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Full text of "The colored cadet at West Point. Autobiography of Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, U. S. A., first graduate of color from the U. S. Military Academy"

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UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 



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This BOOK may be kept out TWO WEEKS 
ONLY, and is subject to a fine of FIVE 
CENTS a day thereafter. It was taken out on 
the day indicated below: 



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OCT 7 



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THE COLORED CADET fu> 

AT 

WEST POINT. 



ATTTOBIOGRxlPHY 



Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, 

TJ. S. J±„ 



FIRST GRADUATE OF COLOR FROM THE 
U. S. MILITARY ACADEMY. 



New York : 

HOMER LEE & CO., 

65 Liberty Street. 

1878. 



^ THS LifcfiARY 

THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLS 
AT HHAPR Mil i 



Copyright, 1878, Hosier Lee & Co. 






TO 

Z\t cjfatulfjr of Atlanta Hnikrsiiir, ^Ulanfa, @u. t 

AND TO 

THE PRESIDENT IN PARTICULAR, 

TO 'WHOSE CAREFUL 

MENTAL AND MORAL TRAINING OF MYSELF IS DUE ALL 

MY SUCCESS AT THE MILITARY ACADEMY 

AT WEST POINT, N. Y., 

J AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATE THIS VOLUME, 

AS IN SOME SORT 

A TOKEN OF THAT HEARTFELT GRATITUDE WHICH 

I SO DEEPLY FEEL, BUT CAN SO 

POORLY EXPRESS. 



CONTENTS. 



TAGE 

Retrospect, .......... 7 

Communications, etc, 17 

Reporting, 80 

Cant Terms, 49 

Pleee Camp, 57 

Studies, etc., 73 

Yearling Camp, 102 

First Class Camp, 108 

Our Future Heroes, ... .... 115 

Treatment, 117 

Resume^ 1GG 

Pleasures and Privileges, 187 

Furlough, 203 

Incident, Humor, etc., 207 

Graduation — ln the Army, . 238 

Smith at West Polnt, .... 288 



PREFACE. 



The following pages were written by request. They 
claim to give an accurate and impartial narrative of my 
four years' life while a cadet at West Point, as well as a 
general idea of the institution there. They are almost an 
exact transcription of notes taken at various times during 
those four years. Any inconsistencies, real or apparent, 
in my opinions or in the impressions made upon me, are 
due to the fact that they were made at different times at 
a place where the feelings of all were constantly under- 
going material change. 

They do not pretend to merit. Neither are they writ- 
ten for the purpose of criticising the Military Academy 
or those in any way connected with it. 

My " notes" have been seen and read. If I please 
those who requested me to publish them I shall be con- 
tent, as I have no other object in putting them before the 
public. H. 0. F. 

Fort Sill, Indian Ter., 1878. 



THE COLORED CADET 



WEST POINT. 



CHAPTEE I. 

EETEOSPECT. 

« 

TTENRY OSSIAN FLIPPER, the eldest of five 
-■ — *- brothers, and the subject of this narrative, was 
born in Thomasville, Thomas County, Georgia, on 
the 21st day of March, 1856. He and his mother 
were the property (?) of Rev. Reuben H. Lucky, a 
Methodist minister of that place. His father, Festus 
Flipper, by trade a shoemaker and carriage-trimmer, 
Was owned by Ephraim Gr. Ponder, a successful and 
influential slave- dealer. 

In 1859 Mr. Ponder, having retired from business, 
returned to Georgia from Virginia with a number of 
mechanics, all slaves, and among whom was the 
father of young Flipper. He established a number 
of manufactories in Atlanta, then a growing inland 
town of Georgia. He married about this time a 
beautiful, accomplished, and wealthy lady. " Flip- 
per" as he was generally called, had married before 
this, and had been taken back alone to his native 



8 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Virginia to serve an apprenticeship under a carriage - 
trimmer. This served, Mr. Ponder joined his wife 
in Thomasville, bringing with him, as stated, a num- 
ber of mechanics. 

All were soon ready for transportation to Atlanta 
except " Flipper." As he and his wife were each 
the property (?) of different persons, there v/as, under 
the circumstances, every probability of a separation. 
This, of course, would be to them most displeasing. 
Accordingly an application was made to Mr. Ponder 
to purchase the wife and son. This he was, he said, 
unable to do. He had, at an enormous expense, 
procured and fitted up a home, and his coffers were 
nearly, if not quite, empty. Husband and wife then 
appealed to Mr. Lucky. He, too, was avefse to part- 
ing them, but could not, at the great price asked for 
him, purchase the husband. He was willing, how- 
ever, to sell the wife. An agreement was finally 
made by which the husband paid from his own 
pocket the purchase-money of his own wife and 
child, this sum to be returned to him by Mr. Ponder 
whenever convenient. The joy of the wife can be 
conceived. It can not be expressed. 

In due time all arrived at Atlanta, where Mr. 
Ponder had purchased about twenty-five acres of 
land and had erected thereon, at great expense, a 
superb mansion for his own family, a number of sub- 
stantial frame dwellings for his slaves, and three 
large buildings for manufacturing purposes. 

Of sixty -five slaves nearly all of the men were 
mechanics. All of them except the necessary house- 
hold servants, a gardener, and a coachman, were per- 
mitted to hire their own time. Mr. Ponder would 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 9 

have absolutely nothing to do with their business 
other than to protect them. So that if any one 
wanted any article of their manufacture they con- 
tracted with the workman and paid him his own 
price. These bond people were therefore virtually 
free. They acquired and accumulated wealth, lived 
happily, and needed but two other things to make 
them like other human beings, viz., absolute free- 
dom and education. But 

" God moves in a mysterious way 
His wonders to perform. ' ' 

And through that very mysteriousness this people 
was destined to attain to the higher enjoyment of 
life. The country, trembling under the agitation of 
the slave question, was steadily seeking a condition 
of equilibrium which could be stable only in the 
complete downfall of slavery. Unknown, to them, 
yet existing, the great question of the day was grad- 
ually being solved ; and in its solution was working 
out the salvation of an enslaved people. Well did 
that noblest of women, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, sing 
a few years after : 

' ' Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord ; 
He is tramping out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are 

stored ; 
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword ; 
This truth is marching on. 

" I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps ; 
They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps ; 
I can read his righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps ; 
His day is marching on. 

" I have read a fiery gospel, writ in burnished rows of steel ; 
' As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal \ 
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, 
Since God is marching on.' 



10 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

" He hath sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat ; 
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment-seat ; 
Oh ! be swift my soul to answer him ! be jubilant my feet ! 
Our God is marching on. 
" In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea, 
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me ; 
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, 
While God is marching on." 

Another influence was as steadily tending to the 
same end. Its object was to educate, to elevate in- 
tellectually, and then to let the power thus acquired 
act. 

The mistress of this fortunate household, far from 
discharging the duties and functions of her station, 
left them unnoticed, and devoted her whole atten- 
tion to illegitimate pleasures. The outraged husband 
appointed a guardian and returned broken-hearted 
to the bosom of his own family, and devoted him- 
self till death to agricultural pursuits. 

The nature of the marriage contract prevented the 
selling of any of the property without the mutual 
consent of husband and wife. No such consent was 
ever asked for by either. No one was, therefore, in 
that state of affairs, afraid of being sold away from 
his or her relatives, although their mistress fre- 
quently threatened so to sell them. "I'll send 
you to Red River" was a common menace of hers, 
but perfectly harmless, for all knew, as well as she 
did, that it was impossible to carry it into execution. 

In this condition of affairs the " servants" were 
even more contented than ever. They hired their 
time, as usual, and paid their wages to their mis- 
tress, whose only thought or care was to remember 
when it became due, and then to receive it. 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 11 

The guardian, an influential stockholder in sev- 
eral railroads, and who resided in another city, made 
periodical visits to inspect and do whatever was 
necessary to a proper discharge of his duties. 

Circumstances being highly favorable, one of the 
mechanics, who had acquired the rudiments of an 
education, applied to this dissolute mistress for per- 
mission to teach the children of her "servants." 
She readily consented, and, accordingly, a night- 
school was opened in the very woodshop in which 
he worked by day. Here young Flipper was 
initiated into the first of the three mysterious R' s, 
viz., " reading Witing and Arithmetic" Here, in 
1864, at eight years of age, his education began. 
And the first book he ever studied — I dare say ever 
saw — was a confederate reprint of Webster's " Blue- 
'baclc Speller.'''' His then tutor has since graduated 
at Westminster College in Pennsylvania, and is, at the 
time of this writing, United States Consul at Malaga, 
Spain, having served in the same capacity for four 
years at Port Mahon, Spain. 

But alas ! even this happy arrangement was des- 
tined to be disturbed. This dissolute mistress and 
her slaves, with all valuable movable property, were 
compelled to flee before Sherman's victorious arms. 
Macon, a city just one hundred and three miles 
south-east of Atlanta, became the new home of the 
Flippers. A spacious dwelling was secured in West 
Macon. In a part of this was stored away Mrs. 
Ponder' s plate and furniture, under the guardian- 
ship of Flipper, who with his family occupied the 
rest of the house. Here all was safe. The terrible 
fate of Atlanta was not extended to Macon. The 



12 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

only cause of alarm was Wilson, who approached 
the city from the east, and, having thrown in a few 
shells, withdrew without doing further damage or 
being molested. Every body was frightened, and it 
was deemed advisable to transfer Mrs. Ponder' s ef- 
fects to Fort Valley, a small place farther south. 
However, before this could be done, it became indis- 
putably known that Wilson had withdrawn. 

After an uneventful stay — other than this inci- 
dent just related — of nine months in Macon, the 
office of custodian was resigned, and although yet a 
slave, as far as he knew, and without permission 
from any one, Flipper returned to Atlanta with 
his wife and two sons, Henry, the elder, and Joseph, 
the younger. This was in the spring of 1865. 
Atlanta was in ruins, and it appeared a dreary place 
indeed to start anew on the unfinished journey of 
life. Every thing was not destroyed, however. A 
few houses remained. One of these was occupied. 
The people were rapidly returning, and the railroads 
from Atlanta were rapidly being rebuilt. 

During all this time the education of the young 
Flippers had been necessarily neglected. In the early 
spring of 1865, the family of an ex-rebel captain be- 
came neighbors of the Flippers, now well to do, and 
were soon on the most friendly terms with them . With 
remarkable condescension the wife of this ex-rebel 
offered to instruct. Henry and Joseph for a small re- 
muneration. The offer was readily and gladly ac- 
cepted, and the education of the two, so long neg- 
lected, was taken up again. This private school of 
only two pupils existed but a short time. The 
American Missionary Association having opened bet- 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 13 

ter schools, the Flippers were, in March, 1866, trans- 
ferred to them. They attended school there till in 
1867 the famous Storrs' School was opened under 
the control of the American Missionary Association, 
when they went there. In 1869, the Atlanta Uni- 
versity having been opened nnder the same auspices, 
they entered there. At the time of receiving his ap- 
pointment Henry was a member of the freshman 
class of the collegiate department. His class grad- 
uated there in June, 1876, just one year before he 
did at West Point. 

The following article from a Thomasville paper, 
published in June, 1874, will give further information 
concerning his early life : 

" ' It is not generally known that Atlanta lias a negro cadet at the 
United States National Military Academy at West Point. This cadet 
is a mulatto boy named Flipper. He is about twenty years old, a 
stoutish fellow, weighing perhaps one hundred and fifty pounds, and 
a smart, bright, intelligent boy. His father is a shoemaker, and gave 
him the euphonious name of Henry Ossian Flipper. 

" ' Flipper has been at the great soldier factory of the nation for a 
year. He was recommended there by our late Congressman from 
the Fifth District, the Hon. J. C. Freeman. Flipper has made a 
right booming student. In a class of ninety-nine he stood about the 
middle, and triumphantly passed his examination, and has risen from 
the fourth to the third class without difficulty. 

' ' ' The only two colored boys at the Academy were the famous 
Smith and the Atlanta Flipper. It is thought that Smith at the last 
examination failed. If so, Atlanta will have the distinguished honor 
of having the sole African representative at West Point. 

" ' Flipper has had the privilege of eating at the same table with the 
poor white trash ; but Smith and Flipper bunked together in the same 
room alone, without white companions. 

"' It is an astonishing fact that, socially, the boys from the North- 
ern and Western States will have nothing to do with these colored 
brothers. Flipper and Smith were socially ostracized. Not even the 
Massachusetts boys will associate with them. Smith has been a little 



14 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

rebellious, and attempted to thrust himself ou the white boys ; but 
the sensible Flipper accepted the situation, and proudly refused to 
intrude himself on the white boys. 

" ' The feeling of ostracism is so strong that a white boy who dared 
to recognize a colored cadet would be himself ostracized by the other 
white cubs, even of radical extraction. ' 

" We copy the above from the Atlanta HercM of last week, for the 
purpose of remarking that among colored men we know of none 
more honorable or more deserving than Flipper, the father of the col- 
ored West Point student of that name. Flipper lived for many years 
in Thomasville as the servant of Mr. E. G-. Ponder— was the best 
bootmaker we ever knew, and his character and deportment were 
ever those of a sensible, unassuming, gentlemanly white man. Flip- 
per possessed the confidence and respect of his master and all who 
knew him. His wife, the mother of young Flipper, was Isabella, a 
servant in the family of Rev. R. H. Lucky, of Thomasville, and bore 
a character equal to that of her husband. Young Flipper was bap- 
tized in his infancy by the venerable Bishop Early. From these an- 
tecedents we should as soon expect young Flipper to make his mark 
as any other colored youth in the country." 

(From the Louisville Ledger.) 

" It is just possible that some of our readers may not know who 
Flipper is. For their benefit we make haste to explain that Flip- 
per is the solitary colored cadet now at West Point. He is in the 
third class, and stands forty-six in the class, which numbers eighty- 
five members. This is a very fair standing, and Flipper's friends 
declare that he is getting along finely in his studies, and that he is 
quite up to the standard of the average West Point student. Never- 
theless they intimate that he will never graduate. Flipper, they 
say, may get as far as the first class, but there he will be ' slaugh- 
tered. ' 

"A correspondent of the New York Times takes issue with this 
opinion. He says there are many ' old heads ' who believe Flipper 
will graduate with honor, and he thinks so too. The grounds for his 
belief, as he gives them, are that the officers are gentlemen, and so are 
the professors ; that they believe merit should be rewarded wherever 
found ; and that they all speak well of Flipper, who is a hard stu- 
dent, as his position in his class proves. From this correspondent we 
learn that Flipper is from Georgia ; that he has a light, coffee-colored 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT, 15 

complexion, and that he ' minds his business and docs not intrude his 
company upon the other cadets,' though why this should be put 
down in the list of his merits it is not easy to understand, since, if he 
graduates, as this writer believes he will, he will have the right to 
associate on terms of perfect equality with the other cadets, and may 
in time come to command some of them. We are afraid there is 
some little muddle of inconsistency in the brain of the Times' corre- 
spondent. 

"The Chicago Tribune seems to find it difficult to come to any 
conclusion concerning Flipper's chances for graduating. It says : 
' It is freely asserted that Flipper will never be allowed to graduate ; 
that the prejudice of the regular army instructors against the colored 
race is insurmountable, and that they will drive away from the 
Academy by persecution of some petty sort any colored boy who 
may obtain admittance there. The story does not seem to have any 
substantial basis ; still, it possesses considerable vitality.' 

" We don't profess to understand exactly what sort of a story that 
is which has ' considerable vitality ' without any substantial basis, 
and can only conclude that the darkness of the subject has engendered 
a little confusion in the mind of the Tribune as well as in that of the 
writer of the Times. But the Tribune acquires more confidence as it 
warms in the discussion, and it assures us finally that ' there is, of 
course, no doubt that some colored boys are capable of receiving a 
military education ; and eventually the presence of colored officers 
in the regular army must be an accepted fact.' Well, we don't know 
about that ' accepted fact. ' The white man is mighty uncertain, 
and the nigger won't do to trust to, in view of which truths it would 
be unwise to bet too high on the ' colored officers/ for some years to 
come at least. 

" But let not Flipper wring his flippers in despair, notwithstand- 
ing. Let him think of Smith, and take heart of hope. Smith was an- 
other colored cadet who was sent to West Point from South Carolina. 
Smith mastered readin', 'ritin', and 'rithmetic, but chemistry mas- 
tered Smith.* They gave him three trials, but it was to no purpose ; 
so they had to change his base and send him back to South Carolina. 
But what of that ? They've just made him inspector of militia in 
South Carolina, with the rank of brigadier-general. How long 

* Cadet Smith failed in Natural and Experimental Philosophy. In Chemistry he 
was up to the average. He was never appointed Inspector- General of South Caro- 
lina. He was Commandant of Cadets in the South Carolina Agricultural Institute 
at Orangeburg, S. C, which position he held till his death November 29th, 187G. 



16 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

might he have remained in the army before he would have become 
' General Smith ? ' Why, even Fred Grant's only a lieutenant- 
colonel. Smith evidently has reason to congratulate himself upon 
being ' plucked ; ' and so the young gentleman from Georgia, with 
the ' light, coffee-colored complexion,' if he meets with a similar 
misfortune, may console himself with the hope that to him also in his 
extremity will be extended from some source a helping flipper." 



CHAPTER II. 

COMMUNICATIONS, ETC. 



3 i 



TTAYING given in the previous chapter a brief 
-■ — ■- account of myself — dropping now, by permis- 
sion, the third person — prior to my appointment, I 
shall here give in full what led me to seek that ap- 
pointment, and how I obtained it. It was while sit- 
ting "in his father's quiet shoeshop on Decatur 
Street " — as a local paper had it — that I overheard a 
conversation concerning the then cadet from my own 
district. In the course of the conversation I learned 
that this cadet was to graduate the following June ; 
and that therefore a vacancy would occur. This 
was in the autumn of 1872, and before the election. 
It occurred to me that I might fill that vacancy, and 
I accordingly determined to make an endeavor to do 
so, provided the Republican nominee for Congress 
should be elected. He was elected. I applied for 
and obtained the appointment. In 1865 or 1866 — I 
do not now remember which : perhaps it was even 
later than either— it was suggested to my father to 
send me to "West Point. He was unwilling to do so, 
and, not knowing very much about the place, was 
reluctant to make any inquiries. I was then of 
course too young for admission, being only ten or 
twelve years old ; and knowing nothing of the place 
myself, I did not care to venture the attempt to be- 
come a cadet. 



18 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

At the time I obtained the appointment I had 
quite forgotten this early recommendation of my 
father's friend ; indeed, I did not recall it until I 
began compiling my manuscript. 

The suggestion given me by the conversation 
above mentioned was at once acted upon, and de- 
cision made in a very short time ; and so fully was 
I determined, so absolutely was my mind set on 
West Point, that I persisted in my desire even to 
getting the appointment, staying at the Academy 
four years, and finally graduating. The following 
communications will explain how I got the appoint- 
ment. * 

Reply No. 1 

Griffin, January 23, 1873. 
Mr. H. O. Flifper. 

Dear Sir : Your letter of the 21st, asking me, as member-elect to 
Congress from this State, to appoint you cadet to West Point, was 
received this morning. You are a stranger to me, and before I can 
comply with your request you must get your teacher, Mr. James L. 
Dunning, P.M., Colonel H. P. Fanorr, and other Republicans to 
indorse for you. Give me assurance you are worthy and well quali- 
fied and I will recommend you. 

Yours respectfully, 

J. C. Freeman. 
Reply No, 2. 

Griffin, March 22, 1873. 
Mr. H. 0. Flipper. , 

Dear Sir : On my arrival from Washington I found your letter 
of the 19th. I have received an invitation from the War Department 
to appoint, or nominate, a legally qualified cadet to the United States 
Military Academy from my district. 

* It has been impossible for the author to obtain copies of his 
own letters to the Hon. Congressman who appointed him, which is 
to be regretted. The replies are inserted in such order that they will 
readily suggest the tenor of the first communications. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 19 

As you were the first applicant, I am disposed to give you the first 
chance ; but the requirements are rigid and strict, and I think you 
had best come down and see them. If after reading them you think 
you can undergo the examination without doubt, I will nominate 
you. But I do not want my nominee to fail to get in. 
Yours very respectfully, 

J. C. Freeman. 
Beply No. 3. 

Griffin, Ga., March 26, 1873. 
Mr. H. O. Flipper. 

Dear Sir : Your letter of the 24th to hand, and contents noted. 
While your education may be sufficient, it requires many other quali- 
fications — such as age, height, form, etc. ; soundness of lungs, limbs, 
etc. I will send you up the requirements, if you desire them, and call 
upon three competent gentlemen to examine you, if you desire it. 
Let me hear from you again on the subject. 

Yours respectfully, 

J. C. Freeman. 
Beply No. 4. 

Griffin, March 28, 1873. 
Mr. H. 0. Flipper. 

Dear Sir : Yours of 26th at hand. I have concluded to send the 
paper sent me to J. A.Holtzclaw, of Atlanta, present Collector of Inter- 
nal Revenue. You can call on him and examine for yourself. If 
you then think you can pass, I will designate three men to examine 
you, and if they pronounce you up to the requirements I will ap- 
point you. 

Yours truly, 

J. C. Freeman. 
Reply No. 5. 

Griffin, April 5, 1873. 
Mr. II. 0. Flipper. 

Dear Sir : The board of examiners pronounce you qualified to 
enter the Military Academy at West Point. You will oblige me by 
sending me your given name in full, also your age to a month, and 
the length of time you have lived in the Fifth District, or in or near 
Atlanta. I will appoint you, and send on the papers to the Secretary 
of War, who will notif y you of the same. From his letter to me you 
will have to be at West Point by the 25th day of May, 1873. 
Yours respectfully, 

J. C. FREEMA2T. 

P.S. — You can send letter to me without a stamp. 



20 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Beply M. 6. 

Griffin, April 17, 1873. 
Mr. Henry O. Flipper. 

Dear Sir : I this day inclose you papers from the War Depart- 
ment. You can carefully read and then make up your mind "whether 
you accept the position assigned you. If you should sign up, direct 
and forward to proper authorities, Washington, D. C. If you do not 
accept, return the paper to my address, Griffin, Ga. 
I am yours very respectfully, 

J. C. Freeman. 

The papers, three in number, referred to in the 

above letter, are the following : 

War Department, ) 
Washington, April 11, 1873. f 

Sir : You are hereby informed that the President has conditionally 
selected you for appointment as a Cadet of the United States Military 
Academy at West Point. 

Should you desire the appointment, you will report in person to 
the Superintendent of the Academy between the 20th and 25th days 
of May, 1873, when, if found on due examination to possess the 
qualifications required by law and set forth in the circular hereunto 
appended, you will be admitted, with pay from July 1st, 1873, to 
serve until the following January, at which time you will be exam- 
ined before the Academic Board of the Academy. Should the result 
of this examination be favorable, and the reports of your personal, 
military, and moral deportment be satisfactory, your warrant of ap- 
pointment, to be dated July 1st, 1873, will be delivered to you ; but 
should the result of your examination, or your conduct reports be 
unfavorable, you will be discharged from the military service, unless 
otherwise recommended, for special reasons, by the Academic Board, 
but will receive an allowance for travelling expenses to your home. 

Your attention is particularly directed to the accompanying circu- 
lar, and it is to be distinctly understood that this notification confers 
upon you no right to enter the Military Academy unless your qualifi- 
cations agree fully with its requirements, and unless you report for 
examination within the time specified. 

You are requested to immediately inform the Department of your 
acceptance or declination of the contemplated appointment upon the 
conditions annexed. 

Geo. M. Robeson, 

Acting Secretary of War. 
Henry O. Flipper, Atlanta, Georgia. 

Through Hon. J. C. Freeman, M.C. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 21 

CIRCULAR. 

1. Candidates must be actual bona fide residents of the Congres- 
sional district or Territory for which their appointments are made, 
and must be over seventeen and under twenty-two years of age at the 
time of entrance into the Military Academy ; but any person who has 
served honorably and faithfully not less than one year as an officer or 
enlisted man in the army of the United States, either as a Volunteer, 
or in the Regular service, during the war for the suppression of the 
rebellion, shall be eligible for appointment up to the age of twenty- 
four years. They must be at least five feet in height, and free from 
any infectious or immoral disorder, and, generally, from any deform- 
ity, disease, or infirmity which may render them unfit for arduous 
military service. They must be proficient in Beading and Writing ; in 
the elements of English Grammar ; in Descriptive Geography, particu- 
larly of our own country, and in the History of the United States. 

In Arithmetic, the various operations in addition, subtraction, mul- 
tiplication, and division, reduction, simple and compound proportion, 
and vulgar and decimal fractions, must be thoroughly understood and 
readily performed. 

The following are the leading physical disqualifications : 
: 1. Feeble constitution and muscular tenuity ; unsound health 
from whatever cause ; indications of former disease ; glandular swell- 
ings, or other symptoms of scrofula. 

2. Chronic cutaneous affections, especially of the scalp. 

3. Severe injuries of the bones of the head ; convulsions. 

4. Impaired vision, from whatever cause ; inflammatory affections 
of the eyelids ; immobility or irregularity of the iris ; fistula, lachry- 
malis, etc., etc. 

5. Deafness ; copious discharge from the ears. 

G. Loss of many teeth, or the teeth generally unsound. 

7. Impediment of speech. 

8. Want of due capacity of the chest, and any other indication of 
a liability to a pulmonic disease. 

9. Impaired or inadequate efficiency of one or both of the superior 
extremities on account of fractures, especially of the clavicle, con- 
traction of a joint, extenuation, deformity, etc., etc. 

10. An unusual excurvature or incurvature of the spine. 

11. Hernia. 

12. A varicose state of the veins of the scrotum or spermatic cord 
(when large), sarcocele, hydrocele, hemorrhoids, fistulas. 

13. Impaired or inadequate efficiency of one or of both of the in- 



22 THE COLORED CADET AT "WEST POINT. 

ferior extremities on account of varicose veins, fractures, malforma- 
tion (flat feet, etc.), lameness, contraction, unequal length, bunions, 
overlying or supernumerary toes, etc., etc. 

14. Ulcers, or unsound cicatrices of ulcers likely to break out 
afresh. 

Every person appointed, upon arrival at West Point, is submitted 
to a rigid medical examination, and if any causes of disqualification 
are found to exist in him to such a degree as may now or hereafter 
impair his efficiency, he is rejected. 

No person who has served in anjr capacity in the military or naval 
service of the so-called Confederate States during the late rebellion 
can receive an appointment as cadet at the Military Academy. 

II. The pay of a cadet is $500 per annum, with one ration per 
day, to commence with his admission into the Military Academy, and 
is sufficient, with proper economy, for his support. 

III. Each cadet must keep himself supplied with the following 
mentioned articles, viz. : 

One gray cloth coatee ; one gray cloth riding -jacket ; one regulation great-coat ; 
two pairs of gray cloth pantaloons, for winter ; six pairs of drilling pantaloons for 
summer ; one fatigue- jacket for the encampment ; one black dress cap ; one forage 
cap ; one black stock ; *two pairs of ankle-boots ; *six pairs of white gloves ; two 
sets of white belts ; *seven shirts and twelve collars ; *six pairs winter socks ; *six 
pairs summer socks ; *four pairs summer drawers ; *three pairs winter drawers ; 
*six pocket-handkerchiefs ; *six towels ; *one clothes-bag, made of ticking ; *one 
clothes-brush ; *one hair-brush ; *one tooth-brush ; *one comb ; one mattress ; 
one pillow ; *two pillow-cases ; *two pairs sheets ; *one pair blankets ; *one quilted 
bed-cover ; one chair ; one tumbler ; *one trunk ; one account-book ; and will unite 
with his room-mate in purchasing, for their common use, one looking-glass, one 
wash-stand, one wash-basin, one pail, and one broom, and shall he required to have 
one table, of the pattern that may be prescribed by the^Superintendent. 

The articles marked thus * candidates are required to bring with 
them ; the others are to be had at West Point at regulated prices, 
and it is better for a candidate to take with him as little clothing of 
any description as is possible (excepting what is marked), and no 
more money than will defray his travelling expenses ; but for the 
parent or guardian to send to ' ' The Treasurer of the Military Acad- 
emy" a sum sufficient for his necessary expenses until he is admitted, 
and for his clothes, etc., thereafter. 

The expenses of the candidate for board, washing, lights, etc., 
prior to admission, will be about $5 per week, and immediately after 
being admitted to the Institution he must be provided with an outfit 
of uniform, etc., the cost of which will be $88.79. If, upon arrival, 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 23 

he has the necessary sum to his credit on the books of the Treasurer, 
he will start with many advantages, in a pecuniary point of view, 
over those whose means are more limited, and who must, if they 
arrive, as many do, totally unprovided in this way, go in debt on the 
credit of their pay — a burden from which it requires many months to 
free themselves ; while, if any accident compels them to leave the 
Academy, they must of necessity be in a destitute condition. 

No cadet can receive money, or any other supplies, from his 
parents, or from any person whomsoever, without permission from 
the Superintendent. 

IV. If the candidate be a minor, his acceptance must be accom- 
panied by the written consent of his parent or guardian to his signing 
articles, binding himself to serve the United States eight years from 
the time of his admission into the Military Academy, unless sooner 
discharged. 

V. During the months of July and August the cadets live in 
camp, engaged only in military duties and exercises and receiving 
practical military instruction. 

The academic duties and exercises commence on the 1st of Sep- 
tember, and continue till about the end of June. 

The newly appointed cadets are examined at the Academy prior to 
admission, and those not properly qualified are rejected. 

Examinations of the several classes are held in January and June, 
and at the former such of the new cadets as are found proficient in 
studies and have been correct in conduct are given the particular 
standing in their class to which their merits entitle them. After 
either examination cadets found deficient in conduct or studies are 
discharged from the Academy, unless, for special reasons in each 
case, the Academic Board should otherwise recommend. 

These examinations are very thorougb, and require from the cadet 
a close and persevering attention to study, without evasion or slight- 
ing of any part of the course, as no relaxations of any kind can be 
made by the examiners. 

VI. A sound body and constitution, a fixed degree of preparation, 
good natural capacity, an aptitude for study, industrious habits, perse- 
verance, an obedient and orderly disposition, and a correct moral 
deportment are such essential qualifications that candidates know- 
ingly deficient in any of these respects should not, as many do, sub- 
ject themselves and their friends to the chances of future mortifica- 
tion and disappointment, by accepting appointments to the Academy 
and entering upon a career which they can not successfully pursue. 



24: THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Method of Examining Candidates for Admission into the Military 
Academy. 

Candidates must be able to read with facility from any book, giving the proper 
intonation and pauses, and to write portions that are read aloud for that purpose, 
spelling the words and punctuating the sentences properly. 

In Arithmetic they must be able to perform with facility examples under the 
four ground rules, and hence must be familiar with the tables of addition, subtrac- 
tion, multiplication, and division, and be able to perform examples in reduction and 
in vulgar and decimal fractions, such as— 

Add s to | ; subtract § from g ; multiply £ by | ; divide | by §. 

Add together two hundred and thirty-four thousandths (.234), twenty-six thou- 
sandths (.028), and three thousandths (.003). 

Subtract one hundred and sixty-one ten thousandths (.0161) from twenty-live 
hundredths (.25). 

Multiply or divide twenty-six hundredths (.26) by sixteen thousandths (.016). 

They must also be able to change vulgar fractions into decimal fractions, and de- 
cimals into vulgar fractions, with examples like the following : 

Change \% into a decimal fraction of the same value. 

Change one hundred and two thousandths (.102) into a vulgar fraction of the same 
value. - 

In simple and compound proportion, examples of various kinds will be given, 
and candidateswill.be expected to understand the principles of the rules which they 
follow. 

In English Grammar candidates will be required to exhibit a familiarity with 
the nine parts of speech and the rules in relation thereto ; must be able to parse any 
ordinary sentence given to them, and, generally, must understand those portions of 
the subject usually taught in the higher academies and schools throughout the 
country, comprehended under the heads of Orthography, Etymology, Syntax, and 
Prosody. 

In Descriptive Geography they are to name, locate, and describe the natural 
grand and political divisions of the earth, and be able to delineate any one of the 
States or Territories of the American Union, with its principal cities, rivers, lakes, 
seaports, and mountains. 

In History they must be able to name the periods of the discovery and settle- 
ment of the North American continent, of the rise and progress of the United 
States, and of the successive wars and political administrations through which the 
country has passed. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



25 



THE COURSE OF STUDY AND BOOKS USED AT THE 
MILITARY ACADEMY. 

[Books marked thus * are for reference only.] 
First Year — Fourth Class. 



DEPARTMENT. 

Mathematics 



' French. Language. 



Tactics of Artillery and Infan- 
try. 

Use of Small Arms 



TEXT-BOOKS. 

Davies' Bourdon's Algebra. Davies' Legendre's 
Geometry and Trigonometry. Church's Descrip- 
tive Geometry. 

Bolmar's Levizac's Grammar and "Verb Boole. 
Agnel's Tabular System. Berard's Lecons Fran- 
chises. * Spier's and Surenne's Dictionary. 

Practical Instruction in the Schools of the Soldier, 
Company, and Battalion. Practical Instruction 
in Artillery. 

Instruction in Fencing and Bayonet Exercise. 



Second Year — Third Class. 



Mathematics 



French Language. 



Spanish. 



Drawing 

Tactics of Infantry, Artillery, 
and Cavalry. 



Church's Descriptive Geometry, with its applica- 
tion to Spherical Projections. Church's Shades, 
Shadows, and Perspective. Davies' Surveying. 
Church's Analytical Geometry. Church's Cal- 
culus. 

Bolmar's Levizac's Grammar and Verb Book. 
Berard's Lecons Franeaises. Chapsal's Lecons 
et Modeles de Littera'ture Francaise. Agnel's 
Tabular System. Eowan's Morceaux Cnoisis 
des Auteurs Modernes. * Spier's and Surenne's 
Dictionary. 

Josse's Grammar. Morales' Progressive Beader. 
Ollendorff's Oral Method applied to the Spanish, 
•by Velasquez and Simonne. *Seoane's Ncu- 
man and Baretti's Dictionary. 

Topography, etc. Art of Penmanship. 

Practical Instruction in the Schools of the Soldier, 
Company, and Battalion. Practical Instruction 
in Artillery and Cavalry. 



Third Year — Second Class. 



Natural and Experimental Phil- 
osophy. 
Chemistry 

Drawing 

Tactics "of Artillery, Cavalry, 
and Infantry. 



Practical Military Engineering 



Bartlett's Mechanics. Bartlett's Acoustics and 
Optics. Bartlett's Astronomy. 

Fowne's Chemistry. Chemical Physics, from Mil- 
ler. 

Landscape. Pencil and Colors. 

United States Tactics for Garrison, Siege, and 
Field Artillery. United States Tactics for Infant- 
ry. Practical Instruction in the Schools of the 
Soldier, Company, and Battalion. Practical In- 
struction in Artillery and Cavalry. 

Myers' Manual of Signals. Practical and Theo- 
retical Instruction in Military Signaling and 
Telegraphy. 



26 



THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



Fourth Year — First Glass. 



Military and Civil Engineering 
and Science of War. 



Mineralogy and Geology. 
Ethics and Law 



Tactics of Artillery, Cavalry, 
and Infantry. 



Ordnance and Gunnery 

Practical Military Engineering. 



Mahan's Field Fortification. Mahan's Outlines of 
Permanent Fortification. Mahan's Civil Engi- 
neering. Mahan's Fortification and Stereotomy. 
Mahan's Advanced Guard and Outpost, etc 
* Moseley's Mechanics of Engineering. 

Dana's Mineralogy. Hitchcock's Geology. 

French's Practical Ethics. Halleck's International 
Law. Kent's Commentaries (portion on Consti- 
tutional Law). Law and Military Law, by Prof. 
French. Benet's Military Law and the Practice 
of Courts-Martial. 

United States Tactics for Cavalry. Practical In- 
struction in the Schools of the Soldier, Com- 
pany, and Battalion. Practical Instruction in 
Artillery and Cavalry. 

Benton's Ordnance and Gunnery. Practical Pyro- 
techny. 

Practical Instruction in fabricating Fascines, 
Sap Faggots, Gabions, Hurdles, Sap-rollers, etc. ; 
manner of laying out and constructing Gun and 
Mortar Batteries, Field Fortifications and Works 
of Siege ; formation of Stockades, Abatis, and 
other military obstacles ; and throwing and dis- 
mantling Pontoon Bridges. 

Myers' Manual of Signals. Practical Instruction 
in Military Signaling and Telegraphy. 



The second paper was a printed blank, a letter of 
acceptance or non-acceptance, to be filled np, as the 
case may be, signed by myself, countersigned by my 
father, and returned to Washington, D. C. 

The third, which follows, is simply a memoran- 
dum for use of the candidate. 



MEMORANDUM. 

It is suggested to all candidates for admission into the Military 
Academy that, before leaving their place of residence for West Point, 
they should cause themselves to be thoroughly examined by a com- 
petent physician, and by a teacher or instructor in good standing 
By such an examination any serious physical disqualification, or defi- 
ciency in mental preparation, would be revealed, and the candidate 
probably spared the expense and trouble of a useless journey and the 
mortification of rejection. The circular appended to the letter of 
appointment should be carefully studied by the candidate and the 
examiners. 

It should be understood that the informal examination herein 
recommended is solely for the convenience and benefit of the candi- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 27 

date himself, and can in no manner affect the decision of the Aca- 
demic and Medical Examining Boards at West Point. 

Note. — There being no provision whatever for the payment of the travelling ex- 
penses of either accepted or rejected candidates for admission, no candidate should 
fail to provide himself in advance with the means of returning to his home, in case of 
his rejection before either of the Examining Boards, as he may otherwise be put to 
considerable trouble, inconvenience, and even suffering, on account of his destitute 
situation. If admitted, the money brought by him to meet such a contingency can 
be deposited with the Treasurer on account of his equipment as a cadet, or returned 
to his friends. 

After I had secured the appointment the editor 
of one of our local papers, which was at the time 
publishing — weekly, I think — brief biographies of 
some of the leading men of the city, together with 
cuts of the persons themselves, desired to thus bring 
me into notoriety. I was duly consulted, and, ob- 
jecting, the publication did not occur. My chief 
reason for objecting was merely this : I feared some 
evil might befall me while passing through Georgia 
en route for West Point, if too great a knowledge of 
me should precede me, such, for instance, as a pub- 
lication of that kind would give. 

At this interview several other persons — white, of 
course — were present, and one of them — after relat- 
ing the trials of Cadet Smith and the circumstances 
of his dismissal, which, apropos, had not yet oc- 
curred, as he would have me believe — advised me to 
abandon altogether the idea of going to West Point, 
for, said he, "Them northern boys wont treat you 
right." I have a due proportion of stubbornness in 
me, I believe, as all of the negro race are said to 
have, and my Southern friend might as well have 
advised an angel to rebel as to have counselled me 
to resign and not go. He was convinced, too, before 
we separated, that no change in my determination 



28 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

was at all likely to occur. JSText day, in a short 
article, the fact of my appointment was mentioned, 
and my age and degree of education. Some days 
after this, while in the post-office, a gentleman beck- 
oned to me, and we withdrew from the crowd. He 
mentioned this article, and after relating — indeed, re- 
peating, to my amusement, the many hardships to 
which I should be subjected, and after telling me he 
had a very promising son — candid, wasn't he \ — whom 
he desired to have educated at West Point, offered 
me for my appointment the rather large sum of five 
thousand dollars. This I refused instantly. I had so 
set my mind on West Point that, having the appoint- 
ment, neither threats nor excessive bribes could in- 
duce me to relinquish it, even if I had not possessed 
sufficient strength of character to resist them other- 
wise. However, as I was a minor, I referred him to 
my father. I have no information that he ever con- 
sulted him. If he had, my reply to him would have 
been sustained. I afterward had reason to believe 
the offer was made merely to test me, as I received 
from strangers expressions of confidence in me and 
in my doing faithfully all that might devolve upon 
me from my appointment. 



CHAPTER III. 

BEPOETIJSTG. 

~\ /TAY 20th, 1873 ! Auspicious day ! From the 
-L*-L deck of the little ferry-boat that steamed its way 
across from Garrison's on that eventful afternoon 
I viewed the hills about West Point, her stone struc- 
tures perched thereon, thus rising still higher, as 
if providing access to the very pinnacle of fame, and 
shuddered. With my mind full of the horrors of 
the treatment of all former cadets of color, and the 
dread of inevitable ostracism, I approached trem- 
blingly yet confidently. 

The little vessel having been moored, I stepped 
ashore and inquired of a soldier there where candi- 
dates should report. He very kindly gave me all 
needed information, wished me much success, for 
which I thanked him, and set out for the designated 
place. I soon reached it, and walked directly into 
the adjutant's office. He received me kindly, asked 
for my certificate of appointment, and receiving that 
— or assurance that I had it : I do not now remember 
which — directed me to write in a book there for the 
purpose the name and occupation of my father, the 
State, Congressional district, county and city of his 
residence, my own full name, age, State, county, and 
place of my birth, and my occupation when at home. 
This done I was sent in charge of an orderly to cadet 
2 



30 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

barracks, where my " plebe quarters" were assigned 
me. 

The impression made upon me by what I saw 
while going from the adjutant's office to barracks 
was certainly not very encouraging. The rear win- 
dows were crowded with cadets watching my un- 
pretending passage of the area of barracks with 
apparently as much astonishment and interest as 
they would, perhaps, have watched Hannibal cross- 
ing the Alps. Their words, jeers, etc., were most 
insulting. 

Having reached another office, I was shown in by 
the orderly. I walked in, hat in hand — nay, rather 
started in — when three cadets, who were seated in 
the room, simultaneously sprang to their feet, and 
welcomed me somewhat after this fashion : 

" Well, sir, what do you mean by coming into 
this office in that manner, sir ? Get out of here, sir." 

I walked out, followed by one of them, who, in a 
similar strain, ordered me to button my coat, get my 
hands around — "fins" he said — heels together, and 
head up. 

" Now, sir," said he, leaving me, "when you are 
ready to come in, knock at that door," emphasizing 
the word " knock." 

The door was open. I knocked. He replied, 
"Come in." I went in. I took my position in 
front of and facing him, my heels together, head up, 
the palms of my hands to the front, and my little 
fingers on the seams of my pantaloons, in which 
position we habitually carried them. After correct- 
ing my position and making it sufficiently military 
to suit himself, one of them, in a much milder tone, 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 81 

asked what I desired of them. I told liim I had 
been sent by the adjutant to report there. He arose, 
and directing me to follow him, conducted me to the 
bath-rooms. Having discharged the necessary duty 
there, I returned and was again put in charge of the 
orderly, who carried me to the hospital. There I 
was subjected to a rigid physical examination, which 
I "stood" with the greatest ease. I was given a 
certificate of ability by the surgeon, and by him sent 
again to the adjutant, who in turn sent me to the 
treasurer. From him I returned alone to barracks. 

The reception given to " plebes" upon reporting 
is often very much more severe than that given me. 
Even members of my own class can testify to this. 
This reception has, however, I think, been best de- 
scribed in an anonymous work, where it is thus set 
forth : 

" How dare you come into the presence of your 
superior officer in that grossly careless and unmili- 
tary manner? I'll have you imprisoned. Stand, 
attention, sir !" (Even louder than before.) "Heels- 
together-and-on-the-same-line, toes-equally-turned- 
out, little-fingers-on-the-seams-of-your-pantaloons, 
button-your-coat, draw-in-your-chin, throw-out- 
your-chest, cast-your-eyes-fifteen-paces-to-the-front, 
don't-let-me-see-you-wearing-standing-collars-again. 
Stand-steady, sir. You've evidently mistaken your 
profession, sir. In any other service, or at the seat 
of war, sir, you would have been shot, sir, without 
trial, sir, for such conduct, sir." 

The effect of such words can be easily imagined. 
A "plebe" will at once recognize the necessity for 
absolute obedience, even if he does know all this is 



32 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

hazing, and that it is doubtless forbidden. Still 
" plebes" almost invariably tremble while it lasts, 
and when in their own quarters laugh over it, and 
even practise it upon each other for mutual amuse- 
ment. 

On the way to barracks I met the squad of 
" beasts" marching to dinner. I was ordered to fall 
in, did so, marched to the mess hall, and ate my 
first dinner at West Point. After dinner we were 
marched again to barracks and dismissed. I hast- 
ened to my quarters, and a short while after was 
turned out to take possession of my baggage. I 
lugged it to my room, was shown the directions on 
the back of the door for arrangement of articles, and 
ordered to obey them within half an hour. The 
parts of the regulations referred to are the follow- 
ing : 

SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR BARRACKS. 



ORDERLIES OP ROOMS. 

The particular attention of Orderlies is directed to those para- 
graphs of the Regulations for the U. S. Military Academy specifying 
their duties. 

CADETS. 

The hours of Recitation of each Cadet will he posted on the hack 
of the door of his room. When a room is being washed out by the 
policeman, on reporting to the Officer of the Day, and stating to him 
the number of some room in his own Division he wishes to visit, a 
Cadet will be permitted to visit that particular room until his own 
can be occupied. The uniform coat will be worn from 8 till 10 A.M. ; 
at Inspection before 10 a.m. the coat will be buttoned through- 
out ; at Sunday Morning Inspection gloves and side-arms will also 
be worn. After 10 A.M. any uniform garment or dressing-gown 
may be worn in their own rooms, bat at no time will Cadets be in 
their shirt-sleeves unnecessarily. During the " Call to Quarters," 
between " Inspection Call " in the morning and " Tattoo," the follow- 
ing Arrangement of Furniture, etc., will be required : 

ACCOUTREMENTS. 

Dress Cap — On gun-rack shelf. 

Cartridge Boxes, Waist Belts, Sabres, Forage Cape — Hung on 
pegs near gun-rack shelf. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 33 

Muskets — In gun-rack, Bayonets in the scabbards. 
Spurs — Hung on peg with Sabres. 

BEDSTEADS AND BEDDING. 

Bedsteads — In alcove, against side wall of the room, the head 
against the back wall. 

Bedding — Mattress to be folded once ; Blankets and Comforters, 
each one to be neatly and separately folded, so that the folds shall 
be of the width of an ordinary pillow, and piled at the head of the 
Bedstead in the following order, viz. : Mattress, Sheets, Pillows, 
Blankets, and Comforters, the front edge of sheets, pillows, etc., 
to be vertical. On Sunday afternoons the Beds may be made down 
and used. 

clothes-press. 

Books — On the top of the Press, against the wall, and with the 
backs to the front. Brushes (tooth and hair), Combs, Shaving Im- 
plements and Materials, such small boxes as may be allowed, 
vials, etc., to be neatly arranged on the upper shelf. Belts, Col- 
lars, Gloves, Handkerchiefs, Socks, etc., to be neatly arranged 
on the second shelf from the top. Sheets, Pillow-Cases, Shirts, 
Drawers, White Pants, etc., to be neatly arranged on the other 
shelves, the heaviest articles on the lower shelves. 

Arrangement — All articles of the same kind are to be carefully 
and neatly placed in separate piles. The folded edges of these arti- 
cles to be to the front, and even with the front edge of the shelf. 
Nothing will be allowed between these piles of clothing and the back 
of the press, unless the want of room on the front edge renders it 
necessary. 

Dirty Clothes — To be kept in clothes-bag. 

Shoes and Over-Shoes — To be kept clean, dusted, and arranged in 
a line where they can be seen by the Inspector, either at the foot of 
the bedstead or at the side near the foot. 

Woollen Clothing, Dressing- Goto n, and Clothes-Bag — To be hung 
on the pegs in alcove in the following general order, from the front 
of the alcove to the back : Over-Coat, Dressing-Gown, Uniform 
Coats, Jackets, Pants, Clothes-Bag. 

FURNITURE. 

Broom — To be kept behind the door. Tin Box for Cleaning 
Materials — To be kept clean and in the fire-place. Spittoon — To 
be kept on one side of the hearth near mantel-piece. Chairs and 
Tables — On no occasion to be in alcoves, the chairs, when not in 
use, to be against the owners' tables. Looking-Glass — At the centre 
of the .mantel-piece. Wash-Stand — To be kept clean, in front 
and against alcove partition. Wash-Basin — To be kept clean, and 
inverted on the top of the wash-stand. Water-Bucket — To be 
kept on shelf of wash-stand. Slop-Bucket — To be kept near to 
and on side of wash-stand, opposite door. Baskets, Pictures, Clocks, 
Statues, Trunks, and large Boxes will not be allowed in quarters. 

Curtains — Window-Curtains — Only uniform allowed, and to be 
kept drawn back during the day. Alcove-Curtains — Only uni- 



34 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

form allowed, and to be kept drawn, except between " Tattoo" and 
" Reveille" and when dressing. Curtains of Clothes-Press — 
To be kept drawn, except when policing room. 

FLOOR. 
To be kept clean, and free from grease-spots and stains. 

WALLS AND WOOD-WORK. 
To be kept free from cobwebs, and not to be injured by nails or 
otherwise. 

HEATING APPARATUS, SCREEN AND TOP. 
To be kept clean, and not to be scratched or defaced. 



These Regulations will be strictly obeyed and enforced. 

By order of Lieut. -Colonel UPTON, 

GEORGE L. TURNER, 

Cadet Lieut, and Adjutant. 
Headquarters, Corps of Cadets, 

West Point, N. ¥., Sept. 4, 1873. 

At the end of the time specified every article was 
arranged and the cadet corporal returned to inspect. 
He walked deliberately to the clothes-press, and, in- 
forming me that every thing was arranged wrong, 
threw every article upon the floor, repeated his 
order, and withdrew. And thus three times in less 
than two hours did I arrange and he disarrange my 
effects. I was not troubled again by him till after 
supper, when he inspected again, merely opening 
the door, however, and looking in. He told me I 
could not go to sleep till " tattoo." ]S"ow tattoo, as 
he evidently used it, referred in some manner to 
time, and with such reference I had not the remotest 
idea of what it meant. I had no knowledge what- 
ever of military terms or customs. However, as I 
was also told that I could do any thing — writing, etc. 
— I might wish to do, I found sufficient to keep me 
awake until he again returned and told me it was 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 35 

then tattoo, that I could retire then or at any time 
within half an hour, and that at the end of that time 
the light must be extinguished and I must be in 
bed. I instantly extinguished it and retired. 

Thus passed my first half day at West Point, and 
thus began the military career of the fifth colored 
cadet. The other four were Smith of South Caro- 
lina, Napier of Tennessee, Howard of Mississippi, 
and Gibbs of Florida. 

What I had seen and experienced during the few 
hours from my arrival till tattoo filled me with fear 
and apprehension. I expected every moment to be 
insulted or struck, and was not long in persuading 
myself that the various reports which I had heard 
concerning Smith were true — I had not seen him yet, 
or, if I had, had not recognized him — and that my 
life there was to be all torture and anguish. I was 
uneasy and miserable, ever thinking of the regula- 
tions, verbal or written, which had been given me. 
How they haunted me ! I kept repeating them 
over and over, fearful lest I might forget and violate 
them, and be dismissed. If I wanted any thing or 
wished to go anywhere, I must get permission of 
the cadet officers on duty over us. To get such per- 
mission I must enter their office cleanly and neatly 
dressed, and, taking my place in the centre of the 
room, must salute, report my entrance, make known 
my wants, salute again, and report my departure.* 

* Somewhat after this fashion : 

" Candidate F — , United States Military Academy, reports his en- 
trance into this office, sir." 

" Well, sir, what do you want in this office ?" 

" I desire permission, sir, to walk on public lands till retreat." 



36 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

At the instant I heard the sound of a drum I must 
turn out at a run and take my place in the ranks. 

At five o'clock the next morning two unusual 
sounds greeted my ears — the reveille, and a voice in 
the hall below calling out in a loud martial tone : 

" Candidates, turn out promptly !" In an aston- 
ishingly short time I had dressed, " turned out," and 
was in ranks. We stood there as motionless as 
statues till the fif ers and drummers had marched up 
to barracks, the rolls of the companies had been 
called, and they themselves dismissed. We were then 
dismissed, our roll having been also called. We with- 
drew at a run to our quarters and got them ready 
for inspection, which, we were informed, would take 
place at the expiration of half an hour. At the end 
of this time our quarters were inspected by a cor- 
poral. In my own room he upset my bedding, 
kicked my shoes into the middle of the room, and 
ordered me to arrange them again and in better 
order. This order was obeyed immediately. And 
this upsetting was done in every room, as I learned 
afterward from the occupants, who, strange to say, 
manifested no prejudice then. 'Twas not long ere 
they learned that they were prejudiced, and that they 
abhorred even the sight of a" d — d nigger." 

Just before, or perhaps just after breakfast, our 
quarters were again inspected. This time I was 
somewhat surprised to hear the corporal say, " Very 
well, Mr. Flipper, very well, sir." 

And this, with other things, shows there was a 

" No, sir, you can't walk on public lands till retreat. Get out of 
my sight." 

" Candidate F — , United States Military Academy, reports his de- 
parture from this office, sir." 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 37 

friendly feeling toward me from the first. After hav- 
ing thus expressed himself, he directed me to print 
my name on each of f onr pieces of paper, and to tack 
them np in certain places in the room, which he indi- 
cated to me. I did this several times before I could 
please him ; but at last succeeded. Another cor- 
poral visited me during the day and declared every- 
thing out of order, although I had not touched a 
single thing after once satisfying the first corporal. 
Of course I had to rearrange them to suit him, in 
which I also finally succeeded. 

At eleven o'clock the mail came. I received a 
letter, and to my astonishment its postmark was 
"West Point, W. Y., May 21st." Of course I was 
at a loss to know who the writer was. I turned it 
over and over, looked at it, studied the postmark, 
finally opened it and read it. * 

This was another surprise — a welcome surprise, 
however. I read it over several times. It showed 
me plainly that Smith had not been dismissed, as 
had been reported to me at home. I at once formed 



* This letter by some means has been misplaced, and all efforts to 
find it, or to discover what its exact contents were, have failed. 
However, it was from James Webster Smith, the first and then only- 
cadet of color at West Point. It reassured me very much, telling me 
not to fear either blows or insults, and advising me to avoid any 
forward conduct if I wished also to avoid certain consequences, 
"which," said the writer, " I have learned from sad experience," 
would be otherwise inevitable. It was a sad letter. I don't think 
any thing has so affected me cr so influenced my conduct at West 
Point as its melancholy tone. That ' ' sad experience' ' gave me a world 
of warning. I looked upon it as implying the confession of some 
great error made by him at some previous time, and of its sadder 
consequences. 



88 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

a better opinion of West Point than I before had, 
and from that day my fears gradually wore away. 

The candidates now reported rapidly, and we, 
who had reported the day % previous, were compara- 
tively undisturbed. At four o'clock I visited Smith 
at his quarters by permission. My visit was neces- 
sarily a short one, as he was then preparing for 
drill. It sufficed, however, for us to become ac- 
quainted, and for me to receive some valuable advice. 
An hour and place were designated for us to meet 
next day, and I took my leave of him. The 
" plebes" turned out en masse, walked around the 
grounds and witnessed the drilling of the battalion. 
We enjoyed it immensely. They were that day 
skirmishing and using blank cartridges. We 
thought the drill superb. I was asked by a fellow- 
" plebe," " Think you'll like that ?" 

" Oh yes," said I, "when I can do it as easily 
as they do." 

We had quite a lengthy conversation about the 
fine appearance of the cadets, their forms, so straight 
and manly, evoking our greatest admiration. This, 
alas ! was our only conversation on any subject. 
The gentleman discovered ere long that he too was 
prejudiced, and thus one by one they " cut" me, 
whether for prudential reasons or not I can not pre- 
sume to say. 

I went into the office one day, and standing un- 
covered at about the middle of the room, in the posi- 
tion of the soldier, saluted and thus addressed a 
cadet officer present : 

" Candidate Flipper, United States Military Acad- 
emy, reports his entrance into this office, sir." 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 39 

" Well, what do you want V was the rather gruff 
reply. 

"I desire permission to visit Smith, sir," an- 
swered I, thoughtlessly saying " Smith," instead of 
"Mr." or "Cadet Smith." 

He instantly sprang from his seat into rather 
close proximity to my person and angrily yelled : 

" Well, sir, I want to hear you say ' Mr. Smith.' 
I want you to understand, sir, he is a cadet and 
you're a 'plebe,' and I don't want to see such 
familiarity on your part again, sir," putting partic- 
ular emphasis on " Mr." 

Having thus delivered himself he resumed his 
seat, leaving me, I imagine, more scared than other- 
wise. 

" What do you want?" asked he again, after a 
pause of a moment or so. 

" Permission to visit Mr. Smith." 

Without condescending to notice for the time my 
request he gave the interview a rather ludicrous 
turn, I thought, by questioning me somewhat after 
this manner : 

" Can you dance, Mr. Flipper 2" 

Having answered this to his entire satisfaction, 
he further asked : 

" Expect to attend the hops this summer ?" 

" Oh no, sir," replied I, smiling, as he also was, 
for I had just discovered the drift of his questions. 
After mischievously studying my countenance for 
a moment, he returned to the original subject and 
queried, " Where do you want to go 2" 

I told him. 

" Well, get out of my sight." 



4:0 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

I considered the permission granted, and hastily 
withdrew to take advantage of it. 

Between breakfast and supper those of ns who 
had been there at least a day had quite a pleasant 
time. We were not troubled with incessant inspec- 
tions or otherwise. We either studied for examina- 
tion or walked around the grounds. At or near 
seven o'clock, the time of retreat parade, we were 
formed near our barracks and inspected. Our ranks 
were opened and the cadet lieutenant inspected our 
clothing and appearance generally. A not infre- 
quent occurrence on these occasions was : 

" Well, mister, what did you shave with — a shoe- 
horn ?" 

At this we would smile, when the lieutenant, 
sergeant, or corporal would jump at us and yell : 

" Wipe that smile off your face, sir ! What do 
you mean, sir, by laughing in ranks ?" 

If any one attempted to reply he was instantly 
silenced with — 

" Well, sir, don't reply to me in ranks." 

The inspection would be continued. Some one, 
unable to restrain himself — the whole affair was so 
ridiculous — would laugh right out in ranks. He 
was a doomed man. 

" What do you mean, sir, by laughing in ranks, 
sir?" 

Having been once directed not to reply in ranks, 
the poor " plebe" would stand mute. 

" Well, sir, don't you intend to answer me ?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" Well, sir, step it out. Yv r hat were you grinning 
at?" 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 41 

" Nothing, sir." 

"Nothing! Well, sir, you're a pretty thing to 
be grinning at nothing. Get in ranks." 

The inspection would, after many such interrup- 
tions, be continued. Ranks would at length be closed 
and the command, "In place, rest!" given. The 
battalion would march in from parade at double time 
and form in the area to our rear. The delinquencies 
of the day previous would then be published by the 
cadet adjutant. 

"What most strikes a " plebe" is this same pub- 
lication. He hasn' t the remotest idea of what it is. 
Not a word uttered by the adjutant is understood 
by him. He stands and wonders what it is. A per- 
fect jargon of words, unintelligible and meaningless 
to him ! I remember distinctly how I used to won- 
der, and how I was laughed at when I asked for in- 
formation concerning it. We ' ' plebes' ' used to 
speak of it often, and wonder if it was not French. 
When we were better acquainted with the rules and 
customs of the Academy we learned what it was. It 
was something of this nature, read from the "De- 
linquency Book:" 

Delinquencies, Tuesday, Oct. 12. 

Adams. — Late at reveille roll-call. 

Be jay. — Sentinel not coming to " Arms, Port," when addressed 
by the officer of the day. 

Same. — Not conversant with orders at same. 

Barnes. — Same at same. 

Same. — Sentinel, neglect of duty, not requiring cadet leaving his 
post to report his departure and destination. 

Same. — Hanging head, 4 p.m. 

Bulow. — Dust on mantel at inspection, 9.30 a.m. 

Same. — Executing manual of arms with pointer in section-room, 

9 A.M. 



42 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Same. — Using profane expression, 1 p.m. 1 
Cullen. — Out of bed at taps. 
Dorms. — Light in quarters, 11 p.m. 
Same. — Not prepared on 47 Velasquez.* 

On the 26th of May, another colored candidate 
reported. It is said he made the best show at the 
preliminary examination. Unfortunately, however, 
he was "found" at the following semi-annual ex- 
amination. He was brought up to my quarters by a 
corporal, and I was ordered to give him all instruc- 
tion which had previously been given me. This I 
did, and his first days at West Point were much 
more pleasant than mine had been. 

The candidates had now all reported, and Mon- 
day afternoon, May 28 th, we were each given by the 
Adjutant in person a slip of paper upon which was 
written the number of each man' s name in an alpha- 
betically arranged roll. This we had special direc- 
tions to preserve. The next day we were marched 
up to the Drawing Academy, and examined in gram- 
mar, history, and geography ; the following day in 
orthography and reading. On the 'same day, also, 
we were required to write out a list of all the text- 
books we had used in our previous school-days. 
The day following we were divided into sections and 
marched to the library, where the Academic Board 

* For these delinquencies the cadets are allowed to write explana- 
tions. If the offence is absence from quarters or any duty without 
authority, or is one committed in the Academical Department, called 
an Academical Delinquency, such as not being prepared on some 
lesson, an explanation is required and must be written. For all other 
offences the cadet can write an explanation or not as he chooses. If 
the explanation is satisfactory, the offence is removed and he gets no 
demerits, otherwise he does. For form of explanation see Chapter 
X. , latter part. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 43 

was in readiness to examine ns in mathematics. It 
took quite a while to examine our class of more 
than one hundred members thus orally. I am not 
positive about the dates of the examination. I 
know it occurred in the immediate vicinity of those 
named. 

Not many days after this the result of the exam- 
ination was made known to us. The familiar cry, 
"Candidates, turn out promptly," made at about 
noon, informed us that something unusual was about 
to occur. It was a fearful moment, and yet I was 
sure I had "passed." The only questions I failed 
on were in geography. I stood motionless while the 
order was being read until I heard my name among 
the accepted ones. I felt as if a great burden had 
been removed from my mind. It was a beginning, 
and if not a good one, certainly not a bad one. 
What has been the ending % Let the sequel show. 

Now that the examination was over and the de- 
ficient ones gone, we were turned out for drill every 
morning at half- past five o'clock and at four in the 
afternoon. We were divided into squads of one 
each, and drilled twice a day in the " settings up" 
until about June 20th. After a few drills, however, 
the squads were consolidated into others of four, 
six, and eight each. The surplus drill-masters were 
" turned in." Their hopes were withered, for it was 
almost a certainty that those who were " turned in" 
would not be "made." They expected to be 
"made" on their proficiency in drilling, and when 
it was shown by being " turned in" that others had 
been thought better drill-masters, they were not a 
little disappointed. How they "boned" tactics! 



44 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

What proficiency they manifested ! How they 
yelled out their commands ! What eagerness they 
showed to correct errors, etc. And yet some could 
not overcome their propensity for hazing, and these 
were of course turned in. ~Not always thus, how- 
ever. Those who were not "turned in" were not 
always "made" corporals. Often those who were 
so treated " got the chevrons" after all. 

" Plebe drill," or, more familiarly, "squad 
drill," has always been a source of great amusement 
to citizens, but what a horror to plebes. Those tor- 
turous twistings and twirlings, stretching every 
nerve, straining every sinew, almost twisting the 
joints out of place and making life one long agoniz- 
ing effort. Was there ever a "plebe," or recruit, 
who did not hate, did not shudder at the mere men- 
tion of squad drill % I did. Others did. I remem- 
ber distinctly my first experience of it. I formed an 
opinion, a morbid dislike of it then, and have not 
changed it. The benefit, however, of " squad drill " 
can not be overestimated. It makes the most crooked, 
distorted creature an erect, noble, and manly being, 
provided, of course, this distortion be a result of 
habit and not a natural deformity, the result of lazi- 
ness in one's walking, such as hanging the head, 
dropping the shoulders, not straightening the legs, 
and crossing them when walking. 

Squad drill is one of the painful necessities of 
military discipline, and no one regrets Ms experience 
of it, however displeasing it may have been at the 
time. It is squad drill and hazing that so success- 
fully mould the coarser characters who come to West 
Point into officers and gentlemen. They teach him 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 45 

how to govern and be governed. They are more 
effectual in polishing his asperities of disposition and 
forming his character than any amount of regulations 
could be. They tame him, so to speak. 

Squad drill was at once a punishment, a mode of 
hazing, and a drill. For the least show of grossness 
one was sure to be punished with " settings up, sec- 
ond time !" " settings up, fourth time !" " Continue 
the motion, settings up second (or fourth) time !" 
We would be kept at these motions until we could 
scarcely move. Of course all this was contrary to 
orders. The drill-master would be careful not to be 
" hived." If he saw an officer even looking at him, 
he would add the command " three," which caused 
a discontinuance of the motion. He would change, 
however, to one of the other exercises immediately, 
and thus keep the plebes continually in motion. 
When he thought the punishment sufficient he would 
discontinue it by the command "three," and give 
"place, rest." When the " place, rest" had been 
just about sufficient to allow the plebe to get cool 
and in a measure rested, the drill would be resumed 
by the command " 'tion, squad" (abbreviated from 
"attention" and pronounced "shun"). If the 
plebe was slow, "place, rest" was again given, and 

"When I give the command ''tion, squad,' I 
want to see you spring up with life." 

"'Tion, squad !" 

Plebe is slow again. 

" Well, mister, wake up. This is no trifling mat- 
ter. Understand?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" Well, sir, don't reply to me in ranks." 



46 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

And many times and terms even more severe than 
these. 

~Now that Williams and myself were admitted, the 
newspapers made their usual comments on such 
occurrences. I shall quote a single one from T/ie 
New National Era and Citizen, published in Wash- 
ington, D. C, and the political organ of the colored 
people. The article, however, as I present it, is 
taken from another paper, having been by it taken 
from the Era and Citizen : 

"COLORED CADETS AT WEST POINT. 
" The New National Era and Citizen, which is the national organ of 
the colored people, contains a sensible article this week on the status 
of colored cadets at West Point. After referring to the colored 
young men, ' Plebes ' Flipper of Georgia, and Williams of Virginia, 
who have passed the examination requisite for entering the Academy, 
the Era and Citizen says : ' Now that they are in, the stiff and 
starched proteges of the Government make haste to tell the reporters 
that "none of the fellows wonld hurt them, but every fellow would 
let them alone. " Our reporter seems to think that " to be let alone " 
a terrible doom. So it is, if one is sent to Coventry by gentlemen. 
So it is, if one is neglected by those who, in point of education, thrift, 
and morality are our equals or superiors. So it is not, if done by the 
low-minded, the ignorant, and the snobbish. If it be possible, 
among the four hundred young charity students of the Government, 
that Cadet Smith, for instance, finds no warm friends, and has won 
no respect after the gallant fight he has made for four years— a 
harder contest than he will ever have in the sterner field — then we 
despair of the material which West Point is turning out. If this be 
true, it is training selfish, snobbish martinets — not knightly soldiers, 
not Havelocks, Hardinges, and Kearneys — but the lowest type of dis- 
ciplined and educated force and brutality — the Bluchers and Marl- 
boroughs. We scarcely believe this, however, and we know that 
any young man, whether he be poor or black, or both, may enter 
any first-class college in America and find warm sympathetic friends, 
both among students and faculty, if he but prove himself to be pos- 
sessed of some good qualities If the Smiths, Flippers, 

and Williamses in their honorable school-boy careers can not meet 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 47 

social as well as intellectual recognition while at West Point, let 
them study on and acquit themselves like men, for they will meet, 
out in the world, a worthy reception among men of worth, who 
have put by the prejudices of race and the shackles of ignorance. 
Emerson says somewhere that " Solitude, the nurse of Genius, is the 
foe of mediocrity." If our young men of ability have the stuff iD 
them to make men out of, they need not fear "to be let alone" for a 
while ; they will ultimately come to the surface and attain worthy 
recognition. ' 

' ' That is plain, practical talk. We like it. It has the ring of the 
true metal. It shows that the writer has faith in the ultimate tri- 
umph of manhood. It is another form for expressing a firm belief 
that real worth will find a reward. Never has any bond people 
emerged from slavery into a condition full of such grand opportuni- 
ties and splendid possibilities as those which are within the reach of 
the colored people of the United States ; but if those opportunities 
arc to be made available, if those possibilities are to be realized, the 
colored people must move into the fore-front of action and study and 
work in their own behnlf. The colored cadets at West Point, the 
colored students in the public schools, the colored men in the profes- 
sions, the trades, and on the plantations, can not be idlers if they are 
to compete with the white race in the acquisition of knowledge and 
property. But they have examples of notable achievements in their 
own ranks which should convince them that they have not the 
slightest reason to despair of success. The doors stand wide open, 
from the plantation to the National Capitol, and every American citi- 
zen can, if he will, attain worthy recognition." 

And thus, ere we had entered upon our new 
duties, were we forewarned of the kind of treatment 
we should expect. To be " sent to Coventry," "to 
be let severely alone," are indeed terrible dooms, 
but we cared naught for them. "To be let alone 1 ' 
was what we wished. To be left to our own re- 
sources for study and improvement, for enjoyment 
in whatever way we chose to seek it, was what we 
desired. We cared not for social recognition. We 
did not expect it, nor were we disappointed in not 
getting it. We would not seek it. We would not 



48 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

obtrude ourselves upon them. "We would not accept 
recognition unless it was made willingly. We would 
be of them at least independent. We would mark 
out for ourselves a uniform course of conduct and 
follow it rigidly. These were our resolutions. So 
long as we were in the right we knew we should be 
recognized by those whose views were not limited or 
bound by such narrow confines as prejudice and 
caste, whether they were at West Point or elsewhere. 
Confident that right on our own part would secure 
us just treatment from others, that " if we but prove 
ourselves possessed of some good qualities" we could 
find friends among both faculty and students. 

I came to West Point, notwithstanding I had heard 
so much about the Academy well fit to dishearten 
and keep one away. And then, too, at the time I 
had no object in seeking the appointment other than 
to gratify an ordinary ambition. Several friends 
were opposed to my accepting it, and even persuaded 
me, or rather attempted to persuade me, to give up 
the idea altogether. I was inexorable. I had set 
my mind upon West Point, and no amount of per- 
suasion, and no number of harrowing narratives of 
bad treatment, could have induced me to relinquish 
the object I had in view. But I was right. The 
work I chose, and from which I could not flinch 
without dishonor, proved far more important than 
either my friends or myself at first thought it 
would be. 

Let me not, however, anticipate. Of this import- 
ance more anon. 



CHAPTER IV. 

CA1S T T TERMS, ETC. 



AS a narrative of this description is very apt to be 
dry and uninteresting, I have thought it possible 
to remove in a measure this objection by using as 
often as convenient the cant lingo of the corps. A 
vocabulary which shall contain it all, or nearly all, 
becomes necessary. I have taken great care to make 
it as full as possible, and at the same time as intel- 
ligible as possible. 

There are a few cant words and expressions which 
are directly personal, and in many cases self-ex- 
planatory. They are for such reasons omitted. 

' ' Animal, " " animile, " " beast, " " reiDtile. ' ' — 
Synonymous terms applied to candidates for ad- 
mission into the Academy. 

" Plebe." — A candidate after admission, a new 
cadet. After the candidates are examined and the 
proficient ones admitted, these latter are known 
officially as " new cadets," but in the cant vernacu- 
lar of the corps they are dubbed " plebes," and they 
retain this designation till the candidates of the next 
year report. They are then called "yearlings," a 
title applied usually to them in camp only. After 
the encampment they become " furloughmen" until 
they return from furlough in August of the follow- 
ing year. They then are "second-classmen," and 
are so officially and a la cadet throughout the year. 



50 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

From this time till they graduate they are known as 
the "graduating class," so that, except the second 
class, each class has its own peculiar cant designation. 

Candidates generally report in May — about the 
20th — and during July and August are in camp. 
This is their " plebe camp." The next is their 
" yearling camp." During the next they are en 
conge, and the next and last is their " first-class 
camp." Of "plebe camp," " yearling camp," and 
" first-class camp," more anon. 

"Rapid." — A "plebe" is said to be "rapid" 
when he shows a disposition to resist hazing, or to 
"bone familiarity" with older cadets — i.e., upper 
classmen. 

" Sep." — A cadet who reported for admission in 
September. 

" Fins." — A term applied to the hands generally, 
of course to the hands of " plebes." 

" Prelim." — A preliminary examination. 

" Pred." — A predecessor. 

" Pony." — A key, a corrige. 

" To bone." — To study, to endeavor to do well in 
any particular ; for instance, to " bone demerits" is 
to strive to get as few as possible. 

" To bone popularity." — This alludes to a habit 
practised, especially by " yearlings" while in camp, 
and is equivalent to our every-day expression in civil 
life, viz., " to get in with." 

" To bugle it." — To avoid a recitation. To avoid 
a recitation is an act seldom done by any cadet. It 
is in fact standing at the board during the whole 
time of recitation without turning around, and thus 
making known a readiness to recite. At the Academy 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 51 

a bugle takes the place of the bell in civil schools. 
When the bugle is blown those sections at recitation 
are dismissed, and others come in. Now, if one 
faces the board till the bugle blows, there is not then 
enough time for him to recite, and he is said to have 
" bugled it." Some instructors will call on any one 
who shows a disposition to do so, and will require 
him to tell what he knows about his subject. 

" Busted," " broken." — These words apply only 
to cadet officers who are reduced to ranks. 

"A cold case." — A sure thing, a foregone con- 
clusion. 

" To get chevrons." — To receive an appointment 
in the battalion organization. Each year, on the day 
the graduates receive their diplomas, and just after 
— possibly just before — they are relieved from fur- 
ther duty at the Academy, the order fixing the ap- 
pointments for the next year is read, and those of 
the year previous revoked. It has been customary 
to appoint the officers, captains, and lieutenants from 
the first class, the sergeants from the second, and 
the corporals from the third. This custom has at 
times, and for reasons, been departed from, and the 
officers chosen as seemed best. 

For any offence of a grave nature, any one who 
has chevrons is liable to lose them, or, in other 
words, to be reduced to ranks. 

" A cifc." — Any citizen. 

" To crawl over." — To haze, generally in the se- 
verest manner possible. 

" A chapel." — An attendance at church. 

" To curse out." — To reprimand, to reprove, and 



52 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

also simply to interview. This expression does not 
by any means imply the use of oaths. 

" To cut," " To cut cold." — To avoid, to ostracize. 

" Debauch." — Any ceremony or any tiling un- 
usual. It may be a pleasant chat, a drill, or any 
thing that is out of the usual routine. 

" To drive a squad." — To march it. 

" Dropped." — Wot promoted. 

" To eat up." — See " To crawl over." 

" Exaggerations." — It is a habit of the cadets to 
exaggerate on certain occasions, and especially when 
policing. "A log of wood," "a saw-mill," "a 
forest," and kindred expressions, are applied to any 
fragment of wood of any description that may be 
lying about. A feather is "a pillow;" a straw, 
" a broom factory ;" a pin, an " iron foundry ;" a 
cotton string, " a cotton factory ;" and I have known 
a " plebe" to be told to " get up that sugar refinery," 
which " refinery" was a cube of sugar crushed by 
some one treading upon it. 

Any thing — whatever it may be — which must be 
policed, is usually known by some word or term 
suggested by its use or the method or the place of 
its manufacture. 

"To find." — To declare deficient in studies or 
discipline. 

An "extra" is an extra tour of guard duty given 
as punishment. Cadets on "extra" are equipped 
as for parade, and walk in the area of Cadet Bar- 
racks from two o' clock until retreat, or from two to 
five hours, on Saturday or other days of the week. 
An "extra" is sometimes called a " Saturday Pun- 
ishment." 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POUSTT. 53 

" A fern," " femme." — Any female person. 

" A file." — Any male person. 

' c Fessed, ' ' ' ' f essed cold, " " f essed frigid, " " f ess- 
ed out," and " fessed through." — Made a bad recita- 
tion, failed. 

" To get off." — To perpetrate. 

"A gag," "Grin," "Grind." — Something witty, 
a repartee. 

" To hive." — To detect, used in a good and bad 
sense. Also to take, to steal. 

" To hoop up." — To hasten, to hurry. 

" H. M. P." — Hop manager's privileges. 

' ' A keen. ' ' —See ' ' Gag, ' ' etc. 

" To leap on." — See " To crawl over." 

" Made." — Given an appointment, given chevrons 
as an officer in the battalion organization. 

"A make." — Such an appointment. 

" Maxed." — Made a thorough recitation. 

" Ath."— The last one. 

" To pile in." — To retire. 

" To pink."— To report for any offence. 

" To plant." — To bury with military honors. 

" To police one's self." — To bathe. 

" To pot." — " To pink," which see. 

'* Prof." — Professor. 

" To put in." — To submit in writing. 

" To put into the battalion." — To assign to a com- 
pany, as in case of new cadets. 

" Ragged," " ragged out." — Made a good recita- 
tion. 

"Reveilles." — Old shoes, easy and comfortable, 
worn to reveille roll-call, 

(l Reekless, ricochet," — Careless, indifferent. 
3 



54 THE COL® RED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

" To run it." — To do any thing forbidden. To 
risk. 

" To run it on." — To impose upon. 

" Shout." — Excellent, i.e.-, will create much com- 
ment and praise. 

" Sketch-house. "• — The Drawing Academy. 

" To skin." — See " To pink" (most common). 

" To be spooney." — To be gallant. 
-"To spoon." — To be attentive to ladies. 

" A spoon." — A sweetheart. 

' ' Shungudgeon. ' ' — A stew. 

" Supe." — Superintendent. 

" To step out."— See " To hoop up." 

" Topog." — A topographical drawing. 

" To turn in." — To repair to one's quarters. 

" To be sent in." — To order any thing sent in. 

" To turn out." — To come out, or send out. 

" To be white," " To treat white." — To be polite, 
courteous, and gentlemanly. 

" To wheaten." — To be excused by surgeon. 

" To yank." — To seize upon violently. 

" O. Gr. P." — Old guard privileges. 

" Chem." — Chemistry. 

" Math." — Mathematics. 

" Phil."— Philosophy. 

' ' Rocks. ' ' — Mineralogy. 

" Wigwag."— Signalling. 

" To get out of." — To shun, to shirk. 

"Thing."— A "plebe." 

" To extinguish."- — To distinguish. 

" To go for."— To haze. 

"House." — Room, quarters. 
" To freeze to." — To hold firmly. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 55 

" To wipe out." — To destroy. 

' ' Limbo. ' ' — Confinement. 

" Solemnclioly." — Sad, dejected. 

"Plebeskin." — A rubber overcoat issued to new 
cadets. 

"Turnbacks." — Cadets turned back to a lower 
class. 

' ' Div, ' ' subdiv. ' ' — Division, subdivision. 

" Devils." — Fellows familiarly. 
' ' ' Tab. ' ' — Tabular system of French. 

"To celebrate. ' ' —To do. 

" A stayback." — A graduate detained at gradua- 
tion to instruct the new cadets.* 

" Scratch day." — A day when lessons are hard 
or numerous. 

" Gum game." — A joke. 
" To fudge." — To copy. 

BENNY HAVENS O. 

[A number of cadets sitting or lounging about the room. One at 
table pouring out the drinks. As soon as he is done he takes up his 
own glass, and says to the others, " Come, fellows," and then all 
together standing :] 

Stand up in a row, 

For sentimental drinking we're going for to go ; 

In the army there's sobriety, promotion's very slow, 

So we'll cheer our hearts with choruses of Benny Havens' O. 

Of Benny Havens' O, of Benny Havens' O, 

We'll cheer our hearts with choruses of Benny Havens* 0, 

* When the cadets are in barracks, the officer of the guard on 
Sundays either has or assumes authority to detain from church, for 
any emergency that might arise, one or two or more members of his 
guard, in addition to those on post on duty. Cadets so detained are 
called " staybacks." 



56 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

When you and I and Benny, and General Jackson too, 

Are brought before the final Board our course of life t' review, 

May we never " fess" on any point, but then be told to go 

To join the army of the blest at Benny Havens' O. 

At Benny Havens' O, at Benny Havens' O, 

To join the army of the blest at Benny Havens' O. 

To the ladies of the army let our bumpers ever flow, 

Companions of our exile, our shield 'gainst every woe, 

May they see their husbands generals with double pay to show, 

And indulge in reminiscences of Benny Havens' O. 

Of Benny Havens O, of Benny Havens' O, 

And indulge in reminiscences of Benny Havens' O. 

'Tis said by commentators, in the land where we must go 

We follow the same handicraft we followed here below ; 

If this be true philosophy (the sexton, he says no), 

What days of dance and song we'll have at Benny Havens' O. 

At Benny Havens' O, at Benny Havens' O, 

What days of dance and song we'll have at Benny Havens' O ! 

To the ladies of the Empire State, whose hearts and albums too 
Bear sad remembrance of the wrongs we stripling soldiers do, 
We bid you all a kind farewell, the best recompense we know — 
Our loves and rhymings had their source at Benny Havens' O. 
At Benny Havens' O, at Benny Havens' O, 
Our loves and rhymings had their source at Benny Havens' O. 

[Tben, with due solemnity, every head uncovered and bowed 
low, they sing :] 

There comes a voice from Florida, from Tampa's lonely shore ; 

It is the wail of gallant men, O'Brien is no more ; 

In the land of sun and flowers his head lies pillowed low, 

No more to sing petite coquille at Benny Havens' O. 

At Benny Havens' 0, at Benny Havens' O, 

No more to sing petite coquille at Benny Havens' O, etc. 



CHAPTER V. 

PLEBE CAMP. 

^T)LEBE CAMP !" The very words are sugges- 
J- tive. Those who have been cadets know what 
' ' plebe camp' 'is. To a plebe just beginning his mili- 
tary career the first experience'of camp is most trying. 
To him every thing is new. Every one seems de- 
termined to impose npon him, and each individual 
' c plebe' ' fancies at times he' s picked out from all the 
rest as an especially good subject for this abuse (?). 
It is not indeed a very pleasant prospect before him, 
nor should he expect it to be. But what must be 
his feelings when some old cadet paints for his pleas- 
ure camp scenes and experiences % Whatever he 
may have known of camp life before seems as 
naught to him now. It is a new sort of life he is to 
lead there, and he feels himself, although curious 
and anxious to test it, somewhat shy of entering 
such a place. There is no alternative. He accepts 
it resignedly and goes ahead. It is not always with 
smiling countenance that he marches out and 
surveys the site after reveille. Indeed, those who 
do have almost certainly received a highly colored 
sketch of camp life, and are hastening to sad disap- 
pointment, and not at all to the joys they've been 
led to expect. He marches into the company 
streets. He surveys them carefully and recognizes 
what is meant by " the plebes have to do all the 



58 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

policing," servants being an unknown luxury. He 
also sees the sentry-boxes and the paths the senti- 
nels tread, and shudders as he recollects the tales 
of midnight adventure which some wily cadet has 
narrated to him. Imagination begins her cruel 
work. Already he sees himself lying at the bottom 
of Fort Clinton Ditch tied in a blanket, or perhaps 
fetterless and free, but helpless. Or he may imagine 
his hands are tied to one, and his feet to the other 
tent-pole, and himself struggling for freedom as he 
recognizes that the reveille gun has been fired and 
those merciless fifers and drummers are rapidly 
finishing the reveille. And, horror of horrors ! 
mayhap his fancies picture him standing trembling- 
ly on post at midnight's solemn hour, his gun just 
balanced in his hands, while numbers of cadets in 
hideous sheets and other ghostly garb approach or 
are aleady standing around torturing him. And 
again, perchance, he challenges some approaching 
person in one direction, and finds to his dismay the 
officer of the day, the officer of the guard, and a cor- 
poral are crossing and recrossing his post, or having 
already advanced without being challenged, are 
demanding why it is, and why he has been so neg- 
ligent. 

Just after reveille on the morning of June 22d 
the companies were marched to their company 
streets, and the ' c plebes' ' assigned to each followed 
in rear. At the time only the tent floors and cord 
stays were on the ground. These former the 
' ' plebes' ' were ordered to align. This we did while 
the old cadets looked on, occasionally correcting or 
making some suggestion. It required considerable 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 59 

time to do this, as we were inexperienced and had to 
await some explanation of what we were to do. 

When at last we were done, tents, or rather tent 
floors, were assigned to us. We thence returned to 
barracks and to breakfast. Our more bulky effects 
were carried into camp on wagons before breakfast, 
while the lighter articles were moved over by our 
own hands. By, or perhaps before, eleven o'clock 
every thing had been taken to camp. By twelve we 
were in ranks ready to march in. At the last stroke 
of the clock the column was put in march, and we 
marched in with all the ' ' glory of war. ' ' We stacked 
arms in the company streets, broke ranks, and each 
repaired to the tent assigned him, which had by this 
time been brought over and placed folded *on the 
tent floors. They were rapidly prepared for raising, 
and at a signal made on a drum the tents were raised 
simultaneously, 'mid rousing cheers, which told 
that another " camp" was begun. 

After this we had dinner, and then we put our 
tents in order. At four o'clock the police-call was 
sounded, and all the " plebes" were turned out to 
police the company streets. This new phase of West 
Point life — and its phases rapidly developed them- 
selves — was a hard one indeed. The duties are 
menial, and very few discharge them without some 
show of displeasure, and often of temper. None are 
exempt. It is not hard work, and yet every one 
objects to doing it. The third and fourth classes, 
by regulations, are required to do the policing. 
When I was a plebe, the plebes did it all. Many 
indeed tried to shirk it, but they were invariably 
"hived." Every plebe who attempted any such 



60 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT* 

thing was closely watched and made to work. The 
old cadets generally chose such men for " special 
dutymen," and required them to bring water, pile 
bedding, sweep the floor, and do all sorts of menial 
services. Of course all this last is prohibited, and 
therefore risky. Somebody is ' ' hived ' ' and severely 
punished almost every year for allowing plebes to 
perform menial duties for him. But what of that % 
The more dangerous it becomes the more is it prac- 
tised. Forbidden things always have an alluring 
sweetness about them. More caution, however, is 
observed. If, for instance, a cadet should want a 
pail of water, he causes a plebe to empty his (the 
plebe' s) into his own (the cadet's). If it should be 
empty, he sends him to the hydrant to fill it, and, 
when he returns, gets possession of it as before. An 
officer seeing a plebe with his own pail — recognizable 
by his own name being on it in huge Roman char- 
acters — going for water would say nothing to him. 
If the name, however, should be that of a cadet, the 
plebe would be fortunate if he escaped an investiga- 
tion or a reprimand on the spot, and the cadet, too, 
if he were not put in arrest for allowing a new cadet 
to perform menial services for him. If he wants a 
dipper of iced- water, he calls out to the first plebe 
he sees in some such manner as this : " Oh ! Mr. 

, don't you want to borrow my dipper for a 

little while?" The plebe of course understands 
this. He may smile possibly, and if not serving 
some punishment will go for the water. 

Plebes are also required to clean the equipments 
of the older cadets. They do it cheerfully, and, 
strange to say, are as careful not to be "hived" as 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 61 

the cadet whose accoutrements they are cleaning. I 
say " required." I do not mean that regulations or 
orders require this of the new cadets, but that the 
cadets by way of hazing do. From the heartrending 
tales of hazing at West Point, which citizens some- 
times read of, one would think the plebes would offer 
some resistance or would complain to the authorities. 
These tales are for the most part untrue. In earlier 
days perhaps hazing was practised in a more in- 
human manner than now. It may be impossible, 
and indeed is, for a plebe to cross a company street 
without having some one yell out to him : "Get 
your hands around, mister. Hold your head up ;' ' 
but all that is required by tactics. Perhaps the fre- 
quency and unnecessary repetition of these cautions 
give them the appearance of hazing. However that 
may be, there seems to be no way to impress upon 
a plebe the necessity of carrying his " palms to the 
front," or his " head up." To report him and give 
him demerits merely causes him to laugh and joke 
over the number of them that have been recorded 
against him. 

I do not mean to defend hazing in any sense of 
the word ; but I do believe that it is indispensable 
as practised at the Academy. It would simply be 
impossible to mould and polish the social amalgama- 
tion at West Point without it. Some of the rouerh 
specimens annually admitted care nothing for regu- 
lations. It is fun to them to be punished. Nothing 
so effectually makes a plebe submissive as hazing. 
That contemptuous look and imperious bearing- 
lowers a plebe, I [sometimes think, in his own esti- 
mation. He is in a manner cowed and made to feel 



62 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

that he must obey, and not disobey ; to feel that he 
is a plebe, and must expect a plebe' s portion. He 
is taught by it to stay in his place, and not to "bone 
popularity" with the older cadets. 

It is frequently said that "plebe camp" and 
" plebe life" are the severest parts of life at West 
Point. To some they are, and to others they are 
not. With my own 'self I was almost entirely free 
from hazing, and while there were features in 
"plebe life" which I disliked, I did nevertheless 
have a far easier and better time than my own white 
classmates. Even white plebes often go through 
their camp pleasantly and profitably. Only those 
who shirk duty have to suffer any unusual punish- 
ment or hazing. 

I have known plebes to be permitted to do any 
thing they chose while off duty. I have known 
others to have been kept working on their guns or 
other equipments Avhole days for several days at a 
time. It mattered not how clean they were, or how 
soon the work was done. I've known them to be 
many times interrupted for the mere sake of hazing, 
and perhaps to be sent somewhere or to do some- 
thing which was unnecessary and would have been 
as well undone. Plebes who tent with first-classmen 
keep their own tents in order, and are never per- 
mitted by their tentmates to do any thing of the kind 
for others unless when wanted, are entirely unoccu- 
pied, and then usually their services are asked for. 
A classmate of mine, when a plebe, tented with a 
first-classman. He was doing something for him- 
self one day in a free-and-easy manner, and had no 
thought of disturbing any one. A yearling cor- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 63 

poral, who was passing, saw him, thought he was 
having too good and soft a time of it, and ordered 
him out to tighten cords, an act then highly un- 
called for, save as a means of hazing. The first- 
classman happened to come up just as the plebe 
began to interfere with the cords, and asked him 
who told him to do that. He told him, and. was at 
once directed to leave them and return to whatever 
he was doing before being interrupted. The year- 
ling, confident in his red tape and his mightiness, 
ordered the plebe out again. His corporalship soon 
discovered his mistake, for the first-classman gave 
the plebe fall information as to what could be re- 
quired of him, and told him to disobey any improper 
order of the corporal' s which was plainly given to 
haze him. The affair was made personal. A fight 
ensued. The corporal was worsted, to the delight, 
I imagine, of the plebes. 

Again, I've known plebes to be stopped from 
work — if they were doing something for a cadet — -to 
transfer it to some other one who was accustomed to 
shirk all the duty he could, or who did things slowly 
and slovenly. Indeed I may assert generally that 
plebes who are willing to work have little to do out- 
side of their regular duty, and fare in plebe camp 
quite as well as yearlings ; while those who are stub- 
born and careless are required to do most all the 
work. Cadets purposely select them and make 
them work. They, too, are very frequently objects of 
hazing in its severest form. At best, though, plebe 
camjj is rather hard, its numerous drills, together 
with guard and police duty, make it the severest 



64: THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

and most undesirable portion of the four years a 
cadet spends at the Academy. 

To get up at five o'clock and be present at re- 
veille roll-call, to police for half an hour, to have 
squad drill during the next hour, to put one's tent 
in order after that, and then to prepare one's self for 
breakfast at seven, make up a rather trying round 
of duties To discharge them all — and that must 
certainly be done — keeps one busy ; but who would 
not prefer little extra work — and not hard work at 
that — in the cooler part of the day to an equal 
amount in the heated portion of it % I am sure the 
plebes do. I know the corporals and other officers 
who drill them do, although they lose their after- 
reveille sleep. 

After breakfast comes troop parade at eight 
o'clock, guard mounting immediately after, and 
the establishment of the "color line." Arms and 
accoutrements must be in perfect order. The 
plebes clean them during the afternoon, so that be- 
fore parade it is seldom necessary to do more than 
wipe off dust, or adjust a belt, or something of the 
kind. 

After establishing the "color line," which is 
done about 8.30 a.m., all cadets, save those on guard 
and those marching on, have time to do whatever 
they choose. The cadets generally repair to the 
guard tents to see lady friends and other acquaint- 
ances, while the plebes either interest themselves in 
the inspection of " color men," or make ready for 
artillery drill at nine. The latter drill, commencing 
at 9 a.m., continues for one hour. The yearlings 
and plebes receive instruction in the manual and 



THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 65 

nomenclature of the piece. The drill is not very 
trying unless the heavy guns are used — I mean un- 
less they are drilled at the battery of twelve-pound- 
ers. Of late both classes have been drilled at bat- 
teries of three-inch rifles. These are light and easily 
manoeuvred, and unless the heat be intense the drill 
is a very pleasant one. 

The first class, during this same hour, are drilled 
at the siege or seacoast battery. The work here is 
sometimes hard and sometimes not. When firing, 
the drill is pleasant and interesting, but when we 
have mechanical manoeuvres all this pleasantness 
vanishes. Then we have hard work. Dismounting 
and mounting is not a very pleasant recreation. 

At eleven o'clock, every day for a week or ten 
days, the plebes have manual drill. This is entirely 
in the shade, and when "In pi ace, rest," is fre- 
quently given, is not at all displeasing, except when 
some yearling corporal evinces a disposition to haze. 
At five o' clock this drill is repeated. Then comes 
parade, supper, tattoo, and best of all a long night's 
rest. The last two drills continue for a few days 
only, and sometimes do not take place at all. 

The third class, or the yearlings, have dancing 
from eleven to twelve, and the plebes from then till 
one. In the afternoon the plebes have nothing to 
do in the way of duty till four o'clock. The camp 
is then policed, and when that is done there may or 
may not be any further duty to discharge till retreat 
parade. After the plebes are put in the battalion — 
that is, after they begin drilling, etc., with their 
companies — all cadets attend company drill at five 
o'clock. After attending a few of these drills the 



66 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

first class is excused from further attendance dur- 
ing the encampment. One officer and the requisite 
number of privates, however, are detailed from the 
class each day to act as officers at these drills. 

I omitted to say that the first class received in 
the forenoon instruction in practical military en- 
gineering and ordnance. 

What most tries plebes, and yearlings, too, is 
guard duty. If their classes are small, each mem- 
ber of them is put on guard every third or fourth 
day. To the plebes, being something entirely new, 
guard duty is very, very obnoxious. 

During the day they fare well enough, but as 
soon as night comes "well enough" disappears. 
They are liable at any moment to be visited by 
cadets on a hazing tour from the body of the camp, 
or by the officers and non-commissioned officers of 
the guard. The latter generally leave the post of 
the guard in groups of three or four. After getting 
into camp they separate, and manage to come upon 
a sentinel simultaneously and from all points of the 
compass. If the sentinel isn't cool, he will challenge 
and advance one, and possibly let the others come 
upon him unchallenged and unseen even. Then woe 
be to him ! He'll be " crawled over" for a cer- 
tainty, and to make his crimes appear as bad as 
possible, will be reported for " neglect of duty while 
a sentinel, allowing the officers and non-commis- 
sioned officers of the guard to advance upon him, 
and to cross his post repeatedly without being chal- 
lenged." He knows the report to be true, and if he 
submits an explanation for the offence his inexperi- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 67 

ence will be considered, and lie will probably get no 
demerits for Ms neglect of dnty. 

Bnt the best joke of all is in their manner of 
calling off the half-honrs at night, and of challeng- 
ing. Sometimes we hear No. 2 call off, " No. 2, ten 
o'clock, and all is well," in a most natural and un- 
concerned tone of voice, while No. 3 may sing out, 
"No. 3, ten o'clock and all is well-1-1," changing 
his tone only on the last word. Then No. 4, with 
another variation, may call off, " No. 4, ten o'clock, 
and all-1-1-1' s well, ' ' changing his tone on ' ' all-1-1-1' s, ' ' 
and speaking the rest, especially the last word, in a 
low and natural manner of voice, and sometimes 
abruptly. And so on along the entire chain of senti- 
nels, each one calls off in a manner different from 
that of the rest. Sometimes the calling off is 
scarcely to be heard, sometimes it is loud and full, 
and again it is distinct but squeakish. It is indeed 
most delightful to be in one's tent and here the 
plebes call off in the still quiet hours of the night. 
One can't well help laughing, and yet all plebes, 
more or less, call off in the same manner. 

Plebe sentinels are very troublesome sometimes 
to the non-commissioned officers of the guard. They 
receive their orders time after time, and when in- 
spected for them most frequently spit them out with 
ease and readiness ; but just as soon as night comes, 
and there is a chance to apply them, they " fess 
utterly cold," and in the simplest things at that. 
Nine plebes out of ten almost invariably challenge 
thus, " Who comes here f "Who stands here?" 
" Who goes here?" as the case may be, notwith- 
standing they have been repeatedly instructed orally, 



68 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

and have seen the words, as they should be, in the 
regulations. If a person is going, and is a hundred 
yards or so off, it is still, "Who goes here?" 
Everything is " liere." 

One night the officer of the day concealed himself 
near a sentinel's post, and suddenly appeared on 
it. The plebe threw his gun down to the proper 
position and yelled out, " Who conies here ?" The 
officer of the day stopped short, whereupon the 
plebe jumped at him and shouted, " Who stands 
here?" Immediately the officer started off, say- 
ing as he did so, "I'm not standing; I'm going." 
Then of course the challenge was again changed to, 
" Who goes here f " I'm not going ; I'm coming," 
said the officer, facing about and approaching the 
sentinel. This was kept up for a considerable time, 
till the officer of the 'day got near a sentry-box and 
suddenly disappeared. The plebe knew he was 
there, and yelled in a louder tone than before, ' ' Who 
stands here? "Sentry-box," was the solemn and 
ghostly response. 

It is hardly reasonable, I think, to say the plebe 
was frightened ; but he actually stood there motion- 
less, repeating his challenge over and over again, 
" Who stands here f" 

There was a light battery in park near by, and 
through this, aided by the gloom, the officer of the 
day managed to pass unobserved along, but not on 
the sentinel's post. He then got upon it and ad- 
vanced on him, making the while much noise with 
his sword and his heavy tread. He walked directly 
up to the sentinel unchallenged, and startled him by 
asking, " What are you standing here yelling for ?" 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 69 

The plebe told him that the officer of the day had 
been upon his post, and he had seen him go behind 
the sentry-box. And all this to the officer of the 
day, standing there before him, "Well, sir, whom 
do you take me to be V 

The plebe looks, and for the first time brought 
to full consciousness, recognizes the officer of the 
day. Of course he is surprised, and the more so 
when the officer of the day inspects for his — the 
plebe' s — satisfaction the sentry-box, and finds no 
one there. He "eats" that plebe up entirely, and 
then sends a corporal around to instruct him in his 
orders. When the corporal comes it may be just as 
difficult to advance him. He may, when chal- 
lenged, advance without replying, or, if he replies, 
he may say, "Steamboat," "Captain Jack, Queen 
of the Modocs," as one did say to me, or some- 
thing or somebody else not entitled to the counter- 
sign. Possibly the plebe remembers this, and he 
may command " Halt !" and call another corporal. 
This latter may come on a run at " charge bayonets," 
and may not stop till within a foot or so of the 
sentinel. He then gets another " cursing out." 
By this time the corporal who first came and was 
halted has advanced unchallenged and unnoticed 
since the arrival of the second. And then another 
cursing out. Thus it is that plebe camp is made so 
hard. 

Surely the officers and non-commissioned officers 
are right in testing by all manner of ruses the ability 
of the sentinels. It is their duty to instruct them, 
to see that they know their orders, and are not 
afraid to apply them. 



TO THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Sometimes plebes enjoy it, and like to be cursed 
out. Sometimes they purposely advance toward a 
party improperly, to see what will be said to them. 
It is fun to some, and to others most serious. At 
best it gives a plebe a poor opinion of West Point, 
and while he may bear it meekly he nevertheless 
sighs for the 

" touch of a vanished hand," 

the caressing hand of a loving mother or sister. I 
know I used to hate the very name of camp, and I 
had an easier time, too, than the other plebes. 

Of course the plebes, being inexperienced for the 
most part, are "high privates in the rear rank." 
For another reason, also, this is the case. The first 
and second classes have the right established by im- 
memorial custom of marching in the front rank, 
which right necessarily keeps the plebes in the rear 
rank, and the yearlings too, except so many as are 
required in the front rank for the proper formation 
of the company. Another reason, perhaps,- may be 
given to the same end. We have what we call class 
rank, or, in other words, class standing. Every class 
has certain privileges and immunities, which the 
junior classes do not enjoy ; for example, first-class- 
men, and second-classmen too — by General Orders 
of September, 1876 — are excused from guard duty 
in the capacity of privates, and are detailed — first- 
ulassmen for officers of the day and officers vi the 
guard, and second-classmen for non-commissioned 
officers of the guard. All members of the third and 
fourth classes are privates, and from them the pri- 
vates of the guard are detailed. All officers, com- 
missioned and non-commissioned, are exempt from 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 71 

'■'■Saturday punishment" I mean they do not 
walk extra tours of guard for punishment. The 
non-commissioned officers are sometimes required to 
serve such punishments by discharging the duties of 
corporal or sergeant in connection with the punish- 
ment squad. Third- and fourth-classmen enjoy no 
such immunities. Plebes, then, having no rank what- 
ever, being in fact conditional cadets until they shall 
have received their warrants in the following Jan- 
uary, must give way to those who have. One half 
or more of the privates of the company must be in 
the front rank. This half is made up of those who 
rank highest, first-classmen and second-classmen, 
and also, if necessary, a number of third- classmen. 
Plebes must then, except in rare cases, march in the 
rear rank, and from the time they are put in the 
battalion till the close of the summer encampment, 
they are required to carry their hands with palms to 
the front as prescribed in the tactics. 

All this is kept up till the close - of camp, and 
makes, I think, plebe camp the most trying part of 
one' s cadet life. 

On the 28th of August the furloughmen return, 
and report to the commandant at two o'clock for 
duty. 

In the afternoon the battalion is sized and quar- 
ters are assigned under the supervision of the assist- 
ant-instructors of tactics. 

At parade the appointment of officers and non- 
commissioned officers for the ensuing year is pub- 
lished, and also orders for the discontinuance of the 
encampment. 

In the evening the " twenty-eighth hop 1 ' takes 



72 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

place, and is the last of the season. On the 29th — 
and beginning at reveille — the cadets move their 
effects into winter quarters in barracks. All heavy- 
articles are moved in on wagons, while all lighter 
ones are carried over by cadets themselves. By- 
seven o'clock everything is moved away from camp, 
save each cadet's accoutrements. 

Breakfast is served at 7 a.m., and immediately 
afterward comes " troop" and guard-mounting, after 
which the entire camp is thoroughly policed. This 
requires an hour or more, and when all is done the 
"general" is sounded. At this the companies are 
formed under arms in their respective company 
streets. The arms are then stacked and ranks broken. 
At least two cadets repair to each tent, and at the first 
tap of the drum remove and roll up all the cords 
save the corner ones. At the second tap, while one 
cadet steadies the tent the other removes and rolls 
the corner cords nearest him. The tents in the body 
of the encampment are moved back two feet, more 
or less, from the color line, while the guard tents 
and those of the company officers are moved in a 
northerly direction. At the third tap the tents fall 
simultaneously toward the color line and the south 
cardinal point, amid rousing cheers. The tents 
being neatly rolled up and placed on the floors, the 
companies are reformed and on the centre. The 
battalion then marches out to take up its winter 
quarters in barracks. 

When camp is over the plebes are no longer re- 
quired to depress their toes or to carry their hands 
with palms to the front. They are, in fact, " cadets 
and gentlemen," and must take care of themselves. 



CHAPTER VI. 

STUDIES, ETC. 

THE academic year begins July 1st, and continues 
till about June 20th the following year. As soon 
after this as practicable — depending upon what time 
the examination is finished — the corps moves into 
camp, with the exception of the second class, who 
go on furlough instead. 

Between the 20th of August and the 1st of Sep- 
tember, the " Seps," or those candidates who were 
unable to do so in tie spring previous, report. Be- 
fore the 1st they have been examined and the de- 
ficient ones dismissed. On the 1st, unless that be 
Sunday, academic duties begin. The classes are 
arranged into a number of sections, according to 
their class rank, as determined at the previous an- 
nual examination, or according to rank in some partic- 
ular study — for instance, for instruction in engineer- 
ing the first class is arranged according to merit in 
philosophy, and not according to general merit or 
class rank. The fourth, or " plebe" class, however, 
is arranged alphabetically since they as yet have no 
class rank. 

The first class study, during the first term, en- 
gineering, law, and ordnance and gunnery. They 
recite on civil engineering from 8 to 11 a.m. daily, 
on ordnance and gunnery from 2 to 4 p.m., alternat- 
ing with law. 



74 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

The second class have natural and experimental 
philosophy from 8 to 11 a.m. daily, and chemistry, 
alternating with riding, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ; also 
drawing in pencil from 2 to 4 p.m. For instruction 
in this department the class is divided into two as 
nearly equal parts as practicable, which alternate in 
attendance at the Drawing Academy. 

The third class have pure mathematics, analytical 
geometry, descriptive geometry, and the principles 
of shades, shadows, and perspective, from 8 to 11 
a.m. daily. They also have French from 11 a.m., 
till 1 p.m., alternating with Spanish. 

The entire class attend drawing daily till Novem- 
ber 1st, when it is divided into two equal parts or 
platoons, which attend drawing and riding on alter- 
nate days. Riding ! " Yearling riding !" I must 
advert to that before I go further. First let me de- 
scribe it. A platoon of yearlings, twenty, thirty, 
forty perhaps ; as many horses ; a spacious riding- 
hall, with galleries that seat but too many mischiev- 
ous young ladies, and whose interior is well supplied 
with tan bark, make up the principal objects in the 
play. Nay, I omit the most important characters, 
the Instructor and the necessary number of enlisted 

men. 

ACT I. 

Scene I. 

Area of barracks. At guard-house door stands an orderly, with 
drum in hands. In the area a number of cadets, some in every-day 
attire, others dressed a la cavalier. These a la cavalier fellows are 
going to take their first lesson in riding. About four-fifths of them 
were never on a horse in their lives, and hence what dire expecta- 
tions hover over their ordinarily placid heads ! They have heard 
from the upper classmen what trials the novice experiences in his 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 75 

first efforts, and they do not go to the riding-hall without some dread. 
Four o'clock and ten minutes. The drum is beaten. 

Officer of the Day. — Form your platoon ! Right, 
face ! Call your roll ! 

Section Marcher. — Bejay ! Barnes! Du Fining! 
Swikeheimer ! Du Flicket, etc. 

Platoon (answering to their names). — Here ! here- 
re-re ! lio-o-o ! M-i-i ! har-ar-ar ! heer-r ! 

Section Marcher (facing about salutes). — All are 
present, sir ! 

Officer of the Bay (returning salute). — March off 
your platoon, sir ! 

Section Marcher (facing about). — Left, face ! for- 
ward. March ! (Curtain falls.) 

ACT II. 

Scene I. 

The riding-hall, a large, spacious, rectangular structure, door on 
each side and at each end, floor well covered with tan bark, spacious 
gallery over each side door, staircases outside leading to them. Gal- 
leries are occupied, one by ladies, and, perhaps a number of gentle- 
men, and the other by enlisted men usually. In the centre of the 
hall are a number of horses, each equipped with a surcingle, blanket, 
and watering bridle. A soldier stands at the head of each one of 
them. As curtain rises enter platoon by side door, and marches 
around the left flank of the line of horses and as far forward as neces- 
sary. 

Section Marcher. — Platoon, halt ! left, face ! 
(Saluting Instructor) All are present, sir ! 

Instructor (saluting). — The Section Marcher will 
take his place on the left. 

He then gives all necessary instruction. 

" To mount the trooper the Instructor first causes 
him to stand to horse by the command ' Stand to 



76 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

horse!" 1 At this command — " Well, see "Cavalry 
Tactics." 

We' ve got the trooper mounted now. After some 
further explanation the Instructor forms them into a 
column of files by the commands : 

" By file, by the right (or left) flank. March !" 

They are now going around the hall at a walk, a 
slow, snail-like pace, but what figures some of them 
present ! Still all goes on quite well. The In- 
structor is speaking : 

"To trot," says he, "raise the hands" ("year- 
lings" use both hands) "slightly. This is to apprise 
the horse that you want his attention. Then lower 
the hands slightly, and at the same time gently press 
the horse with the legs until he takes the gait de- 
sired. As soon as he does, relax the pressure." A 
long pause. The occupants of the galleries are look- 
ing anxiously on. They know what is coming 
next. They have seen these drills over and over 
again. And so each trooper awaits anxiously the 
next command. Alas ! it comes ! " Trot !" 

What peals of laughter from that cruel gallery ! 
But why % Ah ! See there that trooper struggling 
in the tan bark while a soldier pursues his steed. 
He is not hurt. He gets up, brushes away the tan 
bark, remounts and starts off again. But there, he's 
off again ! He's continually falling off or jumping 
off purposely (V). What confusion ! There conies 
one at a full gallop, sticking on as best he can ; but 
there, the poor fellow is off. The horses are running 
away. The troopers are dropping off everywhere in 
the hall. No one is hurt. Alas ! they pressed too 
hard to keep on, and instead of relaxing the pressure 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 77 

at the desired gait, the trot, they kept on pressing, 
the horse taking the trot, the gallop, the run, and 
the trooper, alas ! the dust. Again they had the 
reins too long, and instead of holding on by the flat 
of the thighs with their feet parallel to the horse, we 
see them making all sorts of angles. But that gal- 
lery ! that gallery ! how I used to wish it wasn't 
there ! The very sight of a lady under such cir- 
cumstances is most embarrassing. 

Fair ones, why will you thus torture the " year- 
lings" by your at other times so desirable presence % 

The fourth class have pure mathematics, and al- 
gebra, daily from 8 to 11 a.m., and French also, daily, 
from 2 to 4 p.m. Beginning on October 15th, or as 
near that time as practicable, they have fencing, and 
the use of the bayonet and small-sword. 

During the month of September cadets of all 
classes, or the battalion, are instructed in the in- 
fantry tactics in the " School of the Battalion." 
Near the end of the month it is customary to excuse 
the officers of the first class from these drills, and to 
detail privates to perform their duties for one drill 
only at a time. The other classes are in ranks, or 
the line of file-closers, according as they are ser- 
geants, guides, or privates. 

During October the several classes receive practi- 
cal instruction as follows : The first class in military 
engineering, the manner of making and recording 
the details of a military reconnoissance, and field 
sketching ; the second class in siege and sea-coast 
artillery, and military signalling and telegraphy. 
The class is divided into two parts, composed of the 
odd and even numbers, which attend drills on alter- 
4 



78 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

nate days — that is, artillery one day and signalling 
the next ; the third class in light or field artillery, 
and the theory and principles of " target practice." 
Sometimes this latter is given during camp, as is 
most convenient. Sometimes, also, they receive in- 
struction in ordnance. This, however, is generally 
deferred till they become first-classmen. 

For further instruction of the first class the fol- 
lowing part of the personnel of a light battery is de- 
tailed from that class, viz. : three chiefs of platoon, 
one chief of caissons, one guidon, and six chiefs of 
section. Each member of the class is detailed for 
each of these offices in his proper order. 

The fourth class receives instruction in field artil- 
lery at the ' ' foot batteries. ' ' This instruction is limit- 
ed to the nomenclature and manual of the piece. Here, 
also, to assist the instructor, a chief of piece for each 
piece is detailed. They are required to correct all 
errors made by the plebes, and sometimes even to 
drill them. Hence a knowledge of tactics is indis- 
pensable, and the means of fixing such knowledge in 
the mind is afforded. 

Sometimes also two first-classmen are required 
to assist at the siege or sea-coast batteries. 

Every day throughout the year a guard is 
mounted. It consists of two officers of the guard- 
sometimes only one — one sergeant, three corporals — 
or more — and twenty-four privates — sometimes, also, 
eighteen or twenty-one in camp, and twenty-seven in 
barracks. Every day, also, there is one officer of 
the day detailed from the first class. 

The weather permitting, we have " dress parade" 
daily. When unfavorable, on account of snow, rain, 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 79 

or severe cold, we have " undress parade" — that is, 
parade without arms and in undress or fatigue uni- 
form, the object being to get us all together to pub- 
lish the orders, etc., for the morrow. After Novem- 
ber 1st we usually have " undress parade," and then 
"supper mess parade." Between these two cere- 
monies the cadets amuse themselves at the gymna- 
sium, dancing or skating, or " spooneying," or at 
the library ; generally, I think — the upper classmen 
at any rate — at the library. After supper we have 
recreation and then study. And thus we " live and 
do' ' till January. 

The semi-annual examination begins January 
1st, or as soon thereafter as practicable. The plebes 
are examined first, and started in their new studies 
as soon as possible. After the plebes the other 
classes are examined in the order of their rank — that 
is, first class, second class, and third class — and of 
the importance of their studies, engineering being 
first, then philosophy, and mathematics, etc. 

The examination being over, the deficient ones, 
after receiving orders from the Secretary of War, 
are dismissed. Studies are then resumed as follows : 
For the first class military engineering, ordnance, 
and gunnery, constitutional law, military law, rules 
of evidence, practice of courts-martial, mineralogy, 
and geology, strategy, and grand tactics, and the 
throwing and dismantling of pontoon bridges. For 
the second class, acoustics and optics, astronomy, 
analytical mechanics in review ; infantry, artillery, 
and cavalry tactics ; drawing, riding, and signalling. 
For the third class, calculus, surveying, geometry, 
and riding. Immediately after the examination the 



80 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

entire third class receive instruction in mechanical 
drawing before they begin their other mathematical 
studies. For the fourth class the studies are plane 
geometry, trigonometry, descriptive geometry, and 
fencing, including the use of the small-sword, broad- 
sword, and bayonet. 

Parades, guard duty, etc., remain as previously 
described until about the middle of March usually. 
At that time the ordinary routine of drills, dress 
parades, etc., is resumed ; but drills in this order, 
viz., from March 15th to April 1st instruction in the 
school of the company ; in artillery tactics, as before 
described during April ; and in infantry tactics, in 
the " School of the Battalion," during May. The 
annual examination takes place in June. The fol- 
lowing diary, made for the purpose of insertion here, 
will best explain what generally occurs during the 
month : 

MEMORANDA. 

Thursday, June 1, 1876. — Resumed white pants 
at 5.10 p.m. Received Board of Visitors by a review 
at 5.10 p.m. Examination begun at 9 a.m. First 
class, engineering. Salute of fifteen guns at meridian 
to Board of Visitors. 

Friday, June 2.— First class, engineering fin- 
ished. Second class, philosophy commenced. Siege 
battery drill at 5.10 p.m. 

Saturday, June 3. — Second class, philosophy 
continued. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 81 

Monday, June 5. — Light battery at 5.10 p.m. 
A yearling lost his " white continuations." Plebes 
went to parade. 

Tuesday, June 6. — Fourth class, entire in French. 
Examination written. Second class, philosophy fin- 
ished. First class, mineralogy and geology begun. 
Third class, mathematics begun. Battalion drill at 
5.10 p.m. 

Wednesday, June 7. — Second class turned out, 
marched to sea-coast battery at 11 a.m. Three de- 
tachments selected. Rest marched back and dis- 
missed. Cavalry drill at 5.10 p.m. Six second- 
classmen turned out. Plebes put in battalion. 

Thursday, June 8. — Plebes put on guard. Pon- 
toon bridging, 5.10 p.m. 

Friday, June 9. — Battalion skirmish drill 5.10 
p.m. Deployed to front at double time. Second, 
fourth, and seventh companies reserve. Almost all 
manoeuvres at double time. Deployed by numbers 
and charged. Marched in in line, band on right. 
Broke into column of companies to the left, changed 
direction to the right, obliqued to the left, moved 
forward and formed "front into line, faced to the 
rear." Arms inspected, ammunition returned. Dis- 
missed. 

Saturday, June 10. — Third class, mathematics 
finished. Miss Philips sang to cadets in mess hall 
after supper. First class, ordnance begun. 



82 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Sunday, June 11. — Graduating sermon by Hon. 
, of Princeton, N. J., closing " hime," "When 



shall we meet again ?" Graduating dinner at 2 p.m. 

Monday, June 12. — Detail from first class to ride 
in hall. Use of sabre and pistol on horseback. 
First class, ordnance finished. Law begun. 

Tuesday, June 13. — First class finished. Board 
divided into committees. Second class, chemistry 
begun. Graduating parade. Corps cheered by 
graduates after parade. Hop in evening ; also 
German; whole continuing till 3 a.m. Rumor has 
it two first- classmen, Slocum and Guilfoyle, are 
"found" in ordnance and engineering. 

Wednesday, June 14. — Fourth class, mathe- 
matics begun. Salute seventeen guns at 10 a.m. in 
honor of arrival at post of General Sherman and 
Colonel Poe of his staff. Graduating exercises from 
11 a.m. till near 1 p.m. Addresses to graduates. 
Mortar practice and fireworks at night. 

This ended the " gala" days at West Point in '76. 

Thursday, June 15. — Usual routine of duties re- 
sumed. Company drills in the afternoon from 5.10 
to 6.10 p.m. Rather unusual, but we' re going to the 
Centennial. Rumor has it we encamp Saturday the 
17th for ten days. 

Friday, June 16. — Dom Pedro, emperador de la 
Brasil estaba recibiado para un "review" a las 
cuatro horas y quarenta y cinco minutos. El em- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. S3 

barco por la ciudad de £Tueva York inmediatemente 
Second class, chemistry finished. Third class, French 
begun. 

Saturday, June 11. — Third class, French finished. 
Third class, Spanish begun. " Camp rumor" not 
true. 

Monday, June 19. — Moved into camp, aligned 
tent floors at 5 a.m. in the rain. Required by order 
to move in effects at 9 a.m., and to march in and 
pitch tents at 12 m. Rained in torrents. Marched 
in, etc., at 9 a.m. Effects moved in afterwards. 
Rain ceased by 12 m. Marched in. Second class, 
tactics finished. Third class, Spanish finished. 

Ordinarily as soon as the examination is over the 
third class take advantage of the two months' fur- 
lough allowed them, while other classes go into 
camp. This encamjmient begins June 17th, or a day 
or two earlier or later, according to circumstances. 
This brings me to the end of the first year. I have 
described camp life, and also, I observe, each of the 
remaining years of cadet life. On July 1st the 
plebes become the fourth class ; the original fourth 
the third ; the third, now on furlough, the second ; 
and the second the first. I have given in an earlier 
part of my narrative the studies, etc., of these sev- 
eral classes. 

The plebe, or fourth class of the previous year, 
are now become yearlings, and are therefore in their 
" yearling camp." At the end of every month an 



84 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

extract from the class and conduct report of each 
cadet is sent to his parents or guardian for their in- 
formation. I insert a copy of one of these monthly 
reports. 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 85 

SEttifeir States Hftlitarg ^cab*mg, 

West Point, N. Y., March 26, 1875. 

EXTRACT from the Class and Conduct Reports of the MILITARY 
ACADEMY for the month of February, 1875, furnished for 
the information of Parents and Guardians, 

THIRD CLASS— Composed of 83 Members. 

Cadet Henry 0. Flipper 

Was, in Mathematics .No. 48 

" French No. 48 

" Spanish, No. 37 

" Drawing No. 40 

His demerit for the month is 2, and since the commencement of the 
academic half year, 23. 



Jt.dlC€^^ 



)0i 

Captain lot/z Infantry, 

Adjutant Military Academy. 

REGULATIONS FOR THE MILITARY ACADEMY. 

Par. 71. — When any Cadet shall have a total of numbers [of demerit] thus 
recorded, exceeding one hundred in six months, he shall be declared deficient in 
discipline. 

Par. 153. — No Cadet shall apply for, or receive money, or any other supplies 
from his parents, or from any person whomsoever, without permission of the Superin- 
tendent. 

Note. — The attention of Parents and Guardians is invited to the foregoing Regu- 
lations. The permission referred to in paragraph 153 must be obtained before the 
shipment to the Cadet of the supplies desired. 



86 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



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334-5 


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297- 
302 
290- 
292 


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Foundations under water, water excluded. 


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237- 
243 


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288-9 


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274-6 


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259-60 


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220 


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222-3 


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183-6 


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160-1 


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Beam, one end fixed, other resting on sup- 
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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



89 





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Remark.— Omit Art. 538. 

* Transferred back from 6th to 5th section, November 11th. 

t Review. 

X From this date till December 7th the class was instructed in mechanical drawing. The drawings made were one king-post and 
one queen-post roof truss, the dimensions, etc., being given; and also one railroad bridge, Howe truss pattern, dimensions, etc., 
being calculated. ,, 












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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT 





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Canal locks. 


457-61 


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Surveys for roa 


425-30 


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457-01 


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Sidewalks and tramroads. 


437-9 


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407-8 


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373-9 


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365-6 


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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



91 



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Remark.— Omit Arts. 188, 195, 196, 197 ; Figs. 80, 81, 83, 114, 115, 116, 130, 131, 138, 149, 150, 153, 154 in note-books ; Arts. 293, 308, 
309, 315, 356, Case II., p. 26, Stereotomy, and also pp. 35, 36, 37, 38, and Fig. of Prob. 11. 
* These Nos. 5, 8, 9, and 12 are numbers of problems in stone-cutting, and not articles. 
+ Eeview. 
% "Bugled it." 

1 




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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 





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Strains on roof-truss rafters trisected by 1 Ar ,o K 
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Burr and New York canal trusses. 359-60 


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Questions. 








IN IOJ 
GO 00 

co 54 


Foundations in compressible soils and firm \ ^an o 
ones, but affected by water. 


E^ 5< 






1 CD | o 


Stability of arches against rotation and 1 .,.-,, _ 
sliding. | ^ ' 


!x 1 o 

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Open-built beam, triangular bracing, uni- | 1Q o 
form load, strains. j yja 


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183-6 


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Solid of equal resistance. ?",» 


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Questions. 


N |s 






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*M.S. and Y. of horizontal beam, uniform- j ,•,„ 
ly loaded, one end fixed, other not. 


£ |s 






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Bar of uniform strength to resist elonga- 
tion. 


86-7 


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Perpetual kilns, products of calcination, 
pozzuolana. "Bugled it." 


46-51 


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Concrete and patent stones. 


23-31 


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434 


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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



93 



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Remark.— Omissions same as on advance. 

* Mechanical drawing. 

t General review, beginning with stone-cutting. 

% In civil engineering. 

§ Absent in New York City from 1 p.m. Saturday, December 33d, till 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 26th, on ChristmaB leave. 




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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



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Rem akks.— Text-book used, Woolsey's "International Law." 
Omissions : Sections 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. 31, 34, 
35 and their foot-notes, 44, 46 to Congress of Verona ; 55 from 
middle page 83, and foot-notes on pp. 90 and 95 ; 63, "rules, etc., ' 
rm 105 106, foot-notes on pp. 130, 136; sec. 86, 89 de 3d line to 9th, 
v 143 de 3d line p. 158 to sec. 93, and 93 de 23d line to sec. 94, 
foot-notes pp. 145, 146, 148. 150, 151, 152, 155, 156 ; sec. 95 de mid. 
p 166; sec. 100 de mid. p. 175 ; 105 de 4th line, p. 180 to Till line p. 
181, and from top p. 182 to sec. 106, foot-notes pp. 165, 183 ; sec. 
114 de too P. 194, except last sentence ; 115de 11th line p. 196 to 
4th p 198of 118, first. 2? lines p. 203. De 25th line p 208 to 6th p. 
209. tie 18th p. 209 to 15th p. 210 ; sec. 223, first three lines sec. 223, 
de 6th to 21st line p. 221 ; last ten lines p. 815 ; first eleven p. 21b, 
10 o 218 15 p. 219, p. 235; sec. 139, first eleven lines p. 230, foot-notes 
202,'204, 209; 210, 211, 213, 215,225, 234, 344, 245. 


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Complete title to prizes, hov, r given. | 239-40 


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No recitation. 


65 


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Interpretation of treaties. 185-6 


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Questions. 


N 


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Right of sending ambassadors. 145-G 


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Laws governing marriage and guardian- | 10 . , 
ship. | "" ~ 


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Protection to individual aliens. 


96-8 


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States surrendering rights in part or 
whole, how. 


51 


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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



95 



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Remarks.— Of section 161 omit all save first three and last three 
lines; omit sees. 172, 173, and of 174 to "First Armed Neutrality," 
p. 289, and foot-notes pp. 284, 285, 286 ; sec. 176 from 5th line from 
bottom p. 294 ; of 179 from 5th line p. 801 ; 181 from 5th line 
from bottom p. 303 to 9th p. 305, and from 7th to 27th line p. 310. 

* Lesson extends from sec. 200 to Appendix p. 357, including 
"c," p. 434, Appendix II., first two thirds of page ; notes 12, 13, 
17, 20, and 21 Appendix III., omitting sees. 197, 198, 199, 206, 209. 

t Review. Omissions same as on advance. 

X Was absent from recitation, being officer of the day. 


1 « 


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Effects of temporary conquests. 


247-8 


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Questions. 




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Protection to aliens. 


96-8 


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Balance of power. 


58-9 


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Questions. 




f^ |s 




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The right of search. 


323^5 


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Questions. 




£ !•* 






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Nationality of vessels and goods liable to 
capture and convoy of hostile goods. 


280-2 


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Obligations of neutrals. 


263-6 


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96 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 





1 CO | 1 I t- 

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1 i-l 1 o 


' Remarks.—* This lesson begins at section 187, and includes 
notes, etc., as given in lesson for October 12th, q. v. 

t That is, to sec. 2, art. II. of the U. S. Constitution. The 
two lessons before this one were in " Instructions lor the govern- 
ment of armies," being general order 100 from A. G. 0., April 
24th, 1863. 


Of Constitution, omit par. 3, sec. 1, art. II. Omit sec. 35 of 
text, and from sec. 151 to sec. 106 inclusive, and sec. 250. Text 
book used, Pomeroy's " Constitutional Law." 










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Powers of Congress. 




551-2 


e; 


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'21.1 Deserters, prisoners of war, 
pq | • | booty on battle-field. 


hostages, and 


15-21 


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% j {§ 1 Is there a right of convoy ? 


325-8 


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t — i t — i 

3 53 Liability of vessels to capture. 


277-80 


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THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



97 



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1 

Eemarks.— For omissions, see "Remarks" for November 
* The sections from 188 to 226 inclusive were omitted in 
lesson, but were the lesson of the following day. 
+ Review. 






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(Christmas.) 




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143-5 


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+ This lesson is taken from a printed pamphlet furnished 
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p. 192, art. 189, "Lance," pp. 279, 280, arts. 239-52, inclusive, 
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164, p. 200. 

t This one from 264, p. 290, and from 340, p. 342, to 346, p. i 
and pamphlet oa metallic cartridges. 


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EEMAEKS.-Omit arts. 349, 350, 351, 332, 353, 354, 335, 377, 
last half of 382, 3S3, 384, 335, 380, 387, 338, 393, 394, 395, 390. 

t General review. This lesson commences at art. 39, p. 
omits arts. 75 to 79, inclusive. 

t In addition this lesson includes from beginning of tex 
art. 39, p. 71. 

* This lesson included a pamphlet furnished by the Ordna 
Department. 


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CHAPTEE VII. 

YEARLING CAMP. 

XIST this chapter I shall describe only those phases 
-*- of cadet life which are experienced by "year- 
lings 1 ' in their " yearling camp." 

Beginning July 5th, or as soon after as practica- 
ble, the third class receive practical instruction in the 
nomenclature and manual of the field-piece. This 
drill continues till August 1st, when they begin the 
' ' School of the Battery. ' ' 

The class attend dancing daily. Attendance at 
dancing is optional with that part of the third class 
called " yearlings," and compulsory for the " Seps," 
who of course do not become yearlings till the fol- 
lowing September. The third class also receive in- 
struction in the duties of a military laboratory, and 
" target practice." These instructions are not 
always given during camp. They may be given in 
the autumn or spring. 

Another delight of the yearling is to "bone 
colors." Immediately in front of camp proper is a 
narrow path extending entirely across the ground, 
and known as the " color line." On the 1st of 
August — sometimes before — the "color line" is 
established, this name being applied also to the pur- 
pose of the color line. This ceremony consists in 
stacking arms just in rear of the color line, and plac- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. ' 103 

ing the colors on the two stacks nearest the centre of 
the line. 

From the privates of the guard three are chosen 
to guard the stacks and to require every one who 
crosses the color line or passes within fifteen paces 
of the colors to salute them. These three sentinels 
are known as "the colors," or "color men," and 
are numbered "first," "second," and "third." 

Those are chosen who are neatest and most soldier- 
like in their appearance. Cadets prepare themselves 
specially for this, and they toss up their guns to 
the adjutant at guard-mounting. This signifies that 
they intend competing for "colors." The adjutant 
falls them out after the guard has marched to its 
post, and inspects them. Absolute cleanliness is 
necessary. Any spot of dirt, dust, or any thing un- 
clean will often defeat one. Yearlings " bone" their 
guns and accoutrements for "colors," and some- 
times get them every time they toss up. 

A " color man" must use only those equipments 
issued to him. He cannot borrow those of a man 
who has " boned them up" and expect to get colors. 
Sometimes— but rarely — plebes compete and win. 

The inducement for this extra labor is simply 
this : Instead of being on duty twenty-four hours, 
color men are relieved from 4 p.m. till 8 a.m. the 
next day, when they march off. They of course en- 
joy all other privileges given the " Old Guard." 

" Sentinels for the Color Line. — The senti- 
nels for the color line will be permitted to go 
to their tents from the time the stacks are broken 
till 8 a.m. the following morning, when they will 
rejoin the guard. They will be excused from 



104: THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

marching to meals, but will report to the officer 
of the guard at the roll-call for each meal, and also 
at tattoo and reveille." — (From Resume of Existing 
Orders, U. S. C. C.) 

It is the yearling who does most of the hazing. 
Just emerged, from his chrysalis state, having the 
year before received similar treatment at the hands of 
other yearlings, he retaliates, so to speak, upon the 
now plebe, and finds in such retaliation his share of 
enjoyment. 

The practice, however, is losing ground. The 
cadets are more generous, and, with few exceptions, 
never interfere with a plebe. This is certainly an 
advance in the right direction ; for although hazing 
does comprise some good, it is, notwithstanding, a 
low practice, one which manliness alone should con- 
demn. None need information and assistance more 
than plebes, and it is unkind to refuse it ; nay, it is 
even not humane to refuse it and also to haze the 
asker. Such conduct, more than any thing else, dis- 
courages and disheartens him. It takes from him 
all desire to do and earn, to study or strive for suc- 
cess. At best it can be defended only as being 
effective where regulations are not, viz., in the cases 
of rough specimens who now not infrequently man- 
age to win their appointments. 

Formerly in yearling camp the corporals were 
all " acting sergeants." They were so acting in the 
absence of the cle facto sergeants. These corporals 
got the idea into their heads that to retain their ap- 
pointments they had to do a certain amount of 
"skinning," and often "skins" were more fancied 
than real. This was a rather sad condition of affairs. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 1C5 

Plebes would find their demerits accumulating and 
become disheartened. It was all due to this unneces- 
sary rigor, and " being military," which some of the 
yearling corporals affected. No one bears, or rather 
did bear, such a reputation as the yearling corporal. 
As such he was disliked by everybody, and plebes 
have frequently fought them for their unmanly 
treatment. This, however, was. It is no more. We 
have no yearling corporals, and plebes fare better 
generally than ever before. Not because all year- 
ling corporals thus subserved their ambition by re- 
porting men for little things that might as well have 
been overlooked, did they get this bad reputation, but 
rather because with it they coupled the severest haz- 
ing, and sometimes even insults. That was unmanly 
as well as mean. Hazing could be endured, but not 
always insults. 

Whether for this reason or not I cannot say, the 
authorities now appoint the corporals from the sec- 
ond class, men who are more dignified and courteous 
in their conduct toward all, and especially toward 
plebes. The advantages of this system are evident. 

One scarcely appreciates cadet life — if such ap- 
preciation is possible — till he becomes a yearling. It 
is not till in yearling camp that a cadet begins to 
"spoon." Not till then is he permitted to attend 
the hops, and of course he has but little opportunity 
to cultivate female society, nor is he expected to do 
so till then, for to assume any familiarity with the 
upper classes would be considered rather in advance 
of his " plebeship' s" rights. How then can he — he 
is little more than a stranger — become acquainted 
with the fair ones who either dwell at or are visiting 



106 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

West Point. Indeed, knowing "femmes" are quite 
as prone to haze as the cadets, and most unmercifully 
cut the unfortunate plebe. Some are also so very 
haughty : they will admit only tlrst-classmen to their 
acquaintance and favor. 

But Mr. Plebe, having become a yearling finds 
that the " Mr." is dropped, and that he is allowed 
all necessary familiarity. He then begins to enjoy 
his cadetship, a position which for pleasure and hap- 
piness has untold advantages, for what woman can 
resist those glorious buttons % A yearling has 
another advantage. The furlough class is absent, 
and the plebes — well, they are ' ' plebes. ' ' Sufficient, 
isn't it ? The spooneying must all be done, then, by 
the first and third classes. Often a great number of 
the first class are bachelors, or not inclined to be 
spooney ; and that duty then of course devolves on 
the more gallant part of that class and the yearlings. 

The hop managers of the third class have been 
mentioned elsewhere. They enjoy peculiar facilities 
for pleasure, and, where a good selection has been 
made, do much to dispel the monotony of academic 
military life. Indeed, they do very much toward 
inducing others to cultivate a high sense of gallantry 
and respect for women. The refining influence of 
female society has greater play, and its good results 
are inevitable. 

But what a wretched existence was mine when all 
this was denied me ! One would be unwilling to be- 
lieve I had not, from October, 1875, till May, 1876, 
spoken to a female of any age, and yet it was so. 
There was no society for me to enjoy— no friends, 
male or female, for me to visit, or with whom I could 



THE COLOBED CADET AT WEST POINT. 107 

have any social intercourse, so absolute was my iso- 
lation.* Indeed, I had friends who often visited me, 
but they did so only when the weather was favorable. 
In the winter season, when nature, usually so at- 
tractive, presented nothing to amuse or dispel one's 
gloom, and when, therefore, something or some one 
suited for that purpose was so desirable, no one of 
course visited me. But I will not murmur. I sup- 
pose this was but another constituent of that mechan- 
ical mixture of ills and anxieties and suspense that 
characterized my cadet life. At any rate I can con- 
sole myself in my victory over prejudice, whether 
that victory be admitted or not. I know I have so 
lived that they could find in me no fault different 
from those at least common to themselves, and have 
thus forced upon their consciences a just and merited 
recognition whether or not they are disposed to fol- 
low conscience and openly accept my claim to their 
brotherly love. 

* I could and did have a pleasant chat every day, more or less, 
with " Bentz the bugler," the tailor, barber, commissary clerk, the 
policeman who scrubbed out my room and brought around the mail, 
the treasurer's clerk, cadets occasionally, and others. The statement 
made in some of the newspapers, that from one year's end to another 
I never heard the sound of my own voice, except in the recitation 
room, is thus seen to be untrue. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

FIEST-CLASS CAMP. 

TT is a common saying among cadets that ' ' first- 
--*- class camp is just like furlough." I rather think 
the assertion is an inheritance from former days and 
the cadets of those days, for the similarity at present 
between first-class camp and furlough is beyond our 
conception. There is none, or if any it is chimerical, 
depending entirely on circumstances. In the case of 
a small class it would be greater than in that of a 
large one. For instance, in "train drill" a certain 
number of men are required. No more are necessary. 
It would be inexpedient to employ a whole class 
when the class had more men in it than were required 
for the drill. In such cases the supernumeraries are 
instructed in Something else, and alternate with 
those who attend train drill. In the case of a small 
class all attend the same drill daily, and that other 
duty or drill is reserved for autumn. Thus there is 
less drill in camp, and it becomes more like furlough 
when there is none at all. 

Again, first-classmen enjoy more privileges than 
others, and for this reason their camp is more like 
furlough. If, however, there are numerous drills, 
the analogy will fail ; for how can duty, drills, etc., 
coexist with privileges such as first-class privileges ? 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 109 

Time which otherwise would be devoted to enjoy- 
ment of privileges is now consumed in drills. Still 
there is much in it which makes first-class camp the 
most delightful part of a cadet's life. There are 
more privileges, the duties are lighter and more 
attractive, and make it withal more enjoyable. 
First, members of the class attend drill both as 
assistants and as students. They are detailed as 
chiefs of platoon, chiefs of section, chiefs of caissons, 
and as guidons at the light battery ; as chiefs of 
pieces at the several foot batteries ; attend themselves 
at the siege or sea-coast batteries, train drill, pontoon 
drill, engineering, ordnance, and astronomy, and 
they are also detailed as officers of the guard. These 
duties are generally not very difficult nor unpleasant 
to discharge. Second, from the nature of the priv- 
ileges allowed first-classmen, they have more oppor- 
tunity for pleasure than other cadets, and therefore 
avoid the rather serious consequences of their 
monotonous academic military life. A solitary 
monotonous life is rather apt to engender a dislike 
for mankind, and no high sense of honor or respect 
for women. I deem these privileges of especial im- 
portance, as they enable one to avoid that danger 
and to cultivate the highest possible regard for 
women, and those virtues and other Christian attri- 
butes of which they are the better exponents. A 
soldier is particularly liable to fall into this sans- 
souci way of looking at life, and those to whom its 
pleasures, as well as its ills, are largely due. We 
are indebted to our fellows for every thing which 
affects our life as regards its happiness or unhappi- 



110 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

ness, and this latter misfortune will rarely be ours 
if we properly appreciate our friends and those who 
can and will make life less wretched. To shut one' s 
self up in one's self is merely to trust, or rather to 
set up, one's own judgment as superior to the 
world's. That cannot be, nor can there be happi- 
ness in such false views of our organization as being 
of and for each other. 

At this point of the course many of the first-class 
have attained their majority. They are men, and in 
one year more will be officers of the army. It be- 
comes them, therefore, to lay aside the ordinary 
student's role, and assume a more dignified one, one 
more in conformity with their age and position. 
They leave all cadet roles, etc., to the younger 
classes, and put on the proper dignity of men. 

There are for them more privileges. They are 
more independent — more like men ; and conse- 
quently they find another kind of enjoyment in camp 
than that of the cadet. It is a general, a proper, a 
rational sort of pleasure such as one would enjoy at 
home among relatives or friends, and hence the simi- 
larity between first-class camp and furlough. 

But it is not thus with all first-classmen. Many, 
indeed the majority, are cadets till they graduate. 
They see every thing as a cadet, enjoy every thing as 
a cadet, and find the duties, etc., of first-class camp 
as irksome as those of plebe or yearling camp. Of 
course such men see no similarity between first-class 
camp and furlough. It is their misfortune. We 
should enjoy as many things as we can, and not sor- 
row over them. We should not make our life one of 
sorrow when it could as well be one of comfort and 



THE C0L0KED CADET AT WEST POINT. Ill 

pleasure. I don't mean comfort and "pleasure in an 
epicurean sense, but in a moral one. Still first-class- 
men do have many duties to perform, but there is 
withal one consolation at least, there are no upper 
classmen to keep the plebe or yearling in his place. 
There is no feeling of humbleness because of junior 
rank, for the first class is the first in rank, and there- 
fore need humble itself to none other than the proper 
authorities. 

Again, their honor, as "cadets and gentlemen," 
is relied upon as surety for obedience and regard for 
regulations. They are not subject to constant watch- 
ing as plebes are. The rigor of discipline is not so 
severe upon them as upon others. It was expended 
upon them during their earlier years at the Academy, 
and, as a natural consequence, any violation of 
regulations, etc., by a first-classman, merits and re- 
ceives a severer punishment than would be visited 
upon a junior classman for a !like infringement on 
his part. 

The duties of first-classmen in first-class camp are 
as follows : The officer of the day and two officers 
of the guard are detailed each day from the class. 
Their duties are precisely those of similar officers in 
the regular army. The junior officer of the guard 
daily reports to the observatory to find the error of 
the tower clock. Also each day are detailed the 
necessary assistants for the several light batteries, 
who are on foot or mounted, as the case may require. 
The remainder of the class receive instructions in 
the service of the siege and sea-coast artillery. 
These drills come in the early forenoon. After 
them come ordnance and engineering. 



112 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

The entire class is divided as equally as may be 
into two parts, which, alternate in attendance at 
ordnance and engineering. 

In ordnance the instructions are on the prepara- 
tion of military fireworks, fixing of ammunition and 
packing it, the battery wagon and forge. This in- 
struction is thoroughly practical. The cadets make 
the cases for rockets, paper shells, etc., and fill 
them, leaving them ready for immediate use. The 
stands of fixed ammunition prepared are the grape 
and canister, and shell and shot, with their sabots. 

The battery wagon and forge are packed as pre- 
scribed in the " Ordnance Manual." 

The instructions in engineering are also practical 
and military. They are in the modes of throwing 
and dismantling pontoon bridges, construction of 
fascines, gabions, hurdles, etc., and revetting bat- 
teries with them. Sometimes also during camp, 
more often after, foot reconnoissances are made. A 
morning and night detail is made daily from the 
class to receive practical instruction in astronomy in 
the field observatory. 

Night signalling with torches, and telegraphy by 
day, form other sources of instruction for the first 
class. 

Telegraphy, or train drill, as the drill is called, 
consists in erecting the telegraph line and opening 
communication between two stations, and when this 
is done, in communicating so as to acquire a prac- 
tical knowledge of the instruments and their use. 

These various drills — all of them occurring daily, 
Sunday of course excepted, and for part of them 
Saturday also — complete the course of instruction 



THE C0L0KED CADET AT WEST POINT. 113 

given the first class only during their first -class 
camp. It will be observed that they all of them 
are of a military nature and of the greatest import- 
ance. The instruction is thorough accordingly. 

I have sufficiently described, I think, a cadet's 
first-class camp. I shall, therefore, close the chap- 
ter here. 



CHAPTER IX. 

OUR FUTURE HEROES. 

THE WEST POINT CADETS' VACATION. 

Ten Days of Centennial Sport for Prospective Warriors — Tlie Miser- 
ies of three hundred Young Gentlemen who are limited to Ten 
Pairs of White Trousers each. 

" Almost at the foot of George's Hill, and not far to the westward 
of Machinery Hall, is the camp of the West Point cadets. From 
morning till night the domestic economy of the three hundred young 
gentlemen who compose the corps is closely watched, and their guard 
mountings and dress parades attract throngs of spectators. It would 
be hard to find anywhere a borly of young men so manly in appear- 
ance, so perfect in discipline, and so soldier-like and intelligent. The 
system of competitive examination for admission, so largely adopted 
within the past few years in many of our large cities, has resulted in 
recruiting the corps with lads of bright intellect and more than ordi- 
nary attainments, while the strict physical examination has rigorously 
excluded all but those of good form and perfect health. The com- 
petitive system has also given to the Academy students who want to 
learn, instead of lads who are content to scramble through the pre- 
scribed course as best they can, escaping the disgrace of being 
" found" (a cadet term equivalent to the old college word " plucked") 
by nearly a hair's-breadth. 

" The camp. — The camp is laid out in regulation style, and has four 
company streets. Near the western limit of the Centennial grounds 
are the tents of the commandant and the cadet captains and lieuten- 
ants. Below, on a gentle incline, are the wall tents, occupied by the 
cadets. Each of these has a board floor, and it is so arranged that 
when desired it may be thrown open on all sides. From two to four 
narrow iron cots, a bucket for water, an occasional chair, and now 
and then a mirror, comprise the furniture. But scanty as it is, every 
article of this little outfit has a place, and must be kept in it, or woe 
to the unlucky wight upon whom the duty of housekeeping devolves 
for the day. The bucket must stand on the left-hand side of the 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 115 

tent, in front ; the beds must be made at a certain hour and in a cer- 
tain style — for the coming heroes of America have to be their own 
chambermaids ; while valises and other baggage must be stowed 
away in as orderly a way as possible. Every morning the tents are 
inspected, and any lack of neatness or order insures for the chamber- 
maid of the day a misconduct mark. It may be easily conceived that 
under a regime so strict as this the cadets are particularly careful as 
to their quarters, inasmuch as one hundred of these marks mean dis- 
missal from the Academy. 

"At daybreak the reveille sounds, and the cadets turn out for roll- 
call. Then come breakfast, guard mounting, and camp and general 
police duty, which consume the time until 8.30 a.m., from which 
hour those who are not on guard have the freedom of the Centennial 
grounds. At o p.m. they must fall in for dress parade ; at 9 they 
answer to ' tattoo ' roll-call, and a few minutes later ' taps ' or 
' lights out ' consigns them to darkness and quiet. 

" West Point Aristocracy. — Small as is this corps, it is still patent 
that the distinction of caste is very strong. A first classman — cadet 
officers are selected from this class — looks down upon lower grade 
men, while second-class cadets view their juniors with something 
nearly allied to contempt, and third-class men are amusingly patron- 
izing in their treatment of ' plebes ' or new-comers. For the first 
year of their Academy life the ' plebes ' have rather a hard time of it ; 
but no sooner do they emerge from their chrysalis state than they 
are as hard upon their unfortunate successors as the third-class men 
of the year before were upon them. 

" The cadets are delighted with their reception and kind treatment 
in Philadelphia, and look upon their ten days' visit to the Centennial 
as a most pleasant break in the monotony of Academy life. That 
they maintain the reputation of the Acarlemy for gallantry and devo- 
tion to the fair sex is evidenced by the presence of numbers of beau- 
tiful young ladies in their camp after dress parade every evening. 
Given, a pretty girl, the twilight of a summer evening, and a youth 
in uniform, and the result is easily guessed. 

" The Cadet Corps is to return to West Point to-morrow morning. 
There the cadets are to go into camp until September. General 
Sherman at one time purposed to have them march from this city to 
the Academy, bu$ it was finally decided that the march would con- 
sume time which might be more profitably devoted to drill. 

" One of the complaints of the cadets is that in the arrangements 
for their visit, the Quartermaster's Department was stricken with a 



116 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

spasm of economy as regarded transportation, and each of the future 
heroes was limited to the miserably insufficient allowance of ten pairs 
of white trousers. 

" The cadets speak in warmly eulogistic terms of the Seventh New 
York, to whose kindly attentions, they say, much of their pleasure is 
due. ' ' 

Of this article, which was taken from the Phil- 
adelphia Times, I need only say, those " two or 
four narrow iron cots" and that " occasional chair" 
existed solely in the imagination of the reporter, as 
they were nowhere visible within the limits of onr 
encampment. 



CHAPTER X. 



TEEATMEISTT. 



' ' A brave and honorable and courteous man 
"Will not insult me ; and none other can." — Cowfer. 

^ THTOW do they treat you?" "How do you 
JLJL get along ?" and multitudes of analogous 
questions have been asked me over and over again. 
Many have asked them for mere curiosity's sake, 
and to all such my answers have been as short and 
abrupt as was consistent with common politeness. 
I have observed that it is this class of people who 
start rumors, sometimes harmless, but more often 
the cause of needless trouble and ill-feeling. I have 
considered such a class dangerous, and have there- 
fore avoided them as much as it was possible. I 
will mention a single instance where such danger 
has been made manifest. 

A Democratic newspaper, published I know not 
where, in summing up the faults of the Republican 
party, took occasion to advert to West Point. It 
asserted in bold characters that I had stolen a num- 
ber of articles from two cadets, had by them been 
detected in the very act, had been seen by several 
other cadets who had been summoned for the pur- 
pose that they might testify against me, had been 



118 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

reported to the proper authorities, the affair had 
been thoroughly investigated by them, my guilt 
established beyond the possibility of doubt, and yet 
my accusers had actually been dismissed while I 
was retained.* This is cited as an example of Repub- 
lican rule ; and the writer had the effrontery to 
ask, " How long shall such things be?" I did not 
reply to it then, nor do I intend to do so now. Such 
assertions from such sources need no replies. I 
merely mention the incident to show how wholly 
given to party prejudices some men can be. They 
seem to have no thought of right and justice, but 
favor whatever promotes the aims and interests of 
their own party, a party not Democratic but hellish. 
How different is the following article from the Phil- 
adelphia North American, of July 7th, 1876 : 

" It is very little to the credit of the West Point cadets, a body of 
young men in whose superior discipline and thoroughly excellent 
deportment we feel in common with nearly all others a gratified 
pride, that they should be so ungenerous and unjust as they confess 
themselves to be in their treatment of the colored boy, who, like them- 
selves, has been made a ward of the nation. We know nothing of 
this young man's personal character or habits, but we have seen no 
unkind criticism of them. For that reason we condemn as beneath 
contempt the spirit which drives him to an isolation, in bearing 
which the black shows himself the superior of the white. We do 
not ask nor do we care to encourage any thing more than decent 
courtesy. But the young gentlemen who boast of holding only offi- 
cial intercourse with their comrade should remember that no one of 
them stands before the country in any different light from him. 
West Point is an academy for the training of young men, presumably 
representative of the people, for a career sufficiently honorable to 

* This article was cut from a newspaper, and, together with the 
name of the paper, was posted in a conspicuous place, where other 
cadets, as well as myself, saw and read it. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 119 

gratify any ambition. The cadets come from all parts of the coun- 
try, from all ranks of the social scale. Amalgamated by the uniform 
course of studies and the similarity of discipline, the separating frag- 
ments at the end of the student life carry similar qualities into the life 
before them, and step with almost remarkable social equality into the 
world where they must find their level. It would be expecting too 
much to hope that the companionship which surmounts or breaks 
down all the barriers of caste, should tread with equal heel the prej- 
udices of color. But it would be more manly in these boys, if they 
would remember how easy ordinary courtesy would be to them, how 
much it would lighten the life of a young man whose rights are equal 
to their own. It is useless to ignore the inevitable. This colored 
boy has his place ; he should have fair encouragement to hold it. 
Heaping neglect upon him does not overcome the principle involved 
in his appointment, and while we by no means approve of such 
appointments we do believe in common justice." 

On the ether hand, many have desired this in- 
formation for a practical use, and that, too, whether 
they were prejudiced or not. That is, if friends, 
they were anxious to know how I fared, whether or 
not I was to be a success, and if a success 4fco use that 
fact in the interest of the people ; and if enemies, 
they wanted naturally to know the same things in 
order to use the knowledge to the injury of the people 
if I proved a failure. 

I have not always been able to distinguish one 
class from the other, and have therefore been quite 
reticent about my life and treatment at West Point. 
I have, too, avoided the newspapers as much as pos- 
sible. I succeeded in this so well that it was scarcely 
known that I was at the Academy. Much surprise 
was manifested when I appeared in Philadelphia at 
the Centennial. One gentleman said to me in the 
Government building : " You are quite an exhibi- 
tion yourself. No one was expecting to see a col- 
ored cadet." 



120 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

But I wander from my theme. It is a remark- 
able fact that the new cadets, in only a very few in- 
stances, show any unwillingness to speak or fra- 
ternize. It is not till they come in contact with the 
rougher elements of the corps that they manifest 
any disposition to avoid one. It was so in my own 
class, and has been so in all succeeding classes. 

When I was a plebe those of us who lived on the 
same floor of barracks visited each other, borrowed 
books, heard each other recite when preparing for 
examination, and were really on most intimate 
terms. But alas ! in less than a month they learned 
to call me "nigger," and ceased altogether to visit 
me. We did the Point together, shared with each 
other whatever we purchased at the sutler's, and 
knew not what prejudice was. Alas ,1 we were soon 
to be informed ! In camp, brought into close con- 
tact with the old cadets, these once friends discovered 
that they were prejudiced, and learned to abhor 
even the presence or sight of a " d — d nigger." 

Just two years after my entrance into the Acad- 
emy, I met in New York a young man who was a 
plebe at the time I was, and who then associated 
with me. He recognized me, hurried to me from 
across the street, shook my hand heartily, and ex- 
pressed great delight at seeing me. He showed me 
the photograph of a classmate, told me where I could 
find him, evidently ignorant of my ostracism, and, 
wishing me all sorts of success, took his leave. 
After he left me I involuntarily asked myself, 
" Would it have been thus if he had not been 
' found on his prelim \ ' " Possibly not, but it is very, 
very doubtful. 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 121 

There are some, indeed the majority of the corps 
are such, who treat me on all occasions with proper 
politeness. They are gentlemen themselves, and 
treat others as it becomes gentlemen to do. They 
do not associate, nor do they speak other than of- 
ficially, except in a few cases. They are perhaps 
as much prejudiced as the others, but prejudice does 
not prevent all from being gentlemen. On the other 
hand, [there are some from the very lowest classes 
of our population. They are uncouth and rough in 
appearance, have only a rudimentary education, 
have little or no idea of courtesy, use the very worst 
language, and in most cases are much inferior to the 
average negro. What can be expected of such 
people ? They are low, and their conduct must be 
in keeping with their breeding. I am not at all sur- 
prised to find it so. Indeed, in ordinary civil life I 
should consider such people beneath me in the social 
scale, '.should even reckon some of them as roughs, 
and consequently give them a wide berth. 

What surprises me most is the control this class 
seems to have over the other. It is in this class I 
have observed most prejudice, and from it, or rather 
by it, the other becomes tainted. It seems to rule 
the corps by fear. Indeed, I know there are many 
who would associate, who would treat me as a 
brother cadet, were they not held in constant dread 
of this class. The bullies, the fighting men of the 
corps are in it. It rules by fear, and whoever dis- 
obeys its beck is " cut." The rest of the corps fol- 
lows like so many menials subject to command. In 
short, there is a fearful lack of backbone. There is, 



122 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

it seems at first sight, more prejudice at West Point 
than elsewhere. It is not really so I think. 

The officers of the institution have never, so far 
as I can say, shown any prejudice at all. They have 
treated me with uniform courtesy and impartiality. 
The cadets, at least some of them, away from West 
Point, have also treated me with such gentlemanly 
propriety. The want of backbone predominates to 
such an alarming extent at West Point they are 
afraid to do so there. I will mention a few cases un- 
der this subject of treatment. 

During my first-class camp I was rather surprised 
on one occasion to have a plebe — we had been to the 
Centennial Exhibition and returned, and of course 
my status must have been known to him — come to 
my tent to borrow ink of me. I readily complied 
with his request, feeling proud of what I thought 
was the beginning of a new era in my cadet life. I 
felt he would surely prove himself manly enough, 
after thus recognizing me, to keep it up, and thus 
bring others under his influence to the same cause. 
And I was still further assured in this when I ob- 
served he made his visits frequent and open. At 
length, sure of my willingness to oblige him, he 
came to me, and, after expressing a desire to " bone 
up" a part of the fourth-class course, and the need 
he felt for such "boning," begged me to lend him 
my algebra. I of course readily consented, gave 
him my key, and sent him to my trunk in the trunk 
rooms to get it. He went. He got it, and returned 
the key. He went into ecstasies, and made no end 
of thanks to me for my kindness, etc. All this nat- 
urally confirmed my oi3inion and hope of better 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 123 

recognition ultimately. Indeed, I was glad of an 
opportunity to prove that I was not nnkind or un- 
generous. I supposed lie would keep the book till 
about September, at which time he would get one of 
his own, as every cadet at that time was required to 
procure a full course of text - books, these being 
necessary for reference, etc., in future life. And so 
he did. Some time after borrowing the book, he 
came to me and asked for India ink. I handed him 
a stick, or rather part of one, and received as usual 
his many thanks. Several days after this, and at 
night, during my absence — I was, if I remember 
aright, at Fort Clinton making a series of observa- 
tions with a zenith telescope in the observatory there 
■ — he came to the rear of my tent, raised the wall 
near one corner, and placed the ink on the floor, just 
inside the wall, which he left down as he found it. 

I found the ink there when I returned. I was 
utterly disgusted with the man. The low, unmanly 
way in which he acted was wholly without my ap- 
proval. If he was disposed to be friendly, why be 
cowardly about it ? If he must recognize me secretly, 
why, I would rather not have such recognition. 
Acting a lie to his fellow- cadets by appearing to be 
inimical to me and my interests, while he pretended 
the reverse to me, proved him to have a baseness of 
character with which I clidn' t care to identify myself. 

September came at last, and my algebra was re- 
turned. The book was the one I had used my first 
year at the Academy. I had preserved it, as I have 
all of my books, for future use and as a sort of 
souvenir of my cadet life. It was for that sole reason 
of great value to me. I enjoined upon him to take 



124 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

care of the book, and in nowise to injure it. My 
name was on the back, on the cover, and my initial, 
"F," in two other places on the cover. When the 
book was returned he had cut the calfskin from the 
cover, so as to remove my name. The result was a 
horrible disfiguration of the book, and a serious im- 
pairment of its durability. The mere sight of the 
book angered me, and I found it difficult to refrain 
from manifesting as much. He undoubtedly did it 
to conceal the fact that the book was borrowed from 
me. Such unmanliness, such cowardice, such base- 
ness even, was most disgusting ; and I felt very 
much as if I would like to — well, I don' t know that 
I would. There was no reason at all for mutilating 
the book. If he was not man enough to use it with 
my name on it, why did he borrow it and agree not 
to injure it ? On that sole condition I lent it. Why 
did he not borrow some one else's and return mine % 
I have been asked, " What is the general feeling 
of the corps towards you ? Is it a kindly one, or is 
it an unfriendly one. Do they purposely ill-treat 
you or do they avoid you merely ?" I have found 
it rather difficult to answer unqualifiedly such ques- 
tions ; and yet I believe, and have always believed, 
that the general feeling of the corps towards me was 
a kindly one. This has been manifested in multi- 
tudes of ways, on innumerably occasions, and under 
the most various circumstances. And while there 
are some who treat me at times in an unbecoming 
manner, the majority of the corps have ever treated 
me as I would desire to be treated. I mean, of 
course, by this assertion that they have treated me 
as I expected and really desired them to treat me, 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 125 

so long as they were prejudiced. They have held 
certain opinions more or less prejudicial to me and 
my interests, but so long as they have not exercised 
their theories to my displeasure or discomfort, or so 
long as they have " let me severely alone," I had no 
just reason for complaint. Again, others, who have 
no theory of their own, and almost no manliness, 
have been accustomed " to pick quarrels," or to en- 
deavor to do so, to satisfy I don't know what ; and 
while they have had no real opinions of their own, 
they have not respected those of others. Their feel- 
ing toward me has been any thing but one of jus- 
tice, and yet at times even they have shown a re- 
markable tendency to recognize me as having cer- 
tain rights entitled to their respect, if not their appre- 
ciation. 

As I have been practically isolated from the 
cadets, I have had little or no intercourse with them. 
I have therefore had but little chance to know what 
was really the feeling of the corps as a unit toward 
myself. Judging, however, from such evidences as 
I have, I am forced to conclude that it is as given 
above, viz., a feeling of kindness, restrained kind- 
ness if you please. 

Here are some of the evidences which have come 
under my notice. 

I once heard a cadet make the following unchris- 
tian remark about myself when a classmate had been 
accidentally hurt at light-battery drill : " I wish it 
had been the nigger, and it had killed him. ' ' I couldn' t 
help looking at him, and I did ; but that, and noth- 
ing more. Some time after this, at cavalry drill, we 
were side by side, and I had a rather vicious horse, 
6 



126 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

one in fact which I could not manage. He gave a 
sudden jump unexpectedly to me. I almost lost my 
seat in the saddle. This cadet seized me by the arm, 
and in a tone of voice that was evidently kind and 
generous, said to me, " For heaven's sake be careful. 
You'll be thrown and get hurt if you don't." How 
different from that other wish given above ! 

Another evidence, and an important one, may be 
given in these words. It is customary for the senior, 
or, as we say, the first class, to choose, each mem- 
ber, a horse, and ride him exclusively during the 
term. The choice is usually made by lot, and each 
man chooses according to the number he draws. By 
remarkable good fortune I drew ~No. 1, and had there- 
fore the first choice of all the horses in the stables. 

As soon as the numbers drawn were published, 
several classmates hastened to me for the purpose of 
effecting an exchange of choice. It will at once be 
seen that any such change would in no manner ben- 
efit me, for if I lost the first choice I might also lose 
the chance of selecting a good horse. With the 
avowed intention of proving that I had at least a 
generous disposition, and also that I was not dis- 
posed to consider, in my reciprocal relations with the 
cadets, how I had been, and was even then treated by 
them, I consented to exchange my first choice for 
the fourteenth. 

This agreement was made with the first that asked 
for an exchange. Several others came, and, when 
informed of the previous agreement, of course went 
their way. A day or two after this a number of 
cadets were discussing the choice of horses, etc., and 
reverted to the exchange which I had made. One of 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 127 

them suggested that if an exchange of a choice 
higher than fourteen were suggested to me, I might 
accept it. 

What an idea, he must have had of my character 
to suppose me base enough to disregard an agree- 
ment I had already made ! 

However, all in the crowd were not as base as he 
was, and one of them was man enough to say : 

" Oh no ! that would be imposing upon Mr. Flip- 
per's good nature." He went on to show how un- 
gentlemanly and unbecoming in a " cadet and gen- 
tleman" such an act would be. The idea was 
abandoned, or at least was never broached to me, 
and if it had been I would never have entertained it. 
Such an act on the part of the cadet could have 
arisen only from a high sense of manly honor or 
from a feeling of kindness. 

There are multitudes of little acts of kindness 
similar to these, and even different ones. I need 
not — indeed as I do not remember them all I can- 
not — mention them all. They all show, however, that 
the cadets are not avowedly inclined to ill-treat me, 
but rather to assist me to make my life under the 
circumstances as pleasant as can be. And there may 
be outside influences, such as relatives or friends, 
which bias their own better judgments and keep 
them from fully and openly recognizing me. For 
however hard either way may be, it is far easier to 
do as friends wish than as conscience may dictate, 
when conscience and friends differ. Under such 
conditions it would manifestly be unjust for me to 
expect recognition of them, even though they them- 
selves were disposed to make it. I am sure this is 



128 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

at least a Christian view of the case, and with such 
view I have ever kept aloof from the cadets. I have 
not obtruded myself upon them, nor in any way at- 
tempted to force recognition from them. This has 
proved itself to be by far the better way, and I don' t 
think it could well be otherwise. 

The one principle which has controlled my con- 
duct while a cadet, and which is apparent through- 
out my narrative, is briefly this : to find, if possible. 
for every insult or other offence a reason or motive 
which is consistent with the character of a gentle- 
man. Whenever I have been insulted, or any 
thing has been done or said to me wdiich might 
have that construction, I have endeavored to find 
some excuse, some reason for it, which was not 
founded on prejudice or on baseness of character 
or any other ungentlemanly attribute ; or, in other 
words, I wanted to prove that it was not done 
because of my color. If I could find such a reason 
— and I have found them — I have been disposed 
not only to overlook the offence, but to forgive 
and forget it. Thus there are many cadets who 
would associate, etc., were they not restrained by 
the force of opinion of relatives and friends. This 
cringing dependence, this vassalage, this mesmerism 
w T e may call it, we all know exists. Why, mauy a 
cadet has openly confessed to me that he did not 
recognize us because he was afraid of being " cut." 

Again, I find some too high-toned, too punctili- 
ous, to recognize me. I attribute this not to the 
loftiness of their highnesses nor to prejudice, but to 
the depth of their ignorance, and of course I forgive 
and forget. Others again are so "reckless," so 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 129 

" don't care" disposed, that they treat me as fancy 
dictates, now friendly, now vacillating, and now in- 
imical. With these I simply do as the Romans do. 
If they are friendly, so am I ; if they scorn me I do 
not obtrude myself upon them ; if they are indiffer- 
ent, I am indifferent too. 

There is a rather remarkable case under this sub- 
ject which has caused me no little surprise and dis- 
appointment. I refer to those cadets appointed by 
colored members of Congress. 

It was quite natural to expect of them better 
treatment than of others, and yet if in any thing at 
all they differed from the former, they were the more 
reserved and discourteous. They most " severely 
let me alone." They never associated, nor did they 
speak, except officially, and then they always spoke 
in a haughty and insolent manner that was to me 
most exasperating. And in one case in particular 
was this so. One of those so appointed was the son 
of the colored Congressman who sent him there, and 
from him at least good treatment was reasonably ex- 
pected. There have been only two such appoint- 
ments to my knowledge, and it is a singular fact that 
they were both overbearing, conceited, and by no 
means popular with their comrades. The status of 
one was but little better than my own, and only in 
that his comrades would speak and associate. He 
was not "cut," but avoided as much as possible 
without making the offence too patent. 

There was a cadet in the corps with, myself who 
invariably dropped his head whenever our eyes met. 
His complexion was any thing but white, his features 
were rough and homely, and his person almost en- 



130 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

tirely without symmetry or beauty. From this sin- 
gular circumstance and his physique, I draw the 
conclusion that he was more African than Anglo- 
Saxon. Indeed, I once heard as much insinuated by 
a fellow ■ cadet, to whom his reply was : " It' s an honor 
to be black." 

Near the close of this chapter I have occason to 
speak of fear. There I mean by fear a sort of shrink- 
ing demeanor or disposition to accept insults and 
other petty persecutions as just dues, or to leave 
them unpunished from actual cowardice, to which 
fear some have been pleased to attribute my gen- 
erally good treatment. This latter fact has been 
by many, to my personal knowledge, attributed to 
fear in another quarter, viz., in the cadets them- 
selves. It has many times been said to me by per- 
sons at West Point and elsewhere: "I don't sup- 
pose many of those fellows would care to encounter 
your' 

This idea was doubtless founded upon my phy- 
sical proportions — I am six feet one and three- 
quarter inches high, and weigh one hundred and 
seventy-five pounds. In behalf of the corps of 
cadets I would disclaim any such notions of fear, 

First. Because the conception of the idea is not 
logical. I was not the tallest, nor yet the largest 
man in the corps, nor even did I give any evidence 
of a disposition to fight or bully others. 

Second. Because I did not come to West Point 
purposely to "go through on my muscle." I am 
not a fighting character, as the cadets — those who 
know me — can well testify. 

Third. Because it is ungenerous to attribute 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 131 

what can result from man's better nature only to ) 
sucli base causes as fear or cowardice. This seems 
to be about the only way in which many have en- 
deavored to explain the difference between my life 
at West Point and that of other colored cadets. 
They seem to think that my physique inspired a 
sort of fear in the cadets, and forced them at least 
to let me alone, while the former ones, smaller in 
size, did therefore create no such fear until by per- 
sistent retaliation it was shown they were able to 
defend themselves. 

~Now this, I think, is the most shallow of all 
reasoning and entirely unworthy our further notice. 

Fourth. I should be grieved to suppose any one 
feared me: It is not my desire to go through life 
feared by any one. I can derive no pleasure from 
any thing which is accorded me through motives of 
fear. The grant must be spontaneous and volun- 
tary to give me the most pleasure. I want nothing, 
not even recognition, unless it be freely given, hence 
have I not forced myself upon -my comrades. 

" But the sensible Flipper accepted the situation, 
and proudly refused to intrude himself on the white 
boys. ' ' — Atlanta (Ga. ) He?'alcl. 

Fifth. Because it is incompatible with the dig- 
nity of a " cadet and a gentleman" for one to fear 
another. 

Sixth. Because it is positively absurd to sup- 
pose that one man of three hundred more or less 
would be feared by the rest individually and col- 
lectively, and no rational being would for an instant 
entertain any such idea. There is, however, a 
single case which may imply fear on the part of the 



132 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

cadet most concerned. A number of plebes, among 
them a colored one, were standing on the stoop of 
barracks. There were also several cadets standing 
in the doorway, and a sentinel was posted in the 
hall. This latter individual went up to one of the 
cadets and said to him, " Make that nigger out there 
get his hands around," referring to this plebe men- 
tioned above. 

I happened to come down stairs just at that time, 
and as soon as he uttered those words he turned and 
saw me. He hung his head, and in a cowardly man- 
ner sneaked off, while the cadets in the door also dis- 
persed with lowered heads. Was it fear \ Verily I 
know not. Possibly it was shame. 

Again I recall a rather peculiar circumstance 
which will perhaps sustain this notion of fear on the 
part of the cadets. I have on every occasion when I 
had command over my fellow- cadets in any degree, 
noticed that they were generally more orderly and 
more obedient than when this authority was [exer- 
cised by another. 

Thus whenever I commanded the guard there 
were very few reports for offences committed by 
members of the guard. They have ever been obedi- 
ent and military. In camp, when I was first in com- 
mand of the guard, I had a most orderly guard and 
a very pleasant tour, and that too, observe, while some 
of the members of it were plebes and on for the first 
time. On all such occasions it is an immemorial 
custom for the yearlings to interfere with and haze 
the plebe sentinels. Not a sentinel was disturbed, 
not a thing went amiss, and why % Manifestly be- 
cause it was thought — and rightly too — that I would 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 133 

not connive at such interference, and because they 
feared to attempt it lest they be watched and re- 
ported. Later, however, even this semblance of fear 
disappeared, and they acted under me precisely as 
they do under others, because they are convinced 
that I will not stoop to spy or retaliate. 

" The boys were rather afraid that when he 
should come to hold the position as officer of the 
guard that he would swagger over them ; but he 
showed good sense and taste, merely assuming the 
rank formally and leaving his junior to carry out 
the duty. ,, — New York Herald. 

And just here it is worthy of notice that the 
press, in commenting upon my chances of graduat- 
ing, has never, so far as I know, entertained any 
doubts of my ability to do so. It has, on the con- 
trary, expressed the belief that the probability of 
my graduating depended upon the officers of the 
Academy, and upon any others who, by influence or 
otherwise, were connected with the Academy. Some 
have even hinted at politics as a possible ground 
upon which they might drop me. 

All such opinions have been created and nurtured 
by the hostile portion of the press, and, I regret to 
say, by that part also which ought to have been 
more friendly, if not more discreet. No branch of 
the government is freer from the influences and 
whims of politicians than the National Military 
Academy. Scarcely any paper has considered how 
the chances of any cadet depended upon himself 
alone. The authorities of the Academy are, or have 
been, officers of the army. They are, with one or 
two exceptions, graduates, and therefore, presuma- 



134 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

bly, "officers and gentlemen." To transform young 
men into a like ilk as themselves is their duty. 
The country intrusts them with this great respon- 
sibility. To prove faithless to such a charge would 
be to risk position, and even those dearer attributes 
of the soldier, honor and reputation. They would 
not dare ill-treat a colored cadet or a white one. 
Of course the prejudice of race is not yet overcome 
entirely, and possibly they may be led into some 
indiscretion on account of it ; but I do not think it 
would be different at any other college in the coun- 
try. It is natural. 

There are prejudices of caste as well as preju- 
dices of race, and I am most unwilling to believe it 
possible that any officer would treat with injustice a 
colored cadet who in true gentlemanly qualities, in- 
telligence, and assiduousness equals or excels cer- 
tain white ones who are treated with perfect equa- 
nimity. With me it has not been so. I have been 
treated as I would wish to be in the majority of 
cases. There have been of course occasions where 
I've fancied wrong had been done me. I expected 
to be ill-treated. I went to West Point fully con- 
vinced that I'd have "a rough time of it." Who 
that has read the many newspaper versions of the 
treatment of colored cadets, and of Smith in partic- 
ular, would not have been so convinced % When, 
therefore, any affront or any thing seemingly of that 
nature was offered me, I have been disposed, nat- 
urally I think, to unduly magnify it, because I ex- 
pected it. This was hasty and unjust, and so I 
admit, now that I am better informed. What was 
apparently done to incommode or discourage me 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 135 

has been shown to have been done either for my own 
benefit or for some other purpose, not to my harm. 
In every single instance I have, after knowing better 
the reason for such acts, felt obliged to acknowledge 
the injustice of my fears. At other times I have been 
agreeably surprised at the kindnesses shown me both 
by officers and cadets, and have found myself at 
great loss to reconcile them with acts I had already 
adjudged as malicious wrongs. 

I have, too, been particularly careful not to fall 
into an error, which, I think, has been the cause of 
misfortune to at least one of the cadets of color. If 
a cadet affront another, if a white cadet insult a 
colored one for instance, the latter can complain to 
the proper authorities, and, if there be good reason 
for it, can always get proper redress. This undoubt- 
edly gives the consolation of knowing that the 
offence will not be repeated, but beyond that I think 
it a great mistake to have so sought it. A person 
who constantly complains, even with some show of 
reason, loses more or less the respect of the author- 
ities. And the offenders, while they refrain from 
open acts, do nevertheless conduct their petty per- 
secutions in such a manner that one can shape no 
charge against them, and consequently finds himself 
helpless. One must endure these little tortures — the 
sneer, the shrug of the shoulder, the epithet, the 
effort to avoid, to disdain, to ignore— and thus suffer ; 
for any of them are — to me at least — far more hard 
to bear than a blow. A blow I may resist or ig- 
nore. In either case I soon forget it. But a sneer, 
a shrug of the shoulder, mean more. Either is a 
blow at my sensitiveness, my inner feelings, and 



136 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

which through no ordinary effort of mind can be 
altogether forgotten. It is a sting that burns long 
and fiercely. How much better to have ignored the 
greater offences which could be reached, and to have 
thus avoided the lesser ones, which nothing can de- 
stroy ! How much wiser to stand like a vast front 
of fortification, on some rocky moral height abso- 
lutely unassailable, passively resisting alike the at- 
tack by open assault and the surer one by regular 
approaches ! The assault can be repulsed, but who 
can, who has ever successfully stopped the mines 
and the galleries through which an entrance is at 
length forced into the interior % 

" We cannot expect the sons to forget the lessons of the sires ; but 
we have a right to demand from the general government the rooting 
out of all snobbery at West Point, whether it is of that kind which 
sends poor white boys to Coventry, because they haven't a family 
name or wealth, or whether it be that smallest, meanest, and shallow- 
est of all aristocracies — the one founded upon color. 

" If the government is Dot able to root out these unrepublican seeds 
in these hotbeds of disloyalty and snobbery, let Congress shut up the 
useless and expensive appendages and educate its officers at the col- 
leges of the country, where they may learn lessons in true Republican 
equality and nationality. The remedy lies with Congress. A 
remonstrance, at least, should be heard from the colored members of 
Congress, who are insulted whenever a colored boy is ill-treated by 
the students or the officers of these institutions. So far from being 
discouraged by defeats, the unjust treatment meted out to the young 
men should redouble the efforts of others of their class to conquer 
this new Bastile by storm. It should lead every colored Congressman 
to make sure that he either sends a colored applicant or a white one 
who has not the seeds of snobbery or caste in his soul." 

I shall consider this last clause at the end of this 
chapter, where I shall quote at length the article 
from which this passage is taken. 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 137 

If I may be pardoned an opinion on this article, 
I do not think the true remedy lies with Congress 
at all. I do not question the right to demand of 
Congress any thing, but I do doubt the propriety or 
need of such a proceeding, of course, in the case un- 
der consideration. As to " that kind which sends 
poor white boys to Coventry, ' ' because of their pov- 
erty, etc., I can say with absolute truthfulness it 
no longer exists. When it did exist the power to 
discontinue it did not lie with Congress. Congress 
has no control over personal whims or prejudices. 
But I make a slight mistake. There was a time 
when influence, wealth, or position was able to secure 
a cadetship. At that time poor boys very rarely 
succeeded in getting an appointment, and when 
they did they were most unmercifully "cut" by 
the snobs of aristocracy who were at the Academy. 
Then the remedy did lie with Congress. The ap- 
pointments could have been so made as to exclude 
those snobs whose only recommendation was their 
position in society, and so also as to admit boys who 
were deserving, although they were perhaps poor. 
This remedy has been made, and all classes (white), 
whether poor or rich, influential or not, are on terms 
of absolute equality. 

But for that other kind, "the one founded upon 
color," Congress has no remedy, no more than for 
fanaticism or something of that kind. 

This article also tells us that "the government 
has been remiss in not throwing "around them the 
protection of its authority." I disdainfully scout 
the idea of such protection. If my manhood cannot 
stand without a governmental prop, then let it fall. 



138 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

If I am to stand on any other ground than the one 
white cadets stand upon, then I don't want the 
cadetship. If I cannot endure prejudice and perse- 
cutions, even if they are offered, then I don't deserve 
the cadetship, and much less the commission of an 
army officer. But there is a remedy, a way to root 
out snobbery and prejudice which but needs adop- 
tion to have the desired effect. Of course its adop- 
tion by a single person, myself for instance, will not 
be sufficient to break away all the barriers which 
prejudice has brought into existence. I am quite 
confident, however, if adopted by all colored cadets, 
it will eventually work out the difficult thoiigh by 
no means insoluble problem, and give us further 
cause for joy and congratulations. 

The remedy lies solely in our case with us. AVe 
can make our life at West Point what we will. We 
shall be treated by the cadets as we treat them. Of 
course some of the cadets are low — they belong to 
the younger classes — -and good treatment cannot be 
expected of them at West Point nor away from 
there. The others, presumably gentlemen, will treat 
everybody else as becomes gentlemen, or at any rate 
as they themselves are treated. For, as Josh Bill- 
ings quaintly tells us, "a gentleman kant hide hiz 
true karakter enny more than a loafer kan." 

Prejudice does not necessarily prevent a man's 
being courteous and gentlemanly in his relations 
with others. If, then, they be prejudiced and treat 
one with ordinary civility, or even if they let one 
" severely alone," is there any harm done ? Is such 
a course of conduct to be denounced 2 Religiously, 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 139 

yes ; but in the manner of every- day life and its con- 
ventionalities, I say not by any means. I have the 
right — no one will deny it — of choosing or rejecting 
as companions whomsoever I will. If my choice be 
based upon color, am I more wrong in adopting it 
than I should be in adopting any other reason ? It 
may be an unchristian opinion or fancy that causes 
me to do it, but such opinion or fancy is my own, 
and I have a right to it. No one objects to prejudice 
as such, but to the treatment it is supposed to cause. 
If one is disposed to ill-treat another, he'll do it, 
prejudiced or not prejudiced. Only low persons are 
so disposed, and happily so for West Point, and in- 
deed for the whole country. 

" The system of competitive examination for ad- 
mission, so largely adopted within the past few years 
in many of our large cities, has resulted in recruiting 
the corps with lads of bright intellect and more than 
ordinary attainments, while the strict physical ex- 
amination has rigorously excluded all but those of 
good form and perfect health. The competitive sys- 
tem has also given to the Academy students who 
want to learn, instead of lads who are content to 
scramble through the prescribed course as best they 
can, escaping being ' found ' (a cadet term equiva- 
lent to the old college word ' plucked ' ) by merely 
a hair's-breadth." 

The old way of getting rid of the rough, uncouth 
characters was to "find" them. Few, very few of 
them, ever got into the army. Now they are ex- 
cluded by the system of competitive examination 
even from entering the Military Academy, and if 



140 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

they should succeed in getting to West Point, they 
eventually fail, since men with no fixed purpose 
cannot graduate at West Point. 

~Now if the " colored cadets" be not of this class 
also, then their life at West Point will not be much 
harder than that of the others. The cadets may not 
associate, but what of that ? Am I to blame a man 
who prefers not to associate with me \ If that be 
the only charge against him, then my verdict is for 
acquittal. Though his conduct arises from, to us, 
false premises, it is to his sincere convictions right, 
and we would not in the slightest degree be justified 
in forcing him into our way of looking at it. In 
other words, the remedy does not lie with Congress. 

The kind of treatment we are to receive at the 
hands of others depends entirely upon ourselves. I 
think my life at West Point sufficiently proves the 
truth of this assertion. I entered the Academy at a 
time when, as one paper had it, West Point was a 
" hotbed of disloyalty and snobbery, a useless and 
expensive appendage." I expected all sorts of ill- 
treatment, and yet from the day I entered till the 
day I graduated I had not cause to utter so much as 
an angry word. I refused to obtrude myself upon 
the white cadets, and treated them all with uniform 
courtesy. I have been treated likewise. It simply 
depended on me what sort of treatment I should re- 
ceive. I was careful to give no cause for bad treat- 
ment, and it was never put upon me. In making 
this assertion I purposely disregard the instances of 
malice, etc., mentioned elsewhere, for the reason 
that I do not believe they were due to any deep per- 
sonal convictions of my inferiority or personal desire 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 141 

to impose upon me, but rather were due to the fear 
of being ' ' cut ' ' if they had acted otherwise. 

Our relations have been such, as any one will 
readily observe, that even officially they would have 
been obliged to recognize me to a greater or less ex- 
tent, or at the expense of their consciences ignore me. 
They have done both, as circumstances and not incli- 
nation have led them to do. 

A rather unexpected incident occurred in the 
summer of '73, which will show perhaps how intense 
is that gravitating force — if T may so term it — which 
so completely changes the feelings of the plebes, 
and even cadets, who, when they reported, were not 
at all prejudiced on account of color. 

It was rather late at night and extremely dark. 
I was on guard and on post at the time. Approach- 
ing the lower end of my post, No. 5, I heard my 
name called in a low tone by some one whom I did 
not recognize. I stopped and listened. The calling 
was repeated, and I drew near the place whence it 
came. It proved to be a cadet, a classmate of mine, 
and then a sentinel on the adjacent post, No. 4. We 
stood and talked quite awhile, as there was no dan- 
ger either of being seen by other cadets — an event 
which those who in any manner have recognized me 
have strenuously avoided — or "hived standing on 
post." It was too dark. He expressed great regret 
at my treatment, hoped it would be bettered, assured 
me that he would ever be a friend and treat me as a 
gentleman should. 

Another classmate told me, at another time, in 
effect the same thing. I very naturally expected a 
fulfilment of these promises, but alas ! for such 



142 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

hopes ! They not only never fulfilled them, but 
treated me even as badly as all the others. One of 
them was assigned a seat next to me at table. He 
would eat scarcely anything, and when done with 
that he would draw his chair away and pretend to 
be imposed upon in the most degrading manner pos- 
sible. The other practised similar manoeuvres when- 
ever we fell in at any formation of company or sec- 
tion. They both called me " nigger," or " d — d nig- 
ger," as suited their inclination. Yet this ought, I 
verily believe, to be attributed not to them, but to 
the circumstances that led them to adopt such a 
course. 

On one occasion, however, one of them brought 
to my room the integration of some differential 
equation in mechanics which had been sent me by 
our instructor. He was very friendly then, appa- 
rently. He told me upon leaving, if I desired any 
further information to come to his " liouse" and he 
would give it. I observed that he called me ' ' Mr. 
Flipper." 

One winter's night, while on guard in barracks 
during supper, a cadet of the next class above my 
own stopped on my post and conversed with me as 
long as it was safe to do so. He expressed — as all 
have who have spoken to me — great regret that I 
should be so isolated, asked how I got along in my 
studies, and many other like questions. He spoke 
at great length of my general treatment. He assured 
me that he was wholly unprejudiced, and would ever 
be a friend. He even went far enough to say, to my 
great astonishment, that he cursed me and my race 
among the cadets to keep up appearances with them, 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 143 

and that I must think none the less well of him for 
so doing. It was a sort of necessity, he said, for he 
would not only be "cut," but would be treated a 
great deal worse than I was if he should fraternize 
with me. Upon leaving me he said, " I' m d — d sorry 
to see you come here to be treated so, but I am glad 
to see you stay." 

Unfortunately the gentleman failed at the ex- 
amination, then not far distant, and of course did 
not have much opportunity to give proof of his 
friendship. And thus, 

" The walk, the words, the gesture could supply, 
The habit mimic and the mieu belie." 

When the plebes reported in '76, and were given 
seats in the chapel, three of them were placed in the 
pew with myself. We took seats in the following 
order, viz., first the commandant of the pew, a ser- 
geant and a classmate of mine, then a third-class- 
man, myself, and the plebes. Now this arrange- 
ment was wholly unsatisfactory to the third-class- 
man, who turned to the sergeant and asked of him to 
place a plebe between him and myself. The sergeant 
turned toward me, and with an angry gesture 
ordered me to " Get over there." I refused, on the 
ground that the seat I occupied had been assigned 
me, and I therefore had no authority to change it. 
Near the end of the service the third-classman asked 
the sergeant to tell me to sit at the further end of the 
seat. He did so. I refused on the same ground as 
before. He replied, " Well, it don't make any differ- 
ence. I'll see that your seat is changed." I feared 
he would go to the cadet quartermaster, who had 



144 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

charge of the arrangement of seats, and have my seat 
changed without authority. I reported to the officer 
in charge of the new cadets, and explained the whole 
affair to him. 

" You take the seat," said he, " assigned you in 
the guardhouse" — the plan of the church, with 
names written on the pews, was kept here, so that 
cadets could consult it and know where their seats 
were — " and if anybody wants you to change it teR 
them I ordered you to keep it." 

The next Sabbath I took it. I was ordered to 
change it. I refused on the authority just given 
above. The sergeant then went to the commandant 
of cadets, who by some means got the impression that 
I desired to change my seat. He sent for me and 
emphatically ordered me to keep the seat which had 
by his order been assigned me. Thus the effort to 
change my seat, made by the third- classman through 
the sergeant, but claimed to have been made by me, 
failed. It was out of the question for it to be other- 
wise. If the sergeant had wanted the seat himself 
he would in all probability have got it, because he 
was my senior in class and lineal rank. But the 
third- classman was my junior in both, and therefore 
could not, by any military regulation, get possession 
of what I was entitled to by my superior rank. And 
the effort to do so must be regarded a marvellous 
display of stupidity, or a belief on the part of the 
cadet that I could be imposed upon with impunity, 
simply because I was "alone and had shown no dis- 
position to quarrel or demand either real or imagin- 
ary rights. 

While in New York during my furlough — sum- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 145 

mer of '75 — I was introduced to one of her wealthy 
bankers. We conversed quite a while on various 
topics, and finally resumed the subject on which we 
began, viz., "West Point. He named a cadet, whom 
I shall call for convenience John, and asked if I 
knew him. I replied in the affirmative. After ask- 
ing various other questions of him, his welfare, etc., 
he volunteered the following bit of information : 

" Oh ! yes," said he, " I've known John for sev- 
eral years. He used to peddle newspapers around 
the bank here. I was agreeably surprised when I 
heard he had been appointed to a cadetship at West 
Point. The boys who come in almost every morn- 
ing with their papers told me John was to sell me 
no more papers. His mother has scrubbed out the 
office here, and cleaned up daily for a number of 
years. John's a good fellow though, and I'm glad 
to know of his success." 

This information was to me most startling. There 
certainly was nothing dishonorable in that sort of 
labor — nay, even there was much in it that deserved 
our highest praise. It was honest, humble work. 
But who would imagiiie from the pompous bearing 
assumed by the gentleman that he ever peddled 
newspapers, or that his mother earned her daily 
bread by scrubbing on her knees office floors ? And 
how does this compare with the average negro ? 

It is not to me very pleasant to thus have 
another's private history revealed, but when it is 
done I can't help feeling myself better in one sense 
at least than my self-styled superiors. I certainly 
am not really one thing and apparently another. 
The distant haughtiness assumed by some of them, 



146 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

and the constant endeavor to avoid me, as if I were 
"a stick or a stone, the veriest poke of creation," 
had no other effect than to make me feel as if I were 
really so, and to discourage and dishearten me. I 
hardly know how I endured it all so long. If I 
were asked to go over it all again, even with the ex- 
perience I now have, I fear I should fail. I mean of 
course the strain on my mind and sensitiveness 
would be so great I' d be unable to endure it. 

There is that in every man, it has been said, 
either good or bad, which will manifest itself in Ms 
speech or acts. Keeping this in mind while I con- 
stantly study those around me, I find myself at 
times driven to most extraordinary conclusions. If 
some are as good as their speech, then, if I may be 
permitted to judge, they have most devoutly ob- 
served that blessed commandment, " Honor thy 
father and thy mother, that thy days may be long 
upon the land which the Lord thy Godgiveth thee," 
in that they have profited by their teaching both 
mentally and morally. 

On the other hand, we hear from many the very 
worst possible language. Some make pardonable 
errors, while others make blunders for which there 
can be no excuse save ignorance. Judging their 
character by their speech, what a sad condition must 
be theirs ; and more, what a need for missionary 
work ! 

This state of affairs gives way in the second, and 
often in the first year, to instruction and discipline. 
West Point's greatest glory arises from her unparal- 
leled success in polishing these rough specimens and 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 147 

sending them forth " officers and gentlemen." No 
college in the country has such a " heterogeneous 
conglomeration" — to quote Dr. Johnson — of classes. 
The highest and lowest are represented. The glory 
of free America, her recognition of equality of all 
men, is not so apparent anywhere else as at West 
Point. And were prejudice entirely obliterated, then 
would America in truth be that Utopia of which so 
many have but dreamed. It is rapidly giving way 
to better reason, and the day is not far distant when 
West Point will stand forth as the proud exponent 
of absolute social equality. Prejudice weakens, and 
ere long will fail completely. The advent of general 
education sounds its death knell. And may the day 
be not afar off when America shall proclaim her 
emancipation from the basest of all servitudes, the 
subservience to prejudice ! 

After feeling reasonably sure of success, I have 
often thought that my good treatment was due in a 
measure to a sort of apprehension on the part of the 
cadets that, when I should come to exercise com- 
mand over them, I would use my authority to retal- 
iate for any ill-treatment I had suffered. I have 
thought thi% the case with those especially who have 
been reared in the principles of prejudice, and often 
in none other, for " prejudices, it is well known, are 
the most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose 
soil has never been loosened or fertilized by educa- 
tion. They grow there as firm as weeds among 
rocks." 

When the time did come, and I proved by purely 
gentlemanly conduct that it was no harder, no more 



148 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

dishonorable, to be under me than under others, this 
reserve vanished to a very great extent. I might 
mention instances in which this is evident. 

At practical engineering, one day, three of us 
were making a gabion. One was putting in the 
watling, another keeping it firmly down, while I was 
preparing it. I had had some instruction on a pre- 
vious day as to how it should be jmade, but the two 
others had not. "When they had put in the watling 
to within the proper distance of the top they began 
trimming off the twigs and butt ends of the withes. 
I happened to turn toward the gabion and observed 
what they were doing. In a tone of voice, and with 
a familiarity that surprised my own self, I ex- 
claimed, " Oh, don't do that. Don't you see if you 
cut those off before sewing, the whole thing will 
come to pieces % Secure the ends first and then cut 
off the twigs." 

They stopped working, listened attentively, and 
one of them replied, " Yes, that would be the most 
sensible way." I proceeded to show them how to 
sew the watling and to secure the ends. They were 
classmates. They listened to my voluntary instruc- 
tion, and followed it without a thought ©f who gave 
it, or any feeling of prejudice. 

At foot battery drill one day I was chief of piece. 
After a time the instructor rested the battery. The 
cannoneers at my piece, instead of going off and sit- 
ting down, gathered around me and asked questions 
about the nomenclature of the piece and its carriage. 
' ' What is this ?" " What is it for V ' and many others. 
They were third-classmen. Certainly there was no 
prejudice in this. Certainly, too, it could only be 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 119 

due to good conduct on my part. And here is 
another. 

Just after taps on the night of July 12th, 1876, 
while lying in my tent studying the stars, I hap- 
pened to overhear a rather angry conversation con- 
cerning my unfortunate self. 

It seems the cadet speaking had learned before- 
hand that he and myself would be on duty a few 
days hence, myself as senior and he as junior officer 
of the guard. His chums were teasing him on his 
misfortune of being under me as junior, which act 
caused him to enter into a violent panegyric upon 
me. He began by criticising my military aptitude 
and the manner in which I was treated by the author- 
ities, that is, by the cadet officers, as is apparent 
from what follows : 

"That nigger," said he, "don't keep dressed. 
Sometimes he's 'way head of the line. He swings 
his arms, and does other things not half as well as 
other ' devils,' and yet he's not ' skinned ' for it." 

What a severe comment upon the way in which 
the file-closers discharge their duties ! Severe, in- 
deed, it would be were it true. It is hardly reason- 
able, I think, to suppose the file- closers, in the face 
of prejudice and the probability of being " cut," 
would permit me to do the things mentioned with 
impunity, while they reported even their own class- 
mates for them. 

And here again we see the fox and sour grapes. 
The gentleman who so honored me with his criticism 
was junior to me in every branch of study we had 
taken up to that time except in French. I was his 
senior in tactics by — well, to give the number of files 
7 



150 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

would be to specify him too closely and make my 
narrative too personal. Suffice it to say I ranked 
him, and I rather fancy, as I did not gain that posi- 
tion by favoritism, but by study and proficiency, lie 
should not venture to criticise. But so it is all 
through life, at West Point as well as elsewhere. 
Malcontents are ever finding faults in others which 
they never think of discovering in themselves. 

When the time came the detail was published at 
parade, and next day we duly marched on guard. 
When I appeared on the general parade in full dress, 
I noticed mischievous smiles on more than one face, 
for the majority of the corps had turned out to see 
me. I walked along, proudly unconscious of their 
presence. 

Although I went through the ceremony of guard 
mounting without a single blunder, I was not at all 
at ease. I inspected the front rank, while my 
junior inspected the rear. I was sorely displeased 
to observe some of the cadets change color as they 
tossed up their pieces for my inspection, and that 
they watched me as I went through that operation. 
Some of them were from the South, and educated to 
consider themselves far superior to those of whom 
they once claimed the right of possession. I know 
it was to them most galling, and although I fully 
felt the responsibility and honor of commanding the 
guard, I frankly and candidly confess that I found 
no pleasure in their apparent humiliation. 

I am as a matter of course opposed to prejudice, 
but I nevertheless hold that those who are not have 
just as much right to their opinions on the matter 
as they would have to any one of the various re- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 151 

ligious creeds. We in free America at least would 
not be justified in forcing them to renounce their 
views or beliefs on race and color any more than 
those on religion. 

We can sometimes, by so living that those who 
differ from us in opinion respecting any thing can 
find no fault with us or our creed, influence them to 
a just consideration of our views, and perhaps per- 
suade them unconsciously to adopt our way of think- 
ing. And just so it is, I think, with prejudice. 
There is a certain dignity in enduring it which always 
evokes praise from those who indulge it, and also 
often discovers to them their error and its injustice. 

Knowing that it would be unpleasant to my 
junior to have to ask my permission to do this or 
that, and not wishing to subject him to more morti- 
fication than was possible, I gave him all the lati- 
tude I could, telling him to use his own discretion, 
and that he need not ask my permission for any 
thing unless he chose. 

This simple act, forgotten almost as soon as done, 
was in an exceedingly short time known to every 
cadet throughout the camp, and I had the indescrib- 
able pleasure, some days after, of knowing that by 
it I had been raised many degrees in the estimation 
of the corps. Nor did this knowledge remain in 
camp. It was spread all over the Point. The act 
was talked of and praised by the cadets wherever 
they went, and their conversations were repeated to 
me many times by different persons. 

When on guard again I was the junior, and of 
course subject to the orders of the senior. He came 
to me voluntarily, 'and in almost my own words gave 



152 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POK\ T T. 

me exactly the same privileges I had given my 
junior, who was a chum of my present senior. In 
view of the ostracism and isolation to which I had 
been subjected, it was expected that I would be 
severe, and use my authority to retaliate. When, 
however, I did a more Christian act, did to others 
as I would have them do to me, and not as they had 
sometimes done, I gave cause for a similar act of 
good- will, which was in a degree beyond all expec- 
tation accorded me. 

Indeed, while we are all prone to err, we are also 
very apt to do to others as they really do to us. If 
they treat us well, we treat them well ; if badly, we 
treat them so also. I believe such to be in accord- 
ance with our nature, and if we do not always do 
so our failure is due to some influence apart from 
our better reason, if we do not treat them well, or 
our first impulse if we do. If now, on the contrary, 
I had been severe and unnecessarily imperious be- 
cause of my power, I should in all probability have 
been treated likewise, and would have fallen and not 
have risen in the estimation of the cadets. 

It has often occurred to me that the terms " pre- 
judice of race, of color," etc., were misnomers, and 
for this reason. As soon as I show that I have some 
good qualities, do some act of kindness in spite of 
insult, my color is forgotten and I am well treated. 
Again, I have observed that colored men of char- 
acter and intellectual ability have been treated as 
men should be by all, whether friends or enemies ; 
that is to say, no prejudice of color or race has ever 
been manifested. 

I have been so treated by men I knew to be — to 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 153 

use a political term — " vile democrats." Unfor- 
tunately a bad temper, precipitation, stubbornness, 
and like qualities, all due to non-education, are too 
often attributes of colored men and women. These 
characteristics lower the race in the estimation of the 
whites, and produce, I think, what we call prejudice. 
In fact I believe prejudice is due solely to non-edu- 
cation and its effects in one or perhaps both races. 

Prejudice of — well, any word that will express 
these several characteristics would be better, as it 
would be nearer the truth. 

There is, of course, a very large class of ignorant 
and partially cultured whites whose conceptions can 
find no other reason for prejudice than that of color. 
I doubt very much whether they are prejudiced on 
that account as it is. I rather think they are so 
because they know others are for some reason, and 
so cringing are they in their weakness that they follow 
like so many trained curs. This is the class we in 
the South are accustomed to call the " poor white 
trash," and speaking of them generally I can neglect 
them in this discussion of my treatment, and with- 
out material error. 

In camp at night the duties of the officers of the 
guard are discharged part of the night by the senior 
and the other part by the junior officer. As soon as 
it was night — to revert to the subject of this article — 
my junior came to me and asked how I wished to 
divide the night tour. 

' ' Just suit yourself. If you have any reason for 
wanting a particular part of the night, I shall be 
pleased to have you take it." 

He chose the latter half of the night, and asked 



154 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

me to wake him at a specified time. After this he 
discovered a reason for taking the first half, and com- 
ing to me said : 

" If it makes no difference to you I will take the 
first half of the night." 

" As you like," was my reply. 

" You ' pile in ' then, and I'll wake you in time," 
was his reply. 

Observe the familiarity in this rejoinder. 

The guard was turned out and inspected by the 
officer of the day at about 12.20 p.m. After the in- 
spection I retired, and was awakened between 1 and 
2 p.m. by my junior, who then retired for the night. 

The officer in charge turned out and inspected the 
guard between 2 and 3 p.m. 

Several of the cadets were reported to me by 
the corporals for violating regulations. The reports 
were duly recorded in the guard report for the day. 
I myself reported but one cadet, and his offence was 
" Absence from tattoo roll-call of guard." 

These reports were put in under my signature, 
though not at all made by me, as also was another 
of a very grave nature. 

It seems— for I didn't know the initial circum- 
stances of the case— that a citizen visiting at West 
Point asked a cadet if he could see a friend of Ms 
who was a member of the corps. The cadet at once 
sought out the corporal then on duty, and asked 
him to go to camp and turn out this friend. The 
corporal did not go. The cadet who requested him 
to do so reported the fact to the officer of the day. 
The latter came at once to me and directed me, as 
officer of the guard, to order him to go and turn out 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 155 

the cadet, and to see that he did it. I did as 
ordered. The corporal replied, " I have turned him 
out." As the cadet did not make his appearance 
the officer of the day himself went into camp, 
brought him out to his citizen friend, and then 
ordered me in positive terms to report the corporal 
for gross disobedience of orders. I communicated 
to him the corporal' s reply, and received a repetition 
of his order. I obeyed it, entering on my guard re- 
port the following : 

' ' , disobedience of orders, not turning out a 

cadet for citizen when ordered to do so by the officer 
of the guard." 

The commandant sent for me, and learned from 
me all the circumstances of the case as far as I knew 
them. He made similar requirements of the cor- 
poral himself. 

Connected with this case is another, which, I 
think, should be recorded, to show how some have 
been disposed to act and think concerning myself. 
At the dinner table, and on the very day this affair 
above mentioned occurred, a cadet asked another if 

he had heard about , mentioning the name of 

the cadet corporal. 

" No, I haven't," he replied ; " what's the matter 
with him?" 

" Why, the officer of the day ordered him re- 
ported for disobedience of orders, and served him 
right too." 

" What was it % Whose orders did he disobey V 

" Some cit wanted to see a cadet and asked 

C if he could do so. C asked , who was 

then on duty, to go to camp and tarn him out. He 



156 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

didn't do it, but went off and began talking with 
some ladies. The officer of the day directed the 
senior officer of the guard to order him to go. He 

did order him to go and replied, " I have turned 

him out," and didn't go. The officer of the day 
then turned him out, and ordered him to be reported 
for disobedience of orders, and I say served him 
right." 

" I don't see it," was the reply. 

"Don't see it? "Why 's relief was on post, 

and it was his duty to attend to all such calls during 
his tour ; and besides, I think ordinary politeness 
would have been sufficient to make him go." 

" Well, I can sympathize with him anyhow." 

" Sympathize with him ! How so V 

" Because he* son guard to-day '." What an ex- 
cellent reason! "Because he's on guard to-day," 
or, in other words, because I was in command of the 
guard. 

He then went on to speak of the injustice of the 
report, the malice and spirit of retaliation shown in 
giving it, and hoped that the report would not be 
the cause of any punishment. And all this because 
the report was under my signature. 

When the corporal replied to me that he had 
turned out the cadet, I considered it a satisfactory 
answer, supposing the cadet's non-appearance was 
due to delay in arranging his toilet. I had no in- 
tention of reporting him, and did so only in obedi- 
ence to positive orders. There surely was nothing 
malicious or retaliatory in that ; and to condemn me 
for discharging the first of all military duties — viz., 
obedience of orders — is but to prove the narrowness 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POIXT. 157 

of the intellect and the baseness of the character 
which are vaunted as so far superior to those of the 
"negro cadet," and which condemn him and his 
actions for no other reason than that they are his. 
How could it be otherwise than that he be isolated 
and persecuted when such minds are concerned % 

In his written explanation to the commandant 
the corporal admitted the charge of disobedience of 
orders on his part, but excused himself by saying he 
had delegated another cadet to discharge the duty 
for him . This was contrary to regulations, and still 
further aggravated his offence. 

For an incident connected with this tour of guard 
duty, see chapter on " Incidents, Humor," etc. 

The only case of downright malice that has come 
to my knowledge — and I'm sure the only one that 
ever occurred — is the following : 

It is a custom, as old as the institution I dare 
say, for cadets of the first and second classes to 
march in the front rank, while all others take their 
places in the rear rank, with the exception that third- 
classmen may be in the front rank whenever it is 
necessary for the proper formation of the company 
to put them there. The need of such a custom is ap- 
parent. Fourth-classmen, or plebes not accustomed 
to marching and keeping dressed, are therefore unfit 
to be put in the front rank. Third-classmen have 
to give way to the upper classmen on account of their 
superior rank, and are able to march in the front 
rank only when put there or allowed to remain there 
by the file- closers. When I was a plebe, and also 
during my third-class year, I marched habitually in 
the rear rank, as stated with reason elsewhere. But 



158 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

when I became a second-classman, and had by class 
rank a right to the front rank, I took my place there. 

Just about this time I distinctly heard the cadet 
captain of my company say to the first sergeant, or 
rather ask him why he did not put me in the rear 
rank. The first sergeant replied curtly, " Because 
he' s a second-classman now, and I have no right to 
doit." This settled the question for the time, in- 
deed for quite a while, till the incident above referred 
to occurred. 

At a formation of the company for retreat parade 
in the early spring of '76, it was necessary to trans- 
fer some one from the front to the rear rank. Now 
instead of transferring a third-classman, the sergeant 
on the left of the company ordered me, a second- 
classman, into the rear rank. I readily obeyed, 
because I felt sure I'd be put back after the com- 
pany was formed and inspected, as had been done 
by him several times before. But this was not done. 
I turned to the sergeant and reminded him that he 
had not put me back where I belonged. He at once 
did so without apparent hesitation or unwillingness. 
He, however, reported me for speaking to him about 
the discharge of his duties. For this offence, I sub- 
mitted the following explanation : 

West Point, N. Y., April 11, 1876. 

Offense: Speaking to sergeant about formation of company at 
parade. 

Explanation : I would respectfully state that the above report is a 
mistake. I said nothing whatever about the formation of the com- 
pany. I was put in the rear rank, and, contrary to custom, left 
there. As soon as the command "In place, rest," was given, I 

turned to the nearest sergeant and said, "Mr. , can I take my 

place in the front rank ?" He leaned to the front and looked along 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 159 

the line. I then said, ' ' There are men in the front rank who are 

junior to me." I added, a moment after, "There is one just up 

there," motioning with my head the direction meant. He made the 

change. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Henry O. Flipper, 

Cadet Priv. , Comp. " D, " First Glass. 

To Lieut. Colonel , 

Commanding Corps of Cadets. 

This explanation was sent by the commandant to 
the reporting sergeant. He indorsed it in about the 
following words : 

Respectfully returned with the following statement : 
It was necessary in forming the company to put Cadet Flipper in 
the rear rank, and as I saw no third-classman in the front rank, I left 
him there as stated. I reported him because I did not think he had 
any right to speak to me about the discharge of my duty. 



Cadet Sergeant Company "D." 

A polite question a reflection on the manner of 
discharging one's duty ! A queer construction in- 
deed ! Observe, he says, he saw no third-classman 
in the front rank. It was his duty to be sure about 
it, and if there was one there to transfer him to the 
rear, and myself to the front rank. In not doing so 
he neglected his duty and imposed upon me and the 
dignity of my class. I was therefore entirely justi- 
fied in calling his attention to his neglect. 

This is a little thing, but it should be borne in 
mind that it is nevertheless of the greatest importance. 
We know what effect comity or international polite- 
ness has on the relations or intercourse between na- 
tions. The most trifling acts, such as congratula- 
tions on a birth or marriage in the reigning family, 
are wonderfully efficacious in keeping up that fesl- 



160 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

ing of amity which is so necessary to peace and con- 
tinued friendship between states. To disregard these 
little things is considered unfriendly, and may be the 
cause of serious consequences. 

There is a like necessity, I think, in our own case. 
Any affront to me which is also an affront to my 
class and its dignity deserves punishment or satisfac- 
tion. To demand it, then, gives my class a better 
opinion of me, and serves to keep that opinion in as 
good condition as possible. 

I knew well that there were men in the corps 
who would readily seize any possible opportunity 
to report me, and I feared at the time that I might 
be reported for speaking to the sergeant. I was 
especially careful to guard against anger or rough- 
ness in my speech, and to put my demand in the 
politest form possible. The offence was removed. 
I received no demerits, and the sergeant had the 
pleasure or displeasure of grieving at the failure of 
his report. 

I am sorry to know that I have been charged, by 
some not so well acquainted with West Point and life 
there as they should be to criticise, with manifesting 
a lack of dignity in that I allowed myself to be 
insulted, imposed upon, and otherwise ill-treated. 
There appears to them too great a difference between 
the treatment of former colored cadets and that of 
myself, and the only way they are pleased to ac- 
count for this difference is to say that my good treat- 
ment was due to want of " spunk," and even to fear, 
as some have said. It evidently never occurred to 
them that my own conduct determined more than 
all things else the kind of treatment I would receive. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 161 

Every one not stubbornly prejudiced against 
West Point, and therefore not disposed to censure or 
criticise every thing said or done there, knows how 
false the charge is. And those who make it scarcely 
deserve my notice. I would say to them, however, 
that true dignity, selon nous, consists in being above 
the rabble and their insults, t and particularly in re- 
maining there. To 'stoop to retaliation is not com- 
patible with true dignity, nor is vindictiveness 
manly. Again, the experiment suggested by my 
accusers has been abundantly tried, and proved a 
most ridiculous failure, while my own led to a glori- 
ous success. 

I do not mean to boast or do any thing of the 
kind, but I would suggest to all future colored cadets 
to base their conduct on the " apiGTovjxh poy," the 
golden mean. It is by far the safer, and surely the 
most Christian course. 

Before closing this chapter I would add with just 
pride that I have ever been treated by all other per- 
sons connected with the Academy not officially, as 
becomes one gentleman to treat another. I refer to 
servants, soldiers, other enlisted men, and employes. 
They have done for me Avhatever I wished, whenever 
I wished, and as I wished, and always kindly and 
willingly. They have even done things for me to 
the exclusion of others. This is important when it 
is remembered that the employes, with one excep- 
tion, are white. 

"NATIONAL SCHOOLS AND SNOBOCRACY. 

" ' Cadet Smith has arrived in Columbia. He did not " pass." ' 
— Pkcenix. 



162 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

" ' Alexander Bouchet, a young man of color, graduates from Yale 
College, holding the fifth place in the largest class graduated from 
that ancient institution. ' — Exchange. 

" These simple announcements from different papers tersely sum 
up the distinction between the military and civil education of this 
country. One is exclusive, snobbish, and narrow, the other is liberal 
and democratic. 

' ' No one who has watched the course of Cadet Smith and the un- 
democratic, selfish, and snobbish treatment he has experienced from 
the martinets of West Point, men educated at the expense of the gov- 
ernment, supported by negro taxes, as well as white, who attempt to 
dictate who shall receive the benefits of an education in our national 
charity schools — no one who has read of his court-martialings, the 
degradations and the petty insults inflicted upon him can help feel- 
ing that he returns home to-day, in spite of the Phcenix's sneers, a 
young hero who has ' passed ' in grit, pluck, perseverance, and all 
the better qualities which go to make up true manhood, and only has 
been ' found ' because rebel sympathizers at West Point, the fledg- 
lings of caste, and the Secretary of War, do not intend to allow, if 
they can prevent it, a negro to graduate at West Point or Annapolis, 
if he is known to be a negro. 

' ' Any one conversant with educational matters who has examined 
the examinations for entrance, or the curriculum of the naval and 
military academies, will not for a moment believe that their require- 
ments, not as high as those demanded for an ordinary New England 
high school, and by no means equal in thoroughness, quantity, or 
quality to that demanded for entrance at Yale, Amherst, Dartmouth, 
or Brown, are too high or abstruse to be compassed by negroes, some 
of whom have successfully stood all these, and are now pursuing 
their studies in the best institutions of the North. 

" No fair-minded man believes that Smith, Napier and Williams, 
Conyers and McClellan, have had impartial treatment. The govern- 
ment itself has been remiss in not throwing about them the protec- 
tion of its authority. Had these colored boys been students at St. 
Cyr, in Paris, or Woolwich, in England, under despotic France and 
aristocratic England, they would have been treated with that cour- 
tesy and justice of which the average white American has no idea. 
The South once ruled West Point, much to its detriment in loyalty, 
however much, by reason of sending boys more than prepared. It 
dominated in scholarship. It seeks to recover the lost ground, and 
rightly fears to meet on temis of equality in the camp the sons of 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 163 

fathers to -whom it refused quarter in the war and butchered in cold 
blood at Fort Pillow. "We cannot expect the sons to forget the les- 
sons of the sires ; but we have a right to demand from the general 
government the rooting out of all snobbery at "West Point, whether 
it is of that kind which sends poor white boys to Coventry, because 
they haven't a family name or wealth, or whether it be that smallest, 
meanest, and shallowest of all aristocracies — the one founded upon 
color. 

' ' If the government is not able to root out these unrepublican seeds 
in these hot-beds of disloyalty and snobbery, then let Congress shut 
up the useless and expensive appendages and educate its officers at 
the colleges of the country, where they may learn lessons in true 
republican equality and nationality. The remedy lies with Congress. 
A remonstrance at least should be heard from the colored members 
of Congress, who are insulted whenever a colored boy is ill-treated 
by the students or the officers of these institutions. So far from be- 
ing discouraged by defeats, the unjust treatment meted out to these 
young men should redouble the efforts of others of their class to 
carry this new Bastile by storm. It should lead every colored Con- 
gressman to make sure that he either sends a colored applicant or a 
white one who has not the seeds of snobbery and caste in his soul. 
Smith, after four years of torture, comes home, is driven home, be- 
cause, forsooth, he might attend the ball next year ! He is hounded 
out of the Academy because he would have to be assigned to a white 
regiment ! There are some negroes who feel that their rights in the 
land of their birth are superior to the prejudices of the enemies of 
the Union, and who dare to speak and Avrite in behalf of these rights, 
as their fathers dared to fight for them a veiy few years ago. 

"Bouchet, under civil rule, enters Yale College the best prepared 
student of one hundred and thirty freshmen, and all through his 
course is treated like a gentleman, both by the faculty and the stu- 
dents, men who know what justice means, and have some adequate 
idea of the true theory of education and gentlemanly conduct. Two 
freed boys, from North Carolina and South Carolina, slaves during 
the war, prepare at the best Northern academies, and enter, without 
remonstrance, Amherst and Dartmouth. What divinity, then, hedges 
West Point and Annapolis ? What but the old rebel spirit, which 
seeks again to control them for use in future rebellions as it did in 
the past. The war developed some unwelcome truths with regard 
to this snobbish and disloyal spirit of our national institutions, and 
the exploits of some volunteer officers showed that all manhood, 



164 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

bravery, skill, and energy were not contained in West Point or An- 
napolis, or, if there, did not pertain solely to the petty cliques that 
aim to give tone to those academies. It is not for any officer, the 
creature of the government — it is not for any student, the willing 
ward of that government — to say who shall enter the national schools 
and he the recipients of my bounty. It is the duty of every mem- 
ber of Congress to see that the government sanctions no such spirit ; 
and it becomes every loyal citizen who wishes to avoid the mistakes 
of the former war to see to it that no class be excluded, and that every 
boy, once admitted, shall have the strictest justice dealt out to him, 
a thing which, thus far, has not been done in the case of the colored 
cadets. 

" The true remedy lies in the feelings and sympathies of the officers 
of these academies, in the ability and fair investigations of the board 
of examiners ; not from such gentlemen as at present seem to ride 
these institutions. 

" Niger Nigrortjm." 

This article was taken from some South Carolina 
paper during the summer of '74. Its tone is in ac- 
cordance with the multitude of articles upon the 
same subject which occurred about the same time, 
and, like them all, or most of them, is rather far- 
fetched. It is too broad. Its denunciations cover 
too much ground. They verge upon untruth. 

As to Conyers and McClellan at the Naval Acad- 
emy I know nothing. Of Napier I know nothing. 
Of Smith I prefer to say nothing. Of Williams I do 
express the belief that his treatment was impartial 
and just. He was regularly and rightly found de- 
ficient and duly dismissed. The article seems to 
imply that he should not have been "found" and 
dismissed simply because he was a negro. A very 
shallow reason indeed, and one " no fair-minded 
man 1 ' will for an instant entertain. 

Of four years' life at the Academy, I spent the 
first with Smith, rooming with him. During the 



THE COLOEED CADET AT "WEST POINT. 165 

first half year Williams was also in the corps with 
ns. The two following years I was alone. The next 
and last year of my course I spent with Whittaker, 
of South Carolina. I have thus had an opportunity 
to become acquainted with Smith's conduct and that 
of the cadets toward him. Smith had trouble under 
my own eyes on more than one occasion, and Whit- 
taker- has already received blows in the face, but I 
have not had so much as an angry word to utter. 
There is a reason for all this, and had " Niger Mgro- 
rum' ' been better acquainted with it he had never 
made the blunder he has. 

I cannot venture more on the treatment of colored 
cadets generally without disregarding the fact that 
this is purely a narrative of my own treatment and 
life at West Point. To go further into that subject 
would involve much difference of opinion, hard feel- 
ings in certain quarters, and would cause a painful 
and needless controversy. 

* Johnson Chestnut Whittaker, of Camden, South Carolina, ap- 
pointed to fill vacancy created by Smith's dismissal, after several 
white candidates so appointed had failed, entered the Academy in 
September, 1876. Shortly after entering he was struck in the face by 
a young man from Alabama for sneering at him, as he said, while 
passing by him. Whittaker immediately reported the affair to the 
cadet officer of the day, by whose efforts this belligerent Alabama 
gentleman was brought before a court-martial, tried, found guilty, 
and suspended for something over six months, thus being compelled 
to join the next class that entered the Academy. 



CHAPTER XL 

RESUME. 

~T~ULY 1, 1876 ! Only one year more ; and yet how 
*J wearily the days come and go ! How anxiously 
we watch, them, how eagerly we count them, as they 
glimmer in the distance, and forget them as they 
fade ! What joyous anticipation, what confident ex- 
pectation, what hope animates each soul, each heart, 
each being of us ! What encouragement to study 
this longing, this impatience gives us, as if it has- 
tened the coming finale ! And who felt it more 
than I ? Who could feel it more than I ? To me it 
was to be not only an end of study, of discipline, of 
obedience to the regulations of the Academy, but 
even an end to isolation, to tacit persecution, to mel- 
ancholy, to suspense. It was to be the grand realiza- 
tion of my hopes, the utter, the inevitable defeat of 
the minions of pride, prejudice, caste. Nor would 
such consummation of hopes affect me only, or those 
around me. Nay, even I was but the point of 
"primitive disturbance," whence emanates as if 
from a focus, from a new origin, prayer, friendly and 
inimical, to be focused again into realization on one 
side and discomfiture on the other. My friends, my 
enemies, centre their hopes on me. I treat them, 
one with earnest endeavor for realization, the other 
with supremest indifference. They are deviated with 
varying anxiety on either side, and hence my joy, 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 167 

my gratitude, when I find, July 1, 187G, that I am a 
first-classman. 

A first-classman ! The beginning of realization, 
for had I not distanced all the colored cadets before 
me ? Indeed I had, and that with the greater pros- 
pect of ultimate success gave me double cause for 
rejoicing. 

A first-classman ! " There's something prophetic 
in it," for behold 

" The country begins to be agitated by the approaching graduation 
of young Flipper, the colored West Point cadet from Atlanta. If he 
succeeds in getting into the aristocratic circles of the official army 
there -will be a commotion for a certainty. Flipper is destined to be 
famous." 

Such was the nature of the many editorials which 
appeared about this time, summer of '76. The cir- 
cumstance was unusual, unexpected, for it had been 
predicted that only slaughter awaited me at that 
very stage, because Smith had failed just there, just 
where I had not. 

"Henry Flipper, of Atlanta, enjoys the distinction of being the 
only negro cadet that the government is cramming with food and 
knowledge at West Point. He stands forty-sixth in the third class, 
which includes eighty-five cadets. A correspondent of the New 
York Times says that, while all concede Flipper's progress, yet it is 
not believed that he will be allowed to graduate. No negro has 
passed out of the institution a graduate, and it is believed that Flip- 
per will be eventually slaughtered in one way or another. The rule 
among the regulars is : No darkeys need apply." 

Or this : 

" Smith's dismissal leaves Henry Flipper the sole cadet of color at 
West Point. Flipper's pathway will not be strewn with roses, and 
we shall be surprised if the Radicals do not compel him, within a 
year, to seek refuge from a sea of troubles in his father's quiet shoe 
shop on Decatur Street." 



168 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Isn't it strange how some people strive to drag 
every tiling into politics ! A political reason is as- 
signed to every thing, and " every thing is politics." 

The many editors who have written on the sub- 
ject of the colored cadets have, with few exceptions, 
followed the more prejudiced and narrow-minded 
critics who have attributed every thing, ill-treatment, 
etc., to a natural aversion for the negro, and to 
political reasons. They seem to think it impossible 
for one to discharge a duty or to act with justice in 
any thing where a negro is concerned. Now this is 
unchristian as well as hasty and undeserved. As I 
have said elsewhere in my narrative, aside from the 
authorities being de facto " officers and gentlemen," 
and therefore morally bound to discharge faithfully 
every duty, they are under too great a responsibil- 
ity to permit them to act as some have asserted for 
them, to compel me " to seek refuge from a sea of 
troubles," or to cause me to "be eventually slaugh- 
tered in one way or another." Who judges thus is 
not disposed to judge fairly, but rather as suits some 
pet idea of his own, to keep up prejudice and all its 
curses. 

It would be more Christian, and therefore more 
just, I apprehend, to consider both sides of the ques- 
tion, the authorities and those under them. Other and 
better reasons would be found for some things which 
have occurred, and reasons which would not be based 
on falsehood, and which would not tend to perpet- 
uate the conflict of right and prejudice. My own 
success will prove, I hope, not only that I had suffi- 
cient ability to graduate — which by the way none 
have questioned — but also that the authorities were 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 109 

not as some have depicted them. This latter proof 
is important, first, because it will remove that fear 
which has deterred many from seeking, and even 
from accepting appointments when offered, to which 
determent my isolation is largely due ; and second, 
because it will add another to the already long list 
of evidences of the integrity of our national army. 

To return to the last quotation. Immediately after 
the dismissal of Smith, indeed upon the very day of 
that event, it was rumored that I intended to resign. 
I learned of the rumor from various sources, only 
one of which I need mention. 

I was on guard that day, and while off duty an 
officer high in rank came to me and invited me to 
visit him at his quarters next day. I did so, of 
course. His first words, after greeting, etc., were to 
question the truth of the rumor, and before hearing 
my reply, to beg me to relinquish any such intention. 
He was kind enough to give me much excellent 
advice, which I have followed most religiously. He 
assured me that prejudice, if it did exist among my 
instructors, would not prevent them from treating 
me justly and impartially. I am proud to testify 
now to the truth of his assurance. He further 
assured me that the officers of the Academy and of 
the army, and especially the older ones, desired to 
have me graduate, and that they would do all within 
the legitimate exercise of their authority to promote 
that end. This assurance has been made me by offi- 
cers of nearly every grade in the army, from the gen- 
eral down, and has ever been carried out by them 
whenever a fit occasion presented itself. 

Surely this is not discouraging. Surely, too, it 



1T0 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

is not causing me " to seek refuge from a sea of 
troubles." We need only go back to the article 
quoted from the Era, and given in Chapter III., to 
find an explanation for this conduct. 

" We know that any young man, whether he be 
poor or black, or both, may enter any first-class col- 
lege in America and find warm sympathetic friends, 
both among students and faculty, if lie but prove 
himself to be possessed of some good qualities" 

This is the keynote to the whole thing. One must 
not expect to do as one pleases, whether that be right 
or wrong, or right according to some fanatical theory, 
and notwithstanding to be dealt with in a manner 
warranted only by the strictest notion of right. We 
must force others to treat us as we wish, by giving 
them such an example of meekness and of good con- 
duct as will at least shame them into a like treat- 
ment of us. This is the safer and surer method of 
revenge. 

" Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if 
he thirst, give him drink ; for in so doing thou shalt 
heap coals of fire on his head." 

To proceed : I am undoubtedly a firsfc-classman. 
None other has enjoyed that eminence. There are 
many honors and responsibilities incident to that 
position or rank. First- classmen have authority at 
times over their fellow-cadets. How will it be when 
I come to have that authority \ Will that same cold- 
ness and distance be manifested as hitherto \ These 
are important questions. I shall be brought neces- 
sarily into closer relations with the cadets than be- 
fore. How will they accept such relationship ? The 
greatest proof of their personal convictions will be 



THE COLORED CADET AT "WEST POINT. 171 

manifested in their conduct here. If they evade my 
authority, or are stubborn or disobedient, then are 
their convictions unfriendly indeed. But if kind, 
generous, willing to assist, to advise, to obey, to re- 
spect myself as well as my office, then are they, as I 
ever believed them to be, gentlemen in all that rec- 
ognizes no prejudice, no caste, nothing inconsistent 
with manhood. 

There are certain privileges accorded to first-class- 
men which the other classes do not enjoy. The pri- 
vates of the first class do duty as officers of the 
guard, as company officers at company and battalion 
drills, at light battery drills, and at other drills and 
ceremonies. In all these cases they have command 
of other cadets. These cadets are subject to their 
orders and are liable to be reported — indeed such is 
required — for disobedience, stubbornness, or for any 
thing prejudicial to good order and good discipline. 

In this fact is a reason — the only one, I think, 
which will in any manner account for the unpardon- 
able reserve of many of the cadets. To be subject to 
me, to my orders, was to them an unbearable torture. 
As they looked forward to the time when I should 
exercise command over them, they could not help 
feeling the mortification which would be upon them. 

I must modify my statement. They may be prej- 
udiced, and yet gentlemen, and if gentlemen they 
will not evade authority even though vested in me. 

We go into camp at West Point on the 17th of 
June, ? 76, for ten days. During all that time I enjoy 
all the privileges of first-classmen. Nothing is done 
to make it unpleasant or in any way to discourage 
or dishearten me. We go to Philadelphia. We visit 



172 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

the Centennial, and there not only is the same kind- 
ness shown me, but I find a number of cadets accost 
me whenever we meet, on the avenues and streets, 
on the grounds and in the city. They ask ques- 
tions, converse, answer questions. This occurred 
several times at the Southern Restaurant, as well as 
elsewhere. After the parade on the 4th of July, 
every kindness was shown me. Those cadets near 
me bought lemons, lemonade, etc, and shared with 
me, and when, on another occasion, I was the pur- 
chaser, they freely partook of my "good cheer." 
What conclusion shall I draw from this \ That they 
are unfriendly or prejudiced \ I fain would drop my 
pen and burn my manuscript if for even an instant I 
thought it possible. And yet how shall I explain 
away this bit of braggadocio in the words italicized 
in this article from the Philadelphia Times f 

" The Color Line. — One of the first-classmen is Mr. Flipper, of 
Georgia, a young colored man. ' We don't have any thing to do 
with him off duty,' said one of the cadets yesterday. ' We don't 
even speak to Mm. Of course we have to eat with him, and drill 
with him, and go on guard with him, out that ends it. Outside of 
duty, ice don't know Mm.' 'Is he intelligent?' 'Yes; he stands 
high in his class, and I see no reason to doubt that he will graduate 
next June. He has the negro features strongly developed, but in 
color he is rather light. ' ' ' 

Easily enough, I think. In the first place the 
statement is too broad, if made by a cadet, which I 
very much doubt. There are some of that "we" 
who do know me outside of duty. And if a cadet 
made the statement he must have been a plebe, one 
unacquainted with my status in the corps, or one 
who, strenuously avoiding me himself, supposed all 
others likewise did so. The cadet was not a first- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 173 

classman. There is a want of information in his last 
answer which conld not have been shown by a first- 
classman. 

Again, he says we "go on guard with him." 
Now that is untrue, as I understand it. The word 
" with " would imply that we were on guard in the 
same capacity, viz., as privates. But first-classmen 
do no guard duty in that capacity, and hence not 
being himself a first-classman he could not have been 
on guard " with" me. If he had said " under him," 
his statement would have been nearer the truth. 

After a stay of ten days in Philadelphia, we re- 
turn to West Point, and still the same respect is 
shown me. There is but little more of open recog- 
nition, if any, than before, and yet that I am re- 
spected is shown in many ways. See, for example, 
the latter part of chapter on " Treatment." 

Again, during my first year I many times over- 
heard myself spoken of as "the nigger," "the 
moke," or "the thing." Now openly, and when 
my presence was not known, I always hear myself 
mentioned as Mr. Flipper. There are a few who use 
both forms of address as best suits their convenience 
or inclination at the time. But why is it % Why 
not "nigger," "moke," or "thing" as formerly? 
Is there, can there be any other reason than that they 
respect me more now than then ? I am most unwill- 
ing to believe there could be. 

We begin our regular routine of duties, etc. We 
have practical military engineering, ordnance, artil- 
lery, practical astronomy in field and permanent ob- 
servatories, telegraphy, and guard. We are detailed 
for these duties. Not the least distinction is made. 



174 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Not the slightest partiality is shown. Always the 
same regard for my feelings, the same respect for me ! 
See the case of gabion in the chapter on "Treat- 
ment." 

At length, in my proper order, I am detailed for 
officer of the guard. True, the cadets expressed 
some wonderment, but why % Simply, and reason- 
ably enough too, because I was the first person of 
color that had ever commanded a guard at the Mil- 
itary Academy of the United States. It is but a nat- 
ural curiosity. And how am I treated % Is my 
authority recognized % Indeed it is. My sergeant 
not only volunteered to make out the guard report 
for me, but also offered any assistance I might want, 
aside from the discharge of his own duty as sergeant 
of the guard. Again, a number of plebes were con- 
fined in the guard tents for grossness and careless- 
ness. I took their names, the times of their impris- 
onment, and obtained permission to release them. I 
was thanked for my trouble. Again, a cadet's 
father wishes to see him. He is in arrest. I get per- 
mission for him to visit his father at the guard tents. 
I go to his tent and tell him, and start back to my 
post of duty. He calls me back and thanks me. 
Must I call that natural aversion for the negro, or 
even prejudice % Perhaps it is, but I cannot so com- 
prehend it. It may have that construction, but as 
long as the other is possible it is generous to accept it. 
And again, I am ordered to report a cadet. I do it. 
I am stigmatized, of course, by some of the low ones 
(see that case under " Treatment") ; but my conduct, 
both in obeying the order and subsequently, is ap- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 175 

proved by the better portion of the corps. The com- 
mandant said to me: " Your duty was a plain one, 
and you discharged it properly. You were entirely 

right in reporting Mr. ." What is the conduct 

of this cadet himself afterwards % If different at all 
from what it was before, it is, in my presence at 
least, more cordial, more friendly, more kind. Still 
there is no ill-treatment, assuming of course that my 
own conduct is proper, and not obtrusive or over- 
bearing. And so in a multitude of ways this fact is 
proved. I have noticed many things, little things 
perhaps they were, but still proof s, in the conduct of 
all the cadets which remove all doubt from my mind. 
And yet with all my observation and careful study 
of those around me, I have many times been unable 
to decide what was the feeling of the cadets toward 
me. Some have been one thing everywhere and at 
all times, not unkind or ungenerous, nor even unwill- 
ing to hear me and be with me, or near me, or on 
duty with me, or alone with me. Some again, while 
not avoiding me in the presence of others have never- 
theless manifested their uneasy dislike of my prox- 
imity. When alone with me they are kind, and all 
I could wish them to be. Others have not only 
strenuously avoided me when with their companions, 
but have even at times shown a low disposition, a 
desire to wound my feelings or to chill me with their 
coldness. But alone, behold they know how to 
mimic gentlemen. The kind of treatment which I 
■ was to receive, and have received at the hands of the 
cadets, has been a matter of little moment to me. 
True, it has at times been galling, but its severest 



176 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

effects have been but temporary and have caused me 
no considerable trouble or inconvenience. I have 
rigidly overlooked it all. 

The officers, on the contrary, as officers and gen- 
tlemen, have in a manner been bound to accord me 
precisely the same privileges and advantages, etc., 
which they granted the other cadets, and they have 
ever done so. 

I must confess my expectations in this last have 
been most positively unfulfilled, and I am glad of it. 
The various reports, rumors, and gossips have thus 
been proved not only false but malicious, and that 
proof is of considerable consequence. That they 
have not been unkind and disposed to ill-treat me 
may be readily inferred from the number of demerits 
I have received, and the nature of the offences for 
which those demerits were given. They have never 
taken it upon themselves to watch me and report me 
for trifling offences with a view of giving me a bad 
record in conduct, and thereby securing my dis- 
missal, for one hundred demerits in six months 
means dismissal. They have ever acted impartially, 
and, ignoring my color, have accorded me all im- 
munities and privileges enjoyed by other cadets, 
whether they were allowed by regulations or were 
mere acts of personal favor. Of the majority of the 
cadets I can speak likewise, for they too have power 
to spy out and report. 

As to treatment in the section-room, where there 
were many opportunities to do me injustice by giv- 
ing me low marks for all recitations, good or bad, 
for instance, they have scrupulously maintained 
their honor, and have treated me there with exact 



THE COLORED CADET AT "WEST POINT. 177 

justice and impartiality. This is not a matter of 
opinion. I can give direct and positive proof of its 
truthfulness. In the chapter on " Studies," in the 
record of marks that proof can be found, my marks 
per recitation, and the average are good. By rank 
in section is meant the order of my mark — that is, 
whether best, next, the next, or lowest. Are these 
marks not good % In law, for example, once I re- 
ceived the eighth out of nine marks, then the fifth, 
the first, second, third, first, first, and so on. 
Surely there was nothing in them to show I was 
marked low either purposely or otherwise. 

My marks in the section for each week, month, 
and the number of men in each section, afford the 
means of comparison between the other members of 
the section and myself. And my marks are not only 
evidence of the possession on my part of some " good 
faculties," but also of the honor of my instructors 
and fellow-members of section. 

What manner of treatment the cadets chose to 
manifest toward me was then of course of no account. 
But what is of importance, and great importance too, 
is how they will treat me in the army, when we have 
all assumed the responsibilities of manhood, coupled 
with those of a public servant, an army officer. Of 
course the question cannot now be answered. I feel 
nevertheless assured that the older officers at least 
will not stoop to prejudice or caste, but will accord 
me proper treatment and respect. Men of respon- 
sibility are concerned, and it is not presumable that 
they will disregard the requirements of their profes- 
sions so far as to ill-treat even myself. There is 
none of the recklessness of the student in their ac- 



173 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

tions, and they cannot but recognize me as having 
a just claim upon their good- will and honor. 

The year wears away — the last year it is too — and 
I find myself near graduation, with every prospect 
of success. And from the beginning to the close my 
life has been one not of trouble, persecution, or pun- 
ishment, but one of isolation only. True, to an un- 
accustomed nature such a life must have had many 
anxieties and trials and displeasures, and, although 
it was so with me, I have nothing more than that of 
which to complain. And if such a life has had its 
unpleasant features, it has also had its pleasant 
ones, of which not the least, I think, was the con- 
stantly growing prospect of ultimate triumph. 
Again, those who have watched my course and have 
seen in its success the falsity of certain reports, can- 
not have been otherwise than overjoyed at it, at the, 
though tardy, vindication of truth. I refer especially 
to certain erroneous ideas which are or were extant 
concerning the treatment of colored cadets, in which 
it is claimed that color decides their fate. (See chap- 
ter on ' ' Treatment. ' ' ) 

I hope my success has proved that not color of 
face, but color of character alone can decide such a 
question. It is character and nothing else that will 
merit a harsh treatment from gentlemen, and of 
course it must be a bad character. If a man is a 
man, un liomme comme ilfaut, he need fear no 
ill-treatment from others of like calibre. Gentlemen 
avoid persons not gentlemen. Resentment is not a 
characteristic of gentlemen. A gentlemanly nature 
must shrink from it. There may be in it a certain 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 179 

amount of what is vulgarly termed pluck, and per- 
haps courage. But what of that? Everybody 
more or less admires pluck. Everybody worships 
courage, if it be of a high order, but who allows that 
pluck or even courage is an excuse for passion or its 
consequences % The whites may admire pluck in the 
negro, as in other races, but they will never admit un- 
warrantable obtrusiveness, or rudeness, or grossness, 
or any other ungentlemanly trait, and no more in the 
negro than in others. This is quite just. A negro 
would not allow it even in another. 

I did not intend to discuss social equality here, 
but as it is not entirely foreign to my subject I may 
be pardoned a word or so upon it. 

Social equality, as I comprehend it, must be the 
natural, and perhaps gradual, outgrowth of a simi- 
larity of instincts and qualities in those between 
whom it exists. That is to say, there can be no 
social equality between persons who have nothing in 
common. A civilized being would not accept a sav- 
age as his equal, his socius, his friend. It would 
be repugnant to nature. A savage is a man, the 
image of his Maker as much so as any being. He 
has all the same rights of equality which any other 
has, but they are political lights only. He who 
buried his one talent to preserve it was not deemed 
worthy to associate with him who increased his five 
to ten. So also in our particular case. There are 
different orders or classes of men in every civilized 
community. The classes are politically equal, equal 
in that they are free men and citizens and have all 
the rights belonging to such station. Among the 



180 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

several classes there can be no social equality, for 
they have nothing socially in common, although the 
members of each class in itself may have. 

Now in these recent years there has been a great 
clamor for rights. The clamor has reached West 
Point, and, if no bad results have come from it 
materially, West Point has nevertheless received a 
bad reputation, and I think an undeserved one, as 
respects her treatment of colored cadets. 

A right must depend on the capacity and end or 
aim of the man. This capacity and end may, and 
ought to be, moral, and not political only. Equal 
capacities and a like end must give equal rights, and 
unequal capacities and unlike ends unequal rights, 
morally, of course, for the political end of all men is 
the same. And therefore, since a proper society is 
a moral institution where a certain uniformity of 
views, aims, purposes, properties, etc., is the object, 
there must be also a uniformity or equality of rights, 
for otherwise there would be no society, no social 
equality. 

This, I apprehend, is precisely the state of affairs in 
our own country. Among those who, claiming social 
equality, claim it as a right, there exists the greatest 
possible diversity of creeds, instincts, and of moral 
and mental conditions, in which they are widely 
different from those with whom they claim this 
equality. They can therefore have no rights socially 
in common ; or, in other words, the social equality 
they claim is not a right, and ought not to and can- 
not exist under present circumstances, and any law 
that overreaches the moral reason to the contrary 
must be admitted as unjust if not impolitic. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 181 

But it is color, they say, color only, which deter- 
mines how the negro must be treated. Color is his 
misfortune, and his treatment must be his misfortune 
also. Mistaken idea ! and one of which we should 
speedily rid ourselves. It may be color in some 
cases, but in the great majority of instances it is 
mental and moral condition. Little or no educa- 
tion, little moral refinement, and all their repulsive 
consequences will never be accepted as equals of 
education, intellectual or moral. Color is absolutely 
nothing in the consideration of the question, unless 
we mean by it not color of skin, but color of char- 
acter, and I fancy we can find considerable color 
there. 

It has been said that my success at West Point 
would be a grand victory in the way of equal rights, 
meaning, I apprehend, social rights, social equality, 
inasmuch as all have, under existing laws, equal 
political rights. Doubtless there is much truth in 
the idea. If, however, we consider the two races 
generally, we shall see there is no such right, no such 
social right, for the very basis of such a right, viz., 
a similarity of tastes, instincts, and of mental and 
moral conditions, is wanting. The mental similarity 
especially is wanting, and as that shapes and refines 
the moral one, that too is wanting. 

To illustrate by myself, without any pretensions 
to selfishness. I have this right to social equality, 
for I and those to whom I claim to be equal are sim- 
ilarly educated. We have 'much in common, and 
this fact alone creates my right to social and equal 
recognition. 

" But the young gentlemen who boast of holding 



182 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

only official intercourse with their comrade, should 
remember that no one of them stands before the 
country in any different light from him. . . . 
Amalgamated by the uniform course of studies and 
the similarity of discipline, the separating fragments 
at the end of the student life carry similar qualities 
into the life before them, and step with almost re- 
markable social equality into the world where they 
must find their level." — Philadelphia North Amer- 
ican, July 7th, 1876. 

If we apply this to the people as a unit, the sim- 
ilarity no longer exists. The right, therefore, also 
ceases to exist. 

The step claimed to have been made by my suc- 
cess is one due to education, and not to my position 
or education at West Point, rather than at some 
other place ; so that it follows if there be education, 
if the mental and moral condition of the claimants to 
that right be a proper one, there will necessarily be 
social equality, and under other circumstances there 
can be no such equality. 

" Remember, dear friend," says a correspondent, 
" that you carry an unusual responsibility. The 
nation is interested in what you do. If you win 
your diploma, your enemies lose and your friends 
gain one very important point in the great argument 
for equal rights. When you shall have demonstrated 
that you have equal powers, then equal rights will 
come in due time. The work which you have chosen, 
and from which you cannot now flinch without dis- 
honor, proves far more important than either you or 
me (Faculty at A. U.) at first conceived. Like all 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 183 

great things its achievement will involve much of 
trial and hardship." 

Alas ! how true ! What a trial it is to be socially 
ostracized, to live in the very midst of life and yet be 
lonely, to pass day after day without saying per- 
haps a single word other than those used in the sec- 
tion-room during a recitation. How hard it is to live 
month after month without even speaking to woman, 
without feeling or knowing the refining influence of 
her presence ! What a miserable existence ! 

Oh ! 'tis hard, this lonely living, to be 

In the midst of life so solitary, 

To sit all the long, long day through and gaze 

In the dimness of gloom, all but amazed 

At the emptiness of life, and wonder 

What keeps sorrow and death asunder. 

'Tis the forced seclusion most galls the mind, 

And sours all other joy which it may find. 

'Tis the sneer, tho' half hid, is bitter still, 

And wakes dormant anger to passion's will. 

But oh ! 'tis harder yet to bear them all 

Unangered and unheedful of the thrall, 

To list the jeer, the snarl, and epithet 

All too base for knaves, and e'en still forget 

Such words were spoken, too manly to let 

Such baseness move a nobler intellect. 

But not the words nor e'en the dreader disdain 

Move me to anger or resenting pain. 

'Tis the thought, the thought most disturbs my mind, 

That I'm ostracized for no fault of mine, 

'Tis that ever-recurring thought awakes 

Mine anger — 

Such a life was mine, not indeed for four years, 
but for the earlier part of my stay at the Academy. 

But to return to our subject. There are two 
questions involved in my case. One of them is, Can . 



184 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

a negro graduate at "West Point, or will one ever 
graduate there % And the second, If one never grad- 
uate there, will it be because of his color or preju- 
dice ? 

My own success answers most conclusively the 
first question, and changes the nature of the other. 
Was it, then, color or actual deficiency that caused 
the dismissal of all former colored cadets % I shall 
not venture to reply more than to say my opinion is 
deducible from what I have said elsewhere in my 
narrative. 

However, my correspondent agrees with me that 
color is of no consequence in considering the question 
of equality socially. My friends, he says, gain an 
important point in the argument for equal rights. 
It will be in this wise, viz., that want of education, 
want of the proof of equality of intellect, is the 
obstacle, and not color. And the only way to get 
this proof is to get education, and not by " war of 
races." Equal rights must be a consequence of this 
proof, and not something existing before it. Equal 
rights will come in due time, civil rights bill, war of 
races, or any thing of that kind to the contrary not- 
withstanding. 

And moreover, I don't want equal rights, but 
identical rights. The whites and blacks may have 
equal rights, and yet be entirely independent, or 
estranged from each other. The two races cannot 
live in the same country, under the same laws as they 
now do, and yet be absolutely independent of each 
other. There must, there should, and there will be 
a mutual dependence, and any thing that tends to 
create independence, while it is thus so manifestly 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 185 

impossible, can engender strife alone between them. 
On the other hand, whatever brings them into closer 
relationship, whatever increases their knowledge and 
appreciation of fellowship and its positive import- 
ance, must necessarily tend to remove all prejudices, 
and all ill-feelings, and bring the two races, and in- 
deed the world, nearer that degree of perfection to 
which all things show us it is approaching. There- 
fore I want identical rights, for equal rights may not 
be sufficient. 

" It is for you, Henry, more than any one I know 
of, to demonstrate to the world around us, in this 
part of it at least (the North), the equality of intel- 
lect in the races. You win by your uprightness and 
intelligence, and it cannot be otherwise than that 
you will gain respect and confidence." 

Thus a lady correspondent (Miss M. E. H., Dur- 
ham Centre, Ct.) encourages, thus she keeps up 
the desire to graduate, to demonstrate to the world 
"the equality of intellect in the races," that not 
color but the want of this proof in this semi-barbar- 
ous people is the obstacle to their being recognized 
as social equals. A tremendous task ! Not so 
much to prove such an equality — for that had 
already been abundantly demonstrated — but rather 
to show the absurdity and impracticability of preju- 
dice on account of color ; or, in other words, that 
there is no such prejudice. It is prejudice on ac- 
count of non-refinement and non-education. 

As to how far and how well I have discharged 
that duty, my readers, and all others who may be 
in any manner interested in me, must judge from my 
narrative and my career at West Point. Assuring 



186 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

all that my endeavor has been to act as most becomes 
a gentleman, and with Christian forbearance to dis- 
regard all unfriendliness or prejudice, I leave this 
subject, this general resume of my treatment at the 
hands of the cadets, and my own conduct, with the 
desire that it be criticised impartially if deemed 
worthy of criticism at all. 

" Reporter. — Have you any more colored cadets ? 

" Captain H . — Only one — Henry 0. Flipper, 

of Georgia. He is a well-built lad, a mulatto, and is 
bright, intelligent, and studious. 

" Reporter. — Do the cadets dislike him as much 
as they did Smith % 

" Captain H. . — No, sir ; I am told that he 

is more popular. I have heard of no doubt but that 
he will get through all right." — New York Herald, 
July, 1874. 



CHAPTER XII. 

PLEAS UEES AKD PRIVILEGES. 

THE privileges allowed cadets during an encamp- 
ment are different generally for the different 
classes. These privileges are commonly designated 
by the rank of the class, such, for instance, as " first- 
class privileges, ' ' " third-class privileges, "etc. Privi- 
leges which are common receive their designation 
from some characteristic in their nature or purpose. 
Thus we have " Saturday afternoon privileges," and 
" Old Guard privileges." 

The cadets are encamped and are not supposed to 
leave their camp save by permission. This permis- 
sion is granted by existing orders, or if for any 
reason it be temporarily denied it can be obtained 
by " permit " for some specified time. Such permis- 
sion or privilege obtained by " permit " for a partic- 
ular class is known as "class privileges," and can 
be enjoyed only by the class that submits and gets 
the permit. 

"First-class privileges" permit all members of 
the first class to leave camp at any time between 
troop and retreat, except when on duty, and to take 
advantage of the usual " Saturday afternoon privi- 
leges," which are allowed all classes and all cadets. 
These privileges, however, cannot be enjoyed on the 
Sabbath by any except the first-class officers, with- 
out special permission. 



188 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

The usual form of a permit is as follows : 

West Point, K Y., November 6, 1876. 

Cadet A— — B C has permission to walk on public lands 

between the hours of 8 a.m and 4 p.m. 



Lieut. -Colonel First Art'y, G&md'g Corps of Cadets. 



Commanding Company "A." 

By " Saturday afternoon privileges" is meant the 
right or privilege to walk on all public lands within 
cadet limits on Saturday afternoon. This includes 
also the privilege of visiting the ruins of old Fort 
Putnam, which is not on limits. These privileges 
are allowed throughout the year. 

The second class being absent on furlough dur- 
ing the encampment, of course have no privileges. 
Should any member of the class be present during 
the encampment, he enjoys "first-class privileges," 
unless they are expressly denied him. 

" Third-class privileges" do not differ from "first- 
class privileges," except in that they cannot be taken 
advantage of on the Sabbath by any member of the 
class. 

The fourth class as a class have no privileges. 

" Old Guard privileges" are certain privileges by 
which all members of the "Old Guard" are ex- 
empted from all duty on the day they march off 
guard until one o'clock, and are permitted to enjoy 
privileges similar to those of Saturday afternoon 
during the same time. They also have the privilege 
of bathing at that time. 

The baths are designated as "first," "second," 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 189 

and "third." The officers and non-commissioned 
officers have the first baths, and the privates the 
others. 

Cadets who march off guard on Sunday are re- 
stricted in the enjoyment of their privileges to ex- 
emption from duty on the Sabbath only. They may 
take advantage of the other privileges on the follow- 
ing Monday during the usual time, but are not ex- 
cused from any duty. All members of the " Old 
Guard," to whatever class they may belong, are 
entitled to " Old Guard privileges." 

Besides these there are other privileges which 
are enjoyed by comparatively few. Such are " Hop 
managers' privileges." "Hop managers" are per- 
sons elected by their classmates from the first and 
third classes for the management of the hops of the 
summer. To enable them to discharge the duties of 
their office, they are permitted to leave camp, when- 
ever necessary, by reporting their departure and re- 
turn. 

Under pleasures, or rather sources of pleasure, 
may be enumerated hops, Germans, band practice, 
and those incident to other privileges, such as 
" spooneying," or "spooning." The hops are the 
chief source of enjoyment, and take place on Mon- 
days and Fridays, sometimes also on Wednesdays, 
at the discretion of the Superintendent. 

Germans are usually given on Saturday after- 
noons, and a special permit is necessary for every 
one. These permits are usually granted, unless 
there be some duty or other cause to prevent. 

Two evenings of every week are devoted to band 



190 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

practice, Tuesday evening for practice in camp, and 
Thursday evening for practice in front of the Super- 
intendent' s quarters. Of course these entertain- 
ments, if I may so term them, have the effect of bring- 
ing together the young ladies and cadets usually 
denied the privilege of leaving camp during the 
evening. It is quite reasonable to assume that they 
enjoy themselves. On these evenings " class privi- 
leges" permit the first- and third-classmen to be 
absent from camp till the practice is over. Some- 
times a special permit is necessary. It might be well 
to say here, ere I forget it, that Wednesday evening 
is devoted to prayer, prayer-meeting being held in 
the Dialectic Hall. All cadets are allowed to attend 
by reporting their departure and return. The meet- 
ing is under the sole management of the cadets, 
although they are by no means the sole participants. 
Other privileges, more or less limited, such as the 
holding of class meetings for whatever purpose, must 
be obtained by special permit in each case. 

We have not much longer here to stay, 

Only a month or two, 
Then we'll bid farewell to cadet gray, 

And don the army blue. 
Army blue, army blue, we'll don the army blue, 
We'll bid farewell to cadet gray and don the army blue. 

To the ladies who come up in June, 

We'll bid a fond adieu, 
And hoping they will be married soon, 

We'll don the army blue. 
Army blue, army blue, we'll don the army blue, 
We'll bid farewell to cadet gray and don the army blue. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 191 

Addresses to the Graduating Class of the U. S. Military Academy, West 
Point, N. T., June \Uh, 1877. By Professor C. O. Thompson, 
Major- General Winfield S. Hancock, Honorable George 
W. McCrart, Secretary of War, Major-General John M. 
Schofield, Superintendent TJ. S. Military Academy. 

ADDRESS BY PROFESSOR C. 0. THOMPSON, 

President of the Board of Visitors. 

Young Gentlemen of the Graduating Class : The courtesy 
of your admirable Superintendent forbids a possible breach in an 
ancient custom, and lays upon me, as the representative, for the mo- 
ment, of the Board of Visitors, the pleasant duty of tendering to you 
their congratulations on the close of your academic career, and your 
auspicious future. 

The people of this country have a heavy stake in the prosperity 
of this institution. They recognize it as the very fountain of their 
security in war, and the origin of some of their best methods of edu- 
cation. And upon education in colleges and common schools the 
pillars of the State assuredly rest. 

To participants and to bystanders, this ceremony of graduation is 
as interesting and as exciting as if this were the first, instead of the 
seventy-fifth occurrence. Every such occasion is clothed with the 
splendor of perpetual youth. The secret of your future success lies 
in the impossibility of your entering into the experience of your pre- 
decessors. Every man's life begins with the rising sun. The world 
would soon become a frozen waste but for the inextinguishable ardor 
of youth, which believes success still to be possible where every 
attempt has failed. 

That courage which avoids rashness by the restraints of knowl- 
edge, and dishonor by the fear of God, is the best hope of the world. 

History is not life, but its reflection. 

The great armies of modern times which have won immortal vic- 
tories have been composed of young men who have turned into historic 
acts the strategy of experienced commanders. 

To bystanders, for the same and other reasons, the occasion is 
profoundly interesting. 

For educated men who are true to honor and to righteousness, the 
world anxiously waits ; but an educated man who is false, the world 
has good reason to dread. The best thing that can be said of this 
Academy, with its long roll of heroes in war and in peace, is, that 



192 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

every year the conviction increases among the people of the United 
States, that its graduates are men who will maintain, at all hazards, 
the simple virtues of a robust manhood — like Chaucer's young 
Knight, courteous, lowly, and serviceable. 

I welcome you, therefore, to the hardships and perils of a soldier's 
life in a time of peace. The noise and the necessities of war drive 
men in upon themselves and keep their faculties awake and alert ; 
but the seductive influence of peace, when a soldier must spend his 
time in preparation for the duties of his profession rather than in 
their practice, this is indeed a peril to which the horrors of warfare 
are subordinate. It is so much easier for men to fight other men than 
themselves. So much easier to help govern other men than to 
wholly govern themselves. 

But, young gentlemen, as we have listened to your examination, 
shared in your festivities, and enjoyed personal acquaintance with 
you, we strongly hope for you every thing lovely, honorable, and of 
good report. 

You who have chosen the sword, may be helped in some trying 
hour of your coming lives by recalling the lesson which is concealed 
in a legend of English history. It is the old lesson of the advantage 
of knowledge over its more showy counterfeits, and guards against 
one of the perils of our American society. 

A man losing his way on a hillside, strayed into a chamber full of 
enchanted knights, each lying motionless, in complete armor, with 
his horse standing motionless beside him. On a rock near the 
entrance lay a sword and a horn, and the intruder was told that he 
must choose between these, if he would lead the army. He chose 
the horn, and blew a loud blast ; whereupon the knights and their 
horses vanished in a whirlwind, and their visitor was blown back 
into common air, these words sounding after him upon the wind : 

" Cursed be the coward, that ever he was born, 
Who did not draw the sword before he blew the horn." 

Young gentlemen, the Board of Visitors can have no better wish 
for our common country than that your future will fulfil the promise 
of the present. 

ADDRESS BY MAJOR-GENERAL W. S. HANCOCK. 

To me has been assigned the pleasant duty of welcoming into 
the service as commissioned officers, the Graduates of the Military 
Academy of to-day. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 193 

Although much time has elapsed since my graduation here, and 
by contact with the rugged cares of life some of the sharp edges of 
recollection may have become dulled, yet I have not lived long 
enough to have forgotten the joy of that bright period. You only 
experience it to-day as I have felt it before you. 

I have had some experience of life since, and it might be worth 
something to you were I to relate it. But youth is self-confident and 
impatient, and you may at present doubt the wisdom of listening to 
sermons which you can learn at a later day. 

You each feel that you have the world in a sling, and that it 
would be wearisome to listen to the croakings of the past, and espe- 
cially from those into whose shoes you soon expect to step. That is 
the rule of life. The child growing into manhood, believes that its 
judgment is better than the knowledge of its parents ; and yet if that 
experience was duly considered, and its unselfish purposes believed 
in, many shoals would be avoided, otherwise certain to be met with 
in the journey of life, by the inexperienced but confident navigator. 

You should not forget that there were as bright intellects, and men 
who possessed equal elements of greatness in past generations as in 
this, and that deeds have been performed in earlier times which, at 
best, the men of the present day can only hope to rival. Why then 
should we not profit by the experiences of the past ; and as our lives 
are shot at best, instead of following the ruts of our predecessors, 
start on the road of life where they left off, and not continue to 
repeat their failures ? I cannot say why, unless it proceeds from 
the natural buoyancy of youth, self-confidence in its ability to over- 
come all obstacles, and to carve out futures more dazzling than any 
successes of the past. In this there is a problem for you to solve. 
Yet I may do well by acknowledging to you, to-day, that after an 
active military life of no mean duration, soldiers of my length of ser- 
vice feel convinced that they might have learned wisdom by listen- 
ing to the experience of those who preceded them. Had they been 
prepared to assume that experience as a fact at starting, and made 
departures from it, instead of disregarding it, in the idea that there 
was nothing worthy of note to be learned from a study of the past, it 
would be safe to assume that they would have made greater advances 
in their day. 

Were I to give you my views in extenso, applicable to the occa- 
sion, I could only repeat what has been well and vigorously said here 
by distinguished persons in the past, in your hearing, on occasions of 
the graduation of older classes than your own. 



194 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

You are impatient, doubtless, as I was in your time, and if you 
have done as my class did before you, you have already thrown your 
books away, and only await the moment of the conclusion of these 
ceremonies to don the garb of the officer or the civilian. The shell 
of the cadet is too contracted to contain your impatient spirits. 
Nevertheless, if you will listen but for a few minutes to the relation 
of an old soldier, I will repeat of the lessons of experience a few of 
those most worthy of your consideration. 

There is but one comrade of my class remaining in active service 
to-day, and I think I might as truly have said the same ten years 
ago. 

In the next thirty years, those of you who live will see that your 
numbers have become sensibly reduced, if not in similar proportion. 

Some will have studied, have kept up with the times, been ready 
for service at the hour of their country's call, been prepared to 
accomplish the purposes for which their education was given to 
them. 

Some will have sought the active life of the frontiers, and been 
also ready to perform their part in the hour of danger. 

A few will have seized the passing honors. 

It may have depended much upon opportunity among those who 
were well equipped for the occasion, who gained the greatest distinc- 
tion ; but it cannot for a moment be doubted that the roll of honor 
in the future of this class will never again stand as it stands to-day. 

It will be a struggle of life to determine who among you will keep 
their standing in the contest for future honors and distinctions. 

You who have been the better students here, and possessed the 
greater natural qualities, have a start in the race ; but industry, study, 
perseverance, and other qualities will continue to be important factors 
in the future, as they have been in the past. 

Through continuous mental, moral, and physical development, 
with progress in the direction of your profession and devotion to 
duty, lies the road to military glory ; and it may readily come to pass 
that " the race will not be to the swift, nor the battle to the strong," 
as you regard your classmates to-day. 

It must be admitted, however, that great leaders are born. 

A rare combination of natural qualities causes men to develop 
greatness. Education and training make them greater ; neverthe- 
less, men with fewer natural qualities often succeed, with education 
and training, when those more richly j endowed fail to reach the 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 195 

higher places, and you have doubtless witnessed that in your experi- 
ence here. 

A man in a great place in modern times is not respectable without 
education. That man must be a God to command modern armies 
successfully without it ; yet war is a great school ; men learn quickly 
by experience, and in long wars there will be found men of natural 
abilities who will appear at the front. It will be found, however, in 
the long run, that the man who has prepared himself to make the 
best use of his natural talents will win in the race, if he has the 
opportunity, while others of equal or greater natural parts may fail 
from lack of that mental and moral training necessary to win the 
respect of those they command. 

Towards the close of our civil war, men came to the front rank 
who entered the service as privates. They were men of strong natu- 
ral qualities. How far the best of them would have proceeded had 
the war continued, cannot be told ; but it may be safely assumed 
that if they possessed the moral qualities and the education neces- 
sary to command the respect of the armies with which they were 
associated, they would have won the highest honors ; and yet our 
war lasted but four years. 

Some of them had the moral qualities, some the education ; and I 
have known of tbose men who thus came forward, some who would 
certainly have reached the highest places in a long race, had they had 
the training given to you. 

"War gives numerous opportunities for distinction, and especially 
to those who in peace have demonstrated that they would be availa- 
ble in war ; and soldiers can win distinction in both peace and war if 
they will but seize their opportunities. 

" There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, 
leads on to victory." 

Great responsibilities in time of danger are not given to the igno- 
rant, the slothful, or to those who have impaired tbeir powers of 
mind or body by the indulgences of life. In times of danger favor- 
ites are discarded. When work is to be done, deeds to be performed, 
men of action have their opportunities and fail not to seize them. It 
is the interest of commanders that such men should be selected for 
service, when success or failure may follow, according to the wis- 
dom of the selection, as the instrument may be — sharp or dull, good 
or bad. 

I would say to you, lead active, temperate, studious lives, develop 



196 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

your physical qualities as well as mental. Regard the education 
acquired here as but rudimentary ; pursue your studies in the line of 
your profession and as well in such other branches of science or lan- 
guage as may best accord with your inclinations. It will make you 
greater in your profession and cause you to be independent of it. 
The latter is but prudent in these practical days. 

Study to lead honorable, useful, and respected lives. Even if no 
opportunity presents for martial glory you will not fail to find your 
reward. 

Avoid the rocks of dissipation, of gambling, of debt ; lead those 
manly lives which will always find you in health in mind and body, 
free from entanglements of whatever kind, and you may be assured 
you will find your opportunities for great services, when otherwise 
you would have been overlooked or passed by. Such men are 
known and appreciated in every army and out of it. 

Knowledge derived from books may bring great distinction out- 
side of the field of war, as an expert in the lessons of the military 
profession and in others, but the lessons of hard service are salutary 
and necessary to give the soldier a practical understanding of the world 
and its ways as he will encounter them in war. I would advise you 
to go when young to the plains — to the wilderness — seek active ser- 
vice there, put off the days of indulgence and of ease. Those should 
follow years. 

Take with you to the frontier your dog, your rod and gun ; the 
pursuit of a life in the open air with such adjuncts will go far to give 
you health and the vigor to meet the demands to be made upon you 
in trying campaigns, and to enable you to establish the physical con- 
dition necessary to maintain a life of vigor such as a soldier requires. 
You will by these means, too, avoid many of the temptations incident 
to an idle life — all calculated to win you from your usef ulness in the 
future, and by no means leave your books behind you. 

When I graduated, General Scott, thinking possibly to do me a 
service, asked me to what regiment I desired to be assigned ; I 
replied, to the regiment stationed at the most western post in the 
United States. I was sent to the Indian Territory of to-day. We 
had not then acquired California or New Mexico, and our western 
boundary north of Texas was the one hundredth degree of longitude. 

I know that that early frontier service and the opportunities for 
healthy and vigorous out-door exercise were of great advantage to 
me in many ways, and would have been more so had I followed the 
advice in reference to study that I have given to you. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 197 

There are many " extreme western" posts to-day. It is difficult 
to say which is the most western in the sense of that day, when the 
Indian frontiers did not as now, lie in the circumference of an inner 
circle ; but the Yellowstone will serve your purpose well. And if 
any of you wish to seek that service your taste will not be difficult to 
gratify, for the hardest lessons will be certain to be avoided by many. 
There will be those who in the days of youth will seek the softer 
places. They may have their appropriate duties there and do their 
parts well, but it maj r be considered a safe maxim that the indulgence 
of the present will have to be paid for in the future A man may not 
acquire greatness by pursuing religiously the course I have indicated 
as the best, but it will be safe to assume that when the roll of honor 
of your class is called after a length of service equal to mine, but- 
few, if any of your number, will have done their part well in public 
estimation save of those who shall have pretty closely followed these 
safe rules of life. 

Gentlemen, I bid you welcome. 

ADDRESS BY HOK G. W. McCBART, 
Secretary of War. 

Gentlemen of the Graduating Class : Although not a part 
of the programme arranged for these exercises, I cannot refuse to 
say a word by way of greeting, and I would make it as hearty and 
earnest as possible to you, gentlemen, one and all, upon this occasion, 
so interesting to you as well as to the entire army, and to the people 
of the whole country. 

There are others here who will speak to you as soldiers, to whom 
you will listen, and from whom you will receive all counsel and 
admonition as coming from men who have distinguished themselves 
in the command of the greatest armies the world has ever seen, 
and by the achievement of some of the grandest victories recorded 
upon the pages of history. 

I would speak to you as a citizen ; and as such, I desire to assure 
you that you are to-day the centre of a general interest pervading 
every part of our entire country. It is not the army alone that is 
interested in the graduating class of 1877. West Point Military 
Academy, more than any other institution in the land — far more — 
is a national institution — one in which we have a national pride. 

It is contrary to the policy of this country to keep in time of 



198 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

peace a large standing army We have adopted what I think is a 
wiser and better policy — that of educating a large number of young 
men in the science of arms, so that they may be ready when the time 
of danger comes. You will go forth from this occasion with your 
commissions as Second Lieutenants in the army ; but I see, and I 
know that the country sees, that if war should come, and large 
armies should be organized and marshalled, we have here seventy-six 
young gentlemen, any one of whom can command not only a com- 
pany, but a brigade ; and I think I may say a division, or an army 
corps. 

The experience of the past teaches that I do not exaggerate when 
I say this. At all events, such is the theory upon which oar govern- 
ment proceeds, and it is expected that every man who is educated in 
this institution, whether he remains in the ranks of the army or not, 
wherever he may be found and called upon, shall come and draw 
his sword in defence of his country and her flag. 

It is a happy coincidence that one hundred years ago to-day, on 
the 14th of June, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the act which 
fixed our national emblem as the stars and stripes. It is a happy 
coincidence that you graduate upon the anniversary of the passage of 
that act — the centennial birthday of the stars and stripes. I do not 
know that it will add any thing to your love of the nag and of your 
country. I doubt whether any thing would add to that ; but I refer 
to this coincidence with great pleasure. 

Gentlemen of the Graduating Class : I am not qualified to instruct 
you in your duties as soldiers, but these is one thing I may say to 
you, because it ought to be said to every graduating class, and to all 
young men about to enter upon the active duties of life, and that is, 
that _the profession does not ennoble the man, but the man ennobles 
the profession Behind the soldier is the man. 

Character, young men, is every thing ; without it, your education 
is nothing ; without it, your country will be disappointed in you. 
Go forth into life, then, firmly resolved to be true, not only to the 
flag of your country, not only to the institutions of the land, not 
only to the Union which our fathers established, and which the blood 
of our countrymen has cemented, but to be true to yourselves and 
the principles of honor, of rectitude, of temperance, of virtue, which 
have always characterized the great and successful soldier, and must 
always characterize such a soldier in the future. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 199 

ADDRESS BY MAJOR-GENERAL JOHN M. SCHOFIELD, 

Superintendent TT. S. Military Academy. 

Gentlemen of the Graduates g Class : The agreeable duty 
now devolves upon me of delivering to you the diplomas which the 
Academic Board have awarded you as Graduates of the Military 
Academy. 

These diplomas you have fairly won by your ability, your indus- 
try, and your obedience to discipline. You receive them, not as 
favors from any body, but as the just and lawful reward of honest 
and persistent effort. 

You have merited, and are about to receive, the highest honors 
attainable by young men in our country. You have won these hon- 
ors by hard work and patient endurance, and you are thus prepared 
to prize them highly. Unless thus fairly won, honors, like riches, are 
of little value. 

As you learn, with advancing years, to more fully appreciate the 
value in life of the habits you have acquired of self-reliance, long- 
sustained effort, obedience to discipline, and respect for lawful 
authority, a value greater even than that of the scientific knowledge 
you have gained, you will more and more highly prize the just 
reward which you are to-day found worthy to receive. 

You are now prepared to enter upon an honorable career in the 
great arena of the world. The West Point Diploma has ever been a 
passport to public respect, and to the confidence of government. 
But such respect and confidence imply corresponding responsibilities. 
The honor of West Point and that of the army are now in your keep- 
ing ; and your country is entitled to the best services, intellectual, 
moral, and physical, which it may be in your power to render. 

That you may render such services, do not fail to pursue your 
scientific studies, that you may know the laws of nature, and make 
her forces subservient to the public welfare. Study carefully the 
history, institutions, and laws of your country, that you may be able 
to see and to defend what is lawful and right in every emergency. 
Study not only the details of your profession, but the highest princi- 
ples of the art of war. You may one day be called to the highest 
responsibility. And, above all, be governed in all things by those 
great moral principles which have been the guide of great and good 
men in all ages and in all countries. Without such guide the great- 
est genius can do only evil to mankind. 



200 THE COLORED CADET AT "WEST POINT. 

One of your number, under temptation which has sometimes 
proved too great for even much older soldiers, committed a breach of 
discipline for which he was suspended. The Honorable Secretary of 
War has been kindly pleased to remit the penalty, so that your class- 
mate may take his place among you according to his academic rank. 

You have to regret the absence of one of your number, who has 
been prevented by extreme illness from pursuing the studies of the 
last year. But I am glad to say that Mr. Barnett has so far recov- 
ered that he will be able to return to the Academy, and take his 
place in the next class. 

Another member of the class has been called away by the death 
of his father, but he had passed his examination, and will graduate 
with you. His diploma will be sent to him. 

With the single exception, then, above mentioned, I have the sat- 
isfaction of informing you that you graduate with the ranks of your 
class unbroken. 

We take leave of you, gentlemen, not only with hope, but with 
full confidence that you will acquit yourselves well in the honorable 
career now before you. We give you our parental blessing, with 
fervent wishes for your prosperity, happiness, and honor. 

Loud applause greeted the close of the general's speech, and the 
graduates were then called up one by one and their diplomas deliv- 
ered to them. The first to step forward was Mr. William M. Black, 
of Lancaster, Penn., whose career at the Academy has been remarka- 
ble. He has stood at the head of his class for the whole four years, 
actually distancing all competitors. He is a young man of signal 
ability, won his appointment in a competitive examination, and has 
borne himself with singular modesty and good sense. During the 
past year he has occupied the position of Adjutant of the Corps of 
Cadets — the highest post which can be held. General Sherman shook 
hands with the father of the young cadet — a grand-looking old gen- 
tleman, and very proud of his son, as he has a right to be — and 
warmly congratulated him on the brilliant career which was before 
the young man. The next on the list was Mr. Walter F. Fisk. 
When Mr. Flipper, the colored cadet, stepped forward, and received 
the reward of four years of as hard work and unflinching courage 
and perseverance as any young man could be called upon to go 
through, the crowd of spectators gave him a round of hearty ap- 
plause. He deserves it. Any one who knows how quietly and 
bravely this young man— the first of his despised race to graduate at 



THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 201 

West Point — has borne the difficulties of his position ; how for four 
years he has had to stand apart from his classmates as one with them 
but not of them ; and to all the severe work of academic official life 
has had added the yet more severe mental strain which bearing up 
against a cruel social ostracism puts on any man ; and knowing that 
he has done this without getting soured, or losing courage for a day 
— anyone, I say, who knows all this would be inclined to say that the 
young man deserved to be well taken care of by the government he 
is bound to serve. Everybody here who has watched his course 
speaks in terms of admiration of the unflinching courage he has 
shown. No cadet will go away with heartier wishes for his future 
welfare. 

When the last of the diplomas had been given, the line reformed, 
the band struck up a lively tune, the cadets marched to the front of 
the barracks, and there Cadet Black, the Adjutant, read the orders 
of the day, they being the standing of the students in their various 
classes, the list of new officers, etc. This occupied some time, and 
at its conclusion Colonel Neil, Commandant of Cadets, spoke a few 
kind words to the First Class, wished them all success in life, and 
then formally dismissed them. 

At the close of the addresses the Superintendent of the Academy 
delivered the diplomas to the following cadets, members of the Grad- 
uating Class. The names are alphabetically arranged : 

Amnion A. Augur, Charles J. Crane, 

William H. Baldwin, Heber M. Creel, 

Thomas H. Barry, Matthias W. Day, 

George W. Baxter, Millard F. Egglestori, 

John Baxter, Jr., Kobert T. Emmet, 

John Bigelow, Jr., Calvin Esterly, 

William M. Black, Walter L. Fisk, 

Francis P. Blair, Henry 0. Flipper, 

Augustus P. Blocksom, Fred. W. Foster, 

Charles A. Bradley, Daniel A. Frederick, 

John J. BreretoD, F. Halverson French, 

Oscar J. Brown, Jacob G. Galbraith, 

William C. Brown, William W. Galbraith, 

Ben. I. Butler, Charles B. Gatewood, 

George N. Chase, Edwin F. Glenn, 

Edward Chynoweth, Henry J. Goldman, 

Wallis 0. Clark, William B. Gordon, 



202 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 



John F. Guilfoyle, 
Jobn J. Haden, 
Harry T. Hammond, 
John F. C. Hegewald, 
Curtis B. Hoppin, 
George K. Hunter, 
James B. Jackson, 
Henry Kirby, 
Samuel H. Loder, 
James A. Maney, 
James D. Mann, 
Frederick Marsh, 
Medad C. Martin, 
Solon F. Massey, 
Ariosto McCrimmon, 
David N. McDonald, 
John McMartin, 
Stephen C. Mills, 
Cunlirre H. Murray, 
James V. S. Paddock, 
Theophilus Parker, 



Alexander M. Patch, 
Francis J. Patten, 
Thomas C. Patterson, 
John H. Philbrick, 
Edward H. Plammer, 
David Price, Jr., 
Robert D. Read, Jr., 
Solomon W. Roessler, 
Robert E. Safford, 
James C. Shofner, 
Adam Slaker, 
Howard A. Springett, 
Robert R. Stevens, 
Monroe P. Thorir.gton, 
Albert Todd, 
Samuel P. Wayman, 
John V. White, 
Wilber E. Wilder, 
Richard H. Wilson, 
William T. Wood, 
Charles G. Woodward. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

FURLOUGH. 

(~\F all privileges or sources of pleasure which 
^-^ tend to remove the monotony of military life, 
there are none to which the strip] ing soldier looks 
forward with more delight than furlough. Indeed 
it is hard to say which is the stronger emotion that 
we experience when we first receive information of 
our appointment to a cadetship, or that which comes 
upon us when we are apprised that a furlough has 
been granted us. Possibly the latter is the stronger 
feeling. It is so with some, with those, at least, 
who received the former announcement with indif- 
ference, as many do, accepting it solely to please a 
mother, or father, or other friend or relative. With 
whatever feeling, or for whatever reason the appoint- 
ment may have been accepted, it is certain that all 
are equally anxious to take advantage of their fur- 
lough when the time comes. This is made evident 
in a multitude of ways. 

A furlough is granted to those only who have 
been present at two annual examinations at least, 
and by and with the consent of a parent or guardian 
if a minor. 

Immediately after J anuary next preceding their 
second annual examination, the furloughmen, as 
they are called, have class meetings, or rather fur- 
lough meetings, to celebrate the " good time com- 



204: THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

ing." They hold them almost weekly, and they are 
devoted to music, jesting, story-telling, and to gen- 
eral jollification. It can be well imagined with what 
joy a cadet looks forward to his furlough. It is the 
only interruption in the monotony of his Academy 
life, and it is to him for that very reason extremely 
important. During all this time, and even long be- 
fore January, the furloughmen are accustomed to 
record the state of affairs respecting their furlough 
by covering every available substance that will bear 
a pencil or chalk mark with numerous inscriptions, 
giving the observer some such information as this : 
"100 days to furlough," "75 days to furlough," 
" only two months before furlough," and thus even 
to the day before they actually leave. 

The crowning moment of all is the moment when 
the order granting furloughs is published. 

I am sure my happiest moment at West Point, 
save when I grasped my "sheepskin" for the first 
time, was when I heard my name read in the list. 
It was a most joyous announcement. To get away 
from West Point, to get out among friends who were 
not ashamed nor afraid to be friends, could not be 
other than gratifying. It was almost like beginning 
a new life, a new career, and as I looked back from 
the deck of the little ferryboat my feelings were far 
different from what they were two years before. 

My furlough was something more than an inter- 
ruption of my ordinary mode of life for the two 
years previous. It was a complete change from a 
life of isolation to one precisely opposite. And of 
course I enjoyed it the more on that account. 

The granting of furloughs is entirely discretion- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 205 

ary with, the Superintendent. It may be denied 
altogether, but usually is not, except as punishment 
for some grave offence. 

It is customary to detain for one, two, three, or 
even more days those who have demerits exceeding 
a given number for a given time. The length of their 
leave is therefore shortened by just so many days. 

There are a number of customs observed by the 
cadets which I shall describe here. 

To disregard these customs is to show — at least it 
is so construed — a want of pride. To say that this 
or that " is customary," is quite sufficient to warrant 
its conception and execution. Among these customs 
the following may be mentioned : 

To begin with the fourth class. Immediately after 
their first semi-annual examination the class adopts 
a class crest or motto, which appears on all their sta- 
tionery, and often on many other things. To have 
class stationary is a custom that is never overlooked. 
Each class chooses its own design, which usually 
bears the year in which the class will graduate. 

Class stationary is used throughout the period of 
one's cadetship. 

In the early spring, the first, second, and third 
classes elect hop managers, each class choosing a 
given number. This is preparatory to the hop given 
by the second to the graduating class as a farewell 
token. This custom is rigorously kept up. 

Next to these are customs peculiar to the first 
class. They are never infringed upon by other 
classes, nor disregarded even by the first class. 

First, prior to graduation it is an invariable cus- 
tom of the graduating class to adopt and procure, 



206 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

each of them, a class ring. This usually bears the 
year of graduation, the letters U. S. M. A., or some 
other military character. 

This ring is the signet that binds the class to their 
Alma Mater, and to each other. It is to be in after 
years the souvenir that is to recall one's cadet life, 
and indeed every thing connected with a happy and 
yet dreary part of one's career. 

The class album also is intended for the same 
purpose. It contains the ' ' smiling shadows' ' of class- 
mates, comrades, and scenes perhaps never more to be 
visited or seen after parting at graduation. Oh ! 
what a feeling of sadness, of weariness of life even, 
must come upon him who in after years opens his 
album upon those handsome young faces, and there 
silently compares their then lives with what succeed- 
ing years have revealed ! Who does not, would not 
grieve to recall the sad tidings that have come anon 
and filled one's heart and being with portentous 
gloom \ This, perhaps a chum, an especial favorite, 
or at any rate a classmate, has fallen under a rude 
savage warfare while battling for humanity, without 
the advantages or the glory of civilized war, but sim- 
ply with the consciousness of duty properly done. 
That one, perchance, has fallen bravely, dutifully, 
without a murmur of regret, and this one, alas ! 
where is he % Has he, too, perished, or does he yet 
remember our gladsome frolics at our beloved Alma 
Mater. My mind shudders, shrinks from the sweet 
and yet sad anticipations of the years I have not seen 
and may perhaps never see. But there is a sweet- 
ness, a fondness that makes me linger longingly upon 
the thought of those unborn days. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

INCIDENT, HUMOK, ETC. 



TT may not be inappropriate to give in this place a 
few — as many as I can recall — of the incidents, 
more or less humorous, in which I myself have taken 
part or have noticed at the various times of their 
occurrence. First, then, an adventure on " Flirta- 
tion." 

During the encampment of 1873 — I think it was 
in July — Smith and myself had the — for us — rare 
enjoyment of a visit made us by some friends. We 
had taken them around the place and shown and ex- 
plained to them every thing of interest. We at length 
took seats on "Flirtation," and gave ourselves up to 
pure enjoyment such as is found in woman's pres- 
ence only. The day was exceedingly beautiful ; all 
nature seemed loveliest just at that time, and our 
lone, peculiar life, with all its trials and cares, was 
quite forgotten. We chatted merrily, and as ever in 
such company were really happy. It was so seldom 
we had visitors — and even then they were mostly 
males — that we were delighted to have some one 
with whom we could converse on other topics than 
official ones and studies. While we sat there not a 
few strangers, visitors also, passed us, and almost 
invariably manifested surprise at seeing us. 

I do think uncultivated white people are unap- 
proachable in downright rudeness, and yet, alas ! 



208 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

they are our superiors. Will prejudice ever be oblit- 
erated from the minds of the people ? Will man ever 
cease to prejudge his fellow-being for color's sake 
alone ? Grant, O merciful God, that he may ! 

But mi fait ! Anon a cadet, whose perfectly 
fitting uniform of matchless gray and immaculate 
white revealed the symmetry of his form in all its 
manly beauty, saunters leisurely by, his head erect, 
shoulders back, step quick and elastic, and those 
glorious buttons glittering at their brilliant points 
like so many orbs of a distant stellar world. Next a 
plebe strolls wearily along, his drooping shoulders, 
hanging head, and careless gait bespeaking the need 
of more squad drill. Then a dozen or more "pic- 
nicers," all females, laden with baskets, boxes, and 
other et ceteras, laughing and playing, unconscious 
of our proximity, draw near. The younger ones trip- 
ping playfully in front catch sight of us. Instantly 
they are hushed, and with hands over their mouths 
retrace their steps to disclose to those in rear their 
astounding discovery. In a few moments all appear, 
and silently and slowly pass by, eyeing us as if we 
were the greatest natural wonder in existence. They 
pass on till out of sight, face about and ' ' continue 
the motion," passing back and forth as many as five 
times. Wearied at length of this performance, Smith 
rose and said, " Come, let's end this farce," or some- 
thing to that effect. We arose, left the place, and 
were surprised to find a moment after that they 
were actually following us. 

The " Picnicers," as they are called in the corps, 
begin their excursions early in May, and continue 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 209 

them till near the end of September. They manage 
to arrive at West Point at all possible honrs of the 
day, and stay as late as they conveniently can. In 
May and September, when we have battalion drills, 
they are a great nuisance, a great annoyance to me 
especially. The vicinity of that flank of the bat- 
talion in which I was, was where they "most did 
congregate." It was always amusing, though most 
embarrassing, to see them pointing me out to each 
other, and to hear their verbal accompaniments, 
" There he is, the first " — or such — "man from the 
right' ' — * ' or left. " " Who ?" " The colored cadet. ' ' 
"Haven't you seen him? Here, I'll show him to 
you," and so on ad libitum. 

All through this encampment being " 



young ; a novice in the trade," I seldom took ad- 
vantage of Old Guard privileges, or any other, for 
the reason that I was not accustomed to such bar- 
barous rudeness, and did not care to be the object of 
it. 

It has always been a wonder to me why people 
visiting at West Point should gaze at me so persist- 
ently for no other reason than curiosity. What there 
was curious or uncommon about me I never knew. 
I was not better formed, nor more military in my 
bearing than all the other cadets. My uniform did 
not fit better, was not of better material, nor did it 
cost more than that of the others. Yet for four 
years, by each and every visitor at West Point who 
saw me, it was done. I know not why, unless it was 
because I was in it. 



210 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

There is an old man at Highland Falls, N. Y., 
who is permitted to peddle newspapers at West 
Point. He comes up every Sabbath, and all are 
made aware of his presence by his familiar cry, 
" Sunday news ! Sunday news !" Indeed, he is 
generally known and called by the soubriquet, " Sun- 
day News." 

He was approaching my tent one Sunday after- 
noon, but was stopped by a cadet who called out to 
him from across the company street, "Don't sell 
your papers to them niggers I" This kind advice 
was not heeded. 

This and subsequent acts of a totally different 
character lead me to believe that there is not so much 
prejudice in the corps as is at first apparent. A gen- 
eral dislike for the negro had doubtless grown up in 
this cadet's mind from causes which are known to 
everybody at all acquainted with affairs at West 
Point about that time, summer of 1873. On several 
occasions during my second and third years I was the 
grateful recipient of several kindnesses at the hands 
of this same cadet, thus proving most conclusively 
that it was rather a cringing disposition, a dread of 
what others might say, or this dislike of the negro 
which I have mentioned, that caused him to utter 
those words, and not a prejudiced dislike of " them 
niggers," for verily I had won his esteem. 

Just after returning from this encampment to our 
winter quarters, I had another adventure with Smith, 
my chum, and Williams, which cost me dearly. 

It was just after " evening call to quarters." I 
knew Smith and Williams were in our room. I had 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 211 

been out for some purpose, and was returning when 
it occurred to me to have some fun at their expense. 
I accordingly walked up to the door — our " house" 
was at the head of the stairs and on the third floor 
— and knocked, endeavoring to imitate as much as 
possible an officer inspecting. They sprang to their 
feet instantly, assumed the position of the soldier, 
and quietly awaited my entrance. I entered laugh- 
ing. They resumed their seats with a promise to re- 
pay me, and they did, for alas! I was "hived." 
Some cadet reported me for " imitating a tactical 
officer inspecting." For this I was required to walk 
three tours of extra guard duty on three consecutive 
Saturdays, and to serve, besides, a week's confine- 
ment in my quarters. The "laugh" was thus, of 
course, turned on me. 

During the summer of '74, in my "yearling 
camp," I made another effort at amusement, which 
was as complete a failure as the attempt with Smith 
and Williams. I had been reported by an officer for 
some trifling offence. It was most unexpected to 
me, and least of all from this particular officer. I 
considered the report altogether uncalled for, but 
was careful to say nothing to that effect. I received 
for the offence one or two demerits. A short while 
afterwards, being on guard, I happened to be posted 
near his tent. Determined on a bit of revenge, and 
fun too, at half -past eleven o' clock at night I placed 
myself near his tent, and called off in the loudest 

tone I could command, " ISTo. , half -past eleven 

o'clock, and all-1-l-l's well-1-1 !" It woke him. He 
arose, came to the front of his tent, and called me 



212 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

back to him. I went, and he ordered me to call the 
corporal. I did so, When the corporal came he 

told him to " report the sentinel on JNo. for 

calling off improperly." If I mistake not, I was 
also reported for not calling off at 12 p.j\i. lond 
enough to be heard by the next sentinel. Thus my 
bit of revenge recoiled twofold upon myself, and I 
soon discovered that I had been paying too dear for 
my whistle. 

On another occasion during the same camp I 
heard a cadet say he would submit to no order or 
command of, nor permit himself to be marched any- 
where by " the nigger," meaning myself. We were 
in the same company, and it so happened at one time 
that we were on guard the same day, and that I was 
the senior member of our company detail. When 
we marched off the next day the officer of the guard 
formed the company details to the front, and directed 
the senior member of each fifteen to march it to its 
company street and dismiss it. I instantly stepped 
to front and assumed command. I marched it as far 
as the color line at " support arms ;" brought them 
to a " carry" there and saluted the colors. When 
we were in the company street, I commanded in loud 
and distinct tone, " Trail arms ! Break ranks ! 
March !" A cadet in a tent near by recognized my 
voice, and hurried out into the company street. 
Meeting the cadet first mentioned above, he thus 
asked of him : 

" Did that nigger march you in ?" 

" Yes-es, the nigger marched us in," speaking 
slowly and drawling it out as if he had quite lost the 
power of speech. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 213 

At the following semi-annual examination (Jan- 
uary, '75), the gentleman was put on the "retired 
list," or rather on the list of " blasted hopes." I 
took occasion to record the event in the following 
manner, changing of course the names : 

FAILED. ; 

Scene. — Hall of Cadet Barracks at West Point. Characters : Ransom 
and Mars, both Cadets. Ransom:, who has been "found" at recent 
semiannual examination, meets his more successful chum, Mars, on 
the stoop. After a moment's conversation, they enter the hall. 

Mars (as tliey enter). 
Ah ! how ! what say ? Found ! Art going away ? 
Unfortunate rather ! 'm sorry ! but stay ! 
Who hadst thou ? How didst thou ? Badly, I'm sure. 
Hadst done well they had not treated thee so. 

Ransom (sadly). 
Thou sayest aright. I did do my best, 
Which was but poorly I can but confess. 
The subject was hard. I could no better 
Unless I'd memorized to the letter. 

Mars. 
Art unfortunate ! but tho' 'twere amiss 
Me half thinks e'en that were better than this. 
Thou couldst have stood the trial, if no more 
Than to come out low. That were better, 'm sure. 

Ransom. 

But 'tis too late. 'Twas but an afterthought, 
Which now methinks at most is worth me naught : 
" Le sort en est jette," they say, you know ; 
'Twere idle to dream and still think of woe. 

Mars. 
Thou sayest well ! Yield not to one rebuff. 
Thou'rt a man, show thyself of manly stuff. 
The bugle calls ! I must away ! Adieu ! 
May Fortune grant, comrade, good luck to you ! 

(They shales hands, Mars hurries out to answer the bugle call. 
Ransom prepares for immediate departure for home.) 



214 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

" dear ! it is hawid to have this cullud cadet — 
perfectly dre'flnil. I should die to see my Geawge 
standing next to him." Thus did one of your mod- 
els of womankind, one of the negro' s superiors, who 
annually visit West Point to flirt, give vent to her 
opinion of the " cullud cadet," an opinion thought 
out doubtless with her eyes, and for which she could 
assign no reason other than that some of her 
acquaintances, manifestly cadets, concurred in it, 
having perhaps so stated to her. And the cadets, 
with their accustomed gallantry, have ever striven 
to evade " standing next to him." No little amuse- 
ment — for such it was to me— has been afforded me 
by the many ruses they have adopted to prevent 
it. Some of them have been extremely ridiculous, 
and in many cases highly unbecoming a cadet and a 
gentleman. 

While I was a plebe, I invariably fell in in the 
rear rank along with the other plebes. This is a 
necessary and established custom. As soon as I 
became a third-classman, and had a right to fall in in 
the front rank whenever necessary or convenient, 
they became uneasy, and began their plans for keep- 
ing me from that rank. The first sergeant of my com- 
pany did me the honor of visiting me at my quarters 
and politely requested me — not order me, for he had 
no possible authority for such an act — to fall in in- 
variably on the right of the rear rank. To keep 
down trouble and to avoid any show of presumption 
or forwardness on my part, as I had been advised by 
an officer, I did as he requested, taking my place on 
the right of the rear rank at every formation of the 
company for another whole year. But with all this 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 215 

condescension on my part I was still the object of 
solicitous care. My falling in there did not preclude 
the possibility of my own classmates, now also risen 
to the dignity of third-classmen, falling in next to 
me. To perfect his plan, then, the first sergeant had 
the senior plebe in the company call at his " house," 
and take from the roster an alphabetical list of all 
the plebes in the company. With this he (the senior 
plebe) was to keep a special roster, detailing one of 
his own classmates to fall in next to me. Each one 
detailed for such duty was to serve one week — from 
Sunday morning breakfast to Sunday morning 
breakfast. The keeper of the roster was not of 
course to be detailed. 

It is astonishing how little care was taken to 
conceal this fact from me. The plan, etc., was 
formed in my hearing, and there seems to have been 
no effort or even desire to hide it from me. Eeturning 
from supper one evening, I distinctly heard this plebe 

tell the sergeant that " Mr. refused to serve." 

" You tell him," said the sergeant, "I want to see 
him at my ' house ' immediately after supper. If he 
doesn't serve I'll make it so hot for him he'll wish 
he'd never heard of West Point." 

Is it not strange how these models of mankind, 
these our superiors, strive to thrust upon each other 
what they do not want themselves \ It is a mean- 
ness, a baseness, an unworthiness from which I 
should shrink. It would be equally astonishing 
that men ever submit to it, were it not that they are 
plebes, and therefore thus easily imposed upon. 
The plebe in this case at length submitted. 

When I became a second-classman, no difference 



216 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

was made by the cadets in their mariner of falling in, 
whether because their scruples were overcome or 
because no fitting means presented themselves for 
avoiding it, I know not. If they happened to be 
near me when it was time to fall in, they fell in next 
to me. 

In the spring of '76, our then first sergeant 
ordered us to fall in at all formations as nearly ac- 
cording to size as possible. As soon as this order 
was given, for some unknown reason, the old regime 
was readopted. If I happened to fall in next to a 
first- classman, and he discovered it, or if a first-class- 
man fell in next to me, and afterward found it out, 
he would fall out and go to the rear. The second 
and third- classmen, for no other reason than that 
first-classmen did it, "got upon their dignity," and 
refused to stand next to me. We see here a good 
illustration of that cringing, " bone - popularity" 
spirit which I have mentioned elsewhere. 

The means of prevention adopted now were some- 
what different from those of a year before. A file- 
closer would watch and follow me closely, and when 
I fell in would put a plebe on each side of me. It 
was really amusing sometimes to see his eagerness, 
and quite as amusing, I may add, to see his dismay 
when I would deliberately leave the place thus 
hemmed in by plebes and fall in elsewhere. 

We see here again that cringing disposition to 
which I believe the whole of the ill-treatment of col- 
ored cadets has been due. The file-closers are 
usually second-class sergeants and third-class cor- 
porals. By way of "boning popularity" with the 
upper classmen, they stoop to almost any thing. In 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 217 

this case tliey hedged me in between the two plebes 
to prevent upper classmen from failing in next to 
me. 

But it may be asked why I objected to having 
plebes next to me. I would answer, for several 
reasons. Under existing circumstances of prejudice, 
it was of the utmost importance to me to keep them 
away from me. First — and by no means the least 
important reason — to put them in the front rank 
was violating a necessary and established custom. 
The plebes are put in the rear rank because of their 
inexperience and general ignorance of the principles 
of marching, dressing, etc. If they are in the front 
rank, it would simply be absurd to expect good 
marching of them. A second reason, and by far 
the most important, results directly from this one. 
Being between two plebes, who would not, could not 
keep dressed, it would be impossible for me to do so. 
The general alignment of the company would be de- 
stroyed. There would be crowding and opening out 
of the ranks, and it would all originate in my imme- 
diate vicinity. The file-closers, never over-scrupu- 
lous when I was concerned, and especially when 
they could forward their own " popularity -boning" 
interests, would report me for these disorders in the 
company. I would get demerits and punishment for 
what the plebes next to me were really responsible 
for. The plebes would not be reported, because if 
they were their inexperience would plead strongly in 
their favor, and any reasonable explanation of an 
offence would suffice to insure its removal. I was 
never overfond of demerits or punishments, and 
therefore strenuously opposed any thing that might 



218 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

give me either ; for instance, having plebes put next 
to me in ranks. 

Toward the end of the year the plebes, having 
learned more about me and the way the corps looked 
npon me, became as eager to avoid me as the others. 
Not, however, all the plebes, for there were some 
who, when they saw others trying to avoid falling 
in next to me, would deliberately come and take 
their places there. These plebes, or rather yearlings 
now, were better disciplined, and, of course, my own 
scruples vanished. 

During the last few months of the year no dis- 
tinction was made, save by one or two high-toned 
ones. 

When the next class of plebes were put in the 
battalion, the old cadets began to thrust them into 
the front rank next to me. At first I was indignant, 
but upon second thought I determined to tolerate it 
until I should be reported for some oifence which 
was really an offence of the plebes. I intended to 
then explain the case, h priori, in my written ex- 
planation to the commandant. I knew such a course 
would cause a discontinuance of the practice, which 
was plainly malicious and contrary to regulations. 
Fortunately, however, for all concerned, the affair 
was noticed by an officer, and by him summarily dis- 
continued. I was glad of this, for the other course 
would have made the cadets more unfriendly, and 
would have made my condition even worse than it 
was. Thereafter I had no further trouble with the 
plebes. 

One day, during my yearling camp, when I hap- 
pened to be on guard, a photographer, wishing a view 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 219 

of the guard, obtained permission to make the neces- 
sary negative. As the officer of the day desired to 
be "took" with the guard, he came down to the 
guard tents, and the guard was "turned out" for 
him by the sentinel. He did not wish it then, and 
accordingly so indicated by saluting. I was sitting 
on a camp-stool in the shade reading. A few min- 
utes after the officer of the day came. I heard the 
corporal call out, " Fall in the guard." I hurried 
for my gun, and passing near and behind the officer 
of the day, I heard him say to the corporal : 

"Say, cant you get rid of that nigger? We 
don't want him in the picture." 

The corporal immediately ordered me to fetch a 
pail of water. As he had a perfect right to thus 
order me, being for the time my senior officer, I pro- 
ceeded to obey. While taking the pail the officer of 
the day approached me and most politely asked : 
" Going for water, Mr. Flipper V 
I told him I was. 

" That's right," continued he ; " do hurry. I'm 
nearly dead of thirst." 

It is simply astonishing to see how these young 
men can stoop when they want any thing. A cadet 
of the second class — when I was in the third class — 
was once arrested for a certain offence, and, from 
the nature of the charge, was likely to be court- 
martialed. His friends made preparation for his de- 
fence. As I was not ten feet from him at the time 
specified in the charge, my evidence would be re- 
quired in the event of a trial. I was therefore visited 
by one of his friends. He brought paper and pencil 
and made a memorandum of what I had to say. The 
cadet himself had the limits of his arrest extended 



220 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

and then visited me in person. We conversed quite 
a while on the subject, and, as my evidence would 
be in his favor, I promised to give it in case he was 
tried. He thanked me very cordially, asked how I 
was getting along in my studies, expressed much re- 
gret at my being ostracized, wished me all sorts of 
success, and again thanking me took his leave. 

There is an article in the academic regulations 
which provides or declares that no citizen who has 
been a cadet at the Military Academy can receive a 
commission in the regular army before the class of 
which he was a member graduates, unless he can 
get the written consent of his former classmates. 

A classmate of mine resigned in the summer of 
'75, and about a year after endeavored to get a com- 
mission. A friend and former classmate drew up 
the approval, and invited the class to his "house" 
to sign it. When half a dozen or more had signed 
it, it was sent to the guard-house, and the corporal 
of the guard came and notified me it was there for 
my consideration. I went to the guard-house at 
once. A number of cadets were sitting or standing 
around in the room. As soon as I entered they be- 
came silent and remained so, expecting, no doubt, 
I'd refuse to sign it, because of the treatment I had 
received at their hands. They certainly had little 
cause to expect that I would add my signature. 
Nevertheless I read the paper over and signed it 
without hesitation. Their anxiety was raised to the 
highest possible pitch, and scarcely had I left the 
room ere they seized the paper as if they would de- 



THE COLORED CADET AT "WEST POINT. 22 L 

vour it. I heard some one who came in as I went 
out ask, " Did he sign it ?" 

Another case of condescension on the part of an 
upper classman occurred in the early part of my 
third year at the Academy, and this time in the mess 
hall. We were then seated at the tables by classes. 
Each table had a commandant, who was a cadet 
captain, lieutenant or sergeant, and in a few instances 
a corporal. At each table there was also a carver, 
who was generally a corporal, occasionally a ser- 
geant or private. The other seats were occupied by 
privates, and usually in this order: first-classmen had 
first and second seats, second-classmen second and 
third seats, third-classmen third and fourth seats, 
and fourth-classmen fourth and fifth seats, which 
were at the foot of the table. I had a first seat, 
although a second-classman. For some reason a 
first-classman, who had a first seat at another table, 
desired to change seats with me. He accordingly 
sent a cadet for me. I went over to his room. I 
agreed to make the change, provided he himself 
obtained permission of the proper authorities. It 
was distinctly understood that he was to take my 
seat, a first seat, and I was to take his seat, also a 
first seat. He obtained permission of the superin- 
tendent of the mess hall, and also a written permit 
from the commandant. The change was made, but 
lo and behold ! instead of a first seat I got a third. 
The agreement was thus violated by him, my 
superior (?), and I was dissatisfied. The whole affair 
was explained to the commandant, not, however, by 
10 



222 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POIKT. 

myself, but by my consent, the permit revoked, and 
I gained my former first seat. A tactical officer 
asked me, " Why did you exchange with him \ Has 
he ever done any thing for you ?" 

I told him he had not, and that I did it merely to 
oblige him. It was immaterial to me at what table 
I sat, provided I had a seat consistent with the dig- 
nity of my class. 

The baseness of character displayed by the gen- 
tleman, the reflection on myself and class would have 
evoked a complaint from me had not a classmate 
anticipated me by doing so himself. 

This gentleman (?) was practically " cut " by the 
whole corps. He was spoken to, and that- was about 
all that made his status in the corps better than mine. 

Just after the semiannual examination following 
this adventure, another, more ridiculous still, oc- 
curred, of which I was the innocent cause. The dis- 
missal of a number of deficient plebes and others 
made necessary a rearrangement of seats. The com- 
mandant saw fit to have it made according to class 
rank. It changed completely the former arrange- 
ment, and gave me a third seat. A classmate, who 
was senior to me, had the second seat. He did not 
choose to take it, and for two or more weeks refused 
to do so. I had the second seat during all this time, 
while he was fed in his quarters by his chum. He 
had a set of miniature cooking utensils in his own 
room, and frequently cooked there, using the gas as 
a source of heat. These were at last " hived," and 
he was ordered to " turn them in." He went to din- 
ner one day when I was absent on guard. At sup- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 223 

per lie appeared again. Some one asked him how it 
was he was there, glancing at the same time at me. 
He laughed — it was plainly forced — and replied, ' ' I 
forgot to fall out." 

He came to his meals the next clay, the next, and 
every succeeding day regularly. Thus were his 
scruples overcome. His refusing to go to his meals 
because he had to sit next to me was strongly disap- 
proved by the corps for two reasons, viz., that he 
ought to be man enough not to thrust on others 
what he himself disliked ; and that as others for two 
years had had seats by me, he ought not to complain 
because it now fell to his lot to have one there too. 

Just after my return, in September, 1875, from a 
furlough of two months, an incident occurred which, 
explained, will give some idea of the low, unprinci- 
pled manner in which some of the cadets have acted 
toward me. It was at cavalry drill. I was riding a 
horse that was by no means a favorite with us. He 
happened to fall to my lot that day, and I rather 
liked him. His greatest faults were a propensity for 
kicking and slight inequality in the length of his 
legs. We were marching in a column of fours, and 
at a slow walk. I turned my head for some pur- 
pose, and almost simultaneously my horse plunged 
headlong into the fours in front of me. It was with 
difficulty that I retained my seat. I supposed that 
when I turned my head I had accidentally spurred 
him, thus causing him to plunge forward. I re- 
gained my proper place in ranks. 

ISTone of this was seen by the instructor, who was 
riding at the head of the column. Shortly after this 



224 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

I noticed that those near me were laughing. I 
turned my head to observe the cause and caught the 
trooper on my left in the act of spurring my horse. 
I looked at him long and fiercely, while he desisted 
and hung his head. Not long afterwards the same 
thing was repeated, and this time was seen by the 
instructor, who happened to wheel about as my horse 
rushed, forward. He immediately halted the column, 
and, approaching, asked me, " What is the matter 
with that horse, Mr. F. ?" To which I replied, " The 
trooper on my left persists in kicking and spurring 
him, so that I can do nothing with him." 

He then caused another trooper in another set of 
fours to change places with me, and thereafter all 
went well. 

Notwithstanding the secrecy of hazing, and the 
great care which those who practised it took to pre- 
vent being "hived," they sometimes overreached 
themselves and were severely punished. Cases have 
occurred where cadets have been dismissed for haz- 
ing, while others have been less severely punished. 

Sometimes, also, the joke, if I may so call it, has 
been turned upon the perpetrators to their utter dis- 
comfort. I will cite an instance. 

Quite often in camp two robust plebes are selected 
and ordered to report at a specified tent just after the 
battalion returns from supper. When they report 
each is provided with a pillow. They take their 
places in the middle of the company street, and at a 
given signal commence pounding each other. A 
crowd assembles from all parts of camp to witness 
the " pillow fight," as it is called. Sometimes, also, 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 225 

after fighting awhile, the combatants are permitted 
to rest, and another set continues the fight. 

On one of these occasions, after fighting quite a 
while, a pillow bursted, and one of the antagonists 
was literally buried in feathers. At this a shout of 
laughter arose and the fun was complete. But alas 
for such pleasures ! An officer in his tent, disturbed 
by the noise, came out to find its cause. He saw it 
at a glance, aided no doubt by vivid recollections of 
his own experience in his plebe camp. He called an 
orderly and sent for the cadet captain of the com- 
pany. When he came he was ordered to send the 
plebes — he said new cadets — to their tents, and order 
them to remain there till permission was given to 
leave them. He then had every man, not a plebe, 
who had been present at the pillow fight turned out. 
When this was done he ordered them to pick up 
every feather within half an hour, and the captain to 
inspect at the end of that time and to see that the 
order was obeyed. Thus, therefore, the plebes got 
the better part of the joke. 

It was rumored in camp one day that the super- 
intendent and.commandant were both absent from 
the post, and that the senior tactical officer was there- 
fore acting superintendent. A plebe sentinel on 
Post No. 1, seeing him approaching camp, and not 
knowing under the circumstances how to act, or 
rather, perhaps, I should say, not knowing whether 
the report was true or not, called a corporal, and 
asked if he should salute this officer with "present 
arms." To this question that dignitary replied with 
righteous horror, " Salute him with present arms ! 



226 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

No, sir ! You stand at attention, and when lie gets 
on your post shout, ' Hosannah to the supe ! ' " This 
rather startled the plebe, who found himself more 
confused than ever. When it was about time for the 
sentinel to do something the corporal told him what 
to do, and returned to the guard tents. The officer 
was at the time the commanding officer of the camp. 

While walking down Sixth Avenue, ISTew York, 
with a young lady, on a beautiful Sabbath afternoon 
in the summer of 1875, I was paid a high compliment 
by an old colored soldier. He had lost one leg and 
had been otherwise maimed for life in the great 
struggle of 1861-65 for the preservation of the Union. 
As soon as he saw me approaching he moved to the 
outside of the pavement and assumed as well as pos- 
sible the position of the soldier. When I was about 
six paces from him he brought his crutch to the 
position of " present arms," iu a soldierly manner, 
in salute to me. I raised my cap as I passed, en- 
deavoring to be as polite as possible, both in return 
for his salute and because of his age. He took the 
position of "carry arms," saying as he did so, 
" That's right ! that's right ! Make* me glad to see 
it." 

We passed on, while he, too, resumed his course, 
ejaculating something about "good-breeding," etc., 
all of which we did not hear. 

Upon inquiry I learned, as stated, that he had 
served in the Federal army. He had given his time 
and energy, even at the risk of his life, to his coun- 
try. He had lost one limb, and been maimed other- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 227 

wise for life. I considered the salute for that reason 
a greater honor. 

During the summer of 1873 a number of cadets, 
who were on furlough, visited Mammoth Cave. 
While there they noticed on the wall, written in pen- 
cil, the name of an officer who was an instructor in 
Spanish at West Point. One of them took occasion 
to add to the inscription the following bit of infor- 
mation : 

" Known at the U. S. Military Academy as the 
' Spanish Inquisition.' " 

A number of cadets accosted a plebe, who had 
just reported in May, 1874, and the following con- 
versation ensued : 

" Well, mister, what's your name ?" 

" John Walden." 

" Sir !" yelled rather than spoken. 

" John Walden." 

" Well, sir, I want to see you put a ' sir ' on it," 
with another yell. 

" Sir John Walden," was the unconcerned re- 
joinder. 

Now it was not expected that the " sir" would be 
put before the name after the manner of a title, but 
this impenetrable plebe put it there, and in so solemn 
and "don't-care" a manner that the cadets turned 
away in a roar of laughter. 

Ever afterward he was known in the corps as 
"Sir John." 

Another incident, even more laughable perhaps 
than the preceding, occurred between a cadet and 



223 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

plebe, which doubtless saved the plebe from further 
hazing. Approaching him with a look of utter con- 
tempt on his face, the cadet asked him : 
" Well, thing, what's your name ?" 
"Wilreni, sir," meekly responded he. ' 
"Wilreni, sir!" repeated the cadet slowly, and 
bowing his head he seemed for a moment buried in 
profoundest thought. Suddenly brightening up, he 
rejoined in the most unconcerned manner possible : 
"Oh! yes, yes, I remember now. You are Will 
Reni, the son of old man Bill Reni," put particular 
stress on " Will" and " Bill." 

I think, though, the most laughable incident that 
has come under my notice was that of a certain plebe 
who made himself famous for gourmandizing. 

Each night throughout the summer encampment, 
the guard is supplied from the mess hall with an 
abundance of sandwiches. The old cadets rarely eat 
them, but to the plebes, as yet unaccustomed to 
guard duty, they are quite a treat. 

On one occasion when the sandwiches were un- 
usually well prepared, and therefore unusually in- 
viting, it was desirable to preserve them till late in 
the night, till after the guard had been turned out 
and inspected by the officer of the day. They were 
accordingly — to conceal them from the plebes — trans- 
ferred, with the vessel containing them, to one of the 
chests of a caisson of the light battery, just in front 
of camp in park. Here they were supposed to be 
safe. But alas for such safety ! At an hour not 
far advanced into the night, two plebes, led by an 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 229 

unerring instinctiveness, discovered the hiding-place 
of the sandwiches and devoured them all. 

Now when the hour of feasting was come, a cor- 
poral was dispatched for the dainty dish, when, lo 
and behold ! it had vanished. The plebes — for who 
else could thus have secretly devoured them — were 
brought to account and the guilty ones discovered. 
They were severely censured in that contemptuous 
manner in which only a cadet, an upper classman, 
can censure a plebe, and threatened with hazing and 
all sorts of unpleasantness. 

Next morning they were called forth and marched 
ingloriously to the presence of the commandant. 
Upon learning the object of the visit he turned to 
the chief criminal — the finder of the sandwiches — and 
asked him, "Why did you eat all the sandwiches, 
Mr. S ?" 

' ' I didn' t eat them all up, sir. I ate only fifteen," 
was his ready reply. 

The gravity of the occasion, coupled with the 
enormity of the feast, was too much, and the com- 
mandant turned away his head to conceal the 
laughter he could not withhold. The plebe himself 
was rather short and fleshy, and the picture of mirth. 
Indeed to see him walking even along the company 
street was enough to call forth laughter either at him 
as he waddled along or at the humorous remarks the 
act called forth from onlooking cadets. 

He was confined to one of the guard tents by order 
of the commandant, and directed by him to submit 
a written explanation for eating all the sandwiches 
of the guard. The explanation was unsatisfactory, 



230 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

and the gentleman received some other light punish- 
ment, the nature of which has at this late day escaped 
my memory. 

The other plebe, being only a particeps criminis, 
was not so severely punished. A reprimand, I 
think, was the extent of his punishment. 

The two gentlemen have long since gone where 
the "woodbine twineth" — that is, been found de- 
ficient in studies and dismissed. 

There was a cadet in the corps who had a won- 
derful propensity for using the word ' ' mighty. ' ' 

With him every thing was ' ' mighty. ' ' I honestly 
do not believe I ever heard him conversing when he 
did not use " mighty." 

Speaking of me one day, and unconscious of my 
presence, he said, "I tell you he does 'mighty' 
well." 

During drill at the siege battery on the 25th of 
April, 1876, an accident occurred which came near 
proving fatal to one of us. I had myself just fired 
an 8-inch howitzer, and gone to the rear to observe 
the effect of the other shots. One piece had been 
fired, and the command for the next to fire had been 
given. I was watching intently the target when I 
was startled by the cry of some one near me, " Look 
out ! look out !" I turned my eyes instinctively 
toward the piece just fired, but saw only smoke. I 
then looked up and saw a huge black body of some 
kind moving rapidly over our heads. It was not 
until the smoke had nearly disappeared that I knew 
what was the cause of the disturbance. A number 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 231 

of cannoneers and our instructor were vociferously 
asking, "Anybody hurt? Anybody hurt?" We 
all moved up to the piece, and, rinding no one was 
injured, examined it. The piece, a 4^-inch rifle, 
mounted on a siege carriage, had broken obliquely 
from the trunnions downward and to the rear. The 
re-enforce thus severed from the chase broke into three 
parts, the nob of the cascabel, and the other portion 
split in the direction of the bore. The right half of 
the re-enforce, together with the nob of the cascabel, 
were projected into the air, describing a curve over 
our heads, and falling at about twenty feet from the 
right of the battery, having passed over a horizontal 
distance of about sixty or seventy feet. The left half 
was thrown obliquely to the ground, tearing away 
in its passage the left cheek of the carriage, and 
breaking the left trunnion plate. A cannoneer was 
standing on the platform of the next piece on the 
left w r ith the lanyard in his hand. His feet were on 
two adjacent deck planks, his heels being on line 
with the edge of the platform. These two planks 
were struck upon their ends, and moved bodily, with 
the cadet upon them, three or four inches from their 
proper place. The bolts that held them and the ad- 
jacent planks together were broken, while not the 
slightest injury w r as done the cadet. 

It was hardly to be believed, and was not until 
tw r o or three of the other cannoneers had examined 
him and found him really uninjured. It was simply 
miraculous. The instructor sent the cannoneers to 
the rear, and fired the next gun himself. 

After securing the pieces and replacing equip- 
ments, we were permitted to again examine the 



232 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

bursted gun, after which the battery was dis- 
missed. 

There had been some difficulty in loading the 
piece, especially in getting the projectile home. It 
was supposed that this not being done properly 
caused the bursting. 

I was one summer day enjoying a walk on " Flir- 
tation." I was alone, and, if I remember aright, 
"on Old Guard privileges." Walking leisurely 
along I soon observed in front of me a number of 
young ladies, a servant girl, and several small chil- 
dren. 

They were all busily occupied in gathering wild 
flowers, a kind of moss and ferns which grow here 
in abundance. I was first seen by one of the chil- 
dren, a little girl. She instantly fixed her eyes upon 
me, and began vociferating in a most joyous manner, 
" The colored cadet ! the colored cadet ! I'm going 
to tell mamma I've seen the colored cadet." 

The servant girl endeavored to quiet her, but she 
continued as gayly as ever : 

"It's the colored cadet! I'm going to tell 
mamma. I'm going to tell mamma I've seen the 
colored cadet." 

All the others stopped gathering flowers, and 
watched me till I was out of sight. 

A similar display of astonishment has occurred 
at every annual examination since I became a cadet, 
and on these occasions the ladies more than anybody 
else have been the ones to show it. 

Whenever I took my place on the floor to receive 
my enunciation or to be questioned, I have observed 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 233 

whisperings, often audible, and gestures of surprise 
among the lady visitors. I have frequently heard 
such exclamations as this : " Oh ! there's the colored 
cadet ! there's the colored cadet !" 

All of this naturally tended to confuse me, and it 
was only by determined effort that I maintained any 
degree of coolness. Of course they did not intend 
to confuse me. Nothing was, I dare say, further 
from their thoughts. But they were women ; and it 
never occurs to a woman to think before she speaks. 

It was rather laughable to hear a cadet, who was 
expounding the theory of twilight, say, pointing to 
his figure on the blackboard : " If a spectator should 
cross this limit of the crepuscular zone he would 
enter into final darkness." 

Now " final darkness," as we usually understand 
it, refers to something having no resemblance what- 
ever to the characteristics of the crepuscular zone. 

The solemn manner in which he spoke it, together 
with their true significations, made the circumstance 
quite laughable. 

The most ludicrous case of hazing I know of is, I 
think, the following : 

For an unusual display of grossness a number of 
plebes were ordered by the cadet lieutenant on duty 
over them to report at his "house" at a specified 
hour. They duly reported their presence, and were 
directed to assume the position of the soldier, facing 
the wall until released. After silently watching 
them for a considerable time, the lieutenant, who had 
a remarkable penchant for joking, called two of them 



231 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

into the middle of the room. He caused them to 
stand dos d dos, at a distance of about one foot from 
each other, and then bursting into a laugh, which he 
vainly endeavored to suppress, he commanded, " Sec- 
ond, exercise !" 

Now to execute this movement the hands are ex- 
tended vertically over the head and the hands joined. 
At the command " Two !" given when this is done, 
the arms are brought briskly forward and downward 
until the hands touch if possible the ground or floor. 
The plebes having gone through the first motion, the 
lieutenant thus cautioned them : 

" When I say ' Two ! ' I want to see you men come 
down with life, and touch the floor. Two !" 

At the command they both quickly, and " with 
life," brought their bodies forward and their arms 
downward ; nay, they but attempted, for scarcely 
had they left the vertical ere their bodies collided, 
and they were each hurled impetuously, by the in- 
evitable reaction in opposite directions, over a dis- 
tance of several feet. 

Their bodies being in an inclined position when 
struck, and the blow being of great force, they 
were necessarily forced still further from the erect 
attitude, and were with much difficulty able to keep 
themselves from falling outright on the floor. Of 
course all present, save those concerned, enjoyed it 
immensely. Indeed it was enjoyable. Even the 
plebes themselves had a hearty laugh over it when 
they were dismissed. 

Again a cadet lieutenant, who was on duty at the 
time over the " Seps," ordered a number of them to 
report at his "house" at a given hour. They had 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 235 

been unusually gross, and lie intended to punish 
tliein by keeping them standing in his quarters. 
They reported, and were put in position to serve their 
punishment. For some reason the lieutenant left 
the room, when one of the "Seps" faced to the 
others and thus spoke to them : 

" Say, boys, let's kick up the devil. P has 

gone out." 

Now it so happened that P 's chum was pres- 
ent, but in his alcove, and this was not known to the 
Seps. When the Sep had finished speaking, this 
chum came forth and "went for" him. He made 
the Sep assume the soldier's position, and then com- 
manded, " Second, exercise !" which command the 
Sep proceeded to obey. 

Another cadet coming in found him vigorously at 
it, and queried, " Well, mister, what's all that for ?" 

"Eccentricity of Mr. M , sir," he promptly 

replied. 

The word eccentricity was uot interpreted by the 
cadet, of course, as the Sep meant it should be, but 
in the sense we use it when we speak of the eccen- 
tricity of an orbit for instance. 

Hence it was that Mr. M asked, " Well, sir, 

what's the expression for my eccentricity V 

There is another incident remotely connected with 
my first tour of guard duty which may be mentioned 
here. 

At about eleven o'clock a.m., in obedience to a 
then recent order, my junior reported at the observ- 
atory to make the necessary observations for finding 
the error of the Tower clock. After an elaborate ex- 



236 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

planation by an officer then present upon the grad- 
uation of the vernier and the manner of reading it, 
the cadet set the finders so as to read the north polar 
distance of the sun for that day at West Point ap- 
parent noon. When it was about time for the sun's 
limb to begin its transit of the wires, the cadet took 
position to observe it. The instructor was standing 
ready to record the times of transit over each wire. 
Time was rapidly passing, and not yet had "the cadet 
called out " Ready." The anxious instructor cau- 
tiously queried : 

" Do you see any light, Mr. P 2" 

"No, sir." 

" Can you see the wires V 

" ISTo, sir, not yet." 

" Any light yet, Mr. P i" 

" Yes, sir, it is getting brigliter" 

" Can you see the wires at all V 

"No, sir; it Iceeps getting brighter, but I carJt 
see the wires yet." 

Fearing he might be unable to make his observa- 
tions that day unless the difficulty was speedily re- 
moved, the instructor himself took position at the 
transit, and made the ridiculous discovery that the 
cap had not been removed from the farther end of 
the telescope, and yet it kept getting brighter. 

One day in the early summer of 1875, a cadet 
was showing a young lady the various sights and 
wonders at West Point, when they came across an 
old French cannon bearing this inscription, viz., 
"Charles de Bourbon, Compte d'Eu, ultima ratio 
return. " 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 237 

She was the first to notice it, and astonished the 
cadet with the following rendition of it : 

" I suppose that means Charles Bourbon made the 
gun, and the Spanish (?) that the artilleryman must 
have his rations." 

What innocence ! Or shall I say, what ignorance ? 

" The authorities of West Point have entered an 
interdict against the cadets loaning their sashes and 
other military adornments to young ladies, and great 
is the force of feminine indignation." Summer of 
1873. 

COME KISS ME, LOVE. 

A young lieutenant at the Academy and his 
fiancee were seen by an old maid at the hotel to kiss 
each other. At the first opportunity she reproved 
the fair damsel for, to her, such unmaidenly con- 
duct. With, righteous indignation she repelled the 
reproof as follows : 

" Not let S kiss me ! Why, I should die !" 

Then lovingly, 

" Come kiss me, love, list not ■what they say, 
Their passions are cold, wasted away. 
They know not how two hearts like ours are 
Long to mingle i' the sweetness o' the kiss, 
That like the soft light of a heavenly star, 
As it wanders from its world to this, 
Diffuses itself through ev'ry vein 
And meets on the lips to melt again." 



CHAPTER XV. 

GRADUATION — I1ST THE ARMY. 

" Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet." 

"TV /TY four years were drawing to a close. They 
J_V_L } ia( j been years of patient endurance and hard 
and persistent work, interspersed with bright oases 
of happiness and gladness and joy, as well as weary 
barren wastes of loneliness, isolation, unhappiness, 
and melancholy. I believe I have discharged — I 
know I have tried to do so — every duty faithfully 
and conscientiously. It had been a sort of bitter- 
sweet experience, this experimental life of mine at 
West Point. It was almost over, and whatever of 
pure sweetness, whatever of happiness, or whatever 
reward fortune had in store for me, was soon to be- 
come known. 

11 Speaking of the Military Academy, we under- 
stand that the only colored cadet now at West Point 
will not only graduate at the coming June commence- 
ment, but that his character, acquirements, and stand- 
ing on the merit roll are such as will insure his grad- 
uation among the highest of his class." — Harpef s 
Weekly, April 28th, 1877. 

All recitations of the graduating class were dis- 
continued on the last scholar day of May. On June 
1st examination began. The class was first examined 
in mineralogy and geology. In this particular sub- 





=2 




'. V 



/D" 



6LA 




THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 239 

ject I "maxedit," made a thorough, recitation. I 
was required to discuss the subject of " Mesozoic 
Time." After I had been examined in this subject 
Bishop Quintard, of Tennessee, a member of the 
Board of Visitors, sent for me, and personally congra- 
tulated me on my recitation of that day, as well as for 
my conduct during the whole four years. My hopes 
never were higher ; I knew I would graduate. I felt 
it, and I made one last effort for rank. I wanted to 
graduate as high up as possible. I was not without 
.success, as will subsequently appear. The New 
York Herald was pleased to speak as follows of my 
recitation in mineralogy and geology : 

" To-day the examination of the first class in mineralogy and geol- 
ogy was completed, and the first section was partially examined in 
engineering. In the former studies the class acquitted themselves in a 
highly creditable manner, and several members have shown them- 
selves possessed of abilities far above the average. The class has in 
its ranks a son of General B. F. Butler, Hon. John Bigelow's son, 
and sons of two ex -Confederate officers. Flipper, the colored cadet, 
was examined to-day, and produced a highly favorable impression 
upon the board not less by his ready and intelligent recitation than 
by his modest, unassuming, and gentlemanly manner. There is no 
doubt that he will pass, and he is said to have already ordered a cav- 
alry uniform, showing that he has a predilection for that branch of 
the service." 

The class was next examined in law. In this, 
also, I exceeded my most sanguine expectations, 
again " maxing it" on a thorough recitation. My 
subject was " Domicile." Senator Maxey, of the 
Board of Visitors, questioned me closely. The 
Bishop of Tennessee left his seat in the board, came 
outside when the section was dismissed, and shook 
my hand in hearty congratulation. These were the 



240 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

proudest moments of my life. Even some of my 
own classmates congratulated me on this recitation. 
All that loneliness, dreariness, and melancholy of the 
four years gone was forgotten. I lived only in the 
time being and was happy. I was succeeding, and 
was meeting with that success which humble effort 
never fails to attain. 

The New York Tribune joins in with its good 
words as follows : 

LIEUTENANT FLIPPER, THE COLORED GRADUATE OF WEST 

POINT. 

" The examination of the first class in law will be completed to- 
morrow. The sections thus far called up have clone very well. The 
colored cadet, Flipper, passed uncommonly well this morning, show- 
ing a practical knowledge of the subject very satisfactory to Senator 
Maxey, who questioned him closely, and to the rest of the board. 
He has a good command of plain and precise English, and his voice 
is full and pleasant. Mr. Flipper will be graduated next week with 
the respect of his instructors, and not the less of his fellows, who 
have carefully avoided intercourse with him. The quiet dignity 
which he has shown during this long isolation of four years has been 
really remarkable. Until another of his race, now in one of the lower 
classes, arrived, Flipper scarcely heard the sound of his own voice 
except in recitation, and it is to be feared that unless he is detailed at 
Howard University, which has been mentioned as possible, his trials 
have only begun." 

The class was next examined in civil and military 
engineering. In this also I did as well as in either 
of the other studies. I made a thorough recitation. 
I was required to explain what is meant by an " order 
of battle," and to illustrate by the battles of Zama, 
Pharsalia, and Leuctra. 

THE COLORED CADET. 

" Flipper, the colored cadet from South Carolina, was up this 
afternoon and acquitted himself remarkably well. Some time since 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 241 

he was recommended for a higher grade than the one he holds, and 
his performance today gained him a still higher standing in the 
class." 

In ordnance and gunnery the class was next ex- 
amined. In this I was less successful. I was to 
assume one of Captain Didion's equations of the 
trajectory in air, and determine the angle of projec- 
tion represented by <f>, and the range represented by 
x in the following equation : 

y = x tern. $ - -jyr B ' 

and to explain the construction and use of certain 
tables used in connection with it. I made a fair 
recitation, but one by no means 'satisfactory to my- 
self. I lost four files on it at least. A good recita- 
tion in ordnance and gunnery would have brought 
me out forty-five or six instead of fifty. I did not 
make it, and it was too late to better it. This was 
the last of our examination. It ended on the 11th 
day of June. On the 14th we were graduated and 
received our diplomas. 

During the examination I received letters of con- 
gratulation in every mail. Some of them may not 
be uninteresting. I give a few of them : 

Post-Office Department, Room 48, ) 
Washington, D. C, June 3, 1877. J 

My dear Mr. Flipper : It has been four years since I last ad- 
dressed you. Then you had just entered the Academy with other 
young colored men, who have since dropped by the way. I was at 
that time the editor of the Era in this city, and wrote an article on 
West Point and snoboeracy, which you may remember reading. 

I felt a thrill of pleasure here the other day when I read your 
name as the first graduate from the Academy. I take this oppor- 



24:2 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

tunity of writing you again to extend my hearty congratulations, and 
trust your future career may be as successful as your academic one. 
" My boy," Whittaker, lias, I am told, been rooming with you, and I 
trust has been getting much benefit from the association. 
I am, your friend and well-wisher, 

Richard T. Greener. 

42 Broad Street, New York, June 4, 1877. 
Cadet Henry O. Flipper, 

West Point, If. Y. : 
Dear Sir : I have been much pleased reading the complimentary 
references to your approaching graduation which have appeared in 
the New York papers the past week. I beg to congratulate you 
most heartily, and I sincerely trust that the same intelligence and 
pluck which has enabled you to successfully complete your academic 
course may be shown in a still higher degree in the new sphere of 
duty soon to be entered upon. 

I inclose an editorial from to-day's Tribune. 
Respectfully, 



Department of the Interior, ) 

United States Patent Office, > 

Washington, D. C, June 5, 1877. ) 

Henry O. Flipper, Esq., 

U. 8. Military Academy, West Point, JV. Y. : 

Dear Sir : Having noticed in the daily papers of this city an 
account of the successful termination of your course at the Military 
Academy, we hasten to tender you our sincere congratulations. 

We are prompted to this act by an experimental knowledge of the 
social ostracism and treacherous duplicity to which you must have 
been made the unhappy victim during the long years of faithful study 
through which you have just passed. 

We congratulate you upon the moral courage and untiring energy 
which must have been yours, to enable you to successfully battle 
against the immeasurable influence of the prejudice shown to all of 
us at both of our national schools. We hail your success as a 
national acknowledgment, in a new way, of the mental and moral 
worth of our race ; and we feel amply repaid for the many privations 
we have undergone in the naval branch of our service, in noting the 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 243 

fact that one of us has been permitted to successfully stand the try- 
ing ordeal. 

Trusting that the same firmness of purpose and untiring energy, 
which have characterized your stay there, may ever be true of your 
future career on the field and at the hearth side, 

We remain, very truly yours, 



Post-Office, New York City, '1ST. Y. ) 

Office of the Postmaster, >• 

Wednesday, June 7, 1877. ) 

My dear Friend : Let me extend to you my full gratitude upon 
your success at West Point. I was overjoyed when I saw it. My 
friends are delighted with you, and they desire to see you when you 
come down. Let me know when you think you will leave West 
Point, and I will look out for you. 

Very truly yours, 



Henry O. Flipper, Esq., 

West Point Military Academy. 

Washington, D. C, June 13, 1877. 
Henry O. Flipper, Esq., 

West Point, N. Y. : 
My dear Friend : I wish to congratulate you upon passing suc- 
cessfully your final examination, and salute you as the first young 
colored man who has had the manhood and courage to struggle 
through and overcome every obstacle. So many of our young men 
had failed that I wondered if you would be able to withstand all the 
opposition you met with, whether you could endure the kind of life 
they mete out to our young men at our national Military Academy. 
I rejoice to know that you have won this important victory over 
prejudice and caste. This will serve you in good stead through many 
a conflict in life. Your path will not be all strewn with roses ; some- 
thing of that caste and prejudice will still pursue you as you enter 
the broader arena of military life, but you must make up your mind 
to live it down, and your first victory will greatly aid you in this 
direction. One thing, allow me to impress upon you : you are not 
fighting your own battle, but you are fighting the battle of a strug- 
gling people ; and for this reason, my dear Flipper, resolve now in 



244 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

your deepest soul that come what may you will never surrender ; 
that you will never succumb. Others may leave the service for more 
lucrative pursuits ; your duty to your people and to yourself demand 
that you remain. 

Be assured that whatever you do, wherever you may go, you 
always have my deepest sympathy and best wishes. 

I return to Europe in a few weeks. 

Cordially yours, 



Even the cadets and other persons connected 
with the Academy congratulated me. Oh how happy 
I was ! I prized these good words of the cadets 
above all others. They knew me thoroughly. They 
meant what they said, and I felt I was in some sense 
deserving of all I received from them by way of con- 
gratulation. Several visited my quarters. They did 
not hesitate to speak to me or shake hands with me 
before each other or any one else. All signs of 
ostracism were gone. All felt as if I was worthy of 
some regard, and did not fail to extend it to me. 

At length, on June 14th, I received the reward of 
my labors, my " sheepskin," the United States Mil- 
itary Academy Diploma, that glorious passjoort to 
honor and distinction, if the bearer do never dis- 
grace it. 

Here is the manner of ceremony we had on that 
day, as reported in the New York Times : 

" The concluding ceremony in the graduation exercises at the West 
Point Academy took place this morning, when the diplomas were 
awarded to the graduates. The ceremony took place in the open air 
under the shadow of the maple trees, which form almost a grove in 
front of the Academy building. Seats had been arranged here for the 
spectators, so as to leave a hollow square, on one side of which, be- 
hind a long table, sat the various dignitaries who were to take "part 
in the proceedings. la front of them, seat9 were arranged for the 






THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 245 

graduating class. The cadets formed line in front of the barracks 
at 10.30, and, preceded by the band playing a stirring air, marched 
to the front of the Academy building. The first class came without 
their arms ; the other classes formed a sort of escort of honor to 
them. The graduating class having taken their seats, the other 
classes stacked arms and remained standing in line around the 
square. The proceedings were opened by an address from Professor 
Thompson, of the School of Technology, Worcester Mass., who is 
the Chairman of the Board of Visitors." 

And thus after four years of constant work amid 
many difficulties did I obtain my reward. 

"Lieutenant H. O. Flipper was the only cadet who received the 
cheers of the assembled multitude at West Point upon receiving his 
parchment. How the fellows felt who couldn't associate with him 
we do not know ; but as the old Christian woman said, they 
' couldn't a been on the mountain top.' " — Christian Recorder. 

Victor Hugo says somewhere in his works that he 
who drains a marsh must necessarily expect to hear 
the frogs croak. I had graduated, and of course the 
newspapers had to have a say about it. Some of the 
articles are really amusing. I couldn't help laugh- 
ing at them when I read them. Here is something 
from the New York Herald which is literally true : 

"MR, BLAINE AND THE COLORED CADET. 

" Senator James G. Blaine, with his wife and daughter and Miss 
Dodge (' Gail Hamilton ') left at noon yesterday in anticipation of 
the rush. Before going the Senator did a very gracious and kindly 
deed in an unostentatious way. Sending for Flipper, the colored 
cadet, he said : 

" ' I don't know that you have any political friends in your own 
State, Mr. Flipper, and you may find it necessary to have an inter- 
mediary in Congress to help you out of your difficulties. I want you 
to consider me your friend, and call upon me for aid when you need 
it.' 

" With that he shook the lad's hand and bade him good-by. 
11 



2-iO THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

"Bishop Quintard, of Tennessee, and Senator Maxey, of Texas, 
also complimented the pioneer graduate of the colored race upon his 
conduct throughout the four years of his training, and proffered their 
sympathy and assistance. With these encouragements from promi- 
nent men of both political parties the young man seemed deeply 
touched, and thanking them suitably he returned with a light heart 
to his quarters." 

It was so very kind of the distinguished senators 
and bishop. I valued these congratulations almost 
as much as my diploma. They were worth working 
and enduring for. 

The New York Herald again speaks, and that 
about not hearing my voice, etc., made me " larf." 
Here is the article : 

"THE COLORED CADET'S EXPERIENCE AND PROSPECTS. 

"Flipper, the colored cadet, who graduates pretty well up in his 
class, said to me to-day that he is determined to get into either the 
Ninth or Tenth colored cavalry regiment if possible. He seems to 
be very happy in view of the honorable close of his academic career, 
and entertains little doubt that he can procure the appointment he 
wishes. "When asked whether he was not aware that there was a 
law providing that even colored troops must be officered by white 
men, he replied that he had heard something of that years ago, but 
did not think it was true. 'If there is such a law, ' he said emphat- 
ically, but with good humor, ' it is unconstitutional and cannot be 
enforced. ' He added that several weeks ago he wrote to a promi- 
nent gentleman in Alabama to inquire what the existing law on the 
subject was, and had not yet received an answer. I questioned him 
about his experience in the Academy, and he said that he had suffered 
but little on account of his race. The first year was very hard, as 
the class all made their dislike manifest in a variety of ways. 
' That, ' he said, ' was in a great measure caused by the bad con- 
duct of Smith, the colored cadet who preceded me. W hen the class 
found out that I was not like him, they treated me well. The profes- 
sors act toward me in every respect as toward the others, and the cadets, 
I think, do not dislike me. But they don't associate with me. I 
don't care for that. If they don't want to speak to me I don't want 



THE COLOBED CADET AT WEST POINT. 247 

them to, I'm sure.' Save in the recitation-room Flipper never heard 
the sound of his own voice for months and months at a time ; but he 
was kept so hard at work all the time that he did not mind it. If he 
should join a regiment, however, he would be more alone even than 
he has been here, for the association with other officers in the line of 
duty would not be so close as it has been with the cadets. He would 
be isolated — ostracized — and he would feel it more keenly, because 
he would have more leisure for social intercourse, and his mind 
would not be so occupied as it has been here with studies. 

" Senator Blaine, in the course of a conversation last night, thought 
the career of Flipper would be to go South and become a leader of 
his race. He could in that way become famous, and could accom- 
plish much good for the country. " . . . . 

When I entered trie Academy I saw in a paper 
something about colored officers being put in white 
regiments, etc. It purported to be a conversation 
with the then Secretary of War, who said there was 
such a law, and that it would be enforced. The 
then Secretary of War has since told me he was sure 
there was such a law, until to satisfy himself he 
searched the Revised Statutes, when he found he was 
mistaken. 

I have mentioned elsewhere the untruthfulness of 
the statement that I never heard my own voice ex- 
cept in the recitation-room. Every one must know 
that could not be true. The statement is hardly 
worth a passing remark. 

"If he should join a regiment, however," etc. 
Ah ! well, I have joined my regiment long ago. Let 
me say, before I go further, I am putting this man- 
uscript in shape for the press, and doing it in my 
quarters at Fort Sill, I. T. These remarks are in- 
serted apropos of this article. From the moment I 
reached Sill I haven't experienced any thing but hap- 
piness. I am not isolated. I am not ostracized by 



248 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

a single officer. I do not " feel it more keenly," be- 
cause what the Herald said is not true. The 
Herald, like other papers, forgets that the army is 
officered by men who are presumably officers and 
gentlemen. Those who are will treat me as become 
gentlemen, as they do, and those who are not I 
will thank if they will " ostracize" me, for if they 
don't I will certainly " ostracize" them. 

" But to get into a cavalry regiment is the highest ambition of most 
cadets, and failing in that it is almost a toss-up between the infantry 
and the artillery. Flipper, the South Carolina colored cadet, wants 
to get into the cavalry, and as there is a black regiment of that char- 
acter he will, it is thought, be assigned to that. There is in existence 
a law specifying that even black regiments shall be officered by white 
men, and it is thought there will be some trouble in assigning Flip- 
per. As any such law is in opposition to the constitutional amend- 
ments, of course it will be easily rescinded. From the disposition 
shown by most of the enlisted men with whom I have conversed at 
odd times upon this subject, I fancy that if Flipper were appointed to 
the command of white soldiers they would be restive, and would, if 
out upon a scout, take the first opportunity to shoot him ; and this 
feeling exists even among men here who have learned to respect him 
for what he is." 

Now that is laughable, isn't it \ What he says 
about the soldiers at West Point is all " bosh." No- 
body will believe it. I don't. I wish the Herald 
reporter who wrote the above would visit Fort Sill 
and ask some of the white soldiers there what they 
think of me. I am afraid the Herald didn't get its 
"gift of prophecy" from the right place. Such 
blunders are wholly inexcusable. The Herald re- 
porter deserves an "extra" (vide Cant Terms, etc.) 
for that. I wish he could get one at any rate. Per- 
haps, however, the following will excuse him. It is 
true. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 249 

" He is spoken of by all the officers as a hard student and a gentle- 
man. To a very great extent he has conquered the prejudices of his 
fellows, and although they still decline to associate with him it is 
evident that they respect him. Said one of his class this morning : 
' Flipper has certainly shown pluck and gentlemanly qualities, and I 
shall certainly shake his " flipper" when we say " Good-by." "We 
have no feeling against him at all, but we could not associate with 
him. Tou see we are so crowded together here that we are just like 
one family, possessing every thing in common and borrowing every 
thing, even to a pair of white trousers, and we could not hold such 
intimate fellowship with him. It may be prejudice, but we could 
not do it ; so we simply let him alone, and he has lived to himself, 
except when we drill with him. Feel bad about it ? Well, I sup- 
pose he did at first, but he has got used to it now. The boys were 
rather afraid that when he should come to hold the position as officer 
of the guard that he would swagger over them, but he showed good 
sense and taste, merely assuming the rank formally and leaving his 
junior to carry out the duty.' " 

That glorious day of graduation marked a new 
epoch in my military life. Then my fellow-cadets 
and myself forgot the past. Then they atoned for 
past conduct and welcomed me as one of them as 
well as one among them. 

I must revert to that Herald? s article just to 
show how absurd it is to say I never heard the sound 
of my own voice except in the section-room. I heard 
it at reveille, at breakfast, dinner, and supper roll- 
calls, at the table, at taps, and at every parade I at- 
tended during the day — in all no less than ten or 
twelve times every single day during the four years. 
Of course I heard it in other places, as I have ex- 
plained elsewhere. I always had somebody to talk 
to every single day I was at the Academy. "Why, I 
was the happiest man in the institution, except when 
I'd get brooding over my loneliness, etc. Such 
moments would come, when it would seem nothing 



250 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

would interest me. When they were gone I was 
again as cheerful and as happy as ever. I learned 
to hate holidays. At those times the other cadets 
would go off skating, rowing, or visiting. I had no 
where to go except to walk around the grounds, 
which I sometimes did. I more often remained in 
my quarters. At these times barracks would be 
deserted and I would get so lonely and melancholy I 
wouldn't know what to do. It was on an occasion 
like this — Thanksgiving Day — I wrote the words 
given in another place, beginning, 

" Oh ! 'tis hard this lonely living, to be 
In the midst of life so solitary," etc. 

Here is something from Harper* s Weekly. The 
northern press generally speak in the same "tenor of 
my graduation. 

" Inman Edward Page, a colored student at Brown University, has 
succeeded in every respect better than his brother Flipper at West 
Point. While a rigid non-intercourse law was for four years maintained 
between Flipper and the nascent warriors at the Military Academy, 
Page has lived in the largest-leaved clover at Brown, and in the 
Senior year just closed was chosen Class-day Orator — a position so 
much coveted among students ambitious for class honors that it is 
ranked by many even higher than the Salutatory or the Valedictory. 
Page has throughout been treated by his classmates as one of them- 
selves. He is a good writer and speaker, though not noticeably bet- 
ter than some of his classmates. His conduct has been uniformly 
modest but self-respectful, and he had won the esteem of professors 
as well as students. The deportment of his class toward him is in 
high and honorable contrast with that pursued by the less manly stu- 
dents supported by the government at West Point, who may have 
already learned that the ' plain people ' of the country are with Flip- 
per." 

Here is something of a slightly different kind 
from a Georgia paper — • Augusta Chronicle and 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 251 

Constitutionalist. Its tone betrays the locality of 
its birth. 

"Benjamin F. Butler, Jr., who graduated at West Point last sum- 
mer in the same class "with the colored cadet from Georgia, Flipper, 
has been assigned for duty to the Ninth Cavalry, the same regiment 
to which Flipper is attached. The enlisted men in this regiment 
are all negroes. Ben, senior, doubtless engineered the assignment in 
order to make himself solid with the colored voters of the South. 
Ben, like old Joe Bagstock, is devilish sly." 

It is in error as to my assignment. Lieutenant 
Butler (whose name, by the way, is not Benjamin F., 
Jr.) was assigned to the Ninth Cavalry. Here is the 
truth about my assignment, given in the Sing Sing 
(N. Y.) Republican : 

" Cadet Flipper has been appointed to the Tenth U. S. Cavalry 
(colored), now in Texas. Secretary of State Bigelow's son has also been 
assigned to the same regiment. We wonder if the non-intercourse 
between the two at West Point will be continued in the army. Both 
have the same rank and are entitled to the same privileges. Possibly 
a campaign among the Indians, or a brush with the ' Greasers ' on 
the Rio Grande, will equalize the complexion of the two." 

The National Monitor, of Brooklyn (1ST. Y.), has 
this much to say. It may be worth some study by 
the cadets now at the Academy. 

"Lieutenant Flipper, colored, a recent graduate from West Point, 
is a modest gentleman, and no grumbler. He says that privately he 
was treated by fellow-cadets with proper consideration, but reluc- 
tantly admits that he was publicly slighted. He can afford to be un- 
troubled and magnanimous. How is it with his fellows ? Will not 
shame ere long mantle their cheeks at the recollection of this lack of 
moral courage on their part ? A quality far more to be desired than 
any amount of physical heroism they may ever exhibit." 

Here is something extra good from the Hudson 
Miver Chronicle, of Sing Sing. To all who want to 



252 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

know the truth about me physically, I refer them 
to this article. I refer particularly to the editor of a 
certain New Orleans paper, who described me as a 
" little bow-legged grif of the most darkly coppery 
hue." 

"For a few days past Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper, the colored 
cadet who graduated from West Point Academy last week, has been 
the guest of Professor John W. Hoffman, of this place. Lieutenant 
Flipper is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, whence General Sherman 
commenced that glorious march to the sea which "proved what a hol- 
low shell the Southern Confederacy really was. The lieutenant evi- 
dently has a large strain of white blood in his veins, and could proba- 
bly, if so disposed, trace descent from the F. F's. He stands six feet, 
is well proportioned, has a keen, quick eye, a gentlemanly address, 
and a soldierly bearing. He goes from here to his home in Georgia, 
ou a leave of absence which extends to the first of November, when 
he will join the Tenth Cavalry, to which he has been assigned as Sec- 
ond Lieutenant. This assignment shows that Lieutenant Flipper stood 
above the average of the graduating class, as the cavalry is the next 
to the highest grade in the service — only the Engineer Corps taking 
precedence of the cavalry arm. 

" For four long years Cadet Flipper has led an isolated life at the 
Point — without one social companion, being absolutely ostracized by 
his white classmates. As much as any mortal, he can say : 

" ! In the crowd 
They would not deem me one of such ; I stood 
Among them, but not of them ;"in a shroud 
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts.' 

" There must have been much of inherent manhood in a boy that 
could stand that long ordeal, and so bear himself at the close that, 
when his name was pronounced among the graduates, the fair women 
and brave men who had gathered to witness the going out into the 
world of the nation's wards, with one accord greeted the lone student 
with a round of applause that welcomed none others of the class, and 
that could call from Speaker Blaine the strong assurance that if he 
ever needed a friend he might trustingty call on him. 

" ' The path of glory leads but to the grave,' but we venture the 
prediction that Lieutenant Flipper will tread that path as fearlessly 
and as promptly as any of his comrades of the ' Class of '77.' " 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 253 

Here is an editorial article from the ]STew York 
Tribune. It needs no comment, nor do the two 
following, which were clipped from the Christian 
Union. 

LIEUTENANT FLIPPER. 

" Among the West Point graduates this year is young Flipper, a lad 
of color and of African descent. It is stated that he acquitted him- 
self very respectably in his examination by the Board of Visitors, 
that he 'will pass creditably, and that he will go into the cavalry, 
which is rather an aristocratic branch, we believe, of the service. 
Mr. Flipper must have had rather a hard time of it during his under- 
graduate career, if, as we find it stated, most if not all his white fel- 
low-students have declined to associate with him. He has behaved 
so well under these anomalous circumstances, that he has won the 
respect of those who, so far as the discipline of the school would per- 
mit, ignored his existence. ' We have no feeling against him, ' said 
one of the students, ' but still we could not associate with him. It 
may be prejudice, but still we couldn't do it. ' Impossibilities should 
be required of no one, and if the white West Pointers could not treat 
Mr. Flipper as if he were one of themselves, why of course that is an 
end of the matter. So long as they kept within the rules of the ser- 
vice, and were guilty of no conduct ' unbecoming an officer and a 
gentleman," it was not for their commanders to interfei'e. But when 
they tell us that they couldn't possibly associate with Mr. Flipper, 
who is allowed to have 'shown pluck and gentlemanl}'' qualities,' 
we may at least inquire whether they have tried to do so. Conquer- 
ing prejudices implies a fight with prejudices — have these young 
gentlemen had any such fight ? Have they too ' shown pluck and 
gentlemanly qualities ? ' 

" We are not disposed to speak harshly of these fastidious young 
fellows, who will not be long out of the school before they will be 
rather sorry that they didn't treat Mr. Flipper a little more cordially. 
But a much more important matter is that he has, in spite of his 
color, made a good record every way, has kept up with his class, has 
not been dropped or dismissed, but emerges a full-blown Second 
Lieutenant of Cavalry. He has thus achieved a victory not only for 
himself but for his race. He has made matters easier for future col- 
ored cadets ; and twenty years hence, if not sooner, the young white 
gentlemen of West Point will read of the fastidiousness of their pre- 



254 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

decessors with incredulous wonder. Time and patience will settle 
every thing. ' ' 

CADET FLIPPER. 

"The most striking illustration of class prejudice this year has 
been afforded, not by Mississippi or Louisiana, but by West Point. 
In 1873 Cadet Flipper entered the Military Academy. God had 
given him a black skin, a warm heart, an active brain, and a patriotic 
ambition. He was guilty of no other crime than that of being a 
negro, and bent on obtaining a good education. He represented a 
race which had done as good fighting for the flag as any done by the 
fair-skinned Anglo-Saxon or Celt. Congress had recognized his right 
and the right of his race to education. 

" But his classmates decided that it should be denied him. If they 
had possessed the brutal courage of the murderers of Chisholm they 
would have shot him, or whipped him, or hung him ; but they were 
not brave enough for that, and they invented instead a punishment 
worse than the State has inflicted upon its most brutal criminals. 
They condemned him to four years of solitude and silence. For four 
years not a classmate spoke to Cadet Flipper ; for three years he did 
not hear his own voice, except in the recitation-room, on leave of 
absence, or in chance conversation with a stray visitor. Then 
another negro entered West Point, and he had one companion. The 
prison walls of a Sing Sing cell are more sympathetic than human 
prejudice. And in all that class of '77 there were not to be found a 
dozen men brave enough to break through this wall of silence and 
give the imprisoned victim his liberty. At least two thirds of the 
class are Republican appointees ; and not one champion of equal 
rights. In all that class but one hero — and he a negro. Seventy- 
five braves against one ! And the one was victorious. He fought 
out the four years' campaign, conquered and graduated. Honor to 
the African ; shame to the Anglo-Saxon." 

CADET FLIPPER AGAIX. 

" We have received several letters on the subject of Cadet Flipper, 
to whose treatment at West Point we recently called the attention of 
our readers. One of them is from a former instructor, who bears a 
high testimony to Lieutenant Flipper's character. He writes : 

,: 'I want to thank you for your editorial in the Christian Tin Ion about Cadet 
Flipper. He was one of our boys ; was with us iu school from the beginning of his 
education till Freshman year in college, when he received his appointment to West 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 255 

Point. He was always obedient, faithful, modest, and in every way manly. We 
were sorry to have him leave us ; but now rejoice in his victory, and take pride iu 
him. 

" ' During all these years, in his correspondence with his friends, he has not, so 
far as I can learn, uttered a single complaint about his treatment.' 

" A second is from a Canadian reader, who objects to our condem- 
nation of the Anglo-Saxon race, and insists that we should have 
reserved it for the Yankees. In Canada, he assures us, the color line 
is unknown, and that negroes and Anglo-Saxons mingle in the same 
school and in the same sports without prejudice. Strange to say the 
white men are not colored by the intercourse. 

" The third letter comes indirectly from Lieutenant Flipper him- 
self. In it the writer gives us the benefit of information derived 
from the lieutenant. We quote (the italics are ours) : 

" ' Jlr. Flipper is highly respected here, and has been received by his former 
teachers and friends with pleasure and pride. His deportment and character have 
won respect and confidence for himself and his race. As to his treatment at West 
Point, he assures me that the " papers" are far astray. There was no ostracism on 
the part of his fellow-cadets, except in the matter of personal ptMic association. He 
was invariably spoken to and treated courteously and respectfully both as a cadet 
and officer.' 

" We are glad to be assured that it was not as bad as we had been 
informed by what we considered as good authority ; and we arc still 
more glad to know that Lieutenant Flipper, instead of making much 
of his social martyrdom, has the good sense to make as light of it as 
he conscientiously can. But if it is true that there were cadets who 
did not sympathize with the action of the class, and were brave 
enough to speak to their colored comrade in private, it was a pity 
that they were not able to screw their courage up to a little higher 
point, and put the mark of a public condemnation on so petty and 
cruel a persecution." 

The people at large seem to be laboring under a 
delusion about West Point, at least the West Point 
that I knew. I know nothing of what West Point 
was, or of what was done there before I entered the 
Academy. I have heard a great deal and read a great 
deal, and I am compelled to admit I have doubts 
about much of it. At the hands of the officers of 
the institution my treatment didn't differ from that 



256 THE COLOKED CADET AT "WEST POINT. 

of the other cadets at all, and at the hands of the 
cadets themselves it differed solely "in the matter 
of personal public association." I was never perse- 
cuted, or abnsed, or called by approbrious epithets 
in my hearing after my first year. I am told it has 
been done, but in my presence there has never been 
any thing but proper respect shown me. I have men- 
tioned a number of things done to me by cadets, and 
I have known the same things to be done to white 
cadets. For instance, I was reported for speaking 
to a sergeant about the discharge of his duty. (See 
Chapter X., latter part, on that subject.) The same 
thing occurred to several members of the class of '74. 
They were ordered into the rear rank by a sergeant 
of the second class, when they were first-classmen. 
They were white. The result was they were all, 
three in number, I think, put in arrest. 

Some IN ew England paper contributes the follow- 
ing articles to this discussion, parts of which I quote : 

THE BIGOT AND THE SNOB. 

" The Hilton-Seligman controversy is one of those incidents which 
illustrate some of the features of our social life. The facts can briefly 
1)3 stated. A Jewish gentleman, of wealth and position, applies for 
rooms at the Grand Union Hotel, Saratoga, and is flatly refused ad- 
mission because he is a Jew. The public indignation is so great that 
the manager of the hotel is obliged to defend the act, and puts in the 
plea that a man has the right to manage his property as he pleases. 

" But before our anger cools, let us remember the case of the col- 
ored cadet at West Point. During his course he met with constant 
rebuffs. He was systematically cut by his fellow-schoolmates. In- 
stead of extending to him a generous sympathy in his noble ambi- 
tion, they met him with sneers. All the feelings which should guide 
a chivalric soldier and lead him to honor real heroism, were quenched 
by the intense prejudice against color. Mean and despicable as is 
the spirit which prompted the manager of the Grand Union Hotel to 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 257 

refuse to entertain the rich Jewish banker, that which influenced the 
young men at West Point is still more deserving scorn and contempt. 
It was meaner and more contemptible than cowardice," 

PREJUDICE AGAINST COLOR. 

"Within the last thirty years there has been a great change in 
public sentiment relating to colored persons. That it has become 
wholly just and kind cannot be shown ; but it is far less unjust and 
cruel than it used to be. In most of the old free States, at least, tidy, 
intelligent, and courteous American citizens of African descent are 
treated with increasing respect for their rights and feelings. In pub- 
lic conveyances we find them enjoying all the consideration and com- 
forts of other passengers. At our public schools they have cordial 
welcome and fair play. We often see them walking along the street 
with white schoolmates who have evidently lost sight of the differ- 
ence in complexions. Colored boys march in the ranks of our school 
battalions without receiving the slightest insult. Colored men have 
been United States senators and representatives. Frederick Douglass 
is Marshal of the District of Columbia. 

" There is one conspicuous place, however, where caste-feeling 
seems to have survived the institution of slavery, and that is West 
Point. There the old prejudice is as strong, active, and mean as ever. 
Of this there has been a recent and striking instance in the case of 
young Flipper who has just graduated. It appears that during his 
whole course this worthy young man was subjected to the most 
relentless ' snubbing. ' All his fellow-students avoided him habit- 
ually. In the recitation-room and upon the parade ground, by day 
and by night, he was made to feel that he belonged to an inferior and 
despised race, and that no excellence of deportment, diligence in 
study, or rank in his class could entitle him to the recognition accord- 
ed to every white dunce and rowdy. Yet with rare strength of char- 
acter he persevered, and when, having maintained the standing of 
No. fifty in a class of seventy-six, he received his well-earned diplo- 
ma, there was a round of tardy applause. 

" If West Point is to continue to be a school characterized by aris- 
tocracy based upon creed, race, or color, so undemocratic and unre- 
publican as to be out of harmony with our laws and institutions, it 
will do more harm than good, and, like other nuisances, it should be 
abated. If our rulers are sincere in their professions, and faithful to 
their duties, a better state of things may be brought about. Military 



258 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

arts must be acquired somewhere ; but if the present Academy cannot 
be freed from plantation manners, it may be well to establish a new 
one without pro-slavery traditions, or, as has been suggested by the 
Providence Journal, to endow military departments in the good col- 
leges where character and not color is the test of worth and man- 
hood." 

{From the New York Sun.) 

COLORED CADET FLIPPER. 

TWO HUNDRED OF HIS NEW YORK ADMIRERS HONORING HIM WITH 
A RECEPTION. 

" A reception was given last evening by Mr. James W. Moore, in 
the rooms of the Lincoln Literary Musical Association, 182 "West 
Twenty-seventh Street, to Lieutenant H. O. Flipper, of Georgia, the 
colored cadet who has just graduated at West Point. Mr. Moore has 
had charge of the sick room of Commodore Garrison since his illness. 
The chandeliers were decorated with small flags. On a table on the 
platform rested a large basket of flowers, bearing the card of Barrett 
H. Van Auken, a grandson of Commodore Garrison. Among the 
pictures on the wall were many relating to Lincoln and the emanci- 
pation proclamation. Cheerful music was furnished from a harp 
and violin. 

" The guests began to arrive about nine o'clock, the ladies in large 
numbers, and the room was soon abreeze with a buzz of conversa- 
tion and the rustle of gayly-colored dresses and bright ribbons. 

" The grand entree was at a quarter before ten. Lieutenant Flipper 
entered the room in full uniform. A heavy yellow horse-hair plume 
fell clown over his cavalry helmet. His coat was new and bright, 
and glittered with its gold buttons and tasselled aigulets. By his side 
hung a long cavalry sabre in a gilt scabbard. His appearance was 
the signal for a buzz of admiration. He is very tall and well made. 
Beside him was Mr. James W. Moore. Behind him, as he walked 
through the thronged rooms, were the Rev. Dr. Henry Highland Gar- 
nett, and Mrs. Garnett ; the Rev. E. W. S. Peck of the Thirty-fifth 
Street Methodist Church ; Mr. Charles Remond Douglass, son of Fred 
Douglass, and United States Consul in San Domingo ; the Rev. J. S. 
Atwell, of St. Philip's Episcopal Church ; the Rev. John Peterson ; 
Professor Charles L. Reason, of the Forty-first Street Grammar 
School ; John J. Zuilille ; Richard Robinson, and others. 

" The Lieutenant was led upon the stage by Mr. Garnett and seated 
at the extreme left, while Dr. Garnett took a seat at the extreme 



' THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 259 

right. Next to the Lieutenant sat Miss Martha J. Moore and Miss 
Fanny McDonough, Mr. P. S. Porter, Dr. Ray, Mr. Atwell, and 
Professor Reason completed the semicircle, of which Lieutenant 
Flipper and Dr. Garnett formed the extremities. The Rev. Mr. At- 
well sat in the middle. 

" After all were seated, Dr. Garnett called Mr. Douglass forward to 
a vacant seat on the platform. In introducing Lieutenant Flipper, 
Dr. Garnett said he had honored himself and his race by his good 
scholarship and pluck. Nowhere else was there, he thought, such 
iron-bound and copper-covered aristocracy as in West Point. Who 
could have thought that any one wearing the ' shadowed livery of 
the burnished sun ' would ever dare to be an applicant ? Young 
Smith's high personal courage had led him to resent a blow with a 
blow, and his career in the Academy was cut short. Lieutenant Flip- 
per had encountered the same cold glances, but he had triumphed, 
and appeared before his friends in the beautiful uniform of the 
national army. (Applause.) The Doctor believed he would never 
disgrace it. (Applause, and waving of handkerchiefs by the ladies.) 

" At the close of his address, Dr. Garnett said : ' Ladies and gen- 
tlemen, I take great pleasure in introducing to you Lieutenant H. O. 
Flipper.' The Lieutenant rose and bowed low, his hands resting on 
the hilt of his sabre. He said nothing. Mr. Douglass was intro- 
duced, but excused himself from speaking. 

" Then Mr. James Crosby was called on. He said when the regi- 
ment in which he was orderly sergeant bad marched to Port Hud- 
son, General met it, and said to Colonel Nelson : ' Colonel, 

what do you call these? ' ' I call them soldiers,' answered Colonel 
Nelson. ' Well, if these are soldiers, and if I've got to command 
niggers, the government is welcome to my commission. Take them 
down to the right to General Paj r ne. He likes niggers. ' ' Soon after- 
ward,' added Mr. Crosby, 'occurred that terrible slaughter of the 
colored troops which you all remember so well. This year Lieuten- 
ant Flipper and a nephew of General graduated in the same 

class, and the colored man rated the highest. ' 

"After the addresses Lieutenant Flipper descended to the floor, 
and without formal introductions shook bands with all. He had 
taken off his cavalry helmet while sitting on the stage. Lemonade 
and ice-cream were served to the guests. About two hundred per- 
sons, all colored, were present. The Lieutenant will start for his 
home in Georgia on Monday. He will join bis regiment, the Tenth 
Cavalry, on the Rio Grande in November."' 



260 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

{From the Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution.) 

FLIPPER AGAIN. 

" Flipper has flopped up again, and seems to be decidedly in luck. 
He has been transferred to the Tenth Cavalry, which is alluded to by 
a New Orleans paper as the 'Tenth Nubian Light Foot.' This, it 
seems to us, is a dark hint as to the color of this gallant corps, but as 
the State of Texas lies somewhere between New Orleans and the Rio 
Grande, we suppose the matter will be allowed to pass. But as to 
Flipper, Flipper has got his regiment and he has had a reception at 
the hands of his colored friends and acquaintances in New York. 
Common people are generally embarrassed at receptions given to 
themselves, but not so with Flipper. The reception was exceedingly 
high-toned, as well as highly colored, and took place in the rooms of 
the ' Lincoln Literary Musical Association. ' Flipper, rigged out in 
full uniform, with a yellow horse-hair plume flowing felicitously over 
his cavalry helmet, sailed in, according to accounts, just as chipper 
and as pert as you please. There was no lager beer handed around, 
but the familiar sound of the band, which was composed of a harp 
and a violin, made its absence painfully apparent. There were few 
speeches, but the affair was decidedly formal. When every thing 
was ready for business, a party of the name of Garnett rose and in- 
troduced Flipper, and in the course of his remarks took occasion to 
attack the newly-made lieutenant by accusing him of wearing ' the sha- 
dowed livery of the burnished sun. ' Whereupon Flipper got up, placed 
his hands on the hilt of his bloody sabre, and bowed. The crowd then 
shook hands all around, the music played, and lemonade and ice- cream 
were brought out from their hiding-places, and all went merry as the 
milkman's bell. As we said before, Flipper is in luck. He is a dis- 
tinguished young man. He will reach home during the present 
week, and it is to be hoped that his friends here are ready to give 
him an ice-cream lunch, or something of that kind." 

(From the Christian Recorder.) 

LIEUTENANT FLIPPER IN NEW YORK — HIS RECEPTION — 
CALLS ON BELKNAP. 

" Lieutenant Flipper has, by his manly conduct and noble bear- 
ing, his superior intellectual powers shown his fellow-cadets and 
tutors that all the colored student wants is a ' chance. ' His term of 
four years, his graduation, his appointment, will all mark a new era 
in American history. That the ' feat ' he has accomplished is appre- 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 261 

dated has been shown in too many ways to mention. His advent 
into New York City was marked by many courtesies. His friends, 
not unmindful of his new field and position, tendered him a grand 
reception at Lincoln Literary Hall on the 30th of June. It was the 
writer's good fortune to arrive at New York just in time to be pres- 
ent and pay him similar honors with others. The hall was tastefully 
and beautifully decorated with flowers and flags, representing the 
different States in the Union. At the appointed hour the distin- 
guished guests were seen gathering, filling the hall to its utmost 
capacity. Among the number we noticed especially Dr. H. H. Gar- 
nett and Processor Reason. A few and appropriate remarks were 
made by Dr. Garnett as an introduction, after him others followed. 
After these formal exercises were over, Mr. Flipper came down from 
the rostrum and welcomed his friends by a hearty shake of the hand, 
then all supplied the wants of the inner man by partaking of cream, 
cake, and lemonade, which were so bountifully supplied. The even- 
ing was certainly a pleasant one, as delightful as one could wish, and 
I presume there was no one present who did not enjoy himself. In 
addition to what has already been mentioned the occasion was still 
more enlivened by the strains of sweet music. The exercises of the 
evening being concluded, the distinguished guests departed each one 
for his home. Lieutenant Flipper spent some days in New York, 
and during this visit, as he tells me, ex-Secretary Belknap sent him a 
written invitation to call on him. This he did, and was received 
very cordially and congratulated on the victory achieved. He spoke 
of the pros and cons, and seemed anxious that success might attend 
his footsteps in all the avenues of army life. That Belknap is inter- 
ested in the young soldier and desires his success I do not deny ; but 
whether the ex-Secretary would have given him any assistance when 
in his power is a question I shall not presume to answer." 

{From the Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution.) 
FLYING AROUND FLIPPER. 

HIS RECEPTION UPON HIS RETURN HOME — EAGERNESS TO SHAKE 
THE HAND OP THE "RAD MAN WID DE GUB'MENT STROPS ON !" 
— A SOCIAL RECEPTION ON MONDAY NIGHT. 

" ' Flip's done come home ! ' was the familiar, and yet admiring 
manner in which the young negroes about town yesterday spread the 
information that Second Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper, of the Tenth 
Cavalry, and the first colored graduate of the United States Military 



262 THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Academy at West Point, had arrived. His coming has created quite 
a sensation in colored circles, and when he appeared upon the streets, 
last evening, taking a drive with his delighted father, he was the 
cynosure of all the colored people and the object of curious glances 
from the whites. The young man had ' been there before,' however, 
and took all the ogling with patience and seeming indifference. Once 
in awhile he would recognize an old acquaintance and greet him with 
a smile and a bow. 

" The last number of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper contains 
an excellent likeness of Flipper, dressed in his cadet uniform. His 
features betray his intelligence, and indicate the culture which he has 
acquired by hard study. His arrival here was the occasion of a buzz 
about the Union depot. His parents and a number of intimate 
friends were present to receive him, and the scene was an interesting 
one to all concerned. 

" ' Dat's him ! ' said a dozen of the curious darkeys who stood off 
and hadn't the honor of the youth's acquaintance. They seemed to 
feel lonesome. 

" ' He's one ob de United States Gazettes ! ' shouted a young 
darkey, in reply to a query from a strange negro who has moved here 
since Flipper went away. 

"But the young officer was speedily spirited out of the crowd and 
taken home to his little bed for a rest. 

" On the streets he was greeted by many of our citizens who knew 
him, and who have watched his career with interest. His success 
was complimented, and he was urged to pursue his course in the 
same spirit hereafter. Among his colored friends he was a lion, and 
they could not speak their praises in language strong enough. 

' ' A darkey would approach the young man, cautiously, feel of his 
buttons and clothes, and enthusiastically remark : " ' Bad man wid 
de gub'ment strops on ! ' 

"These were the expressions of admiration that best suited the 
ideas of his delighted acquaintances. They will give him a reception 
on Monday night next, at which all his friends will be present, and 
some of our leading white citizens will be invited to be present. 

" We will try and give the young man's views and experiences in 
to-morrow's issue." 

This paper is noted for its constant prevarica- 
tion. Whatever it says abont negroes is scarcely 
worth noticing, for be it in their favor or not it is 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 263 

almost certainly untrue. My " delighted father" was 
not within three hundred miles of Atlanta when I 
reached that place. I did not appear on the streets 
in uniform for several days after my arrival, and 
then only at the request of many friends and an offi- 
cer of the Second Infantry then at McPherson Bar- 
racks. 

(From the Atlanta (Ga.) Republican.) 

' ' Lieutenant Flipper arrived in our city last week on a visit to 
his friends. His father lives in Thomasville, but he was educated in 
this city. His intelligence and manly course has won for him the 
praise of even the Bourbons." 

(From the Atlanta (Ga.) Republican.) 

"We acknowledge the courtesy of an invitation to a reception 
given to Lieutenant H. O. Flipper of the Tenth Cavalry, by his col- 
ored friends in Atlanta. Circumstances beyond our control prevent- 
ed our attending. 

' ' We are informed it was a pleasant affair, and that Lieutenant 
Flipper embraced the opportunity to give something of his four 
years' experience at West Point, and to correct some of the misstate- 
ments of the Atlanta Constitution concerning the treatment he 
received while a cadet at the Military Academy. An article alluding 
to this subject has been crowded out this week, but will appear in 
our next issue. 

(From the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle and Constitutionalist.) 

A FALSEHOOD. 

"The Cincinnati Gazette says: 'Lieutenant Flipper, the young 
colored man who is guilty of having been graduated with credit from 
West Point, continues to be the butt of Georgia Democratic jour- 
nals. ' We would like to know where the Gazette gets its informa- 
tion. Flipper has been treated with nothing but kindness in Georgia. 
Wherever he has reviewed the colored military, accounts of the 
reviews have been published, but we have yet to see a single word in 
a Georgia paper in disparagement or ridicule of the colored graduate." 



264 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

Witness the following from the Atlanta Constitu- 
tion : 

FLIPPEE AS A FRAUD. 

FREEMAN'S PROTEGE ON SOUTHERN CIVILIZATION— HE TALKS AT THE 
RECEPTION AND MAKES OF HIMSELF AN ASS — THE ANOMALOUS 
CREATURE ON EXHIBITION — HE SHOWS THE CLOVEN FOOT. 

" Last night the colored people of the city gave a ' reception ' to 
Flipper, of the United States Army. They did this from a feeling of 
pride over the fact that one of their color, a townsman, had succeed- 
ed in attaining his rank. They doubtless, little suspected that he 
would make such use of the occasion as he did. More than one of 
them so expressed their feeling before the evening ended. The rela- 
tions between the races in this city have for years been such as to 
make remarks like those in which Flipper indulged not only uncalled 
for, but really distasteful. They are not to be blamed for his con- 
duct. 

" The crowd that gathered in the hall on the corner of Mitchell and 
Broad Streets was large. It was composed almost entirely of well- 
dressed and orderly colored people. There were present several of 
the white male and female teachers of the negro schools ; also, 
some of our white citizens occupying back seats, who were drawn 
thither by mere curiosity. 

" Flipper was dressed lavisbly in regimentals and gold cord, and 
sat upon the stage with his immense and ponderous cavalry sabre 
tightly buckled around him. He had the attitude of "Wellington or 
Grant at a council of war. He was introduced to the audience by J. 
O. Wimbish, a high-toned negro politician (as was) of this city, who 
bespattered the young warrior with an eulogy such as no school-mas- 
ter would have written for less than $5 C. O. D. It was real slushy 
in its copiousness and diffusiveness. 

FRIP FIRES OFF. 

"He arose with martial mien, and his left hand resting on his 
sabre hilt. He said : 

" ' Some weeks ago he had been called upon at a reception in New 
York to make a speech, but he had reminded the gentleman who 
called upon him that he had been taught to be a soldier and not an 
orator. While upon this occasion he still maintained that he was not 
an orator, yet he would tell them something of his career at West 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 2G5 

Point. He referred to his colored predecessors in the Academy and 
their fates, particularly of Smith, whose last year there was his (F. 's) 
first. During that year, on Smith's account, he had received his 
worst treatment at the Academy. Prejudice against us was strong 
there at that time. During his first encampment he had a better time 
than almost any man in his class. In 1874 Smith left, and a rumor 
prevailed that he (F.) was afraid to stay and was going to resign. 
Colonel Upton, the commandant, sent for him to his house, told him 
not to do so, but to stick it out. Of course he had no intention of 
resigning, and he followed this superfluous advice. So far as the 
cadets were concerned they always treated me fairly, would speak to 
me, and some came to my room and tallied with me, but the only 
thing they did that was wrong, perhaps, was that they would not 
associate with me openly. The officers always treated me as well as 
they did any other cadet. All these reports about my bad treatment 
there, especially in Southern newspapers, are absolutely false. 

" ' I will read and comment upon some of these articles. In The 
Constitution of last Saturday it said I had the hardest four years of 
any cadet who ever passed through the Academy. That is in some 
respects true, but not wholly so. Speaking of Ben Butler's son, I 
am proud to say that among the three hundred cadets I hadn't a bet- 
ter friend than the son of the Massachusetts statesman. (Applause.) 
As to Mr Bigelow's son, mentioned here, I know him well, and his 
whole family — his father, the distinguished ex-Secretary of State, his 
mother and his two sisters, and have met them at their home. Mrs. 
Bigelow, recognizing my position, and thinking to assure my feel- 
ings, sent me a nice box of fruit with her compliments.' 

"He then commented on articles from Beecher's Christian Union, 
the New York Tribune, Harper's Weekly, and the New York Tele- 
gram, characterizing many of their statements about himself as false. 

SOCIAL EQUALITY m THE AIMY. 

"The article last named was about social equality in the army. 
Flipper said that he was cordially met by the army officers in Chat- 
tanooga. In return he paid his respects to the commandant and was 
introduced and shown through the barracks. He was treated with 
every courtesy. 

" ' How it is here you have all seen as I walked about the city. I 
have walked with the officers of the garrison here several times to- 
day, even up and down Whitehall Street, and one of them invited 
me into Schumann's drug store, and had a glass of soda together. I 



266 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

know it is not a usual thing to sell to colored people, but we got it. 
(Laughter and applause.) And to-night as Mr. J. 0. Wimbish and 
myself were coming to the hall, we met with one of the officers at the 
corner, and went into Schumann's again. We called for soda-water, 
and got it again ! (Applause.) And I called at the barracks, through 
military courtesy, and paid my respects to the commandant. I un- 
derstand that the officers there have had my case under considera- 
tion, and have unanimously agreed that I am a graduate of the na- 
tional Academy, and hold a commission similar to their own, and am 
entitled to the same courtesy as any other officer. I have been invited 
to visit them at their quarters to-morrow. These things show you 
something of social equality in the army, and when this happens 
with officers who have lived in the South, and had opportunity to be 
tainted with Southern feeling, I expect still less trouble from this 
source when I reach my regiment and among officers who have not 
lived in the South and had occasion to be tainted in this way. The 
gentlemen of the army are generally better educated than the people 
of the South. ' 

' ' He spoke of his graduation and of the applause with which he 
was greeted. He closed by thanking his audience. 

FLOURISHING HIS FLIPPER. 

' ' Then Flipper was escorted upon the floor, and the announcement 
was made that all who desired could now be introduced to the youth. 

" The first man to receive this distinguished honor was George 
Thomas, the Assistant United States Attorney. He was followed 
closely by several Northern school-marms and teachers, and a host of 
the colored people.] 

" After shaking, the crowd took ice-cream and cake and adjourn- 
ed. Sic transit!" 

I pass over the preceding article with, the silent 
contempt it deserves. Some of the papers com- 
mented upon it. I give two such articles : 

(From the Atlanta (67a.) Republican.) 

" The Atlanta Constitution, true to principle, comes out in a slander- 
ous attack upon Lieutenant Flipper. In its issue of Tuesday, July 10th, 
it calls him a fraud. Would to heaven we had ten thousand such 
frauds in Georgia for the good of the State and progress in general ! 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 267 

' ' It takes exception, too, to the manner in which the colored lieu- 
tenant appeared at the reception given by the colored people in his 
honor. He was 'lavishly dressed in full regimentals,' it says, 
' with gold cord. He sat upon the stage with his massive and pon- 
derous sword, looking like "Wellington or Grant in war council. He 
made remarks uncalled for and distasteful.' Oh dear ! Oh ! 

"Now we (that is I, this individual, Mr. Editor, for I would not 
assume your grand editorial pronoun) should lik,e to know how the 
Constitution would have the young officer dress. Surely it was en- 
tirely proper and becoming that he should appear in full regimental 
cap, coat, boots, spurs, and all, full fledged, just as he issued forth 
from West Point. 

" In the first place it was a novel sight for the colored people. 
Surely the Constitution would not rob us of the privilege and pleasure 
of seeing in full military costume the first and only one of our race 
who has been permitted to pass through West Point with honor. 

' ' In regard to the ostentatious manner in which the lieutenant con- 
ducted himself on that evening, nothing could be further from the 
truth. In fact, the general comment of the evening by both black 
and white was on the modesty of his bearing. 

" It is not strange, however, that the Constitution, whose judgment 
and sense of right and justice have been perverted through years of 
persistent sinning, should see things in a different light. 

" The ' uncalled for and distasteful ' remarks were doubtless those 
made in regard to the fact that Northern people coming into contact 
with Southern prejudice are tainted by it, and that West Pointers are 
generally better educated than the Southern people. Of course this 
would stir up the wrath of the Constitution ; for what could be more 
hateful in its sight than truth ? 

" Justitia. " 

{From the New York World.) 

" Lieutenant Flipper would have shown better sense if he had not 
made any speech at Atlanta. But if he was to make any speech at 
all upon the subject of his treatment at West Point, it could scarcely 
be expected that he should make one more modest, manly and sensi- 
ble than that which is reported in our news columns." 

Here are two other articles of the abusive order 
from the Southern press ; 



288 THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

(From the Griffin {Oa.) News.) 

" J. C. Freeman, the only white man in Georgia that ever disgraced 
the military of the United States, was in the city yesterday. It will 
be remembered that this individual at one time misrepresented this 
district in Congress, and during that time he appointed one negro by 
color, and Flipper by name, to "West Point. But then, nevertheless, 
the negro is as good as he is, and better too, and wc have no doubt 
but what Freeman thinks he did a big thing, but the good people of 
the State think different. This notice is not paid for. ' ' 

(From the Warrenton (Oa.) Clipper.) 

" The following is the way the Southerners solidify their section — 
that is, it is one way — the other, being the masked Kuklux. What it 
says, however, about the North, is just about so : 

" ' Lieutenant Flipper, the colored cadet, is in Macon, and the 
darkies there think him a bigger man that General Grant. They'll 
want him to be President after awhile, and the Northern people will 
then be the first to say no.' " 

The article of social equality referred to was 
clipped from the New York Eoening Telegram. It 
is as follows : 

NEGRO EQUALITY IN THE ARMY. 

" There is no danger of negro equality, oh no ! But it will be so 
delightful for the white soldier to be commanded to pace the green- 
sward before the tent of Lieutenant Flipper, the negro graduate of 
West Point, and the white soldier will probably indulge in a strange 
train of thought while doing it. And when promotion comes, and 
the negro becomes Majah Flippah, or Colonel Flippah, the prospects 
of the white captains and lieutenants will be so cheerful, particularly 
if they have families and are stationed at some post in the far West, 
where any neglect in the social courtesies toward their superior offi- 
cer would probably go hard with them and their families." 

To go back to the article " Flying Around Flip- 
per," I want to say the white people of Georgia can 
claim no credit for any part of my education. The 
Storrs school was not a public school at the time I 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 269 

went to school there. It did not become such until 
I went to West Point. The Atlanta University re- 
ceives $8000 per annum from the State of Georgia in 
lieu of the share of the agricultural land scrip due 
to the colored people for educational purposes. 
Efforts have been made to take even this from the 
university, but all have been failures. 

{From the Macon (Ga.) Telegram and Messenger.) 
BATTALION PARADE. 

" On Monday evening the colored companies of the city had a 
battalion parade and review. 

" The three companies, viz., the Lincoln Guards, the Bibb 
County Blues, and the Central City Light Infantry, formed on Fourth 
Street, and to martial music marched up Mulberry to First, down 
First to Walnut, up Walnut to Spring Street, and there formed for 
dress parade and inspection. 

" On the right of the line were the Light Infantry under Captain 
W. H. DeLyons. The Blues bore the colors, and were commanded 
by Spencer Moses, Captain, and the Guards supported the extreme 
left. T. N. M. Sellers, Captain of the Lincoln Guards, acted as 
major. After some preliminary movements the troops were inspect- 
ed by Lieutenant Flipper, the colored graduate of West Point. The 
troops then marched around the inspecting officer. 

" The line was again formed, and the major addressed Lieutenant 
Flipper in a short speech, in which was expressed gratitude to the 
government and thanks to the inspecting officer. 

" Lieutenant Flipper replied in a f ew very sensible and appropriate 
remarks : That he wished all success, honor, and thanks to the com- 
panies for their kindness and courtesy. Hoped they would all make 
soldiers and fight for their country. That he was a soldier rather 
than a speaker. That he had tried to do his duty at West Point, and 
that he expected to continue to try to do his duty, and ' again thank- 
ing you for your hospitality, kindness, and attention to myself, I 
renew my wish for your future success.' 

"After the speaking there was a general hand-shaking. The en- 
tire parade was very creditable indeed, showing considerable profi- 

12 



270 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

ciency in the tactics, and was witnessed by a large crowd of about 
twelve hundred of whites and blacks. 

" This is the first review ever held by the colored troops in the city 
of Macon, About eighty men rank and file were out. The colors 
used was the United States flag. The uniforms were tasty and well 
gotten up." 

There was a very scurrilous article in one of the 
Charleston (S. C.) papers. I have not been able to 
get it. I am informed that after commenting on my 
graduation, assignment, etc., it indulged in much 
speculation as to my future. It told how I would 
live, be treated, etc., how I would marry, beget 
''little Flippers," and rear them up to "don the 
army blue," and even went far enough to predict 
their career. It was a dirty piece of literature, and 
I am not very sorry I couldn't obtain it. 

{From the Atlanta (Oa.) Republican.) 
SUCCESSFUL COLORED YOUNG MEN. 

" At length a colored youth has overcome the difficulties that sur- 
rounded him as a student at the West Point Military Academy, and 
has graduated, with the respect of his white associates who were at 
first very much opposed to him. Mr. Flipper, the successful yonng 
man is a Georgia boy, and was appointed a cadet to West Point from 
the Fifth Congressional District — the Atlanta District — by Congress- 
man Freeman, we believe. He was raised by Rev. Frank Quarles, of 
this city, and is regarded by him almost as a son. 

' ' John F. Quarles, Esq. , the son of Rev. Frank Quarles, is spend- 
ing a few days with his father. Mr. J. F. Quarles was educated in 
Pennsylvania since the war, and returned to Georgia in 1870. He 
read law and was admitted to the Augusta bar after a careful exam- 
ination before three of the ablest lawyers at that bar, which is noted 
for its talent. He passed a very creditable examination, and is, we 
believe, the only colored man who has been admitted to the Georgia 
bar. He was soon after appointed consul to Port Mahon, in the 
Mediterranean Sea, and served with credit until he was legislated out 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 271 

of office by the Democratic Congress. President Hayes recently ap- 
pointed him consul to Malaga, Spain. 

" Rev. Mr. Quarles is justly proud of two such boys." 

Here, too, is a venerable colored man claiming 
the honor of having raised me. Why, I never was 
away from my mother and father ten consecutive 
hours in my life until I went to West Point. It is 
possible, nay, very probable, that he jumped me on 
his knee, or boxed me soundly for some of my child- 
ish pranks, but as to raising me, that honor is my 
mother's, not his. 

Before leaving West Point the following commu- 
nications were sent me from the head-quarters of the 
Liberia Exodus Association, 10 Mary Street, Charles- 
ton, S. C. I replied in very courteous terms that I 
was opposed to the whole scheme, and declined to 
have any thing to do with it. I was in Charleston 
later in the year, and while there I was besieged by 
some of the officers of the association, who had not 
yet despaired of making me " Generalissimo of Li- 
beria's Army," as one of them expressed himself. 
Wearied of their importunities, and having no sym- 
pathy with the movement, I published the following 
in the Charleston News and Courier : 

FLIPPER OX LIBERIA. 

"Lieutenant Flipper, of the Tenth United States Cavalry, the 
newly-fledged colored West Pointer, has something to say on the 
question of the Liberian Exodus, which will be interesting to the 
people of his race. The lieutenant, by his creditable career as a 
cadet at the Military Academy, has certainly earned the right to be 
heard by the colored population with at least as much respect and 
attention as has been given to the very best of the self-constituted 
apostles of the Exodus. Here is his letter : 



272 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

To the Editor of The News and Courier: 

" ' Sir : A rumor has come to me from various source?, to the effect that I have 
promised to resign my commission in the army after serving the two years required 
by law, and to then accept another as General Commander-in-Chief of the Liberian 
Army. 

" ' It has also come to my notice-that many, particularly in the counties adjoin- 
ing Georgia, are being persuaded, and intend going to Liberia because I have made 
this promise. 

" ' I shall consider it no small favor if you will state that there is no law requir- 
ing me to serve two years, that I never authorized any such statement as here made, 
that I have no sympathy whatever for the "Liberian Exodus" movement, that I 
give it neither countenance nor support, but will oppose it whenever I feel that the 
occasion requires it. I am not at all disposed to flee from one shadow to grasp at 
another— from the supposed error of Hayes's Southern policy to the prospective 
glory of commanding Liberia's army. 

" ' Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

" 'IIenry O. Flipper, 
" 'Second Lieutenant Tenth U. S. Cavalry. 

" 'Charleston, S. C, October 19, 1877.' " 



THE LETTERS FB05I CHARLESTON. 

Rooms of the Liberian African Association, ) 

10 Mary Street, Charleston, S. C, [- 

June 22, 1877. ) 

To Henry O. Flipper, Esq., 

IT. 8. Military Academy, West Point, N. Y. : 
Dear Friend and Brother : Your future, as foreshadowed 
by the press of this country, looks dismal enough. We have conned 
its remarks with mingled feelings of sympathy and exultation. Exul- 
tation ! because we believe fate has something higher and better in 
store for you than they or you ever dreamed. Inclosed please find copy 
of a letter to the Honorable the Secretary of State. We have not yet 
received a reply. Also, inclosed, a number of the Missionary Record 
containing the call referred to. We have mentioned you in our note 
to His Excellency Anthony Gardner, President of Liberia. Please 
communicate with us and say if this letter and inclosures do not open 
up a bright vista in the future to your imagination and reasonable as- 
pirations ? ~We picture to ourselves our efforts to obtain a line of 
steamers crowned with success ; and behold you as commander-in- 
chief organizing and marshalling Liberia's military forces in the in- 
terests of humanity at large, and the especial development of a grand 
African nationality that shall command the respect of the nations : 



THE COLOKED CADET AT WEST POINT. 273 

So Afric shall resume her seat in the 

Hall of Nations vast ; 
AncTstrike upon her restrung lyre 

The requiem of the past : 
And sing a song of thanks to God, 

For his great mercy shown, 
In leading, with an outstretched arm, 

The benighted wanderer home. Selah ! 

Provide yourself at once with maps, etc., master the chorography 
of Africa in general, and the topography of Liberia in particular, 
that is to say, the whole range of the Kong mountains, including its 
eastern slope on to the Niger, our natural boundary ! for the next 
thirty years ! after that, onward ! Cultivate especially the artillery 
branch of the service ; this is the arm with which we can most surely 
overawe all thought of opposition among the native tribes ; whilst 
military engineering will dot out settlements with forts, against 
which, they will see, 'twould be madness to hurl themselves. "We 
desire to absorb and cultivate them. The great obstacle to this is their 
refusal to have their girls educated. This results from their institution 
of polygamy. Slavery is the same the world over — it demands the 
utter ignorance of its victims. We must compel their enlightenment. 
Have we not said enough ? Does not your intelligence grasp, and 
your ambition spring to the great work ? Let us hear from you. You 
can be a great power in assisting to carry out our Exodus. If you 
desire we will elect you a member of our council and keep you advis- 
ed of our proceedings. We forward you by this mail some of our 
numbers and the Charleston News of the 20th. See the article on 
yourself, and let it nerve you to thoughts and deeds of greatness. 
Let us know something about Baker and McClcnnan. Are they at 
Annapolis? Cadets? (We will require a navy as well as an army.) 
Also something about yourself. What part of the State are you 
from ? Hon. K. H. Cain is not here, or probably he could inform us. 
Affectionately yours. By our President, 

B. F. Porter, 
Pastor of Morris Brown Chapel. 
Geo. Curtis, Corresponding Secretary. 

P. S. — We have received a reply from the Secretary of State — ■ 
very courteous in its tone — but " regrets" to say that he has " no 
special means of forming an opinion upon the subject. The measure 
referred to would require an Act of Congress, in respect to whose 
future proceedings it would not be prudent to venture a prediction." 



27tt THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

The answer is all we expected. We have made ourselves known 
to, and are recognized by, the Executive ; our next step is to address 
Senators Morton and Blaine — Hon. R. H. Cain will see to it, that the 
question is pushed in the House. G. C. 

COPY. 

EOOMS OF THE LIBERIA EXODUS ASSOCIATION, ) 

10 Mary Street, Charleston, S. C. [ 
June 14, 1877. ) 

Hon. Wm, J. Evarts, 

Secretary of State, Washington, D. G. : 

Sir : Inclosed please find a call on our people to prepare to or- 
ganize for an exodus to Liberia. 

We think it explains itself, but any further explanation called for 
we will gladly supply. 

In the event of a sufficient response to our call, please inform us 
if there is any probability of our government placing one or more 
steamers on the route between here, or Port Royal, and Liberia for 
our transportation ; and if so, then the charge for passage ; and if, 
to those unable to pay ready money, time will be given, and the pay- 
ment received in produce ? 

Tens of thousands are now eager to go from this State alone, but 
we want a complete exodus, if possible, from the whole United 
States ; thus leaving you a homogeneous people, opening up an im- 
mense market for your products, giving a much required impetus to 
your trade, commerce, and manufactures ; and for ourselves attaining 
a position where, removed from under the shade of a " superior 
race," we will have full opportunity for developing whatever capa- 
city of soul growth our Creator has endowed us with. 

That Africa will be developed, and chiefly through the instru- 
mentality of its five millions of descendants in America, is certain. 
Now the question is, who shall have the chief handling and conse- 
quent benefit of this grand instrument, next to itself, of course, for 
we are treating of a sentient instrumentality. We beseech you that 
you do not send us, Columbus like, from court to court offering the 
development of a new world to incredulous ears. We are asking 
the President of Liberia, the American Colonization Society, and all 
friends of the measure, for their aid, advice, and co-operation. 

We desire to carry our first shipmeut of emigrants not later than 
September or October proximo. 



THE COLORED CADET AT "WEST POINT. 275 

We have the honor to be, Sir, in all respect and loyalty, yours to 
command. 

The Council of the L. E. A. By our President, 

B. F. Porter, 

Pastor Morris Brown A. M. E. Church. 
Geo. Curtis, Corresponding Secretary. 

Here is an article from some paper in New 
Orleans. Contempt is all it deserves. I am sure all 
my readers will treat it as I do. Frogs will croak, 
won' t they ? 

LIEUTENANT FLIPPER. 

" With the successful examination of the colored cadet Flipper, at 
West Point, and his appearance in the gazette as a full-fledged lieu- 
tenant of cavalry, the long vexed question has been settled just as it 
ceased to be a question of any practical import. Out of three or 
four experiments Flipper is the one success. As the whole South 
has now passed into Democratic control, and the prospect for South- 
ern Republican congressmen is small, the experiments will hardly be 
repeated, and he must stand for those that might have been. 

"It would be interesting to know how Flipper is to occupy his time. 
The usual employments of young lieutenants are of a social nature, 
such as leading the German at Narraganset Pier and officiating in select 
private theatricals in the great haunts of Fashion. Flipper is de- 
scribed as a little bow-legged grif of the most darkly coppery hue, 
and of a general pattern that even the most enthusiastic would find it 
hard to adopt. Flipper is not destined to uphold the virtues and 
graces of his color in the salons of Boston and New York, then, nor 
can he hope to escape the disagreeably conspicuous solitude he now 
inhabits among his fellow-officers through any of those agencies of 
usage and familiarit)'' which would result if other Flippers were to 
follow him into the army and help to dull the edge of the innovation. 
Just what Flipper is to do with himself does not seem altogether 
clear. Even the excitement of leading his men among the redskins 
will be denied him, now that Spotted Tail has pacified the malcon- 
tents and Sitting Bull has retired to the Canadas. It is to be pre- 
sumed that those persons who patronized Flipper and had him sent 
to West Point are gratified at the conclusion, and there is a sort of 
reason for believing that Flipper himself is contented with the lot 



276 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

he has accepted ; but whether the experiment is worth all the an- 
noyance it occasions is a problem not so easily disposed of. 

" His prospects don't appear to be very brilliant as regards social 
delights or domestic enjoyments, but of course that is Flipper's busi- 
ness — not ours. It merely struck us that things had happened a lit- 
tle unfortunately for him, to become the lonesome representative of 
h's race in the midst of associations that object to him and at a time 
when the supply of colored officers is permanently cut off. Per- 
sonally we are not interested in Flipper." 

I am indebted to a Houston Texas, paper for the 
following : 

THE COLORED WEST POINTER. 

" We had a call yesterday from Lieutenant H. O. Flipper, of the 
United States Army. Mr. Flipper, it will be remembered, is the col- 
ored cadet who graduated at the Military Academy at West Point 
last session, occupying in his class a position that secured his ap- 
pointment to the cavalry service, a mark of distinction. He was 
gazetted as second lieutenant in the Tenth Cavalry, and he enjoys 
the honor of being the first colored man who has passed by all the 
regular channels into an official station in the army. 

"This young officer is a bright mulatto, tall and soldierly, with a 
quiet unobtrusive manner, and the bearing of a gentleman. As the 
forerunner of his race in the position he occupies, he is placed in a 
delicate and trying situation, a fact which he realizes. He remarked 
that he knew it was one of the requirements of an officer of the army 
to be a gentleman, a man of honor and integrity under all circum- 
stances, and he hoped to be equal to hislluties in this regard. He 
goes on to Fort Concho to join his regiment, which is likely to have 
work to do soon, if there is any thing in the signs of the times. 

"We bespeak for this young officer the just consideration to 
which the difficulties of his position entitle him." 

I was originally ordered to Fort Concho, but at 
Houston, Texas I met my lieutenant-colonel, who 
informed me that my company was en route to Fort 
Sill. My orders were then changed, and I proceeded 
to Sill. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 277 

Here is another article from a paper in the same 
place : 

THE DIFFERENCE. 

" The Age yesterday had a call from Henry O. Flipper second lieu- 
tenant Tenth United States Cavalry, who is on his way under orders to 
join his regiment at Fort Concho. So far there is nothing very un- 
usual in this item, but interest will be given to it when we add that 
Lieutenant Flipper is the first colored graduate of "West Point. He 
went to the institution from Georgia, and graduated last June, fifty- 
fifth in a class of seventy-six. There is a preponderance of white 
blood in his veins, and in general appearance, except for color, he is 
a perfect image of Senator Plumb of Kansas. He reports that since 
he has struck the South he has been treated like a gentleman, which 
is something different from his experience in tlve North. He made the 
acquaintance of Senator Maxey at West Point — the Senator himself 
being a graduate of the Academy — and regards him as a very pleas- 
ant gentleman. During the ten minutes he spent in the Age editorial 
rooms several prominent democrats of the city called to see and 
shake hands with him, partly out of curiosity to see the colored 
cadet who was so bitterly persecuted by Northern students at West 
Point, and partly to bid him a welcome to the South such as none of 
his political party friends would have thought of giving him in the 
North. Before many years he will be, as all intelligent colored men will 
be, a democrat." 

Wherever I have travelled in the South it has 
been thrown into my face that the Southern people 
had, would, and did treat me better than the 
Northern people. This is wholly untrue. It is true 
that the men generally speak kindly and treat me 
with due courtesy, but never in a single instance has 
a Southern man introduced me to his wife or even 
invited me to his house. It was done North in every 
place I stopped. In many cases, when invited to 
visit gentlemen's residences, they have told me they 
wanted then" wives to meet me. A distinguished 
New York lady, whose name has occurred in print 



278 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

several times with mine, gave me with her own hands 
a handsome floral tribute, just after receiving my 
diploma. During five months' stay in the South, 
after my graduation, not a single Southern white 
woman spoke to me. I mistake. I did buy some 
articles from one who kept a book-store in a country 
town in Georgia. This is the only exception. This 
is the way Southern people treated me better than 
Northern people. The white people (men) of Hous- 
ton, Texas, showed me every possible courtesy while 
I was there. My treatment there was in high and 
honorable contrast to that I received in Atlanta. 

Here are two articles that have a few words to say 
about me. I adopt and quote them at length : 

{From tlie New York Tribune.) 

WEST POINT. 

" The examinations of the boys in the national school have become 
an object of national interest this year more than any other, simply 
because there is a stagnation of other news. While the public is 
waiting for an outbreak from Kars or the new party, it has leisure to 
look into the condition of these incipient officers. Hence reporters 
have crowded to West Point, the Board of Visitors and cadets have 
both been quickened to unwonted zeal by the consciousness of the 
blaze of notoriety upon them, and the country has read with satisfac- 
tion each morning of searching examinations and sweeping cavalry 
charges, giving a shrug, however, at the enthusiastic recommenda- 
tion of certain members of the board that the number of "yearly ap- 
pointments should be doubled or quadrupled. In this cold ague of 
economy with which the nation is attacked just now, and which 
leaves old army officers unpaid for a disagreeably long time, the 
chances of any addition to the flock in the nest are exceedingly small. 
In fact, while the average American in war time recognized the utility 
of a trained band of tacticians, he is apt to grumble at their drain 
upon his pocket in piping times cf peace. Only last year he relieved 
himself in Congress and elsewhere by a good deal of portentous talk- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 279 

ing as to the expediency of doing away with the naval and military 
free schools altogether. He has, in short, pretty much the opinion of 
the army officer that Hodge has of his parish priest, ' useful enough 
for Sundays and funerals, but too consumedly expensive a luxury for 
week days. ' # 

" This opinion, no doubt, appears simply ludicrous and vulgar to 
the gallant young fellows who are being trained for their country's 
service up the Hudson, and who already look upon themselves as its 
supports and bulwarks, but there is a substratum of common-sense in 
it which we commend to their consideration, because, if for no other 
reason, that the average American is the man who pays their bills 
and to whom they owe their education and future livelihood. If they 
do not accept his idea of the conduct and motives of action by 
which they may properly repay him the debt they owe, it certainly 
is fitting that their own idea should be indisputably a higher one. We 
begin to doubt whether it is not much lower. The country, in estab- 
lishing this school, simply proposed to train a band of men skilled to 
serve it when needed as tacticians, engineers, or disciplinarians ; the 
more these men founded their conduct on the bases of good sense, 
honor, and republican principles, the better and higher would be 
their service. The idea of the boys themselves, however, within 
later years, seems to be that they constitute an aristocratic class (moved 
by any thing but republican principles) entitled to lay down their 
own laws of good-breeding and honor. Accounts which reach us of 
their hazing, etc., and notably their treatment of the colored cadets, 
show that these notions are quite different from those accepted 
elsewhere. Now such ideas would be natural in pupils of the great 
French or Austrian military schools, where admission testifies to high 
rank by birth or to long, patient achievement on the part of the stu- 
dent. But really our boys at West Point must remember that they 
'belong to a nation made up of working and trades men ; that they are 
the sons of just such people ; that the colored laborer helps to pay 
for their support as well as that of the representative of his race who 
sits beside them. Furthermore, they have done nothing as yet to 
entitle them to assume authority in such matters. They have recited 
certain lessons, learned to drill and ride, and to wear their clothes 
with precision ; but something more is needed. The knight of old 
was skilled in gentleness and fine courtesy to the weak and unfortu- 
nate as well as in horsemanship. It was his manners, not his trousers, 
which were beyond reproach. 

" It is not as trifling a matter as it seems that these young felloAvs 



280 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

should thus imbibe mistaken ideas of their own position or the re- 
quirements of real manliness and good-breeding. The greatest mis- 
takes in the war were in consequence of just such defects in some of 
our leading officers, and the slaughter of the Indians in the South- 
West upon two occasions proceeded from their inability to recognize 
the rights of men of a different color from themselves. Even in 
trifles, however, such matters follow the rule of inexorable justice — 
as, for instance, in this case of Cadet Flipper, who under ordinary- 
circumstances might have passed without notice, but is now known 
from one end of the country to the other as a credit to his profession 
in scholarship, pluck, and real dignity ; while his classmates are 
scarcely mentioned, though higher in rank, except in relation to their 
cruel and foolish conduct toward him." 

{From the New York World.) 

" West Point, August 29. — In my earnest desire to do justice to 
the grand ball last night I neglected to mention the arrival of the new 
colored candidate for admission into the United States, Military Aca- 
demy, although I saw him get off at the steamboat landing and was 
a witness to the supreme indifference with which he was treated, 
save by a few personal friends. Minnie passed the physical examin- 
ation easily, for he is a healthy mulatto. Whether this stern Alma 
Mater will matriculate him is still a question. It is really astonish- 
ing, and perhaps alarming, in view of the enthusiastic endeavors of 
the Republican party to confer upon the colored race all the rights 
and privileges of citizens of the United States, to see with what lofty 
contempt every candidate for academic honors who is in the slightest 
degree ' off color,' is received. As you are aware, there is at pres- 
ent a colored, or partly colored, cadet in the Freshman Class— 
Whittaker by name. This poor young mulatto is completely ostra-« 
cized not only by West Point society, but most thoroughly by the 
corps of cadets itself. Flipper got through all right, and, strange to 
say, the cadets seem to have a certain kind of respect for him, al- 
though he was the darkest ' African ' that has yet been seen among 
the West Point cadets. Flipper had remarkable pluck and nerve, 
and was accorded his parchment — well up on the list, too — at last 
graduation day. He is made of sterner staff than poor Whittaker. 

" A most surprising fact is that not one of the cadets— and I think 
I might safely include the professors — tries to dissemble his animos- 
ity for the black, mulatto, or octoroon candidate. When I asked a 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 2 SI 

cadet to-day some questions concerning the treatment of Cadet 
Whittaker by the corps, he said : ' Oh, we get along very well, sir. 
The cadets simply ignore him, and he understands very well that we 
do not intend to associate with him.' This cadet and several others 
were asked whether Minnie, if admitted, would also be ostracized 
socially. Their only answer was : ' Certainly ; that is well under- 
stood by all. We don't associate with these men, but they have all 
the rights that we have nevertheless. ' I asked if he knew whether 
Whittaker attended the ball last night. The cadet said he didn't see 
him at the ball, but that he might have been looking on from the 
front stoop ! ' How does this young man Whittaker usually amuse 
himself when the rest of the boys are at play ? ' I asked. ' Well, 
we don't get much play, and I think that Whittaker has as much as 
he can do to attend to his studies. He managed to pull through at 
last examination, but I doubt if he ever graduates,' was the reply. 
Meeting another cadet to whom I had been introduced I asked what 
he had heard of the prospects of the new colored candidate, Minnie. 
' I haven't heard any thing, but I hope he won't get through,' said 
the cadet. Another cadet who stood near said that the case of Flipper, 
who graduated so successfully, was an exceptional one. Flipper didn't 
care for any thing except to graduate, but he was confident that these 
other colored cadets would fail. So far as I have been able to ascer- 
tain, the Faculty have never attempted to prevent the colored cadets 
from having an equal chance with their white fellows. In fact un- 
der the present management it would be next to impossible for them 
to do so." 

I can't let tins article pass without quoting a few 
words from a letter I have from Whittaker, now at 
West Point. He says : 

" I have been treated bully since I came in from camp (of sum- 
mer of '77). Got only one ' skin ' last month (Deccember, '77). I am 

still under ' ' (tactical officer), and he treats me bully ; he wanted 

to have a man court-martialled, when we were in camp, for refusing 
to close up on me. One day a corporal put me in the rear rank when 

there were plebes in the front rank, and told him if any such act 

ever occurred again he would have him and the fde confined to the 
guard-house. He has never ' skinned ' me since you left. He is 

O.K. towards me, and the others are afraid of him As 

I am sitting in my room on third floor, sixth 'div,'a kind of 



2S2 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

sadness creeps over me, for I am all alone. Minnie went home on last 
Friday. He was weighed in the ' math ' scale and found want- 
ing. The poor fellow did not study his ' math ' and could not help 
being ' found.' He was treated fairly and squarely, but he did not 
study. I did all I could to help and encourage him, but it was all in 
vain, He did not like (an instructor) very much, and a careless- 
ness seized him, which resulted in his dismissal. I was sorry to see 
him go away, and he himself regretted it very much. He saw his 
great error only when it was too late. On the day he left he told me 
that he did not really study a ' math ' lesson since he entered ; and 
was then willing to give any thing to remain and redeem himself. 
He had a very simple subject on examination, and when he came 
back he told me that he had not seen the subject for some two or three 
weeks before, and he, consequently, did not know what to put on the 
board. All he had on it was wrong, and he could not make his de- 
monstration. ' ' 

The World reporter seems to be as ignorant as 
some of the others. I was by no means the " dark- 
est ' African ' that has yet been seen among the West 
Point cadets." Howard, who reported in 1870 with 
Smith, was unadulterated, as also were Werle and 
White, who reported in 1874. There were others who 
were also darker than I am : Gibbs and Napier, as I 
am informed. I never saw the last two. 

The Brooklyn Eagle is more generous in its 
views. It proposes to utilize me. See what it says : 

" Probably Lieutenant Flipper could be made much more usef u 
than as a target for Indian bullets, if our government would with- 
draw him from the army and place him in some colored college, where 
he could teach the pupils engineering, so that when they reach Africa 
they could build bridges, railroads, etc." 

This article was signed by " H. W. B." It is not 
difficult to guess who that is. 

I have had considerable correspondence with an 
army officer, a stranger to me, on this subject of 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 233 

being detailed at some college. He is of opinion it 
would be best for me. I could not agree with him. 
After I joined my company an effort (unknown to 
me) was made by the Texas Mechanical and Agri- 
cultural College to have me detailed there. It was 
published in the papers that I had been so detailed. 
I made some inquiries, learned of the above state- 
ments, and that the effort had completely failed. 
Personally I'd rather remain with my company. I 
have no taste and no tact for teaching. I would 
decline any such appointment. 

{From the Thomasville (Ga.) Times.) 
"Wm. Flipper, the colored cadet, has graduated at "West Point 
and been commissioned as a second lieutenant of cavalry in the 
United States Army. He is the first colored individual who ever held 
a commission in the army, and it remains to be seen how the thing 
will work. Flipper's father resides here, and is a first-class boot and 
shoe maker. A short time back he stated that he had no idea his 
son would be allowed to graduate, but he will be glad to know that 
he was mistaken." 

Of course everybody knows my name is not 
William. 

(From the Thomasville (Ga.) Enterprise.) 
"Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper of the United States Army is spend- 
ing a few days here with his father's family, he has been on the streets 
very little, spending most of his time at home. He wears an undress 
uniform and deports himself, so far as we have heard, with perfect 
propriety. This we believe he has done since, his graduation, with 
the exception of his unnecessary and uncalled-for criticisms on the 
Southern people in his Atlanta speech. He made a mistake there ; 
one which his sense and education ought to teach him not to repeat. 
Not that it would affect our people, or that the}' care about it, but 
for his own good."* 

* In all the places I visited after graduation I was treated with the utmost respect 
and courtesy except in Atlanta. The white people, with one exception, didn't no- 
tice me at all. All foreigners treated mc with all due consideration. One young 



2S4 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

That " undress uniform" was a " cit " suit of blue 
Cheviot. The people there, like those in Atlanta, 
don't seem to know a black button from a brass one, 
or a civilian suit from a military uniform. 

{From the Charleston (8. C.) JVews and Courier.) 
THE COLORED WESTPOINTER. 

" Lieutenant II. O. Flipper, the colored graduate of West 
Point, was entertained in style at Tully's, King Street, Tuesday night. 
The hosts were a colored organization called the Amateur Literary 
and Fraternal Association, which determined that the lieutenant who 
will leave this city to-day to join his regiment, the Tenth Cavalry, 
now in Texas, should not do so without some evidence of their ap- 
preciation of him personally, and of the fact that he had reflected 
credit on their race by passing through the National Academy. 
Over forty persons were at the entertainment, to whom the lieuten- 
ant was presented by A. J. Ransier, the colored ex-member of Con- 
gress. The lieutenant responded briefly, as he has invariably 
done, and expressed his warm thanks for the courtesy shown by the 
association. A number of sentiments were offered and speeches 
made, and the evening passed off very agreeably to all, especially so 
to the recipient of the hospitality. 

" Lieutenant Flipper expects to start to-day for Texas. While he 
has been in this city he has made friends with whites and blacks by 
he sensible course he has pursued." 



man, whom I knew many years, who has sold mc many an article, and awaited 
my convenience.for his pay, and who met me in New York, and walked and talked 
with me, hung his head and turned away from me, just as I was about to address 
him on a street in Atlanta. Again and again have I passed and repassed acquaint- 
ances on the streets without any sign of recognition, even when I have addressed 
them. Whenever I have entered any of their stores for any purpose, they have 
almost invariably " gotten off " some stuff about attempts on the part of the author- 
ities at West Point to "freeze me out," or about better treatment from Southern 
boys than from those of the North. That is how they treated me in Atlanta, al- 
though I had lived there over fourteen years, and was known by nearly every one in 
the city. In Thomasville, Southwest, Ga., where I was bom, and which I had 
not seen for eighteen years, I was received and treated by the whites almost as one 
of themselves. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 285 

(From the Charleston {8. C.) Commercial.) 
LIEUTENANT FLIPPER'S ENTERTAINMENT. 

" The Amateur Literary and Fraternal Association, of which A. J. 
Ransier is the President, learning that Lieutenant Flipper, of the 
United States Cavalry, was preparing to depart to the position as- 
signed him on duty on the plains in Texas, at once determined to give 
him a reception, and for this purpose the following committee was 
appointed to arrange the details and programme for an entertainment : 
J. N. Gregg, W. H. Birny, A. J. Ransier, C. C. Leslie, and George 
A. Gibson. 

" The arrangements were made, and the members of the association 
and invited guests to the number of some forty, of the most respecta- 
ble colored people of Charleston, met last night at Tully's Hall, 
King Street, where a bounteous feast was prepared for the occasion. 
The guest, Lieutenant Flipper, soon arrived, and was introduced to 
the party, and, in the course of time, all sat down at the table, upon 
which was spread the most palatable dishes which the king caterer of 
Charleston could prepare. This was vigorously attacked by all. 

" Wines were then brought on, and speech-making introduced as a 
set off. A. J. Ransier, in one of his usual pleasant speeches, intro- 
duced Lieutenant Flipper, paying him a deserved tribute for his suc- 
cess in the attainment of the first commission issued to a colored 
graduate of West Point. 

" Lieutenant Flipper, in a brief and courteous speech, acknowl- 
edged the compliment, and thanked the association for the kind at- 
tention paid him, promising them that in his future career in the army 
of his country he would ever strive to maintain a position which 
would do credit to his race. 

" W. II. Birney next responded in eloquent terms to the toast, 
' The State of South Carolina. ' J. 1ST. Gregg was called upon, and 
responded in a wise and discreet manner to the toast of ' The Future 
of the Colored Man in this Country. ' ' The Press ' and ' Woman' were 
next respectively toasted, and responded to by Ransier and F. A. 
Carmand. Other speeches were made by C. C. Leslie, J. J. Connor, 
and others, and at a late hour the party retired, after a most pleasant 
evening's enjoyment. Lieutenant Flipper leaves for Texas to-mor- 

TOW." 

Before closing my narrative I desire to perform a 
very pleasant duty. I sincerely believe that all my 



286 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

success at West Point is due not so much to my per- 
severance and general conduct there as to the early 
moral and mental training I received at the hands of 
those philanthropic men and women who left their 
pleasant homes in the North to educate and elevate 
the black portion of America's citizens, and that, 
too, to their own discomfort and disadvantage. How 
they have borne the sneers of the Southern press, the 
ostracism from society in the South, the dangers of 
Kuklux in remote counties, to raise up a downtrod- 
den race, not for personal aggrandizement, but for 
the building up and glory of His kingdom who is no 
respecter of persons, is surely worthy our deepest 
gratitude, our heartfelt thanks, and our prayers and 
blessing. Under the training of a good Christian old 
lady, too old for the Avork, but determined to give 
her mite of instruction, I learned to read and to 
cipher — this in 1866. From her I was placed under 
control of a younger person, a man. From him I 
passed to the control of another lady at the famous 
" Storr's School." I remained under her for two 
years more or less, when I passed to the control of 
another lady in what was called a Normal School. 
From here I went to the Atlanta University, and 
prepared for the college course, which in due time I 
took up. This course of training was the foundation 
of all my after-success. The discipline, which I 
learned to heed, because it was good, has been of in- 
calculable benefit to me. It has restrained and 
shaped my temper on many an occasion when to 
have yielded to it would have been ruin. It has 
regulated my acts when to have committed them as 
I contemplated would have been base unmanliness. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 237 

And it lias made my conduct in all cases towards 
others generous, courteous, and Christian, when it 
might otherwise have been mean, base, and degrad- 
ing. It taught me to be meek, considerate, and 
kind, and I have verily been benefited by it. 

The mind-training has been no less useful. Its 
thoroughness, its completeness, and its variety made 
me more than prepared to enter on the curriculum 
of studies prescribed at West Point. A less 
thorough, complete, or varied training would never 
have led to the success I achieved. I was not pre- 
pared expressly for West Point. This very thorough- 
ness made me competent to enter any college in the 
land. 

How my heart looks back and swells with grati- 
tude to these trainers of my youth ! My gratitude 
is deeply felt, but my ability to express it is poor. 
May Heaven reward them with long years of happi- 
ness and usefulness here, and when this life is over, 
and its battles won, may they enter the bright por- 
tals of heaven, and at His feet and from His own 
hands receive crowns of immortal glory. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

TAMES WEBSTER SMITH, a native of South 
^ Carolina, was appointed to a cadetship at the 
United States Military Academy at West Point, New 
York, in 1870, by the Hon. S. L. Hoge. He re- 
ported, as instructed, at the Military Academy in the 
early summer of 1870, and succeeded in passing the 
physical and intellectual examination prescribed, 
and was received as a "conditional cadet." At the 
same time one Howard reported, but unfortunately 
did not succeed in " getting in." 

In complexion Smith was rather light, possibly 
an octoroon. Howard, on the contrary, was black. 
Howard had been a student at Howard University, 
as also had been Smith. Smith, before entering the 
Academy, had graduated at the Hartford High 
School, and was well prepared to enter upon the new 
course of studies at West Point. 

In studies he went through the first year" s course 
without any difficulty, but unfortunately an affaire 
d'honneur — a " dipper fight" — caused Mm to be 
put back one year in his studies In going over this 
course again he stood very high in his class, but 
when it was finished he began going down gradually 
until he became a member of the last section of his 
class, an "immortal," as we say, and in constant 
danger of being " found." 

He continued his course in this part of his class 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 289 

till the end of his second class year, when he was 
declared deficient in natural and experimental phi- 
losophy, and dismissed. At this time he had been 
in the Academy four years, but had been over 
only a three-years' course, and would not have 
graduated until the end of the next year, June, 
1875. 

As to his trials and experiences while a cadet, I 
shall permit him to speak. The following articles 
embrace a series of letters written by him, after his 
dismissal, to the New National Era and Citizen, 
the political organ of the colored people, published 
at Washington, D. C. : 

THE COLORED CADET AGAIN. 
PERTINENT OR IMPERTINENT CARD FROJI CADET SHITH. 

" Columbia, S. C, July 27, 1874. 
To the Editor of the National Republican : 

" Sir : I saw an article yesterday in one of our local papers, copied 
from the Brooklyn Argus, concerning my dismissal from the Military 
Academy. The article referred to closes as follows : ' Though he 
has written letters to his friends, and is quite sanguine about returning 
and finally graduating, the professors and cadets say there is not the 
slightest chance. Said a professor to a friend, the other day : " It will 
be a long time before any one belonging to the colored race can grad- 
uate at West Point." ' 

" Now, Sir, I would like to ask a few questions through the columns 
of your paper concerning these statements, and would be glad to have 
them answered by some of the knowing ones. 

" In the first place, what do the professors and cadets know of my 
chances for getting back, and if they know any thing, how did they 
find it out ? At an interview which I had with the Secretary of War, 
on the 17th instant, he stated that he went to West Point this year for 
a purpose, and that he was there both before and after my examina- 
tion, and conversed with some of the professors concerning me. 
Now, did that visit and those conversations have any thing to do with 



290 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

the finding of the Academic Board ? Did they have any thing to do 
with that wonderful wisdom and foresight displayed by the professors 
and cadets in commenting upon my chances for getting back ? Why 
should the Secretary of War go to West Point this year ' for a pur- 
pose,' and converse with the professors about me both before and after 
the examination ? Besides, he spoke of an interview he had had with 
Colonel Ruger, Superintendent of the Academy, in New York, on Sun- 
day, the 12th instant, in reference to me ; during which Colonel Ruger 
had said that the Academic Board would not recommend me to return. 
Is it very wonderful that the Academic Board should refuse such rec- 
ommendation after those very interesting conversations which were 
held ' both before and after the recommendation ? ' Why was the 
secretary away from West Point at the time of the examination. 

" In the next place, by what divine power does that learned oracle, 
a professor, prophesy that it will be a long time before any one be- 
longing to the colored race can graduate at West Point ? It seems 
that he must have a wonderful knowledge of the negro that he can 
tell the abilities of all the colored boys in America. But it is possible 
that he is one of the younger professors, perhaps the professor of phi- 
losophy, and therefore expects to live and preside over that depart- 
ment for a long time, though to the unsophisticated mind it looks 
very much as though he would examine a colored cadet on the color 
of his face. 

' ' I think he could express himself better and come much nearer the 
truth by substituting shall for can in that sentence. Of course, while 
affairs remain at West Point as they have always been, and are now, 
no colored boy will graduate there ; but there are some of us w T ho are 
sanguine about seeiDg a change, even if we can't get back. 

" J. W. Smith, 
"Late Cadet U. 8. M. A." 

THE DIPPER DIFFICULTY. 

" Columbia, S. C, July 30, 1874. 
To the Editor of the New National Era : 

" As I told you in my last communication, I shall now proceed to 
give you an account of my four years' stay at West Point. 

" I reported there on the 31st of May, 1870, and had not been there 
an hour before I had been reminded by several thoughtful cadets that 
I was ' nothing but a d — d nigger.' Another colored boy, Howard, 
of Mississippi, reported on the same day, and we were put in the same 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 291 

room, "where we stayed until the preliminary examination was over, 
and Howard was sent away, as he failed to pass. 

" While we were there we could not meet a cadet anywhere with, 
out having the most opprobrious epithets applied to us ; but after 
complaining two or three times, we concluded to pay no attention to 
such things, for, as we did not know these cadets, we could get no 
satisfaction. 

" One night about twelve o'clock some one came into our room, 
and threw the contents of his slop-pail over us while we were asleep. 
We got to our door just in time to hear the ' gentleman ' go 
into his room on the floor above us. This affair reported itself the 
next morning at ' Police Inspection,' and the inspector ordered 
us to search among the tobacco quids, and other rubbish on the 
floor, for something by which we might identify the perpetrator 
of the affair. The search resulted in the finding of an old en- 
velope, addressed to one McCord, of Kentucky. That young ' gen- 
tleman ' was questioned in reference, but succeeded in convincing 
the authorities that he had nothing to do with the affair and 
knew nothing of it. 

' ' A few days after that, Howard was struck in the face by that 
young 'gentleman,' 'because,' as he says, 'the d — d nigger didn't 
get out of the way when I was going into the boot-black's shop. ' 
For that offence Mr. McCord was confined to his room, but was 
never punished, as in a few days thereafter he failed at the pre- 
liminary examination, and was sent away with all the other unfortu- 
nates, including Howard. 

" On the 28lhof June, 1ST0, those of us who had succeeded in pass- 
ing the preliminary examination were taken in ' plcbe camp,' and 
there I got my taste of ' military discipline,' as the petty persecu- 
tions of about two hundred cadets were called. Left alone as I was, 
by Howard's failure, I had to take every insult that was offered, with- 
out saying anything, for I had complained several times to the Com- 
mandant of Cadets, and, after ' investigating the matter,' he invari- 
ably came to the conclusion, 'from the evidence deduced,' that I 
was in the wrong, and I was cautioned that I had better be very par- 
ticular about any statements that I might make, as the regulations 
were very strict on the subject of veracity. 

" Whenever the ' plebes ' (new cadets) were turned out to ' police ' 
camp, as they were each day at 5 a.m. and 4 p.m., certain cadets 
would come into the company street and spit out quids of tobacco 
which they would call for me to pick up. I would get a broom and 



292 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

shovel for the purpose, but they would immediately begin swearing at 
and abusing 'me for not using my fingers, and then the corporal of 
police would order me to put down that broom and shovel, ' and not 
to try to play the gentleman here,' for my fingers were ' made for 
that purpose. ' Finding there was no redress to be had there, I wrote 
my friend Mr. David Clark, of Hartford, Ct.,to do something for 
me. He had my letter published, and that drew the attention of Con- 
gress to the matter, and a board was sent to "West Point to inquire 
into the matter and report thereon. That board found out that 
several cadets were guilty of conduct unbecoming a cadet and a gen- 
tleman and recommended that they be court-martialled, but the Secre- 
tary of War thought a reprimand Avould be sufficient. Among those 
reprimanded were Q. O'M. Gillmore, son of General Gillmore ; Alex. 
B. Dyer, son of General Dyer ; and James H. Reid, nephew of the 
Secretary of War (it is said). I was also reprimanded for writing let- 
ters for publication. 

" Instead of doing good, these reprimands seemed only to increase 
the enmity of the cadets, and they redoubled their energies to get me 
into difficulty, and they went on from bad to worse, until from words 
they came to blows, and then occurred that ' little onpleasantness ' 
known as the ' dipper fight.' On the 13th of August, 1870, I, being 
on guard, was sent to the tank for a pail of water. I had to go a dis- 
tance of about one hundred and fifty yards, fill the pail by drawing wa- 
ter from the faucet in a dipper (the faucet was too low to permit the pail 
to stand under it), and return to the guard tent in ten minutes. When I 
reached the tank, one of my classmates, J. W. Wilson, was standing 
in front of the faucet drinking water from a dipper. He didn's seem 
inclined to move, so I asked him to stand aside as I wanted to get 
water for the guard. jf.He said : ' I'd like to see any d — d nigger get 
water before I get through.' I said : ' I'm on duty, and I've got no 
time to fool with you,' and I pushed the pail toward the faucet. He 
kicked the pail over, and I set it up and stooped down to draw the 
water, and then he struck at me with his dipper, but hit the brass 
plate on the front of "my hat and broke his dipper. I was stooping 
down at the time, but I stood up and struck him in the face with my 
left fist ; but in getting up I did not think of a tent fly that was 
spread over the tank, and that pulled my hat down over my eyes. 
He then struck me in the face with the handle of his dipper (he broke 
his dipper at the first blow), and then I struck him two or three times 
with my dipper, battering it, and cutting him very severely on the 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 293 

left side of his head near the temple. He bled very profusely, and 
fell on the ground near the tank. 

" The alarm soon spread through the camp, and all the cadets came 
running to the tank and swearing vengeance on the ' d — d nigger. ' 

' ' An officer who was in his tent near by came out and ordered me 
to be put under guard in one of the guard tents, where I was kept 
until next morning, when I was put ' in arrest. ' Yfilson was taken 
to the hospital, where he stayed two or three weeks, and as soon as 
be returned to duty he was also placed in arrest. This was made the 
subject for a court-martial, and that court-martial will form the sub- 
ject of my next communication. 

' : Yours respectfully, 

" J. W. Smith, 
" Late Cadet IT. S. M. A." 

THE INJUSTICE AT WEST POINT. 

" Columbia, S. C, August 7, 1874. 
To the Editor of the New National Era : 

" Sir : In my last communication I related the circumstances of 
the ' dipper fight,' and now we come to the court-martial which re- 
sulted therefrom. 

' ' But there was another charge upon which I was tried at the same, 
time, the circumstances of which I will detail. 

"On the 15th of August, 1870, just two days after the 'dipper 
fight,' Cadet Corporal JBeacom made a report against me for ' reply- 
ing in a disrespectful manner to a file-closer when spoken to at drill, 
p.m.' For this alleged offence I wrote an explanation denying the 
charge ; but Cadet Beacom found three cadets who swore that they 
heard me make a disrespectful reply in ranks when Cadet Bea- 
com, as a file-closer on duty, spoke to me, and the Commandant of 
Cadets, Lieutenant Colonel Upton, preferred charges against me for 
making false statements. 

" The court to try me sat in September, with General O. O. How- 
ard as President. I plead ' not guilty ' to the charge of assault on 
Cadet Wilson, and also to the charge of making false statements. 

" The court found both Cadet Wilson and myself ' guilty ' of as- 
sault, and sentenced us to be confined for two or three weeks, with 
some other light punishment in the form of ' extra duty.' 

" The finding of the court was approved by President Grant in the 
13 



294 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST TOINT. 

case of Cadet "Wilson, but disapproved in my case, on the ground that 
the punishment was not severe enough. Therefore, Cadet W. 
served his punishment and I did not serve mine, as there was no au- 
thority vested in the President to increase it. 

" On the second charge I was acquitted, for I proved, by means of 
the order book of the Academy that there was no company drill on 
that day — the 15th of August — that there was skirmish drill, and by 
the guard reports of the same date, that Cadet Beacom and two of his 
three witnesses were on guard that day, and could not have been at 
drill, even if there had been one. To some it might appear that the 
slight inconsistencies existing between the sworn testimony of those 
cadets and the official record of the Academy, savored somewhat of 
perjury, but they succeeded in explaining the matter by saying that 
' Cadet Beacom only made a mistake in date.' Of course he did ; how 
could it be otherwise ? It was necessary to explain it in some way so 
that I might be proved a liar to the corps of cadets, even if they 
failed to accomplish that object to the satisfaction of the court. 

" I was released in November, after the proceedings and findings 
of the court had been returned from Washington, where they had been 
sent for the approval of the President, having been in arrest for three 
months. But I was not destined to enjoy my liberty for any length of 
time, for on the 18th of December, same year, I was in the ranks of 
the guard, and was stepped on two or three times by Cadet Anderson, 
one of my classmates, who was marching beside me. 

" As I had had some trouble with the same cadet some time before, 
on account of the same thing, I believed that he was doing it intention- 
ally, and as it was very annoying, I spoke to him about it, saying : 
' I wish you would not tread on my toes.' He answered: 'Keep 
your d — d toes out of the way. ' Cadet Birney, who was standing 
near by, then made some invidious remarks about me, to which I did 
not condescend to reply. One of the Cadet Corporals, Bailey, re- 
ported me for ' inattention in ranks,' and in my written explanation 
of the offence, I detailed the circumstances, but both Birney and An- 
derson denied them, and the Commandant of Cadets took their state- 
ment in preference to mine, and preferred charges against me for 
falsehood. 

" I was court martialled in January, 1871, Captain Piper, Third 
Artillery, being President of the court. By this court I was found 
' guilty,' as I had no witnesses, and had nothing to expect from the 
testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution. Cadet Corporal Bai- 
ley, who made the report, Cadets Birney and Anderson were the 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 295 

witnesses who convicted me ; in fact they were the only witnesses sum- 
moned to testify in the case. The sentence of the court was that I 
should be dismissed, but it was changed to one year's suspension, or, 
since the year was almost gone before the finding of the court was 
returned from Washington, where it was sent for the approval of 
President Grant, I was put back one year. 

" I had no counsel at this trial, as I knew it would be useless, con- 
sidering the one-sided condition of affairs. I was allowed to make 
the following written statement of the affair to be placed among the 
records of the proceedings of the court : 

" ' May it please the court : I stand here to day charged with a 
most disgraceful act — one which not only affects my character, but 
will, if I am found guilty, affect it during my whole life — and I shall 
attempt, in as few words as possible, to show that I am as innocent 
as any person in this room. I was reported on the 18th of December, 
1870, for a very trivial offence. For this offence I submitted an ex- 
planation to the Commandant of Cadets. In explanation I stated the 
real cause of committing the offence for which I was reported- But 
this cause, as stated, involved another cadet, who, finding himself 
charged with an act for which he was liable to punishment, denies all 
knowledge of it. He tries to establish his denial by giving evidence 
which I shall attempt to prove absurd. On the morning of the 13th 
of December, 1870, at guard-mounting, after the new guard had 
marched past the old guard, and the command of " Twos left, halt !" 
had been given, the new guard was about two or three yards to the 
front and right of the old guard. Then the command of " Left back- 
ward, dress, ' ' was given to the new guard, ' ' Order arms, in place rest. ' ' 
I then turned around to Cadet Anderson, and said to him, " I wish 
you would not tread on my toes. " This was said in a moderate tone, 
quite loud enough for him to hear. He replied, as I understood, 
" Keep your d — d toes out of the way." I said nothing more, and he 
said nothing more. I then heard Cadet Birney say to another cadet 
— I don't know who it was— standing by his side, " It (or the thing) 
is speaking to Mr. Anderson. If he were to speak to me I would 
knock him down." I heard him distinctly, but as I knew that he 
was interfering in an affair that did not concern him, I took no fur- 
ther notice of him, but turned around to my original position in the 
ranks. What was said subsequently I do not know, for I paid no 
further attention to either party. I heard nothing said at any time 
about taking my eyes away, or of Cadet Anderson compromising his 
dignity. Having thus reviewed the circumstances which gave rise to 



296 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

the charge, may it please the court, I wish to say a word, as to the wit- 
nesses. Each of these cadets testifies to the fact that they have dis- 
cussed the case in every particular, both with each other and with 
other cadets. That is, they have found out each other's views and 
feelings in respect to it, compared the evidence which each should 
give, the probable result of the trial ; and one has even testified that 
he has expressed a desire as to the result. Think you that Cadet 
Birney, with such a desire in his breast, influencing his every thought 
and word, with such an end in view, could give evidence unbiassed, 
unprejudiced, and free from that desire that " Cadet Smith might be 
sent away and proved a liar?" Think you that he could give evi- 
dence which should be " the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but 
the truth, so help me God ?" It seems impossible for me to have jus- 
tice done me by the evidence of such witnesses, but I will leave that 
for the court to decide. There is another question here which must 
be answered by the finding of the court. It is this : "Shall Cadet 
Smith be allowed to complain to the Commandant of Cadets when he 
considers himself unjustly dealt with ?" "When the court takes notice 
of the fact that this charge and these specifications are the result of a 
complaint made by me, it will agree with me as to the importance its 
findings will have in answering that question. As to what the finding 
will be, I can say nothing ; but if the court is convinced that I have 
lied, then I shall expect a finding and sentence in accordance with 
such conviction. A lie is as disgraceful to one man as another, be he 
white or black, and I say here, as I said to the Commandant of Cadets, 
" If I were guilty of falsehood, I should merit and expect the same 
punishment as any other cadet ;" but, as I said before, I am as inno- 
cent of this charge as any person in this room. The verdict of an in- 
fallible judge — conscience — is, " Not guilty," and that is the finding 
I ask of this court. 

' ' ' Respectfully submitted. 

(Signed) " 'J. W. Smith, 

'" Cadet U. 8. M. A.' 



" Thus ended my second and last court-martial. 
" Yours respectfully, 

"J. W. S-MITII. 
" Late Cadet V. S. M. A. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 297 

THE HONOB OF A CADET AND GENTLEMAN. 

"Columbia, S. O, August 13, 1874. 
To the Editor of the Neio National Era : 

" Sir : In relating the events of my first year at "West Point, I omit- 
ted one little affair which took place, and I will now relate the circum- 
stances. One Sunday, at dinner, I helped myself to some soup, and 
one cadet, Clark, of Kentucky, who sat opposite me at table, asked 
me what I meant by taking soup before he had done so. I told him 
that I took it because I wished it, and that there was a plenty left. 
He seemed to be insulted at that, and asked : ' Do you think I would 
eat after a d — d nigger ? ' I replied : ' I have not thought at all on 
the subject, and, moreover, I don't quite understand you, as I can't 
find that last word in the dictionary. ' He then took up a glass and 
said he would knock my head off. I told him to throw as soon as he 
pleased, and as soon as he got through I would throw mine. The 
commandant of the table here interfered and ordered us to stop creat- 
ing a disturbance at the table, and gave me to understand that there- 
after 1 should not touch any thing on that table until the white cadets were 
served. 

" When we came back from dinner, as I was going into my room, 
Cadet Clark struck at me from behind. He hit me on the back of 
my neck, causing me to get into my room with a little more haste 
than I anticipated, but he did not knock me down. He came into my 
room, following up his advantage, and attempted to take me by the 
throat, but he only succeeded in scratching me a little with his nails, 
as I defended myself as well as possible until I succeeded in getting 
near my bayonet, which I snatched from the scabbard and then tried 
to put it through him. But being much larger and stronger than I, 
he kept me off until he got to the door, but then he couldn't get out, 
for some one teas holding the door on the outside, for the purpose, I sup- 
pose, of preventing my escape, as no doubt they thought I would try 
to get out. There were a great many cadets outside on the stoop, 
looking through the window, and cheering their champion, with cries 
of ' That's right, Clark ; kill the d — d nigger,' ' Choke him,' ' Put a 
head on him,' etc., but when they saw him giving way before the 
bayonet, they cried, ' Open the door, boys,' and the door was opened, 
and Mr. Clark went forth to rejoice in the bosom of his friends as 
the hero of the day. The cadet officer of the day ' happened 
around ' just after Clark had left, and wanted to know what did I 
mean by making all that noise in and around my quarters. I told 



298 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

liirn what the trouble was about, and soon after I was sent for by the 
'officer in charge,' and questioned in reference to the affair. 
Charges were preferred against Clark for entering my room and as- 
saulting me, but before they were brought to trial he sent two of his 
friends to me asking if I would withdraw the charges providing he 
made a written apology. I told these cadets that I would think of 
the matter and give them a definite answer the next evening. 

' ' I was perfectly well satisfied that he would be convicted by any 
court that tried him ; but the cadets could easily prove (according to 
their way of giving evidence) that I provoked the assault, and I, be- 
sides, was utterly disgusted with so much wrangling, so when the 
cadets called that evening I told them that if his written apology was 
satisfactory I would sign it, submit it to the approval of the Com- 
mandant of Cadets, and have the charges withdrawn. 
f 1 " They then showed me the written apology offered by Clark, in 
which he stated that his offence was caused by passion, because he 
thought that when I passed him on the steps in going to my room I 
tried to brush against him. He also expressed his regret for what he 
had done, and asked forgiveness. I was satisfied with his apology, 
and signed it, asking that the charges be withdrawn, which was 
done, of course, and Clark was released from arrest. I will, in justice 
to Cadet Clark, state that I never had any further trouble with him, 
for, while he kept aloof from me, as the other cadets did, he alway 
thereafter acted perfectly fair by me whenever I had any official rela- 
tions with him. 

" A few days after the settlement of our dispute I found, on my re- 
turn from fencing one day, that some one had entered my room and 
had thrown all my clothes and other property around the floor, and 
had thrown the water out of my water-pail upon my bed. I immedi- 
ately went to the guard-house and reported the affair to the officer of 
the day, who, with the ' officer in charge,' came to my room to see 
what had been done. The officer of the day said that he had inspect- 
ed my quarters soon after I went to the Fencing Academy and found 
everything in order, and that it must have been done within a half 
hour. The Commandant of the Cadets made an investigation of the 
matter, but could not find out what young ' gentleman ' did it, for 
every cadet stated that he knew nothing of it, although the corps of 
cadets has the reputation of being a truthful set of young men. 

" ' Upon my honor as a cadet and a gentleman,' " is a favorite ex- 
pression with the West Point cadet ; but what kind of honor is that by 
which a young man can quiet his conscience while telling a base false- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 299 

hood for the purpose of shielding a fellow-student from punishmen 
for a disgraceful act ? They boast of the esprit de corps existing 
among the cadets ; but it is merely a cloak for the purpose of cover- 
ing up their iniquities and silencing those (for there are some) who 
would, if allowed to act according to the dictates of their own con- 
sciences, be above such disgraceful acts. Some persons might attri- 
bute to me the same motives that actuated the fox in crying ' sour 
grapes, ' and to such I will say that I never asked for social equality 
at West Point. I never visited the quarters of any professor, official, 
or cadet except on duty, for I did not wish any one to think that I 
was in any way desirous of social recognition by those who felt them- 
selves superior to me on account of color. As I was never recognized 
as ' a cadet and a gentleman,' I could not enjoy that blessed privi- 
lege of swearing ' upon my honor, ' boasting of my share in the 
esprit de corps, nor of concealing my sins by taking advantage of 
them. Still, I hope that what I lost (?) by being deprived of these 
little benefits will be compensated for the 'still small voice,' which 
tells me that I have done my best. 

" Yours respectfully, 

"J. W. Smith, 
"Late Cadet IT. S. M. A." 



" Columbia, S. C, August 19, 1874. 
To the Editor of the JSkw National Era : 

" Sir : My communications, thus far, have brought me to the end 
of my first year at the Academy, and now we come to the events of 
the second. In June of 1871, the proverbial silver lining, which the 
darkest cloud is said to have, began to shine very faintly in the West 
Point firmament, and I thought that at last the darkness of my cadet 
life was to be dispelled by the appearance above the horizon of an- 
other colored cadet. And, indeed, I was not disappointed, for, one 
day, I was greeted by the familiar face and voice of Mr. H. A. Na- 
pier, a former fellow-student at Howard University. Soon after his 
arrival, and admittance, the corps "of cadets, accompanied by the 
'plebes,' took up quarters in camp — ' plebe camp' to the latter, 
and ' yearling camp ' to us who had entered the previous year. 

"During the cadet encampment there are certain dances given 
three times each week, known as ' Cadet Hops. ' These ' hops ' 
are attended by the members of the first and third classes, and their 
lady friends, and no ' plebe ' ever has the assurance of dreaming of 



300 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

attending the ' hops ' until he shall have risen to the dignity of a 
'yearling' — third-classman. So long as I was a 'plebe,' no one 
anticipated any such dire calamity as that I would attend the ' hops, ' 
but as soon as I became a ' yearling,' and had a perfect right to go, 
if I wished, there was a great hue and cry raised that the sanctity of 
the ' hop ' room was to be violated by the colored cadet. 

" Meetings were held by the different classes, and resolutions pass- 
ed to the effect that as soon as the colored cadet entered the ' hop ' 
room, the ' hop ' managers were to declare the ' hop ' ended, and 
dismiss the musicians. But the ' hops ' went on undisturbed by the 
presence of the colored cadet for two or three weeks, and all began to 
get quiet again, when one day my brother and sister, with a couple 
of lady friends whom they had come to visit, came to camp to see 
me. 

" This started afresh the old report about the ' hops,' and every one 
was on the qui vide to get a glimpse of ' nigger Jim and the nigger 
wenches who are going to the hops, ' as was remarked by a cadet 
who went up from the guard tent to spread the alarm through camp. 

" In a few minutes thereafter the ' gentlemen ' had all taken posi- 
tion at the end of the ' company street, ' and, with their opera-glasses, 
were taking observations upon those who, as they thought, had come 
to desecrate the ' hop ' room. I was on guard that day, but not be- 
ing on post at that time, I was sitting in rear of the guard tents with 
my friends — that place being provided with camp-stools for the ac- 
commodation of visitors — when a cadet corporal, Tyler, of Kentucky, 
came and ordered me to go and fasten down the corner of the first 
guard tent, which stood a few paces from where we were sitting. 

" I went to do so, when he came there also, and immediately began 
to rail at me for being so slow, saying he wished me to know that 
when he ordered me to do anything, I must ' step out ' about it, and 
not try to shirk it. I said nothing, but fastened down the corner of 
the tent, and went back to where my friends were. 

" In a few minutes afterwards he came back, and wanted to know 
why I hadn't fastened down that tent wall. I told him that I had. 

" He said it was not fastened then, and that he did not wish any 
prevarication on my part. 

" I then told him that he had no authority to charge me with pre- 
varication, and that if he believed that I had not fastened down the 
tent wall, the only thing he could do was to report me. I went back 
to the tent and found that either Cadet Tyler or some other cadet had 
unfastened the tent wall, so I fastened it down again. Nothing now 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 301 

was said to me by Cadet Tyler, and I went back to where my friends 
were ; but we bad been sitting there only about a half hour, when a 
private soldier came to us and said, ' It is near time for parade, and 
you will have to go away from here. ' I never was more surprised 
in my life, and I asked the soldier what he meant, for I surely thought 
he was either drunk or crazy, but he said that the superintendent had 
given him orders to allow no colored persons near the visitors' seats 
during parade. 

" I asked him if he recognized me as a cadet. He said he did. I 
then told him that those were my friends ; that I had invited them 
there to see the parade, and that they were going to stay. He said he 
had nothing to do with me, of course, but that he had to obey the or- 
ders of the superintendent. I then Avent to the officer of the guard, 
who was standing near by, and stated the circumstances to him, re- 
questing him to protect us from such insults. He spoke to the sol- 
dier, saying that he had best not try to enforce that order, as the or- 
der was intended to apply to servants, and then the soldier went off 
and left us. 

" Soon after that the drum sounded for parade, and I was compelled 
to leave my friends for the purpose of falling in ranks, but promising 
to return as soon as the parade was over, little thinking that I should 
not be able to redeem that promise ; but such was the case, as I shall 
now proceed to show. 

"Just as the companies were marching off the parade ground, and 
before the guard was dismissed, the 'officer in charge,' Lieutenant 
Charles King, Fifth Cavalry, came to the guard tent and ordered me 
to step out of ranks three paces to the front, which I did. 

" He then ordered me to take off my accoutrements and place them 
with my musket on the gun rack. That being done, he ordered me 
to take my place in the centre of the guard as a prisoner, and there I 
stood until the ranks were broken, when I was put in the guard tent. 
Of course my friends felt very bad about it, as they thought that they 
were the cause of it, while I could not speak a word to them, as they 
went away ; and even if I could have spoken to them, I could not 
have explained the matter, for I did not know myself why I had 
been put there — at least I did not know what charge had been trump- 
ed up against me, though I knew well enough that I had been put 
there for the purpose of keeping me from the 'hop,' as they ex- 
pected I would go. The next morning I was put ' in arrest ' for 
' disobedience of orders in not fastening down tent wall when or- 
dered,' and 'replying in a disrespectful manner to a cadet cor- 



302 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

poral,' etc. ; and thus the simplest thing was magnified into a very 
serious offence, for the purpose of satisfying the desires of a few nar- 
row-minded cadets. That an officer of the United States Army would 
allow his prejudices to carry him so far as to act in that way to a sub- 
ordinate, without giving him a chance to speak a word in his defence 
— nay, without allowing him to know what charge had been made 
against him, and that he should be upheld in such action by the 
'powers that be,' are sufficient proof to my mind of the feelings 
■which the officers themselves maintained towards us. While I was 
in ranks, during parade, and my friends were quietly sitting down 
looking at the parade, another model ' officer and gentleman,' Cap- 
tain Alexander Piper, Third Artillery — he was president of my sec- 
ond court-martial — came up, in company with a lady, and ordered 
my brother and sister to get up and let him have their camp-stools, 
and he actually took away the camp-stools and left them standing, 
while a different kind of a gentleman — an ' obscure citizen,' with 
no aristocratic West Point dignity to boast of — kindly tendered his 
camp-stool to my sister. 

' ' I only wish I knew the name of that gentleman ; but I could not 
see him then, or I should certainly have found it out, though in an- 
swer to my brother's question as to his name, he simply replied, ' I 
am an obscure citizen. ' What a commentary on our ' obscure citi- 
zens,' who know what it is to be gentlemen in something else besides 
the name — gentlemen in practice, not only in theory — and who can 
say with Burns that ' a man's a man for a' that,' whether his face 
be as black as midnight or as white as the driven snow. 

' ' There is something in such a man which elevates him above many 
others who, having nothing else to boast of, can only say, ' I am a 
white man, and am therefore your superior,' or ' I am a West Point 
graduate, and therefore an officer and a gentleman. ' 

" After the usual ' investigation ' by the Commandant of Cadets, I 
was sentenced to be confined to the ' company street ' until the 15th 
of August, about five weeks, so that I could not get out to see my 
brother and sister after that, except when I was at drill, and then I 
could not speak to them. I tried to get permission to see them in the 
' Visitors' Tent ' the day before they left the ' Point ' on their re- 
turn home, but my permit was not granted, and they left without 
having the privilege of saying ' Good-by. ' 

" I must say a word in reference to the commandant's method of 
making 'investigations.' After sending for Cadet Corporal Tyler 
and other white cadets, and hearing their side of the story in refer- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 303 

once to the tent wall and the disrespectful reply, he sent for me to 
hear what I had to say, and after I had given my version of the 
affair, he told me that I must surely be mistaken, as my statement did 
not coincide with those of the other cadets, who were unanimous in 
saying that I used not only disrespectful, but also profane language 
while addressing the cadet corporal. I told him that new Cadet 
Napier and my brother were both there and heard the conversation, 
and they would substantiate my statement if allowed to testify. He 
said he was convinced that I was in the wrong, and he did not send 
for either of them. What sort of justice is that which can be meted 
out to one without allowing him to defend himself, and even denying 
him the privilege of calling his evidence ? What a model Chief Jus- 
tice the Commandant of Cadets would make, since he can decide 
upon the merits of the case as soon as he has heard one side. Surely 
he has missed his calling by entering the army, or else the American 
people cannot appreciate true ability, for that ' officer and gentle- 
man ' ought now to be wearing the judicial robe so lately laid down 
by the lamented Chase. 

" In reply to my complaint about the actions of the soldier in order- 
ing my friends away from the visitors' seats, he said that the soldier 
had misunderstood his orders, as the superintendent had told him to 
keep the colored servants on the ' Point ' from coming in front of 
the battalion at parade, and that it was not meant |to apply to my 
friends, who could come there whenever they wished. 

" It seems, though, very strange to me that the soldier could mis- 
understand his orders, when he saw me sitting there in company with 
them, for it is one of the regulations of the Academy which forbids 
any cadet to associate with a servant, and if I had been seen doing 
such a thing I would have been court-martiallcd for ' conduct unbe- 
coming a cadet and a gentleman." 

" The cadets were, of course, very much rejoiced at my being ' in 
arrest, ' and after my sentence had been published at parade, they had 
quite a jubilee over it, and boasted of ' the skill and tact which Cadet 
Tyler had shown in putting the nigger out of the temptation of taking 
those black wenches to the hops. ' They thought, no doubt, that their 
getting me into trouble frightened me out of any thoughts I might 
have had of attendiug the ' hops ;' but if I had any idea of going to the 
' hops,' I should have been only more determined to go, and should 
have done so as soon as my term of confinement was ended I have 
never thought of going to the 'hops,' for it would be very little 
pleasure to go by myself, and I should most assuredly not have asked 



304; THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

a lady to subject herself to the insults consequent upon going there. 
Besides, as I said before, I did not go to West Point for the purpose 
of advocating social equality, for there are many cadets in the corps 
"with whom I think it no honor for any one to associate, although they 
are among the high-toned aristocrats, and will, no doubt, soon be 
numbered among the ' officers and gentlemen ' of the United States 
Army. 

" Yours respectfully, 

"J. W. Smith. " 
"Late Cadet U. S. 31. A." 



REPLY TO THE "WASHINGTON CHRONICLE." 

" Columbia, S. C, August 25, 1874. 
To the fiditor of the New National Era : 

" Sir : The following article appeared in the Washington Chronicle 
of the 14th inst., and as I feel somewhat interested in the statements 
therein contained, I desire to say a few words in reference to them. 
The article referred to reads as follows : 

" ' The recent attack of the colored, ex-Cadet Smith upon the Board of Visitors at 
West Point has attracted the attention of the officers of the War Department. 
They say that the Secretary of War was extremely liberal in his interpretation of 
the regulations on behalf of Cadet Smith, and that he did for him what had never 
been done for a white boy in like circumstances. The officers also say that Smith 
was manifestly incompetent, that he had a fair examination, and that the Congres- 
sional Board of„ Visitors unanimously testified to his incompetency.' 

"Now, sir, I am at a loss to know what are ' the recent attacks of 
the colored ex-Cadet Smith upon the Board of Visitors,' for I am 
not aware that I have said any thing, either directly or indirectly, con- 
cerning the Board of Visitors. My remarks thus far have been con- 
fined to the Academic Board and Secretary of War. 

" As the members of the Board of Visitors were sirnply spectators, 
and as they were not present when I was examined, I had no reason 
to make any ' attack ' upon them, and, therefore, as I said before, 
confined my remarks (or ' attacks,' if that word is more acceptable 
to the Chronicle) to those who acted so unjustly toward me. 

" As to the extreme liberality of the Secretary of War, in his inter- 
pretation of the regulations on behalf of Cadet Smith, and that he did 
for him what he had never ' done for a white boy in like circum- 
stances,' I hardly know what to say ; for such absurd cant seems in- 
tended to excite the laughter of all who kpow the circumstances of the 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 305 

case. What devoted servants those officers of the War Department 
must be, that they can see in their chief so much liberality ! 

"But in what respect was the Secretary of War so ' liberal in his 
interpretation of the regulations ? ' 

" Was it in dismissing me, and turning back to a lower class two 
white cadets who had been unable to complete successfully the first 
year of the course with everything in their favor, while I had com- 
pleted three years of the same course in spite of all the opposition 
which the whole corps of cadets, backed by the ' powers that be, ' 
could throw in my way ? Or was it his decision that ' I can give 
Mr. Smith a re-examination, but I won't ? ' The Chronicle is perfectly 
correct in saying ' that he did for him what had never been done for 
a white boy in like circumstances,' for, in the first place, I don't 
think there ever was ' a white boy in like circumstances,' certainly 
not while I was at the Academy, and if there ever were a white boy 
so placed, we are pretty safe in concluding, from the general treat- 
ment of white boys, that the secretary was not so frank in his re- 
marks nor so decided in his action. 

" ' I want another cadet to represent your district at West Point, 
and I have already sent to Mr. Elliott to appoint one,' means some 
thing more than fair dealing (or, as the Chronicle would imply, parti- 
ality) toward the colored cadet. It means that the gentleman was 
pleasing himself in the choice of a cadet from the Third Congres- 
sional District of South Carolina, and that he did not recognize the 
rights of the people of that district to choose for themselves. ' You 
are out of the service and will stay out,' for ' the Academic Board 
will not recommend you to come back under any circumstances,' 
shows that it is the Academic Board that must choose our representa- 
tive, and not we ourselves, and .that our wishes are only secondary in 
comparison with those of the service and the Academic Board. We 
are no longer free citizens of a sovereign State, and of the United 
States, with the right to choose for ourselves those who shall repre- 
sent us ; but we must be subordinate to the Secretary of War and the 
Academic Board, and must make our wishes subservient to those of 
the above-named powers, and unless we do that we are pronounced to 
be ' naturally bad ' — as remarked the Adjutant of the Academy, 
Captain R. II. Hall, to a Sun reporter — and must have done for us 
' what had never been done for a white boy in like circumstances. ' 
Now, sir, let us see what has ' been done for a white boy in like circum- 
stances.' In July, 1870, the President was in Hartford, Ct., and in 
a conversation with my friend the Hon. David Clark, in reference to 



306 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

ray treatment at West Point, he said : ' Don't take him away now ; 
the battle might just as well be fought now as at any other time,' 
and gave him to understand that he would see me protected in my 
rights ; while his son Fred, who was then a cadet, said to the same 
gentleman, and in the presence of his father, that ' the time had not 
come to send colored boys to West Point. ' Mr. Clark said if the 
time had come for them to be in the United States Senate, it had 
surely come for them to be at West Point, and that he would do all 
in his power to have me protected. Fred Grant then said : ' Well, 
no d — d nigger will ever graduate from West Point.' This same 
young gentleman, with other members of his class, entered the rooms 
of three cadets, members of the fourth class, on the night of January 
3, 1871, took those cadets out, and drove them away from the 
'Point,' with nothing on but the light summer suits that they wore 
when they reported there the previous summer. Here was a most 
outrageous example of Lynch law, disgraceful alike to the first 
class, who were the executors of it, the corps of cadets, who were 
the abettors of it, and the authorities of the Academy, who were 
afraid to punish the perpetrators because the President's son was im- 
plicated, or, at least, one of the prime movers of the affair. Congress 
took the matter in hand, and instructed the Secretary of War to dis- 
miss all the members of the class who were implicated, but the latter 
gentleman ' was extremely liberal in his interpretation of the regula- 
tions,' and declined to be influenced by the action of Congress, and 
let the matter drop. 

" Again, when a Court of Inquiry, appointed by Congress to inves- 
tigate complaints that I had made of my treatment, reported in favor 
of a trial by court-martial of General Gillmore's son, General Dyer's 
son, the nephew of the Secretary of War, and some other lesser 
lights of America's aristocracy, the secretary decided that a repri- 
mand was sufficient for the offence ; yet ' he did for me what had 
never been done for a white boy in like circumstances.' Now, sir, 
by consulting my "Register of the Academy, issued in 1871, 1 find that 
three cadets of the fourth class were declared ' deficient ' in mathe- 
matics— Reid, Boyle, and Walker — and that the first named was 
turned back to join the next claps, while the other two were dis- 
missed. Now Reid is the Secretary's nephew, so that is the reason 
for his doing ' for him what had never been done for a white boy in 
like circumstances.' 

" Mr. Editor, I have no objection whatever to any favoritism that 
may be shown 'any member of. the Royal Family, so long as it does 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 307 

not infringe upon any right of my race or myself ; but when any 
paper tries to show that I have received such impartial treatment at 
the hands of ' the powers that be, ' and even go so far, in their zeal- 
ous endeavors to shield any one from charges founded upon facts, as 
to try to make it appear that I was a favorite, a pet lamb, or any 
other kind of a pet, at "West Point, I think it my duty to point out 
any errors that may accidentally (?) creep into such statements. 

"'The officers also say that Smith was manifestly incompetent, 
that he had a fair examination,' etc. What officers said that? 
Those of the War Department, whose attention was attracted by the 
' recent attacks on the Board of Visitors,' or those who decided 
the case at West Point ? In either case, it is not surprising that they 
should say so, for one party might feel jealous because ' the Secre- 
tary of War was extremely liberal in his interpretation of the regula- 
tions on behalf of Cadet Smith, and that he did for him what had 
never been done for a white boy in like circumstances,' while the 
other party might have been actuated by the desire to prove that ' no 
colored boy can ever graduate at West Point, ' or, as the young gen- 
tleman previously referred to said, ' No d — d nigger shall ever grad- 
uate at West Point.' As for the unanimous testimony of the Board of 
Visitors, I can only say that I know not on what ground such testi- 
mony is based, for, as I said before, the members of that board were 
not in the library when I was examined in philosophy ; but perhaps, 
this is only one of the ' they says ' of the officers. There are some 
things in this case which are not so manifest as my alleged incompe- 
tency, and I would like to bring them to the attention of the Chroni- 
cle, and of any others who may feel interested in the matter. There 
has always been a system of re-examinations at the Military Academy 
for the purpose of giving a second chance to those cadets who failed 
at the regular examination. Tnis year the re-examinations were 
abolished ; but for what reason ? It is true that I had never been re- 
examined, but does it not appear that the officers had concluded ' that 
Smith was manifestly incompetent,' and that this means was taken 
to deprive me of the benefit of a re-examination when they decided 
that I was ' deficient ? ' Or was it done so that the officers might 
have grounds for saying that ' he did for him what had never been 
done for a white boy in like circumstances ? ' Again, the examina- 
tions used to be public ; but this year two sentinels were posted at 
the door of the library, where the examinations were held, and when 
a visitor came he sent in his card by one of the sentinels, while the 
other remained at the door, and was admitted or not at the discretion 



308 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

of the superintendent. It is said that this precaution was taken be- 
cause the visitors disturbed the members of the Academic Board by 
walking across the floor. Very good excuse, for tlie floor was covered 
with a very thick carpet. We must surely give the Academic Board 
credit for so much good judgment and foresight, for it would have 
been a very sad affair, indeed, for those gentlemen to have been 
made so nervous (especially the Professor of Philosophy) as to be un- 
able to see how ' manifestly incompetent ' Cadet Smith was, and it 
wsuld have deprived the Secretary of War of the blissful consciousness 
that ' he did for him what had never been done for a white boy in 
like circumstances,' besides losing the privilege of handing down 
to future generations the record of his extreme liberality ' in his in- 
terpretation of the regulations on behalf of Cadet Smith.' 

" Oh, that this mighty deed might be inscribed on a lasting leather 
medal and adorn the walls of the War Department, that it might act 
as an incentive to some future occupant of that lofty station ! I ad- 
vise the use of leather, because if we used any metal it might convey 
to our minds the idea of ' a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.' 
" Respectfully yours, 

i" J. W. Smith, 
"Late Cadet U. 8. M. A." 

THE NEGRO CADETS. 

" We publish this morning an account of Cadet Smith's standing- 
at West Point, which should be taken with a few grains of allow- 
ance. The embryo colored soldier and all his friends— black, white 
and tan — believe that the administrationists have used him shame- 
fully, especially in view of their professions and of the chief source 
of their political strength. Grant went into the White House by 
means of colored votes, and his shabby treatment of the first member 
of the dusky army who reached the point of graduation in the coun- 
try's military school, is a sore disappointment to them. 

"Cadet Smith has been a thorn in the side of the Administration 
from the start. He could not be bullied out or persecuted out of the 
institution by the insults or menaces of those who, for consistency's 
sake, should have folded him to their bosoms. He stood his ground 
bravely, and much against the will of its rulers. West Point was 
forced to endure his unwelcome presence up to the time of gradua- 
tion. At that point a crisis was reached. If the odious cadet were 
allowed to graduate, his commission would entitle him to assignment 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 309 

in our much-officered army, which contains Colonel Fred Grant and a 
host of other favorites whose only service has been of the Captain 
Jinks order. The army revolted at the idea. Theoretically they 
were and are sound on the nigger, but they respectfully and firmly 
objected to a practical illustration. The Radical General Belknap was 
easily convinced that the assignment of the unoffending Smith to 
duty would cause a lack of discipline in any regiment that would be 
fearful to contemplate. 

" Something must be clone, and that something was quickly accom- 
plished. They saved the army and the dignity of the horse marines 
by sacrificing the cadet. To do so, some tangible cause must be al- 
leged, and a deficiency in ' philosophy ' was hit upon. 

" In vain did Smith appeal to the Secretary of War for an oppor- 
tunity to be re-examined ; in vain did he ask permission to go back 
and join the class below — all appeals were in vain. 'Gentlemen,' 
says the secretary, ' I don't wish to t be misquoted as saying that I 
can't give Mr. Smith a re-examination, for I say I won't do it.' The 
victim of the army has since published a three-column card in Fred 
Douglass's paper, in which he says he was dropped for politico-mili- 
tary reasons, and in the course of which he makes an almost unan- 
swerable case for himself, but the Radicals have dropped him in his 
hour of necessity, and he must submit." 

(From the New York Sun.) 
CADET SMITH'S EXPULSION. 

' ' James W. Smith, the first colored cadet appointed to the Military 
Academy of West Point, was dismissed after the June examination, 
having failed to pass an examination in some other studies. Recently 
the Sun received letters from South Carolina charging that the pre- 
judices of the officers of the Academy led to the dismissal ; and to as- 
certain the truth a Sun reporter went to West Point to investigate the 
matter. He accosted a soldier thus : 

" ' Were you here before Smith was dismissed ? ' 

" ' Yes, sir ; I've been here many years.' 

" ' Can you tell me why he was dismissed ? ' 

" 'Well, I believe he didn't pass in philosophy and some other 
studies. ' 

" ' What kind of a fellow was he ? ' 

" ' The soldiers thought well of him, but the cadets didn't. They 
used to laugh and poke fun at him in Riding Hall, and in the artillery 



310 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

drill all of them refused to join hands with him when the cannoneers 
were ordered to mount. This is dangerous once in a while, for some- 
times they mount when the horses are on a fast trot. But he used to 
run on as plucky as you please, and always got into his seat without 
help. Some of the officers used to try to make them carry out the 
drill, but it was no use. I never saw one of the young fellows give 
him a hand to make a mount. He was a proud negro, and had good 
pluck. I never heard him complain, but his black eyes used to flash 
when he was insulted, and you could see easy enough that he was in 
a killin' humor. But after the first year he kept his temper pretty 
well, though he fought hard to do it.' 

" Captain Robert II. Hall, the post adjutant, said : ' Young Smith 
was a bad boy. ' 

NATURALLY BAD. 

" ' His temper was hot, and his disposition not honorable. I can as- 
sure you that the officers at this post did every thing in their power to 
help him along in his studies, as well as to improve his standing with 
his comrades. But his temper interfered with their efforts in the lat- 
ter direction, while his dulness precluded his passing through the 
course of studies prescribed. 

" Reporter — ' He was always spoken of as a very bright lad.' 
' ' Captain Hall — ' He was not bright or ready. He lacked compre- 
hension. In his first year he was very troublesome. First came his 
assault upon, or affray with, another young gentleman (Cadet Wilson), 
but the Court of Inquiry deemed it inadvisable to court-martial either 
of them. Then he was insolent to his superior on drill, and being 
called upon for an explanation he wrote a deliberate falsehood. For 
this he was court-martialled and sentenced to dismissal, but subse- 
quently the findings of the committee were reversed, and Cadet Smith 
was put back one year. This fact accounts for his good standing on 
the examination next before the last. You see he went over the same 
studies twice. ' 

" Reporter — ' What was Cadet Smith found deficient in? ' 
" Captain Hall — ' His worst failure was in natural and experi- 
mental philosophy, which embraces the higher mathematics, dynamics, 
optics, mechanics, and other studies. He missed a very simple ques- 
tion in optics, and the examiners, who were extremely lenient with 
him, chiefly, I believe, because he was colored and not white, tried 
him with another, which was also missed.' 

" Reporter — ' Is optical science deemed an absolutely essential 
branch of learning for an officer in the army ? ' 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 311 

DEFICIENT IN niS STUDIES. 

" Captain Hall — ' It is useful to engineers, for instance. But that 
is not the question. In most educational institutions of the grade of 
West Point, the [standing of a student in his studies is decided by a 
general average of all studies in which he is examined. Here each 
branch is considered separately, and if the cadet fails in any one he 
cannot pass. I will assure you once more that in my opinion Cadet 
Smith received as fair an examination as was ever given to any stu- 
dent. If anything, he was a little more favored.' 

" Reporter — ' What was his conduct in the last year of his stay 
at the Academy ? ' 

" Captain Hall — ' Good. He ranked twenty in a class of forty 
in discipline. Discipline is decided by the number of marks a 
cadet receives in the term. If he goes beyond a certain number he 
is expelled.' 

" Reporter — ' This record seems hardly consistent with his pre- 
vious turbulent career. ' 

" Captain Hall — ' Oh ! in the last years of his service he 
learned to control his temper, but he never seemed happy unless in 
some trouble. ' 

" Reporter — ' Have you any more colored cadets ? ' 

" Captain Hall — ' Only one— Henry O. Flipper, of Georgia. Tic 
is a well-built lad, a mulatto, and is bright, intelligent, and studious.' 

" Reporter — ' Do the cadets dislike him as much as they did 
Smith ? ' 

" Captaln Hall — ' No, sir, I am told that he is more popular. I 
have heard of no doubt he will get through all right. And here I 
will say, that had Mr. Smith been white he would not have gone so 
far as he did. ' 

" Other officers of the post concur with Captain Hall, but the en- 
listed men seem to sympathize with Smith. One of them said, ' I 
don't believe the officers will ever let a negro get through. They 
don't want them in the army.' 

" Cadet Smith's career for the three years of his service was indeed 
a most unhappy one, but whether that unhappiness arose from 

THE INFIRMITIES OF TEMPER 

or from the persistent persecutions of his comrades cannot be au- 
thoritatively said. One officer attributed much of the pugnacity 
which Smith exhibited early in his course to the injudicious letters 
sent him by his friends. In some of these he was advised to ' light 



312 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

for the honor of his race, ' and others urged him to brook no insult 
at the hands of the white cadets. The menial duties which the 
' plebes ' are called upon to do in their first summer encampment 
were looked upon by Smith as personal insults thrust upon him, al- 
thought his comrades made no complaint. Then the social ostracism 
to a lad of his sensitive nature was almost unbearable, and an occa- 
sional outbreak is not to be wondered at. 

' ' Before he had been in the Academy a week he wrote to a friend 
complaining of the treatment he received from his fellows, and this 
letter being published intensified the hostility of the other cadets. 
Soon after this he had a fight with Cadet Wilson and cut his face 
with a dipper. Then followed the breach of discipline on drill, the 
court-martial and sentence, and finally the Congressional investiga- 
tion, which did not effect any good. Smith says that frequently on 
squad drill he was detached from the squad by the cadet corporal, 
and told that he was not to stand side by side with white men. 

" West Point, June 19." 

THE COLORED CADET. 

niS TRIALS AND PERSECUTIONS — THREE YEARS OE ABUSE — SETTLED 
AT LAST — "ELI PERKINS"' TELLS TU.E STORY. 

To the Editor of tlie Daily Graphic : 

" About the 20th of May, 1870, I saw the colored Cadet, James 
W. Smith land at the West Point Dock. He was appointed by a 
personal friend of mine, Judge Hoge, Member of Congress from 
Columbia, South Carolina. The mulatto boy was about five feet eight 
inches high, with olive complexion and freckles. Being hungry he 
tipped his hat to a cadet as he jumped from the ferry-boat and asked 
him the way to the hotel. 

" ' Over there, boy,' replied the cadet, pointing to the Rose Hotel 
owned by the government. 

" On arriving there the colored boy laid down his carpet-bag, 
registered his name, and asked for something to eat. 

" ' What ! A meal of victuals for a nigger ? ' asked the clerk. 

" ' Yes, sir, I'm hungrj r and I should like to buy something to 
eat.' 

" ' Well, you'll have to be hungry a good while if you wait to get 
something to eat here,' and the clerk of the government hotel pushed 
the colored boy's carpet-bag off upon the floor. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 313 

" Jimmy Smith's father, who fought with General Sherman, and 
came back to become an alderman in Columbia, had told the boy that 
when he got to West Point among soldiers he would be treated justly, 
and you can imagine how the hungry boy felt when he trudged back 
over the hot campus to see Colonel Black and General Schriver, who 
was then Superintendent of the Academy. 

" The black boy came and stood before the commandant and handed 
him his appointment papers and asked him to read them. Colonel 
Black, Colonel Boynton, and other officers looked around inquiringly. 
Then they got up to take a good look at the first colored cadet. The 
colonel, red in the face, waved the boy away with his hand, and, one 
by one, the officers departed, speechless with amazement. 

"In a few moments the news spread through the Academy. The 
white cadets seemed paralyzed. 

" Several cadets threatened to resign, some advocated maiming him 
for life, and a Democratic ' pleb ' from Illinois exclaimed, ' I'd rather 
die than drill with the black devil.' But wiser counsels prevailed, 
and the cadets consented to tolerate Jimmy Smith and not drown or 
kill him for four weeks, when it was thought the examiners would 
' bilge 'him. 

"On the 16th of June, 1870, I saw Jimmy Smith again at West 
Point and wrote out my experiences. He was the victim of great 
annoyance. 

"At these insults the colored cadet showed a suppressed emotion. 
He could not break the ranks to chastise his assaulter. Then if he 

had fought with every cadet who called him a ' black-hearted 

nigger, ' he would have fought with the whole Academy. Not the 
professors, for they have been as truly gentlemen as they are good 
officers. If they had feelings against the colored cadet they sup- 
pressed them. I say now that the indignities heaped upon Jimmy 
Smith would have been unbearable to any white boy of spirit. Hun- 
dreds of times a day he was publicly called names so mean that I 
dare not write them. 

" Once I met Jimmy Smith after drill. He bore the insulting re- 
marks like a Christian. 

" ' I expected it,' he said ; ' but it was not so at the Hartford 
High School. There I had the second honors of my class.' Then 
he showed me a catalogue of the Hartford High School, and there 
was the name of James W. Smith as he graduated with the next 
highest honor. 

" On that occasion I asked Jimmy who his father was. 



314: THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

" ' His name is Israel Smith. He used to belong to Sandres Guig- 
nard, of Columbia.' 

" ' Then he was a slave ? ' 

" ' Yes, but when Sherman's army freed him he became a Union 
soldier. ' 

" ' And your mother ? ' 

" ' She is Catherine Smith, born free.'^ Here Jimmy showed his 
mother's photograph. She looked like a mulatto woman, with 
straight hair and regular features. She had a serious, Miss-Siddons- 
looking face. 

" ' How did you come" to " the Point ?" ' I asked. 

" 'Well, Mr. David Clark, of Hartford, promised to educate me, 
and he got Congressman Hoge to appoint me.' 

" ' How came Mr. Clark to become interested in you ? ' 

" ' Well, a very kind white lady — Miss Loomis — came to Columbia 
to teach the freedmen. I went to school to her and studied so hard 
and learned so fast that she told Mr. Clark about me. My father is 
able to support me, but Mr. Clark is a great philanthropist and he has 
taken a liking to me and he is going to stand by me.' 

' ' ' What does Mr. Clark say when you write about how the cadets 
treat you ? ' 

" The colored boy handed me this letter from his benefactor : 

".' Hartford, Juno 7, 1870. 
' " 'Dear Jemmy : Yours, 1st inst.,is at hand and. noted. I herewith inclose 
stamps. 

" ' Let them call " nigger" as much as they please ; they will laugh out of the 
other corner of their mouth before the term is over. 

" ' Your only way is to maintain your dignity. Go straight ahead. If any per- 
sonal insult is offered, resist it, and then inform me ; I will then see what lean do. 
But I think you need have no fear on that score. Have been out to Windham a few 
days. All well, and send kind regards. Mary sails for Europe Saturday. President 
Grant is to be here the 2d. He will be my guest or Governor Jewell's. 
" ' Yours, etc., 

,; ' D. Clark.' " 

" ' So Mr. Clark knows the President, does]he ? ' 

"'Why, yes; he knows everybody — all the great men. He's a 
great man himself ; ' and this poor colored boy stood up, I thought, 
the proudest champion David Clark ever had. 

" ' Yes, David Clark is a good man,' I mused, as I saw the grate- 
ful tears standing in the colored cadet's eyes. 

" When I got back to the hotel I heard a wishy-washy girl, who 
came up year after year with a party to flirt with the cadets say : 



THE COLOEED CADET AT WEST POINT. 315 

" ' clear ! it is hawid to have this colod cadet — perfectly dre'fful. 
I should die to see my George standing next to him.' 

"But Miss Schenck, the daughter of General Schenck, our Min- 
ister to the Court of St. James, told Jimmy Smith that she hoped he 
would graduate at the head of his class, and when the colored hoy 
told me about it he said : 

" ' Oh, sir, a splendid lady called to see me to-day. I wish I knew 
her name. I want to tell David Clark. ' 

' ' Every white boy at West Point now agreed to cut the colored 
boy. No one was to say a single word to him, or even answer yes or 
no. At the same time they would abuse him and swear at him in 
their own conversation loud enough for him to hear. It is a lament- 
able fact that every white cadet at the Point swears] and chews to- 
bacco like the army in Flanders. 

" Again I saw Jimmy Smith on the 9th of July. The officers of 
the Academy had been changed. Old ■ General Schriver had given 
place to young General Upton. The young general is a man of feel- 
ing and a lover of justice. He sent for the colored boy, and taking 
his hand he said : 

" 'My boy, you say you "want "to resign, that you can stand this 
persecution no longer. You must not do it. You are here an officer 
of the army. You have stood a severe examination. You have 
passed honorably and you shall not be persecuted into resigning. I 
am your friend. Come to me and you shall have justice.' 

" Then General Upton addressed the cadets on dress parade. He 
told them personaF. insults against their brother cadet, whose only 
crime was color, must cease. 

" One day a cadet came to Jimmy and said he would befriend him 
if he dared to, ' but you know I would be ostracized if I should 
speak to you. ' 

" ' What was the cadet's name ? ' I asked. 

' ' ' Oh, I dare not tell ? ' replied the colored boy. ' Pie would be 
ruined, too.' 

" ' Did your father write to you when you thought of resigning ? ' 

" ' Yes ; here is his letter,' replied the colored boy : 

" ' Columbia, S. C, July 3, 1870. 
" ' Mt Dear Son : I take great pleasure in answering yonr kind letter received 
last night. I pray God that my letter may find yon in a better state of consolation 
than when you wrote to me. I told yon thatfyou would have trials and difficulties to 
endure. Do not mind them, for they will go likej chaff before the wind, and your 
enemies will soon be glad to gain your friendship. They do the same to all new- 



316 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

comers in every college. You are elevated to a high position, and j'ou must stand it 
like a man. Do not let them run you away, for then they will say, the "nigger" won't 
do. Show your spunk, and let them see that yon will fight. That is what you are 
sent to West Point for. When they find you are'determined to stay, they will let 
you alone. You must not resign on any account, for it is just what the Democrats 
want. They are betting largely here that you won't get in. The rebels say if you 
are admitted, they will devil you so much that you can't stay. Be a man ; don't 
think of leaving, and let me know all about your troubles. The papers say you 
have not been received. Do write me positively whether you are received or not. 

" ' Times are lively here, for everybody is preparing for the Fourth of July. There 
are five colored companies here, all" in uniform, and they are trying to see who shall 
excel in drill. 

" ' Stand your ground ; don't resign, and write me soon. 

" ' From your affectionate father, " ' Israel Smith.' " 

" On the 11th of January I visited "West Point again. I found all 
the cadets still against the colored boy. A system of terrorism 
reigned supreme. Every one who did not take sides against the col- 
ored boy was ostracized. 

" At drill one morning Cadet Anderson trod on the colored boy's 

toes. When Smith expostulated Anderson replied, ' Keep your 

toes away. ' When Smith told about it Anderson got two other 
white cadets to say he never said so. This brought the colored boy 
in a fix. 

"Last July I saw the colored cadet again. He was still ostracized. 
No cadet ever spoke to him. He lived a hermit life, isolated and 
alone. 

" When I asked him how he got on with his studies he said : ' As 
well as I am able, roaming all alone, with no one to help me and no 
one to clear up the knotty points. If there is an obscure point in my 
lesson I must go to the class with it. I cannot go to a brother 
cadet.' 

" ' If you should ask them to help you what would they say ? ' 

' ' ' They would call me a nigger, and tell me to go back to the 

plantation.' 

" Yesterday, after watching the colored cadet for three years, I saw 
him again. He has grown tall and slender. He talks slowly, as if 
he had lost the use of language. Indeed many days and weeks he 
has gone without saying twenty lines a day in a loud voice, and that 
in the recitation-room. 

"When they were examining him the other day he spoke slowly, 
but his answers were correct. His answers in philosophy were cor- 
rect. But they say he answered slowty, and they will find him defi- 
cient for that. Find him deficient for answering slowly when the boy 



THE COLORED CADET AT "WEST POIXT. 317 

almost lost the use of language ! When he knew four hundred eyes 
were on him and two hundred malignant hearts all praying for his 
failure ! 

" The colored cadet is now in his third year. The great question 
at West Point is, Will he pass his examination ? No one will know till 
the 30th of June. It is my impression that the young officers have 
marked him so low that he will be found deficient. The young offi- 
cers hate him almost as had as the cadets, and whenever they could 
make a bad mark against him they have done it. 

" ' Does any one ever speak to you now ? ' I asked. 

" 'No. I dare not address a cadet. I do not want to provoke 
them. I simply want to graduate. I am satisfied if they do not 
strike or harm me ; though if I had a kind word now and then I 
should be happier, and I could study better. ' Then the colored boy 
drew a long sigh. 

" To-day I met General Howard, who was present at the colored 
cadet's court-martial. I asked him to tell me about it. 

" 'Well, Mr. Perkins,' said the General, ' they tried to make out 
that the colored boy lied.' 

" ' Yes,' I interrupted, ' and they all say he did lie at the Point 
now. How was it ? ' 

" ' It was this way : They accused him of talking on parade, and, 
while trying to convict him out of his own mouth, they asked him 
"If on a certain day he did "not speak to a certain cadet while on 
drill ?" "I did not speak to this cadet while on drill the day you men- 
tion," answered Cadet Smith, " for the cadet was not in the parade 
that day." ' 

" This answer startled the prosecutors, and, looking over the diary 
of parade days, they were astonished to find Cadet Smith correct. 

" ' What then? ' I asked. 

" ' Why they accuse him of telling a lie in spirit, though not in 
form, for he had talked on a previous day. Just as if he was obliged 
to say any thing to assist the prosecutors except to answer their ques- 
tions. ' 

" General Howard believes Cadet Smith to be a good, honest boy. 
I believe the same. 

"Eli Perkins." 

(From the Savannah (Ga.) Morning Xews.) 

" Lieutenant Flipper seems to have gone back on his Atlanta 
friends. He came home from West Point with a good Academy record, 
14 



318 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

and behaved himself with becoming dignity. The officers at the 
barracks 'treated him — not socially, but as an officer of the army — 
with due respect, as did the citizens of Atlanta, who felt that he had 
won credit by his good conduct and success. But in an evil hour the 
colored friends (?) of Flipper 'gave him a reception, and in full uni- 
form he made them a speech. Now speech-making is a dangerous 
thing, and this colored warrior seems to have been made a victim of 
it. He distorted the official courtesies of the officers at the barracks 
into social courtesies, and abused the white people of the South be- 
cause they did not give him and his race social equality. Not only 
were sensible colored people displeased with his remarks, but many 
white citizens who went to the meeting friendly to Flipper left dis- 
gusted with his sentiments."- 1 " 

(From the Savannah (Get.) Morning News.) 
A COLORED AR3IY OFFICER. 

" Lieutenant Flipper is his name. Lie is a living result of the 
policy of Radicalism which has declared from the first its determina- 
tion that, under any circumstances, the American citizen of African 
descent shall enjoy all the privileges of his white brethren. Carrying 
out this determination, and not dismayed at the fate of colored cadet 
Smith, who figured so largely in West Point annals a few years ago, 
cadet Flipper was sent to that institution to try his hand. He has 

* If a man walks on the streets/with me, invites me to his quarters, introduces 
me to his comrades, and other^like acts of courtesy, ought I to consider him treating 
me socially or officially ? I went to the garrison in Atlanta to pay my respects to 
the commanding '"officer. I expected nothing. I met an officer, who, with four 
others, had introduced himself to me on the cars. My official call had been made. 
He took me around, introduced me to the officers, and showed me all possible at- 
tention. I met another officer in the city several days after this. He offered cigars. 
We walked up and down the streets together. , Many times did we hear and comment 
upon the remarks we overheard : " Is he walking with that nigger f" and the like. 
He invited me into a druggist's to take some soda-water. I went in and got it, al- 
though it was never sold there before to a person of color. We rode out to the 
garrison together, and every attention was shown me by all. Another officer told 
me that before I came the officers of the garrison assembled to consider whether or 
not they should recognize me. The unanimous vote was " yes." Was all this offi- 
cial 1 No. It is the white people, the disappointed tyrants of Georgia, who try to 
dislort social courtesies in official ones. 

The "many white" people were some half-dozen newspaper reporters, whose 
articles doubtless were partly written when they came. " Old Si" in his spectacles 
was p'.ominently conspicuous among them. 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. ' 319 

graduated, aud now holds the commission of Second Lieutenant of 
Cavalry in the United States Army, the first of his race who has ever 
attained such a position. 

" It "will be curious to watch young Flipper's career as an officer. 
Time was when army officers were a very aristocratic and exclusive 
set of gentlemen, whether they still hold to their old ideas, or not, we 
do not know. There seems to be enough of the old feeling left, 
however, to justify the belief that until some other descendants of 
African parents graduate at the institution, Flipper will have a lonely 
time. During his cadetship, we learn from no less an authority than 
the New York Tribune, 'the paper founded by Horace Greeley,' 
that he was let severely alone by his fellow-students. According to 
that paper, one of the cadets said, ' We have no feeling against him, 
but we could not associate with him. It may have been prejudice 
but still we couldn't do it.' This shows very clearly the animus 
which will exist in the army against the colored officer. If at West 
Point, where he had to drill, recite, eat, and perhaps sleep with 
his white brothers, they couldn't associate with him (notwithstand- 
ing the fact that the majority of these whites were Northern men and 
ardent advocates of Radicalism, with its civil rights and social 
equality record), how can it be expected that they will overcome 
their prejudices any more readily after they become officers. The 
Tribune thinks they will, and that in time the army will not hesitate 
to receive young Flipper, and all of his race who may hereafter grad- 
uate at West Point, with open arms ; but the chances are that the 
Tribune is wrong. Your model Yankee is very willing to use the 
negro as a hobby-horse upon which to ride into place and power, but 
when it comes to inviting him to his house and embracing him as a 
brother he is very apt to be found wanting. The only society Lieu- 
tenant of Cavalry Flipper can ever hope to enjoy is that which will 
exist when there are enough of his race in the army to form a corps 
d'Afrique, and by that time he will be too old to delight in social 
pleasures. Meanwhile he will be doomed to a life of solitude and self - 
communings, and be subjected to many such snubs as the venerable 
Frederick Douglass has but recently received at the hands of that 
champion mourner for the poor African— Rutherford B. Hayes." 

The New York Tribune is right. The army is 
officered by men, not by West Point cadets, who are 
only students and boys. 



320 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

{From the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News.) 
CHEERS FOR FLIPPER. 

" The miscegenationists and social equality advocates are making a 
great deal of noise over the facts, first, that a negro has graduated at 
West Point, and holds to-day a commission in the United States 
Army ; and second, that when he went up to receive his diploma, he 
was, alone of all the members of his class, the recipient of a round of 
applause. Great things are augured from these two circumstances, 
especially the latter. 

" It is reasoned that now, that a negro has at last been able to secure 
a commission in the military service of the country, the first step to- 
wards the recognition of his race on the basis of social equality is 
accomplished, by degrees prejudice will wear away, and, in course of 
time, black and white citizens of this republic will mingle freely and 
without reserve ; and this, it is claimed, is shown by the applause 
with which the reception into the army of this African pioneer was 
greeted. For our part we don't see that these negro devotees and 
miscegenationists have any reason to rejoice. It is just as impossible 
to establish perfect social equality between the Anglo-Saxon and Afri- 
can races as it is to make oil and water unite. It is against nature, 
and nowhere in the world is the antipathy to such a mingling shown 
more than in the North, and by no people so strongly as by the very 
men who whine so incessantly and so pretentiously about ' men and 
brethren.' The negro in the South has always found the white man 
of the South to be his best and truest friend, and such will always be 
the case, notwithstanding that the Southern white will never consent 
to social equality with his fellow-citizen of African descent. 

" As to the applause which greeted Flipper, that can easily be ac- 
counted for. Nothing is more likely than that at West Point there 
should have been gathered together a lot of old-time South-haters, 
who were ready to applaud, not so much to flatter Flipper as to show 
that they were happy over what they felt to be a still further humilia- 
tion of the South. That is all there is in that. 

" We have no objections to such demonstrations of delight. As far 
as we are concerned they may be indulged in to the heart's content 
by those who so desire. But one piece of information we can give to 
the young colored Georgia lieutenant. If he thinks those who ap- 
plauded him are going to invite him to their houses he will be greatly 
disappointed. And if he does not die of overeating until those peo- 



THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 321 

pie invite him to dine -with them, he will live to a good old age. Let 
him take the fate of the recognized leader of his race, Fred Doug- 
lass, as an example, and steer clear of his too demonstrative friends. 
Experience shows that so long as they can use him, they will be very 
profuse in their professions of friendship ; but when that is done all 
is done, and he will find himself completely cast aside. If Flipper 
sees these words, let him mark our prediction." 

"And many false prophets shall arise, and deceive 
many" (Matt. 21 : 11). Amen. That is all that 
article is worth. 

{From the Monmouth Inquirer, Freehold, N. J.) 
LIEUTENANT FLIPPER. 

" When Congress founded West Point, to be a training school for 
those who were to be paid as public servants and to wear the public 
livery, we do not think that it was intended that the institution should 
serve as a hotbed for the fostering of aristocratic prejudices and the 
assumption of aristocratic airs. Nor do we think that when Lincoln 
declared the negro a freeman, and entitled to a freeman's rights, 
either he or the nation designed that the dusky skin of the enfran- 
chised slave should serve as an excuse for ignominy, torture, and 
disgrace. Yet here, this year, in the graduating class from West 
Point, steps a young man among his white-skinned fellows, fiftieth in 
a class of seventy-six members, whose four years of academic life 
have been one long martyrdom ; who has stood utterly alone, ignored 
and forsaken among his fellows ; who has had not one helping hand 
from professors or students to aid him in fighting his hard battle, and 
whom only his own talents and ' sturdy pluck have saved from entire 
oblivion. Yet in spite of all, he was graduated ; he has left twenty- 
six white students behind him ; he is a second lieutenant in the reg- 
ular army, and the story of his struggles and his hard-won victory is 
known from Oregon to Florida. All honor to the first of his race who 
has stemmed the tide and won the prize. 

" We do not think the faculty at West Point have done their duty in 
this matter. One word, one example from them, would have stop- 
ped the persecution, and it is to their disgrace that no such word was 
spoken and no such example set." 

I have not a word to say against any of the pro- 



322 THE COLORED CADET AT WEST POINT. 

f essors or instructors who were at West Point during 
the period of my cadetship. I have every thing to 
say in their praise, and many things to be thankful 
for. I have felt perfectly free to go to any officer 
for assistance, whenever I have wanted it, because 
their conduct toward me made me feel .that I would 
not be sent away without having received whatever 
help I may have wanted. All I could say of the pro- 
fessors and officers at the Academy would be unqua- 
lifiedly in their favor. 






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