with good hope of the future if not with positive satisfaction. I remember that I found the subdistrict of Lynchburg, of which General N. M. Curtis had charge, especially satisfactory. He not only successfully encouraged the school work but afforded a good example in harmonizing the labor interest and promoting goodwill between the white people and the freedmen. In Virginia Colonel Brown had, by the action of his district commander, passed from the staff back to the office of full assistant commissioner, and all the State of Virginia had again been put under his supervision. General S. C. Armstrong, who had been sent to Virginia and had been placed in charge of a district of fifteen or more counties, withdrew from them and began work at Hampton during the year 1867. A few words from his pen will show the fairness of his mind and account somewhat for his subsequent and successful career at the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. He wrote:
I cannot refrain from expressing my satisfaction and surprise at the proficiency of the pupils in the Hampton schools as manifested in the examination of the 28th ultimo. ... I believe that the finest intellectual achievements are possible to colored children; no one who listened to the prompt answers or perceived the “snap” of the pupils during the exercises can doubt it. What I was most gratified with was the enthusiasm for and pride in knowledge, which is a motive power that, if given play, will carry them up to noble attainments.Armstrong thus studied the situation at Hampton; came to the true conclusions, and made them the steppingstone to his own great achievements in the line of Christian training.