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Letter to Perry L. Derby, 1847 January 19

Letter to Perry L. Derby, 1847 January 19
Letter to Perry L. Derby, 1847 January 19
Written from VMI, Lexington, Virginia. Letter regards results of mid-year examinations, a cadet Christmas celebration, and a severe snowstorm.


  • 1847 January 19


From the File: 9 items (Folder 1)


Va Military Institute
Jany 19th 1847

Dear Father,
As you are perhaps anxious to learn the result of our last examination I take the present opportunity to write to you. The examination commenced on Monday the 4th last and continued until Saturday evening. I still stand second in my class and am also as I expect you have before this seen in my circular a file higher in mathematics, than I was at the examination in July. I will also state that the maximum in Mathematics in the second class is 300 from which you will perceive that considerably more importance is attached to that part of the mathematical course which is studied by the second class than to that which is studied by the third class. I could have easily stood higher in Latin than I did by studying it as much as some members of my class did, but I preferred devoting my time mostly to the principal study. In fact I believe it better to have a tolerable standing in each department, than to stand very high in some, and very low in others; and it is upon this principle that I have acted ever since I have been at this place. The young man who stands first in Latin, having already a good knowledge of Mathematics devoted most of his time to that study with which he was least acquainted; on the other hand I depended upon the little knowledge of Latin which I had already acquired and studied Mathematics. I saw in some of the papers last week, that Mr. Bryan was first Lieutenant of the second company, which had been raised in Petersburg. Please inform me in your next, whether there were any Other members of that company with whom you were acquainted. You perhaps wish to know what kind of a Christmas we had. At the Institute Christmas is kept only one day, and that day is never forgotten inasmuch as it is the only one on which we are blessed with turkeys and minced pies. With the exception of the eatings my enjoyments were no greater than usual. Since I wrote to you last, there has been another severe snowstorm in Rockbridge. The weather last week was extremely cold, but it has moderated considerably. Write me word whether you have hired any servants and if you have who they are. Also whether my sisters have made much progress in the study of music. I would indeed be very much pleased to learn that they have. Give my love to them and to mother. I remain as ever - your devoted son,
[signed] Chas A. Derby

P.S. My old school mate Samuel Garland stands second in the third class. Please inform me whether Samuel Hardy succeeded in obtaining the situation at Winfield Academy. We were not examined in French and consequently no standing was determined upon it. [signed] CAD

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450