Edwin L. (Edwin Luther) Green.

A history of the University of South Carolina online

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the trustees met on 16th of September, a memorial was pre-
sented to them from President McCay, but was read only
in part. On the following day after several ballots and non-
acceptances of election Professor Reynolds was elected to
the chair of Roman Literature; Professor Barnwell was
reelected to his former position ; Dr. LaBorde was given the
chair of Logic, Rhetoric and Philosophy of the Mind; and
Professor Pelham was assigned to the chair of History,
Political Philosophy and Political Economy. No president
was elected, and the faculty was given the authority to choose
a chairman, which was done at the meeting of the faculty
October 5. The honor fell on Dr. LaBorde.

Dr. LaBorde records in his history of the college the great
zeal and vigor now displayed by the faculty, which was fully
alive to the crisis through which the institution had just
passed when some of its best friends trembled for its safety.
The students gave cordial support and acquitted themselves
well, so that the chairman "had the pleasure of making a
favorable representation of the College in every particular"
in his report to the trustees at their annual meeting.

On the 25th of November the trustees elected to the presi-
dency the distinguished author of the "Georgia Scenes,"
Judge Augustus B. Longstreet, who was also one of the noted
educators of the day. While president of Centenary College,
he had published "Master William Mitten," which was an
exposition of his views on education. It contains a descrip-
tion of the famous school at Willington conducted by
Dr. Moses Waddel, who taught Longstreet and many of the
leading men of the country. To the new president the
trustees assigned the teaching of History, Political Phil-

6-H. U.


osophy, Political Economy and Elocution. Professor
LaBorde presided at commencement.

Charles S. Venable was elected at the meeting in
November to the chair of Mathematics which had been
vacant since the resignation of President McCay. Professor
Pelham retired from the faculty and became the proprietor
and editor of the Southern Guardian published in Columbia.

The new president entered on the duties of his office in
January, 1858. He had little opportunity to show what he
could do for the college, because the coming conflict worked
its effect on the institution ; but under him the numbers
again rose to the two hundred mark. President Longstreet's
humor could not be concealed, and alumni of the years in
which he presided over the college have amusing anecdotes
to relate. He was advanced in years, which perhaps
accounts for the failure to make the impression of a vigorous
president or successful teacher: he is said to have called
on the students in his classes in a regular order, thus
enabling them to circumvent him and escape the duties of
the class. Even in his reports to the board of trustees he
let his humor crop out.

The catalogue of 1859 carried the announcement that
from each judicial district of the State one student would
be admitted to the college free of charge for tuition fees:
an act of the legislature two years before had authorized this
admission. There were at this time five scholarships in the
college endowed by citizens of the State paying in the aggre-
gate the sum of $1,540 annually. The State paid the
expenses of one boy from the orphan house in Charleston;
each literary society usually had one beneficiary, whose
expenses were paid by the members; and often a class sup-
ported one of its number. It is worthy of note that the
catalogues of the last years of the ante-bellum college call
attention to the opportunities for the poor boy.

Professor Rivers succeeded in 1858 in prevailing on the
trustees to give a Greek medal for the seniors similar to the
medals offered to the other classes. Through the generosity
of Hon. R. F. W. Allston a prize of $100 was offered in 1858


and 1859 for the best paper on "The Influences of Associa-
tions in Advancing the Sciences" and "History of the Revo-
lution in South Carolina, with Especial Reference to
Unpublished Materials." This prize was open to alumni as
well as to students.

President Longstreet went to England on the appointment
of President Buchanan as representative of the United
States at the world congress on weights and measures.
Among the representatives from many countries was a negro,
who afterward in reconstruction days was domiciled in
South Carolina as Major Delaney. On account of his
presence President Longstreet withdrew from the conference
and returned to America.

Indicative of the high feeling of the time was the objection
expressed to the board of trustees by Professor Rivers
against using a Greek book by McClintock on the ground
that the author was an abolitionist.

A newspaper of January, 1860, contains the notice that,
"At an adjourned meeting of the Students of S. C. College
held last Saturday, it was almost unanimously determined,
after full discussion, that they should manifest their disap-
probation of Northern sentiment by declining to wear any
more goods of Northern manufacture."




The war cast its shadow before it across the life of the
campus. Discussion of the issue of secession brought to the
students the conviction that victory for the South was cer-
tain. One of the seniors wrote to his mother in April, 1860 :
"I am inclined to think South Carolina will not have much
to do, as far as the North is concerned, at least not during
the convulsions I have been describing. I am only afraid
of the establishment of a Southern Confederacy, and have
but little hope of our being wise enough to keep out of that."
In October he wrote to his mother: "We are all so much
excited here about the state of political affairs, that many
of us are making by no means diligent preparation for the
coming examination. Our men those of my class, I mean
are anxious to be at home, either to join companies already
organized, or to aid in organizing new ones. ... I therefore
think that we, who are not absolutely blind like those who
assume to be our statesmen, ought to be getting ready at
once: and I hope somebody will organize a volunteer troop
in Prince William's not one of these trifling politico-mili-
tary associations with no definite object and a rascally liberal
platform but a purely military organization."

In the following month the sister is informed that "Great
numbers of speeches have been delivered here lately, and as
the students always made up a large part of the audience
State right doctrines were always enthusiastically cheered.
The outside pressure, thus brought about, has undoubtedly
influenced refractory members of the legislature, and the
last news from Charleston completed their discomfiture. The
consequence was the passage by a unanimous vote, through
both houses, of a bill calling the convention of the State at
an early date, elections for that body being appointed to
take place on December 6. When the convention meets we


have every reason for believing that the State will imme-
diately quit the Union. I hope father will be a member for
Prince William's. We think of burning or hanging Orr in
effigy, although we are in the midst of our examination."

To his mother in the same month: "I am perfectly
delighted to hear that I am enrolled among the Pocotaligo
Mounted Men. I thought of writing to request it, but was
under the impression that the company raised was to be in
the infantry service, while I am anxious to belong to a troop.
I trust the rifle is the arm selected. Mere broadsword
cavalry is totally inefficient in these days. . . . The excite-
ment has in a great measure quieted down here; but there
are still successive relays of orators, haranguing the popu-
lace uptown. . . . When you write next, tell me how many
men are in our troop, and what arms they propose to use.
What am I to do for a horse? Would that I could resusci-
tate the fabulous steed that Maj. Wigg once bestrode ! Mr.
Wigg's magnificent claims, by the way, are smashed along
with the equally magnificent Union."

Somewhat earlier his father had been told: "But we of
the graduating class are fortunately too busy to bother our
heads about such things."

The senior class determined that it would have both the
class supper and the commencement ball, although many
young ladies urged the men not to hold the ball on account
of the unsuitableness of the time when all the people of the
State should practice strict economy. The supper was eaten ;
but the appearance of smallpox, which broke up the State
convention and drove it to Charleston, also ran commence-
ment visitors from town and prevented the ball from taking

At the meeting of the trustees, December 3, 1860, it was
resolved on motion of Governor Means that the students
should be permitted to organize a military company under
the direction and control of the faculty. The cadet company
had been disbanded since the riot in the early part of 1856.
After some time the faculty allowed the students to estab-
lish a company for the space of 12 months, reserving the


right to abolish it at any time in the interim, should it seem
fit. The conditions attached to the formation of the company
were: "1. The company can not be called out into actual
service whatever except by order of the president, conveyed
through the captain or commanding officer. 2. The arms
are to be kept in the hall under the library, subject to the
order of the commanding officer for drill. 3. The affairs
of the company to be regulated with a view always to the
strictest economy. 4. That no company suppers or other
festivities, either by officers or privates, are to be allowed."
Governor Pickens gave the company the use of 100 percus-
sion muskets from the State arsenal.

The exercises of the day for February 11, 1861, were sus-
pended after 9 o'clock, in order to enable the students to
join in demonstration in honor of the formation of the
Southern Confederacy.

When the attack began on Fort Sumter, the captain of
the cadets, J. Gary, applied to the faculty for permission
to visit the governor and tender his company's service. The
application was referred to the chairman of the faculty,
Dr. LaBorde, who refused to grant the permission, where-
upon the members of the company took dismissions and
were received by the governor as a new company ; their arms
had been left in the library. The company was stationed
on Sullivan's Island, where the only real service was the
guarding of the beach against a night attack. Professor
Robert W. Barnwell joined the company in camp as chaplain.
On his return he published a glowing account of the good
behavior of the young soldiers. According to the report of
the secretary of the faculty there were 141 students in college
at the time of their departure for Charleston.

Nearly all the students returned at the expiration of three
weeks, the governor ordering them back to Columbia. It
was too late to hold the usual May celebration, but other-
wise the work of the college was resumed. During the latter
part of June another company was formed to go to Virginia
for the vacation, of which Professor Venable, then in Vir-
ginia, was made captain. When its service was tendered


John L. Reynolds, Maximilian LaBorde.

John LeConte, Augustus B. Longstreet. Joseph LeConte,

William J. Rivers, Charles S. Venable, Robert W. Barnwell, Jr.


the governor, he conditioned his acceptance upon the consent
of the faculty, at the same time saying that he thought that
the young men would be of more service scattered about in
different organizations than in a compact body. The faculty
refused to have any control over the students during
vacation, which brought about the disbanding of the com-
pany. Some of the students went off at once to the front.
Many enlisted at the close of June.

At the close of the summer vacation the college opened
with "flattering prospects." The members of the senior
class who had been out of college on account of service for
the State or for the Confederate States were allowed to join
their class and stand the examination for diplomas, but
not to compete for the honors and appointments. President
Longstreet said in his report to the board at the annual
meeting in November:

"All went on well until the attack upon Port Royal, the
news of which no sooner reached here than Fripp, Rhett
and Hayward of the sophomore class craved permission to
go home, as they resided in or about Beaufort. I refused
peremptorily, whereupon they went without permission.
Some 10 or 12 others, I understood, followed their example.
The next day the students met en masse (without permis-
sion) and resolved (the governor favoring) to leave for the
scene of war. At a call meeting of the faculty the governor's
communication of the 7th inst. was laid before us. We
resolved unanimously that we had no authority to disband
the college. The students, however, left in a body. Finding
that they were about to be off, I went to the governor's office
at 10:30 a. m. to crave his assistance in persuading the
students to postpone their departure, at least until after
the examination of the seniors, then within two days of its
commencement; but I found the office not yet opened. At
12 m. I waited on his excellency and told him that I had
started to see him in the hope that we might stop the
students, etc., but that on the way I had discovered that I
was too late, as I understood that he had furnished their
outfit, secured their passage and given them a letter of
recommendation to General Drayton. On the llth inst. I


called the faculty together, when they passed the resolution
accompanying my letter to the governor of that date."

By this resolution "it was unanimously agreed that the
faculty had no authority to disband the college."

President Longstreet's report was transmitted to the
trustees by the chairman of the faculty, Dr. LaBorde, the
president having left Columbia after the students went to
the seat of war. He had tried to resign before ; but the board
would not listen to his resignation, so he now departed and
did not return to Columbia. His wife had been very ill at
her daughter's home in Oxford, Miss., to which place he

At the request of the trustees the faculty furnished a list
of 31 members of the senior class whom they thought should,
under existing circumstances, receive diplomas. These were
signed by the trustees present and were left with the faculty
to be delivered to the students on application. Some were not
delivered to the students or their famiiles until years after
the close of the war. The names of the seniors as furnished
by the faculty were :

William R. Atkinson, John M. Bell, J. Kinsler Davis, H. C.
Cunningham, Thos. S. Dupont, E. W. B. Elliott, John N.
Fowles, John H. Gary, T. W. Gary, Wm. T. Gary, Perer
Gullatt, Jos. C. Habersham, Wade Hampton, I. Keith Hey-
ward, F. H. Macleod, R. S. McCutchen, J. Pettigrew Mel-
lard, J. Poinsett Mellard, C. G. Memminger, Jr., Henry W.
Rice, S. M. Richardson, E. Dawkins Rogers, H. M. Stuart,
L. C. Sylvester, W. J. Taylor, J. S. Walker, Ernest Wai-
worth, Alfred H. Watson, William Whittaker, John A.
Wilson, William H. Youmans.

This cadet company reached Charleston, where it was
retained by the governor as his bodyguard and was stationed
on the Washington race course, attached to one of the
Charleston regiments. During the quiet following the fall
of Port Royal the governor mustered the company out and
ordered the students to return to the college on January 1.

The events of the next few months are summarized in
Dr. LaBorde's report of May 7, 1862 :


"As there was a prospect of a largely diminished number
for the session commencing in January, the board, in addi-
tion to the usual period appointed for the examination of
applicants, ordered that application for admission be
received on the first Monday of that month. The order was
carried out, and as from time to time applicants and students
discharged (from) the service continued to present them-
selves, the faculty thought proper to prolong as far as possi-
ble the period of admission. In the end our catalogue reached
72. I am sure that I speak the opinion of all my colleagues
when I say that rarely has the college had within its walls a
body of young men equally distinguished for industry, pro-
ficiency and propriety of deportment. Two of the corps of
instructors, President Longstreet and Professor Barnwell,
were absent, but the hours thus vacated were distributed,
and professors and students were worked to the highest
point of exertion. Thus passed the months of January and
February. On Saturday, the 8th of March, the order of the
governor and council was published, which, though not
addressed to the college, yet brought within its general pro-
vision all the students except 12 and subjected them to mili-
tary duty. On that day they held a meeting, and believing
that the only escape from conscription was to enter the vol-
unteer service, resolved to withdraw at once from the college.
This was accordingly done with the exception of three or
four. In the meantime the bell was rung as usual and the
professors attended their respective class rooms until Mon-
day 5 o'clock p. m., when no students attending, the ringing
of the bell was discontinued by my order. There was now
an intermission of all exercises.

"We were without a student, but the faculty knowing that
they had no authority to close the college and believing that
it was their duty to carry it on if possible, resolved to reopen
it and advertised accordingly in the public papers. It was
entirely certain that with the reorganization there would
be no junior and senior classes ; but it was hoped that there
was sufficient material in the State to form the two lower
classes with respectable numbers. But it has turned out


otherwise and I have to report but nine students in the col-
lege five in the freshman and four in the sophomore classes.
It is not my purpose to arraign the wisdom or policy of the
order which proved so disastrous to the college; but I will
say that the faculty did all that circumstances would allow
to preserve its numbers and continuity. It is perhaps not
unbecoming in me to add that our State authorities only
anticipated by a brief interval our Confederate congress,
which, by act of conscription, takes from us all the students
who were embraced in the order of council."

There were no further additions to the student body.
June 23 had been set for the usual spring examination, when
the faculty was informed that the Confederate authorities
were anxious to secure the college buildings for a hospital
for the sick and wounded of the army on the coast of South
Carolina. Under the circumstances the faculty felt it their
duty to anticipate by a few days the date previously fixed
and accordingly ordered that the examinations begin on the
17th. On June 25 the Confederate authorities took posses-
sion of the buildings on the campus with the exception of
the library, the society halls and the laboratory, apparatus
and mineral rooms. College hall, the present gymnasium,
was impressed in August, 1863. During the summer and
autumn of 1862 more than 2,000 sick and disabled soldiers
found an asylum in the college buildings. Dr. LaBorde
expresses the opinion that few hospitals in the Confederacy
were as well organized and as well conducted. The hospital
is referred to in the correspondence between the officer in
charge, J. Ford Prioleau, and the executive committee as
College Hospital No. 2, or simply as Hospital No. 2.

Every effort was made to open the college in October, but
the governor and the council were of the opinion that the
college should for the present be used as a hospital. The
faculty had to yield as graceful submission as the circum-
stances would allow.

Beverly W. Means, the librarian, was wounded at Seven
Pines in the summer of 1862, a wound which terminated in
his death. His position was filled by the election of the


Rev. C. Bruce Walker. Professor Robert W. Barnwell, who
had been active in caring for the wounded of South Carolina
in Virginia, died in June, 1863, of typhoid fever. Professor
Venable had resigned; he was present for the last time at
faculty meeting on January 6, 1862. There were now left of
the faculty, Professors LaBorde, John and Joseph LeConte,
Reynolds and Rivers.

Professor John LeConte with rank of major was placed
in charge of the Confederate nitre works at Columbia located
at the old fair grounds. Dr. Joseph LeConte was made
chemist for the Nitre and Mining Bureau with rank and pay
of major; he had previously been engaged in making medi-
cines. Professor LaBorde was active in hospital service : he
was founder of the Central Relief Association.

When the trustees met May 6, 1863, they directed the
faculty to open the college as usual in the coming October.
Professors John and Joseph LeConte took up the matter for
the faculty of the surrender by the Confederate authorities
of the college buildings. In this they were unsuccessful.
The faculty then suggested to the board that inasmuch as
the number of students would be very small accommodations
could be found for them in the Commons Hall, College Hall
and the lecture rooms of the professor of chemistry and
natural philosophy. Nothing came of this suggestion. The
last faculty meeting until June 23, 1865, except a called
meeting in October, 1863, to consider the renting of the
steward's hall, was held July 7, 1863. At the stated annual
meeting of the trustees November 26, 1862, the professors
and the president were requested to retain possession of the
houses occupied by them. The marshal was also allowed
to keep his house; a similar privilege was later extended to
the bursar. The mother and sisters of Professor Barnwell
continued in his house without charge. At a subsequent
meeting, December 17, it was resolved that the executive
committee should be authorized to rent the house formerly
occupied by the president. It does not appear that the reso-
lution to ask the legislature to reduce the salaries of the
professors by half was acted on by the legislature. The


salaries were paid until the close of 1864 from the rent of
the buildings and from advances made by the governor from
his contingent fund. Professor Venable's house was rented
in January, 1863, to Col. Hayne; the president's house from
April 1, 1863, to Daniel Heyward. To the executive com-
mittee which consisted of Dr. LaBorde and Hon. W. P.
DeSaussure was now intrusted the entire charge of the
campus and buildings during the recess of the board.

The college was declared suspended as "a matter of neces-
sity" at a meeting of the trustees on December 2, 1863 ; but
it was deemed unadvisable to disband the corps of "faithful
and able professors." Application being made to the Con-
federate government for rent for the buildings which it
occupied, a lengthy correspondence lasting from January,
1864, to October of the same year resulted in the following
award :

"1. That the government of the Confederate States pay to
the trustees of the South Carolina College for the use as
hospitals of the college buildings in Columbia, S. C. (within
the campus, except the following, which are reserved by the
said trustees, viz., first the library building; second, the pro-
fessors' houses, premises and gardens; third, the chemical
laboratory; fourth, the two society halls; fifth, one room in
the south building in which the college apparatus is now
stored ; sixth, a small outbuilding, south of college buildings,
now used by Prof. Reynolds as a servants' house; seventh,
the astronomical observatory, from the 25th June, 1862, to
the 12th April, 1864, at the rate of |31,250 per annum,

"2. For the use as a hospital of the College Hall, outside
the campus, from the 25th August, 1863, to 12th April, 1864,
at the rate of $6,250, $3,938.

"3. For the use of the cottage and lot south of the marshal's
house and opposite the college hall, from the 1st November,
1863, to the 12th April, 1864, at the rate of $1,250 per annum,
$558. Total, $60,660.

"The said commissioners also award the said Confederate
government shall pay to the said trustees at the above rate

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 6 of 38)