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Jones, William E. (1824-1864) to R. C. Jones

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02711.13 Author/Creator: Jones, William E. (1824-1864) Place Written: West Point, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 30 August 1845 Pagination: 3 p. : address leaf ; 27.7 x 19.9 cm.

Describes the winding up of their encampment with a magnificent ball. Encourages his brother to be a conscientious college student.

Jones attended Emory and Henry College before entering West Point, where he graduated in 1848, ranked 10th in his class. He served on the frontier until 1857, when he resigned from the Army and returned to his Virginia farm. He later became a controversial Civil War figure as a cantankerous, court-martialed outpost officer.

West Point, N.Y., Aug. 30th 1845

Dear Brother
I received your letter this morning. i to enjoy soon again the sweet morsel, my family news, I have determined to answer it forthwith although I have but little that will be interesting news to you.
We have just again moved into barricks & I feel very sensibly the change from the
military to the civil life & if I consult my feelings at present there is but little doubt but
what I would pronounce it for the better. Our pleasant encampment was wound up in the following manner. On the evening of the 28th we had one of the most magnificent balls I ever saw or heard of. The decorations of the room were splendid a result that might have been expected when the best of taste had been backed by the labors of the whole corps of cadets for 2 or 3 preceding weeks. The supper was neatly arranged & cost between 5700 & $800 so
you may guess what kind of an appearance it made. To cap the climax all the beauties of the North came in to make the last but by all means the most important tuch [sic] of the whole arrangement But 1 will here say if the S.W. Va. girls had made the the final polish, nothing earthly could possibly have near equaled West Point ball on that night. The Yankies [sic)
however played their part as well as could be expected & made the whole as I have said a magnifiecnt ball. We danced until 4 o'clock in the morning & finished this part with what we call a stag dance.
On the 29th we struck our tents amid long & hearty cheers & then after 2 or 3 good songs from our jovial lads we marched into barricks. I sent Eliza a magazine & a selection of beautiful engravings but you may tell her that she has not yet acknowledged the reception of them.
I fear they have not reached her. Tell her to write immediately & let me know how she likes my taste if she has received them.
You have by this time commenced at college & I feel bound to tell you if you come away any wiser you will have to become so by studying. So commence at first to lay your foundation by getting into good habits. Always say I will know all my lessons well & be sure to tell the truth when you say so, then sir the load must come en the harness ply, But I think you have worked enough to make you tolerable tough. So I think if you will only hold yourself straight while studying, there but little fear from this source. Be sure to study & never till you know all your lessons well, think of laying aside your book for the sake of play.
Tell mother when Eliza has learned all she can at home she will be sent to some of the
higher female schools.
Tell James to write to me & I will pay him for his trouble.
I will come home next summer if I can make enough to pay my expenses there and back. I am well & well pleased write soon.

W. E. Jones
Give my best respects to all the Col.'s f,,Aly & you may inform Thomas that his letter has
not reached me yet. You must tell me all about the Col.'s folks when you write again.


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