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[485]

Chapter 64: superintendent of the United States military Academy; commanding Department of the Platte, Omaha, Neb.

A serious trouble had occurred at the Military Academy on account of a colored cadet, Whittaker, who had been injured, so he asserted, by young men hazing him. He had been previously so badly treated that it was not unnatural to suppose that it had finally culminated in doing him a physical injury. Whittaker claimed that this was the case and that he had been bound and maltreated. Those who were opposed to him said that he had injured himself and then tied himself up afterwards, and made complaint with a view to revenging himself upon his enemies. This was the contention. A court of inquiry had been held at West Point the result of which had not been at all satisfactory. The incident had caused a great deal of public comment in the newspapers, and sharp excitement for and against the colored cadet.

President Hayes had an idea that I was the proper man to settle such a case. For other reasons also the President wished to assign me to command the Military Academy. I knew nothing of these reasons when suddenly I received orders, near the close of 1880, to proceed to West Point, and as superintendent of the Military Academy take command there.

When we reached Chicago the cold was intense. The thermometer registered thirty degrees below zero.

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