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Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1864 May 9

Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1864 May 9
Letter to Ellen B. Stanard (Taliaferro), 1864 May 9
Written from VMI, Lexington, Virginia. Letter regards return to VMI, family matters, cadet life, and suspension of academic duties to honor the anniversary Stonewall Jackson's death.


  • 1864 May 9


From the File: 10 items (Folder 2)


Virginia Military Institute
May the 9th 1864

My darling Mother
Here I am, no longer a freeman, but a prisoner within the lofty walls of the V.M.I. I reached here safely on Friday evening and it has been a source of regret to me ever since, that I should have been goose enough to leave when I did. And have to leave my trunk behind. So much for not taking the advice of a wise man (Mr. Chapman). Doubtless they told you at the village about my being left by the train. I did not care myself but I was afraid poor brother would swear himself to death about it was the only reason which actuated me to promptness in acquiring some means of conveyance to take me to Gordonsville, and after all I did not get there in time to see him, but unfortunately in time for the Staunton train. Plague on it! I wish it had left before I got there. I should certainly have returned after getting there and finding the Richmond train gone, had I not feared that I would be greeted by a scolding from some member of the family. Yes, I expect all of you would have pitched into me. Even Mr. C. for driving his horse so far and not listening to him on the first place. Just think, if I had remained I could have seen some of the Yankee prisoners, and heard something of the result of the fight. My trunk has not reached me yet. I hope it may not be lost. I would like to see the person that I would leave it behind for again. I wrote to Nat Catlette about it this morning. I hope Mr. Chapman wrote when he sent my trunk up. He seemed very much amused at me when I found it was left. I didn’t blame him, for I imagine I was quite a laughable object about that time. I was so worried I came very near letting an ugly word escape my mouth, I wonder if I didn’t. I went to see some young ladies while I was in Staunton, staid until half past eleven had no idea it was so late. Met with one of the most interesting and agreeable and pretty young ladies I have seen since the War. A Miss Gregory, refugee from Alexandria. She is the one Madame [?] at one time, said Vandergrift was engaged to. I was sorry to see that Col. Brown was killed. Suppose Brig. Gen Stanard & Long win in the fight. The stage has come in this evening but bring no news, this is generally the way. Tell brother William is he hasn’t too much to do I wish he would keep me posted as to the movement of our army. I received his letter, thank him for attending to my trunk for me. Tell Sister Mary she ought to have been at home that morning and not down at the depot. She urged me to go to Goville [Gordonsville] anyhow. Hope Mr. Shaw didn’t think anything of the manner in which I told him goodbye I was in a big hurry about that time. Tomorrow there will be a suspension of academic duties in order to raise the flag sent from Europe, over the grave of out lamented leader Jackson. Well Mother it has been very warm all day, and this evening I had to attend drill for two hours. Wound up with 2 charges 100 yards across the parade on on pretend breastworks. It was very exciting in the first charge I was the first to mount the dreaded works. In the second the 3rd man, but as I was so fat and excited, I had to leave ranks at Dress Parade from a violent headache and fainty feeling. But I have rested and feel all right and ready for another now. The drum is beating for tattoo so I must close. I only wrote to let you know I had arrived safely. Please write soon. I am anxious to hear the result of the battle, who of our friends were killed. Good night, with much love to all,
I am as ever yr darling boy

P.S. Excuse this miserable scrawl.

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450