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Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1864 March 22

Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1864 March 22
Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1864 March 22
Written from VMI, Lexington, Virginia. Letter regards winter weather, cadet life, fortifications of VMI, and a desire to enter the Army.


  • 1864 March 22


From the File: 10 items (Folder 2)


Virginia Military Institute
March the 22nd 1864

My dear Mother
It had now been ten or twelve days since I had a line from home. I now write to demand an explination for such treatment. Upon the receipt of my box I wrote Sister Fan a long letter thanking her & c. Prior to that time I wrote Champe and I certainly expected by this time to have a few lines (at least) from one of them as they well know how anxious I was to hear from Bob & Mollie whom I suppose are with you at present. My letter to Fan was sent by Young McCown, who brought my box. I suppose he is reliable. Is the son of a Saddler in Lexington. Well Mother I guess you will wonder why it is, that I am writing with a lead pencil. The reason is first this, we are upon the eve of freezing up. It has been one week since we had a particle of heat (there not being a stick of wood at the V.M.I.) You know what a change has taken place in the weather. Today it is snowing hard, and a cold wind blowing, and still we are having the same duties to attend to, both academic & military. It is outrageous for the boys can’t study a bit. I wish you could step in and take a peep at us. It got so cold we could not stand it any longer. So we call the roommates and went out and made a raid on Old Spex laths and have built us up some sort of a fire and are all gathered around like a gang of chickens under its mothers wing. If the officers of the day should by chance visit our room and catch us we would get a hard report and a few demerits. Peach came by here on last Saturday morning to see me, has just returned from Ark. Martin and one of his friends were taken prisoners. The day he stopped over to see me, Ex. Gov. Letcher made a very fine speech, also Judge Brockenbrough. So we went up and heard them. Both were very encouraging and thought the war would not last a year longer. In the evening I walked out in the country with him to get his horse. I came back, but he staid[sic] with one of his company friends until yesterday when he called to see me again on his way to Orange. I guess he will get home before this letter and tell you all you would like to hear about me and about his trip, so I will leave it for him to do. Mother you think I didn’t sit down and write Cousin Vic a long letter a few days ago. Felt so interested about her. Hope she will condescend to reply to it. Suppose Bob had gone to his command ere this. What is his rank, and what is that of Gen. Long? Gen. Smith got a letter a few days ago from some gentleman over towards Hot Springs, who had, I believe, been in Gen. Averil’s Camp and says Averil is preparing to make a raid in this direction. He advised Spex to fortify all the mountain passes, which he is going to do. Major Williamson & two of the Cadets left this morning to make a survey. I suppose we will have to go the last of the week to first of next. We will have the fortification to build ourselves. Is this what I was sent here for, to shovel with the spade & dig with the hoe for the protection of Rockbridge Negroes? This is the reason in which our studies are to be interfered with of[f] & on this Spring & Summer and I think you had just as well give your consent at once to my resigning and entering the Army. I want to have some of the glory of the [trenches] in the year 64 attached to my name, and this war can’t last much longer it is certain, and it will be my only chance. Are you not willing to have it said you had a son in this war? I was down at Mrs. Bulls the other night, spent a very pleasant evening. The Capt’s duck was there. He (the Capt.) is one of my best friends, and is very kind to me as well as the other members of the family. [This part written in the margins of pages 2 and 3] As is so cold I shall have to stop writing, with the hope of getting a letter, certain this eve. I shall write again the last of the week. Hope you are all well. How is Mollie looking? Write me a long letter soon giving me all the news. With much love to all the family, yourself amongst them. Goodby, Your darling boy Bev.

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450