Rivers, Walter Oswald Collection


Rivers, Walter Oswald Collection


Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina
Military cadets
Manners and customs


Walter Oswald Rivers, called Ossie, was born in Walterboro, South Carolina in 1871. He entered the South Carolina Military Academy in 1888 and was a member of the Calliopean Literary Society and chairman of the German Club.

Unfortunately, Rivers died in his junior year, in 1890. He came down with a fever while at school, and was taken to his father’s home in Walterboro, where he died on June 16th. In an article written by the Post & Courier that year, this is written of similar deaths at The Citadel:

“The recent cases of fever at the Academy, which resulted in the death of four cadets was thoroughly discussed at the board meeting. The special report of the examining committee was read and the members of the board made personal observations of the premises. The board decided to improve the system of sewage now in use at the academy and thoroughly cleanse the cisterns, from which part of the supply of water is obtained.”

In another news article from the time, it is said that: “The Class of 1891 has lost one of its brightest and most popular members.” The story goes on to describe him as a “good soldier, faithful student, and generous and open-hearted friend.” It ends by saying that some of these attributes are engraved on his stone at Live Oak cemetery, where he sleeps with other members of his family.


Rivers, Walter Oswald, 1871-1890


A1984.24 Box 2, Folder 1


The Citadel Archives & Museum




Materials in The Citadel Archives & Museum Digital Collections are intended for educational and research use. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright. For more information contact The Citadel Archives & Museum, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, 29409.


Walter Oswald Rivers Collection










Charleston (S.C.)

Collection Items

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his father, April 15, 1884
Ossie writes mainly about family matters. Based on the date of this letter, he is not yet enrolled in the South Carolina Military Academy.

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his mother, January 7, 1888
Ossie writes to his mother about debating in the Calliopean Society and walking post. He also mentions that a cadet was discharged for drinking.

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his father, February 19, 1888
Ossie writes about attempting to get a tin type made at various studios. He also talks about seeing Grover Cleveland and remarks that his wife is not as pretty as people say.

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his father, December 29, 1888
Ossie writes that he did not have a very favorable Christmas and because he has endless guard duty, is very tired. He also writes about the honorable discharge of another cadet.

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his mother, January 5, 1889
Ossie describes an outing to the theater as well the rescue of 14 cadets who were lost at sea for six hours.

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his mother, March 2, 1889
Ossie writes about receiving a merit on the cleanliness of his room and the construction taking place at The Citadel.

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his mother, May 24, 1889
Ossie writes that his company won the prize for the highest average in the corps. He also writes about a barrel of lemonade that was gifted to the corps as well as the change to linen uniforms.

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his mother, June 15, 1889
Ossie writes that he is going to Greenville for summer encampment and needs money for summer clothes. He also wants to find a summer job and was offered a place in Jacksonville but he is afraid of yellow fever.

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his father, June 22, 1889
Ossie writes that examinations are coming up and that he is tired of everything that has to do with the Academy. He then talks about the cadet glee club and how the Superintendent was afraid that they would disgrace the Academy. He is surprised to…

Letter from Ossie Rivers to his brother Launtie, October 12, 1889
Ossie describes his drilling and lessons in analytic geometry as well as some baptisms that took place in church.
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