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Letter to Fanny Stanard, 1864 March 13

Letter to Fanny Stanard, 1864 March 13
Letter to Fanny Stanard, 1864 March 13
Written from VMI, Lexington, Virginia. Letter regards receipt of a package, family matters, "greening" of a cadet, and cadet life.


  • 1864 March 13


From the File: 10 items (Folder 2)


Virginia Military Institute
March the 13th 1864

My darling Sister
Quite a long time has elapsed since a letter has passed directly between you and myself and I am still in doubt as to which of us is the debtor. But nevertheless, I shall wave all ceremony and endeavor to drop you a few and I fear very uninteresting lines for I honor you home folks so often with my letters that there must be a good deal of sameness in them. This remembering that this is one of the dullest & meanest places in Christendom that is in my estimation and also of a great many of my fellow Cadets. But I shall not waist[sic] my time by heaping abuse upon Lexington and the V.M.I. You are well aware of my hatred for them both. Before going farther, allow me dear Sister to give vent to my feelings by expressing my grateful thanks for the nice box of eatables which you sent me. I can assure you I have enjoyed them no little and done justice to the box as well as my roommates, who said that it was the best that had been received in No. 38 (my room) and I think we have gotten four since the first of January. We played fearful havoc with the turkey pies and cakes. Nothing now remains I am sorry to say, but my ham which I hope to enjoy for some days yet as it was such a fine one. We only eat this as a snack. Mr. S surely must believe they came out of that small box. I invited or had besides my roommates (five in number) three of four of my friends (S.B. among the no.) to help me eat and there was plenty for all, not withstanding the tremendous appetites of the Cadets are noted for. Fan, where did you get a turkey from? I did not think there was such a thing left in the county of Orange. Why did you not keep it, also the ham. I had much rather you should have done so, for I know how scarce such things are with you since you have had the army among you so long. You ought not to have deprived yourself of it. I can manage to make out with the beef they give me here, although it makes me sick about once a month. The candy sent was perfectly elegant. I never enjoyed anything more in my life. I would not care if you would send me a small package of that whenever an opportunity presents itself. If not two[sic] much trouble. I have been feasting right much lately on robbin pies. One of my roommates & myself went out hunting last Saturday week, killed 19 birds. I gave Mrs. Bull six and get the Judge to cook the rest for me. I believe near half of the boys in the Corps were out yesterday, but all had bad luck, frightened every bird for ten miles around. I was wise for once, and did not go. I went up in Lexington yesterday to see young McCown, who brought my box up for me. I shall send this by him as he says he will go by Berry Hill Tuesday. He also takes a little bundle for cousin Sarah Bull, which you will please send her. It is from Mrs. Powers to her husband. Tell Mother when she writes again to send me some stamps. I cannot get them here. Fan, how do you suppose I spent yesterday evening? Why I saw a poor mink court marshalled by the boys (only greening him) for deserting his post, where they had stationed him the night before. After speaking on both sides the jury retired and soon reentered the hall. The sentence was read by the judge. The prisoner found guilty and had to be shot in one hour. The whole court was so much affected at this sentence that the judge had to tell them they must not give way in that moment to their grief. The prisoner was then told that he would only have one hour to live and asked if he had anything to say of if he did not want to write a letter home. He arose and endeavored to make an appeal to the commander the plea of ignorance and a promise to do better in future, but the poor fellow was so frightened that his speech made but little impression upon the court. He was then told to retire into the ante chamber where he could write his last letter, which he did and such a one you never saw. He told his sister when he kissed her and told her goodbye he never thought he would disgrace the family in that way. After finishing his letter he returned in the court room and was so much distressed & frightened that his lawyer again made an earnest appeal in his behalf and begged that they would grant him a reprieve for ten days, so that he might be better prepared to meet his fate. This was granted by the jury, but subject to the approval of Old Spex. The Sergt. Of the guard was then ordered to post 2 sharp shooters at each corner of barracks so as to prevent the prisoner from talking to anyone or attempting to make his escape. He took the proceedings of the court over to the Genl. who told him we were only greening him. When he returned and told us what Old Spex said, every boy roared out laughing. Our fun was then ended, the poor boy relived from his misery. He actually thought he was going to be shot sure ‘nough. These are the kind of Cadets which are being admitted in the V.M.I. now. Do you blame us for having a little fun some times? Old Spex says we can substitute greening in the place of bucking for the new cadets. I was sorry to hear Tom Fry was wounded, hope he may recover. Will Mrs. F. go out to see him? Well I suppose Bob & Mollie are with you by this. What would I not give to be with you all. The receipt or arrival of my box and the thought of their living with you has made me awful homesick. I never was more so. I saw Dr. McGuire’s mother at church this morning. She is a very sweet looking old lady. Say to Mother I believe I will wait for the new currency. I send the letter Mother mentioned. Now dear Sister I have written you a much longer letter than I expected to write when I first commenced and as it is getting late & I want to take this up town I shall have to bring it to a close. I have been writing in a great hurry which you can plainly see, so you must excuse this miserable scrawl. The paper sent was very acceptable. You see I have made use of it soon. Give my love to all the family and now for your darling self & husband accept a due portion. Kisses without number to Mary, Bev, and a kind remembrance to all enquiring friends.
I remain your affect. brother

P.S. Write soon & tell the other members of the family to do the same.

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450