Thursday, November 19, 2020

William T. Sherman to George Mason Graham, February 2, 1860


SIR: I enclose you herewith the original proceedings of a Board assembled by my order to examine and ascertain the truth touching the affair between Cadets H—s and H—h. To hesitate one moment in showing the judgment of the institution on the great criminality of actually brandishing and threatening to use a keen dagger, would in my judgment endanger the actual existence of our authority. Therefore I dismissed Mr. H—h forthwith, and after awaiting a day or so will make up his accounts and return to his parents the balance of cash due him and hold his books and private property subject to his order.

In the case of S. M. H—s there was not the same reason for the assumption of power on my part: but there is no less a necessity that even handed justice be done. By the testimony, Mr. H—s did first address H—h, did first use the word "lie,” which is among all boys deemed a fighting insult, and moreover H—s did strike the first blow. He was in a position of trust and authority. He is full grown, larger that H—h, has been at the Military School at Nashville and was every way supposed to be a leader from age, qualifications, and experience.

I therefore think there are no palliating circumstances and on the rule that he caused the blind anger that made H—h resort to a [weapon], he too should suffer the penalty, the same as H—h. And be dismissed firmly, mildly, but without recall.

With two such prominent examples we shall never again I hope hear the lie, or have the life or safety of a cadet in danger from a pistol or knife.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 139-40

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