By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: West Point - An Intimate Picture of the National Military Academy and - of the Life of the Cadet
Author: Richardson, Robert Charlwood (Jr.)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "West Point - An Intimate Picture of the National Military Academy and - of the Life of the Cadet" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)

[Transcriber’s Note:

Text delimited by underscores is italics.

Text delimited by equal signs is bold.

Character preceded by a caret is superscript, text enclosed in curly
braces preceded by a caret is superscript.]

[Illustration: East View of West Point from the Hudson River]

  West Point
  An Intimate Picture of the National
  Military Academy and of the
  Life of the Cadet

  Robert Charlwood Richardson, Jr.
  Captain, 2nd Cavalry, U. S. Army
  Late Assistant Professor of English, U. S. M. A.

  Foreword by
  Major-General Hugh L. Scott
  Chief of Staff, U. S. Army

  G. P. Putnam’s Sons
  New York and London
  The Knickerbocker Press


  Second Impression

  The Knickerbocker Press, New York



West Point played a great part in the gaining of American independence.
It was strongly fortified as the key of the Hudson, and as long as it
was held by the patriots of the Revolution the New England colonies
could not be cut off from the others and conquered one at a time.

The lack of educated officers was greatly felt by the Generals of the
Revolution, and this lack was but feebly supplied by trained officers
from abroad.

It was mainly through the foresight and patriotism of Washington,
Hamilton, and Knox that the Military Academy at West Point was founded,
and their memory is still enshrined there.

The Academy had its inception in very small beginnings, first by the
assignment of students to an Engineer regiment until the organic act of
1802 created an Academy with ten cadets. A firm establishment was not
made, however, until the detail of Colonel Sylvanus Thayer in command
in 1817, who laid down the fundamental principles which govern the
Academy to this day.

The early graduates of the Academy suffered much from the jealousy of
the old veterans of the Revolution who had no use for the educated
soldier. These graduates were too few to make themselves felt in the
War of 1812, and it was not until General Winfield Scott eulogized
their services in the Mexican War that they began to be appreciated by
the nation.

Their services in the Civil War were inestimable and are known to all
who read history. After the Spanish-American War of 1898, the then
Secretary of War, Mr. Elihu Root, reported that the services of the
graduates of the Military Academy in that war alone had far more than
repaid the cost of the Academy since its foundation in 1802.

For many years the Military Academy was what its name implies, an
Academy, but it has expanded from time to time until it is a military
university, giving instruction for all branches of the service except
the Medical Corps, and securing for each graduate a broad foundation
which enables him to specialize in any direction by means of the
various special schools for each branch. The glory of West Point,
however, is in the West Point character, now well known in every
civilized country in the world, with its reputation for fidelity,
efficiency, discipline, and general uprightness. The standing army of
the United States has always been too small for the tasks that have
been laid upon it, and at every crisis it has had to train large forces
of citizen soldiers summoned from civil life for the emergency. These
citizen-soldiers, as well as the Regular Army itself, rely upon the
scientific education and high character of the West Point graduate to
keep the art of war abreast, if not a little ahead, of the times, and
for the initiative and informing leaven to permeate the mass and to
cause the firm progress of discipline and uprightness throughout the

Shortly after the Mexican War a verse was added to the old West Point
song of Benny Havens:

    “Their [graduates] blood has watered western plains
      And northern wilds of snow,
    Has dyed deep red the Everglades,
      And walls of Mexico.”

Since that time they have shed it copiously in Cuba, China, and the
Philippines, and they are now about to take their places with comrades
from civil life fighting for liberty and democracy on the battlefields
of France.


  _May, 1917_.


This book is intended to give, aside from a brief historical sketch
of West Point, something of the feelings of the cadet from the moment
that he reports for duty until he graduates four years later. Perhaps
some of my fellow West Pointers will disagree with me in regard to my
interpretation of their feelings, but what I have written thereon is
drawn from my own experience and from many conversations with cadets
of to-day. The customs, traditions, methods of training of the Academy
are, I believe, unique, and they make an unforgettable impression upon
the cadet. Especially does he become imbued with an almost indefinable
influence that we of the Academy call the Spirit of West Point, and in
the pages that follow I have tried to seize and translate into words
this spirit of the institution. I have greatly enjoyed writing these
pages about West Point, a subject very dear to my heart, and I offer
this book to the public in the hope that my fellow countrymen may
become better acquainted with the aims and ideals of their National
Military Academy.

It gives me the greatest pleasure to acknowledge here my appreciation
and thanks to Lieutenant Colonel L. H. Holt, U. S. A., Professor of
English and History U. S. M. A., not only for his helpful suggestions
and criticisms, but for his encouragement and unselfish interest in the
preparation of this book.

I also wish to acknowledge the courtesy of the Reverend Herbert Shipman
of New York, formerly Chaplain at the Military Academy, in allowing me
to use his poem _The Corps_, with which I close the volume.

Since this book has gone to press, Colonel John Biddle, the
Superintendent, has been promoted to the grade of Brigadier-General
and relieved from the command of West Point. He has been succeeded by
Colonel Samuel E. Tillman, Retired, who until 1910 was the Professor
of Chemistry and Electricity at the Military Academy. Colonel Tillman
perhaps more than any officer in the Army is better qualified for
this important position. He is a graduate of West Point, to whose
advancement he has devoted most of his life and he has made an
exhaustive study of its needs. His appointment by the President
seems to be particularly felicitous for he possesses a most intimate
knowledge of the Military Academy. All West Pointers rejoice that West
Point is in such good hands.


  _May, 1917_.


  CHAPTER                                                         PAGE

     I.--IN THE DAYS OF THE REVOLUTION                               1

    II.--THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS                                    19


    IV.--THE POWERS THAT BE                                         75

          INHERIT THE EARTH                                        101

    VI.--BENDING THE TWIG                                          127

   VII.--THE DISCIPLINE OF THE MIND                                163

  VIII.--GROWING MUSCLES                                           194

    IX.--LESSONS FROM MARS                                         213

     X.--HENCE, LOATHED MELANCHOLY!                                244

    XI.--STRENGTHENING THE MORAL FIBER                             276

   XII.--SPIRITUAL INFLUENCES                                      291

  XIII.--THE SPIRIT OF WEST POINT                                  300

  APPENDIX                                                         305



    RIVER                                               _Frontispiece_

  THE SPIRIT OF WEST POINT                                           2

  ARTILLERY TARGET PRACTICE                                          6

    THE MILITARY ACADEMY”                                           24
      From the Painting by Thomas Sully, Library,

  CLASS FORMATION IN THE AREA OF BARRACKS                           38

  THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING                                       40


    OF THEMILITARY ACADEMY                                          44
      From the Painting by Thomas Sully, Library,

    OF THE MILITARY ACADEMY                                         46
      From the Painting by Thomas Sully, Library,

    LARGEST RIDING HALL (600 FT. × 150 FT.)                         48

    ACADEMIC BOARD                                                  50
      The Nine Great Warriors of the World. Sculptor,

  THE NORTH CADET BARRACKS                                          52

  THE CHAPEL                                                        56

  THE INTERIOR OF THE CHAPEL                                        58

  VIEW UP THE HUDSON RIVER FROM TROPHY POINT                        66

  “SPOONING” ON FLIRTATION WALK                                     68

  THE SUPERINTENDENT’S QUARTERS                                     78
    Built in 1820


  “BEAST BARRACKS”--DRAWING MATTRESSES                             102

  REPORTING FOR DUTY                                               104

  TWO HOURS AFTER REPORTING                                        108

  THE INTERIOR OF A CADET’S ROOM IN BARRACKS                       114

  MOVING FROM BARRACKS TO CAMP                                     118

  A FIRST LESSON IN SALUTING                                       122

  MARCHING TO BARRACKS FROM DINNER                                 154
    The Academic Buildings

  THE EXTERIOR OF THE GYMNASIUM                                    196

  GYMNASTIC EXERCISES                                              200

  THE ATHLETIC FIELD                                               208

  SETTING UP DRILL ON THE PLAIN                                    210

  PARADE ON THE PLAIN                                              230

  AT TARGET PRACTICE ON THE FLATS                                  236

  AT P. M. E. DRILL                                                240
    Building a Pontoon Bridge

  THE ARMY                                                         288

    THE GRADUATING CLASS                                           302
      “We’ll bid farewell to Cadet gray and don the
           Army blue”

[Illustration: The Spirit of West Point]




Despite the successful attempts of the architect to give to the
magnificent new buildings at West Point a mediæval character, there
is nothing about them to suggest a feeling of oldness, a feeling that
they are linked with the history of the place. Not until one wanders
among the ruins of old Fort Putnam, explores the crumbling works of
the chain of Redoubts on the surrounding hills, or rambles over the
débris of Fort Constitution on Constitution Island, does he feel the
flavor of age, the romance of West Point of the past. It is only then
that the imagination races back over the years to the days of the
Revolution where it pauses to rebuild the stirring events that filled
the daily lives of our ancestors in their desperate struggle for our
independence. Looking backward through the vista of more than a century
the most commonplace happenings seem powdered with the golden dust of
romance. Interwoven with each event are the names of the men who helped
to make possible these free United States: Washington, Hamilton, Knox;
and of him who was almost successful in thwarting their efforts, the
traitor Benedict Arnold.

As far back as the time of the French and Indian Wars both the
Americans and British recognized the great value of the control of the
Hudson River. It would seem, therefore, that when the Revolution broke
out both sides would take every means to seize and fortify the most
strategic points along its banks. Strange to say, the Americans were as
indifferent about its control as the British, so that the Revolution
was in progress for three years before West Point, the natural key to
the river’s defense, was fortified.

During the Revolution the British were operating from Manhattan on the
south and Canada on the north as bases. Had they controlled the Hudson,
they could have separated the eastern from the middle colonies, which
division would have prevented the patriots from military combination
and from interchanging the necessary commodities for both sections.

Immediately after the battles of Concord and Lexington, the Congress
of New York, acting upon a suggestion from the Continental Congress,
sent a commission to the Highlands to select “the most proper place
for erecting one or more fortifications.” Constitution Island, and
the sites where Forts Montgomery and Clinton[1] were afterwards built,
were chosen. Nothing much was accomplished, however, in the way of
fortifications despite the appointment of another commission that
recommended the absolute necessity for works at West Point opposite
Constitution Island.

Washington, accompanied by General Heath, finally sailed up the river
in 1776, and General Heath tells us that “a glance at West Point
without going on shore evinced that this post was not to be neglected.”
Meanwhile the Revolution dragged on into its third year, 1778, but
still no fortifications at West Point. Due to Washington’s persistence,
work was begun there early in January, 1778. General Parsons with his
brigade arrived at West Point on the 20th of January and began the
erection of defenses. The weather was extremely cold, provisions were
scarce, the men inadequately clothed, and the troops poorly supplied
with the proper implements to carry on their labor. Altogether, a very
depressing and discouraging situation confronted Parsons’s men as
they debouched upon the Plain and surveyed their surroundings. If any
thought could have given them courage it must have been the reflection
that at least they were somewhat better off than their comrades in
arms down at Valley Forge, who, despite their wretched condition, were
bravely keeping alive the patriotic fires of the Revolution.

What a contrast was that first sight of West Point to Parsons’s troops
to that offered today! Instead of the beautiful level parade ground
surrounded by fine granite buildings they found an undulating plain
covered by a growth of yellow pines ten or fifteen feet high, without
house or habitation. The only point of similarity was the snow, waist
high. After strenuous efforts to get logs from the neighboring hills,
a few rude huts were hastily thrown together, and then, at the end
of three weeks, the soldiers fell to work with a will, building Fort
Clinton under the direction of a splendid young French engineer by the
name of de la Radière. The cold was most intense, but the men went
up the river, cut the timber for the Fort, and assembled it so that
when the river was open, it might be floated down to the Point. Their
hard daily toil was not relieved by any diversions in the evening, for
West Point was a veritable wilderness. General Parsons, in writing
to Colonel Wadsworth, said of West Point, “to a contemplative mind
that delights in a lonely retreat from the world ’tis as beautiful as
Sharon, but affords to the man who loves the society of the world a
prospect nearly allied to the shades of death.... News arrives here
by accident only.” The poor soldiers had to repair night after night
to their little log huts and get what pleasure they could from one
another’s society.

The rigors of the winter and the hardships to which the Revolutionary
soldiers were accustomed overwhelmed the delicate constitution of
the brilliant young de la Radière. Unhappily, he contracted a severe
cold that culminated in consumption from which he died the following
mid-summer. Another European, attracted by the justice of the
Revolutionary cause, succeeded de la Radière. Thaddeus Kosciusko, a
Pole of education and culture, joined Parsons’s officers, with whom he
became a great favorite, not only on account of his engineering ability
but by reason of his charming manners, soft and conciliating, and by
the elevation of his mind. One officer wrote that he took much pleasure
in accompanying Kosciusko with his theodolite measuring the heights of
the surrounding mountains.

Today Kosciusko’s name is more familiar to West Pointers than de la
Radière’s, for an enchanting little garden, a tiny retreat hanging on
to the cliff near the river, bears his name, and a monument, in the
northeast corner of the Plain near Port Clinton that he helped build,
commemorates his devotion to the Revolutionary cause.

Kosciusko’s presence and energy put new life into the work of
construction. Shortly afterwards, when orders came from Washington to
expedite the completion of all of the forts, Parsons and Kosciusko,
under the direction of Colonel Rufus Putnam, immediately commenced
excavations for Fort Putnam.[2] The men now daily trudged up the small
hill back of the Plain and began making clearings for the fort’s
foundation. It was hard laborious work, extremely fatiguing, and, to
add to the men’s discomfiture, they were greatly annoyed by large
rattlesnakes with which the hill top seemed to swarm.

While the land defenses were being so well prepared, steps were taken
to prevent enemy ships from passing up the Hudson. The topography of
West Point and the adjacent country lent itself most admirably to the
plan of obstructing the river.

The Hudson, as it comes down from Newburgh a straight course of nine
miles, strikes West Point, where it is deflected eastward for a quarter
of a mile, flowing between Constitution Island and the steep cliffs
of the Point before again turning south. Any British sailing vessel
coming up the river from New York would, upon rounding Gee’s Point,
lose a great deal of its speed on account of the swift current, and
if stopped by some obstruction could be held under the fire of the
batteries on both shores. General Putnam, therefore, through his
Quartermaster-General, contracted with the Sterling Iron Works of
Noble, Townsend and Co., for an iron chain 500 feet long, each link
about two feet long, to be made of the best Sterling iron 2¼ inches
square, with a swivel to every hundred feet and a clevis to every
thousand feet, for which the government was to pay $440 for every ton
weight of chain and anchors.[3]

[Illustration: Artillery Target Practice

  _Photo White Studio_]

The chain was to obstruct the navigation of the river. It was stretched
across the narrowest part on April 30, 1778, and fastened at West Point
in the second small cove west of Gee’s Point, and on Constitution
Island where the present small boathouse and landing-place stand. Very
large logs, sixteen or more feet long, a little pointed at the ends to
lessen opposition to the force of the water on flood and ebb, were used
to buoy up the great weight of the obstruction. During the winter it
was taken up, because the ice in the river was an effective blockade,
but when spring came the work of 280 men was needed to lay it across
the stream.

Meanwhile, Kosciusko labored strenuously on the forts, so that by June,
1778, the work on the fort in the northeast corner of the Plain begun
by de la Radière in the January past, was completed and given the
name of Fort Arnold. Later, when Benedict Arnold turned traitor, its
name became Fort Clinton. A small portion of the wall stands today.
Washington, on a visit to West Point in September, 1778, paid Kosciusko
a great compliment, stating to General Duportail, his chief engineer,
that he need have no uneasiness as to Kosciusko’s ability.

Additional troops were at this time sent to West Point because
Washington feared an attack by the British. In the spring of 1779,
General McDougall was at West Point with three brigades; there was
one on Constitution Island, and the main body of the Army was near
Haverstraw under General Putnam. Washington, ever watchful, viewed with
great concern the presence of the British in the strong position of
Stony Point because he considered this post a serious menace to West
Point. Wishing to be rid of them he sent for Anthony Wayne, gave him a
corps of light infantry, and directed him to capture the British fort.
A better man than Wayne could not have been selected for the job. On
the 15th of July, Wayne paraded his troops for a minute inspection,
after which, instead of dismissing them, he marched upon Stony Point,
which at midnight he successfully assaulted with the bayonet. The news
of his brilliant exploit was conveyed to Washington in the following
refreshing message:

  WEST POINT, 16 July 1779.
  2 o’clock a. m.


The fort and garrison with Colonel Johnston are ours. Our officers and
men behaved like men who are determined to be free.

  Yours most sincerely,

To supervise better the defenses of the Hudson River, Washington moved
his headquarters to West Point, in July, 1779, where he remained
until November of that year, occupying “Moore’s House,” a structure
that stood in Washington valley near the shore of the Hudson, a short
distance from the northeast corner of the present cemetery. It was
built by John Moore prior to 1749, and called by all the people in the
vicinity “Moore’s Folly” on account of its pretentiousness.

General Clinton tried to draw Washington out into the open country for
a campaign, but the American Commander was too astute and Clinton dared
not attack the Revolutionary forces at bay at West Point because of the
dangers of a campaign in the Highlands.

Spurred on by Washington’s presence and by his orders, Kosciusko and
the troops completed Fort Putnam and Redoubts Webb and Wyllys in the
summer. This work necessitated for fatigue duty each day 2500 men, a
large percentage of the garrison. Even at this early period, West Point
was the Mecca for distinguished Americans and foreigners. Nearly every
Revolutionary commander visited the Post at one time or another during
the war, and while Washington was here, Count de Luzerne, the French
minister, was his guest.

Before Washington left the Post in late November, the troops in the
Highlands were distributed to their winter stations. Little money was
available to equip properly the soldiers but they struggled on bearing
their burdens and hardships that we of today might be free. That they
were not fighting for the present alone, without a thought as to those
who would come after them, is revealed to us by an entry in a diary of
General Heath who was then in command of all the troops and Posts on
the Hudson:

    25th Nov. 1779. The troops were moving to their different places
    of cantonment; many of the soldiers (as fine men as ever stood in
    shoes) were marched barefooted over the hard frozen ground, and
    with an astonishing patience.

    _Remember these things, ye Americans in future times!_

In the spring of 1780, Washington sent Baron Steuben to West Point
to drill the troops, for he feared an attack by the British. This
accomplished officer, a Major-General in the American Army, had seen
seven campaigns in the service of Frederick the Great, so that he
brought to his task a ripe experience. With Prussian thoroughness he
commenced drilling both the old soldiers and recruits of the command,
with the result that by summer he was able to write to Washington that
he had formed a corps of light infantry “that I dare flatter myself
will be the admiration of our allies as much as the terror of our

Notwithstanding the patriotic work of the officers and men of the
Army, Washington was aware that America as well as Great Britain was
getting tired of the war. “There never has been a stage of the war,” he
said, “in which dissatisfaction has been so general and so alarming.”
Governor Reed of Pennsylvania said in August, 1780: “It is obvious that
the bulk of the people are weary of the war.”

The stage was therefore set for the most dramatic event of the
Revolution, the treason of Benedict Arnold. Had Arnold succeeded at
this period of the Revolution, the hour of darkness and depression, in
selling West Point to the British, we would probably still be English
colonies. The loss of the Post would have shaken the morale of the
American commanders, not to speak of the paralysis of any movement upon
which Washington’s army might have been engaged at that particular time.

For more than a year previous to his assumption of the command of
West Point, Arnold had been hatching nefarious schemes to betray the
Americans. He needed money badly, due to his extravagances while in
Philadelphia. His conduct had not been entirely satisfactory while
in that city and open resentment was expressed on account of his
preference for the British faction, but because of his military
capacity he was held in high esteem by Washington. His abilities led
Washington to offer him the command of the left wing of the army then
in the field, but he pleaded that he was unfit for field duty by
reason of the wound that he had received at Saratoga, and requested
the command of West Point. His desires were respected and on August
5, 1780, he assumed command of his new post with headquarters at the
Robinson House.[4]

Once at West Point, Arnold saw his chance to gain rank and pay from the
British. He immediately entered into a lively correspondence with Major
André, the Adjutant-General of the British forces in America, who was
addressed as “Mr. John Anderson, Merchant.” Arnold’s communications
were all signed “Gustavus.” When negotiations for the betrayal of West
Point had reached a crisis, Arnold requested a personal interview with
a representative of the British. General Clinton then sent Major André
up the river on the sloop _Vulture_ which anchored near Haverstraw.
An agent of Arnold’s, one Joshua Hett Smith, returned at midnight,
September 21, with Major André in full uniform, a landing being
made a short distance north of the West Shore Railroad tunnel south
of Haverstraw. Arnold and André then went to Smith’s house in West
Haverstraw. They were challenged by an American sentinel and it was
here that André entered the American lines.

While the two officers were in consultation, the American commander
across the river brought a four-pounder within range of the _Vulture_,
and opened a heavy fire upon her, causing her commander to shift his
anchorage downstream. Great was André’s dismay at seeing his vessel
forced away, for now he was in the American lines and far from New
York. He had been assured of a safe return to his own lines, and
disliked the idea of traveling alone by land to New York. Moreover,
he was very reluctant to take off his uniform but at Arnold’s advice
he changed into civilian clothing, thereby foolishly placing himself
in the light of a spy, if caught within the American lines. Arnold
also gave André important papers regarding the strength of West Point

It is not difficult to imagine the state of André’s mind at finding
himself in a false position and at the same time disobeying General
Clinton’s orders, which were not to change his uniform under any
circumstances nor receive any papers from Arnold. Under the guidance of
Joshua Smith, he crossed the river at King’s Ferry (near Stony Point of
today) and proceeded south toward New York.

Although furnished with a pass by Arnold, he was detained by three
American patriots near Tarrytown, searched, and turned over to Colonel
Jameson at North Castle.

Meanwhile, Arnold was at his Headquarters at the Robinson House
awaiting events, and Washington was on his way from Hartford to West
Point. Had Arnold succeeded it is probable that Washington would have
fallen into the enemy’s hands at this time, an accident that would
have ruined the Revolution. When Washington was opposite West Point he
sent two aides to inform Arnold of his arrival. They proceeded to the
Robinson House and were enjoying Arnold’s hospitality at breakfast when
Jameson’s messenger arrived with a note announcing André’s capture. The
news must have fallen upon Arnold like a thunderbolt, but with perfect
_sangfroid_ he excused himself, rushed upstairs to tell his wife of
the danger, ordered his horse, sent for the coxswain of his barge, and
then calmly returned to his guests whom he told it was necessary for
him to cross to West Point to prepare for the reception of General
Washington. Instead, he rapidly made his way down the river and boarded
the _Vulture_ which took him to New York.

Major André was tried by court-martial, found guilty of being a spy,
and sentenced to be hanged. Numerous letters were written to Washington
begging that André’s life be spared. Arnold himself addressed to his
former chief a long communication exonerating André and taking upon
himself the blame for André’s presence in disguise within the American
lines. Even Hamilton was touched, saying: “Never perhaps did any man
suffer death with more justice or deserve it less.”

André accepted his fate like a brave soldier but he revolted from the
ignominy of being hanged. When all efforts to change the mode of his
death failed, he personally appealed to Washington in the following
splendid letter:

_From Maj. André to General Washington, 1780._

  The 1st. of Oct., 1780.


Buoy’d above the terror of death by the consciousness of a life devoted
to honorable pursuits and stained with no action that can give me
remorse, I trust that the request that I make to your Excellency, at
this serious period and which is to soften my last moments will not be

Sympathy toward a soldier will surely induce your Excellency and
a military tribunal to adapt the mode of my death to the feelings
of a man of honor. Let me hope, Sir, that if aught in my character
impresses you with esteem towards me, if aught in my misfortune marks
me the victim of policy and not of resentment, I shall experience the
operation of those feelings in your breast by being informed that I am
not to die on a gibbet.

I have the honor to be your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble

  Adj. General to the British Army.

His request, however, was not granted and in the early afternoon of
October 2, 1780, arrayed in full dress uniform he paid the penalty on
the scaffold. His body was buried beneath his gibbet but removed to
England in 1831 where it rests in Westminster Abbey.

West Point and the Revolutionary cause was saved to the Americans!
The shock of Arnold’s traitorous act with its narrowly averted
consequences caused Washington to take even more stringent measures
for West Point’s defense. Orders were issued to continue work on all
of the fortifications and during 1781 and 1782, the garrison labored
faithfully and uncomplainingly notwithstanding the great sufferings
of the men from lack of provisions. At times the stores on hand were
numbered by a few barrels of salt pork and a little flour.

Major-General Knox now assumed command of the Post. After the cessation
of hostilities he was very busy mustering out troops and putting the
garrison in shape.

Despite the poverty that prevailed at West Point, Washington ordered a
celebration to be held in honor of the birth of the Dauphin of France,
Louis Joseph, the son of Louis XVI., born October, 1781. A magnificent
fête was arranged in which all of the troops stationed in the Highlands
participated. Upon the Plain at West Point, Major Villefranche erected
a curious edifice, an improvised temple with a grand colonnade of 118
pillars made of the trunks of trees. The entire building was festooned
with American and French flags, with designs and emblems, muskets and
bayonets fancifully arranged. Washington, with a party of five hundred
distinguished guests, assembled in the colonnade for a banquet. A
series of thirteen toasts were drunk, each one accompanied by a salute
of thirteen cannon. During the evening there was a grand display of
fireworks for the troops and a ball for the officers and their guests.
This dance, led by General Washington, was the first real West Point

The various details left over from the Revolution were now disposed
of by General Knox and his successor, Lieut.-Col. Rochefontaine. The
genesis of the Military Academy was foreshadowed by the presence of the
Invalid Corps which by act of Congress, 1777, was, among other things,
“to serve as a military school for young gentlemen previous to their
being appointed to marching regiments.”

The dark days of the Revolution were over and the troops could now rest
from their strenuous labors. There were important matters, however,
to occupy the leaders, not the least of which was the establishment
of an institution for training officers for the Army. No lesson of
the war was so well learned as the need for such educated leaders,
and immediately the Revolution was over, Washington, Hamilton, and
Knox began urging Congress to establish a National Military Academy.
Although Washington never lived to see his recommendations carried out,
he would have rejoiced, I am sure, to know that Congress three years
after his death founded the United States Military Academy, at his
favorite Post, West Point.



When at last the colonies found themselves free, and realized that they
were in no immediate danger from any foe, the thoughts of the people,
so long occupied with war, eagerly turned toward the establishment of
their new government. It was only natural that the Army, weary of the
long struggle for independence, should gladly welcome their release
from service, and resume once again the peaceful pursuits of civil
life. For seven long years their days had been filled with arduous
marches through heat and through snow, with tedious vigils on outposts,
or with bloody encounters with the British, and the great mass of the
people joyfully hailed the piping times of peace, and without ado
they turned their battle-axes into billhooks, and their helmets into

It could not be expected that during the reaction that followed the
Revolution much attention would be given to the subject of military
education. As a matter of fact, for seven years this question was
allowed to sleep; but Washington, ever on the alert for the welfare
of the new country, suggested in his annual message of 1790 to the
Congress the establishment of a National Military Academy. In spite of
the great prestige that he enjoyed both as President and as the man who
had successfully waged the Revolution, his words were not heeded by
Congress until some years afterwards.

The Congress of those days apparently was like our own and needed to
have a matter brought to its attention many times before any definite
action was taken. Washington undoubtedly appreciated this condition
for we find that on numerous occasions he spoke of his plan, telling
Congress that “it is an inquiry that cannot be too strongly pursued.”
His efforts were not without reward, for in 1794 the grade of Cadet
was created, and a military school was established at West Point. This
school was composed of the cadets who were by law attached to the
Engineer and Artillery Corps of the garrison. In each company there
were two of these young men styled “cadets of the Service,” whom the
Government aimed to train to become commissioned officers of the Army.
There was, however, no organization to the school, nor scientific
system of instruction, so that the cadets did about as they pleased,
pursuing their studies in a desultory manner.

It was not until the 16th of March, 1802, that the United States
Military Academy was definitely established by law. Congress then
authorized the President to organize the Corps of Engineers whose
cadre contained, in addition to the officers, ten cadets. West Point
was designated as the station of the Corps which was to constitute the
Military Academy. The next year forty cadets, to be appointed from the
artillery troops of the Army, were added and in 1808, 156 additional

During the first ten years of its existence the Military Academy was
in a most chaotic condition. It was in reality “a foundling barely
existing among the mountains, out of sight of, and almost unknown to,
its legitimate parents.” It is greatly to be wondered at that the
Academy ever survived the terrible throes of its birth. Almost no
provisions for its existence were made by Congress. The cadets were
lodged in an old barrack of the Revolution, called the “Long Barrack,”
that occupied the site of the present hotel, and their instruction
was given in a wooden building called the “Academy” that stood on the
spot of the present Superintendent’s quarters. They were allowed to
board around promiscuously, really living from hand to mouth. Among
the student body there was very little discipline, but a great deal of
idleness and dissipation.

In 1812, a new law placed the school on a firm basis and furnished
the principles upon which the institution has been conducted to
this moment. Two hundred and fifty cadets were authorized and the
respectable sum of twenty-five thousand dollars appropriated for
buildings. To offset this good fortune, the Academy had to fight
against the hostility of Madison’s Secretary of War, Eustis, who tried
his utmost to strangle the new-born institution. But happily the
exigencies of the War of 1812 frustrated his hostile designs.

Despite insuperable difficulties, the Academy began to grow, not
scientifically, but in a muddling sort of way. Where the Superintendent
had heretofore been a rover up and down the Hudson Posts, he now
became permanently located at West Point. The professors began to work
together with more harmony, going so far as to recommend a broadly
planned course that included most of the subjects studied today. By
the Regulations of 1815, the cadets were required to mess at a common
table, instead of boarding at private houses, their age limit was fixed
at fourteen to twenty, and their uniform was definitely prescribed.
A little order was being brought out of chaos. Annual vacations were
granted, to commence immediately after the examination in July and to
end on the first day of August. Notwithstanding the excellence of the
above features, the general condition of this infant school was far
from satisfactory. A picture of its inner life is revealed in a letter
written in 1815 by Andrew Ellicott, the Professor of Mathematics, to
the Secretary of War, in which he states:

    Until I came here the Academy was abandoned by the Professors and
    a great part of the students from the first of December until, the
    first of April following every year. This practice I immediately
    put a stop to, and kept the Academy open two winters, not even
    excluding Sundays, without the aid of any other Professor or
    regular assistant. The winter before last, I kept together more
    than twenty students, 16 of whom were commissioned last July, and
    last winter more than 80, some of whom would do credit to any
    country or nation, and will be found among our future rulers. These
    extra services are not ideal--they are substantial.

Although Professor Ellicott rather emphasizes his assiduity in his
application for extra compensation we must be grateful, at least, for
the glimpse he gives us of the state of affairs in 1815.

Better days, however, were in store for West Point. That the War
Department was not entirely insensible to the handicap under which
those at West Point were working, is proven by the circumstance
that at this particular time there was in Europe an officer, Major
Sylvanus Thayer, who had been sent abroad “to prosecute inquiries and
examinations calculated for his improvement in the military art.” He
was given five thousand dollars for the collection of books, maps,
and instruments for the Military Academy. Shortly after his return,
he was made Superintendent, relieving Captain Alden Partridge whose
administration had not been popular nor very successful. Although
Captain Partridge was much criticized by the professors and cadets his
farewell address to the “Gentlemen Cadets of the Military Academy” was
so high-minded that I am tempted to quote it in full:

    Before I take my leave of you, gentlemen, permit me to impress anew
    upon your minds some precepts to which I have frequently before
    this called your attention. Be attentive to your studies, and
    correct and gentlemanly in your deportment. Pursue with undeviating
    course the paths of virtue and true honor; and rest assured that
    although the vicious and the vain may affect to ridicule and
    despise, they will inwardly respect you, and that you will thereby
    ensure the applause of the good and the great, and, which is of
    more importance, the approbation of your consciences and of your

With the advent of Major Thayer began the golden age of the Academy.
This officer was a veteran of the War of 1812 in which he had served
with great distinction; he had studied the military schools of France,
and had profited by his unusual opportunities to acquire a profound
knowledge concerning the conduct of an institution such as the military
school over which he was chief.

The great talents that Major Thayer possessed were well employed. For
sixteen years he shaped the destiny of the Academy, and with such
wisdom and foresight that the broad fundamental principles which he
laid down for the school’s guidance, govern the institution today.

[Illustration: Major Sylvanus Thayer

“The Father of the Military Academy”

From the Painting by Thomas Sully, Library U.S.M.A.]

To him, more than to any one man, is due the elevation of the Military
Academy to its high rank among schools of learning both in this country
and abroad.

Upon taking over the command, he immediately drew upon his genius for
organization, with the result that the cadets were organized into a
battalion of two companies, a “Commandant of Cadets” was created, the
classes were for study purposes divided into sections, transfers were
made between sections, and weekly reports, showing daily progress in
studies, were rendered. Moreover, the system and scale of daily marks,
the publication of the _Annual Register_, the introduction of the
Board of Visitors, the check-book system, the preponderating influence
of the blackboard, and the essential part of the modern Regulations
are proofs of his untiring efforts as an executive. The above changes
that he effected, and the reforms that he introduced, are a part of
the modern organization of West Point. Perhaps no one method has so
much influenced the quality of the instruction of the cadets as the
blackboard recitations. Major Thayer insisted on this form, although
old records show that it was introduced at West Point by Mr. George
Baron, a civilian teacher, who in the autumn of 1801 gave to Cadet
Swift “a specimen of his mode of teaching at the blackboard.” Today it
is the prominent feature in Academic instruction.

Major Thayer’s success in giving West Point an upward impetus had
attracted general attention and observation throughout the country so
that appointments were now sought after with avidity. The politicians
rejoiced at the Academy’s increased importance and the consequent
patronage that the appointments offered. Although the present law
did not obtain, whereby Congressmen appointed cadets, still it had
been the custom for the President to appoint men to West Point upon
the recommendation of a Representative. In 1843, a law was passed
that allowed one cadet for each congressional district. Major Thayer
was at his own request relieved as Superintendent, after a brilliant
administration whose results were so beneficial to the institution as
to gain for him from posterity the title of “Father of the Military

Could Major Thayer have only peered into the future he would have seen
Fame, years later, crowning three of his raw young cadets. One of the
lads at West Point under Major Thayer was Edgar Allan Poe, America’s
foremost literary genius. He entered West Point July 1, 1830, but
after a troublous stay of a little over eight months was dismissed
for repeated misconduct. Not a great deal is known of his brief cadet
days, but his classmates have stated that he was irritable and morose,
and addicted to excessive drinking. He would steal out of barracks
sometimes, long after taps, and “run it out” to “Old Benny Havens,” a
tavern kept by Benny Havens on the banks of the Hudson about a mile
below West Point. Benny Havens’ name is preserved in song and story at
West Point, and tales that surrounded the cadet reunions in ye olden
days at “Benny’s” are flavored with all the romance of a mythical
legend. Old Benny died in 1877 at the ripe age of eighty-nine years,
but his name survives in a stirring West Point song that I quote in

    Come fill your glasses, fellows, and stand up in a row,
    For singing sentimentally we are going for to go,
    In the Army there’s sobriety, promotion’s very slow,
    So we’ll sing our reminiscences of Benny Havens, Oh!

           *       *       *       *       *

    To our comrades who have fallen, one cup before we go;
    They poured their life-blood freely out _pro bono publico_.
    No marble points the stranger to where they rest below!
    They lie neglected far away from Benny Havens, Oh!

           *       *       *       *       *

    When you and I and Benny and all the others too,
    Are called before the “final Board,” our course of life to view,
    May we never “fess”[5] on any point, but straight be told to go
    And join the Army of the blest at Benny Havens, Oh!

Poe, however, was only one of many who disobeyed the regulations, but
he did not care for military life and made no effort to conceal his
offenses. Finally he was tried by court-martial. For two weeks prior
to his trial he neglected almost all of his studies as a cadet. Two
of the specifications against him were for absences from parades and
roll calls and two for disobedience of orders, but at the trial, he
deliberately pleaded guilty to the latter and not guilty to the former,
the most patent and obvious of his offenses. Whether or not he did this
from a sense of humor, is not known, but his action was not calculated
to help him in the eyes of his superiors. He was dismissed March 6,
1831. Four days later he wrote Major Thayer the following letter:

_Letter of Edgar Allan Poe, Lately Cadet, U. S. M. A., to the
Superintendent: 1831._

(_Original in the library U. S. M. A._)

  Mar. 10, 1831.


Having no longer any ties to bind me to my country--no prospects--nor
friends--I intend by the first opportunity to proceed to Paris with
the view of obtaining through the interest of the Marquis De La
Fayette, an appointment (if possible) in the Polish Army. In the event
of the interference of France in behalf of Poland this may easily be
effected--in all events it will be my only feasible plan of procedure.

The object of this letter is respectfully to request that you will
give me such assistance as may be in your power in the furtherance of
my views.

A certificate of standing in my class is all that I may have a right to

Anything further--a letter to a friend in Paris--or to the
Marquis--would be a kindness which I would never forget.

  Most respectfully,
  Yr. obt. st.

Poe, however, abandoned the plan and little more was heard of his
whereabouts by his friends at West Point.

The two other cadets under Major Thayer, were Jefferson Davis and
Robert E. Lee, but their history is too well known to bear repetition
here. Suffice to say that Jefferson Davis was mischievous and human
enough as a cadet to be court-martialed for an escapade.

The prosperity of the Academy continued in spite of its opponents in
Congress who, just prior to the Mexican War, came near accomplishing
its overthrow, but the brilliant achievements of its graduates in that
conflict silenced for a while their mutterings. Many young officers
who served with distinction in this war were later to win greater
fame in the titanic Civil War. Grant (class of ’43); Sherman (’40);
Hancock (’44); Thomas (’40); Meade (’35); Hooker (’30); Sedgwick (’37)
participated in the campaigns against the Mexicans.

The nation was given ample proof of the wisdom of Washington, Hamilton,
and Knox in their efforts to establish a Military Academy wherein
officers might be educated and trained to organize and discipline
citizen soldiers, and lead them to victory. At West Point today there
are bronze cannon, tattered flags, and mutilated flagstaffs, trophies
of the Mexican War that were presented to the Academy by General
Winfield Scott, the Commanding General of the Army, who stated, “as
under Providence it is mainly to the Military Academy that the United
States became indebted for those brilliant achievements and other
memorable victories in the same war, I have a lively pleasuring in
tendering the seven trophies (semi-national) to the mother of so many
accomplished soldiers and patriots.”

The close of the Mexican War found the Military Academy the pet
and idol of the National Legislature. All of its requirements were
solicitously studied and plenty of funds were forthcoming to supply its
wants. As time went on, however, and no foe appeared at our door, the
usual indifference on the part of some toward military affairs, and the
open hostilities of others, were manifested. As before in its history,
the Academy became the object of numerous attacks, but it ignored them,
continuing unobtrusively the preparation of her cadets for their future
work, little realizing how important this work was soon to be.

In 1852, Brevet-Colonel R. E. Lee, Corps of Engineers, class of 1829,
was appointed Superintendent. Under his administration the course
was extended to include five years, embracing more English studies
and Military Law. A new riding hall was completed in 1855 which
greatly increased the opportunity for cavalry exercises. Colonel Lee,
having transferred to the Cavalry arm of the Service, was relieved as
Superintendent, April, 1855, because according to law at that time,
only Engineer officers could serve as Superintendent.

The year before Lee’s administration began, there entered West Point
in July, 1851, a cadet, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, aged sixteen
years and eleven months, destined to become one of America’s greatest
artists. Whistler remained three years at West Point when he was
discharged for deficiency in chemistry. In speaking in after years of
his experiences with this study, he said, “Had silicon been a gas, I
would have been a Major-General.” He was called up for examination in
the subject of chemistry, which also covered the studies of mineralogy
and geology, and given silicon to discuss. When called upon to recite,
he stated: “I am required to discuss the subject of silicon. Silicon
is a gas.” “That will do, Mr. Whistler,” said the Professor, and the
artist soldier retired quickly to private life.

Another story was told of him in an examination in history. “What!”
said an officer who was his instructor, “you do not know the date of
the Battle of Buena Vista? Suppose you were to go out to dinner and
the company began to talk of the Mexican War, and you, a West Point
man, were asked the date of the battle. What would you do?”

“Do,” said Whistler, “why, I should refuse to associate with people who
would talk of such things at dinner.”

Although Whistler was not a success in defining silicon or remembering
dates, he excelled in drawing, standing at the head of his class.
The Professor of Drawing at the time was Robert W. Weir, an artist
of no mean ability himself and of generally recognized standing. For
Whistler, Professor Weir always had a high esteem on account of the
unusual talent he displayed in the drawing classes. Specimens of his
work as a cadet are still preserved at West Point.

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1860, the rumblings of trouble over the slave question began to
be heard even in the secluded Highlands of the Hudson. At first the
Southern and Northern cadets ardently advocated the views of their
respective States, arguing with all of the warmth and enthusiasm of
their young natures but without any particular bitterness. Soon,
however, the gathering of the war clouds and the noise of the storm
that was brewing brought the Southern cadets face to face with a
problem that of its nature was most difficult to solve. Each one had
sworn allegiance to the Government and taken an oath to defend it
against all enemies. What should they do? To remain and support the
Federal Government meant to fight against their own flesh and blood,
yet to resign was to break one’s sworn word. As a Southerner myself, I
have often reflected upon the mental suffering that those fellow cadets
of “the long grey line” must have experienced, trying to decide upon
their duty. General Schaff, in _The Spirit of Old West Point_, gives us
a vivid picture of those days at the Academy. So much has been written
about the cadets who left West Point to fight with the Southern forces
that the following data may prove interesting.

At the outbreak of the Civil War there were from the Southern States
eighty-six cadets. Of this number sixty-three resigned, from various
causes connected with the war, leaving twenty-one who remained loyal
to the Government. In the Army, it is a remarkable fact that of the
officers of Southern blood appointed from civil life, one half went
with the Confederacy, whereas only one fifth of the West Pointers went
South. One hundred and sixty-two Southern graduates withstood the
terrible strain of fighting their own people, and remained true to the

Although up to the time of the Civil War no graduates of West Point
had been appointed to the rank of general officer, the war had not
been in progress a year before the country eagerly turned to men from
the Academy to lead its armies. In September, 1861, six of the eleven
generals in the Regular Army were graduates. At the conclusion of the
war sixteen of the seventeen Regular general officers of the line were
graduates. Sixty-six graduates rose during the war to the grade of
major-general and 112 to that of brigadier-general of volunteers, which
means that more than one third of the graduates engaged in the war rose
to the grade of general officer. Nine received the thanks of Congress
for conspicuous gallantry.

Turning to the Confederate forces, we find a similar state of affairs.
Of the West Pointers in the Confederate service, eighteen were made
full generals, fifteen lieutenant-generals, forty major-generals, and
eighty-eight brigadier-generals. In command of all was Jefferson Davis,
President of the Confederacy, and a West Pointer.

The most famous West Pointer on the Union side was Ulysses S. Grant,
class of 1843, but scarcely less noted were Sheridan (’53), and Sherman
(’45). Other graduates whose services were most conspicuous follow:
George H. Thomas (’40), Meade (’35), Hooker (’35), Sedgwick (’37),
McClellan (’46), Halleck (’39), McPherson (’53), Rosecrans (’42),
Warren (’50), Pleasanton (’44), and Gregg (’55).

On the Confederate side we find Lee (’29), Early (’37), Jackson (’46),
A. S. Johnston (’26), A. P. Hill (’47), Daniel H. Hill (’42), and
Longstreet (’42), Ewell (’40), and Stuart (’54).

At the conclusion of the Civil War, a struggle between three million
combatants, all of the armies in the field on both sides were
commanded by graduates; nearly all of the corps; a large majority
of the divisions; the staff corps or organization of supply of both
forces, and many of the brigades. Every important battle of the war was
commanded on one or both sides by a graduate--generally both. This was
the verdict of the end of the great conflict after a test to which no
other institution of learning has ever been put.

After the Civil War the Academy began to drop out of public notice
because the people were more interested in the commercial development
of the country. Apathy on the part of the public has never, however,
affected West Point’s attitude toward its duty, so that year after year
graduates were sent forth to fight the Indians upon the Plains where
they underwent great hardships of which the country was ignorant.

Then came the Spanish War to test again the product of the Academy, but
the work of the graduates in Cuba and the Philippines gave ample proof
that the metal was still good and well stamped.

With the advent of Colonel A. L. Mills as Superintendent, the Academy
received a fresh impetus and many important changes were effected.
The Corps in 1900 was increased by one hundred cadets, hazing in all
of its forms was practically abolished after a long bitter fight, and
elaborate plans were inaugurated for the enlargement and rebuilding
of West Point. In this connection the late Colonel Charles W. Larned,
Professor of Drawing, distinguished himself. It is largely due to his
indefatigable efforts and to the foresight and ability of the late
General Mills, and to the Secretary of War, Elihu Root, that West Point
has its magnificent new buildings. Their construction extended over
a long period, from 1904 to 1911, during which time the courses were
expanded and improved to meet the needs of our new Army.

Once again the country is at war, this time with the most powerful and
resourceful enemy that our citizens have been called upon to face.

The graduates of West Point will prove as true to their traditions in
this struggle as they have in the past, and West Point knows that they
will return in triumph to their Alma Mater who ever stands ready to
press the cup of greeting to the lips of all honorable and loyal sons.



When the springtime rolls around and the Hudson River is at its best,
the annual influx of visitors begins to arrive at West Point. Trains
and boats disgorge official visitors, tourists, boy scouts, delegations
of various brotherhoods and sisterhoods, and picknickers galore. Little
groups of them appear in all corners of the Post, in the area of
Barracks, on the Plain, in the Public Buildings, and along the famous
Flirtation Walk. Their chief interest, of course, is to catch a glimpse
of the cadets, either _en masse_ or individually. When the Corps starts
either to meals or to dress parade, they gather along the sidewalks,
or at the visitors’ seats to watch the marching. Some openly express
their enthusiasm and pleasure, genuinely delighted at everything they
see, while others remain silent and phlegmatic apparently taking only a
languid interest in their surroundings.

As I watch my fellow-countrymen strolling about the grounds of the
Academy, I often wonder what are their impressions of this institution.
To many, of course, the historic traditions of West Point, as well
as its functions and purposes, are thoroughly familiar, but to a vast
majority West Point is a closed book. They see the cadets, the drills,
the buildings, perhaps parade, but they never have an opportunity to
acquaint themselves with the intimate life of the Academy. They do
not derive the full benefit from their visit, because they are in the
position of regarding the institution from the outside. In many cases,
the spirit of investigation is restrained by a feeling of timidity upon
their part, a feeling of awe in the face of military surroundings.

The Army is so little known to the people in the United States, that,
to the average civilian, there seems to be some sort of mystery
surrounding military life, and the presence of a man in uniform, with
a waist belt and pistol, doing plain police duty, appears to act
as a check on every natural impulse. The pleasure of his visit is
consequently marred to some extent and he feels somewhat ill-at-ease.
He wants to investigate with greater freedom, but he shrinks from being
told that his projects are “Verboten.” Upon his departure he must
of necessity have but a superficial idea of the great work done at
the Academy, unless he has been fortunate enough to have some friend
stationed at West Point who dissipates the apparently cold atmosphere
of military life.

I have often regretted, as I watched the crowds swarming around, that
each individual might not carry away a real appreciation of West
Point, instead of leaving with only the most superficial impressions.
Unless one has graduated from the Academy it is impossible to seize
fully the spirit of the institution, or have a clear idea of its
intimate life. My long familiarity with West Point, both as a cadet
and as an officer, prompts me to portray for the American people the
history, aims, ideals, and spirit of their National Military Academy.

[Illustration: Class Formation in the Area of Barracks]

West Point seen for the first time from the river, whether in sunshine
or through the mists, is a sight not soon forgotten. The monumental
Riding Hall that rises out of the cliff of which it seems to form a
part, first fixes the eye, but as one’s glance wanders a little higher
it drinks in the towering pile of Post Headquarters; higher yet, the
eye rests for a moment on the crenelated border of the roof of the
Academic Building, and then, higher still, it pauses to contemplate
the beauty of West Point’s crowning architectural achievement, the
Cadet Chapel. For a moment the beholder seems withdrawn from the sordid
material world, and filled with a multitude of noble impressions. He
experiences a spiritual uplift as he admires the majestic simplicity
and grandeur of the buildings, an architectural triumph worthy to have
inspired Ruskin’s beautiful thought, “frozen music.”

When the Government determined to rebuild West Point, nearly fifteen
years ago, the presence of two fine buildings of Gothic design--the
Library and the Cadet Barracks--decided the style of architecture.
These two buildings ranked as perhaps the most successful examples
of the Collegiate Gothic that was much in vogue for educational
institutions in the country half a century ago. A limited competition
was held for designs and all architects who had distinguished
themselves in Gothic work were invited to participate. Several
beautiful designs for a Renaissance treatment were offered, but one
group of architects, Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson, submitted drawings
for so admirable a Gothic treatment that they received the unanimous
approval of a board of judges composed of eminent architects. The
construction of the new buildings lasted over a period of about
seven years, during which time the work was under the direction of
Colonel John M. Carson, Jr., Quartermaster, who was representing
the Government. In writing a book on West Point, any mention of the
buildings involves the name of Colonel Carson who performed his
difficult work with an unusual amount of zeal and intelligence. The
result is that the new buildings are splendidly constructed, and
because the architects had an eye for harmony these structures seem to
grow out of the rocks upon which they stand, emphasizing rather than
detracting from West Point’s natural beauty.

[Illustration: The Administration Building]

The north road from the station passes first, on the river side, the
Power House built of granite from local quarries. It is designed to
supply the entire institution with electricity for light and power,
and the central buildings with heat from exhaust steam. In a building
of this nature, a factory-like look would be taken for granted and
pardoned, but, on the contrary, its design is not only adapted for its
function, but the building forms an important link in the architectural
whole. It assumes its place quite naturally and modestly, almost
unobtrusively in the natural landscape, tying the buildings in the
upper terrace with the base. The tall smoke-stack is cleverly concealed
within the walls of an imposing granite tower.

On a slightly higher level, and paralleling the river, is the Riding
Hall splendidly impressive with its broad flat buttresses. The latter
seem almost akin to the classic order, and serve in a very large
measure to reconcile the classicism of the neighboring Cullum Memorial
Hall,--an exotic among its surroundings--with the dominant Gothic of
the place. The present Riding Hall occupies the site of not only the
old hall, but also of the old Cavalry stables, and barracks. The old
hall was built in 1855 and, for the number of cadets at West Point
during the ensuing fifty years, it was sufficiently large. With the
increase of the Corps of Cadets, and the quickened interest throughout
the Service in equitation, however, more spacious accommodations for
instruction were required. Usually when a building has served a useful
and honorable purpose for many years, its demolition is generally
viewed with regret. There was, however, no sentimental attachment for
the Riding Hall. Many a painful hour had cadets spent within its walls
learning to ride on the bare back of a raw-boned horse, or floundering
around in the spongy tanbark.

In the little plaza at the junction of the Power House and Riding
Hall, the road winds and passes under the mediæval arch of the Post
Headquarters, or Administration Building. At this point, the bulk and
dignity of the buildings are stupendous, and admiringly we stand,
imprisoned, it would seem, in a quadrangle of Middle Age fortresses,
whose sternness and solemnity seem symbolic of discipline and strength.
The main entrance to the Riding Hall branches from the road a few paces
beyond the arch, the lower level of the galleries being reached by a
flight of steps that cling to the steep retaining wall of the road. The
great arena is 150 by 600 feet and is covered by a cantilever roof,
so that when the eye first encounters this interior, a sensation of
its vastness holds the spectator in its grip. The roof is mostly of
glass so as to afford a maximum of light, and the floor is covered
with tanbark to make more endurable any sudden and unexpected descent
from the back of a capricious beast. The building is steam-heated and
electric lighted, for during the winter months, equitation drills
extend into the late afternoon. The hall can be divided by curtains
into three smaller halls, a scheme that permits three classes to
undergo instruction at the same time. In one portion of the hall are
stalls for one hundred mounts, but the majority of the horses are
kept at the cavalry barracks. The hall is so large that during the
winter months the U. S. M. A. Battery of Artillery uses it for a drill
ground, thereby keeping the horses in good condition and the men well
instructed. Moreover, the officers and cadets are enabled to keep
up their practice in polo. Every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon,
teams of cadets play each other, or try their skill against civilian
opponents. Along the full length of the west wall, and the north and
south end, are balconies for the accommodation of visitors who are
welcome whenever the hall is open.




Passing once more under the arch, we admire again for a moment the
graceful Herculean proportions of the Administration Building whose
imposing square tower, tipped with four smaller towers at the corners,
rises precipitately one hundred and sixty feet. It is an interesting
fact in these days of steel construction that this tower is built of
solid masonry. At the southeast angle of the building, on a level with
the base of the main floor, is an enormous eagle carved in granite,
its head high, its wings outstretched and flattened back proudly
against the two sides of the edifice, as if proclaiming to the world
its mission of protection over the Academy whose administrative heart
is enclosed in this structure. As we ascend the stairway, alongside
the basement at the left, we pass a large Gothic window which affords
light to a vaulted hall used for courts-martial. The interior of this
hall is in keeping with the mediæval donjon appearance of the whole
building, and of such a chill and forbidding aspect as to inspire in
the accused a feeling of guilt, _nolens volens_. The flight of stairs
mounts to the level of the Post proper where an eastern view of the
building is disclosed. A large sally-port leads into the court around
which the building is constructed.

The exterior walls are ornamented with shields representing the
coats-of-arms of various states, territories, and foreign possessions
prepared from the official seals, and expressed according to the
laws of Heraldry. The only coat-of-arms of an individual is that of
George Washington, at the top of the east elevation of the courtyard.
The obverse and reverse of the great seal of the United States will
be found above the east and west entrances, respectively, of the
sally-port. Flanking the obverse of the great seal are the seal of the
War Department and the device of the Corps of Engineers. In addition
to the shields, the devices of the various staff departments, usually
associated with a headquarters, have been placed in the sally-port. Two
of them, the Adjutant-General’s Department, and the Quartermaster’s
Department, are on shields on the north side of the sally-port, and
the Subsistence Department, Signal Corps, Pay Department, Ordnance
Department, Inspector-General’s Department, Judge-Advocate-General’s
Department, Medical Department, and Chaplain’s Corps, are on corbels at
the bases of the ribs of the arch.

[Illustration: Colonel Jonathan Williams, Corps of Engineers

First Superintendent of the Military Academy

From the Painting by Thomas Sully, Library U.S.M.A.]

In the courtyard the names that are carved in the granite were selected
for the following reasons:

  WILLIAMS   Colonel Jonathan Williams, first Superintendent
             of the Military Academy.

  SWIFT      Colonel Joseph G. Swift, first graduate
             of the Military Academy.

  TOTTEN     General Joseph G. Totten, the tenth
             graduate and _ex-officio_ the first
             inspector of the Military Academy
             while serving as Chief of Engineers
             from 1838-1864.

  THAYER     Major Sylvanus Thayer, Father of
             the Military Academy.

  DELAFIELD  Colonel Richard Delafield, Superintendent
             from 1856 to 1861, under
             whose administration much construction
             was completed.

  JEFFERSON  Thomas Jefferson, third President
             of the United States, during whose
             administration, 1801 to 1809, the
             Military Academy was founded.

  MONROE     James Monroe, fifth President of
             the United States, 1817 to 1825,
             under whose administration the Military
             Academy developed and was

Upon the second floor is the Academic Board room, a Gothic hall
illuminated with stained glass windows containing emblems of the
various arts and sciences. The most striking feature of the room is the
massive stone mantel, modeled by Laurie and ornamented with statuettes
of the world’s greatest warriors.

The description of the statuettes and the reasons for selecting the
subject are given in a letter to Dr. Holden, late librarian, dated
November 23, 1906. An Advisory Board of officers recommended:

    That the character of the figures on the mantlepiece be of a
    general military type--historical or legendary--best suited to
    harmonize with the architectural treatment and selected by the
    architects themselves from the three lists in this letter of
    November 23, 1906.

The heads appearing at the top of the mantel--in the crenelations--have
no relation to the statuettes underneath. The small shields immediately
below the statuettes are, however, indicative of the subjects as

JOSHUA. Sun and Moon--taken from the Biblical legend describing the
distinctly miraculous standing still of the Sun on the occasion of a
certain battle.

HECTOR OF TROY. Mycenæan Scroll--a sort of triangular fylfot, which
stands for Mycenæan civilization. This device would apply equally to
that of Troy of which Hector was the greatest figure.

[Illustration: Colonel Joseph G. Swift

First Graduate of the Military Academy

From the Painting by Thomas Sully, Library U.S.M.A.]

DAVID. King of all Israel, warrior and psalmist--the harp--selected by
the architects instead of a little sling, especially since the head of
Goliath is under the foot of the figure above.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT. A conventionalized Gordian knot severed.

JULIUS CÆSAR. The standard carried by the famous Roman Legions.

CHARLEMAGNE. King of the Franks--The imperial iron crown.

KING ARTHUR OF ENGLAND. The Holy Grail, symbolizing the whole purpose
of his career.

GODFREY DE BOUILLON. Heraldic cross of Jerusalem of which city he was
king and which forms a part of his own coat-of-arms.

JUDAS MACCABEUS. The hammer--which is the actual meaning of the name

In the mantel, the figures are arranged chronologically and
historically. Three of them, _i. e._, Hector, Alexander, and Cæsar,
were Heathen; three were Christians, viz.: Charlemagne, King Arthur,
and Godfrey; and three were Jews, viz.: Joshua, David, and Judas.

The choice of subjects was suggested to the architects by Caxton’s
preface to the first volume of Sir Thomas Malory’s _Morte d’Arthur_,
from which the following quotation covering the choice of the figures
is taken:

    For it is notorly known through the universal world, that there be
    nine worthy and the best that ever were, that is to wit, three
    Paynims, three Jews, and three Christian men. As for the Paynims,
    they were to-fore the Incarnation of Christ, which were named,
    the first Hector of Troy, of whom the history is comen both in
    ballad and in prose, the second Alexander the Great, and the third
    Julius Cæsar, Emperor of Rome, of whom the histories be well known
    and had. And as for the three Jews, which were also to-fore the
    Incarnation of our Lord, of whom the first was Duke Joshua which
    brought the children of Israel into the land of behest, the second
    David, King of Jerusalem, and the third Judas Maccabeus, of these
    three the Bible rehearseth all their noble histories and acts. And
    since the said Incarnation have been three noble Christian men,
    stalled and admitted through the universal world into the number of
    the nine best and worthy. Of whom was first the noble Arthur. The
    second was Charlemain, or Charles the Great, of whom the history is
    had in many places, both in French and English. And the third and
    last was Godfrey of Boloine.

[Illustration: Cadets at Equitation in the World’s Largest Riding Hall
(600 ft. × 150 ft.)]

Upon the same floor as the Academic Board room are the three offices
of the Superintendent, the Adjutant, and the clerks. The Headquarters
building houses, moreover, the offices of the Treasurer, the
Quartermaster, the printing shops, the Post Office, and the Ordnance
Museum, the entrance to which is at the left of the sally-port. Begun
in 1854, the Museum has throughout the years gathered some valuable
trophies of war, interesting relics, and models of the arms of all
nations. Visitors are well repaid by a visit to this interesting
spot. Historic relics abound in the rooms. I might mention among them a
portion of the flagstaff that was at Fort Sumter in 1861; presentation
swords belonging to distinguished American generals; General Grant’s
uniform and horse equipment; mementoes of the Philippine insurrection
and of the war with Spain, not to speak of a rare and beautiful
collection of weapons of all kinds. Not the least interesting part
of the exhibit are the trophies of the Revolution. In glass cases
are preserved five flags captured by the American army during the
Revolution, two of which were British royal colors, and three taken
from the German mercenaries sent over by King George. The former were
taken at Yorktown. All these flags were originally the property of
General Washington by whom they were bequeathed to George Washington
Parke Custis, the son of his adopted son, and grandson of Mrs.
Washington. He in turn bequeathed them to the War Department, which
came into possession of them in 1858. The same year Secretary Floyd
presented them to the Academy.

Across the road from the Administration Building is the Cadet Mess. It
is one of the oldest buildings, the main part dating from 1850. The
architecture conforms in a general way to that of the new buildings.
With its broad pavement in front, it sets well back from the road,
possessing not only the dignity of its more imposing neighbors, but in
addition a certain quaint charm.

The large central doors give access to the main hall whose walls are
hung with portraits of distinguished graduates, chiefly the former
Superintendents of the Academy. Perhaps the most interesting painting
is that of General Robert E. Lee, who was Superintendent in 1852.
Frequently I have heard visitors express surprise that General Lee’s
portrait should hang in the halls of the National Military Academy,
notwithstanding he was a graduate and afterwards a Superintendent. The
fact that he fought against the Union, they argue, should preclude the
bestowal of the honor. West Point, however, considers that since we are
a united people once more, his record should be recognized by his Alma
Mater from whom he learned the lessons that brought him his fame and
his glory.

Symmetrically arranged in the hall are the mess tables. They are made
to accommodate ten cadets, but occasionally, here and there, two
tables are shoved together for economy of floor space. At these tables
are twenty cadets. It is a pleasure to enter the Mess Hall prior to
any meal. Every table is immaculate with its snowy clean cloth, its
polished cutlery, and shining crockery. The cadets are not seated by
classes but by companies, each company having a certain number of
tables in the section of the hall assigned its battalion. As a rule,
the ten messmates are made up of three first classmen, two second
classmen, two third classmen, and three fourth classmen. The latter
are given, by custom of the Corps, various duties to perform at mess
such as carving the meat, procuring the coffee and milk.

[Illustration: The Carved Mantel in the Hall of the Academic Board


The Nine Great Warriors of the World

_Note: There are also two figures on the sides, not visible_]

Three long passageways lead from the main dining-hall to the kitchen.
At first glance the super-cleanliness of the surroundings strikes the
observer, but his attention is soon attracted to the numerous clever
devices for cooking, and for saving time and labor. The preparation
of the food for cooking occurs outside of the kitchen proper. Each
department prepares its kind, whereupon it is carried to the chef to
be cooked and served. The labor of preparation is greatly reduced by
the liberal use of machinery. A clever electrical machine rapidly
peels the potatoes, a whole bushel of them, in a few minutes; other
contrivances make and cut the bread, sterilize the milk, freeze the
ice-cream; and wash and dry the innumerable dishes. Without the aid of
these labor-saving devices it would be impossible to maintain such an
excellent mess for the cadets. Even now the capacity of the plant is
tested almost to its limit, and with the increase in the Corps to 1200
cadets, it will be necessary either to enlarge the present Cadet Mess
or to build a new hall. The disappearance of the present Mess, Grant
Hall, will be viewed with great regret by many graduates who dined for
four long years within its really historic walls.

South of the Cadet Mess is the Hospital for cadets, a large granite
building perched on a terrace, well back from the road. It consists
of a central portion of three stories and basement, with two wings
of two stories each and basement. The older portions date from
1875, but the wings are of more recent construction. The wings are
practically detached from the main portion of the building for the
possible isolation of cases. The equipment is, of course, modern in
every respect. Each wing contains two wards, making four in all, named
respectively Cuyler, McElderry, McParlin, and Wheaton in honor of
former distinguished military surgeons on duty at West Point. I do not
suppose that there is a building on the Post which arouses in cadets so
many different kinds of feeling. To some it is a place to be avoided,
but to a large number, especially to those who succeed in entering for
minor ailments, it is viewed as a haven of rest. It is the one place
where the cadets are free from the irksome routine, where there is no
reveille, and where the convalescents revel in what appears to them
epicurean feasts. Vatel, the famous French chef, never enjoyed more
renown than does the cook at the hospital.

Almost every cadet has a secret longing to be in the hospital at least
for a short period during his course, and those who “break in” for
slight ailments are regarded with a special esteem by their fellows.
One of the first adages that a plebe learns at West Point is “faint
heart never broke into the hospital.” The surgeons, however, are
pretty clever men and they size up the situation very clearly in each

[Illustration: The North Cadet Barracks]

I remember that upon one occasion when I was a cadet, a group of
convalescents were, one winter day, holding a mutual congratulatory
meeting in one of the wards, the burden of the conversation being their
luck and also their skill in remaining so long in this abode of rest.
Arthur C----, who was the most successful of the disciples of the “rest
cure,” was perched upon a bed explaining to an admiring line of heads
in little snow-white cots, the strategy necessary to remain in the
ward, finishing his discourse oratorically; “Some may come and some may
go but _I_ stay on forever!” when the door opened and in walked the
surgeon. Cadet C---- was next day returned to duty.

The officer in charge of the hospital is the Post Surgeon, who is
assisted by three or four captains of the Medical Corps, and by several
Dental Surgeons. These officers are also in charge of the Soldiers’
Hospital, a separate building for the enlisted men of the garrison, and
are responsible for the general health of the command.

The chief buildings of the Academy occupy relatively a small area
of ground. Just north of the Cadet Mess and flanking the main road
are the two Academic buildings, known as the East and West Academic.
The East building is new, having been completed in 1913, one of the
last provided for in the rebuilding of West Point. The West Academic
building, which was completed in 1895, is built of Massachusetts
granite and cost about five hundred thousand dollars. In this building
are located the Departments of Civil and Military Engineering,
Mathematics, Law, Drawing, Ordnance and Gunnery, and English and
History; in the East building the Departments of Modern Languages,
Chemistry and Electricity, Natural and Experimental Philosophy. The
latter building is provided with the most modern lecture rooms,
electrical and chemical laboratories, besides a mineralogical and
geological museum. The major portion of both buildings contain the
section rooms for recitation purposes. Visitors are admitted if
accompanied by an officer.

The architecture of both of these buildings is Gothic, but that of
the new or East building is of a more exquisite beauty. Splendidly
situated, it gives the impression of bulk and mass, much the same
feeling that one has in regarding a dreadnought for the first time,
but this impression soon gives way to an appreciation of a certain
delicacy of treatment, a simple dignity that pleases. One of the best
impressions of its beauty is obtained about dusk when the evening mists
dim its outlines and its surface is bathed in shadows relieved only by
the glimmering of the mediæval lanterns on either side of the main door.

Immediately facing the center of the East Academic Building and
across the road, is a large opening known as a sally-port through
which the sections of cadets must march to recitations in the East
Academic building. This passageway connects the main road with the
area of barracks, a space of ground that derives its name from the
brown-stone buildings that bound a portion of its perimeter. Along one
side is a cement walk on which the cadets form to be marched to their
recitations, and a sidewalk borders the barracks. With the exception
of a small plot of grass near the Academic building the area is devoid
of verdure, but is covered with a fine gravel that gives a clean and
well-groomed appearance to the ground. The word “Area” has great
connoting power. To a large number of cadets, it vividly brings to
mind the punishment tours that they wearily trudged on Wednesday and
Saturday afternoons across its surface. To the majority, however, it is
the “hub” of cadet life, the assembly place for recitations, sometimes
for meals; the scene of many an inspection or a guard mount, and most
important of all, it contains a small insignificant building with a
clock tower where dwell the Commandant of Cadets and his assistants,
the Tactical officers.

The building on the north and west of the area is the South Cadet
Barracks, built in 1848. This edifice, of 360 feet frontage, is
constructed of native granite, with crenelations and cornices of red
sandstone, and the Elizabethan style of its architecture harmonizes
perfectly with the Gothic of the new buildings. In fact, the old
Cadet Barracks is one of West Point’s handsomest buildings. There
are two hundred rooms in the building, 14 × 22 feet, each planned to
accommodate two cadets. It is completely supplied with modern plumbing,
heating, and electric lights. The barracks are divided into divisions,
each containing sixteen rooms. There is no lateral communication
between the divisions, but a certain number of them are assigned to a
company, according to its strength. At present the 1st Bn. Cos. A, B,
C, and D are quartered here.

I have often stood in the Area of Barracks and looked through the
north sally-port to enjoy the fine vista that it framed. A section of
the Plain fills half the picture, a beautiful foreground, either when
resignedly spread out to the heat of the Highland summer, or shivering
under its fleecy blanket of snow, over which the winter winds angrily
blow. In the upper half against the far-away background of the Highland
hills is the slender flagstaff, sometimes swathed in the folds of
our national emblem, sometimes resisting with all its strength the
fluttering of its precious charge which seems to implore its release to
join the flight of the breeze.

As we leave the north sally-port and turn toward the angle between the
two sets of barracks, high on the hill the monumental Cadet Chapel,
West Point’s spiritual fortress, looms above with extraordinary
effectiveness. It has a fine site on a commanding spur just above
the old Cadet Barracks on the west, from which point it dominates the
Post. It lies in the shadow of old Fort Putnam of Revolutionary fame,
and, built of stone quarried from its own hill, it seems a part of its
naturally beautiful surroundings.

[Illustration: The Chapel]

This edifice is in reality a large church with a seating capacity of
fourteen hundred persons. In plan it is a crucifix, surmounted by a
large central tower whose parapet is 130 feet above the pavement of the
interior and 420 feet above the level of the river. The tower contains
two stories: the bell-ringer’s story and the belfry above. There are
as yet no chimes, but on national holidays, Christmas morning, and
Easter, the band mounts to the bell-ringer’s story, and the airs
appropriate for the day float out through the louver windows in a weird
and mysterious manner, as if some invisible symphony was playing in the

Just above the stately clerestory windows, and around the cornice of
the building, is a row of carved figures, little bosses, representing
the quest of the Holy Grail. Over the door of the main entrance is a
great two-handed sword, Excalibur.

One should pause for a moment on the terrace in front of the main
entrance to enjoy the magnificent panorama. In the distance, flows the
Hudson winding among the Highland hills, and skirting the great Plain
along whose edge stand the Bachelor Building, Cullum Hall, and the
Officers’ Mess. Directly below, in the shelter of the chapel hill,
are grouped all of the main buildings pertaining to the cadets, the
most conspicuous of which are the barracks. Viewed from this height
the arrangement of the buildings resembles a regular nest, _le nid des

A winding road back of the barracks leads to the Chapel. The interior
of the Chapel is 200 feet long, and across the transepts, 72 feet
wide. The nave contains fourteen large Gothic windows, now filled with
temporary glass but which will later be replaced with memorial windows.

The jewel of the interior is the great chancel window, with its noble

    Erected to the glory of the God of Battles and in faithful memory
    of the departed graduates of the United States Military Academy,
    West Point, by the living alumni.

The deep shades of purple and red give the window an extraordinary
richness. The best lights from the glass are obtained in the early
afternoon about four o’clock. It is of rare richness and beauty, and
for subject, color, and arrangement it is thought to be unexcelled in
our country. There are twenty-seven panels, each of which contains an
almost life-size figure representing one of the chief militant figures
in the Bible. Services are held in the Chapel every Sunday morning at a
quarter before eleven and are attended by cadets, officers, enlisted
men, their families, and a large number of visitors. In addition to the
regular service in the Chapel, where the cadet choir of one hundred
and five voices is a feature, a series of organ recitals, free to the
public, is given each year.

[Illustration: The Interior of the Chapel]

The organ is of unusually fine quality and is surprisingly effective
for an instrument of three manuals, or keyboards. But it is still
incomplete, being both undersized for this cathedral-like building and
inadequate to the proper performance of the finest music. The addition
of a fourth manual, with its pipes located in the gallery opposite the
present organ, now eloquently vacant, is needed to bring the musical
part of the service and the recitals up to the highest efficiency.

Upon the completion of the improvements contemplated the organ
will become one of the art glories of the country, and with the
Chapel,--perfect in architecture, surroundings, and acoustics--would
create an atmosphere of rare idealism. The acquisition of every new
stop given is indicated by a bronze tablet placed upon the console,
or key desk, of the organ. The significance of such tablets would
make this organ and console unique, not only in establishing historic
traditions but also in affording substantial encouragement to the
volunteer organist and to the choir.

The opportunity here presented is most worthy for anyone desirous of
establishing a memorial to a graduate of the Academy, for a graduate
wishing to honor the memory of one of his immediate family, for a class
gift, or for anyone interested in furthering an artistic influence over
the lives of the future officers of the Army of our country.

To assist in the completion of the organ, a fund, known as the “Organ
Fund” has been started, which is kept alive by recital offerings,
private subscriptions, and proceeds from sale of “The Corps,” a popular
West Point song.

In the transepts are galleries but they are not at present equipped
with seats. Along the nave also are covered galleries, almost hidden
from view by the suspended flags.

A request made to the sexton will enable the visitor to see the crypt,
a vaulted room beneath the Chapel that is designed to be the final
resting place of West Point’s illustrious military dead.

To care for the spiritual welfare of the cadets and other residents of
the Post, there is a Chaplain who is appointed by the President. His
term of office is for four years, but he is usually re-appointed.

The location of the Chapel makes it visible from many places on
the Post. In walking around the grounds, every once in a while an
extraordinarily effective view of the fine building strikes the
beholder. Each glimpse seems more beautiful than the previous one,
and a general impression remains that the Chapel holds a spiritual
dominion over the institution. Every corner of the main part of West
Point seems under its influence. This feeling is particularly strong
as we stand on the sidewalk between the old and new Cadet Barracks and
gaze at this monumental pile of ethereal beauty that seems to lose
itself in the sky. I never view the Chapel from this point without
thinking of one of Maxfield Parrish’s imaginative paintings of the
Arabian Nights.

In the southwest angle of the Plain, from where I like to view the
Chapel, is a white granite statue of Major Sylvanus Thayer, class of
1808. The funds for this modest but beautiful monument, which was
unveiled June 11, 1883, were contributed by loyal graduates of the
Academy and by loving friends. General Thayer was Superintendent of
the Academy from 1817 to 1833. He was the first to establish a real
curriculum, and so valuable were his services that he has since been
called “the Father of the Academy.” The body of the distinguished
officer was brought from South Braintree, Mass., and reinterred in the
Post cemetery on November 8, 1877. The sculptor of the monument was
Carl Conrad.

On the west side of the Plain is the North Cadet Barracks, one of the
new buildings completed in 1908. The Gothic style employed in the
treatment of this building, while resembling somewhat that of the old
barracks, has more dignity, beauty, and grace. Not enough difference
exists between the two to cause any lack of harmony. Chief among the
changes made in the new barracks are the windows which are triple
instead of single. As far as the interior is concerned the arrangement
is identical. Modern plumbing has been installed in the old barracks to
conform to its new neighbor, so that the cadets of today are no longer
obliged to run down to the area to draw their water from the hydrant.
The very mention of this ancient and picturesque custom brings back
many memories, chiefly centered around reveille on a bitterly cold
morning. Immediately upon the dismissal of the ranks, hordes of cadets
(it seemed to me), clustered around one poor little hydrant from which
a thin stream of icy water trickled into the _papier maché_ buckets.
Now, upon each floor of barracks are faucets with hot and cold water! I
wish that I were a cadet again!

No one would judge the building to be a military barracks. Rather, a
study of its lines would suggest that it was the home of some religious
order. It has an undeniable ecclesiastical character that impresses one
immediately. I have always derived great pleasure in contemplating its
beauty and my imagination at these times fancies it as the refuge, the
shelter, the sanctuary of a body of men separated from the material
affairs of the world. It seems made to house only the best and noblest
in nature, to be the environment from which high ideals receive their
greatest inspiration. A group of happy smiling cadets coming out
of their rooms at this moment tells me that my imagination has been
dwelling upon reality and not wandering into fantastic fields. This
building is indeed the home of a splendid Order, the inspiring order of
young manhood, clean-minded and honorable, trained in a school where
they are taught the most scrupulous regard for the truth, and where
they are given a _mens sana in corpore sano_.

In the quadrangle the light brick facing gives, in all sorts of
weather, a bright cheerful aspect, a sunny appearance, that contrasts
in a most welcome manner with the gloom of the quadrangle of the old

Set well back from the Plain, and to the north of the new barracks,
is the Gymnasium. It is not built of granite like its neighbor, the
new barracks, but has received from the hands of the architect an
artistic and interesting treatment of brick and limestone. The broad
wall-like surface of the front is broken by six flat buttresses, whose
terminals are richly decorated. Viewing the building from the southeast
corner these buttresses appear like giant sentinels, fine specimens
of the building’s physical development. Far across the parade ground
the Bachelor Officers’ quarters, of similar design, serves with the
Gymnasium to link in one harmonious whole the old and new buildings
surrounding the Plain.

The second story is devoted to the gymnasium proper. It is lighted by
large skylights, and equipped with every possible device for physical
development. The remainder of the building houses a fine natatorium, 77
feet wide and 92 feet long, with a swimming-pool 40 feet wide and 80
feet long; a fencing-room, a boxing-room, a wrestling-room, besides the
necessary dressing-rooms for both cadets and officers. In the basement
is a shooting gallery for indoor rifle and pistol practice.

North of the Gymnasium and fronting the Plain, are the quarters of the
Superintendent of the Academy, an interesting old house that dates
from 1820. Surrounding the house is a quaint old ironwork porch of
later date, but old enough to be a curiosity today. A well-proportioned
central hall gives access to charming suites of spacious rooms on both
sides of the quarters, but the suite on the left is the more beautiful
for it offers a fascinating vista of three large rooms terminating in a
conservatory filled with exotic plants. Delightful hospitality has been
dispensed in these rooms to some of the most noted people in the world.
Royalty, distinguished foreigners, civilians, and soldiers, noted
American men and women are constantly visiting West Point to inspect
the school and are always entertained by the Superintendent. If the
walls of these quarters could speak they would relate some interesting
incidents of the official life of West Point. The beauty of the rooms
is today enhanced by a number of fine family portraits, painted by
Thomas Sully, and the property of the present Superintendent, Colonel
John Biddle, Corps of Engineers.

At any official function the guests usually crowd the fascinating old
porch to watch the evolutions of the cadets upon the Plain opposite, or
sometimes they indulgently stand on the front stone steps to pose for
the breathlessly impatient movie men and photographers. The quarters
are surrounded by beautiful, well-kept lawns and tall graceful elm

A traveler may go far before he will behold so majestic a view as that
of the Hudson River from Trophy Point and Battle Monument. For pure
beauty it is unsurpassed. In the distance lies the city of Newburg,
against a dim background of the Shawangunk Mountains, and in the
foreground the little village of Coldspring nestles close to the side
of rugged Breakneck. On the opposite side Cro’s Nest descends abruptly
to the water. At this spot the Hudson seems to be surrounded on all
sides by land so that the beholder might well imagine himself in Europe
among the Italian Lakes.

Upon this spot are a number of trophies, among the most interesting
of which is a portion of the old chain that, during the Revolutionary
War, was stretched across the river from just above Gee’s Point to
Constitution Island to prevent the passage of the British ships.

On a wooden carriage is a large Armstrong gun, captured at Fort Fisher
during the Civil War, and nearby are many other guns taken in the
Mexican and Spanish Wars. The Swartzkopf torpedo inclosed in an iron
railing was captured from the Spanish cruiser _Viscaya_ in the war with
Spain, and the twenty-pound stone ball was brought from Smyrna, Turkey.

The polished monolith of granite nearby upon whose tip stands winged
“Fame,” poised with trumpet and outstretched wreath, is Battle
Monument. The names which may be read upon its rolls are the victims of
the Regular Army of 1861, to whose memory their comrades in arms have
created this beautiful memorial.


In the words of the late Colonel Larned, “this memorial was not built
by a grateful country, but by voluntary offerings from the hard-won
pay of comrades in the field within hearing of the roar of battle,
and in sight of the dead whose memory it preserves.... It is but right
to add that the designer, Stanford White, and the sculptor, Frederick
MacMonnies, have given a generous and enthusiastic labor to the work,
far beyond the money recompense received, and in the true spirit of the
artist and patriotic citizen.”

[Illustration: View up the Hudson River from Trophy Point]

Toward the east is an equestrian bronze statue of the Father of our
Country, seated upon his charger and with hand raised toward the
Academy buildings as if in benediction of the institution that he
labored so hard to establish. In these days of materialism, it is
interesting to note that this magnificent gift was recently made to
the Academy by someone who refused to disclose his name. The base of
the pedestal bears the simple inscription “Presented by a Patriotic

The hotel, just in the rear of the Washington Monument, was built in
1829, and with the exception of a wing that was added in 1850, it
has remained practically unchanged. It is not difficult to imagine,
therefore, that its appointments fail to satisfy the luxurious tastes
of present-day Americans, so that many complaints are heard, and not a
few jokes passed at its expense. One humorist remarked that Washington
was raising his hand not in benediction of the Academy, but in a
warning to the guests to keep away from the hotel.

From the hotel, a steep little graveled path entices the visitor into
a most enchanting walk that skirts the steep precipice along the river.
For three-quarters of a mile, Flirtation Walk pursues its way with its
windings and abrupt turnings, its ascents and descents, past the site
of the old chain Battery, and farther on past old Lantern Battery on
Gee’s Point, past the Bachelor Officers’ quarters, until at the base of
Cullum Hall it ends in Kosciusko’s Garden. The latter is a cool little
sheltered plateau, said to have been a favorite of the Pole. When the
trees are in bloom, to stroll along the Walk is to feel the delicacy of
nature, to behold the quintessence of her refinement. The foliage seems
like maiden-hair fern through which charming little vistas of the river
and the opposite bank are framed. On summer days it is a favorite for
the cadets and their girls, who wander along its graveled path whiling
away the time, or who seek out the choice nooks and screen themselves
from profane eyes with a gaily colored parasol.

Near the end of Flirtation Walk alongside of old Battery Knox, a
Revolutionary relic, stands the Bachelor Officers’ quarters. This
building of brick and limestone, serves to tie the new buildings with
the classic Cullum Memorial Hall and the Officers’ Mess. Its color is
darker than the pink granite of Cullum Hall, to approach more closely
the dark brown of the Library and the gray of the Academic, while its
flat buttresses harmonize with the straight lines of Memorial Hall.


  _Photo White Studio_

“Spooning” on Flirtation Walk]

In this building there are forty suites of three rooms and a bath
each, besides rooms in the basement for the janitor and for officers’

Adjoining the Bachelor Officers’ quarters is the beautiful Cullum
Memorial Hall, built of Milford pink marble and resembling somewhat
in style, the Erechtheum, on the Acropolis at Athens. Just under the
cornice and above the four Ionic columns is carved: “To the Officers
and Graduates of the Military Academy.” To the left of the main hall is
a small assembly room, whose walls contain bronze tablets to graduates
who have been killed in action. The flags are guidons, carried by our
Cavalry, both regular and volunteer, during our wars, chiefly during
the Spanish War.

In the lower halls are tablets to Superintendents and to the deceased
Professors of the Academy, besides fitting bronze memorial shields,
recounting the battles of the Civil War in which graduates of the
Academy participated.

Bronze trophy cannon are freely used in the adornment of the walls,
both in the lower hall and in the hall on the second floor. They are
chiefly Mexican and Confederate trophies, but a few were captured from
the British at Stony Point (south of West Point) in July, 1779.

Among the most interesting perhaps of the cannon are the two large
bronze ones in front of the main entrance. Both were made at Douay,
France, in 1755, under the supervision of J. Béranger, royal
commissioner of foundaries. The one on the right (as one enters the
building) is inscribed “Le Fâcheux,” and the one on the left “Le
Conquérant.” Both were taken from the Punta Blanca Battery in the
harbor of Santiago de Cuba. These cannon are almost the exact duplicate
of the five cannon at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.,
and very similar to two cannon at the Virginia Military Institute,
Lexington, Va. The latter guns, cast about eighty years before the
others, are part of several cannon purchased from France by Virginia
in 1778 for use in the Revolutionary War. It is surprising that the
Spanish should have been using them in Cuba, since the Spaniards
manufactured guns of equally high quality.

The four inverted bronze mortars that surmount the corners of the
piazza were made, two at Sevilla and two at Barcelona, in Spain, and
were surrendered by the Mexicans to the American forces, April 22,
1847. These mortars were known as stone mortars, and they were employed
in siege operations to precipitate large masses of stone upon the heads
of the enemy in the advanced trenches, or in like manner to clear the
trench of its defenders preparatory to an assault.

The second floor is called Thayer Hall, a large, beautifully
proportioned room used for public functions, officers’ and cadets’
dances. At one end there is a small stage and a few scenic fixtures.
In this hall are the portraits of graduates who have not only gained
the rank of general officer, but have commanded _in time of war_ units
commensurate with their rank.

The building south of Memorial Hall is the Officers’ Mess, where the
bachelor officers obtain their meals. The building was constructed
and partially furnished from Government funds, but it is kept up and
managed by personal funds of officers on duty at West Point. In design
it conforms closely to Cullum Hall, although plainer and more modest.
It was so built as to be inconspicuous and not detract from the classic
beauty of its stately neighbor.

The interior of the Mess is quite beautiful, especially the main
dining-hall and reading-room, whose principal features are mantels
ornamented with small replicas of the figures of Day and Night, Morning
and Evening, that adorn the tomb of the Medicis in Florence. Both
Cullum Hall and the Mess were designed by the late Stanford White and
completed, the former in 1899 and the latter in 1903. The Mess is an
organized body incorporated under the laws of the State of New York as
the West Point Army Mess. It was started in 1841 by General McClellan.
There is no Mess in our Army that has had a continued existence for so
long a term as this Mess, and I have heard it stated that few English
or continental Messes are as old in the above sense.

The trip around the buildings brings us to the Library for which we all
entertain a genuine affection. The quiet and repose of its fine rooms
have an attraction for both officers and cadets that no other building
offers, so that it is usually filled with lovers of books, especially
on winter afternoons. Cadets, officers, enlisted men, women, and
children frequent the various rooms whenever an opportunity presents
itself. There is no greater pleasure, I believe, at West Point than to
draw a big leather armchair over in one corner of the library and there
forget the world in a good book.

Like so many of the buildings at West Point it was built of native
granite, and in the Gothic style of architecture. The present
building was erected in 1841 on the site of the old gun shed and
cost approximately $50,000. It was, however, entirely remodeled in
1900-1901. The Library was originally designed by a board of Army
officers and the style of architecture determined upon was used seven
years later in the present South Cadet Barracks. The dominant note
that these two buildings gave to the character of the structures at
West Point, determined the style of architecture in the comprehensive
rebuilding of the Academy that began in 1904.

The library proper was founded in 1812, and with the years has grown
until at the present time it contains 99,148 books. I am informed that
the 100,000 mark will be celebrated by the purchase of a memorable
volume. The Library may be said to be the oldest inhabitant of the
neighborhood, for all its former associates, the old Riding Hall, the
Cavalry Barracks, and the old Cadet Chapel are gone.

The latter building, however, has not permanently disappeared.
Sentiment against its demolition was so strong that an appropriation
was obtained to remove it to the cemetery to be used as a mortuary
chapel. Consequently in 1911 it was taken down, each stone marked,
and so carefully reconstructed that it is impossible to detect the
slightest change in its appearance. The tablets, and the painting of
“Peace and War” by the late Professor Weir have been preserved, but the
British flags have been removed to the Ordnance Museum.

The cemetery is a beautiful, peaceful spot set aside for the repose of
West Point’s dead. In the northeast angle is the cadet monument erected
in 1818, to Cadet Vincent M. Lowe of New York, by his fellow-cadets. On
New Year’s day, 1817, Cadet Lowe was killed by the premature discharge
of a cannon while he was firing a salute. The pedestal is covered with
the names of other cadets who died later on. Among the illustrious dead
buried in the cemetery are Major Sylvanus Thayer, General Winfield
Scott, Robert Anderson, and George A. Custer.

Along the main roads both north and south of the Plain are modest
dwellings furnished for the officers on duty at West Point. The
south end terminates in a broad plain used for the Cavalry and Field
Artillery drill of the cadets.

In order that thorough instruction in both of these arms may be
imparted to the cadets, detachments of Cavalry and Field Artillery are
stationed at the Academy. Their barracks and stables form part of the
new buildings, and are fine examples of what intelligence and taste can
do for comfort and convenience. Along the west side of the drill field
are the stables and, directly above, gracefully placed on the hillside,
are the barracks provided with the best and most modern equipment. The
presence of these two detachments of enlisted men, as well as that of
the detachment of Engineers, is absolutely essential to the efficient
instruction of the cadets.

An understanding of the uses of the buildings and some description
of the prominent landmarks is necessary to a correct appreciation of
the cadet’s life and activities. The survey that I have given in this
chapter will show that West Point is indeed fortunate in many ways. Few
places have been so endowed by Nature with such wonderful beauty and
picturesqueness, and, in addition, a generous Congress has adorned the
place with magnificent buildings equipped with the finest that money
can buy for the training of the future United States officers.



In a spacious room in the southeast corner of the massive Post
Headquarters building dwells officially the man who orders all of the
comings and goings of the residents of West Point: cadets, officers,
and enlisted men and their families. He is detailed by the President to
the immediate government and military command of the Academy and Post
of West Point for a period of four years, and given the official title
of Superintendent of the Military Academy, which carries with it the
rank, pay, and allowances of a colonel.

The duties of the office are varied and complex. The Superintendent
is directly responsible for the actual state of the discipline,
instruction, police administration, fiscal affairs, and other concerns
of the Academy. The necessary work is organized and under the control
of various officers, his assistants, who constitute his staff. The
office of Superintendent is regarded as one of the most desirable
and most honored that the Government has to offer to an officer of
the Army, and justly so, for the position carries with it a great
responsibility, fascinating work, large powers, and enormous prestige.
The President is in no way limited in his selection for the office. He
may appoint an officer of any rank whatsoever, from second lieutenant
to general officer, but the policy always pursued has been to intrust
the important duties of the position to an officer of character,
ability, and experience. The selection of the Superintendents of the
Military Academy was confined to the Corps of Engineers from the
establishment of the institution, March 16, 1802, till the passage
of the law of July 13, 1866, which opened it to the entire Army. It
is not an easy task to find just the man with all of the necessary
requirements for this office. In addition to the officer’s military
ability, grasp of affairs, and experience, it is desirable that his
scholarly attainments be of a distinctly high order, for, since he is
_ex-officio_ the President of the Academic Board, he will find occasion
to use his scholarship for the permanent benefit of the curriculum.

In general, the military demands upon the average officer’s time
preclude the pursuit, on his part, of cultural and academic studies to
any great degree, so that, while an officer may be of the highest moral
character, have great experience, and on the whole make an admirable
administrative chief, yet he might lack scholarship, which deficiency
would lessen his value to the Academy as Superintendent.

Besides, the Superintendent should be a good judge of human nature,
and in particular of young men. To be able to throw oneself back in
memory to the age of twenty, re-grasp the fresh and immature viewpoint
of youth, and then make the proper allowances for youth’s inability
to see life as a whole, is a gift not given to many men. Some of us
could do it if we would exert our minds, but many are incapable. Where
sympathy and understanding of young men are lacking on the part of the
commanding officer there is too often a tendency to judge a cadet by
the standard held by his superiors which they have gained only through
years of experience. Moreover, a broad man in command dissipates with
a word all of the trivialities of military life that seem big for the
moment, and relieves his subordinates of the haunting fear of an excess
of participation in their affairs.

During the one hundred and fifteen years of its existence West Point
has had but twenty-six Superintendents, each of whom has left a
permanent influence for good at the Academy. The present incumbent,
appointed in June, 1916, is Colonel John Biddle, Corps of Engineers, a
graduate of West Point, Class of 1881.

The military staff of the Superintendent consists of the Adjutant, the
Quartermaster, the Treasurer, and the Surgeon, all officers of the Army
detailed to perform the duties of their respective offices.

The Adjutant is the Superintendent’s right-hand man. He is in fact
his chief spokesman and representative in all official and social
matters. He is, moreover, charged with all of the records and papers
of the Academy except those relating to disbursements. Ordinarily,
this officer is the personal choice of the Superintendent, for it is
essential that perfect trust and harmony exist between these officers.
It may be of interest to the layman to know that an Army Post is very
much like a large family, or perhaps a patriarchal tribe would better
describe the relations of the residents. The Superintendent is the
head, and the Adjutant his executive officer.

In the olden days when troops were stationed on isolated frontier
posts, the officers’ families were entirely thrown upon one another
for society. Although the necessity for these posts has long since
disappeared, Congress has never authorized their abandonment, because
their presence near some city or small town means a financial benefit
to the towns people. The influence of the Representative of that
district is sufficient to retain it, and consequently, as of yore,
officers’ families must live together as one tribe.

This condition does not exist to the same extent at West Point as at
other posts. The Adjutant is the peacemaker, diplomat, aide, buffer for
the Superintendent in his administration of military and social duties.
As may be imagined, he must be a man of great tact, good judgment, and
possessed of Machiavelian diplomacy. He is always being called upon
to make decisions, and since every decision affects somebody adversely,
he has great need of a feeling for humanity. His official decision is
tantamount to that of the Superintendent in whose name he is always
supposed to act.

[Illustration: The Superintendent’s Quarters

Built in 1820]

All official letters to the Superintendent, or between officers, must
pass over the Adjutant’s desk, so that in a sense he is the central
operator, making connections of the invisible ties for the time being,
between the various departments and persons on the Post. He also acts
as a shield to the Superintendent, saving him from the annoyance of the
minor routine details.

In addition, he is regarded as the hub of the Post’s social wheel. He
initiates the public entertainments and authorizes the general social
events of the officers and cadets. Naturally, he has nothing to do
with functions of a private character, but for hops, dances, or other
forms of distraction where one of the public buildings is used, he
gives the authorization of the Superintendent. He makes it his duty to
mingle freely with the officers of the command; at the dances he sees
that visitors are introduced; when _very_ distinguished guests arrive
at the Post, he puts on his full-dress uniform and goes to the station
to meet them. If the guests are merely distinguished, he details some
officer to act in his stead, and if they are plain sightseers with
letters of introduction, a young subaltern gets the job. He is Adjutant
of the Military Academy and of the Post of West Point. The duties
of the former office pertain solely to cadets, their discipline and
instruction, whereas the duties of the latter concern the officers,
enlisted men, and other residents of the Post.

A sort of Damon and Pythias are the Adjutant and Quartermaster: a
mention of one suggests the other. The Quartermaster is in charge of
the public lands and buildings; of the material for the erection of
buildings, and for the repairs and improvements, and for all other
public property for which no other person is especially responsible.
Under the direction of the Superintendent, he enters into contracts and
makes purchases for the Academy and prepares all accounts, returns,
and rolls relative to the public property under his charge. He is also
in control of the workmen employed in the erection or repairs of the
public buildings, or in the improvement of the grounds.

A Quartermaster is in reality a supply officer. Everything necessary
for the up-keep of the Post and the command, come from his storehouses.
Clothes, trucks, wagons, frying-pans, rakes, road-rollers, twine,
furniture, garden hose are a few of the diverse articles that he must
keep on hand. In his work at West Point he is assisted by several
officers, among whom he distributes the various duties pertaining to
the care of the property, purchase of supplies, pay of officers and
enlisted men. The supply of the cadets, however, is not under his

[Illustration: Colonel John Biddle, Corps of Engineers


The Quartermaster’s office is not entirely free from the official
cumbersome machinery and red tape that clogs all Government branches.
So efficiently does it check up upon all of its property, even to the
most minute screw, that it has inspired great respect for its routine
into those who borrow from its storehouse. Some years ago, one of the
officers’ wives discovered the chimney of her house on fire. As she
lived near the Hospital her first thought was to borrow one of the fire
extinguishers. She rushed to the telephone:

“Hello! Hello! send over right away a fire extinguisher to Lieut. K’s

“I’m sorry, madam,” replied the attendant, “I have no authority to let
the fire extinguisher leave the Hospital.”

“But my house is on fire!” shrieked the angered lady! “What shall I do?”

“You had better telephone the Quartermaster, madam, and get his
permission, for the Hospital holds the fire extinguisher on memorandum

All matters that relate to the clothing, equipment, and subsistence
of the cadets, including the purveying and supervision of the Cadet
Mess, are under an officer of the Army detailed as Quartermaster and
Commissary for the Corps of Cadets and Treasurer of the United States
Military Academy.

The Government allows each cadet $600 per year and one ration per day,
or commutation thereof, 40 cents per day, making a total of $746.00,
but the cadet never receives in cash nor manages, his pay. The amount
due him is turned over to the Treasurer, who keeps an account with each
cadet in which he credits him with his monthly pay and charges him
with the cost of his maintenance on a pro-rata basis plus what he has
spent for clothing and supplies. The Treasurer furnishes each cadet
an itemized statement of his account at the close of each settlement
period so that he knows just how much money he has saved, or owes. The
pay provided is ample. Cadets who are economical and take good care
of their clothes, who lose no government property for which they are
responsible, are able to accumulate a nice balance that is paid to them
upon graduation.

In order, however, to insure that all cadets shall leave the Academy
without debts, and with their initial equipment paid for, the Treasurer
deposits fourteen dollars per month from the pay of each cadet. This
fund is known as the Equipment Fund and totals $704 during the four
years. Before graduation each cadet is required to submit a certificate
to the effect, if such be the case, that all articles of an officer’s
uniform ordered and received by him have been paid for; that, in case
the complete outfit has not been received and paid for, he has in his
possession $475 or that amount less whatever has been paid out for this
purpose, which sum will be held and applied promptly to the payment
of such articles of his uniform and equipment as have not yet been
received and paid for; and that he has no unpaid debts contracted
during the time he has been a cadet.

This provision is a very wise and beneficial one to the cadet, for he
enters the Service free from the terrifying load of debt. Formerly the
Equipment Fund was turned over to the graduating cadet, without any
restrictions whatsoever. The consequence was that the largest part of
it was spent in New York a few days after graduation, and the young
officer was in debt for his uniform for many months thereafter. He
started his career with a millstone around his neck, to which weight
a few added that of a wife. As one experienced officer remarked, “The
ladies are all right, but do not marry until you are out of debt, else
every time you take a drink in the Club, you will feel as if you are
swallowing the baby’s socks.”

One of the most important and difficult duties of the Treasurer is
catering to eight hundred ravenous young appetites. To be a successful
Mess officer for this large number requires much study, especially in
this age of the high cost of supplies. The food provided is excellent
in quality and well prepared. In general it is plain and wholesome,
just what one would expect at a Military School, but the menu is
sufficiently varied so as to please even the fastidious. Southern
palates are not forced to long for fried chicken nor Eastern palates
for oysters. To make the New Englander feel quite at home periodic
boiled dinners gladden their gastronomic lives. Then, too, ice-cream,
since the installation of an electric freezer, has become as common as
the proteids.

The monthly cost of the mess per cadet is about twenty dollars. The
Treasurer charges against the cadet not only the cost of his board,
but also his laundry, his uniforms, his clothing, his room equipment,
mattress, pillows, sheets, towels, and all other necessary articles.
Moreover, the salaries of the policemen who clean the halls of the
barracks, the bootblacks, the cost of the cadet hops, athletics,
and text-books, in fact, the cadet’s entire maintenance is charged
against his pay. The Government, however, provides for the up-keep
of the buildings, the heating, lighting, and repairs, from separate

The fourth member of the military staff is the Surgeon, who with his
four assistants, medical officers of the Army, watch over the health of
the command. Under his charge is the hospital for cadets, and that for
enlisted men.

The Surgeon has authority to excuse an officer or cadet from any
duty whatsoever on account of illness. In the eyes of the cadets he
stands as the guardian of the Gates of Paradise. When the body is
fatigued, or one’s head is choked up and eyes running from a bad cold,
illnesses that in reality do not incapacitate one for duty, to have a
nice sympathetic Dr. St. Peter jingle his keys and take you into the
hospital for a brief rest is like the first whiff of a jasmine scented
spring. The cadets soon learn to estimate the sympathetic qualities
of a new Surgeon, and quickly pass around the word whether there has
commenced the reign of an adamantine or tender Æsculapius.

The officers and cadets are required to undergo an annual physical
examination, of which accurate records are kept. In case of illness,
the nature is noted on special cards and filed with his record in
Washington. The health, therefore, of officers, cadets, and enlisted
men is constantly under the Surgeon’s eyes, so that really serious
illnesses are rare. In case of persistent or long illness, the officer
or cadet may be granted a sick leave upon the Surgeon’s recommendation.

The conduct of the business methods and military departments of the
Military Academy, by the Superintendent and his staff, is annually
inspected by the Inspector-General of the Army, who comes on from
Washington for the purpose, or by officers recommended by him acting
under specific instructions from the War Department. In addition to the
above inspection, a Board of Visitors annually visits the institution.
Formerly, the President appointed to this Board distinguished citizens
from all parts of the country, who arrived at West Point the first
of June and remained until graduation, about ten days later. They
were shown the workings of the school, and had explained to them the
necessities for changes and improvements, whereupon they made to the
President a written report containing comments and recommendations that
seemed desirable. The Board performed its duties well, but Congress
thought that all information, upon which appropriations are based,
should be more direct. A law was passed therefore decreeing that:

    The Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy shall
    consist of five members of the Committee on Military Affairs
    of the Senate, and seven members of the Committee on Military
    Affairs of the House of Representatives, to be appointed by the
    respective chairmen thereof, who shall annually visit the said
    Military Academy, together or separately as the said committee may
    elect, during the session of Congress; ... It shall be the duty
    of the Board of Visitors to inquire into the actual state of the
    discipline, instruction, police administration, fiscal affairs, and
    other concerns of the Academy.

With the passing of the visits in June of the former Board, some of the
picturesqueness and flavor of the social life of June week has gone.
At this season of the year the beautiful natural scenery of West Point
formed a superb setting for the thrilling artillery drills, the cavalry
charges, the infantry manœuvres, the bridge building, the concerts, the
dances arranged in their honor. The cadets were at their best for they
had just completed their spring training and there were no recruits
in ranks to spoil the smoothness and precision of these manœuvres. It
therefore seemed the best time for an Inspection Board to view and
report upon the work.

Accompanying the Board of Visitors were always the wives and daughters
of the members, who added to the social charm of the Board’s visit. The
cadets privately referred to the young ladies attached to the Board as
“splinters.” I remember, upon entrance, hearing one cadet ask another
if he would “drag a splinter” for him. I later found out that this
expression meant that he would be pleased if his comrade would escort
one of the young ladies to a dance. The present Board usually pays its
visit in mid-winter when the cadets are busiest with their studies, so
that the equally charming Congressional “splinters” have little chance
to win young hearts.

In the work of the institution the Superintendent is aided by a large
number of subordinates. The number of officers and others in prominent
positions on duty at the Academy is shown in the following list:

  Superintendent and staff                                             5
  Professors, permanent                                                7
  Professors, by detail from Army                                      4
  Professors, Associate, detailed                                      2
  Professors, Assistant, detailed                                     12
  Commandant of Cadets and Tactical officers                          15
  Master of the Sword, Instructor of Military Gymnastics
    and Physical Culture                                               1
  Instructors and other officers                                      68
  Medical Corps                                                        4
  Dental Surgeons                                                      2
  Medical Corps, Instructors in Military Hygiene (August 28 to
    October 10)                                                        4
  Chaplain                                                             1
  Librarian                                                            1
  Civilian Instructors of Languages                                    3
  Civilian Instructors of Fencing and Military Gymnastics              3
  Teacher of Music                                                     1
  Organist and Choirmaster                                             1
  Pay Clerk                                                            1
    Total                                                            135

The majority of the officers are detailed from the Army-at-large for
varying periods of time, but seven of the professors are permanent. The
Superintendent, the heads of all Departments of Instruction, including
the detailed heads, compose the Academic Board, which controls the
program and methods of instruction. It is non-military in character,
its duties pertaining almost solely to the various branches of
learning. More especially, its duties are to examine cadets, decide
upon their merits and proficiency, grant diplomas, and recommend for
commission in the Army. It reports, through the Superintendent, to the
War Department, on the course of studies and methods of instruction.
It also recommends the text-books to be used by the cadets in each
department. Each member has one vote, including the Superintendent.

The work of the Board is largely done by committees, both General
Committees and Class Committees. The latter are composed of the heads
of those departments whose studies any one class are pursuing.

At the close of every examination the Academic Board reports to the
War Department the names of all cadets who are deficient in studies or
conduct and who are recommended by the Board for discharge or transfer
to a lower class.

The seven professors permanently attached to the Academy are: the
Professor of Civil and Military Engineering, Natural and Experimental
Philosophy, Chemistry and Electricity, Modern Languages, Mathematics,
Drawing, and English and History. These members are appointed by the
President and usually selected from officers of the Army, graduates of
the Academy, who have specialized along the lines of their department.
The President usually appoints an officer recommended by the other
members of the Board, but he is not restricted in his choice and
may select whom he pleases for the position. All of the permanent
Professors at present are graduates except the Professor of English and
History who is a graduate of Yale. When the Department of English was
created in 1910, it was felt that the head of it should be a man who
had specialized in English Literature.

Without reflecting on the graduates of the Academy, no one officer
appeared upon the horizon with the requisite qualifications, a fact
not to be wondered at, for few officers are ever in a position to
pursue English courses that would equip them for this position. Upon
the creation of the Department of English, History was transferred to
this Department from the Department of Law with which it had long been

In addition to the permanent members of the Board, the detailed ones
are the Surgeon, who as the head of the Department of Hygiene, is
entitled to a seat; the Professor of Practical Military Engineering,
the Professor of Law, the Professor of Ordnance and Gunnery, and the
Commandant of Cadets, all four of whom are detailed by the Secretary of
War from the officers of the Army for a period of four years.

In the Department of Mathematics and Modern Languages the Professor
has an associate professor and an assistant professor whose duty is to
assist in the administrative work as well as the instruction. The other
departments have only assistant professors, officers detailed from the
Army who might be said to act as an Adjutant for the Professor. In
common with the remaining officers, they perform administrative routine
duties, relieving the Professor of the necessity of attending to minor
questions. The Professor’s time is very much occupied in the solution
of problems that affect the Academy as a whole, in addition to the
development of their respective courses, so that it is essential that
his time be not employed with the unavoidable trivialities that arise
in the conduct of his Department.

The great mass of officers on duty at the Academy are, of course,
the instructors. These men are all officers of the Army, graduates of
the Academy, who are detailed for duty in the various departments.
Formerly, the tour of duty was for four years, but since the passage
of a law by Congress, the Detached Service Law, familiarly called the
“Manchu Law,” the time that an instructor can remain on duty at West
Point, is dependent upon the amount of duty that he has had with troops
during the preceding six years. No officer can remain on detached
service, such as that at West Point, for more than four years.

It is apparent, therefore, that the corps of instructors is constantly
changing, resulting in the introduction into the work of new blood
and fresh viewpoints. This changing of instructors maintains a high
standard of enthusiasm for teaching, so often lacking in institutions
of learning where a subordinate teacher goes over, year in and year
out, the same ground.

Moreover, the system of officer instructors is employed on account of
the disciplinary value of their presence over the cadets. West Point is
first and foremost a Military Academy, and it is of primary importance
that the cadets shall absorb by example the spirit of discipline, and
military deportment. Not the least of the advantages of having officers
teach cadets is the contact that their presence maintains between West
Point and the Army.

Officers are selected for duty at the Academy by the Heads of
Departments who make every effort to secure men especially qualified
for the work. For example, the instructors in the Department of
Engineering are all Engineer officers; in Ordnance and Gunnery,
mostly Ordnance officers; in Chemistry and Electricity, usually Coast
Artillery officers; in Mathematics, officers of the staff and line
who excelled in this study as cadets; in English and History, line
officers with recognized literary tendencies; in Languages, officers
whose advantages have enabled them to acquire a good speaking knowledge
of either French or Spanish. Until the outbreak of the European War,
officers on duty in the Department of Languages were ordered to spend
the summer in study in either France or Spain. They thereby were
able to perfect their knowledge to an extent that rendered them most
efficient instructors. Detailed to this Department are two native
Spaniards and two Frenchmen, whose services are employed to carry along
the instruction of the officer instructors as well as that of the
cadets, so that every opportunity is offered to the cadet to progress
as far as his ability will permit him in the time allotted these

The time of the officer is well employed while on duty at the Academy.
In those departments whose period of recitation is an hour and a half,
he has two sections daily, but if the period is one hour, he instructs
three sections. He averages, therefore, from fifteen to eighteen
hours of actual teaching per week. To this amount must be added the
conferences of the instructors, conducted either by the Professor or
one of his assistants. These conferences are held, usually daily, and
vary from one to two hours and cover the material in the lesson or in
advance work. By means of these conferences, the Professor is able
to standardize the teaching without restricting the personality or
individuality of his officers.

The routine work, that is, the keeping of records, weekly reports,
the correcting of exercises, problems, and compositions, all demand a
greater or less amount of time, and then what is most important, the
instructor must spend many hours in preparation. I have known many
instructors to work every night until midnight after the routine work
of the day.

In the demand upon an officer’s time, consideration is given the fact
that with him teaching is an incident in his career, and he must
therefore have at his disposal, whether he uses it or not, at least a
couple of hours per day for professional work and study. When absent
from troops an officer becomes more or less rusty upon the duties of
his arm, and he should, consequently, by reading, the solution of
problems, writing or what not, keep up with the progress made in his
branch of the Service.

General Orders of the Army prescribe also that at least one hour per
day must be employed in bodily exercise, riding, walking, tennis,
golf, swimming, polo, etc., and the officer is required to submit a
certificate stating that he has taken the prescribed amount.

I give in somewhat tedious detail the employment of the officer’s time,
because so frequently I hear, expressed by the layman, the opinion that
officers of the Army have practically nothing to do. It is ordinarily
difficult to disabuse their mind of this idea, chiefly because it is
already made up. A visitor arrives at West Point to spend the day and
seeing a few officers playing golf in the morning he assumes that
_all_ officers have nothing to do. He perhaps little realizes that the
same golfers, or tennis players, are trying to get their exercise at
a time that will not interfere with their academic duties that begin
for each department at varying hours. That same officer, who plays a
game of golf at 9:30 A.M., will in all probability spend a part of the
forenoon and afternoon with the cadets, and all evening in preparation.
Appearances are often very deceptive. This is particularly true in
the Army, which has been, until the war came upon us, subject to more
unjust criticism than any other professional body.

In order to facilitate the instruction, the cadets are arranged in
four distinct classes, corresponding with the four years of study. The
cadets in the first year’s course constitute the Fourth Class, those in
the second year’s course, the Third Class, those in the third year’s
course the Second Class, and those in the fourth year’s course the
First Class. The designation of senior, junior, sophomore, and freshman
is not used at West Point as in colleges and universities, but the
terms “Yearling” and “Plebe” are familiarly applied to cadets of the
third and fourth classes respectively. The advancement of the cadets
from one class to another is based upon proficiency in their studies,
the details of which will be found in the chapter on “The Discipline of
the Mind.”

In order to distinguish the classes one from another, the device of
putting bands of braid on the sleeve of the uniform has been adopted.
These lengths of mohair are called service stripes and are issued one
for each year of service, so that the “plebe” sleeve is bare, the
“yearling” has a single stripe, the second classmen, two stripes, the
first classmen, three stripes. This insignia is of black braid for all
gray uniforms except the full dress coat, on which gold braid is used.
The chevrons, although primarily a designation of rank, also serve to
distinguish some members of the classes. The cadet officers and the
sergeants are members of the First Class and the corporals are of the
Second Class. To many people, chevrons, or insignia or rank, means
nothing. Girls especially have so little idea of their significance
that they readily swallow anything a cadet tells them. It is the same
today as of yore. I was at a hop not long ago when I overheard a young
miss say to her cadet escort, who had just lost his chevrons, been
“busted” as the cadets say:

“Why don’t you wear some of those lovely gold stripes on your arm?”

“Well--er--you see,” replied the ‘buck,’ “why that’s a sort of private
matter with me now.”

_O Tempora! O Mores! Tempora Mutantur_, but not at West Point.

Until 1816, the cadets had no regular uniform, but were permitted to
wear pretty much what they desired. Poor chaps, I scarcely blame them,
because from the records it appears that for the large part of the
time they were in rags. In winter especially, they hardly had enough
clothes to keep them warm. In 1814, a uniform was prescribed, but
little attention was paid to the prescribed dress, everything being
worn according to fancy up to a major-general’s uniform. General R. G.
Ramsey (Cullum Register, Vol. III.) states that “during the winters
of 1814 and 1815 cadets were greatly exposed to cold; great coats had
not become the fashion for boys and such comfort was a specialty. My
wardrobe had been carefully prepared, but the inventory did not include
the great coat.” This is the first mention of the cadet overcoat.

In 1816, however, an order from the Adjutant-General changed the
uniform of 1814, and with few modifications made from time to time,
this uniform is worn today. The gray color is said to have been adopted
out of compliment to General Scott and his troops who, clothed in gray
(due to the inability of the government to furnish them with blue),
had, on July 4, 1814, won a victory over the British at Chippewa.

Today the cadets have a few more uniforms, but the general appearance
and the pattern have been only slightly changed since 1816. The present
list includes a full-dress coat, a single-breasted coat of blue gray
cloth, with three rows of gilt bell buttons in front, and button-holes
of black silk cord in herring-bone form with a festoon turned at back
end. The standing collar hooks in front and is ornamented with a blind
hole of cord formed like that of the breast with a button on each side.
The coat is cut off in front just below the waist line, but has in rear
a skirt, ornamented with three buttons and cord holes. The full-dress
coat is a garment of rare beauty and taste. I have never seen a more
military uniform, one that expresses so well the purpose for which
it is intended. It accentuates the good carriage of the cadets and
at the same time clothes him with an air of elegance. It seems to me
that anyone could look smart and well set-up in a cadet full-dress
coat. When seen in full dress without his accoutrements, the cadet,
with his slim waist, his well-developed shoulders, and chest proudly
displaying those shiny buttons, and the little tail hanging down
stiffly and conservatively, appears for all the world like proud young
cock-robin going a-courting Jenny Wren. The full-dress coat is worn for
ceremonies, church, official receptions, hops, and for social calls,
dining out, and entertainments.

For habitual wear, a dress coat, or a blouse (as it is more familiarly
called) is prescribed. The garment was first worn, June 15, 1889. It
is of the same style as the officers’ blouse, being of gray cloth and
bound around the edges, the cuffs, and up the seams in the back with
black mohair braid, having a collar of the same material, of height
suited to the wearer.

The trousers are of gray cloth with a black stripe up the side, one
and one-half inch wide. In summer, white is worn, either full white,
blouse, trousers, and cap, or a combination of the gray coat and the
white trousers. This mixed uniform is the most effective, especially
_en masse_, at a ceremony when the white belt and cross belts are worn.

For certain drills a gray flannel shirt is issued, and suitable
breeches are provided for riding. The various combinations of the
uniform are published in a table and designated by letter, so that the
cadet consults the table for, we will say, “Full Dress A,” where he
finds in detail all articles of uniform to be worn for a ceremony.

The uniform is admirable in color, appearance, and utility. It is
regrettable that the gray color is not used in the Regular Army instead
of the lifeless ugly olive drab. It is equally as invisible, more
attractive in appearance, no easier soiled, and easier to clean when

The only article of cadet uniform that seems out of harmony with the
rest, is the cadet cap. This headgear has no distinction and should be
abolished. It replaced, some years ago, a forage cap patterned after
those worn in the Civil War, but I do not think that the change was any
improvement. The visor is too drooping, and the crown, too narrow and
rigid, is clumsily fashioned. The majority of the cadets look as if
they had put on by mistake, their small brother’s hat, giving them a
vaudeville appearance, in some cases as ludicrous as Weber and Fields.

The day’s work of the Powers that Be, however, includes so many more
important things than the appearance of a cadet cap that the style of
the cap passes by unnoticed. The great aim of the Academy is to mold
a man’s character and train him to think. The Superintendent must
constantly keep his finger on the Academy’s pulse to see that these
aims are being successfully carried out. To the cadets he is as far
removed from their life as were the gods of Olympus from the common
mortals. Not that the Superintendent wishes it so, but because of
circumstances. The big problems of the Academy occupy so much of his
time that he comes into comparatively little personal contact with the
cadets. Like Henry IV., by being seldom seen, he is, when he appears,
like a comet wondered at by them who tell each other:

“That is he, the ‘Supt.’”

To be summoned before his presence makes a cadet anticipate the feeling
when he will appear before the final bar of justice. He dons his
full-dress uniform, pulls on a pair of white lisle thread gloves,
puts a visiting card in his hat band to have it ready for Woods, the
Superintendent’s messenger, and sallies forth, his heart a-tremble at
the thought of appearing before Olympus.

He quickly reviews his past, wondering what he has done, for he thinks
of course that he has unwittingly committed some offense. It is only
when he finds himself standing before the Superintendent’s desk
saluting and saying:

“Sir, Cadet Ducrot reports as ordered,” that he realizes that he is in
the presence of a very human person like himself.

The wonderful prestige that the Superintendent has with the cadets is
due, not so much to his rank, but to the fact that he too was once
a cadet, and passed through experiences similar to their own. They
appreciate the success that he has made in their chosen profession, and
his example affords inspiration to many, for they argue that once upon
a time, long ago, he too was a new cadet in “Beast Barracks.”



    Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

“You man, there, slouching across the Area! What’s your name?”

The person addressed, a short fat chap, looks up over his big round
tortoise-shell glasses, with unfeigned interest, but stands mute,
apparently fascinated by the immaculate white trousers and the military
bearing of the speaker.

“Do you hear me talking to you? What’s your name? Take your slimy eyes
off me and look to the front!” sternly commands young Mars, coming a
few steps nearer. The new arrival looks blank and tries to digest all
of the orders at once.

“You other man in the green necktie, come here!” shouts this cadet
officer as he catches sight of a tall lanky civilian in a Hart,
Schaffner, Marx suit, long flat tan shoes, and a flaming green necktie,
who has just sauntered through the sally-port.

“You man, there, do you hear me talking to you? Step out!”

The Green Necktie smilingly approaches the cadet officer, deposits his
dress suitcase on the ground, and mops his brow.

“How do you do?” he cordially remarks, “my name is Jinks. ”

The cadet officer glares.

“Your name is _Mr._ Jinks, SIR,” he shouts. “_Mr._ Jinks, you get that!”

“And you too, Mr. Dumbguard,” turning to the chap with the Harvard
spectacles, “don’t you forget to put a _Sir_ on the end of your name.
Who do you think you are around here? Stand up, both of you. Turn down
the cuffs on your trousers, button up your coats, take off all of those
badges and scarfpins and stick them in your pocket. What do you think
this place is? a school for dudes? Put your hats on straight!”

Command follows command with machine-gun rapidity. The green necktie
is almost smothered from view as the candidate buttons his coat, and
reluctantly the cuffs on the trousers are turned down.

“Pick up those suitcases and follow me.”

“And so this is an introduction to West Point,” ruminates the Harvard
spectacles, “strikes me this chap is somewhat brusque. I wonder where
all the other fellows are!”

Meanwhile over in front of the Administration Building is a large
group of candidates just reporting. Some are laughing and joking,
others remain silent, plunged in thought, wondering why they feel
so strangely. About the same impression fills each one’s mind.
Underneath those parti-colored striped shirts each heart is thumping
just a little faster than usual. The delay in reporting seems
interminable. With thoughts of all sorts racing through their heads,
they await their reception, or their “breaking in” with fearful


  _Photo White Studio_

“Beast Barracks”--Drawing Mattresses]

Some few have been to West Point before, but the large majority have
never been so fortunate. They know it only by _Cadet Days_, General
King’s entertaining book of cadet life, or by _The Spirit of Old West
Point_, General Morris Schaff’s charming reminiscent book of life in
the Corps, about the time of the Civil War, or by romantic stories
gathered here and there.

No words that I know of seem as magical as “West Point.” To the
candidate it conjures a vision of all that he hopes to be. The honor
of being a cadet, the privilege of wearing the uniform, the immense
possibilities of physical and mental achievement, the soul-satisfying
fear of an ambition about to be realized, the glamour of military life,
and, it must be admitted, a secret feeling of righteous superiority
over his boy friends at home,--all these thoughts crowd his imagination
so that for once he sees frozen the vague ideal that he always has had
of himself.

I am sure that Gawain’s first impressions of King Arthur’s court were
dim in comparison with the dazzling visions of West Point that fill
the candidate’s mind. For months, in some cases for years, he has
striven for an appointment. All of his interests and hopes have been
centered upon becoming a cadet. He has read all the literature about
the place, he has gone to sleep many a night living over in imagination
his career. At last the day comes when he sets forth on the road of
his great ambition. He can hardly believe that he is actually on the
way to West Point! What enchanting pictures crowd his imagination and
beguile the journey! In his mind’s eye he is arriving; he sees himself
in uniform, he wonders how he will like the life: one moment he is
troubled by the probability of failure, the next, he spans the years in
thought and is back home again on furlough, and he thrills with pride
and pleasure at the prospect of greeting his old comrades after an
absence of two years. How delightful it is to build castles in Spain!
His imagination runs on and on; he promises himself to study hard, he
wants his family to be proud of his record; he hopes to be a cadet
officer. In his reverie he graduates and joins the Army, his ambition
realized. All a-tingle with excitement he eagerly awaits the arrival at
West Point.

When, however, the great gray buildings loom up as the day-line boat
approaches the wharf, his buoyancy begins to ebb, his exhilaration
cools under a mental Texas Norther, and the joy of anticipation so
recently experienced receives a chill that causes him to gaze around
uneasily and forlornly. He feels a little sad and melancholy. Thoughts
of home sweep over him.


  _Photo White Studio_

Reporting for Duty]

There is, however, about certain fellow passengers, lean lank
youths like himself, something responsive, something about their
hats, something about the unnatural droop of the shoulders, the new
suitcases, the same fearful look that draws him to their side. “Are
you a candidate, too?” he asks hopefully. An answer is unnecessary.
Instinct again has won, and the flood-gates of friendship are
unreservedly opened to the newly made companion about to enter the Land
of Egypt and the House of Bondage. We are timid creatures all of us,
and even the strongest suffer a twinge of timidity, a queer feeling in
the seat of compassion, when about to penetrate the mystery surrounding
an unknown life. At such a moment we all want to be little children,
to have someone take us under shelter. We would like to run away from
ugly, grim Reality that relentlessly blocks our way and with whom we
must battle before we can go forward.

A sort of vague terror pervades the candidate as he climbs the hill
from the station to the Adjutant’s office where he must report, but he
grasps his suitcase and sets forth for the Headquarters Building where
his directions tell him to report upon his arrival. If he is ahead
of time he goes to the hotel where he finds a great many candidates,
some of whom have been at the Point several days trying to absorb some
impressions before reporting. Here friends are quickly made. On the
day that they are all ordered to report, when they feel that they are
about to bid farewell to their civilian freedom, they reluctantly set
out for Headquarters. Unwilling though they may be to report, few ever
in after life regret having entered the Academy.

The Rubicon once passed, however, no time is lost in the administrative
routine of receiving the raw material. After reporting to the Adjutant,
the new cadet is turned over to an orderly who directs him to the
office of the Treasurer. No general officer in full uniform, one month
later, could create in the candidate’s mind the same impression of the
finished military product as does this first sight of a _simple soldat_
at the Treasurer’s. The new cadet is directed to deposit all the money
that he has in his possession. Each new cadet is supposed to deposit
one hundred and sixty dollars upon entrance to cover an initial cost of
equipment, which amount is credited to the cadet’s account, together
with any surplus change that he has at the time of admission. Although
the Regulations require this initial deposit of one hundred and sixty
dollars, the requirement is not absolutely obligatory, so that if any
boy receives an appointment he should not be deterred from accepting
on account of the financial stipulation. He should come at all events.
The first equipment will be issued, and with economy he can later on
wipe out the debt. If a boy’s parents are poor, it would be foolish for
them to make a great effort to raise this money. Let the boy come and
assume the responsibility of the debt, and let the onus of it rest upon
his more youthful shoulders which will very soon broaden to bear it.
One by one the men pass the little wicket window of the Treasurer and
deposit all their money. Pockets are emptied of all cash and checks,
which are credited to the cadet’s account. When eight, ten, or twelve
candidates have been admitted, the young officer present forms them
into a pseudo squad, or rather group, then calls an orderly of the
Regular Army.

“Show these young gentlemen over to the Area of Barracks to the office
of the Officer in Charge of New Cadets.”

The orderly comes briskly to attention, his smart salute captivating
the assorted collection of “Prides of Congressional Districts.”
They promptly follow his leadership, out of the postern gate of
Headquarters, across the road to the Area of Barracks, reveling in the
clouds of glory that, in their eyes, he trails behind him. They are now
quite happy, fully launched upon their military careers.

The feeling of elation at being at last within the sacred halls of the
Academy begins to intoxicate the new cadet, when, upon the way over
to the barracks, he notices a few stray passersby stop, look at the
queer squad, and then smile slowly, almost insinuatingly, as if amused.
It is an irritating smile. He sees the orderly smile too. Something
has surely gone wrong. His heart goes down, down, down, and he soon
feels as if someone had thrown about him a cloak of lead. But on the
squad goes. He tries to shake off his heavy feeling, but it is no use.
Many days elapse before the heavy mantle is cast aside. He is sure
that something dreadful is about to happen. But stay, what is all this
disturbance in the Area? Running back and forth between a sally-port
and a barracks are a lot of bareheaded individuals, some in military
shirt and cit trousers, others in lovely pink striped shirts and gray
cadet trousers. They appear very uncomfortable. Several well set-up
young cadets are at their heels giving them instructions in stern tones.

“Say, soldier, who are those men?” inquires one bold candidate.

“Those men are your new classmates,” explains the orderly.

Just then a lieutenant comes forward; the orderly turns over his
charges and the men of the squad take their places in line with many
other candidates who are awaiting their turn to report to the Officer
in Charge. No sooner have they placed their grips on the ground,
and begun to take life easy while waiting, than a flock of yearling
corporals emerge from the Guardhouse.

“Stand up all along this line!” commands one.

“Hold up your heads, and drag in your chins,” shouts another, as he
goes down the line giving each new cadet a little personal attention.

“Mr. Dumbguard, put that hat on straight.”


  _Photo White Studio_

Two Hours after Reporting]

All hats are at once adjusted. The whole line assumes an extraordinary
appearance of rigidity. The heat becomes more intense. Large drops,
globules of perspiration, roll off the crimson faces whose features
have assumed a permanent set, depicting grief. Slowly the line
advances. More cadet officers appear, giving each candidate the number
of his room in barracks.

“Mr. Ducrot, your room is 1223, step out and find it, put your baggage
there and report back here immediately.”

Mr. Ducrot, whose intellect has become somewhat clouded by all of the
events and instructions that he has received in the last ten minutes,
hurries off in the direction of the twelfth division.

       *       *       *       *       *

The instruction of new cadets is under an officer of the Tactical
Department. In his work he has both officer and cadet assistants.

In order that the cadets themselves might have experience in breaking
in new men, cadets of the First (or senior) class are detailed as
assistant instructors. They drill the new cadets in the school of the
soldier and of the squad. They give him individual instruction in the
care of his room, his correspondence, and in the use and care of his
equipment and his personal hygiene. It is highly desirable that the
new cadet should feel the influence of the older cadet. I shall never
forget my first impressions of my cadet instructors. I thought that I
had never seen such immaculate human beings in my life. With their
straight backs, their lean faces, piercing eyes that stared coldly
almost contemptuously at me, I was sure that they were all English
generals imported direct from the Boer War. I didn’t know that white
duck trousers could be so white, nor brass buckles so shiny. I was then
sure that I had an incapacity for military life, that I would never
attain such a degree of excellence, and I inwardly withered before
their glory.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile, Mr. Ducrot and his fellow candidates, having found their
rooms in barracks, are approaching the Guardhouse at a dead run upon
the insistence of a cadet corporal. Once again they stand in front of
their instructors who glare at them like Men of Wrath.

“Fall in,” commands the fiercest looking one.

A shuffling of feet, indefinite movements as if to do something, a few
emphatic remarks by a corporal, and a semblance of a line is formed.
Two Messrs. Ducrot ignore the suggestion of the Wrathful One, until a
fresh-faced lieutenant almost pulls them into line.

The squad is now herded over to the Cadet Store to have issued the
initial uniform, consisting of a gray shirt, campaign hat, cap, and
gray flannel trousers.

In less than half an hour a complete metamorphosis takes place. The
heterogeneous crowd of candidates that entered the store has lost the
appearance of a bargain counter on sale day. By no means, however,
have they gained a military aspect: all that can be said is that they
are harmoniously clothed. It takes time to learn to wear a uniform
properly, and nothing is funnier than a new cadet in his first outfit.
These garments have been made up in stock sizes so that an issue can
be made at once. The fit is fairly good, except the blouses. A plebe,
however, soon appreciates a loose blouse. When the cadet instructors

“Mr. Dumbguard, get those shoulders back. More yet! More yet!” a number
of wrinkles appear in the back of the blouse. The looser therefore
it is, the less effort is necessary to produce many wrinkles, and
therefore, the task of appeasing the Man of Wrath easier.

The first day’s work goes on rapidly. As soon as the new uniforms are
donned, once again to the Cadet Store go the new cadets to draw their
room equipment.

“New cadets, turn out promptly!” command the cadet instructors in the
lower hall of each division. Down the iron steps hurriedly come running
the novitiates, and line up in the Area. At the Cadet Store, each man
is issued his mattress, pillows, and bedding. A long procession of
young Atlases, sweating like horses, stagger through the sally-port,
bearing aloft everything necessary for sleeping, except the bed. A few
zealous ones add to the burden a bucket, perhaps a dipper rattling
inside, and a broom that sways recklessly on the top of the mattress.
Concealed somewhere in the mass is a bottle of indelible ink that is
sure to drop before the room is reached. Standing in the Area are a few
of the Wrathful tribe ever on the alert to see that no loitering occurs.

“Take up a double time, Mr. Ducrot, step out!”

Poor Mr. Ducrot, this time about five feet four inches tall, whose view
has been obscured by the side of a mattress, attempts to be more of a
hustler, stubs his toe, and down come pillows, mattress, bucket, and

“Well, Mr. Ducrot, you’re a pretty mess, you’re about the grossest
plebe I ever saw!” consoles one sarcastic Arch-Fiend.

“What do you think you’re trying to celebrate out here, Mr. Dumbguard,”
cuts in another, “do you think you’re going to take a nap?”

The senior cadet officer comes forward:

“What’s the trouble?” he inquires.

Mr. Ducrot (after remembering to raise his hand in imitation of a
salute) speaks up from the midst of his debâcle:

“I was ...”

“Sir! Sir!” commands the officer.

“Sir,” recommences Mr. Ducrot, “I was coming through the sally-port

Further details of this domestic tragedy are cut short by the roll of a

“Pick up that stuff and get ready for dinner.”

“Step out! Step out!” orders the cadet officer.

Dinner! Dinner! Beloved dinner! the thought fills Mr. Ducrot with
ecstasy. Here it is twelve-thirty and he has been at it since 5:30. It
seems three years.

At dinner formation, “Mr. Ducrot, Mr. Dumbguard and Co.” learn how to
“brace,” a term used to denote the position of the shoulders well down
and back, with the head erect and chin in, hands close to the side. The
companies are marched, after a fashion, to the Mess Hall. The cadet
instructors accompany the new cadets continually commanding:

“Mr. Duflickit, drag in that chin!” “Hold your head up, No. 2, 1st

Once in the Mess Hall, the new cadet is allowed to eat all he wishes
without interference. At the meal, however, he must comply with the
instructions for the position of a cadet at table in the Mess Hall.

    This position shall be wholly without constraint. While eating the
    body shall be erect on the hips, inclining slightly forward, elbows
    off the table. When not eating he will sit at ease in his chair,
    erect or leaning back as he desires. His forearms may be kept in
    his lap, or his hand or hands may rest easily upon the table. At no
    time in the Mess Hall shall he tilt his chair back or elevate his
    feet, or turn his chair away from the table. Whenever a cadet is
    spoken to in the Mess Hall, he will look at the person speaking to

But who cares, this first meal, about the position at table? Nothing
matters except to satisfy that ravenous appetite!

Dinner over, the tragedy of the afternoon is enacted. West Point pays
no attention to the style of hair cutting preferred by the aspirant
for military honors. All cadets must be shorn alike. The new cadets
are consequently marched to the barber shop wherefrom a long line of
shaggy headed plebes protrudes like some serpent caught in a noose.
What a sight is that barber shop! Hair everywhere: black hair, red
hair, yellow hair, and some that resembles sun-burnt vanilla. Thick
wavy locks, the despair of some distant damsel, drop dejectedly one by
one. The hair must be kept short at all times so that it is impossible
to distinguish at West Point cadets with histrionic leanings, or those
poetically and musically inclined.

No rest yet in sight, this busiest of days. First the rooms must be
arranged strictly according to the Regulations--a place for everything
and everything in its place. Dozens of times are the belts piled,
only to be pulled down and thrown on the floor by the Wrathful Tribe
detailed to see that the task is correctly done. The bedding suffers
the same ignominious treatment, for the slightest irregularity
in arrangement is met with severe punishment. It seems hard and
discouraging, but, later on, the reason for such strict compliance with
orders appears. Only by constant repetition do new cadets learn to
do a thing thoroughly.

[Illustration: The Interior of a Cadet’s Room in Barracks]

Tired out in body and brain, Mr. Ducrot sits on the edge of his bed for
a moment’s rest, when:

“New cadets turn out promptly!” echoes through the hall of the
Division. Not a moment is lost in complying with this command.

He rushes down the stairs in a bewildered sort of way wondering what
calamity is about to befall.

“Hurry up, Mr. Dumbguard, what do you mean by coming out here late?”
greets his appearance upon the stoop of the barracks. From all the
divisions new cadets are scampering to their places in ranks along the
cement walk.

But who are the grave-looking officials in blue uniforms? The question
is not long unanswered. The new cadets are lined up along three sides
of a square. The National colors and the Corps colors are brought to
the center. The Notary Public, in the presence of the Superintendent
and his staff, reads the oath of allegiance to the assembled new body,
who with right hands raised toward Heaven, swear their fealty to the
United States. The ceremony is simple, but to the plebe tremendously
impressive. When he agrees to give four years’ service to the
Government after graduation, he feels as if he is signing away his life.

There is no cloud without its silver lining. To Mr. Ducrot’s great joy,
the chief Man of Wrath commands:

“New cadets will immediately take a bath.”

For the first time since reporting he enjoys a little relaxation,
splashing around under the showers, where occur stolen confidences when
the instructors are busy elsewhere. A refreshed feeling creeps over Mr.
Ducrot and he double times back to his room to await the inspection of
his shoes and feet. Pretty soon, in pops the officer in charge with
tapes and foot sticks for taking the measure of shoes. Alas, no pointed
toes or English lasts are allowed:--all cadets must wear a sensible
military shoe. Regularly, are Mr. Ducrot’s feet inspected during his
first few weeks to remedy ill-fitting shoes and prevent cases of

Years ago in the days of hazing, a vastly different sort of inspection
of feet occurred. This was an unofficial inspection of the plebe’s feet
by upper-classmen. In the middle of the night when the tired plebe was
snoring away, dreaming of being late to a formation and pursued by
raging demons, he was suddenly awakened by a hollow voice in his tent,

“Inspec-shun! Feet,” the “feet” said crisply and emphatically.

Without delay Mr. Ducrot sticks his bare feet out for the inspection
of the midnight prowler. He then, by order, opens his toes into the
intervals of which the gloating upper-classman poured melted candle
grease, thereby ending the inspection.

At eight-thirty in the evening, Mr. Ducrot, wearily but joyfully, makes
down his bed that has remained folded all day long. At last, he is to
have a rest, blessed sleep is in sight.

At nine o’clock the orderly in front of the Guardhouse beats three taps
on his drum and simultaneously the cry:

“Lights out!” echoes through the halls of the divisions. Immediately
the barracks are plunged into darkness and silence. Only the tread of
the cadet officer doing his half-hour patrol in the Area, disturbs the
stillness of the night.

Mr. Ducrot sinks back upon his pillow, dead tired, almost too tired
to sleep, and strives to bring a little order out of the chaos of his
mind. The oft-repeated names Ducrot, Dumbjohn, Duflicket, Dumbguard
float through his head, indescribably confused with mattresses,
pillows, stern-looking cadet officers, vicious yearling corporals, rows
of red-faced plebes, chins drawn way in, and the perspiration streaming
down their faces. The events of the day are hopelessly jumbled in his
mind. A feeling almost of failure creeps over him, and in the solitude
of the night a yearning for his home seizes him. All through his breast
spasmodic sharp pains play hide and seek. The great loneliness to which
men are prey, fills him with sadness and melancholy until a pleasing
drowsiness drifts along and smothers Mr. Ducrot into unconsciousness.

This period of training of the new cadet is familiarly called “Beast
Barracks.” It lasts for about three weeks, at the end of which these
new men are sent to camp to join the Battalions. It is necessary to
segregate them for at least this length of time: otherwise they would
be so wooden that they would be sticking their front rank files in the
head with a bayonet.

It is not difficult to discern the origin of the name “Beast Barracks.”
In the cadets’ mind, their breaking in is only comparable to the
taming of some wild animals. The training is undeniably severe for a
tenderfoot, but its “beastly” character is an imaginary creation. To
the new man, however, it seems awfully real. I well remember my own
feelings. When I was standing in the fierce sun, “bracing” in ranks
along the cement walk of the Area, occasionally a white dog upon the
hill opposite would come lazily snooping around the ash cans: I envied
him his freedom. It seemed to me that I envied everyone except my
classmates in misery. In my imagination I saw in flaming letters above
every door I entered: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”

As I was re-christened Mr. Ducrot, I began to think I was someone else,
I felt as if I must have died and that this was my second tour on
earth, a punishment for a wicked first life.

“There must be some way of getting out of this,” I reflected, but then,
I thought that if the officers and cadets in charge of me had gone
through with this training I could also. And I did,--Alleluiah!

[Illustration: Moving from Barracks to Camp]

It was a long time, too, before I found out how all of us came to be
addressed as Mr. Ducrot. During the academic year when I began to study
French I made his acquaintance. He appeared in Keetel’s French Grammar,
in the exercises of which the older cadets had uncovered a mysterious
scandal concerning his private life. All plebes were at once required
to relate to the upper-classmen the following bit of gossip, known
as the famous Ducrot scandal. 1. Monsieur Ducrot a un fils et _une
fille_. 2. Madame Ducrot a un fils et _deux filles_. _Scandal._ The
name became traditional in the Corps and was, with many others, applied
indiscriminately to all plebes.

Early the next morning, Mr. Ducrot, whom we left sleeping, attends
his first reveille. Although the drums do not begin to play until
five-twenty, he steals out of bed long before and conscientiously
sweeps, dusts, shaves, and dresses, for fear of not being on time for
the formation. Boom! sounds the morning gun! Down the iron steps all
the Mr. Ducrots noisily clatter, bolt out to the cement walk where they
remain rigidly at attention for ten minutes until the cadet officers
emerge half awake and disagreeable. Woe unto the sleepy-headed plebe
who is late! As he peeks his head out of the Division door a couple
of the Wrathful meet him and convoy him at top speed to his place in
ranks. I was once late: I shall never forget the experience. When my
“Boer War Generals” were chasing me I was seized with the same terror
that a child has in dreaming of being pursued by a burly policeman and
unable to run.

At 5:50 the cadet instructors make a cursory inspection of the rooms to
see that they are in order before breakfast. Before entering they knock
sharply on the door, an authoritative knock, but one flavored with a
little bravado. Two immovable, gray-clad figures, with eyes glassily
fixed on the wall in front of them, chins caressing their Adam’s apple,
shoulders way back, stand near the fireplace, looking for all the world
like a couple of spoiled children about to cry, while the inspector
rubs his white gloves over the tables and chairs.

Upon the second day commences the instruction of the new cadet in the
elementary drills.

During the first few weeks the following schedule is carried out:

  Infantry Instruction    7:15-7:45 a. m.
  Physical Exercises      8:15-9:00 a. m.
  Infantry Instruction   9:30-10:15 a. m.
                        10:45-11:30 a. m.
                          3:00-3:40 p. m.
                          4:15-5:00 p. m.

Each day the course of instruction is definitely prescribed by the
officer in charge. At the first drill the new cadets are taught the
school of the soldier, the marchings, haltings, facings, and saluting.
These exercises are given without rifles. Usually the second drill
is given under arms. As the service rifle weighs nine pounds, it is
desirable to accustom gradually these young lads to its weight. To
one unaccustomed to carrying a rifle, it seems, after a short while,
to bore into your shoulder. Any officer who has ever been a cadet
will never require an enlisted man to carry his rifle too long, until
fatigued. His own experience in “Beast Barracks” remains too vivid.

The instruction is progressive, so that the cadets are gradually
assembled into squads, the squads into platoons, the platoons into
companies. Naturally, some men improve faster than others. Those whose
intellects seem befogged by the complexities of the drills are formed
into what is known as the “Awkward Squad” whence, as they progress,
they are transferred. Last year one bright cadet instructor thought
of a practical joke to inspire the new cadets to do their very best.
It seems that the schedule of drills included a “sightseeing tour”
around the Post, in order to familiarize the new cadets with their
surroundings. The plebes were told that only the most efficient would
go on this tour. Consequently great efforts were made by members of the
awkward squad to increase their military efficiency. As the instructors
knew and the plebes later discovered the “sightseeing trip” was
anything but a treat. It was made on a broiling hot summer’s afternoon
at a rapid walk, and not after the fashion of the Metropolitan
rubberneck wagons. Objects of interest were pointed out in the most
military manner: 1. Eyes Right; 2. Hudson River; 3. Front, or, 1. Eyes
Left; 2. Battle Monument; 3. Front!

Sandwiched between the infantry morning drill are the physical
exercises. This name will make the plebes laugh, for all drills are
physical exercises, but I intend it as a distinguishing name for a
drill where the essence of exercise is dispensed. This drill is now
given in the Gymnasium and consists of every known form of setting-up
exercises that can be devised. For forty-five minutes the cadet
executes them, both at halt and while marching. He is given frequent
short rests of half a minute or a minute, after every different
exercise, but nevertheless it seems to the naturally fatigued new
cadet, as if every muscle, every sinew, and every bone was being
relentlessly punished.

These setting-up exercises are a potent influence in the new cadets’
physical development, and when the fresh young body has become
accustomed to them, they act as a tonic, an elixir. To a visitor the
drill is always interesting as it is rather spectacular, due to the
numbers acting in unison and with perfect cadence.

The early afternoon is devoted to the nomenclature and cleaning of
the rifle. Scattered in groups in the shade of the old gymnasium or
the Cadet Store, perspiring plebes take their rifles apart and, after
cleaning them, try their utmost to put them together again.


  _Photo White Studio_

A First Lesson in Saluting]

Infantry drills fill the remainder of the afternoon until 5:00 P.M.,
when there comes a chance to wash away the grime before retreat.
Immediately after the lowering of the flag each afternoon is an
inspection in ranks, for which all plebes must be carefully groomed.
Each man must appear with immaculate linen and with his blouse and cap,
and shoes carefully brushed. Mr. Ducrot dreads the inspection more
than any other duty. Despite his care in dressing, the inspectors are
sure to espy a tiny wisp from the clothes brush clinging to his cap or
blouse, whereupon His Highness says:

“What do you mean by falling into ranks covered with straw?” Perhaps
Mr. Ducrot is just seventeen years old with only a soupçon of hair on
his face.

“Why, what’s this,” inquires a sharp-eyed inspector. “Mr. Ducrot, why
didn’t you shave today? I see three hairs sticking out of your chin.
Drag in your chin.”

Mr. Ducrot’s sense of humor overcomes him even in his miserable state
of mind and the corners of his mouth begin to twitch.

“Wipe that smile off your face!” commands the cadet officer.

Up goes the hand: the offending emotion is erased.

“Now, Mr. Ducrot, throw it upon the ground and stamp upon it. Don’t
you ever again smile in ranks.” Mr. Ducrot begins to feel that the
Wrathful Ones are quite human after all and he feels cheered up for
the remainder of the day. Up and down the line walk the cadet officers
inspecting and “bracing” the plebes, commanding:

“Get your shoulders back! More yet! More yet!”

“Hold your head up; drag in your chin!”

“Suck up your stomach! Lean forward on your hips!” and so on.

For three weeks the new cadets are put through this severe course of
instruction before they are deemed fit to be put in the ranks of the
older cadets without ruining the appearance of the Battalions.

It is astonishing to behold the progress made in elementary training in
this short period. It is true that the days are crammed full, and the
instruction is of the most intensive kind, but even so the results far
exceed what might be expected under the most rigorous of systems.

In the first place, the men lose all appearance of slovenliness
and begin to acquire a distinct military bearing. The unevenness
of gait is replaced by a measured tread, the hanging of heads and
drooping of shoulders gives way to an erect smart carriage, and the
excessive swinging of arms disappears. The group of very crude-looking
individuals of the first few days has been changed into a harmonious
appearing military body. Little by little the new men have begun to
adjust themselves to their uniforms.

No less marked is the change of the mental attitude of the new cadet at
the end of “Beast Barracks.” All sense of his own importance, if he
ever had any, has oozed away rapidly. Like Bob Acres, it sneaked out of
the ends of his fingers the first few days, and he realizes what a very
small fish he is in this new pond. He rapidly acquires a most receptive
mood in which he absorbs the most important lesson that a soldier must
learn,--OBEDIENCE. The officers and cadets in charge of him demand
unhesitating and instant compliance with their orders. To this end the
new cadets are made to execute every order at a run, not to harass them
as they sometimes think, but to form the habit of immediate obedience.
This trait is the foundation of discipline, toward the inculcation
of which in the new cadet, an excellent beginning is made in “Beast

At the end of three weeks the “Beasts” are moved from Barracks to
join the rest of the Corps in camp. You ought to see them move.
Carrying their Lares and Penates in striped laundry bags, or on canvas
stretchers, they come and go all morning across the Plain in parallel
rows, resembling for all the world a colony of ants building its new
home. Upon arrival in camp, they join the companies to which they have
been assigned, and from the state of “Beast” they are raised to the
dignity of a plebe, the next lowest grade in the cadet hierarchy.

“Beast Barracks” is over, but its memory remains fresher than any other
at West Point. In spite of the new and more interesting training
of camp life, Mr. Ducrot is forever haunted by recollections of
perspiration and indelible ink.



Only when the three hundred odd new cadets have been transferred to
camp and joined the Battalion, do they begin to feel that they are
members of the Corps. They are, however, ill-formed, crude, ungainly
members, and from the moment they pass the hedge that screens the
camp from the visitors’ seats, the Tactical gardeners begin the
work of bending these natural twigs, so recently transplanted from
the individualistic soil of civilian life to the orthodox ground of
military training.

Realizing how difficult it is for a young man to adapt himself to the
changed conditions that he meets at West Point, the authorities require
the new cadet to report in June, just as the academic year has closed,
in order that he may receive the benefit of the summer-camp training
before taking up his studies. The physical fatigue that the new plebe
experiences is really so great, that he would not be able to plunge
into the academic course before his body has become accustomed to the
demands made upon it. The aching muscles, the drooping eyes, that
awful heaviness of fatigue must all be given time to pass away so that
the mind may be free to pursue its development. To this end, he goes
into camp after his first few weeks in “Beast Barracks.”

The camp is prettily situated in the northeast corner of the Plain
along the bluff overlooking the Hudson. In form it is rectangular, laid
out for six companies whose streets are centrally cut by an avenue
known as the general parade. The streets are parallel to the parade
ground proper, from which they are separated and screened by a hedge.

Nor is the cadet camp lacking in the features that make every permanent
camp comfortable and convenient for the soldier. For these creature
comforts, the cadets have been at times criticised on the ground that
soldiers in the field should be content with the bare necessities of
life. The cadet camp, however, is intended as a camp of instruction
only. In military life there are two kinds of camps, the permanent camp
and the temporary camp. In the latter, soldiers live close to nature
dispensing with the hundred and one little conveniences that all of
us today consider necessary to our physical well-being, but in the
former, such as the cadet encampment, the soldier is provided with a
maximum of comfort--and why not? The illustrated magazines that help
to bring us closer to the Great War in Europe give visual proof that
when men remain for any length of time in one place, even in the zone
of danger, they build and adorn abodes. It may be that an enemy shell
will destroy these shelters the next moment, but the domestic instinct
remains unimpaired. Some of the bomb-proof dugouts on the western front
are miniature triumphs of architecture and comfort. The occupation year
after year of the cadet camp has had the same effect. We therefore see
today a camp with graveled company streets that are illuminated at
night by electricity. The tents, instead of being pegged, are supported
by galvanized iron rails. The dim candle of olden times is replaced by
the brilliant electric bulb, and the cadet, instead of reposing his
weary bones on the hard wooden floor, slumbers luxuriously on a Gold
Medal cot.

A large central tent, like a mother hen watching over her brood, is
reserved for the Commandant of Cadets. The tents of the cadet officers
are on the opposite edge of the space in front of the Tactical
officers’ tents, the next indication of hierarchical authority. Then
come the tents of the non-commissioned officers and the privates.

To have a neat-looking camp, strict regulations govern the arrangement
of the tents. Twice a day they are aligned. Due to changes in the
temperature, the supporting cords lengthen or shorten, so that the
front tent-pole gets out of alignment. Then an authoritative voice
rings out:

“Turn out, ‘B’ company, and straighten your tent-poles!” Whereupon
cadets in all conditions of dress and undress tumble out of the
little brown canvas homes. When it rains the cords must be loosened
at the first pitter-patter of the raindrops on the tent-fly. The new
plebe sitting in his underwear in his tent, probably polishing his
breastplate for the twenty-fifth time that day, does not realize that
this duty must be performed until a dozen or more yearlings command
from the recesses of the canvas bungalows:

“Turn out, you plebes, and loosen those tent-cords!” Out they jump into
the “catacombs” (the space between the tents), bumping their heads
against the rails, and at once commence tugging at the obstinate,
water-soaked tent-cords, while the summer downpour soaks them to the

       *       *       *       *       *

To each tent two cadets are assigned, one of whom performs for a week
at a time the duty of tent orderly. Whenever the cadet detailed for
orderly is absent on account of duty or sickness, his tent-mate becomes
responsible. In order that the Tactical officer in charge of any
company may know which cadet is responsible, there is fastened on the
front tent-pole, a revolving octagonal disk of wood, about three inches
in diameter. Both cadets’ names, as well as the words “Guard” “Sick,”
are printed on the face of the disk, along one of the sides, and the
disk revolved to indicate the name of the orderly, or the cause of the
occupant’s absence. The orderly is also supposed to keep the water
bucket filled, but the occupants of each tent usually have some private
treaty whose provisions prescribe which one shall “drag” the water
from the hydrant.

Generally speaking the orderly is responsible for the cleanliness
and police of the tent, and of the ground adjacent and in front, as
far as the middle of the company street where the rubbish is swept
into a pile to be removed by the policemen. These men are civilian
employees, many of whom have been at the Academy so long that they are
intimately identified with the Corps. In time, some of them will fade
into legendary characters much the same as Benny Havens. Promptly at
police call at five o’clock, the wheelbarrow squad commanded by “Mike,”
“Frank,” or “Tony,” moves ceremoniously down the street collecting the
sweepings. At this hour the camp presents an animated scene. Cadets are
busily dragging the ground around their tents with a broom to give it a
“spoony” appearance for inspection, and every few minutes some one man
will dart out to the center of the street with a stray match or piece
of paper and throw it in the passing wheelbarrow.

The interior of the tent contains a wooden clothes-press and usually
a canvas stretcher suspended from the ridge pole. Each cadet has a
certain section for his clothes. All articles, belts, gloves, socks
must be folded and arranged in a prescribed manner. The cots are folded
and kept out of sight during the day. Gray, painted wooden lockers for
storing cleaning material and clothing border one side of the tent
floor. Many cadets, however, secrete food, known as “Boodle” in these
convenient places, and I am sure that an unexpected inspection would
reveal many tins of saltines, bottles of olives, and jars of peanut
butter. During my cadet days, the officer in charge of my company
never, for some reason, looked into the lockers. My tent-mate and I
therefore grew more and more bold about filling them with vast supplies
of “Boodle,” and we began to think that the “Tac” was inspired by a
sort of _noblesse oblige_ where the lockers were concerned, a sort
of sympathetic remembrance of his own cadet-gnawing appetite. One
Saturday, however, just as he was leaving and I was offering a silent
prayer of thanksgiving, he ordered the lockers opened. A gallon jar in
which some fifty olives lay submerged and a slovenly looking pineapple
cheese met my humiliated gaze. A reprimand that as a cadet officer I
should set an example to the rest of the company, and five demerits,
were awarded to me forthwith.

When the tents are not prepared for inspection, however, cadets may
make down the cots and rest. How wonderfully refreshing it is to rest!
to throw oneself down on the blankets and forget the heat, the weary
march, the grime, the dust, and abandon oneself to the delights of
the imagination, dreaming of the sweetness of the past or building
vast plans for the future! How precious to the cadet is each moment of
repose snatched from the busy day! But it is in the morning that the
real longing for sleep becomes most acute.

Every morning at 5:20, the solitary boom of the reveille gun is echoed
throughout the hills, rudely dissipating the fog of unconsciousness
that envelops the sleeping cadets. Little by little the deathlike
slumber of the camp is broken. Indistinct sounds, a sigh, a yawn, float
gently out upon the air; drugged forms twist and roll uncertainly
beneath the mosquito bars, as if struggling in a bewildered sort of way
to preserve the pleasing heaviness that charms their bodies.

Suddenly the air is torn by the shrill garrulous fifes and the lusty
rub-a-dub-dub of the drums. The reveille march has begun. Around the
camp the “Hell Cats” march, up one street, down another like demons
possessed. The shrieking sounds of the fifes and the deep rolling
noise of the drums brusquely rout the stillness of the dawn, while the
semi-conscious forms toy with danger, beguiling themselves that there
is plenty of time until the assembly. Presently from near the general
parade the familiar warning notes of _Yankee Doodle_ change the camp to
a place of intense animation. Up go mosquito bars and in a twinkling,
almost as if by magic, tents disgorge their sleepy occupants, hastily
and feverishly buttoning their uniforms as they run to their places in
ranks to the fading rolls of the drum corps.

After reveille it takes but a few minutes to police the tents and
perform the necessary ablutions before breakfast. The drills commence
within a half-hour after the morning meal and continue until noon.
They are of various kinds, the majority of which will be described
in the chapter entitled “Lessons from Mars,” but I will speak of the
plebe’s work in his first camp, since it is somewhat different.

The physical exercises given to the new cadet in “Beast Barracks”
are continued in camp. In addition, he is sent to the Gymnasium for
swimming, where a professional instructor is present to see that no
one drowns, and to teach the various strokes. As many of the cadets
are adept swimmers upon entrance, they are tested, and those found
qualified are excused from further attendance. The men who cannot swim,
the real “land lubbers,” attend daily until they are proficient.

The most diverting instruction, however, in plebe camp is the dancing
lesson. A civilian professor spends the summer at West Point to
instruct the fourth classmen in the Terpsichorean art. Every morning
at hour intervals, squads of cadets carrying their pumps march across
the parade to Cullum Hall. Here they remove their coats, put on their
pumps, and line themselves along the wall. The waltz step is first
taught as the basis of all dancing, then later the two-step, and,
since the new dances have come upon us, the fox-trot and one-step
are rehearsed toward the end of the course. The dancing lesson is
not open to visitors. Once upon a time it was, but long cadets,
short cadets, fat cadets, lean cadets, awkward and graceful ones,
all tiptoeing, “one- and two- and threeing” around the room like a
lot of coy young hippopotami with compass bearings lost, became a
famous sight for tourists, who wanted to enjoy a good laugh. How could
anyone learn to dance in the presence of a giggling crowd! But the
crowd wasn’t to blame! Here in one corner was a little slender chap
delicate as a reed, perspiring in his efforts to steer his six-foot
partner, a regular steam roller, through the mazes of Professor Vesay’s
old-fashioned waltz. Again, all over the room, self-conscious boys in
white shirt-sleeves were in a bewildered state trying to execute the
Professor’s directions:

“Right foot in second position--glide and cut!” Nowadays an officer
excludes all sightseers during the lesson.

The instruction of the plebe in infantry drill continues
uninterruptedly, for it is essential that he should not spoil the
appearance of the rest of the battalion. Together with swimming,
dancing, and infantry drill, his morning is completely occupied. After
the midday dinner, he is assembled in squad for instruction in hygiene
and guard duty, or he may be required to spend his time working upon
his equipment, his brasses, his bayonet, and rifle.

Very little social diversion is permitted to the plebe, because he is
usually awkward in appearance and unfamiliar with military customs and
deportment. Consequently he considers that his life is excessively
hard, to him unnecessarily so; but as I have observed cadets for
thirteen years I am convinced of the wisdom of holding them in a
distinct class for one year. Then they emerge from the cocoon of
plebedom as dazzling yearling butterflies.

To afford instruction in guard duty the camp is surrounded by
sentinels. A quota of cadets from each company marches on guard
immediately after parade in the evening. There are three reliefs for
each of the ten posts: three corporals, a sergeant, and two officers of
the guard, and an officer of the day. The guard is under the control
and supervision of the officer in charge, who is one of the Tactical
officers. Each sentinel walks two hours and rests four, so that during
the twenty-four hours the cadet walks eight hours. The effect of this
duty upon the cadet is lasting, for it teaches him the fatigue a
sentinel experiences and prevents him, when an officer, from demanding
too much of his men. The borders of the camp are divided into posts,
numbered from 1 to 10.

The first important duty demanded of the plebe is guard. With what
quivering sensations this youthful soldier approaches his first real
test! Before he goes on guard he is instructed in his orders, both
general and special, but few feel as if they knew them well enough
to stand the ordeal of an inspection by a yearling corporal. No
opportunity is lost, therefore, before the hour to march on post to
perfect his knowledge, so that after supper little groups of excited
and nervous plebes study diligently these orders under the pale and
insect-infested lamp-posts near the guard tent. In the obscure light
these slim gray forms, some seated and some standing, seem shadowy and
motionless except for their gloves, little dabs of white that move
restlessly to and fro, attacking the ubiquitous mosquitoes.

The nearby guard tents under the elms are dark except the main one
where sit the officers of the guard, who keep the record of a stream
of gay upper-classmen, signing out for the hops and concerts. How far
off they are to the plebe! It seems to each one, as he watches them
from the shadows, that there is an impassable gulf between them, and
he wonders as he listens to their hurried voices calling, “Ducrot, hop
with,” or “Dumbguard, hop with, extended” if ever his year of plebedom
will roll by. What are those unintelligible remarks? It is some time
before he understands that the above expressions mean that Cadet
Ducrot is taking a young lady to the hop, and that Cadet Dumbguard
also, except that the latter’s girl lives at some distance so that
he is allowed ten minutes more after the conclusion of the dance to
escort the young lady to her home. Today, as I stroll by the camp in
the evening and see the same scenes reënacted, I re-live the first
impressions of my own plebe days.

Often while I was waiting my turn to go on post, I sat fascinated
as I watched the scene at the guard tents in the twilight of the
summer evenings. From the obscurity of the camp, stalwart figures
were constantly coming. Their gray coats and the evening mists merged
into one so completely, it seemed as if only animated pairs of white
trousers were flitting across the parade, all converging toward Post
No. 1. Little by little, as they approached the light of the guard
tent, the rays that were stabbing the darkness illumined the bell
buttons of the gray coats, and for a brief moment gleaming forms with
happy laughing faces filled the picture and then into the darkness of
the Plain quickly disappeared.

Such reveries, however, are usually interrupted by a sharp voice

“Turn out the second relief!” “Hurry up, you plebes,” and away the
novitiates scamper to perform their first guard tour. As the relief
marches around the graveled paths under the command of a very military
corporal, the plebe has, in spite of his feeling of uncertainty, a
sensation of pride in being entrusted with the guard of a part of the
camp. Each time that the corporal commands “Relief Halt No. 2!” and
the rifles hit the ground in unison, a pleasurable thrill pervades
his being, a consciousness of a certain importance. Before very much
pride can swell his breast, he is brought back to reality by the
stern corporal exclaiming, “Wake up, Mr. Dumbguard, and come to port
arms!” or “Drag in your chin!” In goes the chin, and the shoulders
instinctively draw to the rear. Glory was brief; humiliation reigns

Then commences in earnest the lonely two hours of marching up and down,
back and forth, at the end of which time the nine pounds of the rifle
has tripled at least. The arms ache, and legs feel as if they would
bore holes in the body.

The early part of the tour is filled with interest. The animation
in some company streets in contrast to the silence in others, the
occasional tinkling of mandolins, the cries from one tent to another,
the laughter over a surreptitious bucket of lemonade, the Y. M. C.
A. phonograph, the confusion over the wash lists, scampering cadets
noisily returning from hops and concerts--all keep a sentinel from
thinking of himself. It is not until the three taps of the drum,
when the camp is magically plunged into obscurity and silence, that
the plebe begins to feel the monotony of his duty and, while walking
mechanically back and forth on his post, to become introspective.

The stillness of the camp only accentuates his slow nonchalant step on
the path. In his imagination the air seems to be filled with invisible
spirits--the spirits of the night that have come forth. First he is
conscious of only a few timid ones here and there, but as the hours
wear on they seem to grow bolder and bolder, filling the surrounding
atmosphere and whispering in his ear their ghostly messages. Each
nerve becomes more alert as he listens for the crunch, crunch, crunch
of some official step on the gravel. How vivid and eerie seem his
surroundings! The lonesome hours of the night strike a sympathetic
chord in his sensitive nature and the balmy stillness calls forth
his starry fancies. At this hour when his comrades lie in their
tents bewitched by sleep, the most beguiling of enchantments, he is
conscious that another mysterious world is awakening all around him
in the solitude and silence. The air is filled with fairies holding
their imperceptible revels. He hears the rustling of the leaves, the
intermittent chattering of the crickets, the soughing of the breeze in
the branches, as if the trees in great distress were calling mournfully
to each other. Should this be the first time that he is alone at night
on post, he is a little afraid, and starts at the faintest sound. It
seems that when man reposes, the _Things_ come forth to their daily
tasks, performed in a world unknown to us.

Never will he forget, however, the ineffable beauty of the scene, so
beautiful that he is filled with a little sadness. The buildings across
the Plain, stern and melancholy even in the darkness, seemed to be
companion sentinels ever watchful over their traditions, and guarding
the sleeping hills dimly discernible through their misty blankets.
Occasionally a graceful river steamer, like some huge Jack-o’-Lantern
ruffling the smooth waters of the Hudson, glides softly by under the
cliff, her throbbing engines seeming to send forth a certain warmth
that dispels the chill of the early morning.

It is at this hour especially that his thoughts wander to his “ain
Folk” and reveal to his senses the full aroma of his days at home.

The clanking of a sword in the darkness calls him back to earth and to
the realization that the dreaded inspection is at hand.

“Halt! Who goes there?” he quickly challenges.

“Corporal of the Guard,” answers a sepulchral voice from the shadows.

“Advance, Corporal of the Guard, with the countersign,” uncertainly
commands the plebe. When within whispering distance, the corporal
faintly breathes the countersign, “Saratoga,” or “Burgoyne” (or maybe
Tannhäuser or Dumbguard, to test the sentinel), whereupon the corporal
is allowed to pass by the sentinel’s order:

“Advance, Corporal of the Guard.”

In the eyes of the yearling corporal, a plebe is habitually wrong,
so that for a few trying minutes the benighted sentinel endeavors to
“take charge of his post and all government property in view,” while
his preceptor picks him to pieces, his bearing, his accoutrements, his
knowledge, admonishing him at intervals, to “Drag in his chin--way
in.” But soon, the solitude of the night begins to work even upon the
yearling corporal constraining him to indulge in a partial intimacy
with the plebe, adding in softened tones:

“Mister, where are you from?”

“South Carolina, sir,” proudly responds the sentinel, touched by the
upper-classman’s near-cordiality.

With a gruff “Pretty fine State, mister,” the corporal virtuously
departs to interrogate his next victim.

How welcome now is the first faint tread of the relief as it makes its
bi-hourly round to take the sleepy sentinel back to the guard tent
where a bed of camp stools awaits his aching muscles.

       *       *       *       *       *

The tour of guard of a new cadet is sometimes made uncomfortable by the
pranks of the upper-classmen, although since the abolition of hazing
at West Point, this form of diversion has greatly diminished. The
regulations against hazing have been made so stringent that few cadets
indulge in the practice. As a matter of fact hazing no longer exists at
the Military Academy. A few heedless chaps from time to time, forgetful
of the future, unconscious of the heartburns that they will suffer
later on, indulge in hazing the plebes, but they pay the price for
their fun. Formerly, hazing was tolerated among the cadets because some
of its features were not harmful or objectionable, but, as in all cases
where a little liberty is granted to lads of immature judgment, license
followed. The practice was carried too far and moderation ceased to
exist. In 1901, at the instance of a former cadet’s parents, Congress
ordered an investigation of hazing conditions, with the result that the
Superintendent was directed to abolish all semblance of mistreatment of
plebes by upper-classmen.

The more vicious practices disappeared at once, but from time to time
investigation revealed isolated cases of the innocent kind. In the days
of hazing, the favorite and most injurious punishment meted out to a
plebe, if he were at all fresh, or “B. J.” as the cadets say, was a
series of exercises known as “eagles.” The new man would be taken in
a tent, stripped to the waist, and compelled to execute a setting-up
exercise, “Full bend knees.” The knees are separated and bent as
much as possible; point of knees forced forward and downward, heels
together; trunk and head erect; but instead of placing the hands on
the hips, he was required to raise the arms laterally. It is not the
exercise itself that was injurious, but the duration of the punishment.
Some men were required to “eagle” 100 or 150 times without a rest, and
if they had committed a particularly heinous offense, this physical
rebuke was administered under the broiling sun in the “catacombs.”
Another form of punishment consisted in making plebes, stripped to the
waist, hold pieces of matches or tissue paper, between their shoulder
blades for half an hour or more, while their tormentors stood around
insisting that they flatten their chins to their necks.

But this punishment was not viewed by the plebes with as much dismay
as was the servitude to “Tabasco Sauce.” The prowling yearlings would
descend into the Fourth Class sink, line up the plebes, and order them
to stick out their tongues, upon which they dashed a flop or two of the
burning liquid and fled. Sometimes, at the Mess Hall, as much as half
a teaspoonful was meted out for some unconscious transgression by the
plebe of the upper-classmen’s wishes. Fortunately the above practices
have long since disappeared.

On the other hand, the greater part of the hazing consisted of what
is known at college as “fagging,” such as dragging water, sweeping
tents, making beds, cleaning brasses and rifles, making lemonade,
running errands, sewing buttons on white trousers, etc. Each
upper-classman selected a plebe for his “special duty man” to perform
the aforementioned tasks. Most of the plebes did the duty cheerfully,
buoyed up by the thought that next year their turn to have a plebe
would arrive. A large part of the hazing, moreover, was the so-called
“deviling” the plebes, a generic term applied to all kinds of humorous
and mischievous pranks. Any cadet, for example, who possessed any
peculiarity of size, appearance, or temperament was given a “tech”
or technical name, to be used always in lieu of his own. One of my
classmates, whose tent was in a part of the camp called “Paradise
Alley,” was given in consequence of his auburn hair the following
“tech” with strict instructions to use it no matter who asked him his
name. In reply, therefore, to the same inquiry, “Who are you?” many
times daily, he scrupulously replied:

“I am a too-loo-loo bird, sir! Peep-y-ty-peep, sir! Poop-y-ty-poop! Ah!
... there. I’m the sunshine of Paradise Alley, sir; I am a queen, sir.
My hair is sky-blue pink with a heavenly border, sir! Don’t you think
I’m handsome, sir? I don’t give a damn, sir!”

This “tech” became famous, the peep-y-ty-peep part fastening itself
upon him as a nickname. Of course, all of these pranks were carried
on _sub rosa_ and presumedly without the sanction or knowledge of the
authorities. One night, however, the cadet was detailed for guard for
the first time. It happened that his tour of duty was from 2 A.M. to 4
A.M., those awful hours of the night. “Peep-y-ty-peep” was patrolling
his post ready to charge anything that came along. Suddenly the huge
shadow of a cavalry Tactical officer with a rattling saber and jingling
spurs loomed out of the darkness. Frantically “Peep-y-ty-peep” charged
down the post screaming, “Halt! Halt! who’s thar?” (in good old Alabama
English), until most of the sleeping cadets in the vicinity of the post
were awakened. After a few minutes of backing and filling the massive
cavalry officer arrived in front of the now thoroughly bewildered
“sunshine of Paradise Alley,” and began to ask him his orders. Poor
old “Peep-y-ty-peep” forgot them all, general and special. After vain,
fruitless efforts to obtain an expression of opinion of some sort
from the sentinel, this officer said in desperation: “Who are you,
anyway?” Whereupon perfectly seriously the rooky sentinel cried at the
top of his voice, while the nearby tents shook with laughter, “I’m a
too-loo-loo bird, sir! Peep-y-ty-peep, sir! Poop-y-ty-poop, sir! Ah...!
there. I’m the sunshine of Paradise Alley, sir! I’m--” The Tactical
officer hurriedly disappeared.

Such incidents as the above kept the plebes from becoming too
depressed. The fun of the upper-classmen found many other outlets. On
days when watermelons were served in the Mess Hall, the plebes were
required at the conclusion of the meal to fill their mouths with seeds,
and thus loaded to the gunwales to march back to camp. The wriggling,
squirming, slippery little black particles fought with one another to
burst open the encircling mouth _en cul de poule_ and leap to freedom,
and occasionally their efforts were successful, on the march back to
camp, to the detriment of the blouse of the plebe’s front rank file.
More frequently, however, upon arrival at camp, the plebes of A Co.
were lined up at six paces from those of B Co., and at a given signal
the human machine guns belched forth their glossy black bullets. One
upper-classman ordered me to gather a handful from the battlefield and
plant them around his tent. To my dismay and chagrin they sprouted,
whereupon I was instructed to care for them, keep them in health or
sickness, and train the growing vines on slender cords.

The plebes were hardly allowed a moment to themselves. Every spare
moment was employed in cleaning guns, brasses and other equipment,
chiefly of upper-classmen for whom one happened to be a “special duty
man.” If some unoffending sparrows alighted in the company streets,
half a dozen yearling voices rang out, “Turn out, you plebes, and
chase those eagles!” Lads in all sorts and conditions of undress fell
precipitately out of their tents, bayonets in hand, to drive away the
innocent feathered marauders. If an upper-classman wished to know the
time, he would yell, “_Quelle heure est-il?_” a whole chorus replied,
“Two o’clock, sir!” Again, every plebe was required upon inquiry to
give his P. C. S., or previous condition of servitude. Those who
had none, never having worked in their lives, were made to answer
“schoolgirl,” as a mark of immaturity and unworldliness. Never was a
plebe permitted to say: “I don’t know.” “Say something, Mr. Dumbguard,”
was the admonishment followed by: “If you cannot think of anything, say
‘steamboat’! Never say that you don’t know!”

I once stood behind a man in ranks who weighed, he said, 190 pounds.
I weighed but 120. It became my daily duty to weigh and report to him
how much of his frail body I, as his near rank file, left uncovered and
exposed to the elements. When a plebe was on guard at night, some of
the yearlings would appear on his post covered with sheets which they
fluttered at a great rate.

“Halt! Who goes there?” cries the sentinel.

“A flock of angels,” was the reply, and before the sentinel could get
the corporal of the guard, the flock had flown.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _pièce de résistance_ of the camp was, however, a rat funeral
for which elaborate preparations were made. Efforts for days were
exerted to catch a rat or a mouse, but if neither could be beguiled
into the trap, a grasshopper served the purpose. In a plebe’s tent an
imposing catafalque, equal to that prepared for any crowned head, was
constructed of wooden lockers covered with black rubber ponchos. Upon
the top of this bier surrounded by candles was Mr. Rat.

During the night preceding the obsequies a guard of honor of the
plebes, fantastically dressed, kept a running watch over the
fast-stiffening rodent. Next day, after drill, came the funeral. Orders
were issued by the upper-classmen for all plebes to attend and for
those having musical instruments to appear with them. One plebe was
detailed to act as chaplain and prepare the funeral oration, another
as leader of the band, another as chief mourner. The remainder of the
plebes were the afflicted relatives whose weeds were the most bizarre
and fantastic costumes that they could create. In the procession,
therefore, were plebes in underdrawers and dress coats buttoned in the
rear, hats reversed, breeches with no shoes, shoes without breeches,
ponchos over nature only, and sometimes _in puris naturalibus_. Each
mourner, moreover, came with a galvanized bucket to catch his tears.

First appeared the band composed of mandolins and guitars, a stray
violin, and perhaps a lonely cornet, followed by the deceased borne
upon a canvas stretcher strewn with dandelions. To the tune of
Chopin’s funeral march, the grotesquely arrayed mourners followed
the bier, chanting from time to time a parody written for the music
and entitled “Somebody Hit Me with a Codfish Ball!” At a signal from
the chief mourner the cortège halted to allow the plebes to deliver
themselves with abandon to their grief. By order, they raised the
galvanized buckets to catch the “tears that stopped the flood-gates
of their eyes,” while they filled the air with agonized mournings and
lamentations. If the sobbing and blubbering appeared too faint, the
upper-classmen who lined the route increased the wailings by yelling,
“Weep louder, you plebes!”

At the grave, somewhere in the rear of the camp, the “chaplain,”
“Daddy” Singles, spoke feelingly of the departed one’s nobility of
soul. The gnawing grief of the multitude gave way once more to despair
(and usually to laughter) as they lowered into the ground poor old Mr.
Rat, whose rigid whiskers gave him an amused expression, as if he were
enjoying his honorable end.

       *       *       *       *       *

After two months’ training in camp, the cadets return to barracks to
begin their academic duties. At once, all nonsense ceases, and the new
cadet is in no wise interfered with, even in fun. The routine changes
completely and the day becomes fuller. Reveille is a half hour later,
but the work increases and there are fewer leisure moments.

It is to the more serious and inexorable side of his training that the
cadet must now turn. Life in barracks is more sedate, more formal, more
cold than the free existence of camp where he and his comrades were
living close to Nature. The time has arrived to renounce the pleasure
of sleeping in the open, of breathing the fragrant out-of-doors,
of living in the midst of scenery that appeals to every æsthetic
faculty. It is in the rooms of barracks that the next nine months
must be passed, the severe unadorned rooms whose bareness, however,
is forgotten in the ineffable sweetness of the friendship of one’s
roommate. At no place, perhaps, are closer friendships formed than at
West Point. They are not of the whirlwind kind so common elsewhere
today, that sweep one off his feet for the time being. Nor are they
like some great roaring wind that shakes one’s nature to its depths
and then leaves him bruised and torn, but wide awake at last, to spend
its force in other directions. Rather are they friendships of slower
growth, but deep and sincere, belonging more to a mature age than to
the irresponsible years of a cadet when his enthusiasm, his likes and
dislikes, seem to be the only things necessary to foster.

The difficulties of his studies, the homesickness, the fatigue of
the drills, the irksomeness of the routine, are all lightened by the
intimacy with his chum, by the smile of sympathy, or the word of
encouragement that greets him at all times. It is a great privilege
to live in close contact with a human being and be allowed a glimpse
into his soul. It compensates for all the stony paths of life, for all
hardships, and sends one forth to his duties with a feeling of joy and
gladness, strong in heart and thankful to God.

In every room in barracks dwell two chums, each the “wife” of the
other. The increased number of cadets and the negligence of Congress to
provide extra barracks have caused the introduction of Mormonism, for
in some rooms are three chums, each with _two_ “wives.”

The most striking feature about the rooms is their plainness. Here
the cadet is “allowed not more than nature needs,” or scarcely more,
for an inventory of the furniture discloses two iron cots, one iron
washstand, two plain wooden tables, two wooden chairs, and two steel
clothespresses. The walls and floors are bare, for the Regulations
prohibit rugs, carpets, pictures, placards, banners, or any other
adornment. Upon the plain black iron mantel in the middle is a mirror,
flanked by black tin frames containing the hours of instruction and a
time schedule designed to indicate at all times the whereabouts of the
occupants of the room. Not to have the hours of instruction correctly
posted is a military offense. No matter where the cadet is, at
recitation, barber shop, church, lecture, hospital, library, his card
must so indicate. In addition, a small inexpensive clock may be kept on
the mantel.

To give each occupant of the room a little privacy, a wooden partition
juts out half way into the room dividing this space into two alcoves,
in which are placed the cots. During the day the mattresses are folded
and upon them the bedding is piled. Only during release from quarters,
and after 9:00 P.M., are the beds allowed to be made down and used.
Along the sides of each alcove are hooks for the clothing, which must
be hung in a prescribed manner; for example, 1st hook, raincoat; 2d
hook, overcoats; 3d, sweater coat, and so on. The shoes are aligned
toes out, along the side of the bed, in a definite order, the high
overshoes as right guide, then the low overshoes, and other shoes
according to height.

Upon the top of the clothespress are the books, arranged according to
height, newspapers, periodicals, stationery, cameras, and tobacco.
In the shelf section each of the various articles of clothing has a
prescribed place, and in the coat section the uniforms are hung in a
regular order. Only on the top shelf of the clothespress may the cadet
keep a photograph.

In front of and against the alcove partition is the washstand with its
two wash bowls. The water, hot and cold, is drawn from a hydrant in the
hall. This arrangement is a great luxury in comparison with the old
days when, to heat water for shaving, we poured it over a joint in the

In barracks as in camp there is a room orderly who is responsible for
the condition, cleanliness, and general police of all parts of the
room. The cadets sweep their own rooms and make their own beds. The
halls are swept by the civilian policemen, who also scrub periodically
the floors of both rooms and halls. By Regulations, cadets are not
allowed valets, nor are they permitted to own an automobile, horse, or

The cadets are in uniform, of course, at all times. Every detail of
their clothing is prescribed. The collars, for example, must project
above the coat collar just one eighth of an inch, and a like display of
cuff is required. Only certain kinds of shoes may be worn, and certain
kinds of gloves both for drills and hops. Although not prescribed by
Regulations, a custom of long standing among the cadets prohibits the
plebes from wearing their overcoats with the end of the capes thrown
back over the shoulder, nor may they wear lisle thread gloves to
chapel, but must content themselves with the thick, coarse Berlin gun
glove. The lowered capes of the plebes give them an air of humility
alongside of the upper-classmen, and the gun gloves accentuate the
crudity of the poor plebe’s military appearance.

The day is filled with duties. From the return of the Battalion from
breakfast until 8:00 A.M., is a study period. From 8:00 A.M. until
12:35 P.M., the different classes attend recitations in the prescribed
courses, or perhaps have instruction in gymnastic exercises or in
riding. Dinner comes at 12:40 P.M., after which recitations are held
until 3:50 P.M. In the fall and spring drills commence at 4:00 P.M.,
followed by parade at 5:30 P.M., and retreat and supper at 6:30 P.M.

Cadets do not proceed individually to their classrooms, but are formed
in the area of barracks in sections, under the command of a section
marcher, who, after reporting to the officer of the day any absentees,
marches his men to their section rooms.

In like manner there is a meal formation. The Battalions are formed
in front of barracks and marched by the two senior captains to the
Mess Hall. Just as much observance to step, alignment, and bearing is
required as though marching to parade.

Upon entering the hall, “at ease” is commanded, whereupon the cadets
proceed quietly to their places at table and remain standing back of
their chairs until the cadet captain commands: “A Co., take seats.” The
food is always ready so there is no delay. Thirty minutes are allowed
for breakfast and supper, and forty for dinner.

As soon as seated, cadets begin to talk and laugh. The only
restriction upon them is that they must conduct themselves at mess
like young gentlemen. No throwing of food or waste is tolerated. One
first-classman, known as the table commandant, is in charge of each
table and is held responsible for all breaches of regulations upon the
part of the cadets thereat.

Civilian waiters bring the food from the kitchen and place it upon
the table. The cadets are then required to help themselves. Custom
makes the three or four plebes at each table perform the most onerous
duties. One plebe, known as the “water corporal” pours the water and
milk. Another, the “meat corporal,” carves the “bone,” and another, the
“gunner,” pours the coffee, and exercises a general supervision over
the supply. Their duties keep them very busy, for the upper-classmen
constantly demand food.

[Illustration: Marching to Barracks from Dinner

The Academic Buildings]

The life at the Mess Hall is replete with customs, and the vocabulary
of the cadets filled with terms unintelligible to the uninitiated. Some
of their customs would not be approved in polite society but would be,
perhaps, by modern efficiency. If, for example, a man at the end of
the table wishes more water or milk, bang! goes his glass on the table
preliminary to its flight through the air to the outstretched nervous
hands of the “water corporal.” The plebe eats in spasms, so to speak,
one eye on his food, and the other on the alert for aërial glasses.

“How’s the cow?” yells an upper-classman, meaning how much milk is in
the pitcher.

“Almost dry, sir!” replies the plebe.

“Milk her again!” is commanded as the glass comes speeding down.

Every morning the “gunner” who sits at the end of the table, in
capacity of hostess, so to speak, “sounds off” the number of days
until June. Instead of grace, he commences the meal, “282 days until
June, sir!” On the 300th, 200th, 100th day before June, the plebes
write speeches in which they are allowed great latitude in satirizing
the upper-classmen. The yearling who has been particularly annoying
during the year sees all of his faults held up to ridicule, but he must
swallow his medicine at the hands of the plebe.

It is a real treat to see the men at mess. No melancholy stillness
pervades the Mess Hall. One can hardly hear himself in the din of
rattling dishes, knives, forks, the peals of laughter, the roar of
eight hundred voices all talking at once, punctuated by the plebes
repeatedly shrieking, “Bread! please!” or whatever they want. In
beholding them, one realizes vividly the meaning of the expression
“teeming with life.”

Occasionally, orders are read in the Mess Hall by the Adjutant. It
would seem impossible to get the attention of the cadets, but when he

“Bát-tál-yón ... at-ten-tion!” the roar almost instantly subsides,
like a balloon suddenly pierced. A wave of silence engulfs the hall,
accentuated at times by the fall of a fork or spoon on the tiled floor.
Quietly the cadets sit, as the Adjutant reads his order, on “skins”
(delinquencies). There are no soft notes in his tone. They are all
fortissimo and run together until they become “monotonous,” like the
hum of a factory. Some mischievous cadet, unable to bear the enforced
inactivity, enlivens a small group around him by stealthily firing a
bread ball at an unobserving neighbor.

Each cadet has a silver napkin ring with his name and class inscribed
thereon. At graduation all of the rings are melted into a loving cup
which is given to the member of the class who has the first son. This
child is known as the “Class boy.”

Just before the conclusion of the meal the first captain makes an
inspection, calls the Mess Hall to attention, and commands: “1st
Battalion, rise.” The cadets file out quietly, form in front of the
Mess Hall, and return to their barracks.

       *       *       *       *       *

The rooms are subjected to a continual series of inspections. First,
there is a rather superficial inspection by the subdivision inspectors,
cadets of the First Class, twenty minutes after reveille. They give the
rooms a _coup d’œil_ chiefly to see that the floors have been swept and
the bedding folded and piled. During the forenoon, the Tactical officer
in charge of the company makes a careful survey of everything. This is
known as the “Tac” inspection, and may occur any time from 8:00 A.M.
to 11:00 A.M. Until the “Tac” makes his morning visit the cadets are
required to wear their uniforms buttoned. The majority of the cadets
sit around in their sweater coats until they hear the authoritative
knock of the “Tac” on the doors of the first-floor rooms. They then
quickly don their blouses until after he leaves, when sweaters are
again brought forth. This time is a study period and it is almost
impossible to concentrate on problems that make you feel like tearing
your hair, when dressed in a tight-fitting uniform.

When roommates attend morning recitations at different periods, the
first-hour men are notified of the inspection by their comrades who
leave the mirror turned to the wall as a signal, or, sometimes, just a
sign--“He has.” Once a Tactical officer with a sense of humor traced in
the dust across the face of a cadet’s mirror, during his absence, “He

Upon the return from first-hour recitations the divisions ring with
shouts, “Has he?” “Has he?” mingled with the cries to the plebe mail
carrier of, “Mr. Dumbguard, has the mail?”

After dinner the officer of the day inspects to see that the cadets
are not visiting and that the rooms are in order. During the evening
study periods, from about 7:30 to 9:30 P.M., the cadet sentinels posted
in the halls of barracks inspect three times. They open the doors of
each room, inquiring, “All right, sir?” whereupon the occupants reply,
“All right, sir!” or “Cadet Ducrot is absent.” The reply “All right”
signifies that all occupants are present, or if any are absent that
their absence is authorized. Any cadet who intentionally makes an
incorrect report is dismissed from the Academy.

The day ends, as it begins, with an inspection of the subdivision
inspectors. At the three taps of the drum in the Area, cries of “Lights
out!” fill the air. The buildings are plunged into darkness except for
a dim hall light, and the inspectors, armed with bull’s-eye lanterns,
flit through the halls like nervous fireflies. Each door is hurriedly
opened; a beam of light seeks first one bed then the next, while the
dark form on the threshold calls out sharply, “All in?” “All in, sir!”
replies the room orderly from the depths of the alcove. Bang! goes the
door and the shadow disappears. From all the divisions the fireflies
swarm into the Area and align themselves like a string of shining beads
in front of the officer of the day to whom they report.

       *       *       *       *       *

For all breaches of regulations the cadets are reported, “skinned”
in their parlance. The list of delinquencies is read out at retreat,
and the next morning the cadet must submit a written explanation of
the offense. The majority of the reports are for minor offenses, such
as lates, absences, inattention, buttons off uniform, and so on.
Ordinarily, no explanation for these offenses is requested, although
the cadet has a right to offer one if he so desires. The more serious
offenses, however, must be explained.

In their explanations cadets must confine their statements to plain
facts. No criticism or argumentation is allowed. Occasionally some
wit transcends the limit and amuses himself for the moment at the
expense of his conduct grade. Once a report was entered against a
cadet for having worn his night-shirt to the Drawing Academy. It seems
that, lacking a plain white shirt, he hastily donned a night-shirt,
stuffing the flowing tails in his trousers. He was betrayed, however,
by the blue embroidery down the front. An instructor, seeing the queer
garment, reported the cadet. Since he had been obliged to attend a
number of lectures in drawing, at which he invariably fell asleep, he
submitted the following facetious explanation to the Commandant of

       *       *       *       *       *


In explanation of the report “wearing a night-shirt to the Drawing
Academy on the 10th inst.” I have the honor to state that I heard
that there was to be a lecture in drawing; consequently, I wore my

       *       *       *       *       *

I need not add that he walked a number of punishment tours for his wit.

The punishments that may be awarded a cadet are:

  (_a_) Confinements; that is, restriction to room
  during release from quarters.

  Restriction of limits.

  Deprivation of privileges.

  Punishment tours.


  Reduction of officers or non-commissioned
  officers to the grade of private.

  Loss of furlough.

  (_b_) Suspension.


Punishment tours are of one-hour duration, during which time the cadet
walks an assigned beat. On Wednesday and Saturday afternoons the Area
is filled with cadets walking to and fro, like pendulums, each tracing
in the gravel a little path. They resemble in their animation the
goings and comings of a colony of ants. No cadet enjoys walking tours.
It is viewed as a particularly disagreeable punishment, much worse
than serving a confinement in one’s room, where he may “bone fiction,”
chasing away the gloom of imprisonment with some interesting book. In
the winter months the chill and snow fill their thoughts and hearts as
they pace to and fro, beating their hands together for warmth. But it
is in the autumn and spring when the athletic contests with outside
teams take place that the misery of walking tours becomes terribly
acute. The cheering of the fortunate cadets witnessing the games is
like some magnet which draws and draws. The longing must be resisted
and stifled while they continue upon their monotonous walk, chained to
an inexorable task.

The work demanded of a cadet is hard, but without the restrictions,
obstacles, the petty annoyances, the young plebe that comes to West
Point so plastic and yielding would never grow and develop. At first
the limitations that surround him baffle and bewilder him for a time,
but as the days pass by and he begins to be imbued with the spirit of
the Corps, and to feel the traditions and atmosphere of West Point, he
insensibly rises superior to every annoying restriction. He may indulge
in occasional grumbling and ill-humor but what of that? He knows now
that a reason exists for every obstacle, and he sees in the hardships a
way that leads to the development of his higher self. His moral force
is gradually crystallized and he gains the spirit of willingness to do
his duty toward the Academy and his little bit in keeping strong the
spirit of West Point.

The main idea of West Point after all is to develop the mind and
character of the cadet, to instill into him the proper ideas of
discipline. It does not aim for a discipline where a man’s spirit or
will is broken, so that he obeys through fear, but a discipline of the
soul, wherein a cadet performs his duty for the deed’s sake. Without
this high moral spirit, no army can be successful, despite the most
brilliant galaxy of officers.



The longer a cadet remains at West Point, the clearer and finer becomes
his point of view. During the first few months of his career, a glimpse
of which we had in the previous chapter, he is so busy learning the
mechanism of the drills, the care of his person and equipment, and
familiarizing himself with all of the strange names and unusual customs
of military life that his point of view is more or less clouded.

Little by little, during the summer encampment, as soon as the newness
of his surroundings begins to wear away, he finds himself undergoing a
change of heart; he experiences a new feeling and appreciation of his
work and a sort of exhilaration of discovering the progress that he is
making in his daily tasks. For example, instead of going out to parade
in a dazed and mechanical manner, he marches forth filled with pride
that he is really a member of so _élite_ a Corps. He strives to do his
bit with all his might. He lends a close attention to all commands so
that no act of his will mar the appearance of his company, and does his
utmost to assume the correct position of a soldier that is incessantly
dinned into his ears by the ever alert file closers. He feels that he
is changing, but does not understand just how. In reality his point
of view is swinging around, it is clearing up, and the new cadet is
beginning to be animated with the spirit of West Point.

The scales seem to drop from his eyes. He is no longer concerned so
completely with his troubles and difficulties, with his inability
to get into his white trousers without mussing them badly, with his
capacity for doing “wooden” things, or with all of the thousand and one
little heartburns for things done and left undone.

On the contrary, the incidents of his surroundings that are unrelated
to himself begin to interest him. With quiet amusement he watches
the antics of the yearlings, envying them their careless nonchalant
air. His heart goes out in sympathy to some fellow plebe who has just
incurred the displeasure of an upper-classman. He secretly admires the
military bearing of the cadet officers, the fit of their blouses, their
erect and graceful carriage. To him they represent the ideal in the
flesh toward which he is striving. There is a certain something about
the manner in which they perform their duties that inspires the plebe
to extra efforts. In the hope of receiving a word of praise from the
cadet captain at inspection before parade, an extra rub is given to the
rifle or breastplate, and more care is taken in climbing into those
stiff white trousers. He listens with the greatest interest to the
chatter about the approaching Academic term and accepts with gratitude
the counsels sometimes offered him by the cadet captain.

As the camp draws to a close, not only the captain but all of the
upper-classmen give the plebe gratuitous advice about the coming
Academic year. At every formation while awaiting the sounding of the
assembly, little groups gather in the company streets and interrogate
the plebes as to their previous mental training. A note of restlessness
begins to pervade the camp as the month of September draws nigh. Once
again the books must be taken down from the shelves and hours of study
devoted to the solution of problems.

The plebe views the close of the camp with a sigh of relief mingled
with not a little anxiety. It is true that he is glad to get into
barracks where he will have a little more personal liberty, and be free
from the incessant drilling, drilling. On the other hand, the opening
of the Academic year fills him with some misgivings about his ability
to master the studies and fulfill his ambition to become an officer.

Before he is really aware of the flight of the days, September the
first has arrived. He leaves the life of camp where almost the entire
day has been devoted to military exercises of one sort or another and
plunges into the Academic work. A new sort of life begins and the
routine of the day is readjusted. With determination he sets out to
climb the stony path of knowledge that alone will lead him to his
commission. The branch of the service that he will eventually select is
as yet unknown to him, but as he proceeds in his career at the Academy
he will have a taste of the duties of each arm, and he will later on be
able to choose his branch with intelligence.

The beauty about the West Point system of training officers is that
it educates them for all branches of the Army, for the line and for
the staff. When a man graduates, he is assigned either to the Corps of
Engineers, the Ordnance, Artillery, Cavalry, or Infantry according to
his choice based on his class standing. The highest men usually select
the Corps of Engineers, although it is not unusual for a man who is
recommended for the Engineers by the Academic Board to choose some
branch of the mobile Army.

The curriculum to which our young cadet must devote nine months of the
year is highly scientific and technical. The corner-stone of the course
is mathematics, and the great mass of the structure is made up of the
exact sciences. Primarily, the curriculum is designed to give the
cadet a liberal education and to turn out a man with sharpened mental
processes. It does not lay the greatest emphasis upon the training of
cadets in the practical duties that pertain to any particular arm or
corps. The reasons for this are very sound.

It is the belief of all officers who have given the question of
military education any thoughtful study that the first requisite of
any army is a corps of officers trained in the essentials of their
profession. What really does this mean? It simply means that officers
of the Army should be well educated men, not only those who are to go
into the technical branches such as the Engineers and the Ordnance, but
the line officers as well. The authorities at West Point have therefore
developed a broad scientific course, fully convinced that the mental
discipline, powers of investigation, and accurate reasoning necessary
in solving problems in the exact sciences are the same mental qualities
that are needed whether in planning a great campaign, building a Panama
Canal, or fighting the savage Moro in the distant Philippines.

The advisability of giving all cadets, those destined for the line as
well as for the staff, the same education has been questioned more than
once. As long ago as 1843, a Board of Officers, of which General Scott
was president, made certain criticisms of the course of instruction. It
is interesting to quote the answer made by the Academic Board, for the
ideas set forth therein express in general the opinions held today:

    The Academic Board believes that one of the most important objects
    of the Academy is to subject each cadet, previous to his promotion
    to a higher grade in the Army, to a thorough course of mental as
    well as military discipline to teach him to reason readily and
    accurately to apply right principles to cases of daily occurrence
    in the life of a soldier. They are satisfied that a strict course
    of mathematical and philosophical study, with applications to the
    various branches of military science, is by far the best calculated
    to bring about this end, and that the present scientific course at
    the Academy, the result of the experience of many years, is in its
    main feature such a course.

    They are aware that many of the cadets, as is the case with most
    of those who pursue a scientific course at other institutions,
    will have little occasion to make practical applications of the
    many mathematical problems that they meet, and that they may have
    passed over certain problems without thoroughly understanding
    their meaning in all their points. Still, if the course has been
    thoroughly taught, the reasoning faculties will have been strongly
    exercised and disciplined and a system of habit and thought
    acquired which is invaluable in the pursuit of any profession,
    and as desirable for the infantry or dragoon officer as for any
    other officer in the service. The officer whose mind has thus been
    disciplined and who is not forgetful of the duty he owes to the
    government that has furnished him with opportunities so valuable,
    will acquire facts and information in whatever station the
    interests of the service may place him. This discipline and system
    he will learn at an early age only, and nowhere so well as during
    his term of service at the Academy.

In recent years, strong influences have been brought to bear on the
Academy to change the course so as to make it more practical. The
advocates of this change ignore the ends toward which West Point’s
course works, heretofore successfully, and desire to see cadets
leave West Point with what they call a practical knowledge of the
different arms. This means that they wish the graduated cadet to join
his regiment well versed in the routine work of the Army, and would
have West Point take precious time from mental training to teach a
more complete knowledge of the mechanism of the drills. If West Point
followed this advice, the graduated cadet would have a difficult road
in solving the big problems that will arise in his career. If in the
West Point course emphasis were laid upon the practical work rather
than upon the intellectual training, then the cadet would simply be
storing up knowledge instead of learning how to think. When therefore
any situation would arise, the tendency would be to make a requisition
upon the storehouse for a solution. If there is no similar situation
tucked away on the shelves of memory, that will serve as a guide, he
will in many cases be at a loss how to proceed. Not so, however, if his
mind has been trained correctly. He will work out his own solution.

Many people believe that the whole science of the military profession
is embraced in a book of drill regulations whose practical
demonstration on the drill and parade grounds constitutes all that
is necessary to make a successful officer. They do not realize that
battles are won first with the brain and then with the sword. They
rather regard the work of officers much the same as manual labor that
anyone can do, and they do not admit that any great amount of mental
training for the officers is necessary.

I do not wish to give the impression that there is no practical
training at the Academy--far from it. But I am glad to say that it
has been allotted its proper place in the course. Once the theory is
mastered, the practical is quickly learned afterwards. Any cadet with
a trained mind can readily learn the practical duties that may be
demanded of him as an officer.

It is an astonishing fact that I have heard West Point methods
criticised in the Army because a young graduate upon joining his
regiment did not know how to make out a _morning report_! Why should
he? The fact that any boy of average intelligence can learn to make one
out in fifteen minutes should be a complete answer to all demands that
cadets should be taught these trivialities at the Academy.

The criticism leveled at West Point by officers of the Army is unjust.
Older officers expect too much of the graduated cadet. I have noticed
that they demand of these young men, immediately upon joining, the same
mature conception and efficient execution of certain duties as they
themselves are able to display only after years of experience.

Upon graduation from West Point, I dare say that there is no more
highminded, well-trained, and efficient body of young men in the
world. The graduates join their commands brimming over with youth,
intelligence, enthusiasm, and energy and ruled by intense loyalty. They
want to do what is right. They want to go forward in their profession.
They make every effort to perform well their duties. All that they need
are leaders among their superiors who will develop their aspirations.
Sometimes they encounter a distinct air of hostility, occasionally a
petty attitude on the part of some older officers whose one ambition is
to “put them in their place,” and, too frequently, simply indifference.
The result is that the young officers quickly become a prey to the
red tape, the dull routine, the narrowness of post life, or to the
mental inertia of prolonged duty upon the border where almost every
stimulating influence is absent. If only there were enough good leaders
to take this wonderful material that the Academy sends forth annually
and develop it, there is no telling to what heights these young
officers would rise.

But to return to our plebe who makes his début in Academic work
September the first. The evening before has been spent in earnest
preparation for the lesson in mathematics, and he sets forth on this
early autumn day to grapple with the hardest study of his course.

First call for recitation is sounded at seven minutes before eight
o’clock. The trumpeter, an enlisted man of the Army, blows “school
call” first in the area of barracks, then outside of the north
sally-port, on the Plain side of the buildings. The call is repeated
several times, and as its notes float out on the air, the barracks
begin to disgorge the cadets, sometimes singly, but more often in
groups of twos and threes. The more prompt ones pile out on the cement
walk, standing near their places in the ranks to await the assembly.
The majority are laughing and talking or discussing the lesson, while
others, thirsting for knowledge until the last, keep their noses
in their books. Their comrades sometimes tease them, calling them
“tenth-boners” in good-natured derision, or steal up behind them and
shut their books for them saying, “Oh, come off spec-ing tenths,” which
means to desist from studying at the last moments to better the mark.

At one minute before assembly the cadet officer of the day, a straight
young man in a red sash and red crossbelt (bound up, as Patsy O’Hara of
1904 wittily remarked, in his official red tape), takes his post in the
center of the area and commands: “Form your sections!”

Instantly books are slammed, all noises, talking, laughing, skylarking,
cease, and the scattered gray figures seem to magically form themselves
into compact little squads under the direction of their section
marchers who stand out in front counting them. The door of the
Guardhouse opens and the O. C. (officer in charge) appears upon the
“poop deck,” stern, implacable, almost sphinx-like, and surveys coldly
the formation. For the brief space of a few seconds all is quiet except
for the occasional shuffling of a section that has misjudged its proper
space. Then the trumpeter sounds the assembly. A few belated men are
tearing to their places in ranks, running a race with the fading notes
of the trumpet and landing bang! into the rear rank just in time to
keep from being reported absent. The kind-hearted trumpeter often takes
a deeper breath (especially in winter when he sees the belated ones
recklessly dashing across the icy walks), and holds on to those last
notes of assembly in a way that was never intended by the composer. God
bless him!

Meanwhile the instructors are in the section rooms awaiting the arrival
of their classes. Here and there in the windows of the rooms facing the
area is an instructor gazing upon this class formation that is the same
today as it was years ago, and that awakens in him a flood of memories
of his own cadet days when he too set out to recite to an instructor
who never seemed quite human. As he looks at the cadets forming, he
realizes how distinctly the institution creates its types, and he is
able to pick out certain individuals and say to himself:

“There goes so and so of my class!”

The great charm of West Point is that so many things never change. Some
of the cadets, sons of graduates, are doing exactly as their fathers
did at their age, and again a few cadets are reacting the youth of
their grandfathers.

While the instructor is watching the cadets in the area, the section
marcher reports to the officer of the day all absentees in his section
which he then marches off to the Academic Building. On the sections
come in military formation straight to the classroom door. The halls of
the building resound to the tramping of many feet as the cadets march
along with muffled tread, thanks to O’Sullivan rubber heels that are
fitted to every pair of shoes. When opposite the classroom door the
section marcher commands:

“Section halt! Fall out!”

The cadets hang up their caps in the hall, file into the room, and
stand rigidly at attention behind their desks. The section marcher
enters, closes the door, takes his position in the center of the room
facing the instructor, salutes, and reports:

“Sir, all are present,” or “Cadet Ducrot is absent.”

Mr. Ducrot now makes his acquaintance with Mathematics, the study that
determines more than any other his standing at West Point. From the
day that he commences his studies he feels that he must devote the
greater amount of time to this subject, and with reason. A perusal of
the tables of instruction shows that the greater proportion of time
and weight is allotted to the mathematical studies. The total amount
of time provided for in the course of instruction, including riding
and gymnasium, is 192,900 minutes. If gymnasium and riding are deducted
(11,205 and 10,860 minutes, respectively) there are left 170,835
minutes devoted to Academic work. Of this amount the pure mathematical
subjects are allotted 76,555 minutes, and the non-mathematical
subjects, 94,280 minutes.

These figures represent the time that is actually spent in the
recitation work. To give an accurate idea of the draught of these
subjects upon the cadet’s time, however, we should estimate the amount
of time required for preparation plus the time spent in the section
room. The lessons are so assigned that these preparations take the
average cadet twice the time allotted to the recitation. Thus, in
subjects having an hour and twenty-five minute recitations, the average
cadet is expected to spend two hours and fifty minutes in preparation;
and in subjects having one hour periods, two hours of preparation.
Practical Surveying and Drawing are subjects for which no preparation
is required.

Adding the preparation time to the recitation time we find the total
relative amounts of time as follows:

  _Mathematical Subjects._   _Non-Mathematical Subjects._

         76,555                    94,280
        136,940                   145,440
       --------                  --------
        213,495                   239,720

The time devoted to mathematical subjects is divided among only five
departments, whereas the time divided among non-mathematical subjects
is divided among nine departments. Again, each subject is weighted
and the five mathematical subjects have almost as many units as the
nine non-mathematical subjects. Out of the 2325 units required for
graduation (leaving out of account the 200 allotted to conduct) the
five mathematical departments have 1065 and the nine other departments
have 1260. It is no wonder that Mr. Ducrot wishes to make an auspicious
beginning in a study that is so important to his future career. The
conduct of the recitation that he attends for the first time is about
the same in every department. In Mathematics, which is an exact
science, the system is perhaps a little more rigid than in some of the
non-mathematical departments.

As soon as the cadets have taken their seats the instructor asks:

“Are there any questions on the lesson?”

The cadets are then at liberty to ask for an explanation of any part of
the lesson that they have not been able to comprehend. The officer uses
his judgment as to the amount of time to be thus consumed. Sometimes
he will take up half the recitation period to clear up the obscurities
of the lesson, but if he has one of the lower sections he sometimes
has to be on his guard, for the cadets on the days of hard lessons
astutely ask many questions in order to consume the recitation period.
I know one officer who always outwitted these youthful diplomats when
they attempted to stave off the recitation. He would begin speaking so
rapidly that no one could interrupt:

“Any questions-pages-one-two-three-four-too-late-close-your-books. Mr.

Each cadet is sent to the blackboard with an enunciation, that is,
some phase of the lesson to discuss, or perhaps the instructor may
question a few men. The cadet writes his name on the board in the upper
right-hand corner and proceeds to place upon the slate enough data to
assist him in his recitation. In Mathematics, he solves his problem; in
other subjects the topic that he will develop orally.

As soon as the cadet is ready to recite he takes a pointer in his hand
and faces the instructor and stands at attention until called upon. In
order to test thoroughly the cadet’s reasoning powers the instructor
will sometimes lead him on along a false path, practically making the
recitation himself, saying:

“Is not that so?” and again, “Is that not so?”

To which the lad, if not thoroughly sure of himself, will be betrayed
into replying:

“Yes, sir!” “Yes, sir!”

Finally when the deduction has been rendered ridiculous, the officer
will sharply say:

“That is perfectly absurd.” The cadet receives a lesson that he does
not forget. Once or twice as a cadet I was in this position and I know
the feeling.

After each cadet is heard, he is given other problems with which to
wrestle while the other cadets are reciting. When a principle of
particular importance is to be demonstrated, all of the cadets are
required to face about and give their close attention in order that
they may all benefit from the instruction.

During a recitation a visit may be expected at any time from the
Professor or Head of the Department. Upon his entrance, the cadets all
rise and stand at attention until they are told to proceed with their

The Professor either listens to the cadets recite or conducts the
recitation himself. The recitation continues until the bugler blows
the “Recall” in the area. What a welcome sound is this to those few
who have spent the hour at the board, without reciting, vainly staring
at the blank slate in the hope of drawing some inspiration from its
cold surface! They have been “bugling,” waiting for the bugle to sound
“Recall.” They quickly drop chalk, eraser, pointer, and joyfully file
out of the room exchanging with their co-conspirators sympathetic
smiles, and surreptitiously “rubbing their bellies,” as a sign of
excessive joy.

The instructor at West Point has one great advantage over his
fellow instructors in the colleges. His time is not occupied with
trifling on the part of the students. The cadets are so thoroughly
disciplined by the Tactical Department that their deportment in class
is irreproachable. It is very rare that the recitation is interrupted
to make corrections other than academic. The cadets are held to a high
standard of discipline all the time. In class they are not permitted to
communicate with one another, but they talk freely with the instructor
about points in the lesson.

So much for the actual recitation, the conduct of which seems so
smooth and simple. In the background, however, there is an admirable
organization that strives for a maximum of efficiency in the

Every department consists of the Professor or Head of the Department,
an assistant professor, and the requisite number of instructors which
varies with the size of the classes. In the Departments of Mathematics
and Modern Languages, each of which instructs two classes, the
Professor is aided by an associate professor, besides the assistants.

The Professor is in complete control of his entire department. He
prepares the courses of instruction, recommends the adoption of new
text-books, or abolition of those in use, apportions the work among
his instructors, conducts and supervises the conferences of his
instructors, prepares and supervises the examination of the classes
pursuing his course, is responsible for all property belonging to his
department, and is the channel through which must pass all reports and
official communications relating to departmental affairs.

In nearly all of the departments the Professor is able to standardize
the instruction of the cadets by means of conferences with his
instructors. These meetings are informal, partaking more of the nature
of a _conversazione_ in which the Professor outlines his wishes to his
officers, emphasizing the points of the lesson that he wishes brought
out. The conferences also offer to the instructors the opportunity
to make suggestions to the Head of the Department in regard to the
section-room work, pointing out the success or failure of certain
features of the previous lesson.

The conferences are comparatively recent in the scheme of instruction
at the Academy, but they are of great value to the officers. The
result is that the instructor enters the section room with a feeling
of confidence and a knowledge that his methods are approved in advance
by his immediate chief. Moreover, the Professor is able to go from
one section room to another and find that the teaching of the lesson
is progressing uniformly. I have always considered the conference
feature the greatest aid in my work as an instructor, for besides the
profit derived from the Professor’s talk, there is always a constant
interchange of ideas, of impressions, or perhaps a heated argument
between the officers, all of which stimulate the mind and the
imagination, and sharpen the wits. Furthermore, these meetings tend to
produce harmony by drawing the officers together in a common cause. The
introduction of conferences has markedly changed the former attitude
of the instructor toward his work, so that instead of merely hearing
the lesson and marking the cadet, as prevailed too frequently in years
gone by, the officer is inspired to impart a maximum of knowledge and
help to his student. I feel sure that the average of the teaching is
rising year by year, due in large measure to the intelligent conduct of
conferences by the various professors with their officer assistants.

In addition to their work in the preparation and teaching of the daily
lessons, instructors are required to keep the record of the cadets’
marks. For this purpose, pasteboard cards properly ruled for the days
of the week, averages, and proportional parts are provided, one for
each cadet. After the conclusion of the day’s recitation the mark is
entered by the instructor on the cadet’s card, and at the end of the
week, all of the marks are transferred to a weekly report that each
instructor submits for the cadets under his charge. These reports, or
“tenth sheets” as the cadets call them, are publicly posted in glass
frames in the sally-port, where they remain for one week, during
which time the cadets are at liberty to inspect them. In this manner,
a cadet can always tell exactly what progress he is making, whether
deficient or proficient. There is never any attempt at secrecy, but,
on the contrary, every facility is afforded the cadet to ascertain
his standing. The pasteboard cards form the permanent record and are
carefully filed in the department.

The weekly reports are usually posted every Saturday while the
battalions are at inspection. Immediately upon breaking ranks, what
a scramble ensues to get a peep at the result of the week’s work!
Struggling cadets elbow and crowd one another to get close to the
frames, each heart beating in anticipation of the figures that mean
for some success and for others failure. The difference of perhaps one
tenth in the total will sometimes fill the lad with dejection for the
rest of the afternoon.

No one is deprived of the privilege of consulting his marks. Even those
cadets serving punishment, such as confinement to rooms, can obtain
permission to inspect the reports. More often, however, they send some
plebe to copy the marks for them. The publicity of the marking has an
excellent effect upon the cadet, for he knows what each man in his
section accomplished during the week and sees that no partiality is
shown nor injustice done by the instructor.

The scale of marking that is used at West Point was introduced when
Major Sylvanus Thayer was Superintendent in 1837. Upon this scale a
perfect recitation receives a mark of 3.0; good is represented by 2.5;
indifferent by 2.0; bad, 1.5; imperfect, 1.0; and complete failure
0.0. The instructor may mark as close as a tenth giving a 2.8 or a 2.1
or a 1.4 as the recitation merits.

Since the marks determine a cadet’s graduation standing and affect his
whole career as an officer, they naturally are given by him no little
consideration. Sometimes I think that the cadets give entirely too much
thought to attaining a good grade rather than to the thorough mastering
of the subject; that is, they have a tendency to develop the memory
at the expense of the thinking functions. As I have explained before
West Point methods are strictly opposed to such a system, and the
departments discourage verbatim recitations. The marking offers many
difficulties at an institution such as West Point because a difference
of a few hundredths between two cadets’ standing will alter their
choice of a branch or Corps and affect their relative promotion by
years. At colleges and universities this condition does not exist, for
a man’s standing has little connection with his future career.

The cadet is not allowed to select his own course, or follow his own
inclinations in regard to the curriculum. The mental diet is prescribed
and no deviation therefrom is permitted. The three broad fundamentals
governing the Academic course are: first, that every cadet shall take
every subject; second, that before advancement every cadet shall be
proficient in every subject; and third, that every cadet must recite
every day.

As regards the above principles there is, of course a little
qualification in each, sufficient to admit of some flexibility in
application. While no cadet is permitted to elect whether or no he will
take a subject, but is required to take all of them, still, some of
the more advanced cadets go further in the subjects. In nearly every
department the higher men have advanced or special courses.

As for the second principle, a cadet who is deficient in any one
subject is usually dismissed. Occasionally, however, where a man stands
especially well in all of his studies but fails in one, he may be
conditioned by the Academic Board, or in some cases turned back to join
the next class. Among the cadets, he becomes known as a “turnback,” a
name that usually sticks to him, but conveys no reproach or stigma.

Again, the cadet must recite every day. Owing to the small section of
ten or twelve cadets the instructor is ordinarily able to hear every
man, so that the studies must be prepared. There is no such thing
at West Point as a “cut.” Sometimes, due to the lack of time, the
instructor may not hear a few of the cadets, but this is rare. In such
a case the cadet does not get a mark but is given what is colloquially
known as “stay-back,” that is, a blank. The certainty that he must
recite every day and that no failure can be hidden obliges each cadet
to prepare his lesson with great thoroughness. The effect of this
system on moral character is immediate. It inculcates attention to
duty, habits of study and thought, and pride in achievement.

At West Point good intellectual performance is a duty just as much as
guard, parade, or inspection, so that an unsatisfactory recitation
due to the cadet’s negligence not only begets a bad mark, but not
infrequently a punishment. Moreover, since the cadets realize that
their final standing at graduation permits them to choose their branch
of the service, they are keen to do their very best to beat the other
fellows. This spirit of competition is fostered by transfers of cadets
from one section to another either up or down, according to their
weekly marks.

Cadets receive individual instruction in every subject. No man can
therefore hide his lack of preparation because he is always called upon
to develop some phase of the lesson. At the beginning of the term, the
Fourth Classmen or plebes are arranged alphabetically into sections in
which they remain for about six weeks. Then there is a general transfer
or rearrangement of sections according to the marks made during this
period. The top man in each section is the section marcher. Thereafter
cadets rise and fall in the sections, either weekly or monthly as the
Professor wishes. The transfers from one section to another are a great
stimulant to the cadet. He gets the reward for his labor. Sometimes,
however, in spite of determined efforts, some cadets lose sections, due
perhaps to a lack of preparation prior to entrance; others go down
through laziness or negligence.

The cadets that land in the last section are known as “The Goats” (in
olden days, “The Immortals”), usually a carefree lot who never worry
until the examinations roll around. They are a great contrast to the
first section men who “bone tenths” with Prussian thrift. But whether
“Goats” or first section men each one receives individual instruction.

Nor are the cadets who are low in their studies deprived of extra
instruction. When Major-General Thomas H. Barry was Superintendent,
he introduced a system permitting cadets to receive, during their
recreation hours, extra instruction upon any back lesson. The cadets
can therefore overcome the obstacles that prevent them from going
forward in any particular study. Due to this system, many a cadet has
been saved who otherwise would have been “found,” simply because he was
slow and had not had time to digest his lesson.

It is in the lower sections chiefly that humorous incidents occur to
lighten the tension of the atmosphere. As an instructor in French, I
had many a chuckle over the struggles of some of the Goats to master
the tongue of _la douce France_. On one occasion a cadet was attempting
to translate a passage in the reader. His efforts were futile. Few of
the words meant anything to him. All at once he came to the proper name
“Léopold, Duc d’Autriche.” With a triumphant gleam at me who had been
humiliating him with embarrassing questions, he proudly translated the
phrase: “The leopard, the duck, and the ostrich.”

On another occasion there was in the section a foreign cadet from
Venezuela whose acquaintance with English was chiefly limited to swear
words. While translating a passage in French in the presence of the
Professor, he came across the sentence: _Mon Dieu, j’ai laissé tomber
le vase._ Immediately he began:

“My God----”

“Oh no, Mr. Honduras,” gently interposed the Professor.

“Oh Hell,” he began once more.

“Dear no, Mr. Honduras, not so strong!” exclaimed the thoroughly
shocked Professor. But Honduras understanding (maliciously I thought)
that a stronger translation was wanted, ventured once more:

“----! ----! ----!”

Had Honduras been a little American boy, I am sure that the Professor
would have made him wash out his mouth with soap.

The success of the West Point system is largely due to several unique
reasons. In the first place the authorities control the time of the
cadets so completely that it can be utilized to the greatest advantage.
Again, West Point’s remoteness from any large city and the strict
regulations that govern the privileges of the cadet remove the many
temptations that consume the college man’s time. To the same extent,
the mind of the cadet is not diverted. Every effort is made to get the
maximum mental results from the cadet’s labor. He has regular hours of
study, plenty of exercise, a judicious amount of recreation, and good
wholesome food. In addition, the cadet is in a studious atmosphere. No
opportunity is lost to impress upon him correct habits of study.

I dare say that at no other institution of learning is there such
serious preparation of the lessons. The cadet’s academic day contains
but half an hour of leisure from 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. except during
the extreme cold weather when drills are suspended the cadets have
two hours in the afternoon. All during the day therefore when not at
recitations, riding, or gymnasium, the cadets are studying, and the
long study period is from 7:00 to 9:30 P.M. Although prohibited by
Regulations, many men study after taps, especially those low in the
class. To conceal the light they hang a leg of their trousers over the
electric light, lowering the cord until it almost touches the table.
Just a little circle of light shines upon the book, and not enough to
be detected from without.

West Point is not indifferent to the performance of its students. It
cannot afford to be less exacting, but it has a powerful leverage over
other institutions for it dangles before the cadet’s view the prize of
a commission in the Regular Army, a career in an honorable profession.

The course of instruction at the Military Academy develops in the
cadet certain traits of character that are invaluable to him in a
profession where, as an officer, he is constantly being called upon
to meet all sorts of contingencies, to exercise his judgment, and to
make decisions. His studies and duties broaden his mind, make him
self-reliant, and teach him self-control. It is astounding to see
the results obtained by the system. As a proof of the intellectual
product of the Academy, I shall quote the following table, giving the
occupations of the graduates who have gone into civil life where they
have measured their strength with the graduates of other institutions
of learning:

  President of the United States                                       1
  President of the Confederate States                                  1
  Presidential candidates                                              3
  Vice-Presidential candidates                                         2
  Members of the Cabinet                                               4
  Ambassador                                                           1
  Ministers from the United States to foreign courts                  14
  Chargés d’affaires to foreign courts                                 2
  United States consuls-general and consuls                           12
  Members of the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives            24
  United States civil officers of various kinds                      171
  Presidential electors                                                8
  Governors of States and Territories                                 16
  Bishop                                                               1
  Lieutenant-governors of States                                       2
  Judges                                                              14
  Members of State Legislatures                                       77
  Presiding officers of State Senates and Houses of Representatives    8
  Members of conventions to form state constitutions                  13
  State officers of various grades                                    81
  Adjutants, inspectors, and quartermasters-general of States and
    Territories                                                       29
  Officers of State militia                                          158
  Mayors of cities                                                    17
  City officers                                                       57
  Presidents of universities and colleges                             46
  Principals of schools and academies                                 32
  Regents and chancellors of educational institutions                 14
  Professors and teachers                                            136
  Superintendent of Coast Survey                                       1
  Surveyors-general of States and Territories                         11
  Chief engineers of States                                           14
  Presidents of railroads and other corporations                      87
  Chief engineers of railroads and other public works                 63
  Superintendents of railroads and other public works                 62
  Treasurers of railroads and other corporations                      24
  Civil engineers                                                    228
  Electrical engineers                                                 5
  Attorneys and counsellors at Law                                   200
  Superior general of clerical order                                   1
  Clergymen                                                           20
  Physicians                                                          14
  Merchants                                                          122
  Manufacturers                                                       77
  Artists                                                              3
  Architects                                                           7
  Farmers and planters                                               230
  Bankers                                                             18
  Bank presidents                                                      8
  Bank officers                                                       23
  Editors                                                             30
  Authors                                                            179
                                            Total                   2371

The above list should be convincing that if methods of training which
are primarily intended to develop officers can produce such signal and
distinguished successes in every walk of civil life, no fault can be
found with their soundness.

The Academic year is divided into two terms that end in the fall
and the spring. A month prior to the conclusion of each term, each
Department conducts a general review of the subjects studied that
semester. Cadets who make a proficient average upon this review, which
is generally written, are exempt from the examinations. These reviews
are very thorough and searching. The questions are framed to test the
cadet’s real knowledge of the subject. In order to avoid all personal
element entering into the marks, the papers are graded by all of the
instructors, each marking one question. In this manner the marks are
uniform and fair as possible, and no one instructor has any great
influence in assigning to a man his class standing.

Following the reviews come the examinations for those who failed
upon the review. These tests are also quite rigid, and in order to
be declared proficient a man must make two thirds of the mark, .66
per cent. The examination papers are likewise marked by all of the
instructors and by the Professor. In the event that a cadet fails he
is reported to the Academic Board for their action. In general, if
deficient in any one subject, the cadet is dismissed.

I feel how weak are any words that I might use to attempt to describe
the despair into which a discharged cadet is plunged. For days he lives
in an excruciating suspense awaiting the result of the examinations.
The thought of wasted opportunity, the regret for lack of early
preparation perhaps, and worse than all, the sense of failure torment
him. It is bitter to renounce the camaraderie and friendship of his
fellows and to see himself involuntarily separated from surroundings
that he has come to love. At last the dread news comes. The Adjutant
rises from his seat in the Mess Hall and calls the Battalion to
attention. Immediately a deathlike stillness pervades the cadet body.
The gravity and dignity of the Adjutant’s demeanor unconsciously
inform the Corps that distressing news is about to be communicated.
Slowly and distinctly the names are read out, one by one, and as they
fall upon the straining ears of the cadets, they sound like so many
death sentences for the unfortunate lads who are “found.” A gloom of
sorrow settles over the Corps and the companies file out of the hall
in sympathetic silence. But the reality must be faced. Suitcases and
trunks are packed, accounts are quickly settled, affectionate and
emotional good-byes are said, and sadly the discharged cadets drop out
of the ranks of the Corps. The long gray line closes up and once again
marches forward to do battle with the Academic obstacles that block the
road to graduation.



Whenever the cadets leave the seclusion of West Point and appear in
public in uniform, their erect carriage, their smart tight-fitting
dress coats that show off their broad muscular shoulders and slender
waists never fail to excite favorable comment and praise. It most
generally finds expression from a group of giggling maidens who evince
a great curiosity about the cadets’ slender waists, either openly
remarking that they are artificial or more specifically assuring
themselves, when advantage can be taken of a cadet, by poking the gray
bound torso around the middle line, timidly asking him if he wears
corsets, a remark that usually serves as an introduction to a harmless

The splendid set-up of the cadets is not, however, due to stays,
whalebones in the dress coats, Dr. Quack’s abdominal bandages, or to
any other mechanical appliances. It is the result of a very highly
intelligent system of physical training, to which the supple young body
of the cadet is submitted for four years. Naturally, little by little
his muscles, through exercise, attain their proper development, and
since no one set of muscles is neglected, the body gradually assumes
a well-rounded, finished appearance. The material for instruction is
good and healthy, because all of the cadets have been submitted to a
rigid physical examination before entrance. They are not, however,
all perfect specimens, for many possess minor defects and blemishes,
unimportant as far as affecting their military value to the Government,
but which can be eradicated by proper physical training.

The instructor of physical training is greatly aided in his actual
work, by the kind of life the cadet leads, so that he has not to
struggle with a crowd of men who after having received physical
training daily, indulge themselves to their heart’s content. He has,
on the contrary, a set of young men who live under the strictest and
simplest conditions in a healthy environment, and whose diet is most
wholesome. No late suppers, no beer, no rich food are at work to keep
up the rotundity of the stomach, the _coram nobis_ of the Romans, or
to produce a lot of flabby fat, but good cereals, nourishing meats and
vegetables, even the despised “slum,” are indirect factors in keeping
healthy the cadet’s body.

West Point believes that for a man to do the best mental work,
his body must be in the best condition. The Academy was the first
educational institution in the country to recognize that hand in hand
with the student’s mental training must go the proper development
of his physical powers. As long ago as 1817, Captain Partridge, the
Superintendent of the Military Academy, incorporated in the curriculum
bodily exercises. Since that time the importance of physical training
in the cadet’s course has been given recognition, but frankly there
was no real system of physical training until 1846. A gymnasium was
then prepared and instruction given by First Lieut. H. C. Wayne, First
Artillery. This was a beginning, but the authorities were hampered
by lack of equipment, and also by no very great knowledge of how to
proceed. The science of physical training was in its infancy, it must
be remembered, but crude as was the instruction it was the genesis of
the splendid course that now exists.

For a long period after the Civil War, 1865-1882, cadets attended the
gymnasium as they saw fit, a system that was no system. The original
course from which the present course has developed was inaugurated in
February, 1885.

The daily routine at the Academy is extremely exacting and hard, and
I doubt very much if a large number of men could stand the strain and
daily grind of the Academic year, if they were not physically prepared
to meet its requirements. Since all Academic duties are suspended
during part of June, July, and August, in order to devote these
months to practical military instruction, the new cadets are directed
to report in June. Two months are then at the disposal of the
authorities to strengthen the new arrivals’ bodies, both by prescribed
physical exercises and by the exercise incident to the drills and
maneuvers, before the studies begin in September.

[Illustration: The Exterior of the Gymnasium]

During the first three weeks of the new cadet’s training, setting-up
exercises begin his day’s work. After his breakfast has had time
to digest, he and his fellows are marched over to the main room of
the gymnasium for forty-five minutes’ physical drill. Although the
setting-up exercises may be given outdoors, and have always been
heretofore, the gymnasium is now used to eliminate the distraction of
the cadet’s attention by passersby whose amusement at the efforts of
the stiff and awkward “beasts” reacted upon the new cadets.

The recruit instruction begins with the most simple exercises. The
cadet is taught first the position of attention; that his heels must
be together, his feet turned out just so much, his knees devoid of
stiffness, in a word, what he shall do with his hips, arms, and hands,
keeping his head erect, his chin drawn in, and his eyes straight to the
front. Simple as is the position of attention, many men take a long
time to learn it. Some never can comply with all the requirements, for
how can the bow-legged man and the knock-kneed chap keep their legs
“straight without stiffness”?

Then follow breathing exercises to increase the wind capacity, to
permit longer and more extended drills, and to lead up to the simple
movements designed to develop the muscles upon which the position of
attention is dependent.

The cadets line up on the gymnasium floor. The instructor commands:
“Count off!”

“One--two--three--four!” “One--two--three--four!” in weak voices and
strong voices, diminuendo and crescendo, is repeated all down the line,
each man snapping his head to the front as he calls his number. The
inequality of tone of voice is gradually eliminated so that after a few
drills the count off is uniform in pitch.

“Take distance. March!” commands the drill master followed by “Company,
halt!” when the men have become sufficiently separated to perform the
exercises without interfering with one another.

Various exercises are then taught, the simple ones first, followed by
the more complex movements to develop a coördination of all muscles
and a feeling of control over one’s body. The set of exercises used
at the Academy are simple in the extreme and executed by even simpler
commands. It is astonishing how in a few minutes a perfectly green
squad can be taught to execute movements not only in unison, but even
with precision and smartness. The great value of the commands lies in
the fact that no elaborate explanations are necessary. All the recruit
has to do is to watch the instructor. Let me illustrate by an example.
The instructor commands:

“1. Arms forward. 2. Raise.”

The cadet raises his arm in front of him to height of shoulders,
holding them in this position while the instructor says:

“Swing arms down at 1 and up at 2. Ready! exercise! One! Two! ... One!

All movements cease with arms in raised position.

“Arms down.” All drop their arms smartly.

Of course, to the simple movements are added various combinations,
and all exercises are executed both at a halt and while marching. The
walking with measured step gives poise and grace of carriage. The
recruits are also practiced in the run and double time, the latter a
military step to gain ground rapidly, but with a minimum inroad upon
the wind and endurance of the soldier. Setting-up exercises are the
most valuable preliminary training for any body of men entering the
military service. For the first week the body is sore and aches to the
point of great fatigue, but after the preliminary soreness disappears,
a feeling of control supplants it, and the general health of the body
is better. No brown pills are necessary; no headaches from biliousness
exist. A good forty-five minute setting-up drill every morning, plenty
of wholesome food, and eight hours’ sleep contribute to the cadet’s
good health. The Mess Hall, not to be outdone by other departments,
lends its aid by serving judicious plates of prunes. These preliminary
setting-up drills, given during the first few weeks, are discontinued
for a short period in camp when the cadets are busy learning other

Swimming now replaces the setting-up exercises until the battalions
return to barracks in September. The new cadets must be able to swim at
least ten minutes without changing their stroke, which standard each
cadet must measure before he is excused from attendance at the swimming
drills. These drills are never a bore, however, but anticipated with
great pleasure by nearly all of the men. Nothing is so refreshing on a
hot summer’s day, after a tedious drill upon the dusty Plain, than the
march over to the “Gym” for a swim in the deliciously cool clean water
of the tank. Instruction is also given in resuscitating men who are
apparently drowned.

When September comes and the studies are commenced, the Fourth Class
resumes its setting-up exercises, to which are added gymnastic work.

In the fall each cadet is given a thorough examination at which all
of his measurements are accurately taken, and various strength tests
are made. This information is entered on a card and filed for future
reference, because later on the cadets are again measured and tested in
order that the improvement may be noted.

Measurements are made of the height, chest, waist, arms, legs; and
strength tests are made of the arms, hands, back, and legs. These
methods quickly reveal wherein the cadet is deficient, and allow
the instructor, like a doctor, to prescribe for each individual
the necessary exercises. For example, those whose chests are
under-developed are assigned to the chest weights until the deficiency
is made up, and where the smaller muscles of the arms and shoulders
need attention practice is given with the Indian clubs and medicine

[Illustration: Gymnastic Exercises]

To develop in all of them power, vigor, and endurance, the groups of
large muscles of the back, chest, abdomen, and legs are improved by
setting-up exercises, dumb-bells, and wands, jumping, climbing, and
lastly by apparatus work. This class of exercises is reserved until
the muscles have been more or less controlled and respond to the will,
for the execution depends not so much upon muscular effort as it does
upon agility. It would never do to start in green men on the apparatus
work, because there would soon result broken legs and arms. This work
is hard enough for those lacking “muscle sense,” even after many months
of preliminary exercises.

Included in the schedule for the first year’s work is instruction
in the saber and the foils, but as the amount of time that can be
devoted to these branches of instruction is limited, only the most
elementary features of the arts can be taught. An opportunity, however,
is afforded cadets to perfect themselves in the use of both the saber
and the foil after regular hours. During the winter months, when
the vigorous weather requires a suspension of outdoor drilling, the
fencing master gives individual lessons to those who desire to take
them. The volunteers are formed into a squad known as the Fencing
Squad, from which are organized, for each weapon, class teams. The
interests at West Point are so many and varied that it is impossible
for each cadet to be an accomplished fencer, boxer, wrestler, gymnast,
or swimmer, but each one is given instruction in the fundamentals. The
cadets usually select the art that appeals to them most and perfect
themselves along the chosen line. The saber is popular, and many
cadets acquire great dexterity in its manipulation. It is distinctly
a soldierly exercise, so that it exercises a fascination for the men,
especially for those who intend to choose the cavalry.

Instruction in the use of the foils is given to the entire class
assembled by sections, and consists of preliminary instruction in the
single rank without weapon, in the single rank with foils, and in the
double rank with foils. As with the saber, the men whose sport by
predilection is fencing with foils take individual lessons from the
fencing master every afternoon from November until March. The interest
in fencing at one time was exceedingly great, and the sport was
regarded as one of the major activities of cadet life. This interest
was due to the participation of cadet teams in the Intercollegiate
Fencing Meet, but five years ago the Academy authorities prohibited
cadet teams from attending these competitions. This action killed the
interest in fencing for several years, but at present the former
popularity of this excellent sport is returning, and a visitor may now
see the thirteen double mats, accommodating fifty-two men, constantly

When President Roosevelt, in 1905, ordered that all cadets should
attend gymnasium daily, assistants were detailed to assist the officer
in charge of physical training. For the fencing, the Academy secured
the services of a _maître d’armes_ under whose careful and scientific
training, the fencing teams of the Academy continued their brilliant
achievements begun in 1902. Beginning with that year until 1910, West
Point sent to the annual intercollegiate championship meets, teams
that contested with Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Pennsylvania, Columbia,
and the Navy. Out of the nine meets, West Point won six, and obtained
second place in the other three, yielding their supremacy to their
great rivals, the Navy. This remarkable record was accomplished by the
untiring efforts of the team and of their much-liked instructor, M.
Vauthier, whose skill excited their admiration and inspired in them a
splendid spirit of emulation.

More attention is now paid to the bayonet fencing due to the extended
use of that weapon in the present European War, but as with the other
arts, the limited time permits the teaching of only the fundamentals.
The cadet learns enough in each branch to build upon afterwards and
make himself a competent instructor.

Not less popular than the fencing are the boxing and wrestling
exercises. The first year men are assembled in classes and given
instruction in boxing in the guard, footwork, parries, simple direct
leads and counters. Similarly in wrestling, the simple holds, resultant
falls, and the breaks for the simple holds are all taught.

It is not, however, to the regular class work that one must go to
judge of the grip that these manly sports have upon the cadets. In the
afternoon, after recitations, embryo Jeffries and Fitzsimmonses gather
in the boxing room to receive the holy instruction from the master, Mr.
Jenkins, or “Tom,” as he is affectionately called among themselves.
There he teaches the aspirant pugilist how to land a blow and how to
avoid one, and occasionally to make the lesson more realistic he treats
his young charge to the experience of receiving one. Some experiences
in a man’s life grow dim, but never this one.

When the preliminary bouts are being fought, large numbers flock to the
boxing room to cheer for the weaker fellow even though he be of another
class than one’s own. Boxing develops fine qualities among the men. It
teaches them to give and take, to receive punishment without flinching,
and to respect the skill of a good opponent. Besides it gives a man
confidence in his powers, making him think quickly and move quickly,
all excellent qualities for an officer of the army.

Boxing, however, shares the popular appeal with wrestling. This manly
sport that we have inherited from our ancestors of the stone age
fascinates men chiefly by virtue of its brute strength and to a lesser
degree by its skill. It is a game for men of all sizes, provided they
possess the necessary qualities of courage and strength.

The boxing room on winter afternoons presents a warm and pleasing
contrast to the cold and snow outside. The mats are covered with agile
forms in black jersey tights wriggling and squirming, the perspiration
rolling off the wrestlers as they endeavor to grind the shoulders of
their opponents to the mat. All men receive instruction in wrestling
in class, but like the other sports, its devotees must repair for
extra instruction to Mr. Jenkins during recreation hours. It is in
this time that men practice for their class teams, one for each of
the following weights: unlimited, heavy, light heavy, middle, welter,
light, and feather. The four class teams meet each other successively
to wrestle for the class championship. There is besides a contest for
the individual championship, the final bouts which take place publicly
at the Annual Indoor Meet.

Prior to the resumption of the afternoon military drills in March, the
cadets hold their annual gymnastic event called the Indoor Meet. The
contests, which are held with great ceremony in the Gymnasium, include
races, pole climbing, work on horizontal bars and parallel bars, long
and short horse, rings both stationary and flying, and the tug of war
between the classes.

Each class enters so many men for each event, and for the awards of
first, second, or third, the contestant receives a designated number
of points. The class receiving the greatest total wins the meet. This
athletic event is a very fitting way to end the winter course, for it
offers an opportunity to those men who have labored faithfully during
the winter afternoons to reap the reward of their efforts. It also is
an incentive for better work because of the spirit of competition. The
Athletic Association upon this occasion, presents sabers, both to the
captain of the football team and to that member of the First Class who
during his cadet career has done the most for athletics. It is a very
proud night for these young men as they walk forward to receive the
coveted saber, the first part of their officer’s equipment.

There is great rivalry among the classes during the events. The four
corners of the room are filled with the members of each class, who
yell like demons to encourage their representatives. Almost every
minute the air is filled with shrieks and yells of excited cadets whose
“Zis-boom-ahs!” “Rah! Rah! Rahs!” “1917! 1918!!...” are hurled at one
another to the delight and amusement of the spectators, young and old,
hanging over the iron railing of the gallery.

The courses in gymnastics, wrestling, and boxing, increase in
difficulty according to the class, so that the Third and Second
Classmen pursue a more advanced course than the plebes. When, however,
the cadets become First Classmen, emphasis is laid upon the theories of
physical training with the object of preparing these “near officers”
for their duties as instructors in the service. The needs of the Army
are carefully considered in the training of the last year in order to
send out from West Point men who can at once take hold of a group of
recruits and whip them into good physical shape, according to the most
intelligent methods.

Unfortunately, the setting-up exercises in the Army are only
spasmodically taught. There is very little uniformity in the method,
despite the excellent manual with which the troops are provided.

West Point is at present making an effort to influence the Service to
a better appreciation of the results to be derived from regular drill
in setting-up exercises. To this end, the First Classmen are taught to
act as instructors, and are grounded not only in actual practice but in
theory. Every year extra classes are held to develop good instructors
for the coming summer camps, and for future service in the Army. It
is to be hoped that commanding officers will make good use of these
enthusiastic young teachers.

Although the control of athletics at the Academy is not under the
gymnasium authorities, still it is fitting to speak of the sports in
this chapter. The Academy has its football, baseball, basketball,
and hockey teams, and in addition the cadets play golf, polo, and
tennis. There is little in the training or conduct of these teams that
differs from other educational institutions, except the question of
time allowed for preparation. It has always been the rule at West Point
that no inroads shall be permitted upon the Academic course to aid the
development of any athletic team. Consequently, what practice the teams
get must be during recreation hours. The only concessions made are
supper a half-hour later for the football men, and exemptions twice a
week from parade for the baseball men. Athletics receive, however, the
greatest support and encouragement from the authorities, whose aim is,
however, not to develop a few good men or an excellent team in any one
sport, but to seek a good average.

Every cadet is urged to join in some form of athletics instead of
remaining in his dress coat along the side lines as an interested
spectator. The efforts made in this direction have received a warm
response from the cadet body, so that during recreation hours the Plain
presents a busy scene of cadet activities. The green parade ground is
dotted with the golfers in gray shirts and white trousers; the tennis
courts are filled with animated figures; groups of happy cadets ride by
on horseback for a gallop in the woods, while others prefer the more
sedate hiking in the surrounding hills. It is a great temptation after
the recitations and drills to be lazy, hang around one’s room, or
“bone fiction” which means reading novels, but in recent years the men
have become more and more sensible of the many advantages offered them
during their cadet days, and a new spirit of _carpe diem_ has come over
the Corps.

[Illustration: The Athletic Field

  _Photo by White_]

But to return to my subject of physical training proper. No opportunity
is lost to impress upon each man the practical use to which he will
put his knowledge of physical training when he becomes an officer. He
is urged to prepare himself to the best of his ability to become a
proficient instructor for the enlisted men whom he will later command.
In this connection, the cadets learn in their course of Military
Hygiene that the object of all physical training is to develop the
human body in its entirety in order that there shall result a perfect
equilibrium between all its functions. Many recruits join the Army
without the slightest coördination of their body. Although well
formed they are awkward, clumsy, stoop shouldered, without ability
to make their different members act in unison with their minds. If
an officer does not know what to do with these men he will never
succeed in getting good work out of them. His first duty therefore is
to develop the recruit’s body, especially the functions of control,
the coördination between eye and hand, because the success of line
troops is largely dependent upon physical aptitude. The modern war
makes greater demands than ever upon the soldier’s physique. I heard
an observer, recently returned from the European War, state that the
infantryman is now so loaded down with packs, steel helmets, hand
grenades, and rifle that he finds it difficult to advance faster than a
walk. The strain upon the physique of the infantryman carrying his pack
is greater than upon soldiers of other arms, and since graduates in
time of war will be concerned largely with the training of infantry, it
is of paramount importance that cadets should understand the building
up and care of the bodies of their men. A soldier must possess more
than the average muscular strength, endurance, and organic vigor.

I see before me daily the fine results of the system of physical
training at the Academy. Ungainly plebes gradually assume a
well-rounded appearance, an erect carriage with head up and an elastic
walk. I sometimes have to rub my eyes when I behold a cadet whom I once
remembered as an unformed plebe, as loose jointed as a big Newfoundland
puppy, but who now appears before my astonished vision as a smart
soldierly First Classman. When the cadets have completed their four
years course they have a decided physical stamp, showing that each one
has been trained by the same system.

At the end of the year in June, when the Post is thronged with
visitors, relatives, and friends of cadets who are present for the
graduation exercises, an outdoor demonstration of the setting-up
exercises is given on the Plain. The precision and uniformity with
which the movements are executed arouse great interest as eight hundred
supple young bodies respond as one to the sonorous commands of the
instructor perched on a solid wooden table.

[Illustration: Setting up Drill on the Plain]

This drill is usually followed by the Outdoor Meet, the annual athletic
event corresponding to the Indoor Meet. Each class has its best
representatives entered to win a victory in the dashes, hurdle races,
long distance races, hammer throwing, jumping, and pole vaulting. Back
of the roped lines surge the cadets of the various classes, cheering
themselves hoarse for their own representatives. Mothers, sisters,
sweethearts, friends, friends’ friends, in the fluffiest and gayest
summer dresses devouringly trail their “Kaydet,” and give excited
and exaggerated opinions about things of which they are totally
ignorant,--but bless their hearts! their presence is an inspiration to
the young gods at their Olympian games.

On the June morning of the Outdoor Meet, West Point usually offers one
of her incomparably beautiful days as a fitting setting for the display
of her cadets’ physical prowess. And when the Meet ends, the cadets
all feel that one more year’s progress been made in their physical
development. The First Classmen who on the morrow will go forth into
the Army, leaving the protecting walls of West Point, reflect with
emotion and gratitude upon all that West Point’s training has done to
strengthen their bodies to endure whatever hardships that might arise
in their new lives as officers.



In the Area of the South Barracks, directly opposite the sally-port,
is a little brick building with a clock tower. It is small and
insignificant looking to the ordinary observer, but not so to the
cadet. Here dwell the “Tacs,” the officers of the Tactical Department,
who are charged with the discipline and purely military instruction of
the Corps. More especially, it is the Headquarters of the Commandant,
his assistants, the cadet Officer of the Day, the officers of the
guard, and the orderlies. The mail, the precious mail, is assorted
twice daily within its old walls, and its creaky wooden floor is worn
thin by the lively tread of hurrying cadets feverishly crowding around
the bulletin boards.

In the second-floor room of the Tower is the Officer in Charge, the
monarch of all he surveys. True, his reign is but twenty-four hours,
but he returns to the throne about once a week. During his tour he is
the Corps monitor. From the quaint little porch off his room, the “poop
deck,” as the cadets think of it, he coldly and inscrutably regards
all formations in the Area. When the punishment squad is walking tours,
the door of the “poop deck” opens unobtrusively, and for a moment he
stands casting a glance over the oscillating gray figures, walking
their narrow paths back and forth. As quietly as he comes forth he
fades from view. The “Area Birds” breathe more freely as he disappears,
but soon again he reappears like an accusing conscience. His presence
hovers over the daily life of the cadets. To them he is the “O. C.”
and source of all information. His decisions have the sacredness and
authority of the Delphian oracle. If the weather is threatening,
it is he who decides whether raincoats shall be worn to meals. If
visitors arrive during study hours, his permission must be obtained
to speak with them for half an hour. If knotty problems of interior
administration bother the Officer of the Day, his advice is immediately
sought. He is amazingly omniscient.

Each day brings a new “O. C.” until the roster of the Tactical officers
has been exhausted, whereupon the cycle begins anew. There are various
species of “O. C.’s,” and it is astonishing how the personality of each
one will influence the day of the cadet. There is the cheerful “O.
C.” with a kind manner and a cordial tone in his voice. Between him
and his young charges there seems to be a bond of mutual confidence
and affection. They feel that his reserve is assumed “By order,” and
that if they only knew him, he would be their friend. They feel his
human side, his understanding of their difficulties, and they have no
resentment when he reports them because they know that in doing so, he
feels a sympathetic pang. When he enters the Mess Hall, his presence is
welcomed, as much as cadets can welcome the presence of any officer.
Somehow the laughter seems gayer and the day altogether brighter during
his tour. There is no unconscious load to carry in addition to the
actual burdens of the day. At parade, a little more effort is made to
execute smartly the manual when he gives the commands.

Then there is the gloomy “O. C.,” the stand-off kind that looks daggers
upon the approach of any cadet. He appears to circle over the Corps
like some hungry bird ready to pounce any moment upon his prey. When he
has occasion to question a cadet, a barrier of ice immediately rises
between them and their viewpoints drift miles and miles apart. He seems
to them never to have been a young man himself, so little of the power
of understanding does he possess. They look him up in the Army Register
and discover that he too was a cadet not so many years ago, but to
believe it strains their credulity to the breaking point. When things
go wrong, instead of pointing out the error in a natural manner, there
are anger and resentment in the voice. All of his “skins” seem flavored
with malice. Apparently, he goes out of his way to be disagreeable,
as if to be so was to be military. His tour is regarded with dread
especially by the First Classmen detailed that day for guard.

But the influence of either type of Officer in Charge is transient. It
passeth from day to day. If the Gloomy One is on duty, there is the
consolation that the Cheerful One will succeed him like sunshine after
rain. It is the Commandant of Cadets, the chief of all the “Tacs,” who
exercises the great permanent influence over the Corps. Ever since the
creation of his office in 1825, he has been “the Com” to the embryo
officers under him. He prescribes all of their drills and casts the
mold for the discipline of their bodies and souls. He is the tribunal
that grants or withholds their privileges and that punishes them for
their premeditated or thoughtless misdeeds. Whereas a few years ago he
exercised his power for the seclusion of his office, at a distance from
the cadets, today he meets and talks with them daily, ascertains their
viewpoint, giving to his work the new spirit of the personal touch that
has crept into the instruction at West Point. To be successful in his
important work, he must never look bored. He must take an interest in
the cadets rather than in the Regulations. He must be human. To gain
the admiration of his men he must be above all efficient, fairly good
to look upon, military in appearance, and well dressed, and to gain
their liking and respect he must be smart, strict, and impartial. There
are two faults in an officer that a cadet finds hard to forgive: lack
of neatness and “being wooden.”

In his work, the Commandant is assisted by the “Tacs,” Infantry,
Cavalry, Field, and Coast Artillery officers. Officers of every branch
of the Service are represented because at West Point, the duties of all
arms are taught. It is with these officers more than any others that
the cadet comes into the most direct contact.

For purposes of administration, each company is commanded by a Tactical
officer. He passes upon all permits, requests, requisitions for
clothing and for ordnance. He inspects the rooms of his command to see
that they are clean and in order. He examines the rifles and equipment
for dirt and rust. He supervises one or more of the drills. He is
really the presiding genius over the company, in whose welfare he takes
unselfish interest. It is the duty of him and his brother “Tacs” to
uphold the discipline of the Corps, which means that when a man has to
deal with eight hundred young wills, American nurtured, he must utilize
something stronger than mere words to see that the eight hundred
conform to the set standards of the institution. His chief weapon to
emphasize to the cadet the importance of the Regulations is the report
or “skin,” which carries with it a certain number of demerits, and
sometimes punishment tours.

The cadet consequently looks upon the “Tac” as his arch enemy. One
cannot help having a little resentment toward a person who is always
present to check up his misdoings, no matter how just and well deserved
the punishment may be. The feeling is only human and the military
atmosphere rather augments it. It is especially difficult, I think, for
Americans to feel continually the heavy hand of authority, because each
one of us is so individualistic. Unconsciously, the cadet cannot get
away from the presence of the “Tac.” Life in barracks seems to revolve
around this individual. From the early morning inspection, until the
evening study period when he again comes around, knocking sharply on
each door and interrupting the train of thought, his spectre, if not
himself, is haunting the surroundings. The cadets know that he is just
across the way in the Guard House, and that they will meet him at drill
in the afternoon. He is the important factor that must be considered in
their daily comings and goings. He is a sort of irritating yoke.

It is not to be wondered at then, that he is the subject of unlimited
discussion, despite regulations to the contrary, and that every
peculiarity of manner, dress, or speech is noticed and criticized. His
entire personality is usually summed up in some nickname that comes
like an inspiration and hits the nail upon the head. Occasionally
the name is complimentary, in unconscious recognition of an innate
nobility which marks him out as of finer clay, but more often it is
uncomplimentary and droll.

Nothing pleases a cadet quite so much as to see a “Tac” do something
wooden. They say that he is gross, which has nothing whatsoever to
do with being fat, but simply means that his mind is somewhat dense.
Immediately the blunder spreads like wild-fire from lip to lip, growing
as it goes and repeated with a joy that approaches delirium. There
was at one time an officer on duty whose idiosyncrasies were told and
retold. He furnished many a good story for the delight of the Corps,
and his departure threatened the existence of _The Howitzer_, the
cadets’ annual publication, and of the _Hundredth Night_, the annual
play in which the officers may be satirized. His mind seemed to work
by rule and regulation. One night when he was making his inspection of
barracks, he came to a room where only one cadet was studying at the
center table. He entered, looked around, and then inquired:

“Cadet, where is your roommate?”

“In bed, sir!” was the reply.

“Is he asleep?” asked the officer.

“I don’t know, sir,” answered the cadet.

“Well, find out,” ordered the “Tac.”

The man then turned to his roommate who was plainly visible in bed, and

“Jim, are you asleep?”

“Yes” sounded off a voice from the depths of the comforters.

“He says he’s asleep, sir.”

“Very good, cadet,” replied the “Tac,” and quite satisfied, left the
room, just in time to escape the outburst of laughter that followed
this highly intellectual conversation.

To be always under the observation of so many pairs of keen
young critical eyes is sufficient to make any officer somewhat
self-conscious, and to give a certain kink and twist to his actions.
The cadets, like all youth, are merciless in their judgment, sometimes
almost cruel. They are ever on the alert for any slip that the “Tac”
may make and intolerantly condemn him. But so responsive are the cadets
that it would take but a smile, or a word or so bordering on intimacy,
to remove all critical feelings and bring about “glad confident
morning.” I wonder sometimes why that so seldom happens. I suppose it
is because we are all artificial.

Although the Tactical officer is very much occupied with the interior
discipline and economy of his company, the greater portion of his time
is given over to the military instruction of the cadets. The purpose of
this instruction is to familiarize the cadet with the duties and needs
of a private in the ranks by practical experience, to impress upon his
character the habit of obedience, and to train him in the function of
command by repeated exercise.

In order best to accomplish this purpose, the cadets are organized
into two battalions of four companies each. This is the present
organization, but as soon as the Corps has been increased to the full
strength recently organized by Congress, the Commandant intends to
make a regiment. Although the Tactical officers command the companies
in the sense that they are the supervisors of the discipline and
administration, the actual commanding of the companies on the drill
ground is entrusted to the cadets. Selected men perform all of the
duties of the officers and non-commissioned officers. They are chosen
for this honor on account of their good conduct and studious habits,
and the soldier-like performance of their duties. They are as strict
and conscientious in upholding the Regulations as are the officers
themselves. As a matter of truth they are more severe because they
seldom take it upon themselves to put any interpretation upon the
motive underlying the act. A thing is right or it is wrong. There is
no middle line. Whenever any cadet is on duty, he insists that all
under him obey implicitly his orders, and should any man be so rash
as to disregard his authority, he instantly enters a report against
the offender. It would seem that such an action would arouse the
resentment of his fellow cadets, but this does not occur, due to the
honor system at West Point. Cadets generally recognize that their
attitude toward their work must be different from the student at the
average educational institution because their duties are all in serious
preparation for their future careers.

Of course, there are some men who carry their authority too far when
they find themselves in command of their fellows. Sometimes they lack
judgment and consequently deserve sympathy; sometimes there are a few
men who deliberately try to make an impression upon their superiors
at the expense of the men in the ranks. These men who allow their
desire for probable advancement to lead them astray are quickly sized
up by the Corps, and dubbed “quilloids.” They are usually disliked
and made to feel the displeasure of their comrades. In nearly every
class there are some of these men who do not see clearly, and who
persist, throughout their whole course, in placing false values upon

Since the cadets are organized into Infantry battalions, the greatest
amount of time is devoted to the work of this arm. There are many
reasons why this should be so. The Infantry is the largest branch of
the Army, and to it is assigned the greatest percentage of graduates.
Infantry drill is the basis of all drills and is the best for
inculcating discipline and cohesion among the men. Besides, the Great
War in Europe has proven that Infantry is still the Queen of Battle,
and that all of the other branches, the Artillery, the Cavalry, the
Engineers, the Aviation Corps are but her minions. It is the Infantry
that decides the fight.

The practical military instruction of the cadets, although carried
on throughout the year, varies in intensity at different periods.
In the depth of winter it is impossible to drill out of doors. The
Infantry instruction is then suspended, except for the daily class and
meal formations. When, however, March 15th rolls around, the Ides of
March remember, and the snow leaves the ground, the Corps begins its
annual training. Immediately after the dismissal of the sections from
recitations at four o’clock, the battalions form in front of barracks
for the afternoon drill. Despite the raw March winds that blow across
the Plain, chilling one to the marrow, the battalion designated for
Infantry drill sets about overcoming the inequalities of marching, the
lack of precision in the execution of the manual, raggedness of the
movements that have been produced by the long inactivity of the winter.
It is at this period that the most scrupulous attention must be paid to
the manner of executing the various movements. Every little dereliction
is criticized, every mistake is corrected, and every movement repeated
until it can be faultlessly performed.

First the companies are drilled alone and then later assembled for a
short battalion drill before going back to barracks. Up and down the
Plain the companies march, now in column, now in line. The right guides
of each company seem to be carrying the burden of the drill as with
tense faces they fixedly regard the two points upon which they are
directing the march of the company. Meanwhile they are measuring their
step by a silent count of “one-two-three-four.” The officers and file
closers are attentive and alert, giving a word of caution here and
one of reprimand there, as the line crowds in on the left, or, like
an accordion, opens out on the right. The plebes in the rear rank are
striving to the utmost to keep in step and on the line, and at the same
time carry their rifles straight and drag in their chins. The detail
and care with which every command must be executed begins to produce a
feeling of monotony, and stolen glances seek the clock in the tower.
Fifteen more minutes! The hour seems interminable and the wind more and
more disagreeable. Finally the hands of the clock roll around to five
and the musician appears in the sally-port and sounds the recall.

The next afternoon the second battalion attends close order drill and
the first takes its place at extended order. A lighter gayer crowd
march forth to this exercise. Here they will have a little chance
for individual leadership, the command of a platoon perhaps, or of a
squad, or they will enjoy the comparative freedom and independence of
the skirmisher. In the early part of the spring course the mechanism
of the drill must be rehearsed upon the Plain. The parade ground is
therefore dotted with prone and kneeling groups of platoon columns and
of squad columns. The blast of the officer’s whistle, the simultaneous
outstretching of the squad and platoon leaders’ arms as a signal, and
the columns magically deploy into one long line of skirmishers. Once
again the blast of the whistle sounds; more signals; bayonets are fixed
and squads begin their rushes forward to the delight of the small boys
and visitors who line the surrounding walks. Then follows the assembly
and the companies do it all over again.

As soon as the mechanism is well learned, the battalion is taken up
into the hills and maneuvered over all sorts of ground. Combat problems
involving advance guard and outposts are worked out under the direction
of the Tactical officer. In these exercises the actual command of the
companies is in the hands of the cadets, but the Tactical officer,
assisted by other officers, directs the drill. The cadets detailed
for this drill called Field Training are assembled in front of the
old gymnasium where the officer outlines the problem and gives the
men a talk on the principles that are involved. Each man is made to
understand just what he must do before he starts out and must know the
general principles to be applied in cases that arise. A situation is
assumed where the cadets are a force in the country of the enemy. They
are to form, we will say, the advance guard of their regiment. The
instructor gives to the cadets who are to command all information that
he has of his own forces and of those of the enemy and he points out to
the young commanders what is to be accomplished. The cadet officers are
then called upon to communicate to the men under them the instructions
that, in their opinion, are necessary to accomplish the mission. The
officer stands near to make suggestions and corrections, or to point
out errors of judgment. As soon as all understand what they are to do
the command moves out to work out the problem.

It is in the Field Training of the Infantry that the cadet acquires a
real knowledge of command. He must be able to size up situations and
quickly form a decision. He must then issue orders, clear and definite,
to cover the case. It is in these drills that he learns something of
the art of handling troops and what is the feeling of responsibility.
The cadets who actually exercise command are the First Classmen. They
are detailed by roster, irrespective of whether they are privates or
cadet officers, so that every man has many opportunities to command
a company before he graduates. It is highly important that the cadet
should be given practice in appearing before a body of men and in
giving them instructions. Nothing helps so much to give him confidence
in himself. It is of great value to him when he joins his regiment
in the Service. Cadets of the First Class are therefore detailed for
every kind of duty. They are company commanders, acting adjutants,
lieutenants, officers of the day and of the guard. Whenever there is a
chance to place responsibility upon the cadet, advantage is taken of it
by the Commandant.

The Infantry instruction is progressive. The First Classmen are trained
in more advanced work by means of tactical walks. These exercises are
similar to those prescribed for officers in the Service and are in line
with their future work as subalterns. An officer takes four or five
men with him to some neighboring terrain well adapted to a particular
problem. All of the different phases of the problem are considered and
the cadets required to size up each situation and issue their orders as
if in actual warfare. They are provided with maps which they must be
able to read with facility. At the close of the exercise the officer
holds a critique.

Nor is target practice, that important branch of Infantry instruction,
neglected. In summer when the cadets are in camp, the complete course
of firing as prescribed for Infantry and Cavalry troops is given the
First Class. It is held down on the flats near the river in the shelter
of Cro’s Nest where a fair range parallels the Hudson. Every clear
morning at seven the detachments march down to the range. At this hour
the air is cool and crisp and so crystalline that every feature of
the landscape stands out sharply defined. West Point is incomparably
beautiful at this season and time of the day. But as the sun mounts
higher in the Heavens the coolness is replaced by a steadily increasing
heat. From the arrival at the range until noon, Washington Valley
echoes with the crack! crack! of the Springfields. Little groups of
cadets are stretched out in the blazing sun trying to find the bull’s
eye and hoping to pile up a big enough score to win the coveted medal
of Expert Rifleman or Sharpshooter. Meanwhile another portion of the
men is down behind the butts, taking its turn in shifting the targets.
All morning long they monotonously pull the frames up and down, pasting
on the target, now a white paster, now a black one, or mechanically
waving the red flag back and forth. Intermittently the telephone rings:

“Re-mark No. 8!” sings out the operator.

Careful search is made on No. 8 for the third time and up goes the red
flag, the sight of which fills the hopeful cadet back at the firing
point with a feeling of disappointment and disgust. And so the morning
passes, the men firing so interested that they are oblivious of its
flight, and the men in the butts thinking less of pasters and red flags
than of the cool shower that waits them in camp, and blessed dinner.

If one wishes, however, to see the finished results of the discipline
and cohesion produced by Infantry training he must attend either a
review and inspection by the Corps, or a parade.

Every Saturday, shortly after the return of the cadets from dinner,
there is an inspection on the Plain, preceded by a review, at which
the appearance, clothing, and equipment of the cadet are minutely
examined by his Tactical officer. I know of no finer sight at West
Point than this ceremony, especially in the summer and early fall when
the Plain is green and the cadets wear the excellent combination of
the gray coats and white trousers. As the companies maneuver on the
Plain preparatory to taking their places on the line, the perfection of
their marching, their impeccable appearance, the white cross-belts, the
glittering breastplates, and bell buttons of coat, the foreign-looking
dress hat with its rigid little pompon, the splendid bearing of the
men, betray the beholder into believing that he is watching the
evolutions of some legendary _corps d’élite_. The scene seems foreign
and yet again very American. The most characteristic feature is the
thoroughness with which every detail of dress, equipment, and marching
has been worked out. When the Corps turns the bend near Sedgwick
monument and comes swinging down past the reviewing officer, the most
callous spectator could not fail to have his emotions stirred. His
pride is flattered. He is watching a ceremony whose perfection of
execution and beauty is symbolic of an institution that in a sense
belongs to him, to the man next to him, and to all the spectators along
the line. It is the product of America. No wonder he reverently removes
his hat as the colors march by.

No less beautiful although not so elaborate is the ceremony of parade.
During the spring and fall, daily parades are given by the battalion
that has attended infantry drill on that day. The drummers sound the
first call in the sally-port. The Area of Barracks is practically
deserted, but within the rooms cadets are feverishly adjusting their
belts, wiping off their guns, struggling into their coats, or looking
for mislaid breastplates. Out of the doors all at once begin to dart
the plebes, first one then another, and still others. They hastily
proceed to their places on the walk and mark the rear rank. The hands
of the clock slowly creeping around to the hour for the assembly are
watched intently by the Officer of the Day who stands in the sally-port
ready to give the signal.

From all the doors of the barracks are now pouring the upper-classmen
immaculately dressed in stiffly starched and evenly creased white
trousers, gleaming white belts, and shining buckles. Their faces
are so obscured by the chin strap of their high dress hat that all
personalities are lost, and each man appears to be the duplicate of
his fellow. The picturesqueness of the uniforms and the background of
the severe stone barracks recall the days of Frederick the Great. The
assembly sounds. At once the companies are formed and inspected. They
proceed to their places in the sally-ports and between the neighboring
buildings preparatory to debouching on the Plain. At the termination
of the Adjutant’s call the band begins its march. One company emerges
unexpectedly from the north sally-port, another from the south, another
from near the Academic building, still one more from the shadow of the
old gymnasium. More of them keep coming and move out on the Plain. The
fresh green grass offers a charming contrast to the white of the
uniforms as the companies perform their evolutions before advancing to
the line. The Plain is dotted with companies in column, companies in
line, companies in columns of platoons, marching in perfect cadence as
if animated by machinery.

[Illustration: Parade on the Plain]

The line is now formed stretching from the flag pole to the trees in
front of barracks. A few minutes of silence reign over the parade
while the Adjutant moves smartly and rapidly to his place in front
of the Battalion, and by command, brings the Corps to “parade rest.”
The golden sun sinking in the west plays its dying rays on the long
gray line, causing the men in ranks to blink and blink on account of
its brilliancy, and illuminating the bell buttons of the dress coats
until they sparkle like so many gems. Meanwhile, the band has marched
in front of the Corps and resumed its place on the right. The retreat
sounds. Then a hush falls over the visitors’ seats as the spectators
rise to do honor to the flag, while the neighboring hills reverberate
with the strains of the _Star Spangled Banner_. The exercise in the
manual of arms being terminated, the band once again crashes forth
and the thin gray line of cadet officers, with their feathered plumes
fluttering and the knots of their red ashes swinging back and forth,
sweeps forward to the officer reviewing the parade. Smart salutes are
exchanged, the cadet officers face about and return to their companies
to march them in review and back to barracks.

Hand in hand with the Infantry instruction goes that of the Cavalry
to which is allotted the next greatest amount of time in the schedule
of training. Cadets are taught the fundamentals of every branch
of the Service, and all cadets receive instruction in riding and
in Cavalry tactics whether or not they are destined for that arm.
Infantry officers must know how to ride as well as those of the mounted
branches. Frequently their duties require them to be mounted, and when
they arrive at the grade of field officer, major, and above, they
are obliged to command their troops from the back of a horse. It is
only during their first year at the Academy that cadets do not attend
cavalry instruction. When they become Third Classmen their acquaintance
with the horse begins. Cadets must be taught to ride before they
can be advanced to the tactics of the cavalry, and as a matter of
fact, learning to ride well takes so much of the allotted time that
comparatively little is left for the cavalry problems. The cadets
who join this branch of the service will learn their cavalry tactics
chiefly in the Army.

Beginning with the Yearlings, therefore, lessons are given in
equitation, outdoors in good weather and in the magnificent Riding
Hall during the winter. At first life in the Riding Hall is hard for
those men who have never before ridden, but once they learn the art of
“sticking on” they enjoy the exercise that riding affords. The first
few weeks are particularly trying. When the Yearlings march in upon
the spongy tanbark, they find themselves face to face with a whole row
of bareback horses lined up along one side of the hall. The animals are
champing their bits and wagging their heads apparently in sheer joy
of the anticipation of “policing” a few victims. Little chills run up
and down the spines of the Yearlings and their bodies are covered with
goose flesh as they read the challenge in the eyes of the beasts.

“Fall out!” orders the instructor. Ranks are broken and the men
run over to the grinning horses, scrutinizing them with breathless
impatience, first one, then the other, hoping to catch a sight of a
kind and gentle glance.

“1. Prepare to mount! 2. Moun-n-n-n-t!” commands the instructor in a
sepulchral voice. Then follow frantic efforts to climb the slippery
hides--ineffectual jumps succeeded by sudden descents. Finally they get
aboard and all goes well until the heartless instructor intones:

“Slow trot. March-h-h-h-h-h!”

Such efforts at balancing never before were seen! One man on a
razorback tries every spot from the mane to the croup in an attempt to
find one little piece of hide whereon he might sit in peace and quiet;
another on an imitation Percheron wabbles most dangerously and falls
off going around the curve; another is firmly grasping the mane, or
tugging at the iron mouth of some malicious brute that insists upon
holding its head high, with both ears bent back to enjoy the muttered
curses of the rider. The galleries are lined with the daily visitors
who smile gleefully upon the embryo cavalrymen, but the distressed
Yearling’s gaze turns reproachfully toward the spot where the young
girls of the Post may be seen bunched together and giggling.

As the days pass by the Yearling finds that his seat becomes more and
more secure and by the time that he has arrived at the dignity of a
Second Classman he feels that he is able to cope with the wildest of
the equine breed. During the first year the drill was more or less
drudgery, but after twelve months of practice he enjoys the lessons. He
feels the pleasure that comes from the ability to make one’s muscles
obey the will, to feel the horse yielding to the slightest touch of leg
or rein. The thrill of the leap over the ditch and of the jump over the
wall are sensations that he loves. Later on when he goes out to the
cavalry drill ground for instruction in tactics, it is the gallop and
the charge _en masse_ that give a new meaning to the word “drill.” It
is no longer a task but a pleasure.

His progress in handling his horse enables him to proceed to mounted
pistol practice and to enjoy the privilege of riding on the road,
and of polo. By the time that he has become a First Classman he is
ready to devote his time not so much to equitation as to real Cavalry
instruction. He learns how to reconnoiter, how to patrol. As in his
Infantry instruction, he must solve problems innumerable: the forming
of the advance and rear guards, the establishing of outposts, making
and breaking camp, the proper conduct of the march, how to care for his
horse the same as though he were an enlisted man. He must groom him,
feed him, and water him. He is called upon to perform every duty that
is required of enlisted men in the Cavalry so that when he shall become
an officer, he will know just how much to expect of his men. He will
so understand the fatigue of grooming, the difficulty of managing some
horses, and the impossibility of always being alert and attentive that
he will be patient and sympathetic, judging his men by their limited
advantages and not by the standard that he has attained through a
training _par excellence_.

Portions of the Cavalry instruction are devoted to hippology and to
packing. In hippology the cadets study a text-book upon which they
recite, but in addition they are frequently taken to the stables where
all types of horses are trotted out for their inspection and criticism.
They must be able to tell all of the horse’s good and bad points and
must be conversant with the remedies for the ordinary diseases. The
packing is entirely practical. A pack train is kept at West Point for
the use of the cadets, and they are drilled in putting up an aparejo
and packing the mules. They must be experts in throwing the diamond

The branch of the Service, however, that is more closely allied to the
Infantry than the Cavalry is the Field Artillery. They are indeed
brother arms. In the fight the Artillery must prepare the way for
the Infantry, using its powerful explosive shells to demoralize and
decimate the enemy so that the Infantry’s task, hard enough at best,
may be made easier. Among the cadets the Field Artillery is a popular
branch of the training almost rivaling the Cavalry. The course of
instruction is splendidly progressive. During Fourth-Class year, the
plebes learn all about the instruments, how to set the sights, to
read the scales, the use of the quadrant, and to perform the duties
of cannoneer. By the time that they go into their Yearling camp each
individual is sufficiently trained to be a good gunner, so that the
class is ready to receive instruction both in the squad acting alone,
and as part of a battery. During the fall and drill periods of the
Third-Class year, the Yearlings are called upon to perform the duties
of driver, sometimes wheel driver and again lead driver. As in the
Cavalry instruction, the cadets must learn all of the duties of
enlisted men. Their experience as drivers will teach them how hard
it is to bring horses and carriage to a stop at a designated place,
how difficult it is to estimate the ground correctly, and how a man’s
patience can be tried by fractious and unruly beasts.

The members of the Second Class are taught in the fall the technique
of the mountain battery, and in the spring they act as officers at the
drill of the field battery while the First Classmen who have already
passed through this stage of the training are detailed to command the
organization. The First Classmen also spend a great deal of their time
upon the theory of artillery fire, and practice accumulating firing
data. During the First-Class camp they conduct regular target practice
with the battery.


  _Photo White Studio_

At Target Practice on the Flats]

The course in Field Artillery has been vastly improved in recent
years. All of the instruction is given by Field Artillery officers,
and non-commissioned officers who are specialists along certain lines,
instead of as in former days by a stray Infantry, Cavalry, or Coast
Artillery Tactical officer. All the plebe drill period at that time
seemed to be consumed in jumping up on the caisson and off again. I
always felt like a squirrel in a cage going round and round without
getting anywhere. Sometimes, too, the instructions that the officer
gave us were a little mixed to say the least. I remember once an
instructor to whom Field Artillery was an alien art giving us at drill
the following order much to the merriment of the plebes:

“The cadets will now be divided into three squads: those that have
fired, those that have not fired, and those that have done neither.”

There are other drills in the cadet’s military calendar besides those
of the three main branches of the mobile army. No little attention
is given to Practical Military Engineering. In camp one third of the
class spends four hours of the day practicing the various methods
of signaling, how to make knots and lashes, how to construct gabions
and fascines, how to use tackle, and how to construct bridges. The
First Class make position and road sketches, they lay out field
fortifications, and dig trenches. They learn the use of explosives,
the placing of mines, and the dynamiting of trees, buildings, and
railroads. During the Academic year the Department of Practical
Military Engineering gives the Fourth Class a thorough course in
surveying that embraces both theory and practical work with the
instruments in the field.

The Tactical Department is charged with the instruction of the Coast
Artillery. Several modern batteries, both rifles and mortars, are
installed at West Point so that the cadets may have every facility
for learning the technique of this arm. The Yearlings act as gunners,
performing the same duties that are required of privates in the Regular
Army. The Second Classmen act as gun pointers, range and azimuth
setters, do the plotting and observing, or, in other words, perform the
duties of non-commissioned officers in the Regular Service. The First
Classmen act as battery officers or as range officers, so that upon
graduation they may join their commands fully acquainted with their
prospective duties.

After the Corps has been given the maximum of military training for any
one year, a week’s practice march is held as a climax to the intensive
work of the summer camp. With band playing and with all the panoply
of war the cadets march down to the ferry to cross to the other side
of the Hudson. For the next six days they march and maneuver through
the beautiful country in the neighborhood of West Point. Every day
camp is established at a new point and a problem worked out on the
march from one place to the other. All branches of the Service are
represented. The main body of the Corps go as Infantry, but the First
Class make up the Cavalry and Field Artillery. The “hike” is a valuable
experience for the cadets. They learn what it means to be a “doughboy”
and carry a pack on one’s back through the sweltering heat and the dust
of the road. They appreciate how tired the Cavalryman and the Field
Artilleryman are when they throw themselves down in their pup tents
after the labors of the day. Their understanding of real soldiering
is broadened and their sympathy for the duties that enlisted men have
to perform, awakened. They return to the Post, footsore and weary,
prepared to take up their studies in barracks and continue their
military training in the limited time after recitations.

During the entire year all military instruction ceases at six o’clock
in the evening. Military methods are, however, inextricably woven into
every part of the cadet life in addition to what might be called purely
military training. All during the evening study period, for example,
a certain number of cadets are on guard in the hall of the divisions
to prevent the cadets from visiting in each other’s rooms, and to
preserve the utmost silence in the barracks. The only noise that can be
heard is the tread of the sentinel who walks back and forth wrapped in
his own thoughts that occasionally are interrupted by the Corporal of
the Guard sticking his head in at the door and saying:

“All right on your post?”

“All right, sir,” answers the sentinel, who as soon as his superior
disappears replunges into his reverie until time for his relief.

At twenty minutes past nine a preliminary tapping of the drums is heard
on the Plain near the Commandant’s quarters. A few minutes of silence
ensue. Then the music of the fifes and drums startles the night as the
drum corps commences its march to barracks to sound tattoo. The notes
of the fifes float out over the darkened Plain in the weirdest possible
manner, as if the spirits of the night were trying to be gay but could
not suppress a certain plaintiveness in spite of their joy. They are
like a little boy going upstairs in the dark who keeps saying out loud,
“I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid.” On they come, the music growing
louder and louder, until they reach the sally-port where their racket
is a signal to the cadets to cease work and make down their beds. Some
of the men are already asleep, but the vast majority are still sitting
at tables, supporting their heads on their hands as they try to absorb
the meaning of the printed words that dance before their eyes. The
Drum Corps has ceased to play and stands near the Guard House waiting
for half-past nine. The silence of the Area is broken only by the tramp
of the third relief marching around the stoop of barracks from one
division to another.


  _Photo White Studio_

At P. M. E. Drill

Building a Pontoon Bridge]

“No. 1. Off!” commands the Corporal.

The sentinel joins his leader and passes on to relieve the other
sentinels. Meanwhile the hands of the clock indicate nine-thirty. The
“Hell Cats” sound the tattoo. For the next half-hour the barracks
are animated with cadets running up and down stairs to the showers,
with the noise of beds being made down and water drawn. Gradually ten
o’clock draws near. The Officer of the Day standing in the Area turns
to the musicians:

“Sound taps!” he commands.

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! goes the drum in measured beat.

“Li-i-i-i-i-ghts out!” call the subdivision inspectors. The windows of
the barracks seem to blink for a moment and then darkness envelops all
of the rooms.

And so ends the day that has been continually under the eyes of the
Tactical Department. The next day will be the same and the next and
the next. Next year, too, the mills of the Gods will be grinding away
bending, twisting, shaping Mr. Ducrot for his future work. No act of
his is passed unnoticed or unrecorded. Every time that he performs
a duty the “Tacs” give him a mark that goes toward determining his
standing in military efficiency and deportment. This is as it should be
because the attitude toward duty that he displays as a cadet is a good
indication of his future attitude as an officer, and to deny to merit,
talents, and acquirements their just rewards would be to check the
emulation which brings genius into action and qualifies the industrious
student to become an ornament to his country.

The object of the Tactical Department is to make the cadets loyal,
obedient, and disciplined young soldiers. It requires them to perform
all of the duties of the enlisted men of the Army as a method of
understanding what an officer can demand of his men. They can then go
to their regiments with a sympathetic understanding of the trials and
thorns in the path of the men for whose lives they are responsible.
Moreover the “Tacs” aim to give the cadet a good training in the
fundamental principles of the tactics of each arm so that he leaves
the Academy prepared to take up the duties of a subaltern. He is not
supposed to leave West Point with the knowledge of a colonel as some
seem to think.

In our present war with Germany, West Point will continue to send
forth her product as heretofore to help train the immense number of
recruits for the new Army. They will be called upon to train also the
new officers that are needed for the large force that we will raise,
and to this task they must bring not only a practical knowledge of
certain drills, but a mind capable of thinking straight. They will lend
all of the aid that is possible but they realize also that in training
officers, drill and mechanical maneuvers, however useful they may be,
are subordinate to the more rare and difficult acquirements that alone
can produce accomplished and scientific officers. What is chiefly
needed in an officer is acuteness of intellect, either the result of
genius or habits of reasoning on scientific subjects. To this of course
must be added tactical knowledge, the foundation of which is securely
laid at West Point.

In the immense army that will soon be ours, the graduates of West Point
will indeed be a small leaven, but I am confident they will bring to
this mass of raw soldier material the ideals and the spirit of their
Alma Mater. They will not forget the lessons learned at her knee, but
will justify to the nation that has given them their education the
soundness of West Point’s methods of training officers.



For days and days groups of Army Service Corps men going around the
Post clipping the trees, mowing the grass on the Plain, and daubing
with black paint the cannon on Trophy Point have been heralding the
approach of June. The odors of the fresh grass and of the tar in the
gutters are exhilarating smells for every cadet in the Corps. There are
buoyancy and hope in their manner and a decided note of anticipation
in the air. This feeling of anticipation is the greatest charm of a
cadet’s life. It really begins with the candidate before he enters
the Academy. He anticipates his entrance; then as a plebe, he looks
forward with even greater pleasure to the day of his “recognition” when
he shall become an upper-classman. Words are too weak to express the
eagerness with which, as a Yearling, he sees the spring slip by and
June arrive bringing with it his long desired furlough. And then he has
before his eyes the seeming El Dorado of graduation.

Our plebe, Mr. Ducrot, is especially on the _qui vive_ for the passage
of the days. Ever since the snow left the Plain and the surrounding
hills, and the first little blades of grass began to peep through
the boggy spring earth, his attitude toward life has somehow seemed
different. For the past ten months he has led the life of an obscure
being, like the silk worm in his cocoon spinning his silk. He has
almost completed his work of the plebe year and is about to emerge
from his shell. For a few weeks he is seized with the languor of
spring. The drills while not irksome seem unduly long; the lessons
harder to prepare. But as the days of May fly by he feels his wings
growing stronger and stronger and the spring fever is forgotten in the
anticipation of being a Yearling.

At last the first of June arrives! At reveille even, everyone is happy.
He tries his best to answer about a dozen upper-classmen who ask him
all at once, “Mr. Ducrot, how many days until June?”

“_No_ days until June, sir!” he replies in a voice that vibrates with
joy. It is hard for Mr. Ducrot to believe that the day that he has
so long anticipated is here. It has been so long coming. He cannot
be mistaken, however, for all around him are cadets in fresh white
trousers, the first time since the previous summer. He knows that for
years and years it has been the custom for “the Battalion to go into
white” on the first of June, at reveille. Only a few days now remain
before he will put aside his humility and meekness and be received by
the upper-classmen upon terms of equality.

The great metamorphosis or “recognition,” as it is called, occurs
upon the day before graduation, immediately after the return of the
Battalion from supper, and just prior to the graduation ball. On this
night, at supper formation and in the Mess Hall, the upper-classmen
are particularly severe. They “brace” and “crawl” the plebes more
than ever before, filling the air with, “Get your shoulders back, Mr.
Ducrot, more yet! more yet!” or, “Draw in that chin!” On this night,
however, the whole affair seems humorous, for the plebes have completed
their year and the upper-classmen are now about to extend to them a
warm handclasp. In order not to let the plebe training fizzle out or
have an inglorious end, the rigor of the “crawling” that for months
has diminished little by little is all at once revived with great
earnestness and enthusiasm. No one minds, however, but regards this
last evening’s treatment more as a “grind,” or joke.

After supper the battalions form in front of the Mess Hall and march
back to the barracks in the soft June twilight. To the observer at
a distance, a roar seems to arise from the ranks as the corporals,
sergeants, and lieutenants hurl corrections at the plebes. The noise
continues until the Corps wheels into line to listen to the orders of
the first captain standing under the trees in front of the barracks
consulting with the Officer of the Day. The various instructions and
orders having been announced he commands:

“Dismiss your companies!”

At once the upper-classmen in the front ranks turn and cordially grasp
the hands of the plebes and slap them on the back, the first time in
a year since their arrival at West Point. All of the dreariness of
a year’s subjection is dissipated by the affectionate and fraternal
welcome in the Corps proper by the upper-classmen, whose strong grips
are to the plebe a sufficient reward for the hardships of the year
just completed. Friendships whose seeds were sown, but prevented from
growing by the great gulf between upper-classmen and plebes, now find
their fullest opportunity for development. The Rubicon is passed,
and our plebe lays aside his sackcloth-and-ashes manner for the more
man-of-the-world one of a Yearling. And richly does he deserve this
recompense for his manliness and grit! Following Kipling’s advice in
_If_, he has for a long year (sometimes by _force majeure_) filled
“the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,” so
that his “recognition” by his fellow cadets means that he is stamped
approved, and that he is entitled to associate with real men.

Mr. Ducrot is now entitled to enjoy all the privileges allowed the
cadets by regulation and by the custom of the Corps. As a plebe,
tradition ordains that he shall not attend the hops, or be allowed
the social recreations of the upper-classman, but now the bars to the
pasture of pleasures are removed and he scampers in like a young colt
to enjoy his new freedom.

The two months of camp life that follow graduation give cadets plenty
of opportunities to enjoy their spare moments. The entire forenoon is
taken up with the various kinds of military instruction, with infantry
drill, practical military engineering, target practice, artillery
drill, equitation, swimming, and what not, but the afternoon is at
their disposal from the return of the Battalion from dinner until
parade at five-thirty. They have many diversions from which to choose.
Close by the camp are five tennis courts for the devotees of the
racquet. Upon the Plain is a good golf course for those who like this
sport and speak its unintelligible language. A selected number of the
First Class defy the afternoon heat playing polo down on the Flats,
while others don their bathing suits and go canoeing upon the river.
The less energetic throw their blankets in the shade of the trees near
the Y. M. C. A. tent and abandon themselves to a siesta, or to the
delights of some good book.

Then, there are the social beings who spend most of their time in the
society of girls. They are the “spoonoids” of the Corps. After dinner
they flock _en masse_ either to the visitors’ seats or to the hotel
where mothers, sisters, sweethearts, friends and friends’ friends
gather around admiringly. It must not be imagined that all “spoonoids”
are alike. There are the virulent kind who are never in camp during
“release from quarters,” who are never seen on the athletic field
except in a dress coat. They are always rushing some girl, first
one, then another, and are of the genus that are never quite on time
for any formation. They come running into camp at the last minute,
breathless and excited, and are peevish if everyone doesn’t turn in
and help them into their belts for parade. Then there is the more
moderate “spoonoid,” the unobtrusive sort, who, when he goes walking
with a girl, dons his comfortable gray shirt and white trousers, and
sets forth carrying a few deceptive golf sticks. Lastly, there is the
timid kind who sneaks into his dress coat and tries to slip out of camp
without being seen by his fellows. He really wants to go out but he is
a little ashamed of his desire, and he doesn’t want the other chaps to
know anything about it. Besides, the chorus of “ahs-s-s-s-s-s!” from
all the tents along the line terrify him.

West Point, however, is indebted to these social beings for the touch
of romance and glamour that they give to the summer life. Their bright
uniforms and the gay dresses of their partners (and the still gayer
parasols) are seen everywhere on Flirtation Walk, on the balcony back
of Cullum Hall, on the Plain, and chiefly at the visitors’ seats, and
their youth and enthusiasm add a distinct charm to the social life.

But the real amusements and pleasures of summer camp come after supper.
Thrice weekly small hops are held from eight to ten o’clock and on the
other three nights open-air concerts are given by the band.

The hops are the most popular and enjoyed of all the pleasures. The
Yearlings have an opportunity of showing how much they profited by
their dancing lessons of the previous summer and they flock to Cullum
Hall in droves. On hop nights the camp is practically deserted. Some
few men who do not care for dancing, and another small group who pose
as women haters, remain in the limits visiting one another or reading.
The new plebes, of course, are in their tents, silently working upon
their equipment. Commencing at seven-thirty, however, a stream of
upper-classmen begins passing the guard tents, signing out for the hop,
bound first for the hotel or for some officers’ quarters where charming
young partners await them. As soon as darkness falls the couples set
forth for the dance. As they emerge out of the obscurity of the Plain
into the brilliant light that pours out of the main entrance of the
hall they appear for all the world like a lot of summer insects drawn
to a bright electric bulb.

It is a charming picture that the cadets in their uniforms and the
girls in their pretty dresses make as they gather in Cullum Hall for
the dances. It recalls all of the stories of beauty and chivalry that
poets have so often idealized. As I watch them today, their youth
tempts my imagination and it runs away, but as a matter of truth the
reality is not quite so ideal.

The cadets, even the most imaginative, see things more clearly and
recognize that some of the girls that come to the hops were not the
subject of the poet’s thought when he wrote his odes to beauty. There
are all sorts of girls. There are young girls, and some not so young;
pretty girls and homely ones; vivacious girls and inanimate ones;
intelligent girls and dull ones; and occasionally some few attend the
dances who are so little favored with feminine charms that for years
the cadets have called them “L. P.’s.” These damsels are usually the
friends of friends, or maybe, the friends of friends of friends--very
distant as you see, and the poor cadet is called upon to pay off his
friend’s social debt. He does it well, too, for the dances are all by
card so that every girl has her partners arranged beforehand, and she
leaves the ball having experienced the intoxication of a great belle.

The cadets have no little fun over these girls, and if by any chance
they know them ahead of time they make an attempt to ensnare one of
their classmates, saying:

“Say, Jim, there is a peach of a _femme_ coming up for the next dance,
will you ‘drag’ her for me?”

He elaborates upon her charms with the deceit of an experienced
politician until accommodating Jim accepts.

Most men, however, are wily about these unknown friends’ friends, but
occasionally they are caught. I know one cadet who was asked to take
such a girl to a hop. He replied that he would not do so himself but
that he would find some other cadet. With true Irish persuasiveness and
unexampled Blarney he prevailed upon a classmate. When the latter was
making out the card of the supposedly beautiful girl (but in reality a
true L. P.) his first thought was to offer some dances to the promoter
of the young lady. The arch-plotter, however, innocently replied:

“I’m awfully sorry, Joe, but my card is full.”

This answer appeared exceedingly strange to Joe, until he beheld
his partner for the dance. Then the base ingratitude of his friend
so enraged him that he at once broke off all diplomatic and social

So wary have the cadets become lest they be taken in, that when a
fellow cadet comes out into the hall to get one of the stags to dance
with a girl, he is at once the object of suspicion. When he asks his
friend to take a dance because the girl’s partner failed to turn up, or
what not, the friend instantly demands:

“Where is she?” “Where is she?”

Some of the more astute cadets then point out the prettiest girl in
sight saying:

“There she is; she’s a fiend,” meaning she is all that is to be
desired, and lead off their victim apparently in her direction, but
by a well-planned movement, the victim is shunted off so that before
he realizes it he finds himself bowing before Miss L. P. His comrade
has escaped in the crowd, leaving him to “darkness and despair.” Here
begins a desultory conversation, not marked by any great intellectual

L. P.: “Do you like to dance?”

Cadet: “Yes, do you?”

(Long pause--atmosphere strained.)

Polite cadet: “Isn’t this a beautiful hall?”

L. P.: “Yes, how many lights are there in the ceiling?”

Cadet: “340.”

(Second longer pause--atmosphere at breaking point.)

Usually a chap relieves the situation by suggesting:

“Let’s go out on the balcony.”

There one can at least console himself with the beauty of the scene,
for unless devoid of all feeling, no person can behold the glory of
the Hudson from the balcony of Cullum Hall, by night, or better, by
moonlight without being greatly stirred.

Two hundred feet immediately below the balcony lies the river,
apparently calm and unruffled, but anyone who knows it well visualizes
the deep current beneath that flows resistlessly toward the sea. On
moonlight nights its surface is agleam from the rays of the full moon
standing almost stock-still over the hills that form the river’s
opposite banks. Here and there as far down as Anthony’s Nose the
obscurity is dotted with lights mostly yellow, but with an occasional
red or green that tells of the approach of a boat. Peace and beauty
reign over this scene. It is as if one were gazing upon the enchanted
garden of a land of fairies. Occasionally the charm and wonder of the
river are added to by the passage of a night boat that goes churning
by, brilliantly lighted, with its name _Berkshire_ or _Trojan_ outlined
in electric lights, and with its searchlight flashing broad beams
on the banks, first on this spot, then on the other. The operator
plays the beam upon the Riding Hall, then slowly passes it to the
Administration building, bathing the tower in light, then to the
Officers’ Mess, or maybe some caprice will seize him and up dances the
beam to the chapel on the hill, descending as captiously to Cullum
Hall. For a few moments the entire balcony is illuminated by the cold
light of the searchlight that reveals other cadets and their girls,
some seated on the broad granite railing, and others strolling up
and down. The beam moves slightly upward, and the beauty of Cullum’s
classic lines is outlined against the blackness of the night. Then a
jerky movement of the operator’s arm and darkness once more enshrouds
the building. The steamer passes on, darting its beam back and forth
like a spoiled child, until it rounds Gee’s Point where it is lost to

The strains of the music draw all of the couples back to the ball room.
A more beautiful hall for a dance could hardly be imagined. Conceived
by the artistic brain of Stanford White, it forms a most exquisite
setting for the gray and white uniforms of the cadets and the rainbow
hues of the gowns. The fine old portraits of West Point’s famous
generals, the wall bronzes commemorating their deeds, the battle-torn
flags, the Mexican cannon, the names of the great victories of the
Mexican and Civil wars, are inspiring surroundings for young men and
women. The atmosphere of the hall impels the cadets to be chivalrous
and courteous. It would be impossible not to have good manners in such
a hall. It is no wonder that the cadets enjoy the dances and that the
girls find a certain glamour in the entertainments.

On the nights when there are no hops, the concerts are held, and
although lacking the brilliancy of the dances, they have a delightful
charm of their own. Twice a week the concerts are given in camp, and
once a week in front of the quarters of the Superintendent. Upon these
occasions the visitors’ seats are crowded, chiefly with the officers,
their families, and guests. Here and there on the parade ground are
groups of cadets and girls seated on camp stools. The chaperone sits
near by wrapped in a blanket to protect her from the heavy dew of the
evening. Perhaps, another group will be made more comfortable by some
energetic cadets who spread their blankets on the ground for seats and
arrange camp stools on their sides for backs. The band is conspicuously
placed on a concrete stand, whose brilliant lights cause the iron
supports to cast weird shadows over the listening crowd.

On concert nights the camp is much more animated than on hop nights.
Many cadets do not go beyond the hedge or frequent the visitors’ seats,
but remain in their tents stretched out lazily upon their blankets,
where they “laugh and joke, and talk and smoke, and turn to boys
again.” Here, clad chiefly in their underclothes, they comfortably
enjoy the music, reveling in the freedom from the stiff uniform.

Occasionally, to add to their pleasure, a squad of plebes is
summoned and ordered to prepare for Olympus a delicious “brew.” One
upper-classman who takes the rôle of Zeus directs the plebe messengers
of the gods how to brew the libation. Having detailed one plebe to
perform the duties of Ganymede, Zeus orders him to get his own G.
I. (galvanized iron) water bucket, clean it thoroughly, squeeze the
lemons, add the sugar and water, and taste it until pronounced perfect.
To give the brew a proper color and add a little pungency, a bottle
of grape juice is recklessly poured into the delectable drink. With
the strains of the music floating over the camp and dippers full of
“brew” constantly at one’s elbow, the upper-classmen reclining at their
feast rival the luxury of the Romans of old. Nor are the “messengers”
forgotten. They are permitted, as a reward for their services, to drink
their fill from the brimming bucket. Of course, there are a few “eats”
too; nothing elaborate, but oh! how good! saltines, peanut butter, and
jam! Words to conjure with!

Or perhaps, a roving crowd of Yearlings, restless and filled with
adventure, go from company street to company street, visiting, playing
pranks and jokes, poking their heads into some plebe’s tent, almost
scaring him to death by yelling:

“Mister, what’s your name.”

“Mr. Ducrot, sir!”

“Who am I?” asks the Yearling.

“I don’t know, sir!”

“What!!! don’t know who I am? Well, Mr. Ducrot, you’re pretty ignorant,
you get that; you ‘bone’ me up!”

On goes the gang from one tent to another, drawn to some parts of
the camp by a “brew” fight, or to another part by the tinkling of
some mandolins and strumming of some guitars. From the depths of each
street strong voices call out to their comrades in other companies:
“Oh-h-h-h-h! Scott Fulton-n-n!” More often the night is startled by the
frequent call:

“Turn out a plebe!”

Out of the tents bound a dozen plebes to find out the wishes of the
Mighty One.

In the camp there are many sharp contrasts. Strangest of all is to
see some serious-minded cadet seated in his tent calmly reading,
enthralled by the contents of a book, while all around him are
disturbing distractions. Neither the fluttering of the moths and lady
bugs around his electric light, the attentions of the mosquitoes, nor
the laughter and chatter of his comrades, nor the crashing music of
the band seem to draw him from his imaginary world. Not even the cry
of “Yea! Furlo-o-o-o ...!” so oft repeated by the Yearlings, makes any
impression upon him. Whenever a Yearling has a little surplus energy
that he must get rid of, he sticks his head out of the tent and yells:

“Yea! Furlo-o-o-o ...!”

From all parts of the camp, voices echo the call, and for a few seconds
the air vibrates with the sound of hopeful voices.

After a plebe has been recognized and has become a Yearling, the
one engrossing thought of his life is his furlough. This furlough,
coming at the end of his second year, is the only vacation accorded
the cadet in the four years, and is anticipated by him with the
keenest yearnings. For two years he has been living under the severest
discipline and restrictions and separated from the loved ones at home.
The thought of returning again to the family circle and of picking up
all of the old threads of friendship causes a lively feeling of joy
to fill his manly young heart. It is no wonder that “Yea! Furlo-o-o-o
...!” finds a sympathetic response in the hearts of all who have been

On Sunday evenings, usually a dull time in camp, the regular concerts
by the Military Academy Band are replaced by a concert given by the
cadets themselves. This entertainment is known as the Color Line
concert. A canvas is made of the plebe class and all of these who
admit any musical talent are ordered to practice. Mandolins, guitars,
violins are all brought out and the whole aggregation, plebes and
upper-classmen, assemble in front of the hedge. For an hour or more
they play and sing for their comrades and friends, who sit around on
blankets or camp stools, and wave burning Chinese joss sticks to drive
away the tormenting mosquitoes. The simplicity of the entertainment
gives to these little Color Line concerts an intimate and charming

As soon as the concert is over the crowd quickly disperses, the girls
going to the hotel or wherever they happen to be stopping, and the
cadets to their company streets. The quiet of Sunday evening is then
for half an hour broken by the shouts of the men as they litter up the
company streets trying to assort their clothing for the Monday wash.

“Turn out a wash list, you plebes!” “Step out, Mr. Ducrot!” are heard
on all sides.

There grows thereupon before one’s eyes small piles of drawers,
undershirts, socks, towels, and white duck uniforms. Each article is
carefully counted and listed because if the laundry discover an error
on the slip, or find the garment of some other cadet in the bag,
a report is entered against the offender for which he receives a
demerit. Furthermore, the name of each cadet must be distinctly marked
upon each article of clothing.

It is not to be supposed that any such fortunate set of circumstances
would escape the attention of the practical jokers among the cadets.
Often the surnames of certain men are identical with the given names
of girls, as for example, Grace, or Bell(e) or Nelly. Naturally, their
garments are all marked in this way. The jokers surreptitiously steal
an article or two from each of the above and slip it in the bag of
the most Y. M. C. A. man in the company. The following day when the
delinquency list is read out the Corps is thrown into gales of laughter
by the following reports:

“Cadet Prude: one pair of drawers in wash marked ‘Grace’”; or “Cadet
Helldodger: one undershirt in bag marked ‘Nelly.’”

The legitimate amusements of the day are at an end. Taps comes and
plunges the camp into darkness and all turn in for their much needed
rest. It is then that the practical jokers begin to think of their
nefarious plots. They remain quiet for some time until the inspections
are made and the company commander has retired after his half-hour
solitary patrol of the company street. When all the camp is apparently
asleep, dark forms steal forth to their rendezvous and proceed in a
body to the tent of some classmate to “drag” his cot. Cautiously they
approach the tent, grab the ends of the cot with the sleeping form,
and quickly drag it to the center of the street. Just as the occupant
of the cot is rudely awakened, and tries to arise bewildering to defend
his rights, some one of the gang treats him to a cold bath from a
bucket of water provided beforehand. In the days of hazing this form of
amusement was practiced almost exclusively upon the plebes, but today
the men leave the plebes alone and devote their attention to their
classmates and friends.

When one is busy and happy the time flies by rapidly so that before the
cadet is aware of its flight, the summer camp is brought to a close
with a Color Line entertainment. The spare moments of the Corps are
for days beforehand spent in preparation for this event that marks the
end of a happy summer. The Practical Military Engineering squad now
comes into its own. They build roller coasters, triumphal arches, small
theaters with cabarets, Japanese gardens, with the greatest ingenuity
and skill. The company streets are transformed into bits of New York,
Tokio, and Chinatown. Upon the parade is erected a large open-air
dancing platform smothered in the flags of all nations, where the
cadets and their guests dance away the last evening in camp. They make
the most of their opportunity, for the next day they must return to the
barracks and commence the Academic term.

Once the studies have been resumed, the time for diversion of any
sort is limited. The entire day from 6:00 until 10:00 P.M. is employed
with studies, drills, and necessary personal duties, so that there is
nothing for the cadet but work, work, work. There are, however, two
weekly breaks in the severe routine. One of these lulls is on Wednesday
afternoon when there are no drills, an arrangement that gives two hours
of leisure to the cadets.

There are many ways of driving away dull care during these two hours.
The Second and Third Classmen, who have riding privileges, ride on the
roads around West Point where they enjoy, in the autumn, a variety
of scenes of surpassing beauty. Clad in their riding clothes, they
impatiently await in the barracks, usually in the lower hall, the first
note of “release from quarters” that is blown at 3:50 P.M. The moment
the bugler raises his instrument to his lips and sends forth the first
sound of release from quarters the “ridoids,” except First Classmen,
burst from the hall and race to the stables in order to secure their
favorite mount. Each First Classman has his mount assigned to him, so
that he can be more leisurely in his movements.

Other men who prefer the society of books spend all of their leisure
at the library where they seek out a quiet corner and a big leather
arm chair and lose themselves in their surroundings. They enjoy the
atmosphere of calm dignity and peace that pervades the reading rooms
in refreshing contrast to the noise of barracks where the men are
constantly running in and out, calling to one another.

The noise in barracks, however, makes no impression on the men who
spend their leisure catching up with sleep. An inspection of the rooms
on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons would disclose many a cadet
“pounding joyously his ear.” Grown weary by the routine, he does not
resist the overpowering feeling of fatigue, but abandons himself to a
delicious slumber.

Meanwhile, numbers of his comrades are out on the athletic field
engaged in tennis, golf, or if not playing, encouraging by their
presence the work of the football team. The leisure moments of
a large percentage of the cadets are given over in the fall to
practicing football songs and yells. Usually, some cadet who lacks
self-consciousness and who is popular with his fellows, is selected
as cheer leader. Under his direction the cadets practice their songs
and yells, while the team perfects its play in front of them on the
gridiron. At no institution of learning does there exist among the
students a greater _esprit de corps_ than among the cadets. In the
fall, all sorts of personal wishes and inclinations are stifled in
order to attend the cheering practice, and bring it to a high degree of
perfection for the Saturday afternoon games on the home grounds, and
chiefly for the contest with the Navy. Few of the cadets fail to turn
out for the cheering, because these are accused of lacking in spirit,
and thereby lose prestige with their comrades.

Cadets who elect to devote their time to other forms of athletics,
however, are regarded with no reproach, but men who absent themselves
in order to attend teas or to go “spooning” are looked upon with some
disfavor. Corps spirit ranks everything in the eyes of the cadet, and
he justly demands that it come first.

Such is the way that cadets spend their two hours of leisure on
Wednesday afternoons. After the 1:30 P.M. inspection on Saturday the
cadets are also at liberty for the remainder of the day. They spend
their time as described above, the various diversions changing slightly
with the seasons. Saturday is anticipated with the greatest pleasure,
for in addition to the afternoon leisure, the evening is free to do as
one pleases. How welcome is the relaxation from incessant study! There
are so many things to do. Some men attend the hops that are held twice
a month; others dine out at the officers’ quarters; still others go to
the “Movies” which have become a stock entertainment every Saturday
evening in the gymnasium. Advantage is taken of the freedom to visit
one another’s rooms in the barracks, to laugh, to talk, to “knock,”
possibly to make some “fudge” on the electric stove that spends the
week days hidden in the recesses of some mattress. Perhaps one of the
men has received some money from home, unknown to the authorities, and
has treated his comrades to unlimited quantities of Huyler’s from the
Boodlers, or maybe an invitation has been received to a real “party”
after taps where cold turkey, jams, nuts, sandwiches, smuggled into
quarters, are eaten by an eternally hungry crowd. After such a feast
the condition of the room can better be imagined than described. The
next morning the occupants make the most frantic efforts to remove
the grease spots from the floor and table before the Sunday morning
inspection. All of the previous night’s feasters lend a hand in the
scrubbing and polishing; the plebes are called in to wave towels in the
air, or anoint the furniture with bay rum to drive out all odors of
food that hung over the room from the previous evening.

The two weekly breaks of Wednesday and Saturday are increased, however,
when the snows come in November. Drilling out of doors then becomes
impossible so that from 4:00 until 6:00 P.M. daily, the cadets are
at liberty. Most of the men spend these gray afternoon hours in the
gymnasium, or in reading. The Second Class has its riding class during
this period.

After the football season, the diversions of the winter months are
few. The “spoonoids” whose acquaintance we made in camp recommence
their activities, chiefly visiting the quarters of officers. The most
pernicious ones are called by their comrades “Tea Hounds” or “Parlor
Snakes,” in a good-natured spirit, of course. The percentage of cadets
who meet the officers’ families socially is small. The men who do most
of the visiting upon the Post are army officers’ sons who have known
some of the instructors at other Posts.

It is regrettable that so many men go through West Point without
having known any of the officers or their families socially. They meet
the officers only in an official way where the demands of discipline
require formal relations. This has a tendency to remove the officer
too much from this large number of cadets who lack the opportunity of
knowing informally men with whom they will later serve. Many cadets in
consequence form altogether erroneous impressions of their instructors
that they carry with them through their entire service, unless they are
fortunate enough to meet these gentlemen later on. While at West Point
had they conversed informally for a few minutes only over the dinner
table, or at a dance, this impression would have been eradicated.

The great gulf that has always separated the cadet from the officer
is, however, yearly becoming narrower. I have observed lately a
different attitude of the officers toward the cadets. Their manners
are more cordial, more sympathetic, and more informal. They treat the
cadets more like men instead of schoolboys; their manner is more that
of a superior officer toward a junior. The result is that the old
defensive attitude of the cadet toward his instructors is gradually
disappearing, and he now regards his officers as instructor coadjutors
instead of instructor tyrants. This spirit is highly beneficial to both
officer and cadet, because the latter, feeling that his instructor is
ready to aid him, becomes very receptive and consequently calls forth
from the former a natural response unhampered by self-consciousness.

Graduates of the Academy have often expressed their opinion that the
transition from a cadet to an officer is too abrupt, and have regretted
that before graduation a cadet did not acquire more the viewpoint of
an officer. It is not possible for a cadet to gain, simply through
official contact with an officer, ideas regarding the service and
little points concerning the command of enlisted men. Instruction in
these matters is provided, but it must be remembered that time is
limited, and that all recitations, lectures, talks, are in general
marked by formality and a certain degree of restraint.

In order to make a distinction between the First Class and the under
classes, the authorities have established a social organization called
the “First Classmen’s Club.” Its object is to segregate the First
Class from the remainder of the Corps, entrust to it greater powers of
command over the other cadets, and to put into its hands more fully the
discipline of the rest of the Corps. In other words, its object is to
inculcate in its members a greater feeling of responsibility by giving
them greater powers accompanied by greater privileges. The privileges
that are accorded thereby make them feel that they have passed the
schoolboy period, and prepare them to accept properly the greater
privileges of an officer. Although it is called the “First Classmen’s
Club,” it is in no sense a club as known in civilian life. Nothing
to drink, or to eat, is permitted, nor are there pool or billiard
tables. The Club has a spacious hall over the north sally-port of the
new barracks; it is supplied with papers, magazines, a phonograph, a
piano, and games such as dominoes and chess, and comfortable lounging
chairs. This meager equipment may appear ludicrous to the college man
who is accustomed to the comforts and luxuries of his fraternities, but
to the West Pointer who knows nothing but Spartan simplicity for the
past three years, it means a great deal. The First Classmen have the
privilege of using the Club at all times during the day, during call
to quarters as well as during release from quarters, but men who are
deficient in their studies are denied its use during study periods. The
affairs of the Club are regulated by a Board of Governors, of which the
first captain is a member ex-officio.

With the exception of the First Classmen’s Club the authorities do not
permit any social organizations such as fraternities among the cadets.
In the first place, such bodies are in conflict with the principles
of democracy upon which the institution was founded and which still
characterizes every act of its administration; and in the second
place, the cadet’s time is otherwise employed to a greater extent than
that of any other university student in the country. West Pointers have
no time for much else but to study their profession and develop their
bodies. The relaxations provided for their spare moments are simple,
healthful, and democratic.

There is, however, an organization at West Point called the Dialectic
Society. This body was originally organized as a literary club in
1824 for purposes of discussing subjects more or less profound, and
of affording members an opportunity to read their literary efforts.
Today, it is an assembly room open to all upper-classmen who gather
there either to read or chat, or to enjoy the good fellowship of their
comrades. It is also used as a gathering place whenever the Corps
wishes to deliberate upon some weighty question that affects their body
and that calls for a solution by a referendum. Its rooms are now over
the east sally-port of the north barracks. Old graduates will remember
its location as the hall over the north sally-port of the old barracks.
The present room is larger and better adapted for the increased number
of the Corps.

As the fall wears on the principal topic of conversation wherever the
cadets are gathered, whether in the Dialectic Hall or in the First
Classmen’s Club, is the approaching Christmas leaves. All thoughts
center on the mid-winter vacation, and efforts are bent to keeping off
the delinquency list. Not all cadets get Christmas leave. Those of
the upper classes are granted leaves from December 23d to 4:00 P.M.,
December 31st, provided that they are not undergoing examinations, or
special punishment, and that their number of demerits for the preceding
year has not been greater than nine per month in barracks and twelve
per month in camp. There are other provisos attached, chief of which
is the condition that a cadet must visit relatives or friends. This
regulation prohibits them from going to New York and staying at the
hotels. This restriction works a great hardship upon cadets from
distant States who have no relatives nearby, or who do not happen to
have made friends in the East; but its promulgation was found necessary
to prevent the cadets from going to the hotels where they borrowed
money and got into debt.

The tendency at West Point is to be more and more liberal about
granting leaves of absence. I personally feel that the new policy
is the correct one. The First Classmen especially should have the
privilege of going to New York occasionally during their last
year. Their close restriction to the Reservation at West Point
where everything is done for them makes them too dependent and not
sufficiently self-reliant. Their appreciation, however, of the vacation
is indeed keen. No more happy faces could be imagined than those of the
cadets going on leave as they descend the hill to the station. Not even
the woe-begone and dejected attitude of their less fortunate comrades
can detract one bit from the exhilaration of their spirits. Those left
behind, either on account of studies or conduct, spend their time
tramping in the woods, or skating, bobbing, riding, reading, or else
“boning” for the dread ordeal of the examination.

The vacation ends on December 31st when the men on leave return to the
Post. That night is held the New Year’s hop for which the girls in
shoals come to West Point. It has always remained a mystery to me where
these girls come from. All of a sudden they descend upon the Post like
a swarm of locusts, and the next day as quickly disappear.

The characteristic feature of the New Year’s hop occurs at midnight.
A few seconds before twelve o’clock, a musician in the orchestra
sounds the “attention.” An impressive stillness falls over the ball
room, while the trumpeter blows “Taps” just as the old year dies. Not
a person in the whole room stirs. At the first stroke of twelve, the
trumpeter blows the “Reveille,” a signal that another year has awakened.

The cadets of the upper classes then rush to the center of the ball
room, form into class groups, and give their class yell. The under
classes yell for the First Class which politely responds with a class
yell for each. The First Classmen then end the incident by a yell,
adding three prolonged and joyous cries:

“Never again! Never again! Never again!”

They mean that never again as cadets at West Point will they attend a
New Year’s dance. They are announcing to all present the completion of
a definite period, the closing of one chapter of their lives that can
never again be relived. The music starts up, the dancers float off,
and the incident is soon forgotten, but to one standing by who takes
the trouble to reflect a little there is an element of sadness in the
almost debonair manner that these young men renounce a portion of their
lives that has not been lacking in benefits and in happy associations.

After the mid-winter break nothing interrupts the routine of the
cadets’ ordinary diversions until the annual play on the 20th of
February. The upper-classmen give the _Hundredth Night Play_. It is
ordinarily a satire upon conditions at the Academy. The setting is
invariably West Point, and the principal characters are the officers
on duty. The other characters satirize the type with which West
Point abounds: the cadet girl, her friend, the chaperone, the cadet
“spoonoid,” the professors and instructors. Shouts of laughter greet
the appearance of the impersonations of the officers, and rounds of
applause follow jokes gotten off at their expense. There is nothing
assumed or counterfeit about the genuineness of the cadets’ enjoyment.
There is, of course, an officer who censors the play before its
production, for although there is no more polite body of men in the
world than the Corps of Cadets, yet their enthusiasm and eagerness
might lead them to indulge in personalities that would offend. The
Tactical officers who are immediately over the cadets are most
generally impersonated; the exaggeration of their little weaknesses
is not more enjoyed by the cadets than by the officers themselves. In
fact, whenever any one of them is left out he rather regrets it.

The approach of spring leaves but little time for pleasure. Drills
are resumed after study hours, followed by parade and guard mounting,
then more study hours after supper. The Battalions must be whipped
into shape for June week; each class must be given drills to prepare
the individuals for their coming task in June. Many things occupy the
cadets’ attention. The First Classmen can think of little else except
graduation. They are busy looking over samples of uniforms, boots,
civilian clothing, or ordering same, or trying on uniforms. Some
few have the added responsibility of planning for their approaching
marriage. Naturally, the interest of First Classmen in cadet activities
begins to wane. The Second Class anticipate their First Class camp
when the reins of power pass to them, the Yearlings dream and dream
and dream of furlough. Every spring evening during the half-hour after
supper they gather upon Battle Monument to sing their furlough songs.
Little snatches float across the Plain, partly unintelligible, but
from which the words “love” and “girl” and “moon,” sung with greater
emphasis apparently, can be clearly distinguished. Only the “call to
quarters” drags them back to earth, whereupon with a vociferous “Yea!
Furlo-o-o-o!” they break up the meeting and march back to barracks,
arm in arm, singing of the pleasures to come when they will leave the
Academy for two months and return to the bosom of their families.

Not least of the pleasures at West Point is the camaraderie. There
are always plenty of friends to be had, fine manly fellows with clean
thoughts, affectionate and kind. A cadet rarely fully appreciates what
this comradeship means until he is about to graduate. Then he reflects
upon his four years spent in the society of so many fine men, and he
feels a poignant regret at leaving their midst. The recollections of
the hardships endured and overcome together, of the mutual confidences,
of the sympathy when needed, of little sacrifices made for him, fill
him with tenderness and sadness. He finds it hard to say good-bye to
the truest friends that he will ever have.

The last few months, however, are so filled with duties and obligations
that he has few moments for reflection. Before he knows it June and
graduation are upon him. He then attends his own Graduation Ball. Just
prior to the last dance, once again the First Class assembles in the
center of the room, gives its class yell followed by the three cries:

“Never again! Never again! Never again!”

A little lump comes in his throat as the echo dies away. Never again
will he be a cadet at West Point. A yell that has heretofore been most
musical has all of a sudden become most melancholy.

Never again!



When a new class of cadets reports at West Point, it is composed of
men as diverse in appearance, in points of view, and in character as
the parts of the country from which they come. But after they have
been at the Academy for a couple of years a marked change occurs, and
by the time they are ready to graduate they have undergone a complete
metamorphosis. In some mysterious manner they seem to have been
leveled to a certain standard, like some scraggly hedge that has been
scrupulously trimmed by its painstaking guardian. The fat ones have
lost their extra pounds; the thin ones have made good their deficit;
the round-shouldered have straightened up, and the hollow-chested have
filled out. Instead of a heterogeneous looking lot of men, they give
the impression of having been made from the same die. And then too
there is a uniformity about their point of view. Whereas at entrance
their whole thought was colored by the life from which they came and
by what they hoped to be, once enrolled in the Corps, they quickly and
involuntarily have found themselves worshiping identical ideals--the
ideals of Duty, Honor, and Country. They have discovered at West Point
certain standards that have been approved by other men, and they have
gradually adopted them as their own. But the real stamp of West Point
appears in their faces. The imprint is evident wherever a group of the
cadets are gathered together, but it is never so apparent as at the
graduation ceremonies when the cadets individually mount the platform
to receive their diplomas. Then one can see a certain look in the
eye and a certain feeling of strength about the features that is the
same. It is the look of men who have accomplished something and of the
strength that comes from character.

What, you ask, is this leveling influence at the Academy? It comes
from discipline, the discipline of the body, the discipline of the
mind, and the discipline of the soul. It is the one governing factor
in the success of West Point. All three kinds of it begin on the day
that the cadet reports for duty, and continues without interruption
during his entire course. The discipline of the body and the mind is
a comparatively simple affair, especially when there is a willingness
on the part of the subject, but the discipline of the soul is the
influence that is hardest to make cadets appreciate. Some people shy
when the word discipline is mentioned; they think that it means to
break a man’s will and to destroy his individuality, but that is not
so. The discipline that I speak of is a process of education whereby a
man’s mental attitude is trained to a certain viewpoint; whereby his
actions unconsciously respond to the correct ethical view of his duty.
It is aimed to teach respect for law and order, to teach truthfulness
and honesty, loyalty and obedience. It inculcates respect for
superiors, if not for the man, then for the office that he holds. It
teaches a soldier the sacredness of orders; it is the quality without
which no army is successful.

Under this strong influence of discipline come men from all sections of
our great country and from all classes of society. Viewed exteriorly
they are, upon reporting, as motley a looking lot as could be imagined.
An examination of their interiors would reveal natures and characters
of equal variety. Some come from homes where they have received the
most careful moral nurture; others from environments of vague and lax
standards. Side by side with youths who are models of truth are lads
with uncertain ideas of right and wrong. Among the throng are brilliant
boys and stupid ones; well-educated lads and those whose advantages
have been of the most limited sort; sons of rich men and boys who have
known the meaning of want. From everywhere they come: from the city and
from the farm; from the mountain and from the plain.

It is interesting to dwell for a moment on the following table showing
the sources of the personnel of the cadet body. Herein are listed the
occupations of the parents of the cadets and the number engaged in
each, covering a period of fifty years.

  Accountants                                                          3
  Agents                                                              62
  Architects                                                           5
  Artists                                                              4
  Auctioneer                                                           1
  Auditor                                                              1
  Author                                                               1
  Baggagemaster                                                        1
  Bakers                                                               4
  Bankers and bank officers                                           90
  Barbers                                                              4
  Bookkeepers                                                         18
  Brewers                                                              3
  Brokers                                                             40
  Builders                                                             2
  Butchers                                                             2
  Capitalist                                                           1
  Chief of police                                                      1
  City marshal                                                         1
  Clergymen                                                          128
  Clerk of House of Representatives                                    1
  Clerks                                                              90
  Collectors                                                           4
  Commercial travelers                                                13
  Conductors                                                           2
  Contractors                                                         38
  Cook                                                                 1
  Cotton buyer                                                         1
  County officers                                                     74
  Cutlery commissioner                                                 1
  Dairyman                                                             2
  Dentists                                                            14
  Detectives                                                           2
  Distiller                                                            1
  Dock commissioner                                                    1
  Dock master                                                          1
  Draftsman                                                            1
  Druggists                                                           13
  Editors                                                             62
  Electroplater                                                        1
      Civil                                                           13
      Mechanical                                                      10
      Locomotive                                                       3
      Stationary                                                       1
  Enlisted men                                                         4
  Express business                                                     2
  Farmers and planters                                             1,149
  Fishing master                                                       1
  Foreman                                                              1
  Gardeners                                                            3
  General business                                                     5
  Hatter                                                               1
  Heads of corporations                                               10
  Hotel keepers                                                       55
  Iceman                                                               1
  Importer                                                             1
  Inspector of buildings                                               1
  Inspectors of factories                                              2
  Inspectors of police                                                 2
  Insurance business                                                  38
  Inventor                                                             1
  Jewelers                                                             3
  Journalists                                                          8
  Justice of peace                                                     1
  Laborers                                                            29
  Lawyers and judges                                                 645
  Letter carriers                                                      1
  Librarians                                                           2
  Lithographer                                                         1
  Liverymen                                                           15
  Lumbermen                                                           20
  Manager of brewery                                                   1
  Manager of engines and boilers                                       1
  Manager of factory                                                   1
  Manager of land company                                              1
  Manufacturers                                                      151
  Marble dealer                                                        1
  Mechanics                                                          341
  Member of city board                                                 1
  Member of State Legislature                                          1
  Members of Congress                                                 32
  Merchant tailor                                                      1
  Merchants                                                          722
  Messenger                                                            1
  Millers                                                             11
  Mining                                                              26
  Museum keeper                                                        1
  Musician, band leader                                                1
  Musicians                                                            2
  Newspaper correspondent                                              1
  Newspaper manager                                                    1
  No occupation                                                      191
  Nurserymen                                                           6
  Officers of the Army                                               362
  Officers of the Navy                                                59
  Officers of volunteers                                              21
  Oil business                                                         2
  Overseers                                                            4
  Photographers                                                        6
  Physicians                                                         367
  Pilot                                                                1
  Policemen                                                            7
  Police justices                                                      2
  Politicians                                                          3
  Postmasters                                                          5
  President of manufacturing company                                   1
  President of steam heating company                                   1
  President of wire mill                                               1
  Presidents of colleges                                               4
  Presidents of insurance companies                                    3
  Printers                                                            12
  Professors                                                          27
  Proprietor of elevator company                                       1
  Publishers                                                           8
  Railroad employees                                                   6
  Railroad officers                                                   13
  Ranchmen                                                             2
  Real estate                                                         37
  Restaurant keeper                                                    1
  Salesmen                                                             5
  Saloonkeeper                                                         1
  School teachers                                                     56
  Secretaries                                                         14
  Ship captains                                                       25
  Speculators                                                         10
  State officers                                                      27
  Steamboatman                                                         1
  Steward                                                              1
  Stock dealers (cattle)                                              10
  Stock raisers                                                        6
  Stocks                                                               1
  Superintendent of coal and iron company                              1
  Superintendent of factory                                            1
  Superintendent of iron work                                          1
  Superintendent of mine                                               1
  Superintendent of prison                                             1
  Superintendent of railroad                                           1
  Superintendents of gas works                                         2
  Superintendents of schools                                           4
  Surveyors                                                            5
  Tanners                                                              2
  Teacher of garment cutting                                           1
  Teacher of music                                                     1
  Teamster                                                             1
  Theater manager                                                      1
  Undertakers                                                          5
  United States civil officers                                        85
  Unknown                                                             39
  Wagonmaster                                                          1
  Warden of prison                                                     1

It is to the sons of men in this list that West Point applies its
discipline in order to create the type of officer that the Government
desires for its Army. From them must be eliminated the unfit and the
unworthy during the molding process to which they are subjected.

The immediate effect of the application of discipline to this variety
of material is the creation of an ideal democracy. All of the new
arrivals are thrown indiscriminately into the melting pot, and no
attention is paid to any man’s antecedents. The boys of rich and
influential parents are not allowed little life-preservers of wealth,
family, and position whereby they might remain on top, but they must
boil away, sometimes on top, sometimes at the bottom of the pot,
rubbing and bumping against boys to whom riches and influence are
strangers. Whether they sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish,
depends on individual effort alone. Men are esteemed at West Point for
what they are and not for what they have. Each man feeling that he has
as good an opportunity to succeed as the other man becomes imbued from
the outset of his cadet career with the spirit of democracy that exists
at the Academy.

From the moment that a cadet enters West Point, his past life,
experiences, advantages, record, disappear into oblivion so far as
the authorities and other cadets are concerned. No reference is ever
made to any cadet’s home, to his connections, to his family, unless he
introduces the subject. Once he becomes a cadet, a new clean sheet of
his life is started for him, and whatever is entered thereon depends
solely upon himself. Every man at West Point has the same chance--the
chance of advancement based upon merit and efficiency and upon nothing
else. It makes no difference to the officers in charge or to the
other cadets whether a man’s family is wealthy or distinguished. As
a matter of fact this information is rarely known because all of the
cadets report together; they are totally unknown to those in charge so
that there is no possible way to ascertain anything about the cadet’s
antecedents. They lose their identity completely, and so much so that
the upper-classmen take months to learn their real names, meanwhile
calling them by the generic names, Ducrot, Dumbguard, and Dumbjohn.

The character of the rooms in barracks illustrates most strikingly
this democratic ideal that discipline fosters. The plain and homely
furnishings of each room are identical in pattern, material, and
quantity, so that no cadet is housed better than his fellow. The walls
are free from pictures, the windows from curtains, the floors from
rugs. There are no soft easy chairs but only an old-fashioned wooden
one for each man, that is as hard for the rich cadet as for the poor
Mr. Ducrot. Nor are there any cliques that occupy particular rooms in
the barracks. Each company has so many rooms for its members, and as
far as possible the men within the company may choose their roommates.
Their selection is made on mutual attraction and congeniality solely.
Whenever two chaps enjoy each other’s companionship, that indefinable
mingling of mute spirits, they try to room together.

And then again, the cadets are free from the distinctions and the
social barriers that money creates. They are prohibited from receiving
any money from their homes and are not allowed the handling of the pay
that they receive from the Government. Instead, the authorities supply
all of their wants, their food, their clothing, their books, their
amusements, so that they might have no need of cash. In fact there is
but one store on the reservation where they can spend money, and that
is a place called “The Boodlers,” a sort of a general store at the foot
of the hill near the gas tank. Here they may, if out of debt, obtain a
permit for two dollars per month, and only those cadets with permits
are allowed even to enter the store.

In this ideal democracy, among the influences that are considered
prejudicial to good order and military discipline are drinking,
gambling, and cigarette smoking. All alcoholic drinks are consequently
banished from the life of the young embryo officer, for he must keep
a clear brain in order to think straight and master his problems. He
is permitted only the wholesome beverages of milk, tea, and coffee
that are supplied in the greatest abundance. Occasionally there is a
case of drinking among the cadet body, but as a vice, intoxication
does not exist at the Military Academy. One has only to look at
the healthy ruddy complexions of the cadets to be convinced of the
truth of this statement. Any girl might envy them their skins, whose
brilliancy and transparency would soon disappear if late hours and
beer were permitted. Nor is there any gambling in the Corps, unless
the betting of one’s ice cream on the result of some football game be
so considered. The cadets are not even allowed the use of cards or of
any games of chance. They may not indulge in so harmless a pastime as
bridge. Their chief solace in their free moments must be their pipes of
briar, for cigarettes are frowned upon and regarded as contraband of
war, liable to seizure by any Tactical officer. The weed is confiscated
and the cadet receives a report. What becomes of those confiscated
cigarettes has always been a matter of great speculation. Tactical
officers are always under suspicion. I remember one case where a cadet
was caught with three hundred cigarettes in his possession and told by
his officer to turn them in at the Guardhouse. This order grieved the
cadet very much because he felt that perhaps someone else would enjoy
those cherished smokes. He therefore bored a hole in each one with a
pin, before complying with his directions. Soon after turning in the
cigarettes, he was reported for having mutilated them and was made to
walk punishment tours on the Area for many days. The inference was that
some disappointed Tactical officer could not make the cigarettes draw.

The ability to maintain a high state of discipline at West Point is
due partially to the wisdom of placing the instruction of the cadets
in the hands of officers who are themselves graduates of the Academy.
The officers have more prestige with the cadets and they understand
better the preparation of these young men for their future duties than
could civilian instructors. They have to a greater degree than most
instructors the prestige of a physical and moral superiority over their
students. They are familiar with the spirit of the institution and are
always on the alert to guard against corrupt influences. They better
understand how to instill the austere virtues that a soldier ought to
have, and how to form a brave and virile heart in their young charges.
In a measure they re-create the man and develop in him the national

The attitude of the cadets themselves, however, toward their discipline
is the real reason for the success of West Point’s efforts to turn
out men who are high-minded and honorable. They are as zealous as the
officers over them in seeing that their associates live up to certain
standards. Honor is their shibboleth, and each new man upon his arrival
is instructed in what is meant by Corps Honor. Upper-classmen give
the plebes lectures wherein they explain the ethics that govern their
body, and leave them no room for doubt regarding the penalties for an
infringement of their code. From the outset of their careers cadets
are taught the hatred of a lie, and are made to understand that only
by the most scrupulous regard for the truth, every detail of it, can
they be considered fit to hold their places as cadets and gentlemen.
Any cadet who is found guilty of making a false statement regarding
even the most trifling circumstance is dismissed. If he is caught in
a dishonorable act, he is reported by his fellows to the authorities,
or told by his classmates that his resignation would be favorably
received. In order to do justice to any man accused of breaking the
code, the cadets have among their body a Vigilance Committee that is
composed of representatives from the three upper classes. These men
investigate all questionable acts that ordinarily would not come to
the eyes of the authorities, and if they are satisfied that the man is
guilty they report him. For example, at the written examinations the
officers never supervise the cadets as regards their moral conduct,
but frequently leave the room for long periods. If any man should
take advantage of these circumstances to cheat, his act, if seen by
a comrade, is at once reported to either the Vigilance Committee or
to the officers. It is apparent therefore that the honor of the Corps
will always remain unsullied so long as it is left in the hands of the
cadets themselves.

[Illustration: A Review for the Chief of the Staff of the Army]

This rigid code of discipline to which the cadet is subjected for four
years and the influence of the honor system in the Corps develop in
him to a high degree the sentiment of duty. At West Point duty comes
first. The idea is that when a cadet is given a task to perform he will
approach it with a strength of purpose that never gets weary or tired.
It teaches him to make his resolve so strong that he can listen to the
murmurings of the ignorant, to their sophistry, receive their insults
and slanders, conscious that the ideals for which he stands will
eventually triumph. It is the sentiment that will sustain him not only
in time of war, for then he has the sympathy of the people, but in time
of peace when the average layman who does not understand the character
of his work condemns it as an activity that produces nothing.

The result of four years’ immersion in the atmosphere at West Point
is the molding of the cadet’s character. When he entered the Academy
he was just a boy, fresh from the hands of his parents and still
malleable, but when his course has been completed under the painstaking
care of his foster mother, his standards have been crystallized and he
has developed into a man of courage, intellect, and honor. And when
graduation day arrives, and West Point hands each man his diploma, with
it she gives her stamp of approval and acknowledges her willingness
to entrust to his keeping the cherished traditions of the Military



Cadets love to lay aside the restrictions of their everyday routine
life, put on their athletic uniforms and most care-free manners, and
wander among the beautiful hills that are all around West Point. They
like to enjoy the emotions that spring from a close communion with
Nature, both in the winter, when the afternoons are short and the
valleys quickly fill up with purple lights, and in the summer, when the
country is extravagantly clothed in luxuriant foliage. If the day of
the cadet has been warped by all sorts of petty annoyances, all that
he has to do is to climb to Redoubt No. 4 or go to Fort Putnam, and
feast his eyes upon a scene of unsurpassing beauty in order to have
his cramped soul straightened out and to be lifted above his material
surroundings. What greater pleasure does his life afford than to lie
in the warm spring sunshine of Fort Putnam and drink in the panorama
below? All of the cares of his daily existence drop away under the
spell of a mysterious kind of an influence that fills his being and
stirs his innate nobility. He is thankful that he is privileged to
live in such a wonderful and beautiful place. Its effect is like that
of some drug that soothes and calms, that gives him a kindly feeling
toward humanity, and that makes him glad to be alive. On all sides
he is affected by Nature who has done her best to develop all of
his spirituality and to awaken his finer sensibilities. Wherever he
wanders or wherever the eye roves, there is a scene to admire, almost
reverentially. No less appealing than the hills is the river with its
many moods.

And there are the buildings whose beauty likewise exerts a subtle
spiritual influence and acts as a stimulant to the development of the
cadet’s æsthetic tastes. His Barracks, his Recitation Halls, his Riding
Academy, his Gymnasium, his Mess Hall, and especially his Chapel, built
as they all are from the natural rock of West Point’s hills, seem to
grow right out of their surroundings as if God planted them there as
a part of His natural design. Their presence is ever a reminder to
the cadet that he has consecrated his life to an ideal, for on their
exteriors are carved in conspicuous places the shields of his Alma
Mater and of his country, bearing their motto of duty and honor. The
walls of the interiors are hung with the portraits of famous sons of
the Academy, whose devotion to their country and to an ideal serves
as an inspiration to the cadet and makes him sensible to the value of
moral qualities.

Hovering over both the grounds and the buildings is the influence
of the flag. As a cadet sees it floating from its tall white staff,
somehow it has come to have a different meaning from the days when he
was a care-free civilian. It seems to him to possess a personality of
which he never before was aware. He feels for it a real reverence,
because he is conscious of being in the presence of something big, as
if beholding the whole power of a nation. He sees in it the emblem of
the country’s sovereignty and the symbol to which he has pledged his
life’s service. Mingled with his feeling of reverence is his personal
affection. Day after day he has watched it silhouetted against the sky
and has felt the thrill of patriotism, when it was being lowered at
retreat to the accompaniment of _The Star Spangled Banner_.

It is not to the beauty of Nature and to the flag alone that the cadet
must turn for his spiritual refreshment. The Chaplain, a man with a
fine grip upon the Corps, gathers together in classes those cadets
who desire to come, and explains to them the word of God. His Bible
classes today are a continuation of the famous classes that were held
at West Point for so many years by Miss Anna Warner. During the summer
encampment, she taught her boys in the old chapel after the morning
services, where for one hour the cadets received from her sainted lips
an interpretation of the Scriptures, and were elevated by contact
with her noble character. I can see her before me now, her quaint
silk dress, her small delicate body, her ethereal face framed in the
neatest and whitest of curls that peeped from out of her charming poke
bonnet. Her whole presence radiated goodness and spirituality. Prior to
the dismissal of the class she would regularly present to each cadet a
fragrant little bouquet of flowers that she had that morning gathered
from her modest garden, and arranged into the daintiest of nosegays.
These few flowers were simple, like the donor, but they brought into
the life of the recipient a spiritual perfume that awakened his
memories and took him back home to rose-scented gardens and neat
graveled paths where another sainted woman was praying for the welfare
of his soul. So he took the little nosegay back to camp with him and
put it carefully in his tumblerful of water alongside of his tent, as
a reminder of what he should be, and as a check on ignoble impulses.
Here and there in his own company streets, he would see his comrades’
bouquets, little dashes of color, the red of the petunia, the blue of
the cornflower, the yellow of the marigold, and as they caught his eye
they seemed to be a part of Miss Warner still exerting her inspiring

It is regrettable that the cadets of the future will never have the
good fortune to know her, for last year (1916) she passed to her reward
after ninety years in the service of God. Although it is rare that
anyone outside the Academy is buried in the cemetery at West Point, her
body was laid to rest there, near the bluff that overlooks the Hudson
and in sight of her home on Constitution Island across the river, that
a short time before her death she generously gave to the Government. To
the Corps of Cadets that she loved, she willed a magnificent original
portrait of Washington by Gilbert Stuart, that now hangs in the library.

Her Bible class still goes on. Every Sunday when the weather is fair
the Chaplain takes the cadets over to Constitution Island, where, under
the trees that Miss Warner loved so well, he continues her work. If
Miss Warner sees her “boys” studying the word of God in the shadow of
the old Revolutionary House, hallowed by her presence, what pleasure
she must feel!

If, however, neither the beauties of Nature nor the interest of the
Bible class appeal to the cadet, he cannot help having his spiritual
self stirred by the impressive service at the Cadet Chapel. All cadets
are required to attend divine service. The large majority go to the
Cadet Chapel because it is for all denominations, the building never
having been consecrated to any particular faith, but about ten per
cent. of the cadets attend service at the Catholic Chapel.

The service at the Cadet Chapel is so impressive and interesting
that the majority of the cadets look forward with pleasure to Sunday
morning. I suppose that all former cadets will smile upon reading this
statement, when they remember the reluctance with which they donned
their dress coats and belts for the weekly service, at which they
had difficulty in keeping awake while the lessons and sermon were
being read. But times have changed since then, due principally to the
atmosphere of the new Chapel and the music of its splendid organ. Sir
Roger de Coverly would rejoice to behold so model a congregation and to
hear such excellent singing.

The interior of the Chapel is worthy of its beautiful service. “Storied
windows richly dight” rise majestically to the high Gothic roof and
throw upon the gray walls a myriad of delicate lights, pale blues and
pinks, saffrons, and deep purples. Two parallel rows of silk flags, the
scarlet of the artillery, the somber blue of the infantry, and the gold
of the cavalry, hang from the long covered galleries on either side
of the nave. The deep rich shades of the magnificent memorial window
shroud the chancel in a “dim religious light.” Nor is the service
lacking in military pomp. Company after company of gray-clad cadets,
their brass buttons shining, file briskly into the Chapel. The tramping
of hundreds of pairs of feet up the aisle and the rattling of their
buttons against the pews as they take their seats reverberate through
the vast hall. The officers, in their uniforms, and their families
assemble in the seats along the sides.

The first note from the organ announces the commencement of the
service. The choir of over a hundred voices, singing the processional
hymn, walk two by two in slow and solemn order up the aisle to their
places in the stalls. A wave of music sweeps through the church as the
procession moves forward. Last of all comes the Chaplain, immaculate in
fresh linen surplice, and conspicuous by his distinguished bearing.

The service proceeds. The Chaplain advances to the reading desk and
reads the lessons for the day. Inspiring hymns are then sung, followed
by an eloquent sermon upon subjects that touch the daily lives of the
cadets. Once again the celebrated organ peals forth, and during the
offertory casts with its music a spell over the devout congregation.
Two stalwart cadet officers then march quickly up the aisle to the
chancel where awaits the Chaplain to receive the offerings. The organ’s
music fills the church anew and the hall resounds to hundreds of
strong voices singing “Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” followed
immediately by the patriotic hymn,

    My Country ’tis of thee,
    Sweet Land of Liberty,
      Of thee I sing--
    Land where our Fathers died,
    Land of the Pilgrims’ pride,
    From every mountain side
      Let Freedom ring!

The Chaplain standing upon the steps of the altar pronounces the solemn
benediction, which is scarcely concluded when the choir begins to sing
the “Amen” to the accompaniment of Holy Grail motif from _Parsifal_.
Faintly at first the singing arises from the stalls, then stronger and
stronger, then diminishing in volume until it dies away with a final

Besides the service at the Chapel there is another service held on
Sundays. It is the Y. M. C. A., a purely religious body among the
cadets and not as in the cities a sort of club house where a swimming
pool, assembly rooms, and gymnasium are the main attractions. These
advantages are already a part of West Point’s equipment. The Y. M. C.
A. at the Academy meets every Sunday evening after supper in a hall
over one of the sally-ports, and here after a few prayers, a speaker
makes a short address. On week days the hall is frequented by cadets
only to read the papers or to play the victrola, and in Lent the
Chaplain holds afternoon services. Formerly the Chaplain held these
prayers immediately after breakfast, but once a cadet captain, wishing
to remind the cadets that the services would take place immediately
after the dismissal of the Battalion, mixed up his verbs and announced
very emphatically “cadets are _cautioned_ about the ten-minute service
in the Y. M. C. A.”! The Sunday service, however, is the reason for
the existence of the organization. The prayers are not long and the
addresses sometimes most interesting, especially when they relate to
the work that the cadet will have to do as an officer. The meetings are
usually terminated when the bugler blows the evening call to quarters
in the sally-port under the hall. Of all the sounds at West Point,
Sunday evening “call to quarters” is the most doleful and depressing.
It means that after the break of Saturday and Sunday, the cadet must
once more turn to his books and dig out the problems for Monday. When
he hears its melancholy, long-drawn-out notes, he has the Sunday
evening feeling, which is only a degree more cheerful than the blue
Monday feeling, and he reluctantly goes back to his room to begin anew
the weekly cycle.

The cadet is really never quite free from the spiritual influences of
the Academy. Nature, his Chapel, traditions, precept, and example so
arouse and sharpen his insight into things and into himself that his
day gradually assumes a new background. These are the influences that,
when he is an officer, draw him back to his Alma Mater and make him
speak of it always with undisguised affection.



On a fine bright morning about the middle of June, every year, the
Corps of Cadets wakes up to find that Battle Monument and vicinity have
been completely transformed. The Quartermaster’s men have canopied a
portion of the monument’s platform with beautiful brand-new flags,
and placed under them comfortable wicker chairs for the President,
the Secretary of War, the various generals, and other dignitaries who
usually honor West Point with their presence on this graduation day.
On the front edge of the platform is a rostrum, flag bedecked, for the
speaker of the occasion, and spread over the green lawn are rows and
rows of seats that await the coming of the cadets. Promptly at ten
o’clock, the Corps swings across the parade ground to take its place
for the final ceremonies that mark the separation of another class from
its midst.

This is the day of days in the life of each man of the graduation
class. His four years are at last completed and he is about to be given
the great prize for which he has so ardently striven--a commission
in the Army. As he takes his seat in front of the platform, he is a
little nervous in spite of the joy at having achieved his ambition. He
realizes that he is about to sever the ties that have held him fast for
the last four years and to bid farewell to a portion of his life that
is finished. A little tug comes at his heart-strings but it quickly
vanishes as he listens to the eloquent words of the chief speaker,
oftentimes the President, unfolding to his receptive imagination the
duties and honors that await him in his new life as an officer. And
when the President reminds him of West Point, of her traditions, of the
advantages that he has been lovingly given, and of what is expected
of him in the Army, there comes to his eyes a moisture from pride and
gratitude. Into his mind rapidly crowd a thousand and one recollections
of his associations at the Academy. He knows now that he must leave the
Corps behind, that he must renounce the delightful camaraderie of its
members, and give up the beautiful surroundings wherein he has grown in
body, mind, and soul.

It is true that he can no longer wear the “gray,” or take away with
him his friends, or the buildings, but he does take away with him
something that is finer than all of these. One can see it in his face
and in his bearing. He goes forth, his heart armed with the triple
brass of Duty, Honor, Country, and his soul filled with the Spirit
of West Point. All of his nature has been elevated and benefited
by this indefinable essence. It forever connects him with hundreds
of other men in all parts of our country and identifies him with an
institution whose very name, WEST POINT, no matter where seen or heard,
thrills him with pleasure. This name connotes the details of the most
impressionable period of his life. Even the words themselves seem to
have a distinction and personality that no other words possess. They
are flavored with romance and make one think of something fresh and
crisp and clean, something almost hallowed. They are themselves clothed
with the spirit of the place under whose influence and power he will
forever remain.

He leaves the Academy to join the great fraternity of West Pointers in
the Service, animated by the same spirit. With them, he is this year
(1917) called upon by the President to train for war a large army of
his fellow citizens, and prepare them to meet an enemy schooled in the
art of war by disciplined leaders. West Point sends him forth to this
task, rich in knowledge. His Alma Mater is confident that he will train
these men of the new Army in the fundamentals of their profession and
that he will inspire them with his ideals of courage and of honor, and
imbue them with the Spirit of West Point.


  _Photo White Studio_

Graduation--President Wilson Addressing the Graduating Class

“We’ll bid farewell to Cadet grey and don the Army blue”]

In the training of the National Army, he will have all sorts of men
under his command, but the spirit of the Academy will make him patient
and kind with the stupid, lend a hand to the weak, give a word of cheer
to the down-hearted (there will be plenty of them), and instill
into all the ideal of duty. The kind of discipline that he himself
received at West Point will be theirs. He will teach them to bear
uncomplainingly their burdens, to be loyal and obedient, to care for
their health, and to march and to fight with a spirit that knows not
weariness or depression. Then when these men shall be sufficiently
trained, he will go with them to France, in the wake of the first
division of Regulars led by a gallant West Pointer, Major-General
John J. Pershing. Here he will appreciate as never before the value
of a great moral force like the spirit of West Point. It will aid
him in overcoming the obstacles in his path and in those of his men,
especially when the heroics of war and the novelty of being abroad have
ceased to interest them, and they find themselves in the trenches in
No Man’s Land. They will be drenched by the rain and burnt by the sun;
they will have to endure the vermin, the mud, and the dust. They will
be driven nearly mad by the shrieking and bursting of the shells, they
will see their comrades killed and wounded, and perhaps they too will
suffer the same fate, but they will not flinch; because he who leads
them will have given them something of his spirit--a part of himself
that West Point made. He must be the prop upon which they may lean,
if need be, and his spirit the reservoir upon which they may draw for
refreshment. And should he be called upon to pay the supreme sacrifice,
he will leave them the Spirit of West Point to carry them to victory,
while he goes to join the ghostly assemblage of his fellow West
Pointers, standing bareheaded to salute him, as he has stood many times
in the presence of the living Corps.

    The Corps! Bareheaded salute it,
      With eyes up, thanking our God
    That we of the Corps are treading,
      Where they of the Corps have trod--
    They are here in ghostly assemblage,
      The men of the Corps long dead,
    And our hearts are standing attention,
      While we wait for their passing tread.

    We, sons of today, we salute you,
      You sons of its earlier day,
    We follow, close order behind you
      Where you have pointed the way;
    The long gray line of us stretches
      Through the years of a century told,
    And the last man feels to his marrow
      The grip of your far-off hold.

    Grip hands with us now, though we see not,
      Grip hands with us, strengthen our hearts,
    As the long line stiffens and straightens,
      With the thrill that your presence imparts.
    Grip hands, though it be from the shadows,
      While we swear, as you did of yore,
    Or living or dying to honor
      The Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.


  (From the Official Register of the United States Military


  Information Relative to the Appointment and Admission
  of Cadets to the United States
  Military Academy

  (1916 Edition. Revised Annually.)

  [Communications relating to matters connected with the Military
  Academy should be addressed to The Adjutant General
  of the Army, Washington, D. C.]


The Act of Congress approved May 4, 1916, provides as follows:

“That the Corps of Cadets at the United States Military Academy shall
hereafter consist of two for each Congressional district, two from each
Territory, four from the District of Columbia, two from natives of
Porto Rico, four from each State at large, and eighty from the United
States at large, twenty of whom shall be selected from among the honor
graduates of educational institutions having officers of the Regular
Army detailed as professors of military science and tactics under
existing law or any law hereafter enacted for the detail of officers
of the Regular Army to such institutions, and which institutions are
designated as ’honor schools’ upon the determination of their relative
standing at the last preceding annual inspection regularly made by the
War Department. They shall be appointed by the President and shall,
with the exception of the eighty appointed from the United States
at large, be actual residents of the Congressional or Territorial
district, or of the District of Columbia, or of the island of Porto
Rico, or of the States, respectively, from which they purport to be
appointed: _Provided_, That so much of the Act of Congress approved
March fourth, nineteen hundred and fifteen (Thirty-eighth Statutes
at Large, page eleven hundred and twenty-eight), as provides for
the admission of a successor to any cadet who shall have finished
three years of his course at the academy be, and the same is hereby,
repealed: _Provided further_: That the appointment of each member of
the present Corps of Cadets is validated and confirmed.

“Sec. 2. That the President is hereby authorized to appoint cadets to
the United States Military Academy from among enlisted men in number
as nearly equal as practicable of the Regular Army and the National
Guard between the ages of nineteen and twenty-two years who have served
as enlisted men not less than one year, to be selected under such
regulations as the President may prescribe: _Provided_, That the total
number so selected shall not exceed one hundred and eighty at any one

“Sec. 3. That, under such regulations as the President shall prescribe,
the increase in the number of cadets provided for by this Act shall be
divided into four annual increments, which shall be as nearly equal as
practicable and be equitably distributed among the sources from which
appointments are authorized.”

=Annual Increments.=--States at large, 21; Congressional districts,
92; Alaska, District of Columbia, Hawaii and Porto Rico, combined, 1
each year to the source longest without an appointment, and, when the
periods are equal, the choice to be by lot; Honor Schools, 5; Regular
Army, 23 in 1916, 22 in 1917, 23 in 1918, and 22 in 1919; National
Guard, 22 in 1916, 23 in 1917, 22 in 1918, and 23 in 1919.


=How Made.=--The appointments from a Congressional district are made
upon the recommendation of the Representative in Congress from that
district, and those from a State at large upon the recommendations
of the Senators of the State. Similarly, the appointments from
a Territory are made upon the recommendation of the Delegate in
Congress. The appointments from the District of Columbia are made
upon the recommendation of the Commissioners of the District. Each
person appointed must be an actual resident of the State, District, or
Territory from which the appointment is made.

The appointments from the United States at large are made by the
President of the United States upon his own selection. The cadets from
Porto Rico, who must be natives of that island, are appointed by the
President on the recommendation of the Resident Commissioner.

The appointments from among the honor graduates of educational
institutions designated as “honor schools” will be made upon the
recommendation of the heads of the respective schools.

The appointments from among the enlisted men of the National Guard will
be made upon the recommendation of the Governors of the respective
States and Territories.

The appointments from among the enlisted men of the regular army will
be made upon the recommendation of the Commanding Generals of the
Territorial Departments.

The Secretary of War is authorized to permit not exceeding four
Filipinos, to be designated, one for each class, by the Governor
General of the Philippine Islands, to receive instruction at the United
States Military Academy at West Point: _Provided_, That the Filipinos
undergoing instruction, shall receive the same pay, allowances,
and emoluments as are authorized by law for cadets at the Military
Academy appointed from the United States, to be paid out of the same
appropriations: _And provided further_, That said Filipinos undergoing
instruction on graduation shall be eligible only to commissions in
the Philippine Scouts. And the provisions of section 1321, Revised
Statutes, are modified in the case of Filipinos undergoing instruction,
so as to require them to engage to serve for eight years, unless sooner
discharged, in the Philippine Scouts.

=Date of Appointments.=--Appointments are required by law to be made
_one year in advance_ of the date of admission, except in cases where,
by reason of death or other cause, a vacancy occurs which cannot be
provided for by such appointment in advance. These vacancies are filled
in time for the next examination.

=Candidates.=--For each vacancy from a State at large, or Congressional
or Territorial district, _three candidates_ should be nominated, one of
the candidates to be named as _principal_, one as _first alternate_,
and one as _second alternate_. The first alternate, if qualified,
will be admitted in the event of failure of the principal; the second
alternate, if qualified, will be admitted in the event of the failure
of the principal and the first alternate.

For vacancies in the cadetships allotted to the honor graduates of the
“honor schools,” _one candidate_ may be nominated each year before
September 1st from each school. In case the total number of candidates
so nominated is not equal to three times the number of vacancies, the
War Department will assign additional appointments among the schools to
complete this total.

For vacancies in the cadetships allotted to the enlisted men of
the National Guard, the candidates will be apportioned as near as
practicable among the States, Districts, and Territories according to
their enlisted strength. With the exception of the candidates from
the District of Columbia, they will be selected by the Governors from
successful competitors in a _preliminary examination_ held between
January 1st and January 15th of each year, such examination to be of
a scope and nature similar to the regular examination for entrance to
the United States Military Academy. The candidates from the National
Guard of the District of Columbia will be similarly selected by the
Commanding General of that organization.

The candidates nominated for the cadetships allotted to the enlisted
men of the regular army shall not exceed three times the number of
existing vacancies and shall be equitably distributed among the
Territorial Departments by the War Department. If the number of
applications in any Department exceed the share allotted to it by the
War Department, the candidates in such Department will be chosen from
the successful competitors in a _preliminary examination_ held between
January 1st and January 15th, such examination to be of a scope and
nature similar to the regular examination for entrance to the United
States Military Academy.[6]

Each candidate designated to take the regular examination for admission
to the United States Military Academy will receive from the War
Department a letter of appointment, and he must appear for examination
at the time and place designated therein.[7]

Fitness for admission will be determined as prescribed in the
Regulations, United States Military Academy.


Examinations of candidates will be competitive in the following
classes, and will be the regular examination for entrance to the United
States Military Academy:

(1) Candidates from the United States at Large, other than honor
graduates of honor schools.

(2) Candidates from the United States at Large, who are honor graduates
of honor schools.

(3) Candidates from the enlisted men of the National Guard.

(4) Candidates from the enlisted men of the Regular Army.

The Filipino candidates selected for appointment, unless otherwise
notified by the War Department, shall appear for mental and physical
examination on the second Tuesday in January of each year before a
board of Army officers to be convened at such place in the Philippine
Islands as the commanding general of the Philippine Department may

=Admission by Examinations.=--On the third Tuesday in March of each
year candidates selected for appointment shall appear for mental and
physical examination before boards of Army officers to be convened at
such places as the War Department may designate.

Each candidate must show by examination that he is well versed in
algebra, to include quadratic equations and progressions, and in plane
geometry, English grammar, composition and literature, descriptive and
physical geography, and general and United States history, as explained
in the circular of notification.

=Admission by Certificate.=--The Academic Board will consider and _may
accept_ in lieu of the regular mental examination:

(1) A properly attested certificate (Form I) that the candidate is
a regularly enrolled student in good standing without condition in
a university, college, or technical school accredited by the United
States Military Academy, provided that the entrance requirements of the
course he is pursuing require proficiency in subjects amounting to not
less than 14 units of the list given below.

If attendance at college extends over a semester, a full record of
academic work at the college, giving subjects taken and grades
attained in each, must accompany the certificate; if attendance at
college extends over less than a semester and the candidate was
admitted to college by certificate, a certificate (Form II) from the
preparatory school giving a full record of studies taken and grades
attained must accompany the college certificate. If a scrutiny of
the certificate submitted shows low grades, the certificate will be

A certificate indicating enrollment in or admission to an institution
at any other time than that specified in the college register for
regular admission or enrollment will be not accepted.

(2) A properly attested certificate (Form II) that the candidate has
graduated from a preparatory school or public high school accredited by
the United States Military Academy, provided that he has in his school
work shown proficiency in subjects amounting to not less than 14 units
of the list given below.

If a scrutiny of the certificate submitted shows evidence of low grades
or of graduation at an irregular date, the certificate will be rejected.

(3) A properly attested certificate (Form III) from the College
Entrance Examination Board that the candidate has shown proficiency in
the examinations set by the board in subjects amounting to 14 units
from the list given below. If a scrutiny of the certificate submitted
shows low grades, the certificate will be rejected.

       *       *       *       *       *

The list of subjects and the corresponding weights in units is as


_Every certificate must show evidence of proficiency in the following


  Mathematics, A1       1
  Mathematics, A2        ½
  Mathematics, C        1
  English, A            2
  English, B            1
  History, A }
  History, B }
  History, C } any two  2
  History, D }


_The remaining 6½ units may be supplied from among the following
subjects, and no others._


  Mathematics, B                    ½
  Mathematics, D                    ½
  Mathematics, E                    ½
  Mathematics, F                    ½
  History, A } Any not submitted   1
  History, B } among               1
  History, C } required subjects   1
  History, D }                     1
  Latin, 1                         1
  Latin, 2                         1
  Latin, 3                         2
  Latin, 4                         1
  Latin, 5                         1
  Greek, A1                         ½
  Greek, A2                         ½
  Greek, B                         1
  Greek, C                         1
  Greek, F                         1
  French, A                        2
  French, B Either one             1
  French, BC but not both          2
  German, A                        2
  German, B Either one             1
  German, BC but not both          2
  Spanish                          2
  Physics                          1
  Chemistry                        1
  Biology                          1
  Botany                           1
  Physiology                       1
  Physical geography               1
  Drawing                          1

The definition of unit and of the ground covered by the designated
subjects is that of the College Entrance Examination Board. Credits
must correspond to the unit values of the respective subjects. Greater
credit than indicated will not be allowed; less credit will be
understood as evidence that the entire subject has not been completed.

Certificates should be submitted not later than February 15th. A
certificate received between February 15th and the examination will
receive consideration, but in view of the short time left to the
Academic Board to investigate its value, no assurance will be given
that such certificate can be acted on in time to exempt the candidate
from the mental examination.

Candidates who submit certificates on a date which does not allow the
Academic Board sufficient time to investigate its value and notify
them regarding the final action thereon prior to the day set for the
examination, should proceed with the regular examination.

Candidates who are informed that their certificates have been accepted
must present themselves at the regular time and place as herein
prescribed, for physical examination.

A certificate which is accepted as satisfactory for one examination
will be regarded as satisfactory for any other examination which may be
set for entrance with the same class.

Any certificate accepted for one class, and presented for a succeeding
class, should be accompanied with a full statement of the candidate’s
educational work in the interim, and both certificate and statement
will be subject to careful scrutiny by the Academic Board. (Par. 65,
Regs., U. S. M. A.)

All necessary papers, =including a set of blank certificate forms=, are
furnished to each duly nominated candidate by The Adjutant General of
the Army.

_Note._--Certificates will be accepted only from candidates appointed
from States at large, Congressional districts, Territories, and the
District of Columbia.

Certificates may be accepted for admission of candidates from the
Regular Army and National Guard in the same manner as they are accepted
for candidates nominated by Congressmen, except that acceptable
certificates entitle the candidate to appointment only in case the
authorized number of vacancies for that year are not filled by the
regular examination.

=Date of Admission.=--Candidates who fully conform to the requirements
set forth in the preceding paragraphs, and who report in person to
the Superintendent before 10:30 A.M. the second day, Sunday excepted,
following the date of regular graduation, shall be admitted as cadets
of the United States Military Academy, and shall receive their warrants
as soon as practicable.

_Engagement to Serve._--Immediately after reporting to the
Superintendent for admission and before receiving their warrants of
appointment candidates are required to sign in the presence of the
Superintendent, or of some officer deputed by him, engagements for
service in the following form:

I, ---- ----, of the State (or Territory) of ----, aged ---- years,
---- months, do hereby engage (with consent of my parent or guardian)
that from the date of my admission as a cadet of the United States
Military Academy I will serve in the Army of the United States for
eight years unless sooner discharged by competent authority.

In the presence of ---- ----.

In the case of the Filipino cadets the engagement shall be made to
serve in the Philippine Scouts. (See Sec. 1321, R. S.)

_Oath of Allegiance._--Each cadet shall, previous to his admission to
the academy, take and subscribe an oath or affirmation in the following

I, ---- ----, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of
the United States and bear true allegiance to the National Government;
that I will maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States
paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty, or fealty I may owe
to any State, county, or country whatsoever, and that I will at all
times obey the legal orders of my superior officers and the rules and
articles governing the Armies of the United States. (Sec. 1320, R. S.)

Sworn to and subscribed at ---- this -- day of ----, nineteen hundred
and --, before me.

=Qualifications.=--No candidate shall be admitted who is under 17 or
over 22 years of age or less than 5 feet 4 inches in height at the age
of 17, or 5 feet 5 inches in height at the age of 18 and upward, or
who is deformed or afflicted with any disease or infirmity which would
render him unfit for the military service or who has, at the time of
presenting himself, any disorder of an infectious or immoral character.
Candidates must be unmarried.

Each candidate must on reporting at West Point present a certificate
showing successful vaccination within one year; or a certificate of two
vaccinations made at least a month apart, within three months.

_Note._--Candidates are eligible for admission from the day they are 17
until the day they become 22 years of age, on which latter day they are
not eligible.

Each candidate designated as principal or alternate for appointment as
cadet at the Military Academy should ascertain as soon as practicable
whether or not he has any physical defect that would disqualify him for
admission to the academy or any that should be corrected by treatment
previous to presenting himself for examination. For this purpose
he should immediately cause himself to be examined by his family
physician, and, if he desires, also by an Army surgeon at the nearest
military post. Such an examination should enable the candidate to
decide whether to devote the time and possible expense which may be
necessary for preparation for the entrance examination or to relinquish
his appointment.

The presentation by a candidate of his letter of conditional
appointment, or the presentation by a _prospective_ candidate of a
letter signed by a Member of Congress stating that the bearer is to be
a candidate for cadet appointment and requesting that he be physically
examined, will be sufficient authority for an Army surgeon at any
military post to make the desired physical examination. Upon completion
of this examination, the Army surgeon will inform the candidate of the
result, and, in case a disability be found, whether such disability
is believed to be permanent and disqualifying for military service or
whether it is believed to be of a temporary or curable nature. The
examination is to be regarded as preliminary only, and in no manner to
affect the decision of the regular medical examining board.



The physical examination is conducted under the following instructions
prepared by the Surgeon General of the Army: Candidates who, upon
reporting, present evidence that they have been excused from the mental
examination under the provisions of the certificate privilege, or as
the result of having qualified mentally at a previous examination, are
usually examined physically as soon as possible after reporting and are
not required to wait until the schedule of mental examinations has been
completed. The physical examination of all candidates taking the mental
examination begins on the fourth day and is continued daily until

Hearing must be normal in both ears.

Vision as determined by the official test types must not fall below
20/40 in either eye. If below 20/20, it must be correctable to 20/20 by
proper glasses.

In the record of all examinations the acuity of vision without glasses,
and also with glasses when the acuity is less than 20/20, will be given
for each eye separately; in the latter case the correction will also be

Hyperopia with vision less than 20/20 and myopia or astigmatism,
either hyperopic or myopic, with vision less than 20/40, are causes for

Squint uncorrectable by glasses (not prisms) is a cause for rejection.

Color blindness, red, green, or violet, is cause for rejection.

The foregoing requirements apply to eyes from disease, either acute or
chronic. All lesions of the fundus, except those due to simple myopia,
lesions not progressive in character, whether old or of recent origin,
are causes for rejection.

A certificate from a competent oculist may be accepted at the option of
the examining board, as evidence of freedom from lesions of the fundus.

_Teeth._--A candidate must have at least 12 of the 20 double teeth in
serviceable condition, so placed that 6 of them are “opposed” by 6
others. Where not all of the third molars have erupted and there are
none opposed, 8 serviceable double teeth must be present, so placed
that 4 are opposed by 4 others. Where there are two opposed third
molars, the requirements will be at least 6 double teeth opposed by
6 others. Well crowned teeth are considered as good teeth. Teeth
containing large cavities or exposed nerves are considered as cause
for rejection, but a candidate with unsound teeth may be accepted
subject to the condition of having cavities filled and teeth put in
satisfactory shape before the date set for his entrance to West Point.

The following are causes of disqualification if found to exist to such
a degree as would immediately or at no very distant period impair the
efficiency of the candidate:

    1. Feeble constitution; unsound health from whatever cause;
    indications of former disease, glandular swellings, or other
    symptoms of scrofula.

    2. Chronic cutaneous affections, especially of the scalp.

    3. Severe injuries of the bones of the head; convulsions.

    4. Impaired vision, from whatever cause; inflammatory affections
    of the eyelids; immobility or irregularity of the iris; fistula
    lachrymalis, etc.

    5. Deafness; copious discharge from the ears.

    6. Impediment of speech.

    7. Want of due capacity of the chest, and any other indication of a
    liability to a pulmonic disease.

    8. Impaired or inadequate efficiency of one or both of the superior
    extremities on account of fractures, especially of the clavicle,
    contraction of a joint, deformity, etc.

    9. An unusual excurvature or incurvature of the spine.

    10. Hernia.

    11. A varicose state of the veins of the scrotum or spermatic cord
    (when large), hydrocele, hemorrhoids, fistulas.

    12. Impaired or inadequate efficiency of one or both of the
    inferior extremities on account of varicose veins, fractures,
    malformation (flat feet, etc.), lameness, contraction, unequal
    length, bunions, overlying or supernumerary toes, etc.

    13. Ulcers or unsound cicatrices of ulcers likely to break out

The requirements of the following tables of physical proportions are
_minimum for growing youths_ and are for the guidance of medical
officers in connection with the other data of the examination, a
consideration of all of which should determine the candidate’s physical
eligibility. Mere fulfilment of the requirements of the standard tables
does not determine eligibility, while on the other hand no departure
below the standard should be allowed unless upon the unanimous
recommendation of the medical examining board for excellent reasons
clearly stated in each case.

The physical requirements should be those of the age at the birthday
nearest the time of the examination. Fractions greater than one-half
inch will be considered as an additional inch of height, but candidates
17 years old must be at least 64 inches, and those 18 years and upward
at least 65 inches in height.


   _Age._  | _Height_, | _Weight_, |_Chest_        |  _Chest_
           | _inches_. | _pounds_. |_measurement_--|  _mobility_,
           |           |           |_expiration_,  |  _inches_.
           |           |           |_inches_.      |
          {|     64    |    110    |    29         |    2
          {|     65    |    112    |    29¼        |    2
          {|     66    |    114    |    29½        |    2
          {|     67    |    116    |    29¾        |    2
  17 yrs. {|     68    |    119    |    30         |    2½
          {|     69    |    122    |    30¼        |    2½
          {|     70    |    125    |    30½        |    2½
          {|     71    |    128    |    30¾        |    2½
          {|     65    |    117    |    30¼        |    2
          {|     66    |    119    |    30½        |    2
          {|     67    |    121    |    30¾        |    2
          {|     68    |    124    |    31         |    2½
  18 yrs. {|     69    |    127    |    31¼        |    2½
          {|     70    |    130    |    31½        |    2½
          {|     71    |    133    |    31¾        |    2½
          {|     72    |    136    |    32         |    3
          {|     65    |    121    |    30¾        |    2
          {|     66    |    123    |    31         |    2
          {|     67    |    125    |    31¼        |    2
          {|     68    |    129    |    31½        |    2½
  19 yrs. {|     69    |    133    |    31¾        |    2½
          {|     70    |    137    |    32         |    2½
          {|     71    |    141    |    32¼        |    2½
          {|     72    |    145    |    32½        |    3
          {|     73    |    149    |    32¾        |    3
          {|     65    |    122    |    31         |    2
          {|     66    |    124    |    31¼        |    2
          {|     67    |    126    |    31½        |    2
          {|     68    |    130    |    31¾        |    2½
          {|     69    |    134    |    32         |    2½
  20 yrs. {|     70    |    138    |    32¼        |    2½
          {|     71    |    142    |    32½        |    2½
          {|     72    |    146    |    32¾        |    3
          {|     73    |    150    |    33         |    3
          {|     74    |    154    |    33¼        |    3½
          {|     65    |    123    |    31¼        |    2
          {|     66    |    125    |    31½        |    2
          {|     67    |    127    |    31¾        |    2
          {|     68    |    132    |    32         |    2½
          {|     69    |    137    |    32¾        |    2½
  21 yrs. {|     70    |    142    |    32½        |    2½
          {|     71    |    147    |    32¾        |    2½
          {|     72    |    152    |    33         |    3
          {|     73    |    157    |    33¼        |    3
          {|     74    |    162    |    33½        |    3½
          {|     75    |    167    |    33¾        |    3½
          {|     65    |    125    |    31½        |    2
          {|     66    |    127    |    31¾        |    2
          {|     67    |    129    |    32         |    2
          {|     68    |    134    |    32¼        |    2½
          {|     69    |    139    |    32½        |    2½
          {|     70    |    144    |    32¾        |    2½
  22 yrs. {|     71    |    149    |    33         |    2½
          {|     72    |    154    |    33¼        |    3
          {|     73    |    159    |    33½        |    3
          {|     74    |    164    |    33¾        |    3½
          {|     75    |    169    |    34         |    3½
          {|     76    |    174    |    34¼        |    4

The following is a list of the Army posts at which the examination is
usually held:

  Fort Banks, Mass.
  Fort Slocum, N. Y.
  Washington Barracks, D. C.
  Jackson Barracks, New Orleans, La.
  Fort Shafter, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  Columbus Barracks, Ohio.
  Fort Williams, Maine.
  Fort St. Michaels, Alaska.
  Fort Sill, Okla.
  Fort Leavenworth, Kans.
  Jefferson Barracks, Mo.
  Fort Ethan Allen, Vt.
  Fort Dade, Fla.
  Fort Logan H. Roots, Ark.
  Fort Logan, Colo.
  Fort Sam Houston, Tex.
  Presidio of San Francisco, Cal.
  Corozal, Canal Zone.
  Fort McPherson, Ga.
  Fort Snelling, Minn.
  Fort Sheridan, Ill.
  Vancouver Barracks, Wash.
  Fort Bliss, Texas.
  Fort Wm. H. Seward, Alaska.
  Fort Rosecrans, Cal.


The examination takes place as follows, viz.:

  1st Day.--Blank for personal and school history to be filled out
              by all who report for examination, 11 a.m. to 12,
              noon, 1 hour.
            History, 1 to 5 p.m., 4 hours.

  2d Day.--Algebra, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 4 hours.
           Geography, 2 to 5 p.m., 3 hours.

  3d Day.--Geometry, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 4 hours.
            English Grammar, Composition, and Literature, 1:30 to
              5:30 p.m., 4 hours.

Every candidate who reports is required to fill out, in the most
careful manner, the personal and school history sheet and the autograph
and official notification address blanks. The fact that a candidate may
be reporting for the physical examination only, does not by any means
exempt him from accomplishing these blanks, as the information they
contain is vitally necessary for the permanent and statistical records
of the Military Academy.

The candidate is given all assistance needed to insure the proper
filling out of these papers.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Algebra.=--Candidates will be required to pass a satisfactory
examination in that portion of _algebra_ which includes the following
range of subjects: Definitions and notation; the fundamental laws; the
fundamental operations, viz.: Addition, subtraction, multiplication,
and division; factoring; highest common factor; lowest common multiple;
fractions, simple and complex; simple or linear equations with one
unknown quantity; simultaneous simple or linear equations with two
or more unknown quantities; graphical representation and solution
of linear equations with two unknowns; involution, including the
formation of the squares and cubes of polynomials; binomial theorem
with positive integral exponents; evolution, including the extraction
of the square and cube roots of polynomials and of numbers; theory of
exponents, radicals, including reduction and fundamental operations,
rationalization, equations involving radicals; operations with
imaginary numbers; quadratic equations; equations of quadratic form;
simultaneous quadratic equations; ratio and proportion; arithmetical
and geometrical progressions. Candidates will be required to solve
problems involving any of the principles or methods contained in the
foregoing subjects.

The following questions were used at a recent examination:

    1. (_a_) Simplify [(_x_ - _y_)^2 + 6_xy_] - [(_x_^2 + 2_xy_) -
    {_x_^2 - [2_xy_ - (4_xy_ - _y_^2)]} - (-_x_^2 - 2_xy_)].

    (_b_) Factor (1) _a_^9_b_^9 + 64_c_^6 (2) _x_^2 - _y_^2 - 2_y_ - 1
    (3) _x_^3 - 3_x_^2 + 4.

    2. Solve [sqrt]((4/_x_^2) + 5) - [sqrt]((4/_x_^2) - 5) = 2. Prove
    that your answers are correct.

    3. How many terms will there be in the expansion of (_a_^{⅒} +
    _b_^{⅕}×15) by the binomial formula?

    Write the 6th term in the simplest form. What other term will have
    the same coefficient?

    Write down this term and simplify it.

    4. A number of workmen, who receive the same wages, earn together
    a certain sum. Had there been 7 more workmen, and had each one
    received 25 cents more, their joint earnings would have increased
    by $18.65. Had there been 4 fewer workmen, and had each one
    received 15 cents less, their joint earnings would have decreased
    by $9.20. How many workmen are there, and how much does each one

    5. (_a_) Find the value of 5_x_^3 + 2_x_^2 - 3_x_ - 1 when _x_ = 1
    - [sqrt](-4)

    (_b_) Simplify (5×[sqrt](_x_^{4/3})^{-3/2}

    6. Two trains run toward each other from A and B, respectively, and
    meet at a point which is 15 miles farther from A than it is from B.
    After the trains meet, it takes the first train 2⅔ hours to run to
    B, and the second 3⅜ hours to run to A. How far is it from A to B?

           { (1/_a_ + 1/_b_)_x_ + (1/_a_ - 1/_b_)_y_ = 4
  7. Solve {
           { _x_/(_a_ + _b_) + _y_/(_a_ - _b_) = 2

    8. (_a_) Deduce a test for finding when the roots of the equation
    _ax_^2 + _bx_ + _c_ = 0 are: 1º real and unequal; 2º real and
    equal; 3º imaginary; 4º numerically equal with contrary signs.

    (_b_) Apply the tests to find the nature of the roots of the

    1º 3_x_^2 + 4_x_ - 10 = 0

    2º 5_x_^2 + 6 = 0

    9. Given a square whose side is 2. The middle points of its
    adjacent sides are joined by straight lines forming a second
    square inscribed in the first. In the same manner, a third square
    is inscribed in the second, a fourth in the third, and so on
    indefinitely. Find the sum of the perimeters of all the squares.

    Substitute for any of the above.--A person has $6,500, which he
    divides into two portions and lends at different rates of interest,
    so that the two portions produce equal returns. If the first
    portion had been lent at the second rate of interest, it would have
    produced $180; and if the second portion had been lent at the first
    rate of interest, it would have produced $245. Find the rates of

       *       *       *       *       *

=Plane Geometry.=--Candidates will be required to give accurate
definitions of the terms used in _plane geometry_, to demonstrate any
proposition of plane geometry as given in the ordinary text-books and
to solve simple geometrical problems either by a construction or by an
application of algebra.

The following questions were used at a recent examination:

    1. Theorem: The three medians of any triangle intersect in a common
    point which is at two-thirds of the distance from each vertex to
    the middle of the opposite side.

    2. Theorem: If two triangles have their three sides respectively
    equal, the triangles are equal in all respects.

    3. (_a_) How many circles can be drawn tangent to three given
    straight lines? (_b_) Problem: To draw a circle through a given
    point and tangent to two given straight lines.

    4. Theorem: If two parallel right lines be divided into
    corresponding parts, proportional each to each, and straight lines
    be drawn through the corresponding points of division, these
    straight lines will pass through a common point.

    5. Exercise: Find the locus of all points, the sum of the squares
    of the distances of any one of which from two fixed points is equal
    to a given square.

    6. Problem: Given two circles, to construct a third circle
    equivalent to their difference.

    7. Exercise: If the radius of a circle is 5, find the area of the
    segment subtended by the side of a regular hexagon.

    8. Theorem: The areas of two triangles which have an angle of
    the one equal to an angle of the other, are to each other as the
    products of the sides including those angles.

    9. Problem: Through a given point on one side of a triangle to draw
    a right line which shall divide the triangle into two equivalent

    Substitute for any one of the above.--(_a_) Define _commensurable
    quantities_; _incommensurable quantities_. Give example of each.
    (_b_) Theorem: In the same circle or equal circles, two angles at
    the centre have the same ratio as their intercepted arcs (whether
    commensurable or incommensurable).

       *       *       *       *       *

=English Grammar.=--Candidates must have a good knowledge of _English
grammar_; they must be able to define the terms used therein; to
define the parts of speech; to give inflections, including declension,
conjugation, and comparison; to give the corresponding masculine and
feminine gender nouns; to give and apply the ordinary rules of syntax.

They must be able to parse correctly any ordinary sentence; giving
the subject of each verb, the governing of each objective case, the
word for which each pronoun stands or to which it refers, the words
between which each preposition shows the relation, precisely what each
conjunction and each relative pronoun connects, what each adjective and
adverb qualifies or limits, the construction of each infinitive, and
generally to show a good knowledge of the function of each word in the

They must be able to correct in sentences or extracts any ordinary
grammatical errors.

It is not required that any particular textbook shall be followed; but
the definitions, parsing, and corrections must be in accordance with
good usage and common sense.

The following questions indicate the character of the examination:

    1. (_a_) He comes, the herald of a noisy world. (_b_) Next anger
    rushed, his eyes on fire. (_c_) Get on your nightgown, lest
    occasion call us and show us to be watchers. (_d_) Hark! Hark!
    the lark at heaven’s gate sings. (_e_) Why do you stay so long,
    my lords of France? (_f_) Go you before to Gloucester with these
    letters. (_g_) Society has been called the happiness of life. (_h_)
    The guardsman defended himself bravely. (_i_) They that reverence
    too much old times are but a scorn to the new. (_j_) I will bring
    you certain news from Shrewsbury.

    In the above sentences pick out the following grammatical
    constructions. (Indicate the number of the sentence and write the
    word or words which answer the question.)

    Imperative mood. Abstract noun. Transitive verb. Two relative
    pronouns. Noun in apposition. Verb in subjunctive mood. Adverb of
    manner. Relative pronoun. Indirect object. Interjection.

    2. Write a simple sentence containing a compound subject. Write a
    simple sentence containing a compound predicate. Write a complex
    sentence containing an adjective clause. Write a complex sentence
    containing an adverbial clause of manner. Write a sentence
    containing a preposition with a compound object. Write a sentence
    containing an adverb clause of time. Write a sentence containing a
    noun (or substitute) clause used as the subject of the sentence.
    Write a complex sentence containing an adverb clause of place.
    Write a sentence containing an adjective phrase, and an adverb
    phrase. Write a sentence containing a verb in the passive voice.

    3. Write sentences containing the following: The preterite (or
    past) tense (active voice) of the verb “choose.” The perfect tense
    (active voice) of the verb “swim.” The pluperfect (or past perfect)
    tense (active voice) of the verb “burst.” The future perfect tense
    (active voice) of the verb “eat.” The perfect tense (active voice)
    of the verb “know.” The present participle of the verb “lie.” The
    perfect infinite of the verb “study.” The perfect participle of
    the verb “knock.” The future tense, passive voice, of the verb
    “defeat.” The future perfect tense, passive voice, of the verb

    4. In the passage below, indicate the gender of all the nouns and
    pronouns by the following device: Underscore once those that are
    masculine; twice those that are feminine; thrice all those that are

    “The bride kissed the goblet, the knight took it up.
    He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup,
    She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh,
    With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
    He took her soft hand ere her mother could bar,--
    ‘Now tread we a measure!’ said young Lochinvar.
    So stately her form and so lovely her face,
    That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
    While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
    And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
    And the bride-maidens whispered, ‘‘Twere better by far,
    To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.’”

    5. Write sentences containing the following: An auxiliary verb.
    The comparative of “recent.” The superlative of “bad.” The plural
    of “lily.” The masculine of “witch.” An intransitive verb. A
    collective noun. The comparative of “lazy.” The plural of “shelf.”
    The plural of “ruby.”

    6. Parse the words in italics in the following sentences: “Some
    soils, _like_ the rocky tract _called_ the Estabrooke Country in
    _my_ neighbourhood, is so suited to the apple, that it will grow
    _faster_ in _them without any_ care, _than_ it _will_ in many
    places with any amount of _care_.”--Henry D. Thoreau.

    7. Correct all errors in the following: The man who committed the
    murder was hung. Who can this letter be from? It is me that he
    fears. The red rose smells sweetly, but the yellow one does not
    smell so good. He asked if either of the men could identify their
    own clothing.

    8. Punctuate and capitalize the following: it was old dr parr who
    said or sighed in his last illness oh if i can only live till
    strawberries come the old scholar imagined that if he could weather
    it till then the berries would carry him through no doubt he had
    turned from the drugs and the nostrums or from the hateful food
    to the memory of the pungent penetrating and unspeakably fresh
    quality of the strawberry with the deepest longing the strawberry
    is always the hope of the invalid and sometimes no doubt his
    salvation it is the first and finest relish among the fruits and
    well merits dr botelers memorable saying that doubtless god could
    have made a better berry but doubtless god never did john burroughs.

       *       *       *       *       *

=English Composition and English Literature.=--Candidate will be

1. By the writing of short themes on subjects chosen by themselves
within limits set by the examination paper, to prove (_a_) their
ability to spell, capitalize, and punctuate, and (_b_) their mastery of
the elementary principles of composition, including paragraphing and
sentence structure.

2. To give evidence of intelligent acquaintance with three plays of
Shakespeare--one comedy, one history, and one tragedy--_The Merchant of
Venice_, _Henry V_, and _Macbeth_ being especially recommended.

3. To exhibit a fair knowledge of the history of English literature and
of the names of the most prominent authors, and of the names of their
principal works.

The general character and scope of the examination are indicated by the

    1. In a few paragraphs (about 250 words) tell the most important
    facts about the life and works of any _one_ of the following
    authors: Robert Burns, John Milton, John Keats, Edgar Allan Poe,
    Alfred Tennyson, Charles Dickens.

    2. In a paragraph (about 250 words) discuss the Victorian period in
    English literature, paying attention to the following points: (_a_)
    the characteristics of the literature, (_b_) the chief writers,
    both in prose and poetry.

    3. In a few paragraphs (about 250 words) discuss the Puritan period
    in English literature, telling what is meant by the term, the
    object and results of the Puritan movement, the chief writers with
    their works, and the main characteristics of the literature.

    4. Elective question (may be chosen in place of either 2 or
    3). Write a few paragraphs (250 words) on the characteristics
    and importance of the works of the Concord writers, Emerson,
    Hawthorne, and Thoreau, mentioning the chief works of each.

    5. Write two compositions of about 200 words each selecting your
    subjects from the following list: (_a_) The story of the chase.
    (Lady of the Lake--Scott.) (_b_) Silas Marner’s Early Life. (Silas
    Marner--George Eliot.) (_c_) The Story of Jessica. (Merchant of
    Venice--Shakespeare.) (_d_) The Character of Brutus. (Julius
    Caesar--Shakespeare.) (_e_) The Story of Ida and the Prince. (The
    Princess--Tennyson.) (_f_) The Trial of Rebecca. (Ivanhoe--Scott.)
    (_g_) The Murder of Duncan. (Macbeth--Shakespeare.) (_h_) Character
    Sketch of the Ancient Mariner. (The Ancient Mariner--Coleridge.)
    (_i_) Threshing Day on a Western Farm. (_j_) The Village Drug
    Store. (_k_) Along the Wharves in a Seaport Town. (_l_) An
    Irrigated Farm. (_m_) A Cotton Mill. (_n_) An Accident.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Geography.=--Candidates will be required to pass a satisfactory
examination in _descriptive geography_ and the elements of _physical
geography_. A preponderance of weight is attached to a knowledge of the
geography of the United States.

In descriptive geography of the United States, candidates should be
thoroughly informed as to its general features and boundaries; adjacent
oceans, seas, bays, gulfs, sounds, straits, and islands; lakes, the
location and extent of mountain ranges; the sources, directions, and
terminations of the important rivers, the names of their principal
tributaries, and at what points, if any, these rivers break through
highlands on their way to the ocean; the water routes of communication
from one part of the country to another; the location and termination
of important railroad lines; the boundaries of the several States and
Territories and their order along the coasts, frontiers, and principal
rivers; the location and boundaries of the island possessions; and the
names and locations of the capitals and other important cities of the
several States, Territories, and island possessions.

In short, the knowledge should be so complete that a clear mental
picture of the whole of the United States is impressed on the mind of
the candidate.

In descriptive geography of other countries, candidates should be
familiar with the continental areas and grand divisions of water; the
earth’s surface; the large bodies of water which in part or wholly
surround the grand divisions of the land; the capes, from what part
they project and into what waters; the principal peninsulas, location,
and by what waters embraced; the parts connected by an isthmus; the
principal islands, locations, and surrounding waters; the seas, gulfs,
and bays, the coasts they indent, and the waters to which they are
subordinate; the straits, the lands they separate, and the waters
they connect; the locations of the principal lakes, the locations,
boundaries, capitals and principal cities of the political divisions of
the world.

In physical geography, candidates should be familiar with the relief
of the earth’s surface; the principal mountain systems, the river
systems and watersheds; the coastal and lake plains; and the influence
of climate, soil, mineral deposits, and other physical features on
the resources, industries, commercial relations, and development of a
country and its people, especially of the United States.

The following questions indicate the character of the examination:

    1. Define. (_a_) Geography, (_b_) Physical Geography, (_c_) strait,
    (_d_) isthmus, (_e_) isotherm.

    2. In respect of climate, into what zones is the earth’s surface
    divided? Name the circles separating these zones from one another.
    In what zone are the Philippines?

    3. (_a_) What and where is the International Date Line? (_b_) In
    going from San Francisco to Manila is a day lost or gained? Give
    reasons for answer.

    4. How many “times” has the United States! What are they?

    5. What waters surround the United States?

    6. Is it possible to go from Duluth to Detroit by water? If so,
    what bodies of water would be passed through?

    7. Name the larger islands of the Philippines, and of the Hawaiian
    Group, respectively. On what island is Manila? Honolulu? Iloilo?

    8. Name two great coal regions of the United States.

    9. What is (_a_) the most northern State of the United States?
    (_b_) the most southern? (_c_) the most eastern? (_d_) the most

    10. Which of the United States has the longest coast line?

    11. Where is the Mohawk Valley?

    12. Bound--Michigan, Kentucky, Connecticut.

    13. Locate accurately the following cities--El Paso, Albany,
    Zamboanga, Panama, San Antonio, Kalamazoo.

    14. Name the transcontinental railways west of the Mississippi in
    order from north to south.

    15. Name the countries of Central America. Which one of these
    borders on Mexico?

    16. Name in order, beginning at the Isthmus of Panama, the
    countries of South America that touch on the Caribbean Sea and the
    Atlantic Ocean.

    17. The meridian through Atlanta, Georgia, intersects what South
    American Republics? Is the continent of South America, as a whole,
    east or west of the United States?

    18. What two countries of South America have no sea coast?

    19. A vessel goes from London, England, to San Francisco by the
    Suez Canal. Through what waters does it pass?

    20. What waters connect the Black Sea with the Mediterranean? The
    Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea?

    21. Where does the Danube rise? through what countries does it
    flow? and where does it empty?

    22. What three rivers flow north into the Arctic from Siberia?

    23. What mountains lie between France and Spain? Between Tibet and

    24. Name in order in a clockwise direction the countries bordering
    on the Mediterranean.

    25. Where is--Mount Shasta, Popocatepetl, Chimborazo, Everest, Apo,
    Fujiyama, Blanc, Mayon.

    26. Where and what is--Mukden, Valdivostok, Liberia, Melilla, The

    27.--Locate--Elba, Saint Thomas, Cape Race, Hankow, Formosa, Bonin
    Islands, Juraez, Zanzibar, Colon, Volga River, Elbe River, Cebu,
    Seville, Andalusia, Zaragoza, Macedonia, Nepaul, Bogota, Beirut,
    Malta, Macao, Dublin.

    28. Name the capitals respectively of--Afghanistan, Portugal,
    Nebraska, Vermont, French Indo-China, Philippine Islands,
    Montenegro, Georgia, Oregon, Roumania, Persia, Florida, Java.

       *       *       *       *       *

=History.=--Candidates must be thoroughly familiar with such material
as is contained in good high school textbooks on the subject (_a_) of
the History of the United States, and (_b_) of the History of Europe
from the Fall of Constantinople (1453) to the outbreak of the French
Revolution (1789).

In history of the United States, the examination will include questions
concerning early discoveries and settlements; the forms of government
in the Colonies; the causes, leading events, and results of wars;
important events in the political and economic history of the Nation
since its foundation.

In history of Europe from 1453 to 1789, special emphasis will be laid
upon the political and social development in France, Prussia, and

The following questions indicate the character of the examination:

European History (1453-1789).

    1. Describe political conditions during the latter half of the
    fifteenth century in what is now Germany.

    2. What countries were ruled by Charles V of Spain at the height of
    his power?

    3. Why was Luther summoned to the Diet of Worms? What was done at
    this Diet?

    4. Who was Melanchthon? What was the Religious Peace of Augsburg?
    What was its importance?

    5. What was the Council of Trent? Over how long a period did its
    meetings extend? What were the important acts of this Council?

    6. What ruler was instrumental in separating England from Roman
    Catholic influence? How was this separation accomplished? Describe
    two acts of Parliament important in this connection.

    7. Outline the causes of Elizabeth’s quarrel with Mary Queen of
    Scots. State its political importance and its results.

    8. Under what circumstances during Elizabeth’s reign did England
    come into conflict with Spain? What event marked the crisis of this

    9. State the nature, causes, dates, and leaders of the Puritan

    10. Describe the important acts of Parliament passed in the reign
    of Charles II to regulate the religious situation.

    11. Describe the court and court life in France in the time of
    Louis XIV. Name five prominent men connected with Louis XIV’s court.

    12. What part did Gustavus Adolphus and Richelieu play in the
    Thirty Years’ War? How may we reconcile Richelieu’s political acts
    with his religious convictions?

    13. What nations were engaged in the War of the Spanish Succession?
    What issues were at stake? What were the important provisions of
    the Peace of Utrecht (1713)?

    14. What was the revolution of 1688 in England? How was it

    15. What is meant by the cabinet system of government? Account for
    the advance of cabinet government in the reigns of George I and
    George II.

    16. For what qualities and what acts was the Great Elector
    (Frederick William of Prussia) noted?

    17. State the cause and the result of the first war between
    Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa. Name two famous battles of
    the Seven Years’ War in which Frederick the Great was victorious.

    18. State the results of the Seven Years’ War for France according
    to the provisions of the Treaty of Paris (1763).

    19. Why were Frederick the Great, Catherine II of Russia, and
    Joseph II of Austria called “enlightened despots”? Describe the
    work of any one of these rulers.

    20. Outline two of the fundamental causes for the unrest in France
    during the early years of the reign of Louis XVI.

       *       *       *       *       *

    1. State concisely the achievements of--(_a_) De Narvaez; (_b_) De
    Soto; (_c_) Hudson; (_d_) La Salle.

    2. (_a_) Where and when was the first permanent English settlement
    in America made? (_b_) What arrangement was made for the government
    of this settlement?

    3. (_a_) When and where did the first colonial assembly in America
    meet? (_b_) What was Bacon’s Rebellion? (_c_) When and where was
    the first permanent English settlement in New England established?

    4. (_a_) What brought the first settlers to Maryland? (_b_) Who was
    their leader?

    5. (_a_) What was the immediate cause of the Revolutionary War?
    (_b_) What were “writs of assistance”? (_c_) What was the “Mutiny

    6. (_a_) When and where did the first Continental Congress meet?
    (_b_) What was accomplished by this Congress? (_c_) Name the
    original thirteen colonies.

    7. (_a_) Who were the principal leaders in the two battles of
    Saratoga? (_b_) What were the effects on the American people of
    these battles? (_c_) What was the Wyoming Massacre?

    8. (_a_) What European country was the first to acknowledge the
    American independence? (_b_) In what ways did this country aid in
    bringing the Revolutionary War to a successful close?

    9. State the significance of the following in United States
    history: (_a_) Shays’ Rebellion; (_b_) Steuben; (_c_) Alien and
    sedition laws; (_d_) Kosciusko.

    10. (_a_) What were the causes of the war with England in 1812?
    (_b_) What treaty ended this struggle? (_c_) Who was President of
    the United States during this war?

    11. By what means, from whom, and during whose Presidency were
    the following territories obtained for the United States? (_a_)
    Louisiana, (_b_) Florida, (_c_) Alaska.

    12. (_a_) What was the “Spoils System”? (_b_) What was the
    Nullification ordinance passed by South Carolina in 1832?

    13. Discuss briefly the nature and importance of the following:
    (_a_) The Wilmot Proviso. (_b_) The Dred Scott Decision. (_c_) The
    Fugitive Slave Law.

    14. Name the commanders and the results of the following battles:
    (_a_) Vicksburg, (_b_) Fredericksburg, (_c_) Cold Harbor.

    15. Name the Presidents of the United States who have had a second
    term of office.

    16. (_a_) What various causes underlay the declaration of war
    against Spain? (_b_) What important battles on land and sea were
    fought during the Spanish-American War? (_c_) What treaty ended
    this war and what territory was ceded to the United States as a
    result of it?


All cadets are examined physically in May of each year, and those
found physically disqualified to continue with the course, or, in case
of the first class, for commission in the Army, are discharged.


Academic duties are suspended from the completion of the June
examinations until the end of August. During this period cadets live in
camp and are engaged in military duties and exercises and in receiving
practical instruction in military and other subjects. Academic duties
are also suspended from December 24th until January 2d, except for
those undergoing examination. All duties and exercises, as far as
practicable, are suspended on New Year’s Day, February 22d, May 30th,
July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Cadets of the first, second, and third classes not undergoing
examination are allowed short leaves at Christmas, if their conduct
during the preceding year has been satisfactory. Excepting these short
leaves for good conduct, cadets are allowed but one leave of absence
during the four years’ course. This leave is granted to those cadets
who have successfully completed the third-class course of study, and
extends from the middle of June to the 28th of August.


The pay of a cadet is $600 per year and one ration per day, or
commutation therefor at 30 cents per day. The total is $746.00 to
commence with his admission to the academy. The actual and necessary
traveling expenses of candidates from their homes to the Military
Academy are credited to their accounts _after_ their admission as

No cadet is permitted to receive money, or any other supplies, from
his parents, or from any person whomsoever, without the sanction of
the Superintendent. A _most rigid_ observance of this regulation is
urged upon all parents and guardians, as its violation would make
distinctions between cadets which it is the especial desire to avoid;
the pay of a cadet is sufficient for his support.

Candidates are authorized to bring with them the following articles:
Hairbrush, nailbrush, toothbrush, shoebrush, comb, 8 drawers (summer),
12 handkerchiefs (white), 4 nightshirts or pajamas, 8 socks (black
cotton), 6 bath towels, 6 face towels, 1 trunk, 8 undershirts (summer),
whisk broom, shaving mug, winter underwear, and athletic uniforms,
shoes, and goods.

Cadets are required to wear the prescribed uniform. All articles of
their uniform are of a designated pattern, and are sold to cadets at
West Point at regulated prices.


Immediately after admission candidates must be provided with an outfit
of uniform, etc., the cost of which is about $160. This sum, or at
least $100 thereof, _must be deposited with the treasurer of the
academy before the candidate is admitted_. It is best for the candidate
to take with him no more money than he needs for traveling expenses and
for his parents to send the required deposit by draft, payable to the
Treasurer, United States Military Academy. The deposit is credited at
once to the cadet’s account. Upon graduation a cadet who has exercised
proper economy will have sufficient money to his credit with the
treasurer of the academy to purchase his uniform and equipment as an


The attention of applicants and candidates is called to the following
provisions of an Act of Congress approved May 17, 1886, to regulate the
promotion of graduates of the United States Military Academy:

That when any cadet of the United States Military Academy has gone
through all its classes and received a regular diploma from the
academic staff, he may be promoted and commissioned as a second
lieutenant in any arm or corps of the Army in which there may be a
vacancy and the duties of which he may have been judged competent to
perform; and in case there shall not at the time be a vacancy in such
arm or corps he may, at the discretion of the President, be promoted
and commissioned in it as an additional second lieutenant, with the
usual pay and allowances of a second lieutenant, until a vacancy shall


There axe two terms of academic instruction: September 1-December
23, and January 2-June 4. A semiannual examination is held December
26-31, and an annual examination June 5-12. At the December examination
cadets, who are found to be proficient in subjects they have completed
during the preceding term are arranged according to merit in each
subject. At the June examination they are similarly arranged and they
are also assigned general standing in the class as determined by their
standings in the various subjects. When a subject of study is completed
during a term an examination concluding the work in that subject is
sometimes held. Cadets deficient in studies at any examination are
discharged from the academy unless for special reasons the academic
board recommends otherwise. Cadets exceeding at any time the maximum
number of demerits allowed for six months are reported to the academic
board as deficient in conduct.


  First term, September 1-December 23.
  Second term, January 2-June 4.
  Semiannual examination, December 26-31.
  Annual examination, June 5-12.



New cadets, upon reporting for duty, are given infantry recruit
instruction, with gymnastic and calisthenic exercises, until they join
the battalion.

Practical instruction is given during the summer encampment, and from
September 1st to November 1st, and from March 15th to June 1st, in
infantry, artillery and cavalry drill regulations, in target practice
with the rifle, revolver, mountain gun and field gun, and in military

During the summer encampment, cadets of the third and fourth classes
are also taught swimming and dancing, and those of the first
class, the service of seacoast artillery and submarine defense at
fortifications. The first, third, and fourth classes participate in
exercises in minor tactics, practice marches, problems and practical
field work, in which the employment of all arms is exemplified.

Practical instruction in fencing and gymnastic exercises and in boxing
and wrestling is given to the fourth class from October 1st to June
1st, and to the other classes from November 1st to March 15th.

Instruction in riding is given to the first class during the encampment
and from September 1st to June 1st, excepting the month of February;
to the second and third classes, from November 1st to March 15th and
also to the third class during the summer encampment. Instruction with
English pad saddles is given to the first class, and in polo to the
first and second classes.

During the academic season recitations in hippology are held for the
first class and in drill regulations for the second, third, and fourth
classes. Instruction is also given in writing orders and in solving
problems involving the disposition of small forces.

Previous to graduation, lectures are given the first class upon
uniforms and equipments, and upon etiquette and customs of the service.


  Infantry Drill Regulations, U. S. Army.
  Field Artillery Regulations, U. S. Army.
  Mountain Artillery Drill Regulations, U. S. Army.
  Cavalry Drill Regulations, U. S. Army.
  Elements of Hippology. Marshall.
  Coast Artillery Drill Regulations, U. S. Army.


  U. S. Army Regulations.
  Field Service Regulations, U. S. Army.
  Small Arms Firing Manual, U. S. Army.
  Drill Regulations for Machine Gun, Infantry.
  Drill Regulations for Machine Gun, Cavalry.
  Manual of Interior Guard Duty, U. S. Army.
  Manual of Physical Training, U. S. Army.
  Regulations for Field Maneuvers, U. S. Army.
  Manual of Instruction for Pack Transportation.
  Regulations, U. S. M. A.


  U. S. Army Regulations.
  Regulations for the Uniform of the U. S. Army.
  Manual of Courts-Martial, U. S. A.
  Army Register, U. S.
  Engineer Field Manual.



The course in civil and military engineering and the art of war is
confined to the first-class year.

The course in civil engineering begins September 1st and is completed
during the first term, which closes with the Christmas holidays. It
comprises brief treatises on the mechanics of civil engineering, framed
and masonry structures, the materials of engineering, water supply, and

The course in military engineering and the art of war begins on January
2nd and closes on the 3rd of June. Military engineering embraces the
study of field and permanent fortifications and siege works. The art
of war embraces the study of the organization of armies, employment
of the different arms in combination, logistics, and strategy. To
familiarize the students with its principles, lectures are delivered on
military subjects and the principal operations of about twenty selected
campaigns are studied. During this course the students are taken to
the battlefield of Gettysburg to familiarize them with the effects of
topography on the employment of troops in the field.


  Civil Engineering. Fiebeger.
  Field Fortifications. Fiebeger.
  Permanent Fortifications. Fiebeger.
  Elements of Strategy. Fiebeger.
  Army Organization. Fiebeger.
  Siege Works. Mercur.
  Field Service Regulations, U. S.
  Campaign of Gettysburg. Fiebeger.


  Campaigns and Battles. Department.
  Story of the Civil War. Ropes. Cambria Steel.

The department has a well selected reference library on civil
engineering, military engineering, and the art of war.



The course in natural and experimental philosophy begins with and
continues throughout the third academic year. Mechanics is studied
during the first term. The text used is Gordon’s _Mechanics_. Many of
the principles are illustrated by apparatus in the lecture and section
rooms, and the students are required to repeat and explain these
experiments. The course aims to be as complete as possible with the
limitation that it can be properly covered in a term of about 90 to 100
days by students having a proficient knowledge of the calculus; the
treatment is sufficiently mathematical to furnish a confident basis for
advanced work in the technical staff after graduation.

During the second term about 120 lessons are allotted to this
department. The first half of this time is devoted to the subjects of
sound and light. The authorized textbook is Gordon’s _Sound and Light_.

Astronomy is studied in the remainder of the second term. The text used
are Young’s _General Astronomy_ and Michie and Harlow’s _Practical
Astronomy_. The principal aim of this course, in addition to its
important value in educational development, is to furnish an ample
basis for the establishment of stations in explorations and surveys.

The class attends daily throughout the year, except eight days, during
which half the class attends daily.


  Sound and Light. Gordon.
  Mechanics. Gordon.
  General Astronomy. Young.
  Practical Astronomy. Michie and Harlow.

Numerous standard works on the general subjects covered by the course
are available for reference.



The course in mathematics begins with the fourth-class year and
continues through the third-class year.

In the fourth-class year, algebra is completed in alternation; first
with geometry, then with trigonometry. Plane analytical geometry is

In the third-class year, plane and solid analytical geometry and
descriptive geometry are completed in alternation. The calculus and
least squares finish the course.

The course in algebra covers the entire subject as generally taught
in colleges, but the student is expected to have already mastered
elementary algebra to include the progressions and the solution of the
quadratic equation. The course in elementary geometry includes the
books that relate to the plane and those that relate to space, but the
student is expected to have mastered the former. Plane and spherical
trigonometry includes the complete solution of the plane and spherical
triangles. The course in analytical geometry includes the discussion
of the general equation of the second degree in the plane and the
particular forms of the equation of the second degree in space.

Descriptive geometry includes the orthographic projections of the right
line, the plane, ruled surfaces and surfaces of revolution, tangent
planes and intersections of surfaces. It also takes the subjects of
shades and shadows, perspective, isometric projections and spherical

The course in differential and integral calculus covers the ground of
the usual college textbook, including briefly the subject of ordinary
differential equations.


  Elements of Geometry. Phillips and Fisher.
  Advanced Course in Algebra. Wells.
  Quadratics and Beyond. Fisher and Schwatt.
  Elements of Plane and Spherical Trigonometry. Crockett.
  Logarithmic Tables. Newcomb.
  Conic Sections, Coördinate Geometry. C. Smith.
  Coördinate Geometry. Fine and Thompson.
  Elements of Analytical Geometry (Solid). Smith and Gale.
  Descriptive Geometry. Church.
  Linear Perspective. Pillsbury.
  Differential and Integral Calculus. Granville.
  Integral Calculus. D. A. Murray.
  Differential Equations. D. A. Murray.
  Method of Least Squares. Johnson.



This department embraces two branches of physics not included in its
title, namely heat and electricity.

The course begins September 1st of the third academic year and extends
throughout this year; exercises, recitations, laboratory work or
lectures take place on all week days.

Commencing September 1st, general chemistry, alternating with lessons
in heat, occupy the time until the close of the term in December,
recitations or other exercises being had daily.

During this term all members of the class whose progress, as shown
by their recitations, warrants it, are given laboratory practice
in chemistry. This practice begins with chemical manipulations and
proceeds in the usual general order of elementary laboratory work.
The laboratory exercises are one hour and fifty minutes long. It is
generally possible to give all parts of the class some laboratory
experience; the amount of this work, however, varies with the aptitude
of the student from a few hours to forty-five or fifty hours.

This term closes with an examination upon the essential parts of
the entire course, which all cadets who have not shown a required
proficiency in daily work must take.

In chemistry the course is a descriptive general one, based upon
a concise statement of the more essential principles of chemistry,
and includes that class of information deemed most important to
non-specialists, together with an accurate and logical treatment of
many useful applications of chemistry.

The course in heat is short, but it is a comprehensive elementary
course intended to embrace what is most applicable to subsequent work
at the academy and what is most useful in general education.

Beginning January 2d the daily exercises alternate between geology,
mineralogy, and electricity. This term also closes with an examination,
covering the essential parts of the subjects studied during the term,
which all cadets who have not shown a required proficiency in daily
work must take.

The course in geology is a brief but scientific presentation of the
essential elements of this branch of science.

The mineralogy is an eminently practical course consisting of the
descriptive study and the practical determination of the important
minerals. The lithological and palæontological part of geology is
accompanied in study by the continued practical examination of the
objects described.

The course in electricity is a brief exposition of the leading
electrical phenomena and their relations to each other. It includes
a study of the general principles of the subject and of the typical
machines, generators, motors and transformers, together with the more
important uses of electricity. The laboratory exercises give experience
with a number of the machines and in the use of a great variety of
apparatus employed in the numerous forms of electric measurements. In
this term the laboratory work is a part of the electrical course and
all cadets enter the laboratory. All laboratory work is performed under
the immediate supervision of an instructor.


  Elementary Lessons in Heat. Tillman.
  Descriptive General Chemistry. Tillman.
  Practical Chemistry. (Laboratory Guide.) Clowes.
  Elements of Geology. Le Conte.
  Important Minerals and Rocks. Tillman.
  Elements of Electricity. Robinson.

During all terms standard works on the respective subjects are
available for reference both to cadets and instructors.



The course in drawing extends through the third- and second-class
years, attendance on alternate afternoons for a period of two hours
during the full academic year.

The order of instruction is as follows:

_Third Class Year_

    1. Use of drawing instruments.

    2. Problems in plane geometry.

    3. Problems in descriptive geometry.

    4. Lettering. Exercises in this subject continue throughout the

    5. Building construction drawing.

    6. Isometric and oblique projection.

_Second Class Year_

    1. Elementary problems in third angle projection.

    2. Machine drawing, third angle projection.

    3. Assembly and working drawings from models.

    4. Topographical sketching and drawing.

Instruction is mainly through a loose-leaf system of printed
instruction sheets covering the various drawings and phases of the
work. These are supplemented by short section-room lectures and
blackboard illustrations when necessary. Personal instruction is given
when needed.



The course in modern languages comprises instruction in French and in



Instruction is given in reading, in composition, and in conversation.
The course opens September 1st, and continues until June 4th, some 219
lessons in all.



Instruction is given in reading, in composition, and in conversation,
to which special attention is paid.

The course opens October 4th, of the second-class year and closes June
4th of the first-class year, 176 lessons all told.

The present textbooks are:


    French:--Martin’s French Verbs.

    Grammar. Essentials of French, François.

    Elements of French Pronunciation, Jacobs. Bercy’s La Langue

    Introductory French Prose Composition, François. Mérimée’s Colomba.

    About’s Roi des Montagnes.

    Marchand’s French Idioms. L’Illustration. Lecture pour Tous.

    Labiche and Martin’s Voyage de M. Perrichon.

    Daudet’s Lettres de Mon Moulin.

    Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac.

    Pattou’s Causeries en France.

    French Conversation Exercises. Military Reading.

    Dupont’s En Campagne.


    Spanish:--Spanish Grammar, Olmsted and Gordon. A Spanish Reader,

    Crawford’s Spanish Composition.

    A Trip to South America--Waxman.

    Por Esos Mundos, monthly, published in Madrid.

    “A B C,” Spanish Daily Newspaper.

    Spanish Conversation and Idioms, Department of Modern Languages, U.
    S. M. A.

    Scientific and Technical Spanish Reader, Willcox.

    Lecturas Modernas--Charles Alfred Downer.


    French:--Cassell’s French Dictionary.

    Military Technical Dictionary. Willcox.

    Spanish:--New Spanish-English and English-Spanish Dictionary, by
    Cuyás. Appleton.



The course in law, which is carried throughout the entire first-class
year, embraces the following subjects:

  1. Elementary Law.
  2. Constitutional Law.
  3. International Law.
  4. Military Law.
  5. The Law of War.

The quiz method of instruction is employed in the section room. The
authorized textbooks are supplemented from time to time by means of
lectures, and important principles are emphasized by requiring an
examination and analysis of a considerable number of leading cases.
Some time is also devoted to library work, with a view to familiarizing
students with the use of a law library in the solution of practical
questions. The purpose in view in the course is to give the student an
elementary knowledge of the fundamental principles of law, with special
emphasis upon those subjects a knowledge of which is essential to the
proper understanding of his obligations and duties as a citizen and as
an officer of the Army.


  Elements of Law. Davis, G. B.
  International Law. Davis, G. B.
  Constitutional Law. Davis, E. G.
  Military Law. Dudley.


The department has a law library of about 2,500 volumes, accessible to



_Fourth Class._--This class is given an elementary course in the theory
and practice of surveying, instruction in this subject alternating
with mathematics during the last 66 recitation days of the academic
year. From May 1st to June 4th the entire morning is devoted to
practical instruction in the methods of surveying and in the use and
adjustment of instruments. During this period cadets apply in the
field the principles and methods taught them in their theoretical
study of the subject. The course includes instruction in the use of
chains and tapes, in profile and differential leveling and in earthwork
computations, in the use of compass, plane table, transit and stadia
with special reference to the employment of these instruments in
military topographic surveying. The slide rule used to facilitate the
work of computation, and the principles upon which it is based are
discussed during the theoretical course.

_Third Class._--During the period of the summer encampment the
cadets of this class receive practical instruction in military field
engineering and military signaling. The course in field engineering
comprises knots and lashings, rowing, construction of floating bridges
with wooden pontoons, canvas pontoons and rafts, and instruction in
military camp expedients. The course in signaling is limited to visual
means only, including the flag, the heliograph, and the acetylene
lantern. The International Morse Code is applied in the transmission of
short messages both plain and cypher.

Simple exercises in topographic and hydrographic surveying are also

_First Class._--During the summer months cadets of the first class are
instructed in military reconnaissance and map making. This work follows
close upon the fundamental instruction in the same subject given in
the Department of Drawing, extends the instruction in sketching to
include road and position sketching, mounted and on foot, individual
and combined. Demonstrations and limited instruction are given in the
various processes of map reproduction.

In the fall instruction is given in all classes of improvised bridges
and stream crossing, the use of cordage and tackle, erection of
derricks, flagpoles, etc., and the use of explosives in military

The spring course is on field fortification work including the
principles of locating, tracing, and profiling field works, the
construction of trenches, revetments, obstacles, head cover, splinter
and bomb proofs. This instruction is arranged in a progressive series
of exercises, resulting finally in the construction of a section of a
simple infantry redoubt.

Military signaling is taught this class in both the fall and spring
periods; the work covers the construction and operation of field-wire
and buzzer lines and the radio-communication equipment.


    Theory and Practice of Surveying (17th Edition).--Johnson--Smith.


    Plane Surveying. Tracy.

    The Engineer Field Manual. Office of the Chief of Engineers, U. S.

    Signal Book, U. S. Army. Office of Chief Signal Officer, U. S. A.

    The Slide Rule. Alexander. The Slide Rule. Clark.



The subject of ordnance and gunnery is studied by the cadets of the
first class throughout the academic year.

The course of instruction covers the principles involved in the
construction and use of war material. It is broadly divided into
three parts: the theoretical, the descriptive, and the practical. The
theoretical part includes the study of the action of explosives, the
study of interior and exterior ballistics, the theories of gun and
carriage construction, and the principles of gunnery. The theoretical
part of the course is not the same for all cadets, those showing the
necessary proficiency taking a special course in the time devoted by
the remainder of the class to review work.

The descriptive part of the course covers the processes of manufacture
of powders, guns, projectiles, and armor; and describes the small
arms, cannon, machine and rapid-fire guns in use in the United States
service, with the carriages, ammunition and accessory appliances
required for their service. The department is well supplied with
models, which are used in conjunction with the text.

The practical part of the course covers the operation of machines and
appliances used in the fabrication of modern ordnance, the latter work
being in effect a short but valuable course in manual training.

In connection with the course, visits are made to Watervliet Arsenal,
where the process of gun construction is observed, and to the Ordnance
Proving Ground at Sandy Hook, where actual firings from the several
classes of guns are observed, including usually one or more shots
against armor, and where the latest developments in war material are


  Ordnance and Gunnery. Lissak.
  Exterior Ballistics. O’Hern.
  Stresses in Wire-Wrapped Guns and in Gun Carriages. Ruggles.


  Ballistic Tables. Ingalls.
  Mathematical Tables. Newcomb.
  Publications of Ordnance Department. U. S. Army.



The course in military hygiene begins with the second academic year and
consists of 13 recitations and 6 demonstrations.

The textbook used is Keefer’s _Military Hygiene_; the instruction
covers the essentials in the care of troops from the point of view of
the line officer, particular attention being given to personal hygiene,
transmissible diseases, post and camp sanitation, clothing, and the
effects of alcohol and other narcotics.

Practical demonstration in the field is given of the methods of
construction and operation of the various camp sanitary appliances such
as latrines, water sterilizers, incinerators, etc.

Instruction in first-aid is given to cadets in small groups by
practical demonstrations in the treatment of wounds, hemorrhage,
fractures, drowning, poisoning, and other emergencies.

During the summer practice march, practical instruction is given in
camp sanitation.


  A Textbook of Military Hygiene and Sanitation. Keefer.


  Military Hygiene. Havard.
  Elements of Military Hygiene. Ashburn.
  Practical Hygiene. Harrington.



The course in English and History begins with the fourth class in
September and continues throughout the academic year, the whole class
attending daily except Saturday. The class is divided into two parts,
which alternate in reciting English and History.

In English, the course of instruction is planned to inculcate the
essential principles of rhetoric, both by study of the textbook and
by frequent practice in the various forms of composition (including
practice in personal and official correspondence), to create an
intelligent appreciation of the best in English Literature by the study
of selected literary masterpieces, and to impart a knowledge of the
important facts in the history of English literature and language by
the study of a textbook and by lectures.

In History, the course of instruction is planned to acquaint the
student with the political, social, and economic history of Europe from
the beginning of the French Revolution to the present day, to make him
familiar with the fundamental principles of civil government, with
special reference to the United States, and to give him knowledge of
various typical forms of modern national and municipal governments.


    English Composition in Theory and Practice (new and revised
    edition). Henry S. Canby and others.

    Leading English Poets, Ed. by Holt.

    Shakespeare’s Works.

    History of English Literature, by W. J. Long.

    The Major Dramas of Sheridan.

    Selections from Addison.

    Selections from the Prose of Macaulay.

    Selections from Stevenson.


    The Development of Modern Europe, Vol. I. By J. H. Robinson and C.
    A. Beard.

    Europe since 1815. C. D. Hazen.

    Introduction to the Study of Government. Holt.


Cadets and officers have free access to the library, which comprises
over 95,000 books, maps, and manuscripts. The collection contains
substantially all standard books on the subjects taught in the Academy
and is especially complete in military subjects. Its card catalogues
(about 338,000 cards) are arranged with the special object of saving
the time of cadets. The library is open on week-days from 8 A.M. to
7:30 P.M.; Saturdays from 8 A.M. to 9:30 P.M.; on Sundays and Holidays
from 2 to 6 P.M.

(A. O., M. A., July, ’16.)


     |                        |                                    |             TERM OF SERVICE           |
  NO.|       NAME.            |     ARMY RANK WHEN APPOINTED.      +-------------------+-------------------+ REMARKS.
     |                        |                                    |      FROM         |         TO        |
   1 | JONATHAN WILLIAMS      | Major, Corps of Engineers          | April 15, 1802    | [8]June 20, 1803  | Resigned.
   2 | JONATHAN WILLIAMS      | Lieut. Colonel, Corps of Engineers | [8]April 19, 1805 | July 31, 1812     | Resigned.
   3 | JOSEPH G. SWIFT        | Colonel, Corps of Engineers        | July 31, 1812     | Mar. 24, 1814     | Relieved.
   4 | ALDEN PARTRIDGE        | Captain, Corps of Engineers        | Jan’y 3, 1815     | July 28, 1817     | Relieved.
   5 | SYLVANUS THAYER        | Captain, Corps of Engineers        | July 28, 1817     | July 1, 1833      | Relieved.
   6 | RENÉ W. DERUSSY        | Major, Corps of Engineers          | July 1, 1833      | Sept. 1, 1838     | Relieved.
   7 | RICHARD DELAFIELD      | Major, Corps of Engineers          | Sept. 1, 1838     | Aug. 15, 1845     | Relieved.
   8 | HENRY BREWERTON        | Captain, Corps of Engineers        | Aug. 15, 1845     | Sept. 1, 1852     | Relieved.
   9 | ROBERT E. LEE          | Captain, Corps of Engineers        | Sept. 1, 1852     | Mar. 31, 1855     | Relieved.
  10 | JOHN G. BARNARD        | Captain, Corps of Engineers        | Mar. 31, 1855     | Sept. 8, 1856     | Relieved.
  11 | RICHARD DELAFIELD      | Major, Corps of Engineers          | Sept. 8, 1856     | [9]Jan’y 23, 1861 | Relieved.
  12 | PETER G. T. BEAUREGARD | Captain, Corps of Engineers        |[9]Jan’y 23, 1861  | Jan’y 28, 1861    | Relieved.
  13 | RICHARD DELAFIELD      | Major, Corps of Engineers          | Jan’y 28, 1861    | Mar. 1, 1861      | Relieved.
  14 | ALEXANDER H. BOWMAN    | Major, Corps of Engineers          | Mar. 1, 1861      | July 8, 1864      | Relieved.
  15 | ZEALOUS B. TOWER       | Major, Corps of Engineers          | July 8, 1864      | Sept. 8, 1864     | Relieved.
  16 | GEORGE W. CULLUM       | Lieut. Colonel, Corps of Engineers | Sept, 8, 1864     | Aug. 28, 1866     | Relieved.
  17 | THOMAS G. PITCHER      | Colonel 44th Infantry              | Aug. 28, 1866     | Sept. 1, 1871     | Relieved.
  18 | THOMAS H. RUGER        | Colonel 18th Infantry              | Sept. 1, 1871     | Sept. 1, 1876     | Relieved.
  19 | JOHN M. SCHOFIELD      | Major General, U. S. Army          | Sept. 1, 1876     | Jan’y 21, 1881    | Relieved.
  20 | OLIVER O. HOWARD       | Brigadier General, U. S. Army      | Jan’y 21, 1881    | Sept. 1, 1882     | Relieved.
  21 | WESLEY MERRITT         | Colonel 5th Cavalry                | Sept. 1, 1882     | July 1, 1887      | Relieved.
  22 | JOHN G. PARKE          | Colonel, Corps of Engineers        | Aug. 28, 1887     | June 24, 1889     | Relieved.
  23 | JOHN M. WILSON         | Lieut. Colonel, Corps of Engineers | Aug. 26, 1889     | Mar. 31, 1893     | Relieved.
  24 | OSWALD ERNEST          | Major, Corps of Engineers          | Mar. 31, 1893     | Aug. 21, 1898     | Relieved.
  25 | ALBERT L. MILLS        | 1st Lieutenant, 1st Cavalry        | Aug. 22, 1898     | Aug. 31, 1906     | Relieved.
  26 | HUGH L. SCOTT          | Major, 14th Cavalry                | Aug. 31, 1906     | Aug. 31, 1910     | Relieved.
  27 | THOMAS H. BARRY        | Major General, U. S. Army          | Aug. 31, 1910     | Aug. 31, 1912     | Relieved.
  28 | CLARENCE P. TOWNSLEY   | Colonel, Coast Artillery Corps     | Aug. 31, 1912     | June 30, 1916     | Relieved.
  29 | JOHN BIDDLE            | Colonel, Corps of Engineers        | July 1, 1916      |                   |

    NOTE.--The selection of the Superintendents of the Military Academy
    was confined to the Corps of Engineers from the establishment of
    the Institution, March 16, 1802, till the passage of the law of
    July 13, 1866, which opened it to the entire Army. By the Act of
    June 12, 1858, the local rank of Colonel was conferred upon the


    A. B., _n._ Area Bird, term used to designate one who regularly
    walks the area.

    B. A., _n._ Busted aristocrat. Title given to a cadet officer who
    has been deprived of his chevrons.

    B-ache, _n._ An official explanation of a report.

    B-ache, _v._ To submit an explanation, to talk.

    Beast, _n._ Name given to new cadets during their first few weeks
    at M. A.

    Beast Barracks, _n._ Designation for the period of time a man is a
    beast: the first three weeks when he is quartered in barracks.

    Bird, _n._ See A. B.

    B. J., _a._ Literally means “bold before June”; as applied to a
    fourth classman who is impertinent and fresh.

    Black Book, _n._ Regulations, U. S. M. A.

    Blasé, _a._ Indifferent. Syn. B. J.

    Bone, _v._ To study.

    ---- check book. To be economical.

    ---- dis. To try to avoid getting demerits.

    ---- efficiency. To be military for no apparent reason.

    ---- files. To strive for class standing.

    ---- make. To strive for chevrons.

    ---- muck. To endeavor to increase in brawn.

    ---- tenths. To study hard for a better mark.

    Boodle, _n._ General term used to designate all eatables,

    Boodler’s, _n_. The confectioner’s.

    Bootlick, _v._ To curry favor obsequiously, to praise.

    Bootlick, _n._ A “stand in.”

    Bootlick Alley, _n._ A street passing in front of the officers’
    tents in camp (off limits to plebes).

    Brace, _n._ Term applied to muscular efforts of fourth classmen to
    look military.

    Brace, _v._ To assume an excessive military position. Obsolete.

    B. S., _n._ Loquaciousness; superfluity of talk.

    B. S., _v._ To be loquacious.

    Buck, _n._ Cadet in ranks; one who has no chevrons.

    Bugle, _v._ To stand at the board all the period to escape
    reciting. (Not applicable to first-class year).

    Bump, _v._ To deprive cadet officer of chevrons.

    Butt, _n._ The remainder of anything, as the butt of a skag; of a

    Cit., _n._ A Civilian.

    Cits., _n._ Civilian clothing.

    Clean Sleeve, _n._ A cadet who has never worn chevrons.

    Com., _n._ Commandant of Cadets.

    Con., _n._ Confinement.

    Corp., _n._ Corporal.

    Crawl, _v._ To correct or rebuke someone (especially fourth
    classmen) in a severe manner.

    Crawling, _n._ A rebuke.

    Deadbeat, _n._ An easy job; one who deadbeats.

    Deadbeat, _v._ To avoid some distasteful duty.

    Dis., _n._ Discipline.

    Dissy, _a._ Lacking in demerits.

    Div., _n._ A division of barracks.

    Doughboys, _n._ The infantry.

    Drag, _v._ To escort a lady; to pull a man out of bed; to pull off
    a pair of white trousers.

    Drag, _n._ A puff of skag.

    Femme, _n._ A member of the fair sex.

    Fess, _v._ To fail.

    Fess, _n._ A failure.

    File, _n._ A member of the male sex; one of the successive grades
    in military rank.

    Find, _v._ To find deficient and discharge.

    Flirtation, _n._ Flirtation Walk.

    Formation, _n._ Any military function or military gathering.

    Fried Egg, _n._ The crest of the U. S. M. A. used on the cap and
    full dress hat.

    Gig, _v._ To report for a delinquency.

    Gig List, _n._ The delinquency list.

    Goat, _n._ A low ranking man in any subject.

    Grind, _n._ A joke.

    West Point Grind, _n._ A practical joke of the kind in which the
    victim sees no humor.

    Gross, _a._ Lacking in intelligence.

    Growley, _n._ Tomato catsup.

    Growley, _v._ To blush.

    Gum, _v._ To make a mistake.

    Gumstick, _n._ One who is in the habit of gumming it.

    Hell Cats, _n._ The U. S. M. A. detachment of field music.

    Hell Dodgers, _n._ Active members of the Y. M. C. A.

    Hive, _v._ To understand; to discover.

    Hivey, _a._ Smart, brainy, able to understand things.

    Ignorance and Gummery, _n._ Ordnance and Gunnery.

    Juliet, _n._ A cadet who enters in July.

    Laundry Spike, _n._ An especially long pin used by the laundry; a
    girl who works in the laundry.

    Limits, _n._ The boundary beyond which a cadet may not go.

    L. P., _n._ A person who is undesirable.

    L. P., _v._ To give an undesirable task to anyone.

    Make, _n._ A cadet officer.

    Max, _n._ A perfect mark.

    Max, _v._ To finish a job in a perfect manner.

    Missouri National, _n._ A tune supposed to bring rain.

    Muck, _n._ Muscle.

    O. C., _n._ The Officer in Charge.

    O. D., _n._ The Officer of the Day.

    O. G., _n._ The Officer of the Guard.

    --oid. A suffix added to a noun or a verb to denote the agent by
    which the action in the noun or verb is accomplished, _i. e._
    Ridoid--one who rides; Hopoid--one who attends hops.

    P., _n._ A Professor.

    P. C. S., _n._ Previous condition of servitude. Occupation before

    P. D., _n._ Pennsylvania Dutchman.

    Pipe, _v._ To look forward to anything; to build castles in the air.

    Plebe, _n._ A fourth classman.

    Plebeskin, _n._ A flannel blouse issued to new cadets. Very badly

    Plebeskin, _n._ A report for hazing.

    P. M. E., n. Practical Military Engineering.

    Podunk, _n._ A cadet’s home town. A name applied to any small town
    to denote its insignificance; a local newspaper.

    Police, _v._ To discard; to relegate to the scrap pile; to throw
    from a horse’s back; to clean up, as to police a room.

    Poop, _v._ To memorize verbatim.

    Poop, _n._ One who memorizes by heart.

    Poop Deck, _n._ The balcony of the south cadet guard house, used by
    the officer in charge.

    Pred., _n._ Predecessor; a cadet’s forerunner in office.

    P. S., _v._ To spoon on the post.

    Quill, _n._ A person addicted to reporting cadets on every
    opportunity; subject matter for a report.

    Recognize, _v._ To admit a fourth classman to the upperclass status.

    Reverse, _n._ A position of disfavor, as to get a reverse on the

    Run-it-on, _v._ To take advantage of.

    Scavenge, _v._ To acquire something that someone else no longer
    wants or has thrown away.

    Skag, _n._ A cigarette.

    Skin, _n._ A report for delinquency.

    Skin, _v._ To report a delinquent.

    Skin list, _n._ The delinquency list.

    Slug, _n._ A disagreeable duty; an award of special punishment for
    some major offense.

    Soirée, _n._ An unpleasant task or duty.

    Soirée, _v._ To cause inconvenience or annoyance.

    Speck, _v._ To commit to memory.

    Speck, _n._ One who commits to memory.

    Slum, _n._ Mess Hall stew (unknown ingredients).

    Soundoff, _n._ A voice capable of being heard at long range.

    Sound off, _v._ To bellow; to use the voice to the limit of its

    Spoon, _v._ To court, amuse, entertain, or converse with a femme.

    Spoony Up, _v._ To make neat or attractive.

    Step Out, _v._ To hurry.

    Sub-div., _n._ A subdivision of barracks: a cadet officer in charge
    of a subdivision.

    Supe, _n._ The Superintendent.

    Tac, _n._ A Tactical Officer.

    T. D., _n._ The Department of Tactics.

    Tarbucket, _n._ The full dress hat.

    Tenth, _n._ The smallest division of the West Point system of

    Tie Up, _v._ To get a thing gloriously mixed up.

    Turnback, _n._ A cadet who has been turned back to join the next
    succeeding class.

    Walri, _n._ One who cannot swim.

    Writ, _n._ A written review recitation.

    Yearling, _n._ A third classman.

[1] Fort Clinton was originally named Fort Arnold in honor of Benedict
Arnold, but after his defection its name was changed. It stood in
the N. E. corner of the Plain at West Point.

[2] Fort Putnam was named for Colonel Rufus Putnam whose regiment,
the Fifth Massachusetts, commenced it and did much toward putting it
in shape.

[3] The Sterling Iron Works are still in operation at Sterlington,
N. Y., on the Erie R. R., where the remains of the Revolutionary
furnace are still standing.

[4] The Robinson House was situated on the eastern shore of the Hudson
about two miles below West Point. It was built in 1750 by Beverly
Robinson, a man of note and wealth. He had been a personal friend of
Washington until the Revolution separated them, when he went to New
York and raised a regiment known as the “Loyal American” for service
under the British. He assisted Arnold and André in their negotiations.
At the close of the Revolution, Robinson went to England. This house
was destroyed by fire, March 17, 1892.

[5] “Fess” means a complete failure at a recitation. It is an
abbreviation of “confess.”

[6] In the Philippine Department the preliminary examination will be
held between December 1st and December 15th.

[7] The board before which a candidate is directed to appear will be
the one convened at the place nearest or most convenient to his home,
or to the school at which he is in regular attendance at the time of

[8] Major Williams resigned June 20, 1803, on a point of command, and
pending its settlement until April 19, 1805, when he again returned to
service as Chief Engineer, no permanent Superintendent of the Military
Academy was appointed, the command devolving upon the senior officer of
the Corps of Engineers present for duty.

[9] Bvt. Major P. G. T. Beauregard, Corps of Engineers, by order of
John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, relieved Colonel Delafield, Jan.
23, 1861, from the superintendency of the Military Academy, but was
himself displaced five days later, Jan. 28, 1861, by direction of the
succeeding Secretary of War, Joseph Holt, the command again devolving
upon Colonel Delafield.

[Transcriber’s Note:

TOC entry “VIII.—Growing Muscles 174” changed to read “VIII.—Growing
Muscles 194” to match actual page.

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "West Point - An Intimate Picture of the National Military Academy and - of the Life of the Cadet" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.