorable to such a course are elected, even in New Orleans where the Union feeling is thought to be strongest. I have no doubt that ultimately I will be turned off as unfaithful, but I must see my way clearer than I yet can before I leave from choice. . .


Seizure of the military post and arsenal at Baton Rouge. Arms and am munition sent to Sherman at the Seminary. Sherman gives notice that he will resign if the state secedes. Does not wish to take part in a Civil War. The influence of the Mississippi River on politics and commerce. Seizure of the forts on the Mississippi and on Lake Ponchartrain. Notification to Governor Moore. Thinks the war will ruin all politicians. Secession will result in War. Sherman prepares to return to Ohio. Secession of Louisiana. Regret at losing Sherman. Sherman’s last official report in Louisiana. Resolutions of the Board of Supervisors.

The seizure of the arms at Baton Rouge convinced Sherman that the State of Louisiana was certain to secede and he formally notified Governor Moore and the supervisors of his intention to sever his connection with the Seminary as soon as an ordinance of secession should be passed. The convention passed the ordinance on January 26. During the next month Sherman was engaged in winding up his affairs in Louisiana, and on February 20 he left the Seminary for New Orleans where he visit ed friends for a few days before going north.

The following extract from the Memoirs [vol. 1, 181] gives Sherman’s account of the events which led to his resignation.

Before the ordinance of secession was passed, or the convention had assembled . . . Governor Moore ordered the seizure of all the United States forts at the mouth of the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain, and of the United States arsenal at Baton Rouge. The forts had no garrisons, but the arsenal was held by a small company of artillery, commanded by Major Haskins, a most worthy and excellent officer, who had lost an arm in Mexico. I remember well that I was strongly and bitterly impressed by the seizure of the arsenal, which occurred on January 10, 1861.

When I first went to Baton Rouge, in 1859, en route to Alexandria, I found Captain Rickett’s company of artillery stationed in the arsenal, but soon after there was somewhat of a clamor on the Texas frontier about Brownsville, which induced the war department to order Rickett’s company to that frontier. I remember that Governor Moore remonstrated with the secretary of war because so much dangerous property, composed of muskets, powder, etc., had been left by the United States unguarded, in a parish where the slave population was as five or six to one of whites; and it was on this official demand that the United States government ordered Haskin’s company to replace Rickett’s. This company did not number forty men.

In the night of January 9th, about five hundred New Orleans militia, under command of a Colonel Wheat, went up from New Orleans by boat, landed, surrounded the arsenal, and demanded its surrender. Haskins was of course unprepared for such a step, yet he at first re solved to defend the post as he best could with his small force. But Bragg, who was an old army acquaintance of his, had a parley with him, exhibited to him the vastly superior force of his assailants, embracing two field-batteries, and offered to procure for him honorable terms, to march out with drums and colors, and to take unmolested passage in a boat up to St. Louis; alleging further, that the old Union was at an end, and that a just settlement would be made between the two new fragments for all the property stored in the arsenal. Of course it was Raskin’s duty to have defended his post to the death; but up to that time the national authorities in Washington had shown such pusillanimity, that the officers of the army knew not what to do.

The result, anyhow, was that Haskins surrendered his post, and at once embarked for St. Louis. The arms and munitions stored in the arsenal were scattered some to Mississippi, some to New Orleans, some to Shreveport; and to me, at the Central Arsenal, were consigned two thousand muskets, three hundred Jager rifles, and a large amount of cartridges and ammunition. The in voices were signed by the former ordnance-sergeant, Olodowski, as a captain of ordnance, and I think he continued such on General Bragg’s staff through the whole of the subsequent Civil War.

These arms, etc., came up to me at Alexandria, with orders from Governor Moore to receipt for and account for them. Thus I was made the receiver of stolen goods, and these goods the property of the United States. This grated hard on my feelings as an ex-army officer, and on counting the arms I noticed that they were packed in the old familiar boxes, with the “U.S.” simply scratched off.

According to the correspondence of the next five days events moved rapidly with Sherman. He hears of the seizure of the Baton Rouge arsenal, makes up his mind to leave and at once begin preparations.


Jan. 16, 1860.

. . . The people born and bred in the North are more enthusiastic in this revolution than the natives to the soil.

If you want me to come away you must move to get me something to do. I know it is ridiculous for me to ask this of you, but on the other hand I would not stay in Ohio ten days without employment. I wrote you last that you might visit Louisiana with Willie and Lizzie, but these events are hurrying along too fast to make arrangements ahead. Still I doubt not I shall be here into February and maybe March. Though when Govr. Moore receives my message he may think it wise to get me away. Smith on the contrary wants to prove to me that here in Louisiana we shall have more peace and prosperity than in Ohio. . . ——— has written me that he should take his family to Europe for safety and return to fight in the sacred cause of his country South, and against the invasion of the fanatic North. So you see what force religion and charity has upon the minds of mankind. I know millions are sincere in the belief that the people of the North have done a barbarous deed in voting for Lincoln.

General Graham lays low and says nothing in these times, but I know he is much distressed at the hasty manner in which things are pushed. . .


Alexandria, Jan. 16,1861.

Dear General: It was my purpose to wait patiently for the development of events, with my mind firmly resolved to do no act hostile to the United States. I had given full notice of such resolution to Dr. Smith and Governor Moore. The seizure of the forts, and worse still the capture of the company of U.S. soldiers at Baton Rouge, where they were stationed by invitation of the state authority for the protection of the arms and munitions of war placed there for the safety of the state, are regarded by me as acts of war and a breach of common decency. I forthwith repaired to Alexandria and notified Dr. Smith of my opinion and that my longer stay here was wrong. He thinks Governor Moore had reasons for his conduct not known to the public and as he is on the point of going to Baton Rouge he asked me to forbear till he could consult, and see what is to be done. He says he has consulted with many, and that all understand my opinions, that as I am entrusted with the moneys and management of the institution he cannot arrange for my relief till time is given to provide a successor. He is unwilling that Vallas should succeed to my power as superintendent or — that any one else to the care of the moneys. But he pledged me his word that I should in no wise be compromised in any act of hostility to the general government.

If I had in view any occupation, by which I could maintain my family I would not stay, but as I have no such employment in view, and as I cannot receive the compensation fixed by law for me as superintendent of the central arsenal, and as I have laid by little or nothing I have consented to await awhile, to allow the legislature to appropriate the five hundred dollars due for last year, and for a little salary to accumulate to give me the means of retiring to Ohio, and cast around for some means of support.

These are my reasons. They may be improper and unsuited to the occasion, but such they are. But I do think that the haste with which this revolution is pushed must produce sad and bitter fruits. I feel no wish to take part in the civil strife that seems inevitable. I would prefer to hide myself, but necessity may force me to another course. Here in Louisiana you must sustain a large army, and its commander will soon dispose of your governor and legislature, and will keep them to the simple task of providing “ways and means.” Then Governor Moore will maybe see that it is not so simple a game to play. Our friend Bragg seems to be alert, and most likely he will soon be your king. You could not have a better.

However secession may be regarded as to South Carolina, it becomes a far more serious matter when we know that some of the most populous states are on the tributaries of the Mississippi whose mouth is now held by a foreign and hostile state. This of itself will turn their commerce by lakes and railroads eastward, and more over a new feeling of interest will arise in New York and Baltimore to embarrass the exports from New Or leans. The facility of closing the Mississippi by a single frigate, or by the possession of Key West or Tortugas will and must paralyze the trade of New Orleans. It may be that Louisiana honor compelled her to this course, but I see it not and must think it is the rash result of excited men. Men have ceased to reason and war seems to be courted by those who understand not its cost and demoralizing results. Civilians are far more willing to start a war than military men, and so it appears now.


Alexandria, Jan. 16th, 1861.

My Dear Brother: I am so much in the woods here that I can’t keep up with the times at all. Indeed, you in Washington hear from New Orleans two or three days sooner than I do. I was taken aback by the news that Governor Moore had ordered the forcible seizure of the Forts Jackson and St. Philip, at or near the mouth of the Mississippi; also of Forts Pike and Wood, at the outlets of Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain. All these are small forts, and have rarely been occupied by troops. They are designed to cut off approach by sea to New Or leans, and were taken doubtless to prevent their being occupied, by order of General Scott.

But the taking the arsenal at Baton Rouge is a different matter. It is merely an assemblage of store-houses, barracks, dwelling-houses designed for the healthy residence of a garrison, to be thrown into one or the other of the forts in case of war. The arsenal is one of minor importance, yet the stores were kept there for the moral effect, and the garrison was there at the instance of the people of Louisiana.

To surround with the military array, to demand surrender, and enforce the departure of the garrison, was an act of war. It amounted to a declaration of war and defiance, and was done by Governor Moore without the authority of the legislature or convention. Still, there is but little doubt but that each of these bodies, to assemble next week, will ratify and approve these violent acts, and it is idle to discuss the subject now. The people are mad on this question.

I had previously notified all that in the event of secession I should quit. As soon as a knowledge of these events reached me, I went to the vice-president, Dr. Smith, in Alexandria, and told him that I regarded Louisiana as at war against the federal government, and that I must go. He begged me to wait until some one could be found to replace me. The supervisors feel the importance of system and discipline, and seem to think that my departure will endanger the success of this last effort to build up an educational establishment. You may assert that in no event will I forego my allegiance to the United States as long as a single state is true to the old Constitution. . .


January 18, 1861.

Sir: As I occupy a quasi-military position under the laws of the state, I deem it proper to acquaint you. The buildings now belong to the Louisiana State University, donated through Sherman’s influence, it is thought. I accepted such position when Louisiana was a state in the Union, and when the motto of this 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 be comes all men to choose. If Louisiana withdraw from the Federal Union, I prefer to maintain my allegiance to the 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 belonging to the state, or advise me what disposition to make 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.


January 18, 1861.

My Dear Sir: I take it for granted that you have been expecting for some days the accompanying paper from me [the above official letter]. I have repeatedly and again made known to General Graham and Dr. Smith that, in event of a severance of the relations hitherto existing between the Confederate States of this Union, I would be forced to choose the old Union. It is barely possible all the states may secede, South and North, that new combinations may result, but this process will be one of time and uncertainty, and I cannot with my opinions await the subsequent development.

I have never been a politician, and therefore under value the excited feelings and opinions of present rulers, but I do think, if this people cannot execute a form of government like the present, that a worse one will result.

I will keep the cadets as quiet as possible. They are nervous, but I think the interest of the state requires them here, guarding this property, and acquiring a knowledge which will be useful to your state in after-times.

When I leave, which I now regard as certain, the present professors can manage well enough, to afford you leisure time to find a suitable successor to me. You might order Major Smith to receipt for the arms, and to exercise military command, while the academic exercises could go on under the board. In time, some gentle man will turn up, better qualified than I am, to carry on the Seminary to its ultimate point of success. I entertain the kindest feelings toward all and would leave the state with much regret; only in great events we must choose, one way or the other.


Alexandria, Jan. 18, 1861.

Dear Brother: Before receiving yours of the 7th, I had addressed a letter to Governor Moore at Baton Rouge, of which this is a copy: [see the preceding letters to Governor Moore].

I regard the seizure by Governor Moore of the United States Arsenal as the worst act yet committed in the present revolution. I do think every allowance should be made to southern politicians for their nervous anxiety about their political power and the safety of slaves. I think that the constitution should be liberally construed in their behalf, but I do regard this Civil War as precipitated with undue rapidity. . . It is inevitable. All the legislation now would fall powerless on the South. You should not alienate such states as Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. My notion is that this war will ruin all politicians, and that military leaders will direct the events.


January 19, 1861.

Dear Sir: I have just finished my quarterly reports to the parents of all the cadets here, or who have been here. All my books of account are written up to date. All bills for the houses, fences, etc., are settled, and nothing now remains but the daily routine of recitations and drills. I have written officially and unofficially to Governor Moore, but with my opinions of the claimed right of secession, of the seizure of public forts, arsenals, etc., and the ignominious capture of a United States garrison, stationed in your midst, as a guard to the arsenal and for the protection of your own people, it would be highly improper for me longer to remain.

No great inconvenience can result to the Seminary. I will be the chief loser. I came down two months be fore my pay commenced. I made sacrifices in Kansas to enable me thus to obey the call of Governor Wickliffe, and you know that last winter I declined a most advantageous offer of employment abroad; and thus far I have received nothing as superintendent of the arsenal, though I went to Washington and New York (at my own expense) on the faith of the five hundred dollars salary promised.

These are small matters in comparison with those involved in the present state of the country, which will cause sacrifices by millions, instead of by hundreds. The more I think of it, the more I think I should be away, the sooner the better; and therefore hope you will join with Governor Moore in authorizing me to turn over to Major Smith the military command here, and to the Academic Board the control of the daily exercises and recitations.

There will be no necessity of your coming up. You can let Major Smith receive the few hundreds of cash I have on hand, and I can meet you on a day certain in New Orleans, when we can settle the bank account. Before I leave, I can pay the steward Jarreau his account for the month, and there would be no necessity for other payments till about the close of March, by which time the Board can meet, and elect a treasurer and superintendent also.

At present I have no class, and there will be none ready till about the month of May, when there will be a class in “surveying.” Even if you do not elect a superintendent in the meantime, Major Smith could easily teach this class, as he is very familiar with the subject-matter. Indeed, I think you will do well to leave the subject of a new superintendent until one perfectly satisfactory turns up.

There is only one favor I will ask. The Seminary has plenty of money in bank. The legislature will surely appropriate for my salary as superintendent of this arsenal. Would you not let me make my drafts on the state treasury, send them to you, let the treasurer note them for payment when the appropriation is made, and then pay them out of the Seminary fund? The drafts will be paid in March, and the Seminary will lose nothing. This would be just to me; for I actually spent two hundred dollars and more in going to Washington and New York, thereby securing from the United States, in advance, three thousand dollars’ worth of the very best arms; and clothing and books at a clear profit to the Seminary of over eight hundred dollars. I may be some time finding new employment, and will stand in need of this money (five hundred dollars) ; otherwise I would abandon it. . .


Alexandria, Saturday, Jan. 19, 1861.

Col. W. T. Sherman, Military Academy of the Independent State of Louisiana.

Dear Colonel: I have been so bothered and run since the receipt of your last favor of recent date that I have not been able to reply to it, and all I can do now in that way is to enclose for your perusal two letters from our friend Sanford which express pretty well the condition into which the conservative people have been forced.

Whatever we may think and feel we must go along with our section in the contest which has been forced up on us, and in which we must take care of ourselves as best we may. For the share which designing, selfish politicians and editors have had in exciting the passions, alarming the fears, maddening the mind of the people on both sides, may God deal with them as they deserve. They have unchained winds they will be powerless to control. I did what I could to make the people sensible of this before the election, but “Crucify him! Crucify him!” was the Democratic cry, and now we must all go over the cataract together, of which I have told them. Those of us, if any here, who may survive the storm may enjoy a peaceful calm. . .


Seminary, Jan. 20, 1861.

. . . Here is another Sunday. I have written you often enough of late to keep you in a perfect state of uneasiness, but it does seem that each day brings forth something new. I now have official notice that three thousand three hundred muskets, seventy thousand cartridges, etc., are sent here from Baton Rouge, which must be a part of those seized by the state or otherwise stolen, and I must make provision for their storage. I must move to the new house in order to afford room for them in my present quarters.

But my stay here much longer is impossible. My opinions and feelings are so radically opposed to those in power that this cannot last long. I send you a copy of a letter I wrote to Governor Moore on the 18th, on the receipt of which he will be forced to act. I hate to lose that five hundred dollars but I guess it can’t be helped. I know all about the forms of reports, returns, money accounts, etc., and no one here does, and I know of no one in the state that Moore can find. Still I think he will feel bound to place the custody of these arms in the hands of one more faithful to Louisiana than I profess to be.

I shall expect a definite answer in a week, when I pro pose to go to New Orleans and settle the bank account. I would then ship in some Cincinnati boat such traps as would not bear railroad transportation and thence by railroad to Cincinnati, so that it is not impossible I may be in Lancaster early in February. I must leave here with a clean record, and this can only be done in the manner I have pointed out to Governor Moore. He may endeavor to throw obstacles in my way, but I think not. He is too fair a man.

I feel no desire to follow an army necessarily engaged in Civil War, and as we could start out of debt, it may be we can keep so.

Those now in debt will suffer most, or least, for they will likely repudiate all debts. Down here they think they are going to have fine times. New Orleans a free port whereby she can import goods without limit or duties and sell to the up-river countries. But Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore will never con sent that New Orleans should be a free port and they subject to duties. The most probable result will be that New Orleans will be shut off from all trade, and the South having no money and no sailors cannot raise a blockade without assistance from England, and that she will never receive.

I have letters from General Graham and others who have given up all hope of stemming the tide. All they now hope for is as peaceable a secession as can be effected. I heard Mr. Clay’s speech in 1850 on the subject of secession and if he deemed a peaceable secession then as an absurd impossibility, much more so is it now when the commercial interests of the North are so much more influential. . .


Seminary, January 20, 1861.

My Dear Friend: Yours of yesterday was read with painful interest last night along with Mr. Sanford’s two, which I herewith return. Of course now that reason is powerless and the truth cannot be reached through the clouds of mistrust, suspicion, and mutual accusations which envelop us, we are all drifting together no one knows whither.

I was waiting as patiently as a red-headed person could, for the official acts of the convention charged with the destiny of Louisiana, when tidings reached me that Governor Moore had caused the seizure of the forts and arsenals, and had driven away with ignominy the small garrison posted among friends for the protection of the dangerous instruments of war. For this I see no justification and feel compelled to announce my determination by letter in the terms I have previously done to Dr. Smith in the presence of Mr. Elgee. Dr. Smith gave me his personal assurance that in no event should I be called on to do any act compromising my national character and preferences.

But fearing some unforeseen cause might render him powerless I resolved to move officially and therefore ad dressed to Governor Moore a letter of which the sub joined is a copy — and at the same time wrote him and Dr. Smith each, other private letters with the view T to convey to them the personal reasons for my choice. . . [See pages 341-346.]

Of course they will now make short metre of me and within a week I expect to be homeward bound. I hare made all reports, returns, and letters to parents, and all the books are written up to date. I have asked Smith to meet me in New Orleans to balance the bank account, for I want to leave with clean hands, and they will be clean enough, for I have saved but little and can now hardly expect the legislature will appropriate for the rebel.

I have notice that three thousand three hundred stand of arms — seventy thousand cartridges and two hundred carbine cartridges and belts are enroute for this place. I must, as long as I stay, be faithful to my trust, and I will take immediate steps for their safe storage, though it will force me to move and use this room as a store-house. I hope however to be relieved in time so that some one else will have the pleasure of receipting for them and accounting for them.

My own opinion is that Lincoln will be installed in office — that Congress will not repeal the Union, that the revenues will be collected. The consequence is inevitable — war, and ugly war too. I do not think the South will be invaded, or plain coercion attempted; but no vessel can be cleared at New Orleans and no vessel can enter without paying duties outside. Commerce will cease unless the South can combine, organize a navy and fight their way, or unless she can form a treaty with our old enemy England. For the northern and eastern cities will never consent to pay duties and allow New Orleans to be a free port, to send into the interior goods cheaper than they.

But discussion is useless. The storm is upon us, and we must each to our own ship. I hope I may meet you again but if not accept the assurances of my great affection, respect, and admiration, and my earnest prayer that you and yours may long survive to look back with satisfaction to the time when we started the Seminary in a vain belief that we were serving the cause of our common country.

During the next two weeks Sherman completed his preparations for leaving but was delayed by the necessity of waiting for the Supervisors to pass upon his accounts and to arrange for the payment of his salary as superintendent of the State Central Arsenal. The legislature, after Sherman left the state, provided for the deficiency. The following letters indicate plainly the regret felt at Sherman’s departure.


Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
January 23, 1861.

My Dear Sir: It is with the deepest regret I acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 18th inst. In the pressure of official business, I can now only request you to transfer to Professor Smith the arms, munitions, and funds in your hands, whenever you conclude to withdraw from the position you have filled with so much distinction. You cannot regret more than I do the necessity which deprives us of your services, and you will bear with you the respect, confidence, and admiration of all who have been associated with you. . .


Baton Rouge, Jan. 27,1861.

My Dear Sherman: It is with the deepest regret that the enclosed papers are forwarded to you. I am so occupied with other matters that I do not know what the Board of Supervisors have done or will do about your successor. Dr. Smith has made arrangements, I think, to settle your salary as ordnance officer.

The ordinance of secession passed the convention yesterday by a very large vote, and a convention of Southern States will immediately meet to organize a new confederacy. It will be in operation — a de facto government — before the 4th of March. We hope this course will lead to a peaceable solution of the matters. A separation is inevitable — nothing can prevent it now. Why should there be any strife over it?

Still it is not for individuals to control these matters. We can only strive and hope.

Wherever you go my fervent prayers attend you for success and happiness. . .


Seminary, January 27, 1861.

. . . Since my last I have three letters from you. . . The mails have been much disordered by a break on the Mississippi Railroad. In my last I sent you a copy of a letter written to Governor Moore, to which I have received no answer. He is very busy indeed, legislature and convention both in session at Baton Rouge, giving him hardly time to think of the Seminary. . .

The ordinance of Secession will pass in a day or so, but the legislature was adjourned till February 4, so that no business can be transacted there for some days. It don’t take long to pull down, and everybody is striving for the honor of pouring out the deepest insult to Uncle Sam. The very men who last 4th of July were most patriotic and exhausted their imaginations for pictures of the glories of our Union, are now full of joy and happiness that this accursed Union is wrecked and destroyed.

This rapid popular change almost makes me monarchist, and raises the question whether the self interest of one man is not a safer criterion than the wild opinions of ignorant men. From all I can read Missouri and Kentucky will go with the crowd South and will be more seriously affected than any other part of the country.

As soon as I hear from Governor Moore I will let you know when to expect me. I know that he, the govern or, will feel inclined to get rid of me instanter, but Dr. Smith wants me to stay for a successor, and he has no successor in his mind. If he proposes I shall stay till March, I will feel disposed to agree to it for pecuniary reasons, but I think the governor will feel hurt at my letter, and will be disposed to get rid of me. At all events, my position being clearly defined I cannot be complicated by these secession movements. I do feel a little mean at being made partially accessory to the rob bing of the Baton Rouge Arsenal by receiving a part of the stolen property. . .


Baton Rouge, January 28,1861.

My dear Sir: Your letter was duly received, and would have been answered ere this time could I have arranged sooner the matter of the five hundred dollars. I shall go from here to New Orleans to-day or to-morrow, and will remain there till Saturday after next, per haps. I shall expect to meet you there, as indicated in your note to me.

I need not tell you that it is with no ordinary regret that I view your determination to leave us, for really I believe that the success of our institution, now almost assured, is jeopardized thereby. I am sure that we will never have a superintendent with whom I shall have more pleasant relations than those which have existed between yourself and me.

I fully appreciate the motives which have induced you to give up a position presenting so many advantages to yourself, and sincerely hope that you may, in any future enterprise, enjoy the success which your character and ability merit and deserve. . .

Colonel Bragg informs me that the necessary orders have been given for the transfer and receipt by Major Smith of the public property.

I herewith transmit a request to the secretary to convene the Board of Supervisors, that they may act as seems best to them in the premises.

In the mean time, Major Smith will command by seniority the cadets, and the Academic Board will be able to conduct the scientific exercises of the institution until the Board of Supervisors can have time to act. . .

P.S. Governor Moore desires me to express his pro found regret that the state is about to lose one who we all fondly hoped had cast his destinies for weal or for woe among us; and that he is sensible that we lose an officer whom it will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.


Alexandria, January 31, 1861.

Dear Sir: A meeting of the Board of Supervisors is called by instruction of Dr. S. A. Smith, vice-president, at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 9, in Alexandria.

May I ask your attendance, and your influence, with your neighbors for their attendance, as Dr. Smith’s absence will make a quorum hard to get.

Business of importance will be laid before you, em bracing the steps made imperatively necessary, by my withdrawal from my present duties of superintendent and treasurer.

I have a sealed letter from Dr. Smith to the Board, and I cannot tell whether he intends to be present or not.


Have you received notice to attend any such meeting? This letter of Colonel Sherman’s is all I know about it. I fear Sherman is to be chiselled out of the five hundred dollars a year engaged to be paid him in the Arsenal bill of last year. That bill authorizes it “to be paid quarterly on his own warrant.” The auditor, or treasurer, one or the other, I understand will not pay it because it was not in the Appropriation Bill, thanks to the experience and sagacity of some of our friends. Once Colonel Sherman leaves here, he will neither come back, nor send back to ask for it.

Sherman’s Letter to General Graham
Sherman’s Letter To General G. M. Graham

I am going to New Orleans, whither I have been trying to get off for more than three months. My trunk has been in Alexandria for that purpose since Sunday, and I must go on the “Burton” on Thursday-but I wish that you gentlemen would do what I should do myself if present: propose to and urge on the Board the passage of a Resolution directing the vice-president to pay Colonel S. the full amount due him on that score up to the day of his withdrawal, out of the Seminary funds, and then take Colonel Sherman’s warrant, on the auditor for the amount, which when appropriated by the legislature would thus be returned to the Seminary funds.

The increase of his salary in that manner, was a part of the inducement to him to decline the appointment to London, and I am sure there was no intention any where to deceive or disappoint him, and under all the attendant circumstances now no consideration whatever ought to be allowed to interfere with his immediate reception of it, and I hope you gentlemen will urge and insist on it.


February 1, 1861.

. . . It is war to surround Anderson with batteries, and it is shilly-shally for the South to cry “Hands off! No coercion!” It was war and insult to expel the garrison at Baton Rouge, and Uncle Sam had better cry “Cave!” or assert his power. Fort Sumter is not mate rial, save for the principle; but Key West and the Tortugas should be held in force at once, by regulars, if possible, if not, by militia. Quick! They are occupied now, but not in force.

Whilst maintaining the high, strong ground you do, I would not advise you to interpose an objection to securing concessions to the middle and moderate states — Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. Slavery there is local, and even if the world were open to them, its extension would involve no principle. If these states felt the extreme South wrong, a seeming concession would make them committed. The cotton states are gone, I suppose. Of course, their commerce will be hampered. . .

I sent you a copy of my letter to the governor. Here is his answer [see pages 350-351].

This is very handsome, and I do regret this political imbroglio. I do think it was brought about by politicians. The people in the South are evidently unanimous in the opinion that slavery is endangered by the current of events, and it is useless to attempt to alter that opinion. As our government is founded on the will of the people, when that will is fixed, our government is powerless, and the only question is whether to let things slide into general anarchy, or the formation of two or more confederacies, which will be hostile sooner or later. Still, I know that some of the best men of Louisiana think this change may be effected peaceably. But even if the Southern States be allowed to depart in peace, the first question will be revenue.

Now, if the South have free trade, how can you collect revenues in the eastern cities? Freight from New Orleans to St. Louis, Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, and even Pittsburg, would be about the same as by rail from New York, and importers at New Orleans, having no duties to pay, would undersell the East if they had to pay duty. Therefore, if the South make good their con federation and their plan, the northern confederacy must do likewise or blockade. Then comes the question of foreign nations. So, look on it in any view, I see no result but war and consequent changes in the form of government. . .


Seminary of Learning, Alexandria, Louisiana, February 1, 1861.

Dear Sir: . . . I thank you most kindly, and Governor Moore through you, for the kind manner in which you have met my wishes.

Now that I cannot be compromised by political events, I will so shape my course as best to serve the institution, which has a strong hold on my affections and respect.

The Board of Supervisors will be called for the 9th instant, and I will co-operate with them in their measures to place matters here on a safe and secure basis. I expect to be here two weeks, and will make you full returns for moneys and property belonging to the State Central Arsenal. All the arms and ammunitions are safely stored here. Then I will write you more at length.


Seminary, Feb. 1, 1861.

. . . I suppose you are impatient to hear what next. Last night I got full letters from Baton Rouge. Governor Moore’s is in these words [see pages 350-351].

Dr. Smith, also at Baton Rouge, writes me at length. He says [see page 353].

So you see I have at least the good will of all my associates. I have called the Board for February 9, and expect to leave here by or before February 20. I shall delay a while in New Orleans, not long, and get to Lancaster by March. . . If you really desire me to settle in Ohio you must make some exertions for I cannot abide there long in inactivity, and loafing. . .

I have a good letter from Turner in which he infers I cannot stay here and advises me to come to St. Louis, but points out nothing definite. He thinks Missouri will not secede, but if she do not they will have a severe contest there, for men who own negroes are blind to all interests other than those of slavery. Reason has nothing to do in these times of change and revolution. Politicians start the movement and keep it alive by a process known to themselves, and the poor innocent people have nothing to do but follow their lead. It may not be so there, but I am not convinced.

I see John takes bold ground. He is right. If the government be a reality it should defend its flag, property and servants. Anderson should be reinforced if it cost ten thousand lives and every habitation in Charles ton. Also the seizure of these arsenals should be resent ed and the actors made to feel that the United States is a reality. But the time is not yet. . .


Tyrone, La., Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1861.

Dear Colonel: . . . Those cartridges are the wretched (as I am sorry to learn from you they turn out to be) remains of my old company, “The Rapides Horse Guards.” The vaulting ambition of a succeeding company and the characteristic legislation of the police jury got the carbines, sabres, pistols, and accoutrements burned up; the small box of cartridges which I have here being perfectly sound, it had not occurred to me that, put up as they are, they could be damaged; those you got have always remained in the railroad warehouse, and I am sorry to hear from you that they have become useless; it is not a matter of so much consequence now to either of us as it was a few months ago.

Your letters have given me much food for sad reflection. I have tried in various ways, after my quiet fashion, during thirty odd years of residence here, to do these people some good. The organization of this Seminary, with yourself at the head of it — I had hoped some thing from it in the way of elevating their social and mental conditions, but it is ever casting “pearls before swine;” for the future I shall “let Ephraim alone, for he is wedded to his idols.”

All of these proceedings! people in their sovereign capacity assembled in convention, and legislature in session at the same time! What do we want with both — to make more taxes to feed hungry Locofocos.

I have been trying for more than three months to get off to New Orleans. On Sunday sent my trunk to Alexandria, expecting to go on Monday. Now my passage is taken for to-morrow on the “Burton” (couldn’t go to the party at Joe Hynson’s last night for want of clothes, for the road is in too impassable a condition to send for my trunk and then send it back again), so that I cannot await the uncertainty of a meeting of the board on Saturday.

I sent yesterday your last letter, informing me of the call of the meeting, up to Sanford and Whittington, re questing them to attend, and to insist on the passage of a resolution directing the vice-president to pay you your arsenal salary up to the day of your withdrawal, out of Seminary funds, and take your warrant on the auditor for the amount when appropriated by the legislature, to be thus returned to the Seminary funds. If I was certain that there would be a full quorum and a boat on which I could get off on Saturday afternoon, much as it would inconvenience me, I should remain for this purpose. . .

Sherman’s last formal act as superintendent of the Seminary was the drafting of a special report dated in response to a legislative resolution asking for information relative to methods of admission of state cadets. A few candidates for admission had been rejected because of lack of preparation and their relatives and friends had brought the matter before the state legislature, charging that discrimination had been made in favor of some cadets and against others especially against French speaking candidates. In his reply, Sherman stated that certain students had been sent home. “Parce qu’ils ne pouvaient pas lire et écrire la langue anglaise, ne pouvaient pas additioner, soustraire, multiplier et diviser les chiffres communs, et parce qu’ils n’avaient aucune connaissance des fractions vulgaires et decimals.” The explanation, accompanied by documents all in French, put an end to the charges of favoritism.

The Board of Supervisors reluctantly accepted Sherman’s resignation to take effect February 28, but did not elect a successor. Subsequent correspondence shows that some of the supervisors were hoping that if war did not come he might be induced to return to Louisiana.


Baton Rouge, Feb. 11, 1861.

Dear Sir: I have been in New Orleans for ten days, and on returning here find two letters from you, also your prompt answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives, for which I am much obliged.

The resolution passed the last day before adjournment. I was purposing to respond, when your welcome report came to hand. I have arranged to pay you five hundred dollars.

I will say nothing of general politics, except to give my opinion that there is not to be any war.

In the event, would it not be possible for you to be come a citizen of our state? Every one deplores your determination to leave us. At the same time your friends feel that you are abandoning a position that might become an object of desire to any one.

I will try to meet you in New Orleans at any time you may indicate; but it would be best for you to stop here, when, if possible, I will accompany you. . . Bring with you a few copies of the “Rules of the Seminary.”


February 14, 1861.

Sir: I am instructed by the Board of Supervisors of this institution to present a copy of the resolutions adopted by them at their last meeting:

RESOLVED, that the thanks of the Board of Supervisors are due, and are hereby tendered, to Colonel William T. Sherman for the able and efficient manner in which he has conducted the affairs of the Seminary during the time the institution has been under his control — a period attended with unusual difficulties, requiring on the part of the superintendent to successfully overcome them a high order of administrative talent. And the Board further bear willing testimony to the valuable services that Colonel Sherman has rendered them in their efforts to establish an institution of learning in accordance with the beneficient design of the State and Federal Governments; evincing at all times a readiness to adapt himself to the ever-varying requirements of an institution of learning in its infancy, struggling to attain a position of honor and usefulness.

RESOLVED further, that, in accepting the resignation of Colonel Sherman as superintendent of the State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, we tender to him assurances of our high personal regard, and our sincere regret at the occurrence of causes that render it necessary to part with so esteemed and valued a friend, as well as co-laborer in the cause of education.

Powhatan Clarke, secretary to the Board.


Seminary (Sunday), Feb. 16, 1861.

. . . I have been busy all day in making up accounts and papers and packing up. I shall leave here on Tuesday and will meet Dr. Smith at New Orleans by Friday and hope to take the cars by Saturday night for St. Louis.

I expect nothing at St. Louis and go there merely to see old acquaintances and friends and to look at that little farm. I will not delay long and will be home be fore the 4th March. That is I suppose the critical moment. Much now depends on the action of that assemblage in Washington of which I am pleased to see your father is a member. Still when opinions.so widely vary as they do it is almost impossible to discuss any practicable question.

I went up the Bayou last week to visit the Lucketts, Sanfords, Comptons, Grahams, and Longs. All, how ever were so full of northern outrages, wrongs, oppressions, etc., that ’twas useless to argue. There seems to be universal regret that I leave and I received [such] unmistakable evidence of kindly regard that I cannot but feel some regret at parting. . .


Sherman leaves the Seminary and goes to New Orleans. Settles his account with the state of Louisiana. Politics in New Orleans. Anarchy not slavery the issue. Bragg is organizing regulars. Sherman writes of his children. His comments on the Confederate leaders and Confederate preparations. The Seminary after Sherman left. Resolutions of the Academic Board. Sherman goes to St. Louis. His new duties as president of a street railway company. Views on slavery and secession. Not a Black Republican. The beginning of war. The Seminary students enlist in the Confederate Army. Newly elected superintendents resign. Sherman’s last letter to the South. Conditions in the North. Predicts war and invasion. Is appointed Colonel of the Thirteenth United States Infantry.

After severing his connection with the Seminary, Sherman spent several days in New Orleans leaving there on February 24 for St. Louis, whence he went to his home in Lancaster, Ohio. Here he remained a few days and then at the request of his brother John Sherman, he visited Washington. Not pleased with the attitude of the administration he went back to the West, accepted an offer of the presidency of the St. Louis street railway system and moved his family to St. Louis. About two months later, when Lincoln called for three-year volunteers he re-entered the army.


New Orleans, Feb. 23, 1861.

Dear Mr. Boyd: I fear from our experience here the cadets did not have a good time of it last night. It rained here a part of the day and night and now we are having a sort of postscript in a heavy shower. I have had a good deal of running about to do to-day, because I got here on Thursday after bank hours, and yesterday being a holiday it was closed, and this morning on application I found the book which I had sent down a week ago by mail only got here this morning. So I did not get it till 2:30 p.m. and Dr. Smith wanted to go to Baton Rouge at 5 p.m. so we gave it but a rapid examination, but there being a balance in bank larger than I claimed Dr. Smith was on the safe side in passing it. I have been with him to the boat, and he is off for Baton Rouge, and I have naught to do but be off for home. I shall start to-morrow, Sunday, for St. Louis to reach there Monday evening.

Tell St. Ange that I found Madame Lefevre and got the books entered, though I was bothered by the deputy collector. Still I think he will soon receive the books. I made the custom-house oath without seeing the list invoice of books. I know you will expect me to tell you some general political news. All here is secession on the streets. Indoors they are more reasonable and some have said to me that even yet if the North will give guarantees, this state would return. More than one have said that the leaders were afraid to leave it to a vote of the people. Congress can do nothing. The Peace Conference may report. I don’t see what Lincoln or any man can do, when sections are arrayed against each other and will not believe each other.

I still adhere to my old notion that we have to fear anarchy more than a direct conflict on the slavery issue. If any of the Southern States become dissatisfied with the tariff policy of the new combination and I have my self heard merchants talk pretty plainly of the tariff already imposed on northern goods, they will secede a second time and so on to the end of the chapter.

I have seen a good deal of Bragg who goes on quietly but steadily, organizing two régiments of regulars and mark my word when a time of strife comes he will be prepared.

He tells me there is an officer at West Point whose name I now forget, who wants to be your superintendent. But the governor has advertised for one to apply before April 6 — so that no choice will take place till then. In the mean time Dr. Smith has the check book and can draw for money. I really do hope you may have a clever fellow, for your social position is one of isolation and those who are so banished should have respect and even fondness for each other. There is no pleasure or satisfaction in life when one’s associate is devoid of feeling, sense, or judgment. With these and a few companions I have never cared much whether my abode was in Wall St., San Francisco, in the Desert, in Kansas, or Ohio.

But the truth is I have socially been too much isolated from my children, and now that they are at an age when for good or ill we should be together I must try and allay that feeling of change and venture that has made me a wanderer. If possible I will settle down — fast and positive. Of a summer eve with my little Minnie and Willy and the rascal Tom I can live over again my Florida life, my ventures in California, and my short sojourn in the pine woods of Louisiana, and I will teach them that there are kind good people everywhere, that a great God made all the world, that He slighted no part, that to some He assigned the rock and fir — with clear babbling brooks but cold and bitter winters, to others the grassy plain and fertile soil, to others the rich alluvium and burning sun to ripen the orange and sugar cane, but everywhere He gave the same firmament, the same gentle moon, and to the inhabitants the same attributes for good and evil.

What a beautiful task in theory, which may all explode the first moment of its realization but still one to dream of — and I know you will believe me sincere when I hope, in that little group, wherever it may be, you will some day drop in and try my hospitality. I assure you I know of no gentleman whom I would more gladly receive under my roof — because I feel you would appreciate what is good in fact, good in intention, and would make allowances for poverty or mismanagement. If present politicians break up our country, let us resolve to reestablish it — for the ties inter-partes ought not to be severed.

On February 23 in a note to his wife Sherman wrote: “Nothing new. All secession here, and I am suspect. Am quite well and impatient to be off.” An account of his stay in New Orleans is given in his Memoirs [vol. 1, 189].

About the 2Oth of February, having turned over all property, records, and money, on hand, to Major Smith, and taking with me the necessary documents to make the final settlement with Dr. S. A. Smith, at the bank in New Orleans, where the funds of the institution were deposited to my credit, I took passage from Alexandria for that city, and arrived there, I think, on the 23d. Dr. Smith met me, and we went to the bank, where I turned over to him the balance, got him to audit all my accounts, certify that they were correct and just, and that there remained not one cent of balance in my hands. I charged in my account current for my salary up to the end of February, at the rate of four thousand dollars a year, and for the five hundred dollars due me as superintendent of the Central Arsenal, all of which was due and had been fairly earned, and then I stood free and discharged of any and every obligation, honorary or business, that was due by me to the State of Louisiana, or to any corporation or individual in the state.

This business occupied two or three days, during which I staid at the St. Louis Hotel. I usually sat at table with Colonel and Mrs. Bragg, and an officer who wore the uniform of the State of Louisiana, and was ad dressed as captain. Bragg wore a colonel’s uniform, and explained to me that he was a colonel in the state service, a colonel of artillery, and that some companies of his régiment garrisoned Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and the arsenal at Baton Rouge.

Beauregard at the time had two sons at the Seminary of Learning. I had given them some of my personal care at the father’s request, and, wanting to tell him of their condition and progress, I went to his usual office in the Custom-House Building, and found him in the act of starting for Montgomery, Alabama. Bragg said afterward that Beauregard had been sent for by Jefferson Davis, and that it was rumored that he had been made a brigadier-general, of which fact he seemed jealous, because in the old army Bragg was the senior.

. . . I recall a conversation at the tea-table, one evening, at the St. Louis Hotel. When Bragg was speaking of Beauregard’s promotion, Mrs. Bragg, turning to me, said, “You know that my husband is not a favorite with the new president.” My mind was resting on Mr. Lincoln as the new president, and I said I did not know that Bragg had ever met Mr. Lincoln, when Mrs. Bragg said, quite pointedly, “I didn’t mean your president, but our president.” I knew Bragg hated Davis bitterly, and that he had resigned from the army in 1855, because Davis, as secretary of war, had ordered him, with his battery, from Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, to Fort Smith or Fort Washita, in the Indian country, as Bragg expressed it, “to chase Indians with six-pounders.”

I visited the quartermaster, Colonel A. C. Myers, who had resigned from the army, January 28, 1861, and had accepted service under the new régime. His office was in the same old room in the Lafayette Square Building, which he had in 1853, when I was there a commissary, with the same pictures on the wall, and the letters “U.S.” on every thing, including his desk, papers, etc. I asked him if he did not feel funny. “No, not at all. The thing was inevitable, secession was a complete success ; there would be no war, but the two governments would settle all matters of business in a friendly spirit, and each would go on in its allotted sphere, without further confusion.” . .

I walked the streets of New Orleans, and found business going along as usual. Ships were strung for miles along the lower levee, and steamboats above, all dis charging or receiving cargo. The Pelican flag of Louisiana was flying over the Custom House, Mint, City Hall, and everywhere. At the levee ships carried every flag on earth except that of the United States, and I was told that during a procession on the 22d of February, celebrating their emancipatio from the despotism of the United States government, only one national flag was shown from a house, and that the house of Cuthbert Bullitt, on Lafayette Square. He was commanded to take it down, but he refused and defended it with his pistol.

The only officer of the army that I can recall, as being there at the time, who was faithful, was Colonel C. L. Kilburn, of the Commissary Department, and he was preparing to escape north.

Everybody regarded the change of government as final; that Louisiana, by a mere declaration, was a free and independent state, and could enter into any new alliance or combination she chose.

Men were enlisted and armed, to defend the state, and there was not the least evidence that the national administration designed to make any effort, by force, to vindicate the national authority. I therefore bade adieu to all my friends, and about the 25th of February took my departure by railroad, for Lancaster, via Cairo and Cincinnati.


Seminary, March 1, 1861.

My dear Major: Your letter from New Orleans was received on Monday night. . . Will do all I can to carry out your suggestions.

The Board met yesterday, left things in statu quo, and appointed Dr. Clarke temporary treasurer. The ball went off very well, the cadets conducting themselves with great propriety, though to a certain extent with bashfulness. Last night one or more of the cadets stole the mouthpieces to all the instruments of music in the building and cut the drum to pieces. So Joe Miller has been filling blank cartridges all day from an old bronze musket, Cleland having gone to town to repair damages. On the day after your departure, Mr. Vallas inaugurated himself, and issued all the winter pants. Consequently a new cadet who has just come in has none at all. There was a strong run among the cadets for dimes, many professing that they had not had any for four months.

All of my chemicals have come. I shall send Van Nostrand a check in a day or so. St. Ange is grumbling as usual, Vallas having found it necessary to threaten him with a report to the Board. Said report St. Ange anticipated by a complaint for redress of grievances, which grievances had prevented his blackboards and windows from being mended, and had not allowed him to have O. O. Blair in French, etc. The Board sent his petition back and the Academic Board meet this evening for considering it. What nonsense!

Saturday. I was interrupted just at this point and recommence my letter. The Board met last night and decided that Mr. St. A’s communication involved no point requiring their action. Mr. Vallas will satisfy him by buying the books. The mail is just in, bringing Boyd your letter, for which he thanks you; also one from Bragg sending two thousand cartridges, and inquiring if we have any cadets suitable for junior lieutenants. I have not determined what to write to him, as we could ill spare our best at the present time.

When you left, Major, I wished to thank you for many an act of kindness and forbearance that you had shown me. But really my heart was so full, that I could not speak. I have often been petulant and perhaps assuming towards you all and I could have received no kinder rebuke than the manner which you have always displayed towards me. I look with deep regret upon the fact that the relations, which have subsisted between us, and which have been so pleasant and profitable for me, should have been broken off. And I yet hope that we may meet somewhere and those feelings of respect and friendship, which I shall always have for you, may re-assume a tangible shape.

You will allow me to present my warm regards to Mrs. Sherman and the children-to express my regret that I was denied the pleasure which I had often anticipated, of forming their acquaintance, and I sincerely hope and pray that, whether you settle down with Minnie and Willy on your knee, or again become a “Wanderer,” God will bless you and yours.

Clark, Boyd, and the Jarreaus join me in warm regards.


Baton Rouge, La., March 11th, 1861.

My dear Sir: I was most pleased in receiving your letter from St. Louis and gratified to learn some of your opinions upon existing questions formed while you surveyed the field from a new, and to us, opposite stand point.

I inferred from reading your note that there would be no policy of coercion at present. At this I experienced a feeling of relief in a moment as I relied upon your judgment and the correctness of your observation.

The abstract questions of right and title which in our new positions would have to be maintained by final arbitrament of arms, lose their interest in the face of the consequences immediately before us should your side at this time institute an appeal to this final arbiter. It is certain that our people are in dead earnest when they declare that they have a right to secede and furthermore that they intend to exhaust all the elements at their disposal in the maintenance of this position should it be assailed from any quarter.

Whether we succeed or not in resisting the application of force, the conflict would be a disgrace. It would be a blot upon our page in the history of the world and would be proclaimed elsewhere as the end of the final experiment in determining the capacity of any people for self-government.

It would lead to the creation and perfecting of large standing armies, and you know better than I that the principles of popular government could not stand against the interests of an overwhelming military establishment on either side.

To those whose belief in the excellence of our liberal institutions — won by so many trials and sacrifices — amounts to a religious faith, such a prospect is appalling.

Therefore let the good men of both sections exert all their influence in preventing and removing all causes of collision. Succeeding in this, every sincere Democrat will be confident that the people will in some way arrange all matters of difference in some satisfactory manner.

I have nothing of interest to communicate. The Seminary seems to go on as you left it. I had a letter from my wife expressing her regret at our losing you and telling me that even little Ledoux begged you to stay. These feelings conformed to my own and exhibit in a striking manner the results of late political events.

I have been looking for some reports that might inter est you and will send you a package. There is one from the Judiciary Committee advocating a change in relation to the law of evidence which I commend to your notice as exceedingly able, beautiful, and excellent. It is the production of one of our first lawyers, Mr. Randal Hunt.

I shall hope that you will continue to keep me posted as to your movements and particularly as to your final decision upon a place to settle and the business which you resolve to engage in. At the same time I shall be most happy to be able to keep you informed upon any subject which may interest you down here.

I agree with you that our interest will finally deter mine our feelings and farther that the people will finally settle the whole matter when they have been allowed time to consider and understand the questions at issue.

I would be glad if you could consistently with duty give me freely and frankly your opinions as to the prob able line of policy which will be pursued by Lincoln’s administration when you have had the opportunity of ascertaining pretty certainly what it will be. I will promise to respond in like manner as to our course as such interchanges between honest men can have no other than a good effect.

With every wish for your prosperity.


Resolved, that in the resignation of the late superintendent Colonel W. T. Sherman, the Academic Board deem it not improper to express their deep conviction of the loss the institution has sustained in being thus deprived of an able head. They cannot fail to appreciate the manliness of character which has always marked the actions of Colonel Sherman. While he is personally endeared to many of them as a friend they consider it their high pleasure to tender to him in this resolution their regret on his separation, and their sincere wish for his future welfare.


Office St. Louis Railroad Company, St. Louis, April 4,1861.

My Dear Friend: I promised you all to keep you ad vised of my whereabouts that we may interchange from time to time the thoughts and feelings of respect and affection which I feel assured still subsists between us.

By the caption of this letter you will see me in a rail road office, of which I am the president with a salary of two thousand dollars. I have my entire family in a good house, 226 Locust St., with plenty of room and a hearty welcome for friends who come to me from the four quarters of the globe, and I will believe that you, or Smith, or the Doctor, yea Mr. St. Ange, may some summer come up to this great city, the heart of North America, and see me and mine.

I acted with energy, went to Washington, satisfied myself that Lincoln was organizing his administration on pure party principles, concluded it was no place for me who profess to love and venerate my whole country and not a mere fraction — and forthwith to Lancaster, pulled up stakes, to Cincinnati, and embarked all hands, with carpets, chairs, beds, kitchen utensils, even my household servants, and before one month of my vacating my berth in Louisiana, I was living in St. Louis.

I see my way ahead for one year and must trust to the future, and having an abundance of faith in St. Louis with its vast fertile surrounding country, I feel no uneasiness. My two eldest girls are in a Catholic school and this morning I put my boy Willy in a public school, so that with the exception of some trifling articles of furniture I am settled.

My duties here are clearly within my comprehension, and indeed I think I can actually make myself more than useful to the stockholders by giving personal attention, which heretofore has devolved on hirelings. In politics I do not think I change with country. On the negro question I am satisfied there is and was no cause for a severance of the old Union, but will go further and say that I believe the practice of slavery in the South is the mildest and best regulated system of slavery in the world, now or heretofore. But, as there is an incongruity in black and white labor, I do think in the new territories the line of separation should be drawn before rather than after settlement. As to any guarantees I would favor any approved by Rives, Bell, Crittenden and such men whose patriotism cannot be questioned.

On the question of secession however I am ultra. I believe in coercion and cannot comprehend how any government can exist unless it defend its integrity. The mode and manner may be regulated by policy and wisdom, but that any part of a people may carry off a part of the common territory without consent or purchase I cannot understand. Now I know as well as I can know anything uncertain that Louisiana cannot belong to a string of Southern States. She must belong to a system embracing the Valley States. It may be those Valley States may come to Louisiana, but ultimately one way or another, the Valley of the Mississippi must be under one system of government. Else quarrels, troubles, and confusions, worse than war, will be continuous.

My brother John is now senator, and quite a man among the Republicans, but he regards me as erratic in politics. He nor politicians generally can under stand the feelings and opinions of one who thinks him self above parties, and looks upon the petty machinery of party as disgusting.

There are great numbers here who think like me, and at the election here a few days ago the Black Republicans were beaten, because the country expected of Mr. Lincoln a national and not a party government. Had the Southern States borne patiently for four years, they could have had a radical change in 1864 that might have lasted twenty years. Whereas now, no man is wise enough to even guess at future combinations.

I hope you are all well, that the Seminary continues to prosper, that you have a clever superintendent, and that one day not far distant we may sail under the same flag. My best respects to the Jarreaus and all friends.

Early in April Sherman was offered the chief clerkship in the War Department with the promise of being made assistant secretary of war when congress met. He declined the offer.


I received about nine o’clock Saturday night, your telegraphic dispatch, which I have this moment answered, “I cannot accept.”

I have quite a large family, and when I resigned my place in Louisiana, on account of secession, I had no time to lose; and, therefore, after my hasty visit to Washington, where I saw no chance of employment, I came to St. Louis; have accepted a place in this company, have rented a house, and incurred other obligations, so that I am not at liberty to change.

I thank you for the compliment contained in your offer, and assure you that I wish the administration all success in its almost impossible task of governing this distracted and anarchical people.


Alexandria, April 24, 1861.

My Dear Sir: I am in receipt of your very welcome letter announcing your determination to settle in St. Louis.

How much I hope that you will be able to come to the conclusion that your adopted state is right in opposing herself to the mad career of the Union Splitter and his fanatical crew. How delighted we all should be to hear that in the coming contest we might boast of the possession of your fine talents and high military qualities. How freely we would furnish you with the means and the men to do anything possible in the line of your profession.

Our state will furnish without an effort the requisition made upon her of ten thousand men. A large force for her population. John Kelso left in command of one hundred muster men this morning, containing my nephew together with Robertson’s two sons and nephew.

Manning, myself and others similarly situated have joined another which will be ready in a few days.

Caddo Parish has already sent forward two large companies, one of which is already in Pensacola. . .

I see the Northern States are coming forward with equal unanimity upon their side, so we may calculate upon a gigantic and horrible war waged by brother against brother.

Is it not a pity that some foreign power could [not] have been selected against which to direct the forces now about to be applied to the purposes of self-destruction.

The Seminary boys after all the exertions we were able to make are all bolting. I went out yesterday and made them a speech and appealed to them in the interest of the public and their own interest and also urged their obligation to perform military duty. It had little or no effect. Finally I took young Stafford out and as the friend of his father begged him not to act foolish. He promised me to remain. To-day he is a volunteer in the same company with myself.

The Seminary will evidently be soon abandoned for a time at least. Lieut. Col. Lay was chosen as your successor and I am just in receipt of his resignation. Smith has also given notice of his intention to resign, so you see we are in a sad plight.

I am just now offering your former place to Capt. W. R. Boggs, whom Bragg insisted upon our choosing in the first instance, recommending him by saying that he was the only person who in his opinion could fill the place of Sherman or could stand in his shoes.

I should be obliged if you could find time to write occasionally. . .


Office St. Louis Railroad Company, St. Louis, April 25,1861.

Dear Brother: Virginia’s secession influences some six millions of people. No use in arguing about it at all, but all the Virginians, or all who trace their lineage back, will feel like obeying her dictates and example. As a state, she has been proud, boastful, and we may say over-bearing; but, on the other hand, she, by her governors and authority, has done everything to draw her native-born back to their state.

I can not yet but think that it was a fatal mistake in Mr. Lincoln not to tie to his administration by some kind of link, the border states. Now it is too late, and sooner or later Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas will be in arms against us. It is barely possible that Missouri may yet be neutral.

It is pretty nearly determined to divert the half million set aside for the July interest for arming the state. All the bankers but one have consented, and the govern or and legislature are strongly secession. I understand to-day the orders at the custom house are to refuse clearance to steamboats to seceding states. All the heavy trade with groceries and provisions is with the South, and this order at once takes all life from St. Louis. Merchants heretofore for peace, and even for backing the administration will now fall off, relax in their exertions, and the result will possibly be secession, and then free states against slave — the horrible array so long dreaded. I know Frank Blair desired this plain, square issue. It may be that sooner or later it is inevitable, but I cannot bring myself to think so. On the necessity of maintaining a government and that government the old constitutional one, I have never wavered, but I do recoil from a war, when the negro is the only question.

I am informed that McClellan is appointed to command the Ohio militia — a most excellent appointment; a better officer could not be found.


St. Louis, May 13, 1861.

My dear Friend: I have been intending for a long while to answer your last very kind letter. I suppose you still receive papers from New Orleans and Virginia giving tolerably fair versions of the events which are now passing all around us. We are now by Declaration of the Confederate Congress and by act of our own constituted authorities enemies, and I can not yet realize the fact. I know that I individually would not do any human being a wrong, take from him a cent, or molest any of his rights or property, and yet I admit fully the fact that Lincoln was bound to call on the country to rally and save our constitution and government. Had I responded to his call for volunteers I know that I would now be a Major-general. But my feelings prompted me to forbear and the consequence is my family and friends are almost cold to me, and they feel and say that I have failed at the critical moment of my life. It may be I am but a chip on the whirling tide of time destined to be cast on the shore as a worthless weed.

But I still think in the hurly burly of strife, order and system must be generated, and grow and strengthen till our people come out again a great and purified nation. Lincoln is of right our president and has the right to initiate the policy of our government during his four years, and I believe him sincere in his repeated declarations that no dismemberment shall be even thought of. The inevitable result is war, and an invasive war.

I know that masses of men are organizing and discipling to execute the orders of this government. They are even now occupying the key points of our country; and when prepared they will strike. Not in detached columns battling with an excited people, but falling on exposed points. Already is Missouri humbled; I have witnessed it; my personal friends here, many of them southern, admit that Missouri’s fate is sealed. There was a camp of about one thousand five hundred young men, who though seemingly assembled by state authority were yet notoriously disaffected to the government and were imprudent enough to receive into their camp a quantity of the arms from Baton Rouge, brought up as common merchandise. This justified the government forces here, regulars and militia, to surround and capture the whole. For a time intense excitement prevailed, but again seeming peace has come. The governor and state authorities are southern by birth and feeling and may make some spasmodic efforts to move, but they will be instantly overcome. Superior arms and numbers are the elements of war, and must prevail.

I cannot yet say if Lincoln will await the action of his Congress in July. I think he will as to any grand movement, but in the meantime Virginia, Louisiana, and Missouri, will be held or threatened, I have no doubt a hundred thousand disciplined men will be in Louisiana by Christmas next. The Mississippi River will be a grand theater of war, but not till the present masses are well disciplined. It is horrible to contemplate but it cannot be avoided.

No one now talks of the negro. The integrity of the Union and the relative power of state and general government are the issues in this war. Were it not for the physical geography of the country it might be that people could consent to divide and separate in peace. But the Mississippi is too grand an element to be divided, and all its extent must of necessity be under one government. Excuse these generalisms — we have said them a thousand times.

I was sorry to hear from Dr. Smith that further disaffection had crept into your institution. I fear for the present it will be swept by the common storm. ——— was not the man, and it is well he has declined. Certainly there must be within reach, some good man to manage so easy a machine. I think the machine should be kept together, even on the smallest scale. Joe Miller writes me that the arms 86 have been sent off and there fore his occupation gone. I will write if he cannot stay to return to his brother in Ohio and not go to California as he seems to think about.

I am still here with this road and my family living at 226 Locust St. No matter what happens I will always consider you my personal friend, and you shall ever be welcome to my roof. Should I be wrong in my conclusions of this terrible anarchy and should you come to St. Louis, I know you will be pleased with the many objects of interest hereabouts. Give to all the assurance of my kindest remembrance and accept for yourself my best wishes for your health and success in life.

On the next day, May 14, Sherman received a telegram stating that he had been appointed Colonel of the Thirteenth United States Infantry. No more letters passed between him and his southern friends until after the war.

A month after Sherman resigned and went north, the Supervisors elected Colonel George W. Lay as superintendent, but he resigned before taking charge. Then Captain William R. Boggs was elected but given leave of absence for the war, while Dr. Vallas was made superintendent pro tem for the rest of the session of 1861. Professors Smith, Boyd, and Clarke resigned in May, 1861, to enter the Confederate service, though Boyd was prevailed upon to remain until the end of the session in June. The cadets began to leave in April and before June more than half had gone into the Confederate régiments.

During the war the Seminary under acting superintendents, first Rev. W. E. M. Linfield and next Prof. William A. Seay, held two partial sessions — one in 1862 and one in 1862-1863. The student body was disbanded in April, 1863, when Banks came up the Red River Valley. The only regular professors during the war period were Vallas and St. Ange. Most of the students were boys under eighteen. In 1864 during Banks’s second invasion of central Louisiana the books, furniture and equipment of the Seminary were carried away by the Federals.

All of the students who were old enough, except Cadet Taliaferro, entered the Confederate army. Taliaferro enlisted in the Union navy. Numbers were killed and wounded or died in prison. Professor Smith was killed on Lee’s retreat to Appomattox. Professors Boyd and Clarke served throughout the war. Sherman was able to render aid to several of the students and professors who were captured in battle and in 1864 by flag of truce a party of them in Louisiana sent to him a letter of thanks for his kindness. In the fall of 1865 the Seminary was reopened under the superintendency of Colonel D. F. Boyd the only member of the ante bellum faculty who returned to the school. General Graham continued his active interest in the Seminary (called after 1870 the State University) until his death in 1887. Sherman visited the institution twice in later years and was able to befriend it in many ways. Among other things he was influential in securing for it the grant from the government of the garrison grounds and buildings at Baton Rouge. It was the seizure by the state of this post that caused Sherman to resign in 1861. On January 2, 1910, Louisiana State University celebrated the semi-centennial anniversary of the opening of the institution.


  1. Esto perpetua. May it endure forever. — Latin.
  2. Mr. St. Ange. A graduate of Charlemagne College, Paris. — Ed.
  3. Le meublant. The furnishings.
  4. Eleve. Student. — French.
  5. Board of Education. Board of Supervisors of the Seminary. — Ed.
  6. Mr. F. W. Smith. The newly elected commandant of cadets and professor of chemistry. — Ed.
  7. One of all the girls. Mrs. Sherman was educated in a Georgetown, D.C., convent in which General Graham’s sister was a teacher and later Mother Superior. — Ed.
  8. Instruction pour l’enseignement de la Gymnastique dans les corps de troupes et les etablissements militaire. Instruction for training in the corps of troops and military institutions. — French.
  9. Extrait de l’Instruction pour l’enseignement de la Gymnastique, etc., par le Capitaine C. d’Argy. Excerpt from the Instruction for training, etc., by Captain C. Argy. — French.
  10. John’s. John Sherman. — Ed.
  11. Tom’s. Thomas Evving Jr., brother of Mrs. Sherman. — Ed.
  12. paper. Nitre paper burned to relieve asthma. — Ed.
  13. barracks. The United States military post at Baton Rouge. — Ed.
  14. general. General R. B. Mason, Sherman’s commanding officer in California. — Ed.
  15. Minnie’s. Sherman’s eldest daughter. — Ed.
  16. Kilburn. An officer in the commissary department, United States Army. — Ed.
  17. misfortunes. The failure of the banking firms with which Sherman had been connected. — Ed.
  18. last. Bragg and Graham had served together in the Mexican War. — Ed.
  19. governor. Thomas O. Moore who was to take office in January, 1860. mdash; Ed.
  20. foreigner. Dr. Anthony Vallas, an Hungarian. — Ed.
  21. Whittington. Graham and Whittington were delegated by the supervisors to assist the committee of the faculty in drawing up rules. — Ed.
  22. Mr. Boyce’s. Boyce was editor of the Red River American. — Ed.
  23. Henarie. Members of the Board of Supervisors. — Ed.
  24. Ryan. Judge T. C. Manning, Dr. S. A. Smith, and Michael Ryan, all members of the Board. Manning and Smith were the chief opponents of the military system. — Ed.
  25. events. The John Brown raid into Virginia. — Ed.
  26. Mr. James. The contractor. — Ed.
  27. Captain Jarreau. The Seminary steward. — Ed.
  28. R. Taylor. Richard Taylor, son of President Taylor, later a confederate general — Ed.
  29. $8,100. Interest on the Seminary land fund. — Ed.
  30. Mr. Sevier. Dr. John W. Sevier, a veteran of Walker’s filibustering expedition, was appointed surgeon and adjutant of the Seminary in December, 1859. — Ed. He was the school’s surgeon and assistant professor of ancient languages.
  31. Berth. Sherman here refers to an offer made to him of a position in London. — Ed.
  32. Dr. Smith. State senator and member of the Board of Supervisors. — Ed.
  33. Clark’s. John B. Clark, a member of Congress from Missouri, introduced a resolution to the effect that no person who endorsed Helper’s book was fit to be speaker of the House of Representatives. — Ed.
  34. Ellen’s. Mrs. Sherman. — Ed.
  35. Bill. A bill providing for a more efficient organization of the Seminary. — Ed.
  36. Emeute horrible. Horrible disturbance. — French.
  37. Sixteen. Beneficiary cadets. — Ed.
  38. The line. Of forty years. — Ed.
  39. Roelofson. Agent of the capitalists who wished Sherman to represent them in England. — Ed.
  40. Entre nous. Between us. — French.
  41. Mr. Smith. The commandant of cadets. — Ed.
  42. Recommendation. That a sum be appropriated to the Seminary to be expended in training teachers for the schools. — Ed.
  43. Old Commissary Office. Where he was stationed from 1852 to 1853. — Ed.
  44. Clay. A horse brought from Ohio. — Ed.
  45. Captain G. W. Smith. Later a Confederate general. — Ed.
  46. Lovell. Mansfield Lovell a graduate of West Point later a Confederate general. — Ed.
  47. Police juries. The parish police jury of Louisiana corresponds somewhat to the Court or Board of County Commissioners of other states. — Ed.
  48. McCook. Ewing and McCook were former law partners of Sherman. — Ed.
  49. Whittington. A member of the Board of Supervisors. — Ed.
  50. Strong. So written in letter. There is evidently an omission here. — Ed.
  51. Smith. Dr. S. A. Smith, who wanted to model the Seminary after the University of Virginia. — Ed.
  52. Old Battery. Bragg was trying to get for the Seminary his Buena Vista battery. — Ed.
  53. Col. Craig. Chief of Ordinance, United States Army. — Ed.
  54. Boyce. Editor of the Red River American. — Ed.
  55. One or two years longer. Beauregard became superintendent of West Point for a short time in 1861. — Ed.
  56. Battery. Bragg’s Buena Vista battery. — Ed.
  57. General Grivot. Adjutant-general of Louisiana. — Ed.
  58. Colonel Craig. Of the Ordinance Bureau. War Department. — Ed.
  59. Mr D—. An Episcopal clergyman who was disappointed because Doctor Vallas, also an Episcopal clergyman, was not allowed by the supervisors to preach regularly in assisting D. at Alexandria and Pineville. — Ed.
  60. His uncle. F. H. Smith, superintendent of Virginia Military Institute. — Ed.
  61. Young charge. Miss Whittington, daughter of one of the supervisors. She was on her way to Georgetown, D.C., to school. — Ed.
  62. Frank. An employee at the Seminary. — Ed.
  63. Impracticable system. The regulations were amended for the purpose of giving the faculty more independence of the superintendent as well as a voice in the control of academic affairs and in matters of discipline. Dr. Vallas was the principal advocate of this policy. — Ed.
  64. Sic volo, sic jubeo. Thus I wish, thus I command — Latin.
  65. Bootjack (Biossat) and Co. Editors of local newspapers. — Ed.
  66. “Buena Vista Battery”. The battery was not obtained. — Ed.
  67. Flinders. Splinters.
  68. Clay. The horse given to Sherman by Mr. Ewing. — Ed.
  69. Dr. Powhatan Clarke. Doctor Clarke was elected during the first session to take Doctor Sevier’s place. — Ed.
  70. To do it. This probably means that he was asked to stay as a neutral in case of war. Sherman’s later letters indicate that such a proposition was made. — Ed.
  71. In all January. “In all January” means “all in January.” Sherman made frequent use of this peculiar construction. — Ed.
  72. Bantam? The Seminary. — Ed.
  73. Salary. At the session of 1860 a law was passed making Sherman superintendent of the State Central Arsenal, but the author of the act neglected to have the provision for the salary inserted in the appropriation bill. — Ed.
  74. Locofoco. The radical left wing of the Democratic Party.
  75. “Forked-Deer.” One of General Graham’s plantations. — Ed.
  76. Onze Heurs, et mes yeux beaucoup fatigues. Eleven hours, and my eyes are very fagitued.
  77. At the mouth. Of the Mississippi. — Ed.
  78. Lakes. Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne. — Ed.
  79. Five hundred dollars . For the salary of superintendent of the Arsenal. — Ed.
  80. Dwelling-houses . The buildings now belong to the Louisiana State University, donated through Sherman’s influence, it is thought. — Ed.
  81. Major Smith. Commandant of cadets. — Ed.
  82. Two letters. These letters were not found. — Ed.
  83. Money. So written but probably Navy is meant. — Ed.
  84. Braxton Bragg. This letter is in Braxton Bragg’s handwriting. — Ed.
  85. A day or so. It was passed on January 26, 1861. — Ed.
  86. “Parce qu’ils ne pouvaient pas lire et écrire la langue anglaise, ne pouvaient pas additioner, soustraire, multiplier et diviser les chiffres communs, et parce qu’ils n’avaient aucune connaissance des fractions vulgaires et decimals.” Because they could not read and write the English language and could not add, subtract, divide, and multiply common figures, and because they had no knowledge of common fractions and decimals.
  87. Assemblage in Washington. The Peace Convention. — Ed.
  88. 23d. The 22nd. — Ed.
  89. Lancaster. Sherman went first to St. Louis, where he stopped for a few days before going on to Ohio. — Ed.
  90. Doctor. Doctor Clarke. — Ed.
  91. State. Missouri. — Ed.

Text prepared by:

Group 1 — Summer 2015, 1st Session

Group 2 — Summer 2015, 2nd Session


William, Sherman T. General W.T. Sherman as College President; a Collection of Letters, Documents, and Other Material, Chiefly from Private Sources, Relating to the Life and Activities of General William Tecumseh Sherman, to the Early Years of Louisiana State University, and to the Stirring Conditions Existing in the South on the Eve of the Civil War, 1859-1861. Ed. Walter L. Fleming. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1912. Internet Archive. 27 July 2006. Web. 13 Aug. 2015. <https:// archive.org/ details/ sherman college 00willrich>.

Home Page
L’Anthologie  Louisianaise