Va. Mil. Institute,
March 23rd 1883.


The Academic Board met in called session:

             At a called session of the Academic Board of the Virginia Military Institute, held on the 23rd day of March, 1883, the Superintendent having announced the death of Col. W.B.. Blair, the following minute was unanimously adopted:

 Resolved: That we tender to the family of our deceased friend and former colleague our sincere sympathy in this afflicting dispensation of Providence,

That the many noble and exalted qualities of mind and heart with which Colonel Blair endowed by nature, his high integrity of character, his chivalric devotion to duty, his gentle courtesy of manner and demeanor, his honorable and distinguished record in the service of his country, deserve and command our confidence, affection and admiration,

That we cherish his memory and we mourn his loss,

Resolved: That this Minute be spread upon the records of the Academic Board, and that the Secretary be directed to transmit a copy to the family of the deceased.


Francis H. Smith Jr.,



Head Quarters,

Virginia Military Institute
March 23rd 1883

General Orders,
            No. 5.

                         It is the painful duty of the Superintendent to announce to the Professors, Officers and Cadets the death of Col. Wm. B. Blair, formerly Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy in the Virginia Military Institute.

                         Colonel Blair entered the United States Military Academy as a cadet, July 1, 1834, and graduated with great distinction, July 1, 1838.  His high mathematical qualifications led to his appointment as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics in the Academy in 1841, which position he filled with great honor until August, 1843.

                         He was afterwards advanced to be Commissary of the Second Division, United States Army, during the Mexican War, and “for his gallant and meritorious conduct in the Battle of Cerro Gordo”, he was made a Brevet Captain, August 18th, 1847.

                         At the commencement of the late Civil War he was appointed by the Governor and Council of Virginia, Commissary General of the Army of Virginia, which position he held until the Army of Virginia was transferred to the Confederate States, when he was placed in charge of important duties in the same department, which duties he faithfully discharged during the whole war.

                         In 1865 Colonel Blair was unanimously called by the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military institute to the Chair of Natural and Experiment Philosophy, made vacant by the death of General “Stonewall” Jackson, which position he filled with great ability until July 1876.

                         And now a life of great honor and great usefulness has closed.  As a gallant soldier, cultivated scholar and courteous gentleman, Colonel William B. Blair will long be remembered by those who knew and loved him.

                         As appropriate marks of respect to the memory of the deceased, duites will be suspended to-morrow, and the Battalion of Cadets will be held in readiness to as a funeral escort to the body at such hour as may be designated, and Professors, Officers and Cadets will wear the usual badge of mourning for the period of thirty (30) days.


By Command of
Major General Smith,

Francis H. Smith, Jr.,
Adjutant, V.M.I.


Title:  General Orders No 5,
Author: Francis H. Smith, Jr,, Adjutant, V.M.I
Location: Lexington, Virginia
Year:  1883
Media: Photocopy,  By permission of Virginia Military Institute, Preston Library, Diane B. Jacob, Archivist

Marko V. Sakal
Dallas, Texas


Copyright Protected VMI ARCHIVES, Lexington, Virginia. 2002 ©

This compilation is for individual research or private study only.  Any unauthorized reproduction, distribution, public performance, display, or modifications of the materials contained in this website, is subject to copyright law.