Thirty-six manuscripts, 3 November1859-3 August 1897, added to the papers of William Drayton Rutherford (1837-1864) consist chiefly of letters from Rutherford, serving with the Third South Carolina Regiment in Virginia, to Sallie Fair, of Newberry.
The earliest, dated 14 June 1861, finds Major Rutherford at Camp Johnson, on “the last night we are to spend in good old Carolina,” professing his love for his “Sweet Sallie.” Later, in a letter of 16 January 1862, he tells of “a young man who assumed to represent the fair donors of” the regimental flag. After presenting the standard, he borrowed $300.00 and promised to “buy articles for the Troops at Richmond.” Days later, the regimental officers received word that “the prodigy of impudence, stupidity, and baseness” had been arrested in Charlottesville. Nonetheless, Rutherford assured Sallie, that “the glorious Banner committed to our care is [not] any the less because it has passed through unworthy hands.”
Other items of interest include an early letter to Sallie Fair, 9 January 1861, from J. Chapman, Hartford, Ct., lamenting the state of affairs between North and South—“Oh how I wish your nullifiers and our abolitionists could be compelled to fight out the battle by themselves.”
Among the post-Civil War items is a letter from Simeon Fair, a student at Clemson Agricultural College in the 1890s, who wrote about life on campus in the early years of the college and the military-like conditions. “You can’t imagine how tedious it is to have to stay in your room all the time that you are not reciting or working,” he complained, adding that he was “progressing splendidly” in his studies “possibly because I can’t do anything else.” The letter notes that Cadet Fair had been appointed a temporary “Sargent” and tells of his inspections—“boys get out of bed and assume the position of a soldier and salute me....I nearly die laughing.”