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[5] the window after ‘taps,’ so that no one outside could see us ‘burning the midnight oil’ over pipes and cards. The corps of cadets was not as much disciplined in our day as it is now. If it had been, I doubt if I should have graduated. As it was, I got 196 demerits out of a possible 200 one year. One more ‘smoking in quarters’ would have been too much for me. I protest now, after this long experience, that nothing else at West Point was either so enjoyable or so beneficial to me as smoking. I knew little and cared less about the different corps of the army, or about the value of class standing. I became quite indignant when a distinguished friend rather reproved me for not trying to graduate higher—perhaps in part from a guilty conscience, for it occurred just after we had graduated. I devoted only a fraction of the study hours to the academic course—generally an hour, or one and a half, to each lesson. But I never intentionally neglected any of my studies. It simply seemed to me that a great part of my time could be better employed in getting the education I desired by the study of law, history, rhetoric, and general literature. Even now I think these latter studies have proved about as useful to me as what I learned of the art and science of war; and they are essential to a good general education, no less in the army than in civil life. I have long thought it would be a great improvement in the Military Academy if a much broader course could be given to those young men who come there with the necessary preparation, while not excluding those comparatively young boys who have only elementary education. There is too much of the ‘cast-iron’ in this government of law under which we live, but ‘mild steel’ will take its place in time, no doubt. The conditions and interests of so vast a country and people are too varied to be wisely subjected to rigid rules.

But I must not be misunderstood as disparaging the West Point education. As it was, and is now, there is,

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