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West Point

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It is the height of the ambition of many a brisht American boy to gct an appoiDtment to West Point. Each Congressionnl district is entitled to send a cadet tliere and when ii vaeaiiey oci-urs the CoDgressman nppoints whoever he clioose8. Then the appointed one has to undetgo two very rlgkl examinatioiis, mental and physical. That thcy are not easy, one may judge from the fact that out of 117 repoiting tliis year, 39 lailrd to pass, - one out of turee. But a gmall number of tourists stop at West Point, consequently only a vagi.e idea exists througli the country is to what it is. For thls reason, and to gratify personal curiosity, as well as to visit a friend wlio was there, and who had writ„w.. - ,, .. .. . „„,i relieve his homesickness, 1 took tliemornIng boat from New York one day. and after a :,tbree hours' ride up that most magiiiiicent stream, the Iludson, I landed at the "Point." From the landing place to the elevated plain, upon which the buUdlngi and parade ground stand, it is a sharp rise of some 180 feet. Up there it is level and cominaiids a lovely view up and down the river for miles. On tliia 160 acres are the barracks, offleers' house?, parade ground, camping ground and the fortitications witli their bristüng cannon and their innocent looking liitle mortars. Nearest the point the plain was white witli tents where the cadets eiicamp through the suuimer. Sentries tiamp lo and tro, ofiBcers are friving orders and squads are going through their drills. All the cadet are dressed iu white except the poor first year men, who are called "plebs" o "beusts." They have the heavy grey uh form. These "beasts" have a hard time of their first year, for they are "cussed around and have to do the bidding o every upper classman. Usually at hom they have had their own way ; lure the have not their own way one minute i fouryears. At home they were free anc indepeident; here they are the servant of all and have to be meek enough t stand unnioved while belng "juinped on. That is the term for, and it mean that when an upptr-olassman comes int the new cadet's tent or room the latte has to do all he Is bidden. They wi make them stand on the table and mak a speech or teil a story, sing a song o whistle a tune. Sometimes they have t go through exercises utitll ready to dro witli fatigue; assuine all sorts of posture and stand all abuse. If they rebel thej are "skinnecl," that is, marked with de merite. The bane of his life is that whenever he walks he bas to "fin out." This is to have the arms straight dowu, the pulms to the front, the thunib pressnd against the foretinger and the llttle fingcr jn.-t back of the seam in the pants. It is a difflcult position to keep all day but it helps to throw the shoulders back. The wav tliev soend the day In mer is gomeihing like this: At 5:30 a. m. reveille and roll cali (5 minutes to dress) 5:45, sick-call; 6, breakfast, tlien drill aiit exercises untll 7:45 when they get ready for morning inspcction and parade. At 9 is the artillery drill and at 10:30 the swimmiiifj master takes them all to the water. ïhey get back in time for n 1 o'clock dinner. After wliicli the dancing master hclps tliera to settle it for au liour or so. 4:30 comes manual drill and at 6:30 is dress parade followed by supper at 7. The tatoo sounds at 9:30 and all the lights must be 10. In the winter they study mathematics, Enalish, fencing, bayonet exercise, and practical instruction in the school of the soldier for the fitst year. It is abont the same the next season witli the addition of táctica of infantry, artillery and cavalry, uhicli of course remalns the cblef study for the rest of their service. The 3d year they have a taste of natural philosophy and chemistry, and the last year ia devoted to military and civil engineering, mlneralogy and geology, law and literalurd ordnance and gunnery. By the above program oue can .ce tliat occasionally durins the day the cadet has some time in his tent or room. llowever, this is usually all taken Én in cleaning arms and clothinp, or writin tions to excuse demerita. Kor, every day the demerita are rerul olí for eacb man. One was not properly shaved, or, had a littli' ilnst on 1 1 i-i caper Lun, or did not huvo ono button battoned, ur dtd not liave the things piled just straight on tlio shelvcs in liis tent. Tben this expluatlon musí be written after the exact forni and folded just so, o r inore demerita follow. And, after a oertaln munber of these remain iinsaltafiictorily explnined be disinisscd. So, during the year a considerable number are oompelled to leave, eltber because they fail in souie particular thing or because tliey cannot stand it. Sucb attention is paid to neatness that a larga part of the time is consiuued in cbUging clothes and bmilllng up. Kor instance, in tliis season of kthe year they wear white duck sults. As no speck or urinkle inust be visible it necesitates about ten suits per week. The same niimber of collars nnd cuffs is also required. This slicking upis called "spoonnr." and one who is very neat at West Point is a "spooney" fellow, ratlier than the one wlio "rushes" the girls, in modern parlancc. It goes without saying that the boys at the Academy do not ret much ohanoe at the ladiea. They are only happy when t rains, for then they do net have to drill. Thus it is that the Government get plcked men upon whose services it bal a claim for eight yeais after gradnation. Then too, the profession of arins ollera to a man u suie support for life with a lixcil salary and a rctirement on half pay when oíd age tikes hini trom RCtlve work. It makel these gradnatm ofken In tbe recular army and they are in the way of promotion. It cnts the Qovernmeitt about $1,500 per year for each cadet thus educated.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News