my own conduct; and, the names of my guilty classmates being unknown to the candidates, I was also held responsible for their conduct.
I answered by averring and showing, as I believed, my own innocence of all that had been done, except my neglect of duty in tolerating such a proceeding.
My conscience was so clear of any intentional wrong that I had no anxiety about the result.
But in due time came an order from the Secretary of War
dismissing me from the academy without trial.
That, I believe, shocked me a little; but the sense of injustice was too strong in my mind to permit of a doubt that it would be righted when the truth was known.
I proposed to go straight to Washington
and lay the facts before the government.
Then I realized for the first time what it meant to have friends.
All my classmates and many other cadets came forward with letters to their congressmen, and many of them to senators whom they happened to know, and other influential men in Washington
So I carried with me a great bundle of letters setting forth my virtues in terms which might have filled the breast of George Washington
There was no public man in Washington
whom I had ever seen, and probably no one who had ever heard of me, except the few in the War Department who knew of my alleged bad conduct.
The Secretary of War
would not even see me until I was at last presented to him by an officer of the army.
Then he offered me his forefinger to shake, but he could give me no encouragement whatever.
This was after I had been in Washington
My congressman, Mr. Campbell
, who had succeeded Mr. Turner
, and several others received me kindly, read my letters, and promised to see the Secretary of War
, which no doubt they did, though without any apparent effect.
The only result was the impossible suggestion that if I would give the names of my guilty classmates I might be let off. I had made an early call upon