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Chapter XXIV

  • Superintendent at West Point
  • -- General Sherman's ulterior reasons for the appointment -- origin of the ‘Department of West Point’ -- case of the colored Cadet Whittaker -- a proposed removal for political effect -- General Terry's friendly attitude -- a Muddle of New commands -- waiting orders, and a visit to Europe -- again in command in the West -- the establishment of Fort Sheridan at Chicago.

in the centennial year, 1876, I committed the mistake of my life by consenting, in deference to the opinions and wishes of my superiors and in opposition to my own judgment and interests, to give up the command of a military division appropriate to my rank of major-general, and accept a position which by law and custom was appropriate to the rank of colonel. The following extracts from correspondence will sufficiently explain the reasons for this extraordinary action, and the assurances which induced it:


Washington, D. C., March 28, 1876.
General John M. Schofield, San Francisco, California:
Will you accept the superintendency of the military academy at West Point? I advise it. Your rank and history will elevate it and solve all trouble. Admiral Porter's example at Annapolis is suggested as precedent. The President, Secretary Taft, and I are unanimous on the wisdom and propriety of it.

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