Among the friends most valued by Mr. Ticknor was his college classmate, Sylvanus Thayer, who, having entered the army of the United States, and served with distinction, was appointed Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point in 1817, and held that position for sixteen years. By force and dignity of character, energy, good judgment, and professional knowledge and ability, he gave new life to the school under his charge, and raised it to that high position, as an establishment for military education, which it has since maintained. Colonel Thayer had repeatedly urged Mr. Ticknor to serve as a member of the Board of Visitors, at one of the annual examinations of the Academy. In the spring of 1826, Mr. Ticknor having expressed his readiness to attend the examination of that year, he was appointed among the other Visitors, and went to West Point on the 1st of June. The following extracts from his letters, written from there, give an excellent picture of the condition of the school, and of the character and habits of its distinguished Superintendent.
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