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

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Franklin — Oratorical Contests and Prizes — Cadet Band — Deaths
OF Cadets — Removal to Middletown — Opposition to Chartering
of the Academy' — Ch.ange of M.anagement — The Prep.^ratory School
IN Norwich — Return to Norwich — Account of the Association for
the Promotion of Useful Education.

The American Literarj^, Scientific and Militaiy Academy, out
of which grew the Norwich University, was founded by Capt.
Alden Partridge in Norwich, Vt., August 6, 1819.

Capt. Partridge was a graduate of the U. S. MiUtaiy Academy,
class of 180G, and had served at the National Academy as assistant
professor and professor of Mathematics 1806-1813, professor of
Engineering 1813-1816, and Superintendent 1815-1817. He was
engaged during a portion of 1817 and 1818 in giving instruction
in military tactics to a volunteer corps and in delivering military
lectures to a class of officers in New York.

In the early part of 1819, he was employed as U. S. Govern-
ment engineer in charge of the survey of the northeastern bound-
ary under the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent. In July
of this year, he resigned his position to carry into effect a plan of
education that had occupied much of his attention since 1810.

Capt. Partridge was one of the best known officers of the Army
and had met with marked success in his work at the Academy.
He had for some 3'ears advocated through his writings and lectures
many reforms in the educational system of our country. He was
many years ahead of his time in his ideas of education and means of
National Defense. His lectures on these topics, delivered in the



twenties, if published at the present time, would be thoroughly up
to date. The following extract from his lecture on education, deliv-
ered in 1820, presents some of his views on the defects of the system
of education in this country: "The system of education adopted
in the United States seems to me to be defective in many respects :
First: It is not sufficiently practical, nor properly adapted to the
various duties an American citizen may be called upon to discharge.
Second : Another defect in the present system is the entire neglect
in all our principal seminaries of physical education, or the cultiva-
tion and improvement of the physical powers of the student.
Third: Another defect in our system is the amount of idle time
allowed the student. Fourth: A fourth defect is the allowing to
students of the wealthier class too much money, thereby inducing
habits of extravagance and dissipation highly injurious to them-
selves and also to the Seminaries of which they are members.
Fifth: Is the requiring all students to pursue the same course of
study. Sixth : Is the prescribing the length of time for completing.
as it is termed, the course of education. By this means the good
scholar is placed nearly on a level with the sluggard, for whatever
may be his exertions, he can gain nothing with respect to time,
and the latter has, in consequence of this, less stimulus for ex-
ertion.' '

He was opposed to the policy of maintaining a large standing
army as he felt such an army would be a menace to the Republic.
He believed in a citizen-soldiery, and early advocated that the U. S.
Government should thoroughly train the al^le-bodied citizens in
the art of war.

He suggested that the country be divided into thirty districts;
that an officer with the rank of colonel of infantry be assigned as
instructor of the militia in each district; that each brigade of
militia be assembled at stated periods and receive practical in-
struction for six days; that each instructor visit the brigades in
succession; that each officer receive a "reasonable allowance for
his expenses while attending the instruction,' ' and while going
to and from the rendezvous.

He adds: "By this means the country, in the course of a few
years, would be furnished with a well-organized military force of at
least one million men. ****** j^q^ practical and
scientific military instruction be a part of our system of education,
and we shall become a nation of citizen soldiers; the need of a large
standing army will be done away; in case of sedition or foreign in-


vasion a sufficient force will be ready to take the field, and when
the emergency passes away the character of the soldier will be
lost in that of the citizen. Scarcely ever has a nation lost her
liberties w^hen her armies were composed of her own citizens,
who fought for the preservation of their liberties and property.' '

He saw that the National Academy would never be able to
supply all the officers needed for both the regular army and the
militia; hence, the necessity of an institution where the attendance
would not be restricted. Then, too, he saw the necessity of a
technical institution where the young men could be trained in
engineering and be ready to assist in the development of the
countr}'. There was a great demand for engineers. The subject
of canal construction and the improvement of the livers for naviga-
tion was receiving the attention of the public. Capt. Partridge
saw clearly his opportunity for founding a civilian institution for
the training of soldiers and engineers, and grasped it.

In July, 1S19, he returned to his old home at Norwich, Ver-
mont. Norwich at this time was one of the most important towns
in eastern Vermont and contained many wealthy I'esidents.
When Capt. Partridge's plan was presented to the public, he
received offers of money and land from various towns, provided
he would locate the new institution within their borders. The
citizens of Norwich offered the site for the Academy and sub-
scribed money to build a commodious barracks. After careful
deliberation, Capt. Partridge concluded to locate the school
in his home town. He felt that the location in the country
was better than in the city as his plan of discipline could be more
easily carried out, and the opportunity of practical engineering
field work among the hills of Vermont could not be excelled

The contract for the erection of the first building was given to
Joseph Emerson of Norwich. On Friday, August 6, 1819, occurred
the ceremony of laying the corner stone. A large platform, on
which were seated the invited guests, was erected before the
foundation. Rev. James Woodward invoked the divine blessing for
the success of the new school and then delivered an eloquent
oration. His text was taken from Psalm 127, Verse 1 : " Except
the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except
the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
The exercises were attended by several hundred people from
Norwich, Hanover and the surrounding towns. Several pieces


of money were placed under the two great corners. The building
was completed the next summer. It was one of the largest edu-
cational buildings in the State. It was constructed of brick
and was four stories high, one hundred feet long, fifty feet wide,
presenting a front of fifty-two windows. The building was divided
into forty-two rooms for the cadets, each 18 x 24 feet; two large
recitation rooms; a lecture room and an armory. The grounds,
comprising about five acres of land, were surrounded by a high
fence, and on each side of the gate at the main entrance was lo-
cated a brick guard house.

A prospectus of the Academy was printed in various papers of
the country in 1819 and 1820. We give below the announce-
ment of '' The Academy' ' published in the " Windsor Journal/ '
Vermont, in 1820, which supplements a regular prospectus, giving
details of the courses of study, expenses and the regulations.
The announcement also presents several of Capt. Partridge's
views on education and military training.

Having recently issued a Prospectus containing a plan of the system of
education which I propose adopting in the Literary, Scientific and Military
Academy I am at present engaged in establishing, I deem it a duty which I
owe the public to explain more fully my views in the establishing of this
Seminary, and also of the principles on which it is to be conducted, than
could well be done in a mere prospective notice. In organizing the plan of
education for this institution I have taken for my guide, in part, the constitu-
tion of the United States. By the wise provisions of this instrument and
the laws made on purpose thereof, the grand military defence of our favored
country, both against external invasion and internal insurrection, is vested
in the great mass of American Citizens, from eighteen to forty-five years of
age. These constitute the grand military force of the nation; a force whose
feelings and interests are identified with those of the great body of the people,
and which, while it forms an impregnable barrier around the constitution
and liberties of the country, is in no respect dangerous to either. But in
order that this constitutional force should answer the purpose for which it
was originally instituted, it must be properly organized and duly instructed
in the elements, at least, of military science and tactics. Hence arises the
necessity, in our country, of au extended system of military education, and
of a general diffusion of military knowledge. If these so necessary requisites
be not attended to, if the great body of American citizens do not feel that they
are something more than merely nominal soldiers, our population will grad-
ually degenerate, our militia, so emphatically styled the bulwark of our
liberties and independence, will lose their military spirit, will decline and
finally be destroyed; on their ruins will spring up the standing army, detached
by feeling and by interest from the great mass of the people, and when this
crisis arrives, it will not require the spirit of prophecy to predict our fate


from that of the most celebrated repubhc of antiquity. The Hberties of
Rome were safe while military information was generally diffused and every
Roman citizen considered and felt himself a soldier. But, how fatal were the
results when by the operations of a sj'stem organized by Caius Marius, the
saviour and scourge of Rome, and matured by Julius Caesar with a view
doubtless to the accomplishment of his ultimate object, the final prostration
of the liberties of the country. Those noble and patriotic legions which had
so often, in time of peril and danger, proved the shield of their country and
the terror of its enemies, were transformed into mere mercenary bands,
alienated from the country and identified in views and interests with their
leaders alone. But Rome, though the most striking, is not the only instance
in which similar causes have produced like effects. The republics of Greece
furnish additional instances. Can any one believe that if the Greeks in the
age of Demosthenes had possessed the same spirit and organization which
they did in the age of Themistocles and Aristides, or, if the soldiers who
fought at Cheronea had been of the same stamp with those who fought at
Marathon and Thermopylae, they would have so tamely submitted their
necks to the yoke of the Macedonian Conqueror? From an attentive con-
sideration of these, as well as of many other similar instances which might
be adduced, I am forced to the conclusion that in every republic the due
cultivation of a proper military spirit amongst the great mass of the people
and a general diffusion of military information are indispensably necessary
for the preservation of liberty; and consequently that those republics which
neglect these requisites, will eventually be driven to exchange their freedom
for a form of government bordering at least on military despotism.

In making these observations, however, I beg not to be misunderstood as
recommending a system of education for our youth purely military, very far
from this. I mean nothing more than that the military should constitute
an appendage to their civil education and thereby qualify them for the
correct and efficient discharge of their duties as soldiers when their country
may require their services in that capacity. I have not attempted to prove
the necessity of a competent military defence to every state which intends
to maintain its independence free from the encroachments of surrounding
nations; this necessity is too self evident, I presume, to be doubted by any
rational person. Should anyone, however, after a thorough and candid
examination of the past history and present state of the world, be disposed
seriously to question it, I would waive the task of endeavoring to convince

Having thus freely expressed my ideas on the importance, in a national
point of view, of a general diffusion of military information, I will proceed to
notice more particularly some of the advantages arising from a due cultiva-
tion of military science applicable more especially to young gentlemen destined
for a liberal education. It is from this class of citizens that we are to look
for a large portion of our Statesmen, Legislators, Historians and Travellers,
and I ask, will not the statesman be much better qualified to estimate cor-
rectly the military strength and resources of his country, the legislators to
frame laws on military affairs with a more perfect adaptation to the object
in view, the historian to compile with greater judgment and more general
utility his narration of battles and sieges, and the traveller to estimate with
greater precision and correctness the real strength and military resources


of other nations and therefore return to his own country with a greater stock
of useful information, when aided by a scientific military education, than
could possibly be done without it.

On this subject I believe there could be but one opinion, a systematic
knowledge of fortification and of tactics so indispensably necessary for a
full and correct understanding of history, a large portion of which is made
up of descriptions of battles and sieges, and also in many cases, of common
newspaper reading. Without such knowledge the traveller would find
himself much embarrassed were he to attempt the description of almost any
of the principal cities on the continent of Europe, of which, generally speaking,
the fortifications constitute the most important apjjendages. A scientific
military education I conceive then, may, without hesitation, be pronounced
as conferring many and important advantages abstracted from any connection
with the military profession without the least possible disadvantages to
counter-balance them. Its importance when received in connection with
the profession of arms is too evident to need any illustration. The practical
military exercises I should conceive of sufficient importance to warrant
their introduction into Seminaries of learning generally, were they of no other
use than to give to the students a good figure, a manly and noble demeanour,
and, what is of more importance, to render them healthy and vigorous. It
is a melancholy fact, that many of our most promising youths, by the time they
have completed their course of education and are prepared to enter the grand
theatre of action and useful life, have so completely lost their health that even
if they survive for a time, they are nevertheless rendered in a great measure
useless to society.

This I conceive is in a great measure occasioned by the want of regular
and healthy exercise and also from the habit that many students (particularly
those that are the most studious) acquire of leaning over their tables to study.

The "Academy" was opened for the reception of students,
September 4, 1820. The first cadet enrolled was Cyril Pennock, of
Hartford, Vt. The attendance during September 4, 1820-August,
1821, numbered 100, and came from eleven states and one foreign
country, as follows : Vermont 60, New Hampshire 27, New York
3, Maine 2, Georgia 2, Michigan Territory 2, South Carolina 1,
Louisiana 1, Ohio 1, Canada 1. The catalogue published in Novem-
ber, 1821, gives the attendance as 117, distributed as follows:
Vermont 54, New Hampshire 26, Massachusetts 11, New York 7,
Maine 4, South Carolina 4, Connecticut 3, Michigan Territory 2,
Georgia 2, Ohio 1, Louisiana 1, Pennsylvania 1, Canada 1. Among
this list of cadets appear the names of the following naval officers :
Lieut. Thomas W. Freelon, Assistant Surgeon James Norris and
Lieut. Hiram Paulding. In November, 1822, the attendance had
increased to 135, representing sixteen states. The catalogue
published August, 1823, gives the attendance as 158, twenty
states being represented. The catalogue published August, 1824,


gives the attendance as 162, eighteen states and three foreign
countries being represented. In the prospectus issued in 1825,
announcing the removal of the " Academy' ' to Middletown, Conn.,
the attendance, up to the removal from Norwich in 1825, was
480 men.

From Maine,


From South Carolina,






New Hampshire












Rhode Island,




New York,








New Jersey,


District of Columbia,








Havana, Cuba,




Island Scio, Greece,


North Carolina,


We quote from the catalogue: "Of the above number
twenty are commissioned and warrant officers in the U. S. Navy,
viz: four lieutenants, one assistant surgeon and fifteen midship-
men. Out of the whole, 441 have been engaged in the study of
Mathematics and out of this number 145 have completed a
full course of 'Hutton's Mathematics.' Of these, eighty have, in
addition, attended to practical Mathematics, fifty-six have con-
tinued their course through the study of Philosophy, and others
are now fast progressing in the accomplishment of those higher
branches also. The whole number who have studied the Greek
and Latin Languages is about 150. Of these, twenty-five have
advanced far towards completing a course, although none have
gone entirely through. Of those not included in the last mentioned
number, many have fitted for college, or progressed still farther,
and many are progressing. What is here considered a course,
is the same which is laid down in the prospectus, which could be
scarcely completed in the period since the establishment of the
institution. The number of those who have attended to the
French Language is about 130. Twenty have become well
acquainted with the language — thirty are well advanced, and
many of the remainder have made respectable progress. About



ten or twelve of those who have been, or are now members of the
institution, have devoted considerable time to the instruction of
militia and volunteer corps in this and various other sections of
the country, and many of them are still engaged in that useful

The catalogue issued October, 1826, gives the attendance as
293. Twenty states and territories were represented, also five
foreign countries, England, Canada, Greece, West Indies and Cuba.
Of the above number 102 cadets came from the Southern States.

The A. L. S. & M. Academy in 1820.

The second catalogue, published in December, 1826, gives the
attendance as 297. The catalogue published in August, 1827,
gives the attendance as 252. The attendance from 1828 until
the summer of 1829, when the " Academy' ' was suspended, is not
definitely known. It is stated the attendance for that year
averaged over three hundred cadets. The attendance, as given
by the old catalogue, and additional names supplied by research,
was 972. The attendance for the years 1829-35 is not definitely
known. Major H. V. Morris, '36, who was a cadet from 1831-36,
wrote in 1897 that "the corps of cadets was small and averaged
about thirty to forty cadets each year." We give the estimated


attendance from 1828 to 1835 as 230, making the total attendance
at the old "A. L. S. & M. Academy" 1202.

The faculty the first year was composed of: — Capt. Alden
Partridge, A. M., Superintendent and professor of Mathematics,
Philosophy and Military Science; Rev. Rufus William Bailey,
A. M., Chaplain and professor of Ethics; James Freeman Dana,
M. D., professor of Chemistry; George Perkins Marsh, A. B.,
professor of the Greek and Latin languages; Ebenezer Bancroft
Williston, professor of the Latin and English languages; John
Milton Partridge, professor of Practical Geometry, Topography,
and acting sword master; Hiram P. Woodworth, assistant in

In the fall of 1821 the faculty was increased to seven members.
Professor Marsh resigned in June, 1821, and Prof. Ralph Metcalf
was elected in his place. Rev. James W. Woodward, A. M., was
placed in charge of the work in Histoiy and Geography. Cadets
Daniel H. Bingham, Calvin P. Newton, Hiram P. Woodworth
and John M. Mack were appointed tutors in Arithmetic and
John Holbrook, assistant in Latin. In 1822 the faculty was
increased to eight members. Prof. Ralph Metcalf resigned the
chair of Latin and the English languages. Monsieur Francois
Peyre-Ferry was elected to the professorship of French, and
Signor F. Palioni, teacher of the Italian language. In 1823
W. W. Bailey was elected professor of Instrumental Music and
Prof. Nathaniel Sprague, professor of the Latin language. The
instruction in the Italian language was discontinued.

In August, 1824, Rev. Rufus W. Bailey, Prof. James F. Dana
and Prof. Nathaniel Sprague resigned. Rev. James W. Wood-
ward, A. M., became the Chaplain and professor of the Latin
language, Ethics and Belles-Lettres Prof. Joseph Barratt, a
graduate of an English Medical College, became Surgeon and
professor of Chemistry, Botany and Mineralogy. Cadet Edwin
F. Johnson, instructor of Practical Geometry and Mathema-
tics; Cadets H. P. Woodworth and J. D. Allen, instructors in
Mathematics; Cadet Elisha Dunbar, instructor in Mathematics
and Topography; Cadet V. B. Horton, instructor in Latin and
Cadet John Holbrook, instructor in Latin and English.

The membership of the faculty for 1825 is not fully known,
but is said to have been practically the same as in 1826. Prof.
Peter Proal, (q. v.) was professor of the Spanish language,
1825 until his death, April, 1826. The faculty in the fall of 1826
was composed of thirteen professors and eleven instructors.


Capt. Alden Partridge, professor of Mathematics, Philosophy
and Military Science; J. Barratt, M. P., Physician and professor
of Chemistry, Botany and Mineralogy; J. R. Bowes, professor
of Civil Engineering; Hiram P. Woodworth, '25, assistant profes-
sor of Natural Philosophy and instructor in Mathematics; E. B.
Williston, A. B., ] rofessor of Greek and Latin languages; John
H. Lathrop, A. B., professor of the English language and litera-
ture; Rev. B. Glover, A. B., professor of Logic and instructor
in Latin and Greek; F. P. Ferry, professor of the French language
and Jose A. PizzarOj'^professor Jof the Spanish language; Rev.
Walter Colton, A. M., Chaplain and professor of Belles-Lettres;
Rev. B. G. Noble, A. M., professor of Intellectual Philosophy and
History; Elisha Dunbar, instructor in Mathematics and Naviga-
tion; E. F. Johnson, '25, instructor in Practical Mathematics
and assistant professor of Philosophy; Valentine B. Horton, '25,
John Holbrook, '25, Truman B. Ransom, '25, J. McKay, '25, Cadets
J. N. Palmer and Ozro P. Jennison, instructors in Arithmetic;
T. B. Ransom, '25, instructor in Music; P. Thomas, Sword-
master and instructor in Dancing; C. H. Perry, '23, instructor
in Penmanship; J. P. Hatch, '25, instructor in Bookkeeping and
Cadet G. Barnard, instructor in English grammar.

In 1827 the faculty numbered twenty and remained practi-
cally as in 1826. E. F. Johnson, '25, was advanced to the profes-
sorship of Practical Mathematics and Civil Engineering. In
1828, there was a reorganization of the "Academy." Captain
Partridge became its president; Valentine B. Horton, '25, superin-
tendent, and C. H. Perry, '23, adjutant; E. F. Johnson, '25,
professor of Practical Mathematics and Civil Engineering; Ben-
jamin M. Tyler, '23, professor of Mathematics and Natural
Philosophy; C. H. Periy, '23, instructor of Mathematics; Profs.
Barratt and Colton held their former positions; V. B. Horton, '25,
was professor of Moral Philosophy and Political Economy; Rev.
L. Wright, professor of'the Greek and Latin languages; A. Rod-

Online LibraryWilliam Arba EllisNorwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) → online text (page 2 of 61)