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West Point

The advantages of a regular military education are obvious enough, and the fact that West Point has turned out many accomplished Generals cannot be denied. But a General, like a poet, must be made by nature; he must be born a General, or else all the military schools in the world cannot make up the deficiency. We have as much contempt as any one for politicians who affect to play the part of great soldiers; but it is absurd to assume that all are soldiers who have gone through a military school, and that a man cannot be a General who has not rubbed against the walls of one of these institutions. Napoleon would have been Napoleon if he had never been in a school of arms, just as Alexander, Cœsar, and Hannibal were without any such advantages. What would have become of our Revolution without Washington, who never had a military cation? The last war with England would never have known its greatest victory but for the farmer Jackson, who defended successfully against the picked veterans of England that city which a graduate of West Point has given up without firing a gun ! Even Scott himself, who gained such laurels in that war, was not educated to the profession of arms. West Point is very well, but we must not deify it. It is an admirable school, but human nature and the management of volunteers are not taught there. Some of its Southern graduates now in command of our armies, happily for us, are not mere men of science, and fully deserve the confidence of their soldiers and the country.

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