William Arba Ellis.

Norwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) online

. (page 15 of 61)
Online LibraryWilliam Arba EllisNorwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) → online text (page 15 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Smith; an original poem, Charles A. Curtis; Oration, "Military
Education,' ' Gustavus M. Bascom; Oration, " Washington Irving,' '
Samuel W. Shattuck; Oration for the Master's Degree, "True
Liberty; Freedom Subject to Law and Reason," Arthur Chase,
LL. D. In the afternoon Rev. George M. Randall, D. D., of
Boston delivered an able address, "True Education"; and Egbert
Phelps, '56. read an original poem before the United Literary
Society. After the exercises the corps gave an artillery drill.
In the evening a reception was given to President Bourns. After
the reception the alumni banquet was served at the Union House.
At this commencement occurred the first meeting of the Friendship
Clubs. A general alumni association was formed. A full history
of this association is given in Chapter X. !Many distinguished
guests were present; among the number were Right Rev. C.
Chase, D. D. of New Hampshire; Horace Webster, LL. D., Presi-
dent of the New York Free Academy; Rev. Dr. Clark of Phila-
delphia; Rev. Dr. Mansur of Bennington; Dr. J. Y. Dewey of

In 1861, the commencement exercises were omitted, as the
graduating class and many of the upper class men had left the
University to enter the service. In 1862, commencement was
held August 13 and 14, but we are unable to give the programme.

The commencement of 1863 was held on August 13 and 14.
On W^ednesday morning, August 13th, infantry drills were given.
In the afternoon Rev. James Davie Butler of Madison, Wis.
delivered an address; then an artillery drill was given. The
Boston Brigade Band gave a concert in the evening followed by
a torch light drill. On Thursday morning, the graduating exer-
cises were held. Orations were delivered as follows: "Great
Days," Charles H. Atwood; "Military Education," Curtis S.
Barrett; "Mistakes," William S. Dewey; "Comparative Im-
portance of Mathematics and the Classics in a Liberal Educa-
tion," William Haven; "The Best Government," Rufus L.
Moses; "Liberty and Equality in America," Charles E. Steele;
"The Democratic Tendency in Governments," George A. Bailey;
"Pluck and Grit," Rody Patterson, Jr.; "Intolerance," Clayton
E. Rich. An oration was delivered by George W. Bungay of
New York city. In the afternoon the Rev. Francis Vinton, D. D.,
of Trinity Church, New York, delivered the address before the


trustees. Mr. William Winter of New York city read an original
poem. After the exercises an infantry drill was given.

In 1864, the commencement exercises extended from August
14, to August 18. On Sunday, the 14th, President Bourns
delivered the Baccalaureate sermon. On Wednesday morning,
August 17, a battalion drill was given. In the afternoon Professor
E. D. Sanborn, LL. D. of Hanover, N. H., delivered an oration;
then an artillery drill was given. In the evening the Boston
Brigade Band gave a concert, and after the concert a torch light
drill was given. On Thursday morning, the following ora-
tions were delivered : " Per Umbras ad Astra,' ' T. J. Lasier ; " The
Dignity of the Law,' ' Ralph Metcalf ; " The Destiny of Republics/ '
Warren F. Bascom; "New Laws for Hercules," Charles F. Thorn-
dike; "The Effects of War," Charles D. Gregory; "The Militia
the Safeguard of the State," Charles N. Kent. In the afternoon
Rev. F. D. Huntington, D. D., of Boston, delivered an oration before
the trustees. Mr. Park Benjamin of New York city read an
original poem; music was furnished by the Boston Brigade Band.
After the exercises, battalion and skirmish drills were given.
The graduating class this year numbered 16. Of this number
nine were serving in the army.

In 1865, the exercises extended from August 6 to 11. Presi-
dent Bourns delivered the Baccalaureate sermon on Sunday. On
Tuesday evening, prize speaking by the junior and sophomore
classes was held. On Wednesday morning, a battalion drill
was given, and at 3 p. m., an oration was delivered by Frederick
B. Perkins of the New York Independent. Then a prize drill
in artillery by squads Nos. 1. and 2. was given. A concert was
given at 8 p. m. by the Boston Brigade Band, followed by a torch
light drill. At 8:30 a. m., Thursday, August 11, an artillery
drill in the school of the piece was given. The graduating exer-
cises began at 10 a. m. in the Congregational church. Orations
were delivered as follows : " The Necessity of IMilitary Education,"
John C. Bo3?-d; "Experience,", JosepirS. Richards; "Value of Do-
mestic Manufactures,' ' Charles Henry Smart; " The National Debt,
Oscar B. Child; "Claims of Our Times," Frank T. Bottomly;
"Revolutions," William W. Howard; "Whatever is, is Right,"
Harry A. Howard; "Providence in American Histor}^," with
the Valedictory address, John J. Dewey. At 2:30 p. m. Hon.
Caleb Lyon, LL. D. '39, governor of Idaho, delivered an oration
before the trustees; an original poem, "The Sirens," was read by
Rev. F. W. Shelton of Montpelier. After the exercises skirmish


and battalion drills were given. In the evening the alumni held
a reunion.

In 1866, the exercises were held during July 29-August 2.
On Sunday morning, July 29, President Bourns delivered the
Baccalaureate sermon. On Wednesday afternoon, August 1,
the annual meeting of the Association of Alumni and Past Cadets
was held ; and in the evening a concert was given by the Boston Bri-
gade Band, followed by a torch light drill. On Thursday morning,
prize drills were given by the artillery and infantry. The com-
mencement exercises began at 10:30 a. m. The following orations
were given: "Hints," Reuel Small; "The Physician's Mission,"
Wilham C. H. Needham; " Winfield Scott," James A. L. Whittier;
"The Necessity of Union," with the Valedictory address, Charles
H. Reed. At 2:30 p. m., Hon. Daniel Needham of Boston, Mass.,
delivered an oration before the trustees. Capt. Charles A. Curtis,
U. S. A., '61, read an original poem. After the exercises, infantry
and artillery drills were given, followed by sword and bayonet

During this period several attempts were made by the trustees
of the University to re-locate the Institution in a more favorable

In 1851, Captain Partridge issued a call for a convention of
his former cadets to be held in Norwich, August 13 and 14, for
establishing "The Literary, Scientific and MiHtary system of
education on a permanent basis in the United States." The
meeting was called to order at 9 a. m., August 13 by Captain
Partridge. The following officers Tyro tern were elected: president,
Joseph C. Wright, '42; vice-presidents, Samuel H. Holly and Horace
Webster; secretaries, Samuel N. Fifield, '51, and F. B. Dutton.
A committee consisting of Hon. Caleb Lyon, '39, General A. Diller,
WilHam Goodrich, Joseph C. Wright, '42, Captain Partridge,
OHver Hastings, Frederick Brewer, '28, Calvin P. Newton, '28,
and Joseph C. IMorrill were appointed to present business for the
convention. The convention then adjourned.

At 2 p. M., the convention assembled and the above com-
mittee presented the following resolutions:

"Whereas, in every age of the world, and amongst all those nations
which have attained the highest degree of eminence in the arts, sciences,
literature, and arms, the education of youth has been considered an object
of the greatest importance, and whereas, in every 'free country where the
Institutions and government depend entirely on the intelligence and virtue
of the people for their support, and whereas, by the Constitution of the United


States, everj' American citizen is required to act in a double capacity: viz,
in the capacity of a citizen and soldier; therefore.

Resolved: That the system of education adopteil for the youth of the
United States should prepare them equally well for the correct discharge of
their duties at the ballot box. in the halls of legislation, in the coiu-ts of justice,
and on the field of battle, whether in the ranks, or at the head of our armies.

Resolved: Therefore, that in order to prepare the youth of the United
States for the correct discharge of the duties that may devolve upon them in
after life, they should be correctly and thoroughly instructed in the science
of government generally, in the knowledge of the Constitution of the United
States, with all its proWsions, guaranties, and compromises: in a correct
knowledge of the true character of our Republican Institutions, and of the best
means of presersing them in their primeval simplicity and purity, and also
in the several departments of Militarj- Science, both theoretical and practical.

Resolved: That, as the education of a large portion of the American youth
constitutes the capital with which they must enter on the grand theatre of
life, it should embrace all those branches of practical, useful knowledge that
viiH enable them, when combined with industry- and integrity, to make thei
way independently and usefully through the world. That, in such a course
of education. Political Economy. Agricultiu-e. the Mechanic Arts. Mental
and Mon»l Science, Geography. Physical Philosophy and Astronomy, the
use of the Barometer in calculating the altitudes of mountains, sound Litera-
ture, Laws of Nations, Mathematics, with their application to Surveying,
Navigation, Civil and Military Engineering, and to the several departments
of Physical Science, should occupy a conspicuous station.

Resolved: That love of country, a sacred regard for the Constitution of
the United States, and for the L'nionof these States on strictly constitutional
principles, obeilience to the laws, etc., should be earnestly inculcated and
adopted as cardinal principles in the education of American youth.

Resolved: That everj-thing of a sectarian character, both in reUgion and
politics, should be utterly excluded from all the institutions for the education
of our youth, but that the great principles of natural and revealed religion
which tend to promote peace and harmony in society, and to make mankind
in every respect practically better, should be urgently inculcated.

Resolved: That this convention, believing that education is more powerful
than the lever of Archimedes to sustain or crush the Civil and Political In-
stitutions of oiu" coimtry, according as it is in accordance with or in opposition
to the principles of such institutions, and also that a system of education based
on the principles contained in the foregoing resolutions would be in harmonious
accordance with oiu- Republican Institutions, deem it of vital importance to
the permanency of those Institutions, that said system be permanently estab-
lished in the United States.

Resolved: That for the purpose of accomplishing this important object,
this convention deems it necessary that there be established at some suitable
location and properly endowed, one principal Institution of an elevated charac-
ter, and such a niunber of preparatory- ones at suitable locations, as circum-
stances will permit.

Resolved: That for the purpose of raising the necessary funds for carrving
into practical effect the foregoing plan, all those who have been educated
at the A. L. S. »fc M. Academv at Norwich and Middletown. and also those


who have subsequently been educated at Norwich, Buffalo, Portsmouth, Va.,
Bristol, Harrisburg and Reading, Pa., and Pembroke, N. H., in fine, all those
who have worn the bullet button, be urgently requested to contribute of their
means to aid the accomplishment of this important object.

Resolved: That the patriotic citizen sohliery of the United States, the
Sword and Buckler of the Republic to repel foreign invasion in times of war,
and the right arm of the civil authority to sustain the laws in peace and war,
be respectfully requested to contribute both their means and influence to this
important object. It will constitute the most certain means of replenishing
their ranks with scientific and well-instructed recruits.

Resolved: That all who are friendly to a liberal, practically useful, and
truly American system of education, be respectfully requested to contribute
their aid to the accomplishment of the foregoing object."'

The resolution.s were adopted and a committee of five, con-
sisting of Captain Partridge, chairman; Benjamin B. Newton,
Edward M. Brown, '44, Calvin P. Xewton, '23, Friend P. Fletcher,
'39, was appointed to secure a location for the new Institution.
Captain Partridge was appointed agent to secure funds for the

The convention met at 8 a. m., August 14. A corresponding
committee was appointed which consisted of the following men:
Captain Partridge, Edward M. Brown, "44, Calvin P. Newton, '23,
Gen. James McKay, "27. Col. John Winn, '41, Gen. W. W. H.
Davis, '42, Gen. E. A. Phelps, "28, Hon. Henry W. Cushman, '25,
Washington J. Bennett, '28, Hon. WiUiam L. Lee, '42, Winfield
S. Sherwood. '37, Jabez C. Crooker, '43, Edwin F. Johnson, '25,
Hon. Valentine B. Horton, '25 and Daniel H. Duston, '41.

The following resolutions were adopted:

"Resolved: That the general agent appointed by this Convention, at its
session on the 13th of August, 1851, for obtaining funds for the establishment
of a Literarj-, Scientific and Militarj- Institute be allowed ten percent on all
the funds he shall obtain and deposit in the hands of such agent, or treasurer,
as this Convention appoints to receive the same at the meeting. September 3,

Resolved: That this Convention, composed as well of those who have
witnessed the results of Capt. Alden Partridge's system of education, as of
those who have had the advantage of his instruction, are satisfied from their
own experiences and observation, that Captain Partridge's plan of education,
which he was the first to originate and to carrj^ into practical operation, is
the only true American system, and one best calculated to train youth into
intelligent, scientific, brave, energetic and upright citizens, and industrious
and moral men.

Resolved: That Captain Partridge's system of education, combining as
it does, thorough phj'sical training with moral and mental culture, is the
only one on which the people can rely to make their posterity truly guardians
of our liberties, and to perpetuate our free institutions.


Resolved: That the gratitude of the country is due to Captain Partridge
for his untiring exertions in behalf of the great interests of education, and
for the influence of his instructions, in the formation of a truly National spirit
and character.

Resolved: That we, his old pupils, hereby tender to Capt. Alden Partridge,
our sincerest and most hearty thanks for the benefits of the instruction and
discipline which we received from him, and of which we become more and
more sensible as our years pass away."

A committee consisting of General Diller, William Good-
rich, '26, and James S. Wallace, '23, was appointed to act on the
following resolutions :

"Resolved: That this Convention has learned with great satisfaction,
that a Literary, Scientific and Military Institute, is now established at Read-
ing, Pa. That we feel a strong interest in the welfare and success of that
Institution, and respectfully recommend to the people of Reading and Penn-
sylvania to take measures to put the same on a permanent basis. That a
committee be appointed to confer with the friends of the establishment at
Reading, with a view to the best interests of that Institution."

The association then formed a permanent organization con-
sisting of the following officers: Captain Partridge, president;
John S. Wallace, secretary; Benjamin B. Newton, treasurer. The
association then adjourned to meet in Middletown, Conn., on
September 3, 1852.

Captain Partridge issued the following circular in regard
to the new Institution:

"Parents and guardians, desirous of entering their sons and wards at an
advanced standing under this system of education, are requested to send them
if possible, to one of the following institutions, where they will be well prepared
to enter at such advanced standing, viz: To the New Hampshire Military
Institute, at Lebanon, N. H., six miles from Norwich; to the Virginia Colleg-
iate Institute at Portsmouth, Va., or to the Pennsylvaina Military Institute
at Reading, Pa.

"The Principal Institution will probably be located at Norwich, Vt., or
Lebanon, N. H., until a permanent location shall be decided upon, and opened
in the Spring under my personal superintendence and instruction, assisted
by able teachers who have been educated under my system. In this Institu-
tion students will receive a full course of education that will prepare them
equally well for any of the learned professions; for civil and military engineers,
for active business life, and for public stations whether civil or military.

Signed, A. PARTRIDGE."
Norwich, Vt., September 1851.

The convention met in Middletown, Conn., in September,
1852, and was well attended by the former cadets of the old "A.
L. S. & M. Academy" and "N. U.," and efforts were continued


for founding a new Institution. The soliciting committee met
with very little encouragement and in 1854 the meetings were

At a meeting of the board of trustees of the University,
August 4, 1853, it was voted to remove the Institution to some
town east of the Green Mountains in Vermont, provided the town
would raise ten thousand dollars for the needs of the Institution.
The citizens of Montpelier at once took action in the matter and
raised the necessary amount. The citizens of Norwich had taken
very little interest in aiding the University, and when it became
known that Montpelier was likely to secure the location of the
Institution, became aroused. A protest was presented by them,
to the board of trustees and the state legislature. At a meeting
of the trustees, November 3, 1853, the needs of the Institution
were thoroughly discussed. The citizens of Norwich promised the
board substantial aid and after much deliberation it was voted to
remain in Norwich. The State of Vermont gave the Institution a
liberal donation from an unappropriated school fund, and several
friends also made liberal subscriptions. The University by this
timely aid was saved from ruin. Several vexatious law suits were
settled, the debt on the buildings was paid, and many improve-
ments were made. The University continued in a fairly prosperous
condition until 1861, when, on the breaking out of the Civil War,
the attendance was largely increased, thus giving more funds for
the maintenance of the Institution.

During this period the University received the support of the
Episcopal church, but the cadets who belonged to other denomi-
nations were treated with scrupulous impartiality.

Within the year 1860, began events which foreshadowed war.
With the threats of secession from the South, the "N. U." cadet
began to realize that his training at the University might be of
service to the country; that the hours spent in drill and the study
of tactics were not spent in vain. As time sped on and the clamor
of war grew louder, the excitement increased at the University; the
discussions on the war could not be kept out of the class room.
Every class opened and closed its sessions with discussions on this
momentous topic; the drills were executed with new vigor and
much extra time was spent in the study of tactics and strategy.
The cadets became members of the Lincoln, Douglass, Brecken-
ridge and Bell Clubs. The* Dartmouth students across the Con-
necticut began to realize that the military institution in Norwich
stood for more than a show of brass buttons, and that the time


might not be for distant when they would be glad to serve under a
Norwich man. The feud between the two institutions was dropped
and the students of Dartmouth and Norwich were soon fraternizing
in the various political clubs. They marched together in the
torch light processions, given in honor of the presidential candi-
dates, and delivered speeches from the same platform in various
towns in the vicinity of Norwich and Hanover.

On the breaking out of the hostilities in April, 1861, the ex-
citement knew no bounds at the University. The cadets left in
large numbers for the front. ]\Iany were appointed drill masters
for the volunteers in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massa-
chusetts and other states. They were also called on to drill and
instruct the Dartmouth students. In April, 1862, Instructor
Samuel W. Shattuck, '60, who was a sergeant-major in the Sixth
Massachusetts Infantry, was ordered to join his regiment for
service at Washington, D. C. He was escorted to White River
Junction by the corps, which at that time numbered fifty-seven;
of this number forty-five, within two years, served in the field
with rank from lieutenant to colonel. A number of men came to
the University during lS61-6.'>, for instruction in drill and tactics
for periods from two weeks to several months. They were not
regularly enrolled as cadets and no record, unfortunately, has
been i)reserved of these men. The catalogue published in Novem-
ber, 1861, states that sixty men, not cadets, pursued a course in
tactics. By research, it has been found that several of these men
gained distinction in the war.

In June, 1862, the famous "College Cavaliers" (q. v.) was
organized. We quote from the University records of August 12,

"In the early part of the Summer term of this year, (1862), Governor
Sprague of Rhode Island determined to raise some Cavalrj' Volunteers, three
months men. He invited students especially to form one company. Above
twenty of our cadets enlisted in this regiment and five others went away
from us in sympathy, because their classes were in some measure broken up.
This very much diminished our numbers, leaving us, however, seventy still

This account of the formation of the "College Cavaliers"
differs somewhat from the complete histor}^ which is given in
Chapter IX. In October, 1864, the corps was called on for ser-
vice at Newport, Vermont, during the St. Albans raid excite-
ment. A full account of this service, also complete details as


far as known of the service of the alumni and past cadets in the
various wars, is given in Chapter IX.

On March 14, 1866, the Old South Barracks was l:)urned.
We give the account of the fire from the pen of Mr. William R.
Cutter, '68.

" 'The Monitor (Concord, N. H.,) has received an account of the complete
destruction by fire, last evening;, of the Norwich (Vt.) Military University.
The libraries, paintings and furniture were mostly saved. Amount of insur-
ance not ascertained. The fire was supposed to have caught from a de-
fective chimney. It is feared that this calamity will prove a death blow to an
honored institution, which has sent forth many brave men to battle for tha

"Such was the notice which conveyed the news of our calamity
to the people of the land. The expected death blow, however did
not come. The perseverance inherent in militarj' training held both
officers and men together and their po.sition today justifies their
patience. The fire was supposed to have caught from a defective chim-
ney which was in the fourth story near the rooms occupied by the classes
in P'rench. A small number only of the rooms on this upper story were occu-
pied by students. The third floor contained the larger number of cadets. A
few students and one or two of the facult}^ roomed on the second, and a very few
roomed on the lower floor, or first story, where was located the room called the
library, containin;;; the paintings mentioned as among the things saved. The
ordinary fire department of any of our present cities with its modern steamers,
if such had existed in Norwich or its neighborhood, could have saved the
property at the outset. Our dependence was the ordinary wooden water pail.
As in all small communities, centered for social life largely among them.'^elves,
there were at the time and afterwards in our Institution, men who spread
rumors of an incriminating cause for the fire, dishonorable to certain of the
members, which I am disposed to consider were ^^■ithout foundation. While I
admit certain petty jealousies did exist on the part of a few, no one, I believe,
was dishonest or base enough to wilfully burn or destroy a building so essential
the well being of the majority. On the other hand, when the fire was discov-
ered, everyone diligently tried to put it out. The evening was pleasant and
there was melted snow water on the ground in front of the building through

Online LibraryWilliam Arba EllisNorwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) → online text (page 15 of 61)