A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor William Smith, 1864-1865 Smith, Governor William, A Guide to the Executive Papers of, 1864-1865 36916

A Guide to the Executive Papers of Governor William Smith, 1864-1865

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 36916


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© 2002 By the Library of Virginia.

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Craig Moore

Repository
Library of Virginia
Accession number
36916
Title
Executive Papers of Governor William Smith, 1864-1865
Physical Characteristics
2.7 cubic feet
Physical Location
State Records Collection, Office of the Governor (Record Group 3)
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Virginia Governor William Smith, Executive papers, 1864-1865. Accession 36916, State Records Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

No acquisition information available.

Alternative Form Available

Also available on microfilm - Miscellaneous Reel 5014-5025.


Biographical/Historical Information

Governor William Smith was the third son of Colonel Caleb Smith and was born in King George County on September 7, 1797. Smith studied at the English and Classical School of Thomas Nelson in Hanover County, Va. and continued to study law under Thomas L. Moore in Warrenton, Va. Following his training and education, Smith practiced law in Culpeper County, Va., beginning in 1818. A supporter of the Democratic-Republican party in the 1820s, Smith was later elected in 1836 to two terms in the Senate of Virginia then as a representative in Congress as a democrat. In December 1845, the Virginia Legislature nominated Smith as Governor for three years. Following this first term as governor, Smith again served in Congress for four more terms between 1853 and 1860. At the outset of the Civil War, at age 64, Smith raised a regiment of volunteers and received a commission. As colonel of the 49th Virginia Volunteers, Smith commanded his regiment with distinction at the battles of Manassas, Seven Pines, and Sharpsburg. Smith was severely wounded in the shoulder at Sharpsburg and was later promoted to Brigadier-General of the Fourth Brigade. In February 1862, he was elected to the Congress of the Confederate States serving until the Congress adjourned then rejoined his regiment. Despite the certainty of winning his election to a second term as governor in 1863, Smith still participated in the Gettysburg Campaign.

Smith took office on January 1, 1864. During his short term, Smith raised two regiments of Home Guard from exempt soldiers and fought to gain appropriations from the General Assembly for the purpose of supplying the army and people of Virginia with food and clothing. On April 2, 1865, President Davis evacuated from Richmond to Danville and encouraged Smith to do the same. Smith followed Davis to Danville then surrendered himself and returned home to Warrenton, Va. Following the war, he again entered political life being elected to the Virginia legislature in 1877 and was narrowly defeated for a seat in the United States' Senate. Smith died on May 18, 1887.

Scope and Content Information

Governor Smith's Executive papers are organized into two series. Series have been designated for Chronological files and Subject files. The bulk of the material can be found in the Chronological files' series which primarily consists of incoming correspondence between 1864 and April 1865. Although Governor Smith did not formally surrender his office until May 20, 1865, there is no documentation beyond April 1, 1865. Correspondence, exemptions, court cases, commissions, telegrams, pollbooks, pardons, proceedings, receipts, clippings, reports, petitions, resignations, contracts, proclamations, requisitions, resolutions, and other items can be found in this series.

The majority of the correspondence consists of applications of exemption from military duty. The Governor granted exemptions for county sheriffs, physicians, government officials, and other individuals. The governor also received numerous requests for slaves' exemptions from laboring on fortifications. In February 1864, President Davis made a requisition upon Governor Smith to furnish 5,000 slaves to work for 60 days on constructing fortifications in Virginia. Many slaveowners voiced their protest against this requisition. Some of this correspondence was referred to W.H. Stevens, Colonel Engineers. Additional correspondence to Governor Smith consists of recommendations of Virginians for appointments. The governor appointed coroners; inspectors of salt, tobacco, and warehouses; commissioners; vaccine agents; bank directors; and notaries. One such letter of recommendation was written by Jeb Stuart asking a commission for Edwin L. Parker (January 24, 1864). Numerous petitions accompany these recommendations. Letters by individuals stating their desire to be considered for a particular position are also present.

Additional documents within the executive papers include messages from the governor to the General Assembly. These messages regard the organization of a reserve force, expenditures for purchases made in Europe for the Virginia Military Institute, the sale of liquor in the city of Richmond, and the arming of slaves and free negroes. Other important documents include reprieves and pardons. Copies of court cases, clippings, petitions, and correspondence supplement the pardons. All of the pardon papers are filed separately in the chronological series at the end of each month. Lastly, there are receipts of soldiers seeking payment from the Auditing Board.

Noteworthy documents include Governor Smith's inaugural address (January 1, 1864); a partial draft of the C.S.A. conscription law passed on February 17, 1864; a letter from Brigadier-General John Winder acknowledging receipt of letter granting permission to use Castle Thunder for keeping state prisoners (April 15, 1864); a list of officers & employees of the City of Richmond including their ages (November 21, 1864); a letter from President Jefferson Davis re. communication from James A. Seddon (C.S.A. Secretary of War) to furnish 5,000 slaves to work on fortifications (Dec. 16, 1864); a letter from Gen. Robert E. Lee re. slaves impressed for service (Feb. 10, 1865); a letter from Ulysses S. Grant to Judge Robert Ould (C.S.A. Agent of Exchange) re. supplies for the Eastern Lunatic Asylum (Feb. 25, 1865); a letter from General Ewell asking for the organization of a local force in Richmond for immediate service (March 15, 1865); and a letter to Gen. Robert E. Lee enclosing a statement of the auditor on the number of slaves fit for service (March 25, 1865).

The second series is devoted to subject files of which there are only two: Quartermaster's Department Vouchers and Statements on the Condition of Banks. The Quartermasters' Department of the Confederate States of America issued vouchers in 1864 for various supplies. It is unknown why these vouchers are included within the executive papers. The statements on banks provide financial data on various financial institutions across the state. The statements provide comparisons between 1863 and 1864 of the amount of capital, debt, loans to the Confederate States, etc.

Accession 13774 has been included in Governor Smith's Executive Papers. This accession consists of a letter from James Mason to Governor Smith in which he accepts the offer of a marble statue of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson by a group of English contributors. The Governor's reply is included. The statue stands in Capitol Square, Richmond, Virginia.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by the date on the endorsement which indicates when the document was received and what action was taken by the governor.

Organization

Organized into two series: I: Chronological files, 1864-1865. II: Subject files, 1864-1865.

Contents List

Series I: Chronological files, 1864-1865
  • Box 1
    Folder 1
    Correspondence, 1864 January 1-15
  • Box 1
    Folder 2
    Correspondence, 1864 January 16-30
  • Box 1
    Folder 3
    Pardons, 1864 January 4-16
  • Box 1
    Folder 4
    Pardons, 1864 January 17-29
  • Box 1
    Folder 5
    Correspondence, 1864 February 1-15
  • Box 1
    Folder 6
    Correspondence, 1864 February 15-29
  • Box 1
    Folder 7
    Pardons, 1864 February 1-15
  • Box 1
    Folder 8
    Pardons, 1864 February 16-29
  • Box 2
    Folder 1
    Correspondence, 1864 March 1-20
  • Box 2
    Folder 2
    Correspondence, 1864 March 21-31
  • Box 2
    Folder 3
    Pardons, 1864 March 2-12
  • Box 2
    Folder 4
    Pardons, 1864 March 14-31
  • Box 2
    Folder 5
    Correspondence, 1864 April 1-15
  • Box 2
    Folder 6
    Correspondence, 1864 April 16-30
  • Box 2
    Folder 7
    Pardons, 1864 April 1-30
  • Box 3
    Folder 1
    Correspondence, 1864 May
  • Box 3
    Folder 2
    Pardons, 1864 May
  • Box 3
    Folder 3
    Correspondence, 1864 June
  • Box 3
    Folder 4
    Pardons, 1864 June
  • Box 3
    Folder 5
    Correspondence, 1864 July
  • Box 3
    Folder 6
    Pardons, 1864 July
  • Box 3
    Folder 7
    Correspondence, 1864 August 1-10
  • Box 3
    Folder 8
    Correspondence, 1864 August 11-31
  • Box 3
    Folder 9
    Pardons, 1864 August
  • Box 4
    Folder 1
    Correspondence, 1864 September
  • Box 4
    Folder 2
    Pardons, 1864 September
  • Box 4
    Folder 3
    Correspondence, 1864 October
  • Box 4
    Folder 4
    Pardons, 1864 October
  • Box 4
    Folder 5
    Correspondence, 1864 November 1-23
  • Box 4
    Folder 6
    Correspondence, 1864 November 24-30
  • Box 4
    Folder 7
    Correspondence, 1864 December 2-20
  • Box 4
    Folder 8
    Correspondence, 1864 December 21-31
  • Box 4
    Folder 9
    Pardons, 1864 December
  • Box 5
    Folder 1
    Correspondence, 1865 January 4-23
  • Box 5
    Folder 2
    Correspondence, 1865 January 24-31
  • Box 5
    Folder 3
    Pardons, 1865 January
  • Box 5
    Folder 4
    Correspondence, 1865 February 1-13
  • Box 5
    Folder 5
    Correspondence, 1865 February 14-28
  • Box 5
    Folder 6
    Pardons, 1865 February
  • Box 5
    Folder 7
    Correspondence, 1865 March 1-15
  • Box 5
    Folder 8
    Correspondence, 1865 March 16-31
  • Box 6
    Folder 1
    Pardons, 1865 March 1-15
  • Box 6
    Folder 2
    Pardons, 1865 March 16-31
  • Box 6
    Folder 3
    Correspondence, 1865 April
  • Box 6
    Folder 4
    Correspondence, Undated
Series II: Subject files, 1864-1865
  • Box 6
    Folder 5
    Quartermaster's Department (C.S.A.) Vouchers, 1864
  • Box 6
    Folder 4
    Statements on the Conditions of Banks, 1864-1865