Journal of Riley M. Adams
A Cadet at Capt. Partridge's Military Academy, Norwich, Vt
Thursday, Oct. 28, 1824. I arose this morning in good spirits and was much diverted to see a pleasant morning, the sun shone brightly and no blackening clouds appeared. After I had taken dinner I was sorry to hear a shameful trick had been committed at our table as told me by our landlord, Mr. Yeamans. Soon after I got up from the table one of the Southerners not feeling satisfied with the dinner which we had, felt disposed to set a platter of meat on the floor under the table, which was done to insult the family. This was a scandelous and vile trick and so much excited the feelings of our landlady's daughters that they fell to weeping. It was well for me that I happened to be absent when this base action was committed, however, I should not have hesitated in pointing out the aggressor.
After the batallion drill in the afternoon I was insulted by one of the Southerners, who told me that I had told one of the Cadets that I was the one who set the plate of meat on the floor. I was greatly enraged. I expressed to him that if he told me another falsehood I would knock him down, that I would rather be found stealing than be caught in such a trick and thus after supper I returned to my room enjoying myself with the realization of a clear conscience.
Friday, 29. The Capt. gave us another lecture this evening on agriculture, afterward I went on guard.
Saturday, 30. It being very cold last night I caught a cold which affected my whole body. I felt very unpleasant with a sore throat and was weak in constitution. I attended to duties today without hesitation. At 7 o'clock p. m. Cadet Tenant returned to Norwich and came to the Capt. requesting him to take him back again as a member of his institution.
Sunday, 31. My cold became worse. My throat was so sore I could but just swallow a little toast. I attended duties in the forenoon as usual, but in the afternoon I was so unwell I remained in my room, I however was not idle all the time. I retired to bed at 10 o'clock and took a sweat which was advised by Mr. Yeamans, our landlord.
Monday, Nov. 1, 1824. I arose this morning a little more diverted, and my cold was not so offensive, it had begun to abate a little. I went to the Capt. and got excused from duty, but my studies were the same. In the evening the Capt. forbid all the Cadets associating with Tenant and seemed to talk as if he should not permit him to join the Academy.
Tuesday, 2. I felt greatly relieved of my cold this morning, yet I felt rather unpleasant in mind. It was very foggy and disagreeable weather, snow had fallen to the depth of about 8 inches the last night.
Wednesday, 3. Officer of the day Magruder. My thoughts were carried home as soon as I awoke. I felt disagreeable to think I could not hear from my father. It is now two months since I received any letters from home.
After breakfast I went on guard again, and suffered much with the cold while on, which was about an hour. It was so uncommon cold I could hardly keep my feet from freezing, the wind blew very hard and it snowed some. It was many degrees colder than I had ever known it to be while I had been at Norwich.
Thursday, 4. Officer of the day, Kelly. Nothing happened to-day, but in the evening Cadet Stafford attempted to fire another cracker, but did not have good success, for he was caught in the very act by the Capt. who heard a noise in the lecture room and went to see what was the cause, and as he came in he saw a cracker was on fire and would soon have exploded, this he put out, and having a light in his hand blowed it out and stood behind the door waiting for the one that had done this to return, who did in a few minutes and peaked through the door to see why the cracker did not go off. Seeing it had gone out he entered the room and began to fix it, when the Capt. seized him by his hair saying: "now you rascal, I've got you." "Hallo, hallo," said the Cadet, a singular fellow. The Capt. then led him to his room and dismissed him.
Friday, 5. Officer of the day Cadet Nights, from Portland. I arose in the morning feeling very well. In the evening the Capt. gave us a lecture on Commerce which I took great satisfaction in.
Saturday, 6. Officer of the day Cadet Hancock, of Boston. This morning I received 3 catalogues of Middleburg College from 3 of my old classmates at Midd. by the names of Peake, Everts and Eells. These I read with great amusement, and it was not so astonishing to me to read my most intimate classmates name, Eells, as it would have been had I not learned before that he had entered College, but did not feel very well about it, being greatly in doubt what it was best to do. In the afternoon I put 2 letters in the post office. One to my parents and a brother-in-law, the other to a couple of my schoolmates at Middleburg, who resided at Brandon. In the evening the Capt. assembled us in the lecture room and after calling the roll dismissed one of my Statemen for getting intoxicated, by the name of Smith, of Burlington.
Sunday, 7th. I felt dejected to see my roommate leave me and move into the quarters. I am left alone in a room very large. I thought I could persuade the Capt. to let my old roommate Brooks room with me (who was very anxious) we should take great comfort, but on asking the Capt. I was very quickly answered "No" said he very cross indeed, "I shall not let Brooks room out of the quarters." This I did not like very well, yet, I thought if I could get good room and roommates, I should feel as contented in the quarters as out. I attended Church today as usual.
Monday, 8. Officer of the day Cadet Dubose. This morning our guards were recommenced which had been off duty and I went on guard again. In the evening Capt. gave us a lecture on Commerce. This afternoon Cadet Stafford who was dismissed for attempting to fire a cracker left the Academy for good. The Capt. mentioned Cadet Smith would be permitted to remain at the Academy a short time as his guardian has gone a journey. After lecture in the evening I went on guard.
Tuesday, 9. I went on guard again this morning, I enjoyed myself very well and was cheerfully engaged in looking up a room in the quarters that I might move in. Last night a few Cadets who felt disposed to have a scrap went over to Hanover after 12 o'clock and tried to get into the tavern, but the landlord would not let them in. They threw stones against the windows and broke 2 or 3 dozen panes of glass. The Capt. had them up and tried to find out the rogues, but could not get hold of any circumstance.
(TO BE CONTINUED)