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Samuel F. Atwill papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0061
This collection consists of two letters (1862) written by cadet Samuel F. Atwill to his parents, relating anecdotes about life at VMI. Also included is one letter (July 1864) from Superintendent Francis H. Smith notifying the Atwill family of cadet Atwill's death and a fragment of Atwill's cadet account book.

Atwill was thoughtful and religious, and his letters also reflect a wonderful sense of humor. The letters contain amusing anecdotes about wartime cadet life, including a colorful account of cadets stealing chickens from a local farmer in order to supplement the basic mess hall fare (September 28 1862), and the story of students vying for the attention of a professor's "prettie daughters" (September 3, 1862). The letters also highlight the difficulty of wartime communication and the pain of separation from family. Although cadet Atwill was wounded on May 15, 1864, his father did not receive the news until July, and he did not hear of his son's death until early August.


  • 1862-1864


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There are no restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Manuscript collections in the VMI Archives are made available for educational and research use. The VMI Archives should be cited as the source. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright holders. Materials from our collections may not be redistributed, published or reproduced without permission from the VMI Archives. Contact the VMI Archives for additional information.


4 items

Biographical / Historical

Samuel Francis Atwill ("Frank") was born in Atwillton, near Montrose, Westmoreland County, Virginia on January 31, 1846. He was the son of Samuel Bailey Atwill and Jane Ann Broun. Atwill matriculated at VMI on May 20, 1862. Two years later, while a Cadet Corporal in Company A, he took part in the Battle of New Market, Virginia (May 15, 1864) where he was mortally wounded. He died on July 20, 1864, at the home of Dr. F. T. Stribling, in Staunton, Virginia.

Physical Location

Manuscripts Stacks

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William H. Atwill

Online Access

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450