Edwin L. (Edwin Luther) Green.

A history of the University of South Carolina online

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I felt then the terrible horrors of war. We laid her away
in a grave by herself. If ever genuine tears of sorrow were
shed it was over the grave of this poor woman. Her children
were not present, and I have no ground for thinking that
they ever knew where their mother was buried. As matters
began to settle down those that died later on were decently
interred. It was my melancholy duty from the time the city
was destroyed up to the time of my leaving for home, in
June, to bury no less than seventy-five persons. I doubt
if there is one person in Columbia today who knows that
such a number of brave Confederate dead lie at the place
described. But a few months ago I visited the place in com-
pany with Dr. Woodrow, pointing out the place.

"I learn with much pleasure, since writing the foregoing,
that the dead buried at the back of the College building have
been removed and interred in the Elmwood Cemetery. The
supplies left by the Federal Commissary were being rapidly
consumed; how to get a fresh supply in the unsettled state
of affairs was a serious problem. I received orders from
Dr. Thomson to proceed to Union, S. C. (his home and my
own), and solicit contributions from the charitably dis-
posed to help support those in hospital until such time as
permanent means of support could be obtained


"Having made my mission known, the good people of the
town of Union and the surrounding country soon had col-
lected a large supply of meat and flour and other things
necessary for the sick. Arrangements were made to ship
the supplies to Shelton, thence by flat boat to Columbia.
I accompanied the boat, and had the satisfaction of turning
over in perfect condition the much-needed and highly prized
relief to the surgeon in charge, A. W. Thomson. I continued
to discharge whatever duty was put upon me until I was
relieved on the 1st of June, 1865, Surgeon Thomson having
left for his home the day previous. The few sick then
remaining in the hospital were cared for by the Federal
authorities, who were then garrisoning the city."


721 Lower Line Street,
New Orleans, Louisiana,

August 24, 1909.
Mr. Edwin L. Green,

South Carolina University,

Columbia, S. C.
Dear Sir :

In accordance with your request, I now give you my
reminiscences of the University during the years 1866, 1867,
and 1868, when I lived there as a graduate.

My father's family, refugeeing from the Low Country on
the approach of Sherman's army, had been stranded at
Orangeburg C. H., and there remained, as both their sum-
mer and winter homes had been destroyed. There I found
them on my return from the army, and studying law in my
father's office, I was admitted to the bar at the close of
the year.

The following year I went up to Columbia to practice
law. Economy and pleasure combined to make me select
the University as my residence. As a graduate I had the


privilege of having rooms there, and the cost was less than
paying rent for the same degree of comfort elsewhere. My
stay in those quarters was for three consecutive years, my
neighbors, for a part at least of the time, being Joseph W.
Barnwell, Nat Barnwell, Walter LeConte Stevens, Parish
Furman, William and Louis LeConte, and John T. McBryde,
all of them students in the University. My relations with
them and with others not so near me were of the pleasantest

On account of the postponement of the civil dockets from
term to term, the question of Confederate money and the
sale of slaves, and later the dread of negro juries making
both bench and bar chary of taking cases where property was
involved, few of the cases put into my hands by my father's
firm ever came to trial in my time. Such being the situa-
tion, the older members of the bar naturally engrossed all
the criminal practice. Thus I had abundance of time to
devote to the study of modern languages and to reading and
writing. My studies, however, were private: I took no
course in the institution. Indeed, when I went there, there
were no new courses of study. The University was estab-
lished perhaps in name ; but the studies were the old college

The president, the venerable Robert Woodward Barnwell,
who had represented the State so ably in the United States
and the Confederate States Congress, occupied by choice
the house formerly lived in by his nephew, the Reverend
Robert Woodward Barnwell, who had been our professor
of moral philosophy before the war. The president's house
was occupied at first by Mr. Pope, afterwards for many
years professor of law in the University, but not then con-
nected in any way with it. The burning of half the town
by Sherman's army had led to the occupation of many parts
of the Campus buildings by families left without a roof
over them. Later this house was assigned to Professor
Sachtleben of the modern language chair. Next to Mr.
Barnwell lived Professor Joseph LeConte. Close to the
chapel were the houses of Professor formerly General


Alexander, and Dr. J. L. Reynolds, with whom lived his
widowed daughter, Mrs. Cheves McCord and her little
daughter. On the opposite side of the Campus were Dr.
Maximilian LaBorde and Professor William J. Rivers. In
the new building beyond the Library lived Dr. John LeConte.
The Reverend Bruce Walker was Librarian. His residence
was not on the Campus.

In 1867 the new schools of law, medicine, and modern
languages were created. Professor Augustus Sachtleben
moved into the president's house and entered upon his duties
in the last of these; Dr. Talley was chosen to fill the chair
of medicine, but so far as I recollect continued to live in the
town; my old friend and classmate, Colonel Alexander
Cheves Haskell, was elected professor of law and took up
his residence in a small house fronting the Campus, which
had, I think, been the bursar's.

The president, I remember, was greatly beloved by the
students. His impressive, yet gentle, manner, his justice,
his deep solicitude for their welfare, would in any set of
circumstances have commanded their respect and won their
affection ; but their own recent experiences and their knowl-
edge of his services to the State made his rule an easy one.
For the student body consisted largely of young men wno
had been in the army during at least the last year of the
war. They were a manly, earnest, and studious set of young
men, giving to the authorities no trouble that I ever heard of.

Naturally there were some among them who had had
very insufficient preparation for university studies. Dr.
Rivers was kind enough to suggest to some that they should
get me to coach them in Greek, and during most of my stay
I had a small class in that language. Later I also coached
some who were deficient in Latin.

James Wood Davidson also had rooms on the Campus as
a graduate, but he taught in a school in the town. We saw
a good deal of each other from time to time.

I was served by old Tom, whom so many students must
remember. It is a pleasure to mention him, for he was one
of the few of his race whom freedom did not spoil.


Among the students were of course a few who could afford
to take the time from their studies and enjoy the society
of the other sex. We, who were fresh from a long course
of deprivation of female society, were naturally eager to
make the most of our new opportunities. There were young
men in the town, some of my old college mates among them,
who felt in the same way. The young ladies had on their
part undergone a similar isolation and were perhaps as glad
to participate in dances as we, and to receive visits as we
to make them. There were many of these young ladies on
the Campus, as residents or as visitors from time to time,
and there were many more in the town. Seldom have any
three years passed in the history of any university as full
of unalloyed delight. We were all too poor to think about
dress or refreshments: we met simply for the pleasure of
being together. The young ladies had enjoyed peculiar
advantages in the way of education from the absence of
temptations to neglect their studies : they were less of mere
society butterflies than they ever had been before at a like
age. The young men had had an experience that made them
more manly than is usual at their age : they sometimes talked
sense to girls.

Then, too, Columbia at that time was not Columbia alone ;
it was in some sense Columbia and Charleston combined.
Many Charlestonians had refugeed there during the long
bombardment of the city by the sea, and not a few of these
families remained there for some time after the close of the
war. They added much to the charm of our various social

It was during these years, too, that we had the last ses-
sions of white legislature before the crime of federal "recon-
struction" was perpetrated; and these legislative meetings
took place on the Campus. The Senate sat in the Library ;
and the House, in the chapel. It was one of our social recre-
ations to make up parties to go into the gallery and listen to
the debates of the lower house. My own attendance there
was infrequent, as I had had the good fortune to obtain


employment as one of the engrossing clerks in Adjutant
General Hayne's office.

Professor Sachtleben had not been long an occupant of
his chair before he made the suggestion that the professors
should deliver a series of public lectures. This was agreed
to ; and though the full course intended was not given, owing
to weather and other causes, quite a number of lectures
were delivered. They were largely attended and greatly
enjoyed. The students made the music on some at least of
these occasions.

It was in this way that most of us were first enlightened
as to the then recent discovery of the solar spectrum and
the doctrine of spectrum analysis, Dr. Joe LeConte giving
a lucid and altogether charming lecture on that subject.

It was on one of these occasions, too, that a striking
incident occurred which, I am sure, all who witnessed it
must remember. Colonel A. C. Haskell, the youngest and
naturally the most inexperienced of the speakers, was the
lecturer of the evening, and at a moment when he was most
embarrassed, having somewhat lost the thread of his dis-
course, the bugle of those whom we still looked upon as our
enemies sounded from their neighboring camp. It roused
him into a sudden burst of eloquence, not wholly uncon-
nected with the theme he was treating, and this completely
restored his confidence, allowing him to continue without
further embarrassment to the close of his lecture.

To give an idea of how strong the feeling was toward the
garrison, it may not be amiss to relate what occurred during
my first year's residence as a graduate. The Methodist
Female College was then used as a hotel (Mckerson's) and
in it was the headquarters of the Northern general in com-
mand at this post. One of our students, a mere stripling,
but he had been a soldier used to firing at the blue uniform,
came to me one night and, describing to me with what ease
he could reach the general and kill him, asked my opinion
as to the propriety of the deed. It was with some difficulty
that I induced him to see how injurious to our people and
to the whole South such a killing would be. It would have


been useless to try to deter him by telling him it would be
an assassination.

During my first year there were two other students
between whom a challenge had passed, and on the request
of their friends and with their consent I acted as a court
of honor. I succeeded in reconciling them after mutual
explanations and apologies had satisfied their very high
sense of honor.

These incidents I tell now, in order to show what diffi-
culties might have trammeled the University in those days,
in spite of the general good will and good conduct of the
student body. I was careful to mention them to no one out-
side of my immediate family.

In addition to the lectures and the attendance on the legis-
lative sessions, the young people got up dances, plays, con-
certs, tableaux, masked balls, and other entertainments, as
the times seemed to grow better.

Dr. Joseph LeConte, for the sake of his daughters, organ-
ized a Shakespere club that met once a week at his home
and talked about the play chosen for the evening's discus-
sion. The plan was simple and the meeting informal. The
play was selected in advance and each member was expected
to read it over, were it ever so familiar, before attendance.
We generally read it in pairs or even in larger groups. But
there was no reading at the meeting, unless to elucidate
some disputed point. Dr. Joe led off, often with a question
put to some member of the circle, but the talk was free, and
many bright and witty things were said, and sometimes
philosophic ideas of weight cropped out. Many of us look
back to that club as of high educational influence for us.
Yet there was a great fund of fun drawn on at more than
one of those meetings, especially if one of the lighter come-
dies chanced to be the theme of the evening.

Through my intimacy with the young ladies of their fami-
lies I saw much more of some of the professors in their
private capacity than would otherwise have been at all likely
in a young man of my age, notably of the two LeContes, of
President Barnwell, of Dr. Reynolds, and of General Alex-


ander; and I was much impressed with what I may call
their "unprofessional" qualities. Dr. Joe LeConte, in par-
ticular, was a man of such large and varied reading, so orig-
inal in thought, and of so lovable a nature, that it was a
delight to get him started on some congenial topic, and then
just listen ! Not that he indulged ever in mere monologues :
one of the most charming things about him was that he had
the faculty and seemed to like to use it of drawing out
what was best in the person he was talking to, and making
him shine, as it were, in spite of himself. It is a gift many
women have, but few men. I wish with all my heart I could
give you some idea of the charm of his conversation.

There was another gentleman with whom business rela-
tions threw me in those days, who later served the Univer-
sity long, though at that time he was attached to the teach-
ing force of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at the
other end of the town. This was the Reverend Dr. James
Woodrow, who employed me for some time as proofreader
and writer of book notices for the review and newspaper
which he then edited. From him I learned much. He, too,
was a man of very various knowledge and an earnest seeker
after truth.

I am reminded, by my recollection of the fact that this
good man's passing from the service of the seminary to that
of the university was largely due to his unwillingness to
sacrifice science on the shrine of theology, that my account
of the interesting events on the Campus is incomplete. One
of the pleasures the young men had in the later years of
Dr. Joe LeConte's stay there was his Sunday lecture. These
lectures were later embodied in his book entitled Religion
and Science.

All through these three years there was much talk of
emigration to Brazil or to Venezuela, and some who had
the means did go prospecting. When 1868 brought us the
mongrel legislature and the beginning of the rule of the
carpetbaggers, the scalawags, and the deluded negroes, there
were gloomy fears on the Campus, too soon to be realized
in the shape of the ruin of our Alma Mater. Many of the

26 H. U.


professors got away in time, the LeContes to California,
Professor Rivers to Maryland, and others to other lands and
some to other careers. But I had left Columbia before that
dark day came.

With warm regards to my old friends on the Campus, I
am, dear Sir, truly yours,

Charles Woodward Hutson.

Sellers, S. C., March 25, 1912.
Mr. E. L. Green,

Columbia, S. C.
My Dear Sir:

Yours of the 18th came in my absence from home. I am
always glad to hear from the University and hope never to
lose interest in the old Institution. It was the University
when I was there in 1866-68, then its name was changed
to the S. C. College and in 1905 or the centennial year it
was my pleasure, while a member of the House, to vote to
restore the old name "The University of S. C.", and so I
hope it will forever remain and continue to exert its bene-
ficent influence as the years roll by.

When I was there just after the war and shortly after
the old College was opened as the University of S. C. by
Act of the Legislature under Provisional Governor B. F.
Perry, there was quite a different crowd of young men than
we now see at a session's opening of a college. There were
very few verdant greenhorns among us. A large majority
of us had been attending the severe school of the soldier,
on the hills of Virginia, the Western army or the coasts of
Carolina from six months to four years, and we had learned
a few things not found in the books by contact with the
stirring and dangerous events through which we had
recently passed. There were a number of the boys who had
only one arm, some were on crutches with only one leg,
while a large number had been seriously or slightly
wounded, and some had languished for months in prison.
The experiences through which many of us had passed gave
us a decided advantage over the ordinary greenhorn we


nowadays find at College. Very few even of the youngest
of old Confederate soldiers had the opportunity of obtaining
an education after the war, for stern necessity drove them
to hard work, but the very few who were thus favored have
made a conspicuous success of life.

Dr. Robert W. Barnwell, who had been a member of the
Confederate Congress and, I believe, a U. S. Senator by
appointment, was the President and taught Political
Economy and Philosophy and History. The text books were
Weber's History, Guizot's History of Modern Civilization,
and Paley's Political Economy. The Doctor belonged to
the old time school of John C. Calhoun, Hayne, Preston and
McDuffie and was a Secessionist of the Secessionists. He
frequently lectured on State Sovereignty and always spelled
Nation with a little n. I was then in full sympathy with
the learned Doctor, my father being an outspoken seces-
sionist ; but time, experience and wider reading have caused
me to modify and revise my boyhood theories, while rail-
roads, steam navigation, the telegraph, the telephone, the
automobile and aeroplane have put New England and the
great West nearer to us than North Carolina was in Cal-
houn's day. Although the boys called the Doctor "Bob"
(behind his back) he was very dignified but approachable at
all times and took great interest in privately explaining any
difficulties in the lesson. Gen. E. P. Alexander, a graduate
of West Point and a distinguished General in the war, was
the Professor of Mathematics and was a thorough scholar
in his line. He never tired of explaining any of the diffi-
culties in Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry, Calculus and
Oh, my Shades, Shadow and Perspective. He was then a
comparatively young man and had an interesting and
numerous family of small children. I have often wondered
what has become of the two oldest little girls. They were
beautiful children. The boys called Gen. Alexander "Aleck."

Who that ever knew him will forget Dr. LaBorde, the Pro-
fessor of Belles Lettres and Rhetoric (I think you call it
English now) and the Historian of the College. The Doctor
was then an old man, but he did dearly love to talk, and


when a boy did not know the lesson a few shrewd questions
were sufficient to set the Doctor going, and the whole hour
was often taken up in just talk. Consequently, while the
Doctor's department was easy there were more "flunks" on
examination day than a few, for the Doctor could fix up
the hardest of hard questions on his examination paper.
However, it is one of the pleasant recollections of my life
that I never made less than 100 during the whole course.
One peculiarity of the Doctor was that he never "Mistered"
a boy, but always called him by his surname. Besides his
History he wrote a great deal for the periodicals of the day
on literary subjects. I sometimes run across them now, and
I greatly enjoy reading them, largely on account of their
author, whom I truly loved. His style while clear was
rather stilted. I shall never forget one of his favorite say-
ings, "Style is the man." The boys called him "Maxcy".
The Professor of Logic and Mental and Moral Philosophy
was Dr. Reynolds, a Baptist minister, who also filled the
Pastorate of the First Baptist Church in Columbia. He had
two bright boys at College, Laurence and Willie, and a
nephew, the late lamented John S. Reynolds, author of
Reconstruction in South Carolina and Supreme Court
Reporter. I have lost sight of Laurence and Willie. I think
they are both dead. The Doctor was apparently a very
austere, dignified man, and on account of his supposed great
dignity the boys privately dubbed him "Old Dig". I met the
Doctor years after his connection with the College, and he
was as genial and lively with me as a schoolmate.

The Professor of Ancient Languages was Wm. J. Rivers,
whom the boys called "Billy". He was a most learned man
and wrote frequently for literary periodicals. I suppose
it has been told in all colleges from the beginning of time
and is told now, no doubt, of your Latin Professor that upon
one occasion a rather thick headed student was called upon
to render that Ode of Horace beginning "Exegi monu-
mentum perennius aere", and he translated thus: "Exegi,
I have eaten; monumentum, a monument; perennius, more
lasting; aere, than brass," deriving the verb exegi from edo.


to eat. Whereupon Professor Kivers stopped him with
the remark: "Hold on, Mr. . Don't you think you had
better digest that monument before you proceed further?"
I have never yet been able to find out exactly who that Mr.
really was, and I suppose it is a myth peculiar to all col-
leges. Prof. Rivers lived to be quite an old man and died
not many years ago in a Northern (Baltimore) city.

A. Sachtleben, German born, was Professor of Modern
Languages. For many years previous he had taught in
the public schools of Charleston and that very fact seemed
to have made him unsuitable for teaching College young
men. He would lose his temper in the classroom, throw his
book on his desk, stamp his foot and act so silly that the
boys had little respect for him. His whole manner would
seem to imply that if we were not so big he would take great
pleasure in thrashing the last one of us.

The two LeContes, John and Joseph, were great men in
the line of science and it was a great loss to the State and
the College when they removed to California, and the only
compensation for the loss was that Means Davis (who
roomed just opposite me) followed the LeContes to Cali-
fornia and in a few years brought Miss Sallie LeConte back
with him as his wife, and now one or both of their boys are

teaching in the same institution Was not Means a

grand fellow? We were friends in College and remained
such till his lamented death.

You ask about our amusements. Why, we had a plenty
and a variety. For instance, before they got trained not
to come on the campus the dogs of Columbia afforded some
amusement. A mischievous fellow like W C could coax
a dog into his room, tie newspapers to his tail, give him a
fright and start him to running down street, whereupon
the whole student body would give the rebel yell and that
dog "would burn the wind", and he would "never come back
any more". We also had a splendid base ball club of 60
members. In those days we all played ball ; every man got
to the bat. It was not then as now a pitcher's and catcher's
game, while the balance looked on and squalled; but every


one of the nine had a share of the fun. Under the rules
the pitcher had to pitch the ball, and in so doing his hand
was not to be above the level of his shoulder, and his right
foot must not leave the plate. The one at the bat could
demand a high ball, a medium ball, or a low ball, and if
the pitcher failed to put it where demanded a base was given
the runner. On one occasion our club had a match game
with a Columbia club. The whole city turned out. We
played nearly all day and beat the Columbians "out of

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 33 of 38)