Lot 2 Letters Virginia Military Institute Confederate Officer Escaped Slaves
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Lot 2 Letters Virginia Military Institute Confederate Officer Escaped Slaves :
Up for sale is a two-letter correspondence to Joseph P. Gilliam, a Cadet at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. The first of these letters is from Joseph's father (John W. Gilliam), a wealthy planter and Confederate Colonelfrom Dinwiddie, Virginia. It is datelined "Burnt Quarter, March 15/53". (Burnt Quarter was the Gilliam family home; the Battle of Five Forks was largely fought in its fields). In this letter, the senior Gilliam commends his son for his performance at VMI: "I am pleased to see you have performed all the duties imposed on you with fidelity and credit to yourself." He goes on to stress the need to study hard. Ironically, Joseph was dismissed from VMI in early 1855 for neglect of duties and insubordination. The front of this folded letter has a manuscript "Dinwiddie C.H. Va., March 16" and a pen cancelled Sc#11 with a small piece missing from the top margin. The second letter to Joseph is from an old friend and schoolmate. It first discusses various young ladies in town and then moves on to some interesting comments about plantation life and slavery: "We are very much troubled with runaways. We have triedto catch them with dogs but they manage to escape us. Last week Mr. Leman was going to mill and Mr. Bourden's Toby, Captain of the runaway band, met him on the road and took his meal from him. They have barbecued fifteen goats, seven lambs and a cow . . . and are stealing everything they can lay their hands on". The front has a manuscript "Dinwiddie, C.H. Va., March 16th" and a large "5" in the upper right corner. During the Civil War, Joseph P. Gilliam rose to the rank of Captain (Capt. B.J. Epes Co. Va. Heavy Artillery). He was captured in Paynesville in April 1865 and was released from Johnson's Island, Ohio in June. Until his death in 1912, he was both a farmer and