Smith, Francis H. (Francis Henney), 1812-1890
Major General Francis Henney Smith (b. 1812 d. 1890) was appointed VMI's first Superintendent in 1839. An 1833 graduate of West Point, he had previously served briefly in the U. S. Army and was a Professor of Mathematics at Hampden-Sydney College (VA) when he accepted the position as head of the newly established Virginia Military Institute. He served for fifty years, from the Institute's infancy, through the Civil War, and through the difficult post-war period. He is known as the "builder and rebuilder of VMI." Smith retired on January 1, 1890 and died only a few months later, on March 21, 1890.
Found in 9 Collections and/or Records:
Barton Family Papers
Scope and Contents The collection consists of the miscellaneous papers of three members of the Barton family who attended the Virginia Military Institute during the mid-19th century. Papers relating to Cadet Charles M. Barton (VMI Class of 1856) include a letter dated September 28, 1855 from Charles to his cousin Joseph M. Barton, in which he complains about VMI life and about his instructor Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (Jackson is described as a "hell of a fool"). Other Charles Barton material is found in a...
Edward C. Shepherd collection
Scope and Contents The collection contains three notebooks, two miscellaneous documents, and an annotated analytical geometry text that belonged to Virginia Military Institute Cadet Edward C. Shepherd during his years as a VMI student, 1851-1855. The first notebook contains approximately 50 pen and ink, hand-tinted drawings by Shepherd; these were completed as assignments for VMI courses and some bear the signature of Superintendent Francis H. Smith (" Examined correct, F.H. Smith"). This book also includes a...
George A. Goodman papers
Scope and Contents Papers consist of eleven items. Included are Goodman's VMI Diploma and Cadet Dialectic Society certificates; letters of recommendation (1859) from Francis H. Smith and Thomas H. Williamson; miscellaneous Civil War documents including commissions, oaths of allegiance, and prison parole.
Introductory Address to the Corps of Cadets of the Virginia Military Institute, on the Resumption of Academic Duties, September 2nd, 1856 by Francis H. Smith, A. M. Superintendent of V. M. Institute., 1856-09-02
James Henry Waddell papers
Scope and Contents 4 items, including a letter (1855) from Cadet Waddell to his sister, that contains a detailed description and pencil drawing of his room (#14) in Barracks and of his roomates (Barksdale, Penn, Magruder, Shepherd, Wilson); a second drawing of a barracks room & roommates (similar to a sketch found in the Shepherd Collection, MS#0019); pencil map, 8 inches x 10 inches, labeled "Plan of Battle of Bethel Church, June 10, 1861." Letter of recommendation, 1879, written by VMI's Superintendent...
James W. Breedlove papers
Scope and Contents Papers, 8 items, of James W. Breedlove. Includes two letters (October 13, 1859; March 11, 1861) from Cadet Breedlove to his grandfather in which he discusses his studies, expenses; two letters from Superintendent Francis H. Smith to Cadet Breedlove's grandfather, acknowledging receipt of money; three VMI quarterly grade reports; one account sheet detailing VMI expenses.
John F. Early Papers
Scope and Contents The collection consists of the letters and diary of Cadet John F. Early (b. 1830 in Lynchburg, Va.; d. 1894), who attended VMI 1848-1850. The one volume diary-notebook contains short and sporadic entries; daily routines and special events are noted; one of the earliest references to Superintendent Francis H. Smith as "Spex" (April 30, 1850); lists of cadets; room occupants; poetry of Sara Henderson Smith ("The Old Gray Coat) and others. The five letters were written to...
Smith Family letter
Scope and Contents One letter (March 1, 1856) from VMI's Superintendent Francis H. Smith to the mother of Cadet John J. Smith, in which he discusses Cadet Smith's religious awakening.
Thomas F. Barksdale papers
Scope and Contents The collection consists of two items. 1. Letter dated January 25, 1855 from a Prussian official, denying Barksdale and his roommates permission to enter the Prussian Army. 2. Notebook contains class notes, including notes taken in Stonewall Jackson's class section in Natural Philsophy (a course that would today be most similar to Physics) and notes taken in Analytical Geometry class taught by Francis H. Smith; resolution issued by cadets following murder of Cadet Thomas Blackburn, Class of...