THE DIARIES OF RICHARD KINSEY BONEY
of Duckport Plantation, Madison Parish, Louisiana
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE CADET-1874 4th Classman (RAT)
©2000 Richard P. Sevier (email@example.com). This material is intended for informational use only and may not be reproduced by ANY means whatsoever without written permission from the author
V.M.I. Cadet Pledge
Monday, October 19th, A. D. 1874
On this my seventeenth birthday I have decided to keep a journal or memorandum. I think it will be a great benefit to me. I have not been leading a very normal life lately, and I believe this will assist me in leading a normal life. It will make me more careful. I have a great many temptations to encounter at this school. Nearly all of my associates are immoral. To keep my associates from leading me into bad habits I will make resolutions which I shall abide by under all circumstances. I shall record these resolutions on the first nine pages of this book.
I have been a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute one month. I find it quite rough here. Having rough associates and having to attend to military duties is something new to me. I do not think I was cut out for a soldier. I do not admire getting up to reveille – nor is guard duty very pleasant. I think the military exercise is a great benefit to my health.
I was induced to share a very wicked deed yesterday – which was Sunday. It is something that I will be ashamed of all my life. I do not like to record it but I think it would prevent me from participating in such conduct again: myself and three more cadets walked out in the country and seeing some nice apples in a man’s yard we were after obtaining some of them. We hesitated before we commenced chunking; for the man’s house was not more than fifty yards from the trees. We finally commenced and gathered as many as we could toat (sic) home well. We have not eaten them all yet. Mr. Ross must have been taking an overnight sleep or he would have heard us. I shall never be guilty of such a thing again. I am going to try and see if I can’t quit all my bad habits. I am not studying as much as I should. I have not done well in my recitations today. My health has improved very much since I have been here.
One of my roommates is complaining (I expect those apples he has been eating so freely is the chief cause of it). We have to go to tattoo (roll call) at half past nine o’clock, and be in bed at ten. The drum is sounding for tattoo and I must go.
Tuesday, October 20th, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. I did very well in every recitation except French. We have been very much excited today in regard to our going to the state fair at Richmond. I think our hopes of going are very slim. Gen. Smith does not seem inclined to let the cadets go. I do not suppose I will go, even if the corpse (sic) is allowed to go. I do not care to go, as I am a new cadet, or “rat”, as the old cadets call me; and do not go through the manual very well. Nearly all of the cadets are eager to go.
I have not heard from home in some time, and I am very anxious to get a letter from there. I received a letter from my old friend and school-mate R. M. Barber this morning. We were great friends at “Mississippi College” last session. He does not expect to go to school any more. A great many of us went to hear Mrs. Gooding’s dramatic reading and recitation tonight. She surely interested us with some beautiful pieces, which were all well delivered. She is the grand daughter of governor Tyler of Alabama. Gen. Smith was acquainted with her mother when he was at West Point – and he fell slightly in love with her.
Did not get to study much tonight as we did not come from the reading until after time for tattoo. Tattoo was delayed a short time on that account. We go to tattoo at 9:30 o’clock, and lights go out at 10 o’clock.
I am very well satisfied with this day’s work. I feel very sad tonight – I am thinking of home and mother.
Wednesday, October 21st, 1874
We have to get up and go to reveille (roll call) at 5:30 A.M. We do not have time to put on all our clothes. I just jerk on my pants and pull on my shoes, and put on my cap and coat on the way. I do not admire getting up to reveille (or “rev”) when it is cold. I have a pretty rough time here. I do not think I was cut out for a military man – I think this will be my last session here.
The cadets were made happy this evening on hearing that satisfactory arrangements had been made for them to go to Richmond. I was almost sorry that I could not rejoice with them. I can not go as I am still in squad-drill.
No letter from home today. I received a very interesting letter from my old school and room-mate, E. N. Thomas. He is teaching school near Brandon, Miss.
Capt. Letcher gave us a lecture in math today. I did much better in my recitations than yesterday.
Seeing that I neglect my duty by playing cards with my room-mates I made resolution II on first page.
It is right cool tonight. I have studied my lessons for tomorrow.
I do hope to get a letter from home in the morning.
Thursday October 22nd, 1874
The first thing I thought of after coming from “rev” was home; but I was disappointed again. I can not imagine what is the matter at home. It seems they have forgotten all about me.
I did not make a “flat” in my recitations today. We did not have French today – drill interfered.
We had to go to drill at 11 o’clock and drill one hour, and the same length of time again this evening. We are preparing to go to Richmond.
I am on guard today. Drill and guard duty makes me very tired. I had to drill with the battalion this evening, and I find it much more irksome than squad drill.
The boys are preparing to depart for Richmond on Monday. I would not go for anything. Those that go will have to walk all the way from here to Goshen (23 miles) with their guns on their shoulders. That is a little too much for me. I know the boys will have a good time after they get to Richmond.
The weather has been quite warm today. I do hate to have to go on guard tonight. We have to walk 45 minutes after “taps” (lights out).
I believe I know my lessons for tomorrow. I go to bed hoping to get a letter from home tomorrow. I am really “home sick”.
Friday, October 23rd, 1874
No letter from home yet. Richmond is the topic of the day. The cadets anticipate a nice time. I do not think they like the preparations much. We were drilled four hours today – two in the morning and two in the evening. The exercise is very irksome to me. The cadets expect to depart for Richmond next Monday morning. Several of us expect to remain here. I would go if I was not so awkward in going through the manual. I do not think I would do much honor to the institution. One of my room-mates (Lucas) will remain with me. I have spent the most of my time cleaning my gun tonight and have not studied much. The professors can not expect us to study much when so tired.
The drum sounds for tattoo. “A kingdom for a letter from home.”
Saturday, October 24th, 1874
We have had no recitations today. Col. Ship drilled us longer than usual today. I am completely exhausted. I think the cadets are pretty well drilled, and will, no doubt, do themselves honor in Richmond. Those that remain here will not have to study any. I was disappointed again, this morning in not getting a letter from home. Weather has been rather warm today. I expect we will have rain tomorrow. I know I will sleep to perfection tonight. I am glad we will not have to drill any more soon.
Sunday, October 25th, 1874
No letter from home yet. We did not have any Bible today. I heard a splendid sermon at the Baptist church this morning. The cadets have been packing and getting ready for their departure nearly all the evening. This evening has not seemed like Sunday to me. Nearly all the cadets, that are going to Richmond, have been at work. There will be about (21) twenty one of us left here. We will have our share of guard duty. We had some rain during last night; but it has been quite warm all day. I ought to write several letters; but I am destitute of both postage stamps and money.
We do not have any mail on Monday – so I will not look for a letter before Tuesday. I hope Pa will send me some money. My brother Jimmie is now at Mississippi College. I look for a letter from him.
Monday, October 26th, 1874
The corpse left for Richmond this morning at 8 o’clock. They had a right heavy load to toat (22) twenty two miles. They had to carry their guns and overcoats. There are about twenty five of us here now. We do not have to study any. We are over-taxed with guard duty. I had to stand on post two hours tonight (from 6 to 8), and I did not find it very pleasant.
I reckon I will get a letter, from home, by tomorrow’s mail. It is quite lonesome since the corpse left. The place looks almost like a grave yard. A new cadet, by the name of Husson, arrived here this morning from New York City. Weather very pleasant today.
Tuesday, October 27th, 1874
I had to go on guard this morning at half past five o’clock, and serve until seven and a half. It was right cold; but the corporal of the guard (Woodcock) was kind enough to let me in “the officer of the day’s room” and warm several times.
I received a very interesting letter from my dear father this morning. He has been busy tending to the gathering and ginning of his cotton.
Father’s letter brought me some sad news; my friend and former school-mate, Johnie Cochran, is no more. He departed this life a few days ago at Sewanee, Tenn. where he was going to school. He died after a very short illness. Farewell my dear Johnie – many tears have been shed at thy parting. I believe you have gone to a far better world than this one. Johnie gave his heart to Jesus last spring while going to School in Clinton, Miss. “God is good.” You have been taken from this world of sin and disappointment to a far better world than this one. Would to God, Johnie, that I were ready to follow you. There are very few in this world that we can call our true friends. Since I have been here I have grown cold, and have almost concluded that there is no hope for me. I can not pray before all these bad boys – yet I am continually wishing for God’s aid. I feel that there are little pleasures in this world.
Bought this book today. I use two books. I write with a pencil in my other book. Wrote home. Weather very pleasant.
Wednesday, October 28th, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. One of the cadets (Kinney), from Staunton, Va. went crazy last night, and has been foolish all day. His father arrived here this evening. He does not recognize his father. It is a very sad affair. His father wishes to take him home tomorrow, but he says he will not go unless some of the soldiers go with him. He seems to think that common citizens are not good enough to associate with him. We are all very sorry for him.
Wrote a letter to my brother today. I have made resolution III, since I think smoking is injurious, and knowing my father would not like to see me smoke. I am on guard again tomorrow. I am very sleepy and tired tonight – I wish the drum would sound for tattoo.
Thursday, October 29th, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. I received a letter from Cousin Anna and one from my friend E. A. Andrews. Poor Kinney, after being coaxed for some time, left with his father. He surely has some curious ideas. He thinks he is a great general, and is about to engage in a war with Africa. We had to tell him that he would meet us in Africa, tomorrow, before he would leave for his house. He says he has had a bloody battle with elephants, and that he ate fifty of the elephants at one meal. He caught me this morning and tied me to the radiator, and then spanked me good with a hair brush. After doing all this he painted me with ink. He said he was preparing me to go on the war path. I was on guard two hours today, and will have to go on again in the night. I went to sleep tonight, and did not hear the tattoo. I do not think I was caught.
Friday, October 30th, 1874
Nothing of interest has transpired during today. The papers announce that the cadets are doing well in Richmond. They have not only appeared to advantage at drill; but they have so conducted themselves, as gentlemen, as to gain the good opinions of the citizens and visitors. We are expecting them to return tomorrow.
I have decided to see the amount of money received and expended; and have, therefore, made resolution IV. I spent 25¢ on emory cloth and $1.50 for a supper for four men – Lucas, Woodcock, Holloway and myself. We have such poor food at the mess hall that I wanted something good to eat; so I ordered a supper. We can not have any food in our rooms when the corps is here. The following was the bill of fare: chicken, squirrel, beef steak, biscuit, butter and coffee. You can not imagine how much we did enjoy this.
I have worked right faithfully on my gun today; but it is still capable of being improved. One of my room-mates is complaining of being sick – he does not like to go on guard. Holloway would not eat much supper; but he put a biscuit and a piece of chicken away in the wardrobe.
It has turned pretty cold tonight.
Saturday, October 31st, 1874
The weather has been cold indeed today, and I will have to record something that is not very good of myself. As it was very cold some of the boys proposed that we take a drink to warm us up. I took very little but it had a not very desirable effect on me. It takes very little to make me tipsy; as I have not been in the habit of indulging. Such as this shall not happen again. I am spending entirely too much money for treats. The boys know I have some pocket money and they sponge on my liberality. I am not going to be so willing to treat hereafter. I have spent $2.25, today, for treats.
The corps of cadets returned from Richmond this evening. They were dusty and tired after the long walk from Goshen. They were not too tired to tell us of the cordiality of the citizens of Richmond and of their enjoyments. All seemed to be pleased with the trip. I am almost sorry I did not go. The citizens of Richmond told the cadets they would receive a still heartier welcome if they returned to the fair next year. Received a letter from my brother, Jimmie, this morning.
Sunday, November 1st, 1874
The weather has been very cold today. We did not go to church today; as the cadets are very tired from their long walk. Seeing that my associates will persuade me to be guilty – the same dirty thing that I was yesterday, I have made Resolution V. I do not want to be guilty of such a thing again. The cadets have been talking about nothing else but their Richmond trip. I expect we will have suspension tomorrow; as we have not studied any. I expect to see snow on the ground tomorrow. Good Night.
Monday, November 2nd, 1874
It was extremely cold this morning. We did not have suspension as we expected. Our lessons for tomorrow were assigned us. My fingers got very cold this morning at Dress Parade. I suppose we will have no more drill this day. It has been so cold I have not studied anything but my French. I have been at work on my gun; as the officers told me to carry it in Dress Parade tomorrow evening. I want to take it down to the gunsmiths and have him clean it tomorrow. Spent 75¢ today.
The drum is beating tattoo. Adieu.
Tuesday, November 3rd, 1874
I do not think it has been as cool today as it was yesterday; though it has been pretty cool. We returned to duty today. We were not so well prepared on our lessons today; but I hope to do better tomorrow. I have not been able to study much today as my room-mates have been playing cards and it troubled me very much. I sent my gun to the smith and did not carry it to Dress Parade this evening. I spent 50¢ for a gun cover today.
Tattoo is sounding. Farewell
Wednesday, November 4th, 1874
I marched on guard this morning; but do not think I will be cold on post tonight; as it has turned some warmer. Was not called on in Geography or French today. I spent recess in reading the life of George Washington. Skirmish drill will commence tomorrow evening. Cadet Carrington was shipped today for being under the influence of intoxicating liquor day before yesterday. My associates have been drinking today, and persuaded, in vain, to get me to partake with them; but I can not break resolution V.
I must hurry to tattoo.
Thursday, November 5th, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. I did very well in my recitations today. I got my gun from the smiths this evening. He improved it a great deal. It cost $2.00. I loaned my little friend Valle $1.00 today. We went to skirmish drill this evening. Was not so tedious as squad drill. I carried my gun to Dress Parade this evening. It was as awkward to me as it was the first time I carried it to Dress Parade. I ran late at Dress Parade and I reckon I will be reported for it.
Friday, November 6th, 1874
The weather has been tolerable warm today. I received a newspaper (N.Y. Weekly Sun) this morning; the most of which was filled with news of Democratic victories all over the United States. The recent elections have nearly all gone Democratic. The Democrats are rejoicing every where. We hope that the democrats will carry the next presidential election. I have not done so well in French and Math this week. I got the maximum in Geography. I have not been able to apply myself to any studies this week. I was not reported for being late at Parade yesterday.
Saturday, November 7th, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. Nothing worthy of notice has transpired during the day. I spent 35¢ for emory cloth and Tripoli; $3.00 for a pair of fur gloves, 75¢ for an inkstand, 10¢ for a bottle of ink and paid Gen. Smith, on acct. $45.00. Loaned Lucas $1.00 and Browne 15¢. The Cadet Society adjourned tonight, that the members could go to hear some speeches in the Dialectic Society. I went but could not find a seat, and I, therefore, returned to my room. Wrote letter to my brother.
Sunday, November 8th, 1874
The weather has been much cooler today than it was yesterday. I received a letter from my brother this morning. We went in to Bible this morning; but Prof. Preston had some business to attend to at church and he dismissed us. Our company went to the Presbyterian Church today. I wrote a letter to my friend E. N. Thomas today. I am orderly of our room this week, and I have to keep everything in apple pie order.
My friend Valle paid me $1.55 and he still owes me 55¢. I am not feeling well tonight. I am a little homesick.
I am very anxious to receive a letter from home.
Monday, November 9th, 1874
It has been warmer today than it was yesterday. I was late at reveille this morning. I reckon I will get a demerit for it. Kinney, that cadet that went crazy while the corps was in Richmond, returned to the Institute today. S. Willis of Mississippi was expelled today. Spent 25¢ today. I hope for a letter from home tomorrow. We will have suspension day after tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 10th, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. Got a letter from home. Col. Brooke gave us a lecture on Geography this morning. I got the maximum on Math. Did not have French as Col. McCutchon is sick. I am reading the life of George Washington by Irving during the recess. I have been cleaning my lock-plate this evening. Spent 25¢. Loaned my friend Valle $1.00. Have not studied much tonight – we will have suspension tomorrow.
The drum sounds for tattoo.
Wednesday, November 11th, 1874
Weather right pleasant during the early part of the day; but it turned right cool late this evening. Marched on guard this morning, and then took breakfast up town with my friend Valle. We have suspension today. We celebrate the 35th anniversary of the V. M. I. We shot off six of the cannons today at 12 o’clock. I was on guard and got to shoot off one of the guns. It made me feel military. We had an extraordinary dinner today. The cadets had the privilege of eating as long as they wished, and of leaving the mess hall when they pleased. I was on first relief and had to stand guard while the corps was at dinner. The following was our bill of fare at the guard table: Turkey, chicken, baked pig, mashed potatoes, slaugh (sic), chicken salad, milk, butter, desert, &c., &c. I never did eat more at one time in my life. Nearly all of us ate until we could not eat any more. Wrote a letter to father this evening. Loaned Valle 50¢. Spent 40¢. Received 75¢ for a hat. We had to walk our posts tonight 1 hr. and 25 min., and I am very tired. I will have to walk 48 minutes after taps.
Thursday, November 12th, 1874
The weather has been pretty cold today. No letter from home. Did well on Math and Geography. Did not have French as Capt. McCutchon is still sick. Spent the evening in cleaning my gun. Spent 55¢. Received 50¢ for gloves. I think we will stop skirmish drill soon as it is getting pretty cold.
Friday, November 13th, 1874
The weather has been exceedingly cold all day. I received a letter from my friend W. J. Cordill. He is going to school at Mississippi College. He was one of my particular friends there last session. Capt. Letcher gave us a lecture in Math this morning. No French. Capt. McCutchon is pretty sick, and I suppose will not be able to return to drill for some time. We will have no more drill until further orders. Wrote to W. J. Cordill. I have a very bad cold.
Saturday, November 14th, 1874
Very cold, indeed, today. No letter. Was not called on in Geography. Did very well in Math. Went to town this evening and bought me a pair of gloves which cost $5.00. I sold the other pair I bought for $4.50 but have not received the money yet. Spent 25¢ for a treat. I am not well tonight – I have a pain in my side.
Sunday, November 15th, 1874
Warmer today than it was yesterday. Heard a very good sermon at the Methodist Church. He preached about the resurrection of Christ.
Wrote a letter to my friend E. A. Andrews.
Monday, November 16th, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. Was not called on in Geography. Capt. Letcher is sick and we did not have Math. No French. Capt. McCutchon is said to be very sick. Worked on my gun nearly all the evening. I have been sick tonight myself. I think I had some fever. Put my name on sick list and went to bed. Received 50¢ for gloves.
Tuesday, November 17th, 1874
It was colder today than it was yesterday. The Dr. gave me some cathartic pills this morning, and I have missed no duty today. No Math nor French. Received a letter from home. Spent 35¢. Received 50¢ for gloves.
Wednesday, November 18th, 1874
It has been sprinkling rain nearly all day. No Math nor French. Marched on guard this morning. I have had a very severe pain in my side tonight. Had my hair cut today.
Thursday, November 19th, 1874
Raining nearly all day. Did not have Dress Parade on account of the inclement weather. Received a letter from my friend E. N. Thomas. Spent 15 cents.
Friday, November 20th, 1874
Rained very hard during last night, and continued until late this morning, when it turned very cold and the rain stopped. It is extremely cold tonight. Military duty is not very pleasant now. Letcher and McCutchon still sick. I do not have anything to study now but Geography. I fear we will not complete our course if our Profs. remain sick much longer.
Saturday, November 21st, 1874
It has been extremely cold all day. We recited Math to Capt. Forster (owl) this evening. No French. Lucas and myself went uptown this evening. I had my pictures of Mississippi College and Central Female Institute, both situated in Clinton, Miss., put in frames, which cost me $1.50 – Spent 25¢ for stamps and 40¢ for paper. I received a very interesting letter from my friend and former schoolmate W. B. Sallis. Answered his letter. I had a very severe pain in my side tonight. Cash, my orderly sargeant, gave a rev this morning.
Sunday, November 22nd, 1874
Right cold today. It commenced raining about 8 o’clock this morning and has been raining ever since. Did not go to church today on account of rain.
Monday, November 23rd, 1874
This has been an extraordinary day in regard to the weather. For a short time it would rain and then the wind would blow furiously for a short time, after which the sun would take its turn and shine brilliantly and then the storm would again rage in its fury. No Dress Parade on account of the inclemency of the weather. Capt. Letcher came out this morning after a week’s confinement. He looks pale and thin. Capt. McCutchon still sick. Very cold tonight.
Tuesday, November 24th, 1874
The weather has been extremely cold today. Received a letter from my brother and one from W. B. Sallis. Capt. Washington is sick. It seems that all our Professors are going to get sick. Gen. Smith has been absent from Lexington for several days. I recite Geography to Lieut. Foster, a graduate of last year, now. We gave him a great deal of trouble this morning by sticking pins in each other. We take advantage of his inexperience.
Wednesday, November 25th, 1874
Very cold today. I am on guard and I expect I will nearly freeze tonight. Did not acquaint myself so well in Math this morning. No French.
Thursday, November 26th, 1874
The weather is still cold. My feet got so cold on my post last night that I could hardly stand up. I was questioned in Math this morning. No French.
Friday, November 27th, 1874
Warmer today than it was yesterday. No French. Capt. McCutchon is still sick but not in danger. Did very well at my recitations.
Saturday, November 28th, 1874
Weather very pleasant. Made max on Math. Not so good on Geography. Capt. Washington is up. Wrote a letter home.
Sunday, November 29th, 1874
Raining this morning. Wrote to my friend W. B. Sallis. Went to the Presbyterian Church. Right cold since the rain.
Monday, November 30th, 1874
Very cold today. I have been on quarter guard today, and have, therefore not recited any. There is no pleasure in standing guard two hours at a time these cold days. I have got to walk one hour before breakfast in the morning and I know it will be cold.
Tuesday, December 1st, 1874
Very cold tonight. It was so cold this morning that I came very near deserting my post. Capt. Letcher gave us a lecture on Math this morning. I have been very busy drawing a map of Africa tonight. It takes a great deal of trouble and time to draw a map properly and I have done very little else.
Wednesday, December 2nd, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. Nothing of interest today. Capt. McCutchon is still sick.
Thursday, December 3rd, 1874
Weather warm for this season of the year. We had a slow rain nearly all the evening. No Dress Parade on account of the inclement weather. Received letters this morning from father, Cordill and Sallis.
Friday, December 4th, 1874
It has been rather warm today. I pulled off my coat, in my room, for a short time today at noon. Usual recitations. We recited French to Semmes today. Wrote a letter to my brother.
Saturday, December 5th, 1874
Colder today than it was yesterday. Was not called on in Math this morning. Made max on Geography. We never have French on Saturday. We had quite a lively debate in the Cadet Society tonight. The question was; “Which was the greatest military general, Napoleon or “Stonewall” Jackson. It was discussed on both sides, and finally decided in favor of Jackson.
Sunday, December 6th, 1874
The weather has been right cool today. Went to the Presbyterian church this morning. I got a seat where I could not hear the sermon, and I did not hear the text. It commenced raining soon after dinner, and continued drizzling the remainder of the day.
Wrote a letter to father.
Monday, December 7th, 1874
The weather has been very disagreeable today. It has not rained any; but the atmosphere has been very damp. Usual exercises. We recited French to Col. McDonald and will continue to do so until Capt. McCutchon returns to duty. We had something very exciting to occur in our midst tonight. One of my room-mates, G. S. Orr of Va., got mad with me about nothing, and offered to fight me, and I, of course, accepted the challenge. We got our seconds and departed for the pugilist grounds. Lucas was my second, and Sutton was Orr’s. Neither one of us was hurt much in the mortal combat. Orr bit my finger a little. The seconds said that clinching was against the rules of fist fighting. This was the first fight I have had at school and I was not in the wrong this time. Both seconds say I got the best of it.
Tuesday, December 8th, 1874
It has been pretty cold today. It snowed a little this morning.
Usual duties. I have been very busy this evening drawing a map of North America. Capt. McCutchon still sick. Spent 25¢ for a treat.
Wednesday, December 9th, 1874
It has been very cold today. Usual exercises. We are having fights in barracks almost every day and some of the parties have been pretty badly knocked up. Davis, C. W. and Carrington had a fight today in which Carrington was severely wounded. He got a finger broke and one of his eyes nearly put out. Davis was not hurt at all.
Thursday, December 10th, 1874
Weather cold today. Usual exercises. Received a letter from my brother today. He informed me that a very disastrous fire occurred in Clinton (Miss.) not long since.
Carrington, the cadet who got wounded in the fight yesterday is excused from all duty on account of his wounds.
Friday, December 11th, 1874
The weather has been quite cold today. Usual exercises. Capt. McCutchon is able to walk about. I suppose he will resume his business next week.
Received a letter from E. A. Andrews.
Saturday, December 12th, 1874
Weather pretty cold. Usual Saturday exercises. Spent the evening in copying in my journal. Received a letter from E. A. Andrews.
Sunday, December 14th, 1874
It has been right cold today. Usual Sunday exercises. Our company broke today, and I was sent to the Presbyterian Church again this Sunday. We have four companies, and there are three churches here now. Each company takes a turn about in going to the churches. One company is divided up among the other three so that all can go to church.
Monday, December 14th, 1874
The weather has been very pleasant today. But it is pretty cold tonight. Usual exercises. Capt. McCutchon is up, and it is reported that he will leave Lexington until he recruits (recroups?) enough to return to duty.
Tuesday, December 15th, 1874
Very cold today. Usual exercises. We commenced reviewing Algebra today. I am not very well tonight. I have a very bad cold.
Wednesday, December 16th, 1874
Weather still very cold. Usual exercises. Capt. McCutchon will not take charge of his sections until after the intermediate examinations.
Thursday, December 17th, 1874
The weather has been quite cold today. Some of the boys have been trying to skate; but the ice is not yet capable of bearing their weight. They say they had fine skating this time last year.
Friday, December 18th, 1874
Weather is still right cold. I am on guard tonight and will, no doubt, find it quite unpleasant. Usual duties.
Saturday, December 19th, 1874
Weather tolerable cold. Usual Saturday exercises. Received a letter from father today, in which he sent me $20 for my Christmas pocket money.
Sunday, December 20th, 1874
It rained nearly all day and snowed part of the evening. We did not go to church on account of the inclement weather. Wrote a letter to father today, and a postal to W. B. Sallis.
Monday, December 21st, 1874
It commenced turning cold after yesterday’s rain, and it is extremely cold today. Cadets D. C. Lee and M. E. Hollingsworth were shipped today. Paid Mr. Crocken, the man who keeps confectionaries to sell the cadets, 90¢ in payment of account. Spent 10¢ for a sheet of emory cloth.
Tuesday, December 22nd, 1874
It has been tolerable cold today. It sprinkled rain this evening, which prevented us from going to Dress Parade. Cadet Behrendt was shipped today. Cadet Lieutenant Barron was deprived of his office today; for neglect of duty in allowing spirituous liquor to be left in the C. O.’s office. Paid 50¢ for a drawing board. Paid G. L. Orr 50¢ as balance on a pair of shoes. Received 50¢ from Ellett, T., in payment for gloves.
Wednesday, December 23rd, 1874
Weather not so cold today as yesterday. Usual recitations. Did not have Dress Parade as a rain came up in time to wet the parade ground.
Cadet Rucker was shipped today.
Thursday, December 24th, 1874
It turned very cold suddenly this morning and is immensely cold tonight. Usual exercises. Tomorrow is Christmas, and we will have suspension. Most of the boys expect a nice time tomorrow; I do not expect to enjoy this Christmas. Orr left our room today. We were all glad to get rid of him. Paid 75¢ to have a lock and some divisions put in my drawer. Paid 25¢ to servant for cleaning our society hall. Wrote a letter to Cousin Anna and one to E. A. Andrews.
Friday, December 25th, 1874
The weather has been quite cold today. They all say the weather is warm, though, for this time of the year. As this is Christmas we did not have to go to reveille this morning. Suspension today. We had Dress Parade this evening (even) if it was Christmas. Had guard today, and I hate to be on Christmas. Took breakfast at the hotel with my room mates Lucas and Sutton. I have enjoyed the Christmas so very much. Loaned Lucas $1.50 – spent 65¢ treats & 10¢ for drawing tacks. Visited the grave of Gen. R. E. Lee.
Saturday, December 26th, 1874
It has rained nearly all day. No Dress Parade on account of the rain. Paid $1.50 for subscription for the Waverly Magazine. Paid servant 25¢. Loaned Richardson $1.15, and Sutton 50¢.
Sunday, December 27th, 1874
The weather has been very disagreeable today. Did not have Bible this morning. Went to the Baptist church.
Monday, December 28th, 1874
The weather has been quite warm today. Usual recitations and military exercises. Spent 25¢. Received $5.00 from H. R. Lucas in payment for money loaned him.
Tuesday, December 29th, 1874
Weather very pleasant today. Usual exercises. Recited French to Capt. Cochran. Spent 30¢. Cadets Hollingsworth, Lee and Rucker were reinstated today.
Wednesday, December 30th, 1874
It has turned pretty cold. Usual exercises. Recited French to Col. Semmes.
Thursday, December 31st, 1874
It has been exceedingly cold today. I was on guard tonight, and I suffered very much. Usual exercises. I received a copy of the Vicksburg Herald, which gave an account of the “war” between the blacks & whites, which took place in that city lately. It is estimated that over (100) hundred Negroes were killed, and only three whites. This is the last day of the year 1874.
 Although this was the start of his seventeenth year, it was actually only his sixteenth birthday. See 10/19/1875.
 Unfortunately, the first nine pages were lost, probably as the result of a Tallulah, LA fire in 1984.
 Mississippi College, founded in 1828, is the oldest college in Mississippi. Now a Baptist college, it was originally Presbyterian.
 John D. Letcher: Taught Math & Latin. Died November 19, 1938.
 Hugh Ross (Tom) Lucas, Jr.: V.M.I. Class of 1877, but left before graduation, son of Maj. H. R. Lucas also of Madison Parish, Louisiana. H. R. Lucas, Sr. owned Good Hope, Waterford and Algodon Plantations. In 1880 Richard Kinsey Boney and Hugh Ross Lucas, Jr. would graduate together from the University of Louisiana (now Tulane) Law School. Died in 1883 at San Antonio, TX.
Scott Shipp (1839-1917) Commanded the Corps of Cadets at the Battle of New Market; taught Latin, Mathematics & Tactics; Commandant of Cadets from 1862-89: Superintendent from 1890-1907. Died December 4, 1917.
 James Greene Boney (1860-1899) was 2 years younger than Richard Kinsey Boney. He later also attended VMI as well as Sewanee and Randolph-Macon.
 William Moseley Husson: New York, NY. Graduated 1878, 20th of 25. Chief Draftsman U.S. Weather Bureau. Volunteered Spanish-American War. Died May 10, 1908
George William Woodcock:. Baltimore, MD. Class of 1877
 James William Kinney: Staunton, VA. Class of 1879. Teacher. Died in Staunton, VA October 31, 1881.
 Anna Cocke – from his mother’s side of the family.
 Thomas Thornton Holloway: Shelbyville, IL. Graduated 1878, 1st of 25. LLB University of Virginia where he was roommate of Richard K. Boney in 1879. Lawyer, writer, President of Dallas Bar Association. Died March 14, 1940 in Dallas, TX.
 Joseph Warren Frankenbush: New Orleans, LA. Later to become roommate and Best Man at Richard K. Boney’s wedding. Graduated 1878, 17th of 25. Merchant, Brewer, Merchandise Broker, 246 Audubon St. New Orleans, LA. Died January 1, 1948.
 Henry Clay Clarke: Nashville, TN. Class of 1878.
 From time and for various reasons classes will be “suspended”.
 Percy Laertes Carrington:. Richmond, VA. Class of 1878. Died March 4, 1885.
 Jules Felix Valle: St. Louis, MO. Class of 1879. Physician, St. Louis, MO. Died November 24, 1917.
 Joseph Swift Browne: Baltimore, MD. Graduated 1878, 23rd of 25. Became a farmer in Catonsville, MD. Died March 21, 1921.
 One of two V.M.I. organizations dedicated to debate and oration. The other is the Dialectic Society.
 John Thomas Lewis Preston. One of the founders of V.M.I. and member of the faculty 1839-1875. Died March 31, 1888.
 St. John Willis: Vicksburg, MS. Class of 1878. Merchant. Died October 23, 1892 in Sharkey County, MS.
 John Mercer Brooke (1826-1906): Well-known Oceanographer; Confederate Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography; Inventor of the “Brooke” gun – the most powerful rifle produced by the Confederates. Taught Physics, Astronomy, Geography & Meteorology. Maury-Brooke Hall at V.M.I named for him Died December 14, 1906 in Lexington, VA..
 Percival Butler McCutchon: Taught Latin & Tactics. Died May 12, 1927.
 Charles Worham Forster: Acting Asst. Prof. Geography. Died March 5, 1906.
 William Boggan Cash: Cash’s Depot, SC. Graduated 1876, 34th of 35. Chief of Staff, Gov. Wade Hampton. Killed on his plantation in Chesterfield County, SC May 15, 1884.
 Samuel Walter Washington: Asst. Prof. Of Math & Tactics. Died July 16, 1923.
 Thomas Middleton Semmes (1840-1904). V.M.I. Modern Languages Professor 1860-1904. Died November 26, 1904.
 Marshall McDonald: Taught Chemistry, Mineralogy, Geology & Metallurgy. Died September 1, 1895.
 George Lee Orr: Leesburg, VA. Class of 1877.
 William Henry Sutton: Lexington, MS. Graduated 1877, 32nd of 32. Planter. Died ?.
 Creed Willis Davis: Lynchburg, VA. Class of 1879. Office Mgr., City Fire Dept. Lynchburg, VA. Died November 8, 1933.
 Richard K. Boney later was a devout Episcopalian.
 Dabney Carr Lee: Clarksburg, WV. Class of 1876. Lawyer, Clarksburg, WV. Died February 6, 1918.
 Mansfield Emelius Hollingsworth: Abbeville, SC. Planter; Magistrate. Died October 28, 1930.
 Thomas Gustave Behrendt: New Orleans, LA. Class of 1878. Died January 5, 1916.
 Jacob Thomas Baron: Jayner Depot, NC. Graduated 1875, 30th of 45. Lawyer. Died September 10, 1910 in Kansas City.
 Andrew Lewis Ellett, Jr.: Richmond, VA. Class of 1878. Wholesale Dry Goods, Coal, Asst. Gen. Passenger Agt., C & O Railway. Died December 14, 1919 at Thomasville, GA.
 Parks McDaniel Rucker: Salt Creek, VA. Class of 1878. Farmer. Died January 25, 1918 at Clarendon, VA.
 John R. Richardson: New Orleans, LA. Class of 1878. Died about 1912.
 Thomas L. Cochran: Assistant Professor of French & Tactics 1873-75. Died January 22, 1887.