Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][table]
[merged small][table]

There is no vacation allowed at the institution; but fiu-loughs are granted to a few cadets in the months of July and August, when the remainder leave the College and encamp in different parts of the country, attending only to practical military operations..

Upon looking over the table of studies, it will be seen that the subjects are not very varied; but £he. greatest possible pains are taken, in order to make the cadets perfect in all of them. Indeed I have no hesitation in saying, that for severity of study, for order, regularity, and quiet, this institution very far exceeds any place of either military or civil education I have ever visited or even heard of.

The College, without considering it merely in a military point of view, will be of incalculable benefit to the United States, as a nursery for science; for it is the only place where the higher branches of mathematics are attended to, and the education which the cadets receive is such, that if they prosecute their studies, they may vie with the scientific men of any part of the world.

Many, after entering the army, remain in it but a short time, and are appointed civil engineers to different States, or are employed in superintending public works and topographical surveys.

As I have before mentioned, it is only since Colonel Thayer was appointed superintendent of the College, that its present admirable system has been organized. As yet therefore it is but a very young establishment; but its advantages are beginning to be sensibly felt, and will every year be more highly appreciated. In a short time, the United States, though with a very small army, will be able to boast a much larger body of scientific and well educated officers, than any other country in the world.

Every traveller who ascends the Hudson should stop a few days at West Point, if it be only to view the natural beauties of the place. He cannot also fail to admire the neatness of the barracks, the pleasing appearance of the houses and gardens of the Professors, which are ranged along the table land at the foot of the mountain. But I think myself, that the little battalion, dressed in their neat well made grey uniform, and manoeuvring in front with the utmost precision and regularity, must interest him more than any thing else, particularly when he reflects upon the maUriel of which that battalion is composed.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

CHAPTER XXI.

THE ARMY.

By an act of March 2, 1821, the army of the United States is limited to 6,000 men, four regiments of which are of artillery, and seven of infantry. Small detachments are kept in the different forts scattered along the vast frontier, for the purpose of keeping them in order, and preventing them from falling to decay. But there is no one place where an entire regiment is assembled; I believe, not even half a regiment. Such being the case, there is great room for improvement in the discipline and instruction of the privates; for a certain number of men are necessary to perform any of even the more simple manoeuvres with a good effect. It is clear therefore, that the reduction of the army to its present low state was neither a liberal nor even an economical policy. Moreover, one of the best means of avoiding war is to be always prepared for it. It must indeed be acknowledged, that in all the Governments of Europe the people bear a very just and natural dislike to a large standing army; for the governor, whether called King or what not, can always employ it against the liberties of the nation. But this is not the case in the United States; for though the President is nominally commander in

« PreviousContinue »