Journal of Riley M. Adams

A Cadet at Capt. Partridge's Military Academy, Norwich, Vt.


Wednesday, Nov. 10, 1824. This morning I was greatly surprised to hear it related to me that an amount of money was taken last night from Capt. Partridge. After breakfast I attended prayer as usual. After the parson had done offering his prayer up and gone out of the room, Capt. Partridge observed that to prevent many rumors which might be told concerning the occurrence of last eve, he would relate the fact. He said the sum stolen from him was from $1,800 to $2,000. The person or persons who had taken this had procured a ladder and climbed into his room at his boarding house, at Mrs. Aaron Partridge, his mother. The room was in the second story. They cut around the lock to the closet the money was in and took the trunk containing the money and left the room without being heard by a person sleeping in a room adjoining. They carried the trunk back of a barn, broke it open and took the money, and left the trunk, which was found next morning. The Capt. observed they, or probably he, climbed into his room before the people were abed and thought they must have had a dark lantern with them. This the Capt. related not seeming to care but little about it. At last he observed it would trouble him but little and would not cause him to sleep one minute less. He said the money he had lost would not do the thief any good, but would probably do somebody some good, and he should be just as rich without it. Although it was a great sum, yet he would sooner lose double the amount than one iota of his reputation.

The Capt. offered as a reward $30o any one who would find the sum stolen, and $50 to detect the thief. $200 was offered by the Cadets, one hundred in number, who signed $2 a piece, in addition to the sum of the Capt., which would make $550 in the whole.

Thursday 11th. I arose feeling in mind low, but after breakfast felt more consolated. Yet my thoughts were carried home. I felt greatly irritated to think I could not receive a letter from my parents when the mail was distributed. After supper I packed my things to move into our quarters which I did of my own accord, knowing I should have to room in the quarters before a great while. In the eve I moved my things into the fourth story of the building, where I found a very good room. I retired to bed in the quarters (about 10 o'clock), for the first time to sleep as a soldier. I had a small straw bed, two sheets and four blankets to sleep in, which were placed on top of a bunk with kind of shelves in it for two to sleep in below, which were occupied by my roommates, Ives and Dimond. I had a very hard bed, yet it was like all the other cadets'. I reposed myself comfortably during the night.

Friday 12th. Officer of the day, Cadet Brisbane (a Southerner). I arose this morning from my bunk by hearing the reveille, which seemed to amuse me much. I could hear it very distinctly in the second passage when the roll-call was to be attended as usual as soon as daylight begins to appear. I concluded I would be absent from roll call this morning, as I had never been accustomed to attend reveille on account of my rooming out of the building, and I thought I should not be censured for being absent the first time after moving into the building. I had nearly forgotten to minute down more particularly for my own remembrance, that I suffered a little last night while on guard, but my tour was short. I was a good deal pleased to hear the Southerners complain about the cold weather, which they were not accustomed to. Their murmurs were heard very often, and frequently cursing the Capt. for compelling them to go on guard. After breakfast I returned to my room to study. After prayers the Capt. called off the names for the day. Each passage having two. I was appointed one of the police for the fourth. The duty of the police is to see there is no irregularity, etc., and to stay on police while others are gone to meals, also to stay on in the eve until 10 o'clock, when all the Cadets have to retire. I went on police at 10 o'clock, while others were at dinner. After this I went and took dinner myself. I was very much pleased today to hear that one of my classmates at Midd. was coming to join the Academy, whose name is Everts. It was told me by one of the Cadets, who said that he received his news from Mrs. Heins, of Midd., who staid at Mr. Hatch's Hotel in this place. This was very pleasing to hear. In the eve I went on police and remained on until 10 o'clock and then retired to bed.

Saturday 13th. I arose this morning, being considerably disturbed with the cold. I slipped on my clothes, and on hearing the reveille I walked down in the second passage and answered my name at roll call, which is always called according to the alphabet. After roll call I retired to my room and stayed until 7 o'clock and went and took breakfast. Several Cadets joined the Academy within three or four days, so that our number was kept good, although many left it. Today Cadet Williams came into the inclosure and rejoined the Seminary. This Cadet is from Salem, N. J. In the eve the mail was distributed among the Cadets, but I did not have the happiness to receive any letters. I gave up almost entirely ever receiving a letter from my parents. I concluded they were either outrageously mad at me, or that they had forgotten I was in being. But truly I thought they might write, although mad. Thus I seriously considered feeling very unpleasant in mind. I thought I could never forgive my parents, who were so unkind as to omit writing to me. All my anticipations of receiving future letters was gone. This I was obliged to rely on, and so meditating, the clock struck 10 and I retired to bed.

Monday 15th. I arose this morning at the signal of the drum just before daylight. Officer of the day Brinkerhoff. I attended church in the forenoon and heard a very excellent sermon delivered from the following text: 137th Psalm, 5th and 6th verses. In the afternoon I attended a funeral sermon of an old woman who died a few days ago, aged 95. This was the first person I had known to die here since my arrival. In the eve the Capt. assembled us in the lecture room to read over the reports of the week concerning recitations which are handed to him by the instructors of each division, or class, at the end of each week. Each cadet is reported (belonging to a class) either good or bad. When a Cadet recites well he is marked No. 1. Another day, if he recites halfway between good and bad he is marked No. 2. Another day, if he recites bad he is marked No. 3. Again, if he recites the worst he is marked No. 4. This includes the whole, good and bad. When a Cadet is marked No. 4 he is considered acting the worst of alL The Capt. read over the reports. Some were good and some were bad. I was marked No. 1 (reciting in Cicero.) All the week, except one day, was marked No. 2. After he had finished, he made a few remarks concerning the money he had lost and dismissed us.

Monday 15th. Officer of the day Heriet (a Southerner). Snow fell to the depth of 6 inches or more and was very moderate in atmosphere. This eve the Capt. gave us a lecture on Fortification, which he called an introduction to his military lecture which he was about to commence. After he had ended his lecture he appointed Dimon, my roommate, officer of the day, on the morrow.

Tuesday 16th. The weather was very moderate, some rain in the morning. In the afternoon cleared off and was very pleasant.

Wednesday 17th. Officer of the day, Michler. Weather moderate. The Capt. gave another lecture in the eve.

Thursday 18th. Officer of the day Heriet. Pleasant weather and very moderate. Recited at 2 o'clock. At 7 o'clock the Capt. assembled us in the lecture room and gave a short lecture, after which he observed that 5 or 6 Cadets had got the itch and he had sent them into 2 rooms by themselves. He observed it was easy enough to keep from catching this dirty disease, and because they had caught it they should be put upon an extra tour of duty for penalty. They should sweep out the passage every day until they were cured. This was the Captain's way of punishing Cadets who conducted with impropriety, or as he terms it, an unsoldierlike manner. After being dismissed, I retired to my room. At 8 o'clock the mail was distributed, and without much expectation I secured 4 letters, 2 being from my parents and 2 from a couple of friends at Midd. My joy was now great. As I opened my father's letter I found a small paper requesting Capt. P. should give me a furlough to go home. I did not know whether it was best to go home according to the will of my father or not. This I mused upon for some time.

Friday 19. Officer of the day Cadet Tuttle. This morning I concluded I should not go home until Spring. Therefore I devoted to writing a letter to my parents informing them of my decision, stating I should have to lose my time if I left the quarters, etc. I now felt rather low, but it was my own choice. Two Cadets left the quarters to return home for a short time by permission of the Capt. Cadet Tenant left the Academy some time since.

Saturday 20th. Officer of the day Waring. A new Cadet joined the Academy today from Philadelphia. Examinations were held as usual.