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Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1863 January 17

Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1863 January 17
Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1863 January 17
Written from VMI, Lexington, Virginia. Letter regards ice skating on the frozen river, attending church, academics, and demerits.


  • 1863 January 17


From the File: 8 items (Folder 1)


Virginia Military Institute
January the 17th 1863

My Dear Mother
I have anxiously been looking for a letter from you for some time in reply to my last which I mailed about the 5th or 6th. I hope it has not been lost for it was a long one and I wanted you to see how I spent my Christmas. Mother it has been so long since I wrote that I guess you have been uneasy about me again thinking I might be sick. Quite to the contrary, for the last weeks I have been having a good time skating. The river was frozen over beautifully for miles. As we were not doing any studying, the Examination being past over. We were all allowed to go. I wish you could have seen the river. It looked like a flock of black birds was on it. I never saw boys seem to enjoy themselves more. Could play [bandy], fox & goose and many other games to afford us amusement. Sandie P. & Sisters & some other ladies were down to see us. Sandy seemed to be a very awkward skater and would get some pretty falls sometimes which added to my fun. I think he is stuck up quite much. I haven’t spoken to him yet. I attended Church this morning. Saw his wife there, do not think she is pretty. The [G] has only preached for us once since he came here, but gave us an excellent sermon then. I suppose in this Peach has reached Orange & [camp]. He called to see me one evening and only remained about half an hour, promised he would come again the day after and said I must have a letter for him to take home for me, but he never made his appearance. I stayed from church hoping to see him & show him the VMI sights. He was staying out in the country about three miles. Wanted me to go with him but could not do so. I never saw a boy so changed in my life. Had a little beard and then he was dressed in real soldier style. I don’t think I should have known him had I seen him in a crowd. He said himself Geo. M had been having a good time out in the country for 18 days. Really glad they have gotten furloughs for they have both been good soldiers and deserve them. Hope they may be able to reach home. Mr. M seemed somewhat taken with poor Lewis Williams old flame Miss Darden. Wilson Newman called to see me a few days ago. And going from his looks, I think the army must agree with him. Am glad our Orange boys are all so pleasantly stationed. Mother tell Champ to write what has become of [Mr. G]. I feel so sorry for him. Doubtless in this you have received my report and have been worried about the way I have wasted my time & gotten demerits etc. in the last six months. Myself as well as many others have done but little studying. We have lost about one and a half months going out of these plagued marches and still Old Spex hasn’t made a single allowance in the examination and I would not be surprised if there are not 150 cadets shipped soon for being unjustly unjustly found deficient, some over 18, and others for demerits. 15 were shipped yesterday, one of my roommates goes [__] tomorrow, for demerits. Spex a grand old scoundrel coins money by this as most of them have made their deposits which is $600. I think you must not be surprised to see me at any time as my number of demerits is past one hundred, though most of them I got for over staying furlough, and may yet be removed. I shall write to brother in a day or two for money to pay what I owe to Old Spex. Mother to give you an idea what sort of person Gen. S. is after our return from our last march, the government sent up 300 pairs of shoes for the Cadets as presents or to pay for our own that we wore out and now Gen. S. will not let a Cadet have a pair if he has gotten shoes from the Institute within the last 6 month, and if a Cadet is shipped before he can get them, they fall in Spex’s hands, who furnishes all his darkeys with a good pair. I shall try hard to get mine, tho’ don’t expect to wear them, they are course army shoes worth at the present prices 30 or 40 dollars. I have a pair I bought before I went on the march that will do me, so I shall keep mine (if I get them) for Henry, unless he is well supplied. Mother you recollect the box I was so concerned about, it made it to us, after being on the way only 19 days. Although the things were rather old & stale, yet everything went good even the turkey. I tell you we were not a long time emptying the box. We were all very agreeably surprised yesterday by the receipt of another box for one of our roommates. It contained a splendid ham, two elegant rich cakes and any quantity of little molasses cakes, sausages, molasses, apples, etc. I never enjoyed anything more. I certainly did justice to it myself. I hope Mr. L has laid in a good supply of provisions. How does Eliza do now. Hope she may not give you all troubles. I can imagine I see the difference in her cooking & aunt Phoebe’s, and hear you complain. Well Mother you see I am ‘bout run out for something to write about so I guess I had better stop altogether. You must excuse led pencil, I wrote with, is because I wanted to write fast (which the bad writing & mistakes will bear evidence of) in order to finish it without being interrupted by any roll call. It seems to me I now commence a letter but what I am called of by the tap of the drum to attend some call. It is really worrying. Well Mother, I shall prepare myself to receive a good scholding [sic] from you soon. You must not be too hard upon me, [phrase unclear] made to stay here for my own good, but at the same time greatly against my will. And now with love to all and a due portion for your darling self,
I am as ever yr affect
Son J. B. S.

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450