the ‘Little Giant,’ Senator Douglas
, to whom I had no letter, and whom I had never met; had introduced myself as a ‘citizen of Illinois
’ in trouble; and had told my story.
He said he was not on good terms with that administration, and preferred not to go near the War Department if it could be avoided, but if it proved necessary to let him know.
Hence, after all else failed, including my personal appeal, which I had waited so long to make, I told Mr. Douglas
all that had occurred, and suggested that there was nothing left but to ‘put in the reserve,’ as the tacticians call it. He replied: ‘Come up in the morning, and we will go to see about it.’
On our way to the War Department the next morning, the senator said, ‘I don't know that I can do anything with this—Whig administration’; but he assured me all should be made right in the next.
That seemed to me the kind of man I had looked for in vain up to that time.
I waited in the anteroom only a few minutes, when the great senator came out with a genial smile on his face, shook me warmly by the hand, and bade me good-by, saying: ‘It is all right.
You can go back to West Point
has given me his promise.’
I need not go into the details of the long and tedious formalities through which the Secretary
's promise was finally fulfilled.
It was enough for me that my powerful friend had secured the promise that, upon proof of the facts as I had stated them, I should be fully exonerated and restored to the academy.
I returned to West Point
, and went through the long forms of a court of inquiry, a court martial, and the waiting for the final action of the War Department, all occupying some five or six months, diligently attending to my military and academic duties, and trying hard to obey all the regulations (except as to smoking), never for a moment doubting the final result.
That lesson taught me that innocence and justice sometimes need powerful backing.
Implicit trust in Providence