who have placed the United States Military Academy among the foremost institutions of the world.
At first it seemed a little strange to be called back, after the lapse of only two years, to an important duty at the place where my military record had been so ‘bad.’
But I soon found that at West Point
, as elsewhere, the standard of merit depended somewhat upon the point of view of the judge.
A master of ‘philosophy’ could not afford to look too closely into past records in other subjects.
Besides, philosophers know, if others do not, that philosophers are sure to profit by healthful experience.
I never had any more trouble at West Point
, though I did have much difficulty in helping younger men out. I had the great good fortune never to be compelled to report a cadet for any delinquency, nor to find one deficient in studies, though I did sometimes have, figuratively speaking, to beat them over the head with a cudgel to get in ‘phil’ enough to pass the academic board.
I had then a strong impression, which has grown still stronger with time, that ‘equations A and B’ need not be developed very far into the ‘mechanics of molecules’ to qualify a gallant young fellow for the command of a squadron of cavalry; but this is, in fact, generally and perfectly well understood at West Point
The object there is to develop the mental, moral, and physical man to as high a degree as practicable, and to ascertain his best place in the public service.
It is only the hopelessly incorrigible in some respect who fall by the way. Even they, if they have stayed there long enough, are the better for the training they have received.
In this congenial work and its natural sequence I formed for the first time the habit of earnest, hard mental work to the limit of my capacity for endurance, and sometimes a little beyond, which I have retained the greater part of my life.
After the short time required to master the ‘Analytical Mechanics’ which had been introduced