Edwin L. (Edwin Luther) Green.

A history of the University of South Carolina online

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of rent, in quarterly installments from the 12th day of April,
1864, for the use of the said buildings, respectively, so long
as they shall continue to be occupied by the said government
for hospital or other purposes ; the payments to be made in
the new issue of the Confederate treasury notes.

"The above assessment is made upon the assumption that
the Confederate government is not to be liable for such
repairs as may be incident to the usual and ordinary occupa-
tion of the college buildings as hospitals. But the trustees
of said college, or the State of South Carolina, may here-
after make application to the Confederate government, if
they think proper to do so, for indemnity for the extraordi-
nary damage, destruction or injury to the buildings not
incident to the ordinary occupation of the same as hospitals,
and are not precluded from doing so by anything herein

"Done at Columbia, S. C., this the 28th day of September,
A. D. 1864.

"C. D. Melton,
"Comr. on part of Conf. States.

"E. J. Arthur,
"Comr. on part of Trustees S. C. College."

In December, 1864, the rent of the president's house was
fixed at f 5,000 per annum; it was occupied by Daniel Hey-
ward. Mr. Hayne paid from the same time f 1,500 for Pro-
fessor Venable's house. The board decided at the meeting in
this month that the Confederate authorities did not have
any right to the inclosed space of the campus around which
a fence had been erected to protect the trees and the grass.
Dr. LaBorde had complained that the hospital authorities
had desired to turn cattle into it and use the boards of the
fence for hospital purposes. Soldiers and others in the
hospital were allowed free access to all parts of the grounds.

As the college buildings were used as a hospital, having a
yellow flag flying above them, and occupied by wounded of
both armies, General Sherman spared the college when he
burned Columbia on the night of February 17, 1865.


William Gilmore Simms in The Phoenix published shortly
after the fire says that soon after the Federals entered the
city, Professors LaBorde, Reynolds and Rivers, with Dr.
Thomson of the hospital, took their places at the entrance
to the campus and waited for the approach of the invaders.
Toward noon a body of soldiers appeared under the command
of Capt. Young, who promised protection and left a guard.
Showers of sparks endangered the buildings during the night,
and the houses of Professors LaBorde and Rivers were with
difficulty saved. All the buildings were in danger. Next
morning a band of drunken cavalrymen endeavored to force
their way in, but were compelled by Colonel Stone from
General Howard's headquarters to depart at the point of the

The citizens of Columbia who were rendered homeless by
the fire took refuge in many instances in the dormitories of
the college and occupied them even after the university was
opened in 1866.

On May 25 the United States military authorities took
possession of the college buildings.




On the 25th of May, 1865, the United States troops took
possession of the buildings and grounds of the South Carolina
College. Many of the rooms were occupied by refugees from
the fire that destroyed Columbia on the night of February 17.
These were not disturbed, and even others were allowed to
come in. A report from the executive committee December
6, 1865, made for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of
compensation to be charged for the use of the buildings and
grounds by the military authorities, gives the occupation
thus: "Before the military occupation of Columbia many
of the sufferers from the fire were permitted to occupy rooms
in the college buildings. From that day until very recently,
when possession was required for the purpose of opening the
college, the occupants were permitted to keep possession.
Though the military authorities took possession of the college
buildings generally and permitted an additional number of
persons to take up their abode within the walls, it is not the
purpose of the trustees, as the executive committee conceives,
to charge rent for rooms thus occupied, but to ascertain the
rooms and grounds occupied by the military authorities for
their own purposes, with the view of asking a reasonable
compensation for their use. But this can not be done with
absolute accuracy, as rooms occupied at one time by the
authorities were subsequently vacated by them and turned
over to our houseless people. The United States' troops came
to the college campus on the 25th of May, and the following
statement is perhaps accurate enough for the purpose con-
templated by the board.

Rooms occupied by the military authorities :


Colonel Houghton, one room and two dormitories; his

iRutledge, Legare, Pinckney.


adjutant, one room and two dormitories; provost marshal,
one room and two dormitories; postoffice, laboratory, room
opposite, provost court, room in the same building, second
floor ; recitation room of Prof. John LeConte ; General Ames,
one room and two dormitories; eastern tenement of south
college; chapel.


Second tenement from library, occupied by General Ely
and others; military prison, four rooms of center building;
center building opposite the chapel within the campus.


In all 67 rooms, besides two chapels.

The committee have estimated the rents for the above
rooms for the period of six months at $1,300, and the two
chapels at f 1,300 ; total, f 2,600."

Everything was in a great state of dilapidation ; the build-
ings had been used as hospitals by the Confederate and
Federal authorities, for prisons for whites and blacks, for
shelter for negroes, and for the freemen's bureau. The com-
pensation sought was not obtained.

In answer to a call of the chairman the faculty met at
9 a. m., June 23, 1865. Professor John LeConte read a part
of a communication received by him from General Hartwell,
as follows :

"Orangeburg, June 19, 1865.

"General Hatch desires that the South Carolina College
resume its functions as early as possible, the faculty, of
course, declaring their allegiance to the general government.
I am very respectfully,

"Your obedient servant,

"Bat. Brig.-Gen. Vols.

2DeSaussure, Harper, Elliott.


"Prof. John LeConte,

"South Carolina College."

Thereupon Professor John LeConte presented this resolu-
tion, which was adopted, "That the chairman of the faculty
should communicate with the members of the board of
trustees in reference to the resumption of the exercises of
the South Carolina College, and that in the meantime he
confer with Major-General Hatch in relation to obtaining
control of the college buildings, or so much of them as may
be necessary, by the 1st of October next." A circular letter
to the members of the board of trustees was then adopted,
containing General Hartwell's communication, and announc-
ing the readiness of the faculty to open the college. "They
are of opinion," it read, "that, if railroad communication
with Columbia shall be reestablished by the close of the
year, which is not improbable, and the bursar shall receive
provisions in payment of board for at least a part of next
year, there will be no difficulty in resuming the functions
of the college in January." The sanction of the board of the
putting forth of an advertisement concerning the reopening
of the college was requested.

Professor LaBorde called the faculty together again Sep-
tember 19, in view of the meeting of the board to be held
next day, and he was authorized to make such use of the
results of his consultation with the board as he should deem
advisable. Three days later the faculty was again summoned
to hear the action of the trustees: "That the exercises of
the college be resumed on the first Monday in January next,
and that the chairman of the faculty give notice by publi-
cation that the college will be open for the reception of
students at that time.

"That the executive committee apply to the military
authorities of the United States and request that they deliver
to them the possession of the college buildings by the first of
November next, and that the committee cause the buildings
to be put in order for the reception of students.

"That the faculty are authorized to exercise their discre-
tion as to the requisites of applicants for admission into the

6 H. U.


different classes, and as to the course of studies to be

Before another meeting of the board or the faculty the
General Assembly met in extra session on October 25 in
the chapel outside the walls the Gymnasium the house
in the main auditorium, the senate in the basement. Owing
to the bad acoustic properties of this building the session
here continued only one week, when the house moved to the
Clariosophic Society's Hall, and the senate to the library.
When the house adjourned on November 14 it did so with
the old chapel in Rutledge College fixed as its next place
of meeting, 11 days later. The senate was again to use the

Gov. B. F. Perry's message, dated October 24, contained
these words about the college:

"The education of our young men and boys, during the
past five years, has been sadly neglected. Your college,
which has been the pride of your State for more than half a
century, is closed, and should be at once opened. The
buildings are all standing and uninjured. The professors
are ready to resume their labors, and the young men are
anxious to commence their college course of studies. I hope
you will make the necessary appropriations for sustaining
the institution. But it may be well, under existing circum-
stances, to consider the propriety of converting the college
into a university and making it, in part, a self-sustaining
institution. Give the professors moderate salaries, and let
them depend for further compensation on the tuition fund.
In a university a student may pursue such a course of studies
as will most contribute to the particular profession or busi-
ness which he expects to follow in after life. In a college
he is required to spend four years in a regular course of
studies, many of which will be of no service to him in after
life, and for which he has no taste or talent. In consequence
of the impoverished condition of our country, there are very
few young men now able to defray their expenses for four
years in college. Having been so long in the army and their
education neglected, they are not prepared to enter college.


Moreover, being advanced in manhood, they can not afford
to go through a college course of studies before commencing
the active pursuits of life. The university system of educa-
tion will meet all these objections. It would bring to your
institution of learning three times as many students as you
could collect in a college, and in this way the salaries of the
professors might be paid out of the tuition fund."

At the annual meeting of the trustees held in the library
the evening of November 29, Governor Perry presented a
resolution, "That in the opinion of the board of trustees of
this institution, it is desirable that this institution be con-
verted into a university, and the same is recommended to
the legislature." The resolution was adopted, and the gov-
ernor was requested to communicate it to the legislature.

Dr. LaBorde, chairman of the faculty, reported to the
board at this meeting that notice had been given through
the papers that the college would open for students on
January 1, and that the military authorities had assured
the executive committee that the entire north range of build-
ings should be turned over at the required time, they reserv-
ing for the present the possession of the south range, with
promise that this, too, would be turned over whenever the
necessities of the college required. The treasurer reported
that at the time of Lee's surrender the Confederate govern-
ment owed the college f 99,410. In all, |16,625 was due the
professors who had received nothing since September 30,
1864. In his sketch of Dr. LaBorde Professor J. L. Reynolds
observed (1874) that the amount due the professors had
never been paid.

There was no money in the treasury to fit up the build-
ings for students, and workmen could not be had except
for cash. The legislature failed to give the |2,000 asked
for repairs. Through the kindness of Governor Orr $500
was secured from his contingent fund, which enabled the
faculty to have some of the rooms in order by the day of
opening. The governor was requested to make application
to the proper authorities for compensation for use of the
buildings by the United States troops. At a meeting of the


trustees on December 6, Mr. Simonton read a "bill to estab-
lish the University of South Carolina."

On the same day Governor Orr called attention to the
institution in his message. "I communicate," he told the
house and senate, "herewith a resolution of the board of
trustees of the South Carolina College, recommending that
the college be converted into a university. I heartily concur
in the proposed change. By adding to the present professor-
ships schools for the study of law, medicine and modern
languages, a thorough scientific, classical and professional
education may be obtained by the young men of the State.
The increased number of students which it will attract will
make the university nearly self-supporting; and with an
appropriation of f 750 to each of nine professors this vener-
able and much revered institution may be continued. It
would be a reproach if such an inconsiderable sum was
refused, and the alma mater of McDuffie, Harper, Preston,
O'Neall and Pettigrew permitted to pass away and perish."

According to the bill introduced by Mr. Simonton, the
name of the South Carolina College was changed to that of
the University of South Carolina. The board of trustees
of the new university were to establish eight schools : Ancient
languages and literature; modern languages and literature;
history, political philosophy and economy; rhetoric, crit-
icism, elocution and English language and literature ; mental
and moral philosophy, sacred literature and evidences of
Christianity; mathematics, civil and military engineering
and construction; natural and mechanical philosophy and
astronomy; chemistry, pharmacy, mineralogy and geology.
One of the professors was to be a minister of the gospel,
who was to be chaplain. The age of matriculates was fixed
at 15, and three schools had to be taken, for each of which
the student paid |25. For special reasons he might be
allowed to take less than the three courses, but he was then
required to pay more per course. The board was authorized
to establish schools of law and medicine. Each professor
was to receive a salary of $1,000 and the fees of the students
who took his department. One of the professors was to


be chosen as chairman of the faculty, who should perform
the duties hitherto belonging to the office of president. One
student from each election district was entered free of

The bill was introduced in the house by Mr. Simonton
from the committee on education, as its report on the part
of the message of Governor Orr referring to the university.
This was December 8. It was made special order for next
day at 1 p. m., but was deferred from day to day till the 16th
when it was passed through the third reading and sent to
the senate. From the senate it came back two days later
and received the signature of the governor on the 19th, the
day on which Governor Drayton had approved the bill estab-
lishing the South Carolina College 60 years before. The late
Judge A. C. Haskell, who was then in the house as a member
from Abbeville and ardently supported the bill, explained
the continued deferring of the action on the report of the
committee of education as due to the friends of the institu-
tion who were anxious to have the bill become a law with
as little opposition as possible. When it finally came up
there was no debate. On the 20th the governor approved
an additional act, which empowered the trustees to create
the schools of law and medicine on the same footing as the
other schools. On the evening of the 18th, 20 trustees were
elected. They were: B. F. Perry, J. I. Middleton, W. F.
DeSaussure, R. W. Barnwell, C. G. Memminger, T. C. Perrin,
Thomas Smith, J. L. Manning, James Farrow, Wade Hamp-
ton, F. W. Pickens, E. J. Arthur, R. W. Gibbes, J. H. Carlisle,
Henry Mclver, James Simons, Richard Yeadon, S. McAliley,
J. S. Preston, J. N. Frierson. The following were the
ex-officio members of the board: Governor J. L. Orr. Lieu-
tenant-Governor W. D. Porter, Hon. J. B. Kershaw, Hon.
C. H. Simonton, Hon. John Townsend, Hon. T. P. Mikell,
Hon. D. L. Wardlaw, Hon. J. A. Inglis, Hon. J. P. Carroll,
Hon. W. D. Johnson, Hon. H. D. Lesesne, Hon. J. W. Glover,
Hon. R. Munro, Hon. T. N. Dawkins, Hon. F. J. Moses,
Hon. A. P. Aldrich.


The board met at 9 o'clock on the morning of the 19th in
the library of the university and proceeded to organize the
new institution by filling the chairs. In addition to the
members of the faculty already on the campus, two pro-
fessors were appointed, Hon. R. W. Barnwell, to the school
of History, Political Philosophy and Economy, and Col.
A. C. Haskell, to the school of Mathematics, Civil and Mili-
tary Engineering and Construction. Professor Rivers was
placed in charge of the school of Ancient Languages and
Literature; Professor LaBorde was to teach Rhetoric,
Criticism, Elocution and English Language and Literature;
Professor J. L. Reynolds was given the school of Mental
and Moral Philosophy, Sacred Literature and Evidences of
Christianity; Professor John LeConte was to instruct in
Natural and Mechanical Philosophy and Astronomy ; Joseph
LeConte was made Professor of Chemistry, Pharmacy,
Mineralogy and Geology. Hon. R. W. Barnwell was chosen
to fill the position of chairman of the faculty. Rev. C. Bruce
Walker was elected librarian, treasurer, secretary of the
faculty and secretary of the board. The office of marshal
was abolished, and the position united to that of the bursar,
who was to be elected by the faculty. Before the meeting
had come to an end, it was learned that Col. Haskell had
declined to accept the professorship offered him. General
E. P. Alexander was elected and accepted the chair.

W. H. Orchard, an Englishman by birth, was elected
marshal and bursar at the meeting of the faculty held the
day following the organization of the university. His report
to the board in May, 1866, shows the ruinous state of the
buildings and the campus, which made it impossible to open
the institution on January 1. Perhaps there was also some
sentiment connected with the opening on January 10, the
day of the opening of the South Carolina College in 1805.
The faculty held a meeting on the 8th to determine that in
the settlement of fees national legal tender notes should be
taken at par, and another meeting on the day of the opening.
At this session they decided that resident graduates must
pay the same fees as the undergraduates; that no private


school could be conducted on the campus, and that all
pecuniary transactions of students must be through the
treasurer. Professors Rivers and Reynolds applied for
permission to revive the Euphradian and Clariosophic

Students were admitted without examination, although
for the future some form of examination or certificate of
proficiency was to be required. Forty-eight students had
enrolled themselves by May 1. The university was organ-
ized on the model of the University of Virginia. There were
only two classes, junior and senior, and when a student
finished a course he was given a certificate of graduation
in that course. A student could take any subject he pleased.

When the University of South Carolina opened on the
10th of January, 1866, the authorities were in possession of
the north range of buildings. The southern range of dormi-
tories was occupied by Federal troops and refugees from
the great fire of February 17, 1865. The United States
authorities were using the chapel outside the walls and the
ground now the site of the athletic park and of the infirmary.
Here was the army post, which was kept up till 1877. Bar-
racks were erected, and a parade ground was laid off, the
United States flag waving over it from a tall pole. Six com-
panies were usually stationed at this post. The parading of
the troops and the military band proved attractive to many
from the city. Most of the refugee families had moved by
the end of 1866. The presence of the servants of both sexes
had been a serious annoyance; smallpox had developed.
By June, 1869, the university was in possession of all the
buildings within the walls of the campus.

There were no entrance examinations or other require-
ments for admission, except that the applicant must be at
least 15 years of age. According to the prospectus issued
in 1866, a preparatory course had been prescribed, and "after
this year applicants for these departments (under 18 years
of age) will be required to bring a satisfactory certificate
of proficiency, or to stand an examination. For applicants
over 18 years of age, no certificate or examination will be


required during the next year." Students were permitted
to choose the departments, commonly known as "tickets,"
which they wished to pursue, provided they entered at least
three schools, although in certain cases they might enter less
than three. The South Carolina College had become the
University of South Carolina; but the subjects taught and
the methods of instruction differed very little from the
college curriculum. The prospectus informs us that the
method of instruction was to be by means of lectures and
the study of text-books, accompanied in either case by rigid
daily examinations. Twice a session written examinations
were held on the work gone over, the intermediate examina-
tion in February, the final examination in June. Each
extended over a period of about nine days and lasted six
hours. A certificate of proficiency was given the student
who had made satisfactory attainments in certain depart-
ments to be designated by the faculty. When he had finished
the leading subjects in a school he was entitled to a
"diploma" of graduation in that school. He received the
degree of bachelor of arts when he had completed two of the
literary schools, two of the scientific schools, and had
attained distinction at the intermediate and final exami-
nations of the junior classes of any two of the remaining
schools. The school of law conferred the degree of bachelor
of laws. In the medical school the graduate obtained the
degree of doctor of medicine. A degree of master of arts
was offered to any one who had diplomas of graduation from
all the academic schools. Honorary degrees of M. A., D. D.,
LL. D. were conferred. The candidate for the M. A. had
to undergo an examination in the presence of all the faculty.
Every candidate for graduation was required to stand a
preliminary examination in the English language.

Chapel was voluntary ; prayers were held in the afternoon,
which were also voluntary.

The observatory back of DeSaussure College was in a state
of dilapidation at the close of the war. While Professor
John LeConte was waiting for money to repair it, some
persons unknown stole the telescope and apparently sold


it for old brass. No class in astronomy was formed for
several years, if at all. An unsuccessful effort was made in
the fall of 1866 to engraft schools of agriculture and
mechanics on the University. Professor Joseph LeConte
says in his autobiography that he gave six or eight lectures
on agriculture in connection with the regular chemical

The faculty met Saturday at 12 :00 o'clock until January,
1873, when the time was changed to Tuesday. Catalogues
were issued at irregular intervals. The years 1867-1869 were
grouped in one triennial catalogue. After Rev. C. Bruce
Walker became librarian in 1862, he undertook to compile a
catalogue of the books of the library. He reported to the
board at its June meeting in 1867 that he had completed the
task. Later he revised his work; but it was never printed.

Online LibraryEdwin L. (Edwin Luther) GreenA history of the University of South Carolina → online text (page 7 of 38)