“I intended to write Monday, but when I thought of it I could not compose myself to write a line—would say to myself—what is the use to write—perhaps he may be killed & never get it.”
—Sallie Fair to W. D. Rutherford, Newberry, South Carolina, July 24, 1861
“We are prolonging a most wretched existence here … I tell Jimmie that I can see no good reason now, while every thing is so still, why I should not be permitted to see my dear wife. But the authorities have made matters worse and worse, till now, they will not allow leaves of absence even for sickness! … But it is not the first sacrifice of feeling we have made for our unhappy country, and we must steel our hearts to the consequences of this miserable war.”
—W. D. Rutherford to Sallie Fair, Camp Jackson, Virginia, July 19, 1862
A native of Newberry District, South Carolina, William Drayton Rutherford (1837–1864) was the son of Thomas Brooks Rutherford (1801–1865) and Laura Adams Rutherford (1808–1859). Educated at male academies in the Districts of Greenville and Newberry, South Carolina, Rutherford attended The Citadel and later entered the sophomore class at South Carolina College. Although quickly promoted to the junior class, Rutherford’s participation in a student uprising led to his expulsion from college. He studied law in Newberry and in 1860 received his commission as “Solicitor in Equity.”
Rutherford joined the Third South Carolina Regiment in 1861 and began serving as its adjutant; the regiment participated in the Battle of First Manassas that year. In 1862, the Third Regiment engaged in battle around Richmond, and Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford was captured in Brownsville, Maryland. He was paroled in October and wounded in December. By mid-1864, Rutherford had been promoted to command of the regiment. On October 13, 1864, Colonel Rutherford was shot in advance of his regiment in battle near Strasburg, Virginia. He died soon afterward.
The William Drayton Rutherford Papers originally consisted of 153 manuscripts that dated as early as 1858, when Rutherford began courting Sallie Henderson Fair (1842–1921), the daughter of Colonel Simeon Fair (1801–1873) and Mary Butler Pearson Fair (1821–1867) of Newberry. This portion of the collection includes letters written to Sallie Fair during her 1858–1859 enrollment at the South Carolina Female Collegiate Institute (Barhamville, South Carolina), and from former classmates after her return to Newberry. The courtship of William (“Drate,” “Drayt,” or “Drayte”) Rutherford and Sallie Fair was interrupted in 1861 by secession and war, but they eventually married in 1862. Rutherford later died in battle in 1864.
In 2008, an addition to the collection brought the number of documents to approximately double its previous amount. Along with more letters between William and Sallie from their courtship and subsequent marriage, the addition continues the story after William’s death from the perspective of Sallie, who remarried Young John Pope (1841–1911), later distinguished as Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Correspondence with friends and family follows the social and political lives of the writers from the antebellum period through the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the end of the nineteenth century.
Further information about the collection’s contents is available at the following Web sites, published by the University South Caroliniana Society:
* The letter from Y. J. Pope to Sallie Fair cited as May 26, 1899, appears upon further inspection to be dated 1897. This revision is reflected in the digital collection.
The original William Drayton Rutherford Papers Digital Collection was completed with the help of Brian Cuthrell and Henry Fulmer of South Caroliniana Library, along with Lauren Glaettli (MLIS, 2005), Laura Masce (MLIS, 2006), and Kate Boyd of the Digital Activities Center. Lauren scanned the papers and created most of the metadata; Laura created the home page; Brian edited the metadata; and Kate uploaded the records and worked with Henry in managing the project. The work could also not have been done without the help of Tony Branch, the systems administrator for the CONTENTdm database.
The 2011 addition to the digital collection incorporates the description, transcription, biographical sketches, and organization of the 2008 accession conducted by Jennifer Scheetz (MLIS, USC 2008; now Archivist at the Charleston Museum). Without her invaluable contributions, this project would have taken much longer and would have been less rich in detail and context.
The scanning for the original digital collection began in the summer of 2005 and was not finished until the late fall. Lauren Glaettli scanned approximately 750 images on the UMAX PowerLook 2100XL scanner with SilverFast scanning software, creating 190 records. She scanned the images as 24-bit color TIFFs at 300 ppi, although a few are at a higher resolution. From the TIFFs she created high quality JPEGs, which were then uploaded to CONTENTdm and compressed as JPEG2000s.
Laura created a home page for the collection and Lauren assembled the metadata in an Excel spreadsheet. Brian edited the metadata and wrote a brief introduction for the collection. The metadata records follow the Western States Best Practices Dublin Core format. Kate reviewed the collection records and images and uploaded the images to the CONTENTdm database. Once the images were loaded to the CONTENTdm database the TIFFs and JPEGs were burned to DVD and the TIFFs were moved to the SAN server for archival storage.
Matthew W. Shepherd (MLIS candidate, 2012) scanned 477 new images from the 2008 accession using an Epson Expression 10000 XL flatbed scanner and SilverFast scanning software. The original images were produced as 24-bit color TIFFs at 300 ppi, then copied as JPEGs. The scanning took approximately one week to complete in June 2011.
For the digital collection, Matthew adapted the extensive metadata created by Jennifer Scheetz for the addition. Some of the metadata required revision based on further examination of the manuscripts, particularly for dates and names. (Notes about these revisions are included in the Word and Excel files that accompany the addition.) Other changes to the metadata reflect an attempt to maintain a style consistent with common cataloging rules.
To update the scope of the overall collection, Matthew redesigned its Web pages and edited the search functions for accessing the digital objects. Ashley Knox, Production Manager at Digital Collections, reviewed the images and metadata and uploaded them to CONTENTdm. These files were then burned to DVD and the TIFFs were archived on the SAN server.
“We know not at what moment the shock of battle will be joined, and then aside from the danger to ourselves comes the recollection of the anguish and suffering of our loved ones at home … My life is ready for my country—but if its sacrifice is not required, it can surely not be sinful to contemplate the innocent and unmeasured bliss of even one year of Peace spent in the society of my own precious wife.”
—W. D. Rutherford to Sallie Fair, “In line of Battle,” May 20, 1864
“I’ve thought so much of my love since I’ve been here—how happy we were when last here together! … when will such happy times return? Some say never, but I ‘Look on the sunny side’ … ”
—Sallie Fair to W. D. Rutherford, Union District, South Carolina, September 16, 1864