Entered the artillery.
After graduating in 1826, that cadet entered the artillery, and afterwards became a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, in which service he died a few years ago. After Cadet Polk
had then taken position on the Lord
's side, he was very determined that no gainsayer should find any reason to charge religion with making him a poorer soldier or student; he would show it only made him more faithful in all military and academic duties.
He had not been a student before, though always holding a respectable grade in his class; this he now deeply regretted.
But he was now at the termination of his third year; too much time had been lost to accomplish what otherwise he might have done, but the remaining year he improved diligently.
I remember well his telling me of his having been prevented the day before, by unavoidable causes, from giving any attention to his mathematical recitation, and the bugle sounding, and he expected to be called to the blackboard, and having to expose his ignorance, and his pain to think it would be set down to the effect of religion making him careless of his studies; and how he was called up and knew nothing of the proposition given him to demonstrate but the text, and how, while others were reciting, he stood in silence and said to himself: ‘This is not my fault, I have not willingly come into this position, and yet if I fail what will be said?
May I not in such circumstances ask God to help me?’
Little did the section imagine what was going on while he seemed only considering his proposition.
The result was that he went through his work with entire success by a process entirely new to himself and that was not in the book.
In military duties he became equally faithful.
Prior to that he had not been made an officer of any grade, but there had then occurred a special need for the appointment of orderly sergeants whom nothing could move from their faithfulness.
At early roll-call the members of the oldest class had come to assert a traditional right of lying in bed and being reported as present.
This had been known to the authorities for some time, and they had tried to break it up, but had failed to find cadets for orderly sergeants whose faithfulness was strong enough to stand the press of the established usage and the commands of their comrades.