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 2 Collections and/or Records:
Scope and Contents One letter (September 18, 1847) from VMI Superintendent Francis H. Smith to Gen. E. C. Carrington, recommending an army commission for John P. Bowyer. Bowyer had volunteered for service in the Mexican War, in which he subsequently served.
Scope and Contents Letter appointing Richard Pollard a cadet in the Virginia Military Institute. Signed by Board of Visitors member Charles P. Dorman. Note to Pollard's father written by Superintendent Francis H. Smith at bottom.