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Letter from Francis H. Smith to Samuel B. Atwill, 1864 July 28-29

Letter from Francis H. Smith to Samuel B. Atwill, 1864 July 28-29
Letter from Francis H. Smith to Samuel B. Atwill, 1864 July 28-29
Written from VMI, Lextingon, Virginia. Superintendent Francis H. Smith wrote this letter to notify the Atwill family of Samuel F. Atwill's death.


  • 1864 July 28-29



From the Collection: 4 items


Va. Mil. Institute July 28, 1864

S. B. Atwill Esq. Montrose, Westmoreland Co., Virginia. My dear Sir, It is indeed with much pain I am called upon to announce to you the sudden death of your son. The intelligence has just reached me from my sister in Staunton. I copy that part of her letter

"Mr. Atwill died on Wednesday night and was buried on Thursday evening (21st). He was doing very well--went down to Harrisonburg on a visit, where he was thoughtless enough to take a cold bath, and returned here the next day, feeling quite unwell. He was taken with lockjaw--and notwithstanding it was feared and everything [done] to prevent it, nothing availed--and after three days of agony and suffering he died. In all his moments of quiet and reason, he expressed a perfect knowledge of his situation, and seemed to feel at peace. Ella Stribling nursed him day and night. Her father was away."

It is not surprising that he was at peace. The Sunday before the Battle of New Market, he united himself with the church here and had given evidence that he was indeed a child of God.

The Board of Visitors having directed that the remains of all the gallant youth who fell at the sanguinary Battle of New Market should be removed to the Institute, by the consent of the parents, it will afford us a mournful satisfaction to bury the remains of your son here, that they may be cared for, with the others to be deposited in our public cemetery.

With my heartfelt sympathy with you in your affliction. I remain very respectfully,
Francis H. Smith, Superintendent

July 29. Cadet Brockenbrough the roommate of your lamented son has just handed me the enclosed letter from Miss Ella Stribling which I am sure will read by you with deep interest as it gies more fully the particulars.

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450