Letters to C. Irvine Walker relating to his and others' efforts to reopen the Citadel and its early history up to 1885

  • Image 01
    Letters to C. Irvine Walker Graduate, Class of 1861 Member of Board of Visitors 1877 to 1885 Secretary, Association of Graduates, Pamphlets, Memos, etc., Relating to his + others' efforts to Reopen the Citadel and its early history up to 1885
  • Image 01
    MEMO. OF GEN. C. IRVINE WALKER AS TO HIS WORK FOR THE REOPENING OF THE CITADEL. I entered the Citadel, as a Cadet in January 1858, becoming a member of the third class. I had previously been at Jenkins and Coward's King Mountain Military School at Yorkville, and was thus enabled to enter the Citadel in the third class. Some twenty six (I believe) applied for admission at that time, but only six of us were admitted and subsequently three more were accepted on re-examination. At this time of my life, my father had been through some severe business adversities, and I always felt that his putting me in the Citadel must have strained his resources, and I always appreciated the sacrifices he made, and tried by my bearing in the Academy and since, to prove my gratitude for his great, loving kindness. I went through the Citadel, graduating at the head of one of the largest classes which had then been turned out of the Academy, and with the Military rank of Lieutenant and Adjutant, in April 1861. I immediately went into the Confederate Service, as the War was upon us. I returned to Charleston after the War in December 1865, and commenced the fight for my livelihood. I believe that I have gained the respect and regard of the people - my fellow citizens - if I have failed to secure any money reward. Among the things which I have accomplished, I look back to my work for the Citadel as the most successful. What I have done to conceive the project, bring it to fruition, and how I saved it from failure, will be shown in the following narrative. The evidences of all that I claim are appended and is referred to in the narrative by reference to the number of the page containing said evidence or reference.
  • Image 01
    2. During the days of the Negro domination in South Carolina, I knew that it was hopeless to attempt the resuscitation of the Academy. Were it then re-established it would pass under an alien control which would be a blot on the fair escutcheon of the school. I thought of it often during these times, but essayed nothing. But when the State was returned to the control of its own citizens, the White people of South Carolina, I felt that the time had come to move, and I started the movement, which ended in success. Hampton was recognized as Governor, and the White people placed in control of the State in March 1877. In April of that year, I called a meeting of the Graduates in Charleston to take steps to re-organize the Association of Graduates, the first step in the movement. Among those prominently interested in the first meeting, were my dear friend and classmate Col. Saul. B. Pickens, Bishop P. F. Stevens, Dr. F. L. Parker, Capt. A. H. Mazyck, Col. B. B. Smith, Capt. W. E. Stoney, and A. Doty. These I remember as being most earnest and helpful to me. We were joined at the Meeting, which was held at the Charleston Hotel, by J. H. Swift and T. E. Strother, Swift being the oldest graduate was called to the Chair. I was called on to state the object of the meeting ( see page 15 of pamphlet on page 7 ) which showed that it was my idea, and held in response to my ideas. This Meeting took steps to re-organize the Association of Graduates ( see page 1 ) which was accomplished at a meeting held December l3th 1877 at the W. L. I., Armory, Charleston. The details of this meeting will be found in the accompanying pamphlet. ( see page 7 ) It will be noticed that at this meeting most of the matters proposed, were inaugurated and proposed by me. The older graduates were properly elected to the higher offices in the Association. I was made Secretary, and in that position, the President, Gen. Hagood, generally adopting my suggestions, I was enabled to carry forward the great work. This meeting, after organization and extending its membership to include all Ex-Cadets honorably discharged, and those who left to go into the Confederate Army, took up the great campaign for the reestablishment of the Academy. It brought the whole matter before Governor Hampton. It asked him to appoint the Board of Visitors to
  • Image 01
    3. be the official head of the movement ( see pages 4 and 7.) Though after its appointment the Board had to reply for all work on the Association of Graduates, and by them it was accomplished nobly. April 4th 1878, Governor Hampton appointed the Board of Visitors, Genl. Johnson Hagood, Rev. S. B. Jones, Col. Edward Croft, Capt. H. A. Gaillard, and Col. C. Irvine Walker. Gradually this Board assumed control of the movement, but only when the Academy was actually re-opened were they recognized legally as its head. Being the active officer of the Association, and on the Board of Visitors, I acted in a dual capacity, and much of my actions which follow are in the one or the other capacity and often mixed. The first danger which threatened us, came from our friends. During the Radical Regime in the State, the United States had allowed - the Radicals, for the armament of the negros, very largely to overdraw their quote of Arms. When the State Government came into our control, the United States Secretary of War, pressed this claim against the State for its full money value. Genl. E. W. Moise who was then Adjutant General proposed to off set against it our claim against the United States for the possession and rental of the Citadel by the United States Forces ( see page 3.) If this had been carried through, we never could have recovered the Citadel or gained the claim for rent. Gov. Hampton was appealed to, and he made Moise stop. What finally became of the claim for overdraft of Arms, I know not, but it gave us of the Citadel no further trouble. See letter to me on this subject from Hugh S. Thompson, May 31st, 1877. (page 3.) Incidently and showing Genl. Hagoods confidence in me and his leaning upon me for action, see his letter page 2'. In response to Gov. Hampton's invitation extended in part at least through the above letter ( page 2) we prepared, early in 1878, a memorial to Congress ( see page 14 et.seq. am' pamphlet on page 7.) This was prepared by Bishop P. F. Stevens and myself. This Memorial was presented to the secretary of War, who declined to make restitution of the Citadel or to entertain the claim for rent. He referred us to Congress ( see pamphlet page 19-20 on page 7.) Whereupon the
  • Image 01
    4. Legislature of South Carolina urged by the friends of the Citadel, presented to Congress a Memorial on the subject ( see page 19 ) which was reported on by the Military Committee of the United States Senate ( see page 19 ) and finally a bill passed Congress restoring the Citadel on condition that South Carolina yielded the Claim for rent. Out Senators and Representatives, among whom were Senator M. C. Butler and Representative M. P. O'Connor were very much interested, and helped us materially. Under the authority of this action of Congress, The Secretary of War made the tender. Butler and O'Connor thought it was the best which could he done, and urged its acceptance. I favored the acceptance ( see page 29-41.) But the greater wisdom of Hagood prevailed, and the offer was declined. I differed with Gen. Hagood, bit I am honest enough to say, that though it was a bitter disappointment to me at the time, yet subsequent events proved that he was right, and that I was mistaken in my judgment of what was best for the cause. In 1878 the Legislature (see page 26) had passed a Bill authorizing and directing; the Board of Visitors to take such steps as they thought best for the recovery of the Citadel, and the collection of the rent. In June 1850, Col. J. P. Thomas conceived the idea of renting the Citadel (see page 45) either from the State or the United States, and removing the Carolina Military Institute to Charleston, and running it as a private Military School. He approached me on the subject. I earnestly opposed it, ( see page 46-47) as did all the Members of the Board of Visitors, and it was abandoned by him. In 1890, I thought that we could only recover the Citadel and our claim for rent by adopting the usual plan of securing paid agents to prosecute the claim. At my suggestion (see pages 48-51) arrangements were made with Mr. Caleb Bouknight who associated with him first Mr. F. H. Gordon and afterwards Judge Thomas J. Mackey. That this was my thought is shown by the letters appended from Hagood, Croft and Jones (see pages 54-55) of the Board and from (see pages 48-57) Bouknight, Gordon, Thompson, and the rough draft of my letter to the Board on the subject (see page 51.) This engagement and the work they did, secured the recovery of the Citadel, and the subsequent payment of
  • Image 01
    5. the claim for rent. Among the many incidents of value to our movement was the idea of "Citadel Day" suggested and carried out by Capt. W. A. Courtney of the W. L. I., and February 22nd, 1879, the anniversary of that Company was selected as the day. Recognizing my interest in the Citadel, and my position in the fight, I was invited to command the Parade on the occasion (see page 25.) December 9th, 1880, The Association of Graduates had its regular Meeting )see page 61) and decided to memorialize the Legislature as to re-opening the Academy as soon as the Buildings were recovered from the United States. This Memorial was presented by senator G. B. Lartigue, December 14th, 1880. (see page 61.) December 19th, 1880, Bishop Stevens and I visited Columbia, and conferred with the Board of Visitors, Graduates, and ex-Cadets in the legislature. After a full conference it was decided that the time was not ripe, and it would not be passed at this season, but notice was given to the State that it would he brought before the Legislature at the next Session. At this meeting a Committee composed of myself, Lartigue, Thompson, and Thomas was appointed to prepare proper articles for dissemination, directing attention to the claims of the Academy; in other words to prepare public sentiment to secure the passage of our Bill. The Board of Visitors were also requested to prepare a proper Bill. This Bill I prepared, and it was approved by the Board, and submitted at the proper time. (see page 103.) This Committee was directed by me, and most of the work suggested and carried out by me. We proposed to influence public sentiment by the publication of various articles, advocating the good done by the Citadel in the past, and showing its value to the State in the future. The State was divided among certain graduates, each one assigned a definite territory. See plan of campaign, which is in the handwriting of Mr. Fogartie, an employee of mine, and made from my notes. This Paper (page 66) shows how I proposed to work out the details of the
  • Image 01
    plan. This plan was submitted to our co-workers all over the State in paper (see page 67) designating their duties, and what was expected of them. The Paper (see page 68) shows the various articles I proposed, and to whom each was assigned. All did not respond. The articles used are shown in rapers (see pages 70 and 71) with the name of the writer of each shown there on. The Articles were first set up by the News Courier, and before inserted in that Paper, slips were given me and I sent them out, so that all would appear concurrently, and not appear as copies from the News Courier. The first article was sent out September 12th 1881, and the battle was opened. As a rule the Papers throughout the State published, and in many cases did so, when they did not endorse. The Anderson Journal did this, and called for a reply from me, (see pages 73 and 76) which they published, and to which they gave most respectful consideration. E. B. Hurray of Anderson, a leading man in the politics of the State was opposed to the movement. I wrote him, see letters (see pages 77 and 89.) I must have convinced him. In his letter September 15th, 1881 (page 92) he shows a yielding, and he finally supported the Bill through the House, and gave us most valuable help. I put into the Bill, the clause, requiring State graduates to teach for two years in the public schools, in remuneration for the Education given them, to influence Murray, and it did it. November "25th, 1881, I had made an appointment with the Ways and Means Committee of the House to meet them that evening, and explain the Bill. Before the hour for this meeting, I called a meeting of all graduates and friends in Columbia. Gov. Hagood offered the Governors Office for the Meeting, but declined to be present as he did not think it proper to appear to influence Legislative action. At that meeting (page 98) I was called to the Chair and presided. A general discussion was hold as to our chances of success, and the advisability of pressing our Bill. It was proposed at that Meeting to apply to the legislature. 1st, For Authority to use any monies received from our claim
  • Image 01
    7. for rent against the United States Government for the benefit of the Citadel. 2nd, to apply to the legislature for an appropriation to open the Academy in accordance with the bill which had been introduced by authority or Board of. Visitors. both propositions were finally adopted. these propositions had been separated as it was thought that the latter would jeapordize the first. Col. Jno. D. Wylie and others were earnest and outspoken in opposition to pressing both now, as they thought we had no chance of carrying the latter and would imperil our chances in the future if we pushed it then and failed. The Meeting without a dissenting vote, although there were some not cordially approving, decided not to press the two together, which practically meant, not to press the only practicable bill, which would have re-opened the Academy. being in the Chair, I would not take part in the debate, and the sentiment developed so strongly against my opinions, that I felt it would he useless to take the floor and speak. After the vote was taken, I said quietly to a friend who was sitting near me, that I was done with the whole movement - or words to that effect. He saw that I was deeply disappointed, and did not approve the action decided on unanimously by the meeting, so Col. R. M. Sims said that the meeting had not heard my opinions, and moved a reconsideration of the vote so that I could express then. It was so decided. I then said in substance - my exact words I have forgotten - "Well gentlemen, excuse me if I talk plain English. About a year since you authorized and directed a Committee of which I was Chairman, to prepare public sentiment for the Bill, you gave out that you proposed pushing it to a head at this Session of the Legislature. the work has been done, and how well done could be measured only by a vote in the ,legislature. You have committed, yourselves to the policy of. pushing it at this Session, and we can not go back on it. Moreover, 1 have an appointment with the Ways and Means Committee to meet them shortly, and advocate what you have directed me to advocate, a Bill prepared under your direction, and am not willing to he placed in the position of saying at this moment,
  • Image 01
    8. that we want further postponement, and it is not fair to yourselves to do so. In my judgment the Bill to re-open the Academy must be presented now." My views convinced the Meeting, and they with entire unanimity reversed their action, and instructed me to go ahead. This in my judgment was the critical point in the entire fight. If we had given up the fight then, we never could have worked up the sentiment of the state again, and the citadel never would have been re-opened as the S.C.M.A. The action was decided on, entirely on my advice, and after all the Graduates, Members of the Legislature, and some other friends in Columbia, who were supposed to know the sentiment of the Legislature and of the people, had decided that it could not be done. I went before the Ways and Means Committee late in the evening.� and secured a favorable report for the Bill. A meeting of graduates was held in my room at the wrights Hotel, Columbia on January 11th, 1882 (see page 110.) The Members came to lobby the Legislature, and then meet and compare notes. Johnstone of Newberry was helping us - our spokesman and leader in the House of Representatives. When he came into the meeting, he found us all very blue and disheartened. lie told me afterwards that he found it essential to give us hope, and therefore, made a most encouraging statement of that he thought he knew of the opinion of the Legislature. He certainly showed us that we must win. The Members returned to their homes after doing what lobbying they could, but I remained alone until the Bill came before the House. the Bill. It is interesting to note the growth of the Bill ( see pages 99, 100, 101, 102. and 103.) Note that the general word- ing of the Bill is mine. In my handwriting. In Section one the scope of the Institution at first was generally expressed (see page 99) and when finally amended by the Board, instead of the general character "as formerly conducted under the Laws of The State" it was definitely for the education of a certain number of beneficiary Cadets, and the provision for pay cadets was separated.
  • Image 01
    9. the first draft there is no reference to state Cadets teaching in the Public schools for two years in re-payment, in part, of their education. This appears in the Draft approved by the board of Visitors, and was put there by me to secure the influence of E.B. Murray especially, an influential member of the ways and means Committee and others. I have never regarded it as essential. But it has become an important feature of the system. Section 2nd , The Amount of appropriation asked for was first proposed $15,000 for repairs and equipments (my rough estimate of the same being $11,735, see page 104, which is about what it amounted to when the money was spent) and $15,000 for support the first year. It was finally determined to ask for only $10,000 for repairs, etc., and $5000 for support the first year, opening- the academy October 5th, it would only have two months to run to November 30th, in the then fiscal year of the State. But the bill was introduced asking for $15,000, which on the second day in the House was amended, reducing the amount to $5000, as we had agreed on. section 3rd, Providing for the disposition of the money received from the united states Government, which appears in my original draft, and was amended at the meeting of November 25th, 1881, was by the Board omitted from the Bill, but the opposition in the house necessitated its being put in the Bill in the second day by our side, placing such money in the State Treasury subject to the disposition of the General Assembly, for the use of the Citadel. The Bill came up in the House January 13th, 1882. In the House every dilatory or killing motion was defeated, the opposition seemed to have exhausted itself. So weak was the opposition that it was not necessary for us to bring out our strongest Speakers. Johnston came to me and said that he and Col. C. H. Simonton, the leader of the Charleston Delegation, which then had great strength in the House, thought that the opposition was killed off, and asked if I agreed with them, that the Bill should he brought to a vote. I assented. The vote resulted slightly against us, fifty for and fifty five against it. The chief defection was in the negro
  • Image 01
    10. vote, about seven I think. They had promised senator miller, colored, to vote for the Bill. but they were driven off by some remarks during the course of the Debate. Now that our strength was shown our friends seem to have and show hope. Previous to this I was thought to be an idealistic enthusiast, working a noble but not a practical or successful venture. After the Legislature adjourned that day I had many offers of help, advice, I immediately telegraphed to all aliment supporters to be sure to be present the next day. I arranged with Murray, who had the floor early the next day, to yield to the Citadel Bill's reconsideration. I drummed up every vote I could get, of those present, and the next morning I was ready for our victory. Every precaution had been taken to secure success. January 14th, 1882 the Bill was reconsidered. I took my stand at the door of the House of. Representatives, and did not allow a friend of the Bill to go out without (politely of course) securing his promise to be back for the vote. The discussion was not long. The Negro Members were controlled by Senator Miller of Beaufort, who had the previous day promised to vote for us, but had voted against us, so when the new vote came off, I sent for Senator Miller and got him to stand by his negroes and see that they voted right. The vote was put and carried by a comfortable majority sixty for and forty four against us. He had won the House, and won largely by my individual efforts. (see page 113.) That evening I met Gov. Hagood in his office, and talked over matters with him. He said, "well Walker you have got it through the House, but you will have to come back, when it comes up before the Senate, and manage it." I said, "Governor, I am a busy man, have given up a great deal of time to this matter, and I can not, see my way to spare any more time to come up again, and work it through the Senate. You will have to do that." Gov. Hagood, I well remember it, rested his head on his on his arms on the table and thought seriously for some moments. He then raised his head and said to me. "Well, I will do it." How well he did was shown by its successful passage through the Senate. (see page 114.)
  • Image 01
    11. The Bill, appropriation, , were contingent upon securing the Citadel from the United States Government. We felt that matters were tending strongly in that direction. Though at the time the Bill passed, the Citadel had not been restored, and we had no official or positive information that it would be. But, it was soon to be restored to us. Through the efforts of Judge Thomas J. Mackey, who had been engaged with Mr. Bouknight to press the claim for the recovery of the Citadel and the payment of the claim for rent, assisted by our Senators and Representatives, conspicuous among then, Generals Hampton and Butler, the United States was induced to restore the Building. (see page 127.) Genl. Hunt, being in command of the Department came to Charleston to turn it over. It was done by no official transfer. The U. S. Government ceased to occupy and in leaving the premises put it in the hands of its owners. I received the keys. The U. S. Sergt., in charge, I requested to continue to live in the Building until we required it, and to occupy it as the Agent of the State of South Carolina, through the Board of Visitors. This he consented to do. I took possession in response to a telegram from Genl. Hagood, who was Governor and Chairman of the Board of Visitors. March 74, 1882, Formal possession of the Citadel was taken by the Board of. Visitors, and a goodly number of the Members of the Association of Graduates were present to celebrate the event. The ceremonies attending the same are set out in full (page 115) That night the Association of Graduates had a jollification (see page 115.) My part in the accomplishment of the grand result which the entertainment celebrated, was shown clearly in my introduction by Dr. F. L. Parker, one who had attended the first meeting, and was in our counsels all through the struggle, therefore, qualified to speak advisedly, when he spoke of me as "one who has won his spurs in the thick of battle and who in the piping times of peace had done more perhaps than any other man for the re-establishment of our Alma Mater." By Act of the Legislature, we were authorized to re-open the Academy, were given funds $10,000 for the repairs of the Buildings and
  • Image 01
    12 its equipments, and $5,000 for its support to the end of the State's fiscal year, and we had acquired the Building. In the presentation of the Bill to the Legislature, I have shown that it was my action that changed the entire sentiment of our graduates from deciding to postpone, which I believe meant the abandonment of the fight. I changed them, to push the Bill, which was eventually carried through the Legislature, in the House, largely by my individual efforts. Previously I had conceived and inaugurated the re-organization of the Association of Graduates, to recover the Citadel. I had advocated the claims of the Citadel with my pen, and securing the help of others more qualified for writing than I, until a sentiment was created so favorable to the Citadel, that the legislature could pass the Bill. I had conceived and carried to fruition the engagement of Mr. Bouknight, who first with Mr. Gordon and afterwards with Judge Mackey, pressed the claims, first for the possession of the Buildings, and afterwards secured the Rent. Therefore, I think I am justified in saying what I did, that without any work the Citadel would not have been re-opened at that time, and that I think I did more in the progress of the work than any other living man to accomplish the ends sought. From now on, the Board of Visitors had easy sailing. Major G. B. Lartigue was engaged to superintend the repairs to put the buildings in proper order. I was Treasurer and paid out all the money. The Board determined to open the Academy October 1st, 1882. Col. J. P. Thomas was selected as Superintendent, and a corps of Professors was elected. The Academy opened with about one hundred and eighty five Cadets, and thus on the 1st of October, 1882, was the bright hopes of her Sons realized, and our Alma Mater again launched on a career of renewed usefulness. I remained on the Board until January 11th, 1885, when I resigned. The very strongest pressure was brought by my comrades Of the Board to induce me to continue on the Board, but I insisted on my retirement. The Resolutions on my resignation and Genl. Hagood's letter transmitting the same are appended (see pages 133, 134, and 135.) This closed my official connection with the Citadel, but not my interest in its welfare.
Letters to C. Irvine Walker relating to his and others' efforts to reopen the Citadel and its early history up to 1885
Walker, C. Irvine
Letters documenting Walker's and others' efforts to reopen The Citadel after the Civil War and account of post-war Citadel history to 1885.
The Citadel and the American Civil War
Contributing Institution:
The Citadel Archives & Museum
Media Type:
Personal or Corporate Subject:
Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina--History--19th century
Geographic Subject:
South Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Shelving Locator:
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.)
Material Type:
Copyright Status Statement:
Digital image copyright 2011, The Citadel Archives & Museum. All rights reserved. For more information contact The Citadel Archives & Museum, Charleston, SC, 29409.