William Arba Ellis.

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

. (page 7 of 61)
Online LibraryWilliam Arba EllisNorwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

student on joining the "Academy " was required to pay one quarter's
tuition and room rent in advance, after which pa3^ment was re-
quired at the expiration of ever}^ quarter.

In 1826 the tuition in the regular studies was $5 per quarter
or $20 per year; room rent $8 per year; instruction in the
extras, French, Spanish, Fencing, Dancing, Penmanship, Music and
lectures in Botany, Chemistry and Mineralogy $5 per year for
each; board, including washing and mending, $1.75 per week or
$84 for an academic year of 48 weeks; making the entire ex-
pense for tuition, board and room rent, $117 per year.

In 1827 the tuition, not including extras, was increased to $50
per year. Tuition for French, Spanish, Music, Fencing, Dancing,
and the lectures was $5 per quarter. Penmanship $2 per
quarter and incidental expenses $4 per j^ear.

The rooms of the students were military in their simplicity of
equipment. In Norwich from two to four cadets occupied each
room. The cadets were required to sleep on mattresses or straw
beds and feather beds were prohibited. The cadets took care of
their rooms in rotation. The furniture and equipment of each
room was uniform. Captain Partridge took every precaution to
keep his" Academy "democratic. The rich students were given no
more privileges than the poor ones. No cadet was allowed to pay
more for his board than the price fixed at the "Academy."- The
amount of clothing was restricted to the following schedule:

1st. Uniform coats, two for the fi.rst year, and not to exceed
one for every nine months afterward.


2d. Blue pantaloons, two pairs for the first year, and not to
exceed one for every nine months afterward.

3d. Blue vests, not to exceed one in each year.

4th. Summer pantaloons, four pairs for the first year, and not
to exceed two pairs for each year afterward.

5th. Summer vests, four for the first year, and not to exceed
two for each year afterward.

6th. Shoes, not to exceed four pairs, and one pair of bootees
for each year.

7th. Half gaiters, not to exceed one pair for each year.

8th. Winter stockings, not to exceed four pairs for each year.

9th. Summer stockings, not to exceed five pairs for each year.

10th. Plaid great coats, not to exceed one in two years.

11th. Uniform caps, one for the first year, and not to exceed
one for every eighteen months afterward.

12th. Undress caps, not to exceed the number of uniform

13th. Knapsacks, not to exceed one in two years.

14th. Stocks, not to exceed two for the first year and one
for every year afterward.

15th. Pocket handkerchiefs, four for the first year and not
to exceed two for each year afterward.

16th. Fatigue frocks, two for the first year and not to ex-
ceed one for each year afterward.

17th. Fatigue trousers, two pairs for the first year and not
to exceed one pair for each year afterwards.

ISth. Letter paper, four quires for each year.

19th. Fools cap, four quires for each year.

20th. Quills, not to exceed two bunches, or four dozen, for
each year.

21st. Candles, not to exceed one pound per month, from the
20th of March to the 20th of September, and two pounds per
month the remainder of the year.

22d. Candlesticks and snuffers, one of each during the time
a cadet may be a member of the institution.

23d. Shoe blacking, not to exceed four bottles per year.

24th. Wafers, not to exceed two boxes per year.

25th.f F Penknives, not to exceed one in each year.

26th. • Blank books, not to exceed one in each year for each
branch of study which requires the use of one.

27th. Inkstands and sand-boxes, one of each during the
time a cadet is a member of the institution.


28th. Ink, not to exceed two bottles for each year.

29th. Classical books to be regulated by the Superintendent
according to the different branches of study in which the pupil
is engaged.

30th. Fuel. The amount to be regulated by the Superin-
tendent, from time to time, according to the severity of the

31st. Drawing paper, and whatever else may be necessary
for those attending to Topography, etc., to be regulated by the
Superintendent, according to the circumstances of the case.

32d. It w^ould be advisable for each cadet to bring with him
such amount of linen as would be requisite for the first year, at
least; after which he would be furnished with what was necessary,
under the direction of the Superintendent.

The cadets were required to board at the " commons' ' unless
special permission was given to board elsewhere. The " commons' '
in the early years was, at times, no more popular than the " Mess
Hair ' of more recent years. Many tales are told of " insurrections' '
of the cadets in being forced to eat at the "commons. " Even the
distinguished Horatio Seymour was suspended for a time for taking
part in a midnight raid on the "commons. '

The athletics of the early times were confined to the military
drills, pedestrian tours, fencing, rowing, swimming and skating.
Many of the cadets became experts with the foils and the broad-
sword. The cadets took especial delight in skating on the Con-
necticut River and the story is handed down of the record made by
Paul C. Cameron in 1827 in skating fifty continuous miles on the

The Greek Letter fraternities were unknown in the early
days and it is doubtful whether Captain Partridge would have
allowed their introduction in the "Academy" as being too secret,
for a military institution. Yet societies of literary nature were
formed soon after the founding of the "Academy." A newspaper
clipping gives an account of a public meeting given in 1823 by an
elocutionary society. Two societies existed at Middletown. The
"Polemic Society" was formed in 1825 by the faculty and cadets
of the " Academy" and met at stated periods in the Lyceum Hall.
We also have a record of the "Franklin Society." On July 4,
1827, Cadet Thomas H. Seymour delivered the Fourth of July
oration in the Lyceum Hall before the cadets and many invited
guests. A meeting of the society was held in their rooms in
the "Academy," July 7, 1827, and a vote of thanks was given


Cadet Seymour for delivering the address, and a committee, con-
sisting of W. C. Winchester, R. S. Rogers and J. A. McKaleb, was
appointed to convey their thanks to him and to request a copy
of the oration for publication. The request was granted and the
oration was published in November, 1827, by E. and H. Clark of
Middletown, in a pamphlet of fifteen pages. The oration was an
able production and Cadet Seymour, though only a youth of twenty
years, showed remarkable talent as an orator.

Careful attention was given to instruction in elocution and
oratory, and in these societies the cadets were enabled to put their
instruction in practice. The results of this practical work in the
societies is well shown in the long list of cadets who were after-
wards noted for their oratory and their public services. We will
only mention a few of the more prominent cadets: Horatio Sey-
mour, Governor of New York; Thomas H. Seymour, Governor of
Connecticut; Valentine B. Horton, Congressman from Ohio;
Philip Phillips, Congressman from Alabama; Luther R. Marsh,
the distinguished lawyer; Edwin F. Johnson, the distinguished
civil engineer; Thomas Bragg, Governor of North Carolina; Truman
B. Ransom, president of "Norwich University"; WiUiam A. Beach,
the distinguished lawyer of New York; Prof. E. B. Williston, the
distinguished author; Theophilus Fisk, the cUstinguished lecturer;
Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

At the close of the public examinations in August, 1827, six
prizes were given as follows; The first prize, a silver medal, was
awarded George C. Powell of Virginia, for the best English oration;
the second prize, a silver medal, was given to Joel H. Tracy of Ver-
mont, for the best poem; the third prize, a silver medal, was also
awarded to Cadet Tracy for the best English dialogue; the fourth
prize, a silver medal, was given to Luther R. Marsh for the second
best English oration; the fifth prize, a silver medal, was awarded to
John H. Vance of Maryland, for excelling in declamation; and the
sixth prize, a silver medal, was given Charles H. Graham of New
York, as one of the class under fifteen years of age excelling in

In 1828 four silver medals were given for the best English
oration, best English poem, best dialogue, and the best work in
public declamation.

A band was organized at the " Academy" in 1820. The cadet
musicians were given their tuition for their services. In 1823,
Prof. W. W. Bailey was given charge of the band and continued
at the " Academy" until the removal to Middletown, Conn. Prof.


T. B. Ransom had charge of the band during 1825-28; Edwin
Sturtevant, in 1828, succeeded Ranson as the band leader.

The band led the corps on the various marches and played at
the various "Academy " entertainments, also at several public cele-

The Middletown Gazette of Middletown, in an editorial,
June 22, 1826, gave the band, under the leadership of Prof. Ransom,
a compliment for their fine work at a Masonic celebration held in
that city.

Several musicians of note were educated at the "Academy;"
among the number were Truman B. Ransom and Edwin Sturtevant.

So far as known only three deaths occurred at the " Academy.' '

Thomas Hurlbut was the first cadet to die at the Institution.
The funeral services were held October 27, 1821, in the Congre-
gational church. The funeral sermon was preached by the Rev,
Rufus W. Bailey, chaplain of the ' 'Academy.' ' After the funeral
exercises were' held, a procession was formed in the following
order: First, music; second, escort of cadets with arms reversed;
third, the body accompanied by the pall bearers; fourth, the
chaplain of the Militaiy Academy ; fifth, the attending physicians;
sixth, the relatives and friends of the deceased; seventh, the
professors and teachers of the Militaiy Academy; eighth, the
corps of cadets in uniform with side arms; ninth, officers of the
army and navy; tenth, officers of the Volunteer Corps and Militia;
eleventh, inhabitants of the village; twelfth, inhabitants of the
vicinity and strangers. The procession led by the cadet band
playing a funeral march, proceeded to the cemetery, where three
volleys w'ere fired over the grave. The following cadets acted as
pall bearers: William A. Sullivan, C. R. D. Wingate, John Bell,
A. G. Fletcher, Matthew Brennan and George L. C. Davis. A
detachment of cadets numbering twenty-three, acted as an escort.

Ralph A. Wikoff of Opelousas, La., died Februaiy 13, 1826,
aged nineteen years and three months. A militaiy burial was
given him. The services were held in the Presbyterian church,
where an eloquent funeral sermon was delivered by the Rev.
Walter Colton, chaplain of the "Academy." The members of
the Polemic Society acted as pall bearers. The corps of cadets
wore crape on their arms for a period of thirty days. A committee
of cadets consisting of T. Fortier, G. A. Mills, J. W. Pitt and J.
McKay were appointed by the corps to draw up resolutions on
his death. An obituary notice in French was published in the
Middletown Gazette of March 1, 1826.


Daniel Polhemus of New Brunswick, N. J., was the third
cadet to die at the "Academy." His death occurred April
13, 1826.

From 1820-25 one public examination was given each year,
beginning the third Monday in August and continuing for at
least nine days. During 1825-34, two public examinations were
given each year. The first commenced on the first Wednesday
in May and continued at least nine days. The second commenced
the last Monday in August and co.ntinued two weeks. Private
examinations were given every Saturday. A board of visitors
consisting of seven members attended the examinations in August
and reported on the work of the cadets. The annual examina-
tions in August corresponded to the college commencement
exercises. As was stated elsewhere, the cadets did not graduate
as in the colleges, but received their certificates when they had
completed the " Academy " course. The first public examination,
of which a record has been preserved, commenced Monday, August
11, 1823, and continued until August 20.

On Monday, August 18, a very elaborate programme was
given. Captain Partridge delivered a lecture on " The Operations
of the English and French in Spain and Portugal in 1810, under
Command of Wellington and Massena"; a Latin oration, by
Cadet John Charles Phillips of Boston; oration, by James S.
Wallace of Boston, "Conference," "Present Contest between
France and England,' ' Edwin F. Johnson and Elisha Dunbar;
oration, " Scientific Geography, " John Holbrook; oration, Calvin
P. Newton; dialogue, "The Reclaiming Sin," Joseph D. Allen,
Charles Ball, Charles B. Reese, Edward Woodbridge, Albert
Parker, Robert E. Temple; oration, Valentine B. Horton; oration,
Benjamin M. Tyler; Greek oration, Francis C. Loring; lecture by
Captain Partridge, " Campaign of the French in Russia in 1812. "
Exhibition drills were given.

In the evening a programme was given by the cadets of the
class in elocution, which was followed by an extensive display of
fire- works. On Tuesday, August 19, Captain Partridge gave his
lecture on the " Battle of Waterloo' ' and " Education.' ' The
examinations were ended by a ball given by the cadets. A
number of prominent citizens of Vermont and New Hampshire
were present, among the number being Governor Woodbury of
New Hampshire and Lieut. Governor Brigham of Vermont.

In 1824 the annual examinations were held August 9-16.
We give the account of the exercises from the following letter


written by George M. Totten, later the distinguished engineer
of the Panama R. R., to his sister in New Haven.

Norwich, Vt., Military Academy,

August 18, 1824.
Dear Sister:

Having just recovered from the fatigues of examination, I take up my
pen for the purpose of writing a few lines to you, in answer to your letter,
which I received with a great deal of pleasure.

I shall give you a short account of proceedings during examination, which
is as follows: — Monday, the 9th, being the beginning, the examination in Mathe-
matics was begun, continuing three days; — though there were short examina-
tions in physiology on the 12th; then the examinations in Geography and
Latin were commenced on the 13th; then came the Greek that was commenced
and finished on the 14th; after which the French was begun and ended on the
same day; — a short parade being formed both morning and afternoon of
every day.

On Monday, at half past seven in the morning, a parade was formed which
continued about an hour and a half; at 10 o'clock a. m., a military lecture was
delivered by the Captain in the meeting house; at two o'clock p. m., a class
consisting of about thirty cadets chosen from the whole, were examined in
fortification generally and also on military tactics. At 4 p. m. a lecture was
delivered by the Captain on "Subordination;" at 6 o'clock p. m., a parade
was formed, which finished the day's duties.

On Tuesday, the 16th, a parade was formed at 7:30 a. m., which continued
an hour and a half, after which Gov. Morrill of New Hampshire was escorted
into the village by the Corps, and the Corps was reviewed by him; at 10
o'clock another lecture was delivered by the Captain; at 11 o'clock a. m., an
exhibition of speaking was given in the meeting house, which consisted of
the following pieces; — First, Music by the Amateur Band; Second, Prayer
by Mr. Warden; Third, "Speech of RoUa" by Cadet Brisbane; Fourth,
English Oration, "The Necessity of Supporting the Colonization So-
ciety," Cadet W. Marshall; Fifth, "French Dialogue" by T. Sedgwick,
F. Brinkerhoff, J. E. Morse; Sixth, Music; Seventh, English Dialogue,
"The Happiness and Misery of Human Life," Cadet W. D. Gourdin, W.
H. Brisbane and J. Broughton; Eighth, Greek Oration, "The Past and
Present State of Greece," Cadet J. H. Tyng; Ninth, English Oration,
"Education," by Cadet E. F. Johnson; tenth. Music; eleventh, French
Oration, "Slavery," by Cadet William Parker; twelfth. Poem, "The
Dirge of Byron," by Cadet J. S. Wallace; thirteenth, English Oration and
Address, " A Strict Union Between the Different Sections of our Country
Necessary to the Permanence of our Institutions," by Cadet V. B. Horton;
fourteenth. Music.

At 2 o'clock the Military exercises of the Cadets commenced, and at
half past four a lecture was delivered by Captain Partridge. At half past
eight p. .M., a ball was given by the Corps of Cadets, which was largely attended
by a great concourse of people and continued until half past three the next


The ball room was very large and hung with evergreens and the flag be-
longhig to the "Academy" with some other ones.

Thus ended the examinations, all the cadets as well as the Captain
himself being very tired. On the 17th there was not any duty, all the Cadets
having permission to go to the Commencement at Hanover, but today our
duties have begun as usual.

Your affectionate brother,


The fifth anniversary of the founding of the "Academy"
was celebrated September 12, 1825. At sunrise a national salute
of twenty-four guns was fired by the battery at the "Academy."
At 11 o'clock, the Hon. S. W. Dana, mayor of Middletown, delivered
an address from the steps of the main Academy building. After
the address another salute was fired. A procession was formed
by John L Lewis, Esq. Marshal of the day, in the following
order :

Detachment of cadets under command of Capt. Partridge.

Military companies, under command of Major Pratt, consist-
ing of Capt. Sill's Artillery; Lt. Commander Tibbal's Rifle Com-
pany of Middletown; Capt. Lewis' Rifle Company of Chatham;
Capt. Campbell's Light Infantry of Chatham.

The corps of cadets.

Officers of the "^Academy."

The Clergy.

Officers of the U. S. Navy.

Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council.



The march led through High, Washington and Main Streets
to the Congregational Church, where the exercises consisted of
music by the choir, prayers by the clergy, and an excellent and
appropriate address by E. B. Williston, a professor of the in-
stitution. After the conclusion of the exercises in the church the
procession was again formed and proceeded through Main and
Church Streets to the '' Academy, " where a salute was fired by Capt.
Sill's company of artillery. The federal salute of thirteen guns
was fired. In the evening an elegant display of fire-works was
made from the elevated ground on which the buildings were
erected. A ball, given by the cadets, which was numerously
attended by the taste and fashion of the city, terminated the
festivities of the occasion.


We quote from the American Sentinel:

"The cadets present amounted nearly to 250. Tliose under
arms were completely equipped, and made a very martial and
elegant appearance; considering the short time that the greater
part of them have been under the care of Capt. Partridge, their
proficiency in military exercise is highly creditable both to the
Superintendent and to themselves."

The first semi-annual examination was held May 7 to 16, 1S26.
On Monday the 14th, the corps marched to the Congregational
Church and after a prayer by the Chaplain, the Rev. Walter Colton,
Prof. Valentine B. Horton, '25, adjutant of the Academy, delivered
an address. An original poem was read by Cadet Joel H. Tracy.
In the afternoon the cadets gave an exhibition in fencing, the use
of the broad sword, under charge of M. P. Thomas, the sword
master. On Tuesday a. m., May 15, were given the infantry- drills,
and in the afternoon, orations were delivered by the cadets in the
Hall of the Lyceum at the "Academy.' '

The second semi-annual examination was given Aug. 28 to
Sept. 8, 1826. The exercises were concluded by the celebration
of the sixth anniversary of the founding of the "Academy," Sept.
10 to 12, 1826. At 9 a. m., Monda}', September 10, the corps,
accompanied by the trustees, faculty and many distinguished
guests, marched to the Presbyterian Meeting House where the
following program was given : Oration in Latin, " Mental Disci-
pline,' ' by Cadet Randolph Coyle; oration, "Character and Crom-
well," J. M. Bryan; oration, "Claims of the Aborigines," Philip
Phillips; oration in Greek, "Studj^ of the Greek Languages," by
Henry Van Rensselaer; oration, "The Influence of an Individual
Devoted to the Interests of his Country,' ' C. K. Pritchatt; oration,
"Ireland," J. E. Morse; oration in French, "Great Events Pro-
duced by Trifling Incidents," J. H. Graham; a dialogue scene
between Dr. Franklin and Lord Howe, by Joel H. Tracy and P.
Phillips; oration, "Character of Adams and Jefferson,' ' J. McKay.
The cadet band furnished music.

At 6 p. M. a parade was given when the national salute was
fired. In the evening a drama, " Traconi' ' written by Rev.
Walter Colton for the occasion, was presented in the "Hall of
the Lyceum" by the members of the Polemic Society (q. v.) to
a large assembly of people. The cadet band furnished the
music. We give the cast of the play.



Traconi, Prince of Venice.

Rodrigo, General-in-chief of the Venetian Armies.

Toscar, A Rebel General.

Gonaldier, Chieftain of the Foresters.

Rinaldo, An old soldier.


Scene — ^Venice.

A large number of distinguished people from various sections
of the country attended the examinations and anniversary ex-

We quote from the Middletown Gazette:

" Our city exhibits a scene of unusual activity. It is crowded
with strangers who have come here to witness the examination of
the cadets of the Military Academy. The Public Houses are
insufficient to accommodate them and a fine opportunity offers
itself to the citizens to exercise their accustomed hospitality.
Many people who had planned to attend have been unable to do
so for lack of accommodations. We have just cause to be proud of
this institution. There is no other in the United States that en-
joys a wider patronage. Its members are from almost every state
and a number of young gentlemen have recently arrived from the
West Indies to enjoy the advantages it affords. We can without
exaggeration say this, although in its infancy, as it were, it has
become an ornament to our State and Country."

At 9 A. M. September 12, a parade was given, then a battalion
drill, firings, an artillery drill, and a guard-mount at 2 p. m. Capt.
Partridge delivered an address in the Presbyterian Church at 4
p. M. An exhibition of sword exercises and fencing was given at
5 p. M. and a dress parade at 7 p. m.

The anniversary of the Independence of the United States
was celebrated in Norwich in 1821, 1822 and 1824.

In 1823, the cadets took part in an elaborate Fourth of July
celebration in Windsor, Vt. The corps was entertained by the
citizens of that town. They took part in the parade and gave
several exhibition drills.


At the banquet among the many toasts given was ''The Nor-
wich A. L. S. & M. Academ}': Industry and perseverance in the
cause of science, may they be crowned with abundant success."
Capt. Partridge responded in an eloquent address.

At the celebration held in Norwich, July, 1824, the following
programme was carried out: In the forenoon Captain Partridge
read the Declaration of Independence, Cadet J. S. Wallace de-
livered an oration on the "Temple of Freedom." Orations
were made by Cadets Elisha Dunbar, H. P. Woodworth, J. D.
Allen and V. B. Horton. The cadet band under the leadership
of Prof. W. W. Bailey furnished the music. A banquet was served
in the Mansion House. Thomas Emerson presided and Capt.
Partridge acted as toast master. Capt. Partridge responded to
the toast "The A. L. S. & M. Academy: Wherever it may be
planted, may its advancement, the sciences and virtue be the
leading object of the superintendent." We give the other toasts
in full:

1st. The day which we celebrate: May we hail it with
shouts of gratitude to that Being who rules the destinies of nations.

2d. The memory of Gen. George Washington: When we
forget to appreciate his worth, his virtues and the liberty and
independence we enjoy, won by his arm, may our hearts cease to

3d. The statesmen, soldiers and patriots of the Revolution :
The present prosperity of our nation is their best eulogism.

4th. The Constitution of the United States : May we trans-

Online LibraryWilliam Arba EllisNorwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 61)