for my journey to West Point
, including some inexpensive visits en route.
I reported at the Academy on June 1, 1849, with less than two dollars in my pocket, which I conscientiously deposited with the treasurer, as required by the regulations.
My reception was of the most satisfactory character.
William P. Carlin
of the second class, and Hezekiah H. Garber
of the third, both from Illinois
, found me out very soon after I reported, took me under their protection in a brotherly way, and gave me some timely advice—not to take too seriously any little fun the ‘men’ might make of my blue dress-coat and fancy gilt buttons, or anything like that; but I never experienced anything even approaching to hazing.
My rather mature appearance may have had something to do with the respect generally paid me. It was true I was only seventeen years and nine months old, as recorded in the register, but my experience may have had some visible effect.
I was assigned to a room in the old South Barracks, which were demolished the next year.
My room-mates were Henry H. Walker
and John R. Chambiiss
, two charming fellows from Virginia
We had hardly learned each other's names when one of them said something about the ‘blank Yankees’; but instantly, seeing something that might perhaps have appeared like Southern blood in my face, added, ‘You
are not a Yankee
I replied, ‘Yes; I am from Illinois
‘Oh,’ said he, ‘we don't call Western men Yankees.’
In that remark I found my mission at West Point
, as in after life, to be, as far as possible, a peacemaker between the hostile sections.
If the great West
could have been heard, and its more dispassionate voice heeded, possibly peace might have been preserved.
My experience at West Point
did not differ in many particulars from the general average of cadet life, but a few incidents may be worthy of special mention.