Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Eggnog Riot

Maj. Gen. Ethan Allen Hitchcock
In the spirit [ouch] of the impending holidays, the Editor invites the reader's attention to this intoxicating History Channel article about the Eggnog Riot that roiled West Point in December 1826. Excerpt:
Following weeks of investigation, court-martial proceedings began on January 26, 1827, against 19 cadets and one soldier. [Cadet Jefferson] Davis was spared, possibly for his immediate compliance with [Capt. Ethan Allen] Hitchcock’s orders, and eventually released from house arrest after six weeks’ confinement. For more than a month, a tribunal of professors and soldiers heard testimony from 167 witnesses, including from cadet Robert E. Lee, who didn’t partake in any of the mischief but spoke in defense of some of his classmates. 
The courts-martial lasted until mid-March. All 19 defendants were found guilty and sentenced to be dismissed. Eight, however, were saved by a recommendation of clemency, and five ended up graduating from West Point. Fifty-three cadets received lesser punishments.

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