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When I arrived last evening, I walked up to our old friend Cozzens's; meantime Thayer had gone to the boat to meet me, and we missed one another. In a few moments, however, he came in, and ordered my luggage to his house, where I am established in great comfort and quiet. . . . . The examination is a very laborious business, and will prove, no doubt, tedious to most of those concerned in it. To me, who must keep the records and write the reports, it will give too much occupation to permit me to be very dull. What we have done to-day has been rather interesting.

Precisely at nine o'clock the whole Staff of the Academy assembled at Thayer's house, in full uniform. I was presented to them, and when this little ceremony was over we all went to Cozzens's, where all were presented to the rest of the Board of Examiners. The Board then went to a room by itself, and was called to order by Commodore Bainbridge, and General Houston, being the chief military personage on the ground, was chosen President; though for the rest, he is a pretty coarse Tennessean, who tries to be kind, good-natured, and even elegant. . . . . The other members are pleasant enough, particularly the three commodores, Bainbridge, Chauncey, and Jones, who are very agreeable indeed, and Colonel White of Florida, who proves an amiable, gentlemanlike man.

We went forthwith to the examination, which was extremely thorough. Thirteen young men were under the screw four hours, on a single branch, and never less than four on the floor, either drawing on the blackboard or answering questions every moment, so that each one had above an hour's work to go through; and, as I said, in a single branch. It was the lowest section of the upper class, but no mistake was made, except by one Cadet. Of course it was as nearly perfect as anything of the kind ever was. The manner, too, was quite remarkable. The young men do not rise when they answer; they are all addressed as Mr. So-and-so; and when the drum beat outside for one o'clock, Colonel Thayer adjourned the examination while a Cadet was speaking, so exactly is everything done here. We dined at Cozzens's, and the examination was continued in the afternoon till seven o'clock.

My residence at Thayer's is extremely agreeable; that is, the little time I pass there. He seems to feel towards me just as he did nineteen years ago, just as if we had never been separated. The house is perfectly quiet, and there is a good deal of dignity in the sort of solitude in which he lives, and without any female attendant, yet with the most perfect neatness, order, and comfort, in all his arrangements.

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Sylvanus Thayer (3)
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