West Point Trivia Test Number 15.

By John Ward, '64

Click on the the answer you believe to be correct. You'll immediately receive feedback on the correctness of your guess.

1. Who was the first Black West Point graduate to have a descendant graduate from West Point as well???

A) General Ben O. Davis (1936).

B) Colonel James D. Fowler.  (1941).

C) General Roscoe Robinson Jr.  (1951).

D) Captain Robert B. Tresville Jr. (Jan. 1943).

2. William Swift is listed in the Register of Graduates as the last member of the Class of 1819 and as having graduated on July 1 of that year.  In fact he did not graduate with his class but his name was inserted later.  What happened?

A)  He was dismissed for insubordination but later reinstated by President Monroe, with a retroactive graduation.

B)  He was absent on detached duty when his class graduated, and was inserted on the Army Register as if graduated with them, but without rank over any of them.

C)  He died 2 days before graduation and was posthumously added to his class's graduation roster.

D)  He was sick and took his examinations late.

3. What graduate had as one of his first duties to serve as officer in charge of guns on a naval vessel in combat, in which service he was seriously wounded??

A) James Monroe (1815).

B) George H. Cameron (1883).

C) Ulysses S. Grant White (1871).

D) John M. Washington (1817).

4. In 1921 Superintendent Douglas MacArthur proposed a vast building program for West Point, including a mess hall, new barracks, an armory, ordnance lab, a new memorial hall, expanded gymnasium, apartment buildings for officers, and a football stadium.   Where did he propose to build the football stadium?

A) On Flirtation Walk.

B) On the later site of Michie Stadium.

C) In place of the Commandant's and Superintendent's quarters.

D) On Trophy Point.

5. We all know that Davis, Blanchard, and Dawkins have won the Heisman Trophy.   What West Pointer had a nephew who won the same trophy?

A) Charles T. White (1963).

B) Russell J. Spurrier (ex-1938).

C) James G. Plunkett (1974).

D) Ernest J. Davis (1945).

6. Which of the following counties was NOT named for a West Point graduate?.

A) Gordon County, Georgia.

B) Wilcox County, Alabama.

C) Dade County, Florida.

D) Stevens County, Washington.

7. Which of the following descriptions of West Point (all written by cadets to their friends or relatives) was originally penned by U. S. Grant (1843)?

A) "I think in point of mathematics and philosophy and the other sciences dependent on these two, this institution is inferior to none in the United States, and I may in justice to ourselves say the world.  The system of teaching is such here as to prevent the occurrence of an evil prevalent in most of our colleges.   I mean that lazy and idle habit contracted by many students which enables them to be dragged barely at the heels of their classes.   At this place it is indispensibly necessary that every one should study, and of course be acquainted with what he studies, as the daily examinations in the section rooms are very rigorous and such as to discover whether one knows his lesson or not."

B) "I . . . am going to tell you a long story about this prettiest of places, West Point.   So far as regards natural attractions it is decidedly the most beautiful place that I have ever seen.   Here are hills and dales, rocks and rivers; all pleasant to look upon.   >From the window near I can see the Hudson, that far-famed, that beautiful river, with its bosom studded with hundreds of snowy sails.
    Again, I look another way I can see Fort Putt, now frowning far above, a stern monument of a sterner age, which seems placed there on purpose to tell us of the glorious deeds of our fathers, and to bid us to remember their sufferings -- to follow their example.
    In short, this is the best of places -- the place of all places for an institution like this.   I have not told you half its attractions.   Here is the house Washington used to live in -- there Kosciuscko used to walk and think of his country and ours.   Over the river we are shown the dwelling house of Arnold -- that base and heartless traitor to his country and his God.   I do love the place -- it seems as though I could live here forever, if my friends would only come too.   You might search the wide world over and then not find a better."

C) "I would tell you of the Point, but I have nothing good, and therefore decline saying anything of it.  I wish I may like it, though I think I never can.
   The duties are very severe, especially the guard and drill duty.   Fifteen hours . . . in one or the other, out of the 24.   The guard duty is more so than any other.   You stand eight hours on post with an intermission of four hours between each standing.   Whether it rains or hails or shines it is all one.   You must stand exposed to them all.

*       *      *

   I think I told you that I despised the place.  . . .  I now dislike it more than ever but like one confined in a dungeon , for I may compare it to a prison . . .  I know that I am compelled to remain here, and that complaining and disquiet will only aggravate my pain.

*       *       *

   I have told so often how much I dislike the place.    But . . . I could never sufficiently express my  hate of it."

D) "Every encampment is devoted entirely to the acquisition of the military part of the course, and considerable attention is also paid to the same while we are in barracks.   I expected previous to coming into camp to dislike it very much, as I thought so great a change would be deleterious to my health and make me sick, but in this I have been very happily disappointed as I have not caught the least cold nor been sick an hour since coming into camp.  On the whole two months in camp is very desirable as it affords some change to the monotonous life we experience in barracks.   Everything here is conducted on a regular clockwork system and is done at just such a time and in a proper manner or is not done at all though the former is 'mighty apt' to predominate.
  I had almost forgotten to tell you that this is one of the most beautiful places in the world.    There are also a quite a number of elegant public buildings here."

8. Abner H. Merrill (Class of 1866)  was remembered by his classmates as someone we might describe today as "indifferent" or "marching to a different drummer."    Classmates remembered that he walked the area a lot and pursued his love of "Byron, Scott, and Edgar Allen Poe - glancing into Davies' Bourdon and French's Grammar [textbooks of the ers] only so often as was necessary to avoid a report for neglect of studies."   Later, he became known for his dislike of garrison life and preference for less demanding assignments - such as "teaching subalterns the rudiments of wig-wag signals" - that would leave him time for his reading.   A classmate observed that "few men in the army had less military ambition than Merrill."   Yet, in 1906, he was promoted from colonel in the sedentary Coast Artillery to Brigadier General - to the amazement of everyone in the Army.  What happened?

A) Political influence intervened because he was a favorite of President Teddy Roosevelt

B) He was related to the new Secretary of War

C) He invoked a little known quirk of the law to force the Secretary of War to promote him.

D) He was being rewarded for inventing and assigning the patent for a new infantry weapon system.


9. What was the significance of "10th Avenue" to the Corps??

A) It was the nickname applied to the stretch of Thayer Road between the two main academic buildings in the early 20th century.

B) It was the southern boundary of the Post for many years, being the10th street north of Buttermilk falls - It was also where Benny Havens` tavern was located.

C) The Second Class traditionally held furlough Banquets on 10th Avenue in New York in June of each year.

D) That was the designation of the company street immediately adjacent to the guardpost by Fort Clinton where, walking guard in summer camp, many plebes were ``deviled`` in the late 19th and early 20th century.

10. In what year was the first bowling alley for cadets installed at West Point?

A) 1848.

B) 1856.

C) 1859.

D) 1890.


Answer to Teaser from last time:
Joseph Gardner Swift is the graduate whose achievements were described last time.; Swift, the first graduate ever and one of two members of the Class of 1802, was injured by the premature discharge of a weapon as a cadet, when, in the summer of 1802 he was participating in some infantry exercises, a private soldier of Capt. Izard's Company fired his musket with several charges in it.   It exploded, knocking Swift to the ground and caused him to be hospitalized for several days.  Earlier, when Swift had first arrived at West Point in October of 1801 (after serving as a cadet with the Engineers working on Newport Harbor), he was nearly dismissed for serious infractions.   On arrival, Swift was invited to participate in the Artillery Mess with Lieutenants Wilson and Howard, there being no cadet mess as yet.   Professor Barron ("rude of manner but an excellent teacher") wanted Swift to join a less well equipped mess with some other cadets.   When Barron sent a servant to convey his order about the mess, Swift refused to take orders from a servant.    Barron came to the mess where Swift was talking with Lt. Wilson and, on being told Swift would not take an order from a servant, called him a "mutinous young rascal."    Seventeen year old Swift, evidently encouraged by Wilson and the other officers who disliked Barron, jumped the fence and chased Barron back to the Academy building.   An hour later, Swift was placed under arrest in an order communicated by fellow cadet Samuel Gates.    He was eventually tried and found guilty but, partly because his accuser was himself dismissed in disgrace, Swift was allowed to remain and graduate.    After graduation, he and Simon Levy (the other member of the class of 1802), remained at West Point, taking additional courses in drawing and French as second lieutenants.    The first time graduates were sent out to serve as engineer lieutenants was in April 1804, when Swift, Levy, and Walker K. Armistead (1803) were sent out to their posts.  (Two Artillery graduates, John Livingston and Henry Jackson (1803) had been sent to garrison in 1803.)    Commissioned in the Engineers, Swift advanced rapidly in the Army.   He was Colonel and Chief Engineer by the end of July 1812, and received a Brevet Brigadier General's commission for gallant service in the War of 1812, ranking as such from February 14, 1814.    He was cited for bravery under fire at Sackett's Harbor in November, 1813.    He later served on the court martial that tried James Wilkinson, Commander in Chief of the Army and earlier had been on the trial of Col. Tom Butler, who refused to cut off his queue when the Army decided to do away with them.    Swift was active in recruiting talented young men to become cadets, and helped place several who went on to senior command and staff positions or professorships.    Among these were George Bomford (future Chief of Ordnance) whom Swift encountered on the Hudson River, and Charles Davies, future Professor of Mathematics, who was the son of Sheriff T. J. Davies, who had helped Swift during the war.    Swift was a confidant of several presidents including Jefferson (who borrowed an architecture book) Madison, Monroe, and Jackson.    He was a member and recorder of the commission, headed by Winfield Scott, that was charged with revising and modernizing infantry tactical doctrine.  Scott's Tactics, to which Swift contributed much, was the standard until William J. Hardee introduced Hardee's Tactics a few years before the Civil War.     Thus, Swift's work on that project did indeed change the war-fighting methods of the army for several decades. After leaving the service, he was involved in the West Point Foundry, which manufactured armaments for the Army.

Teaser for next time:
This graduate (some of whose fellow cadets became full generals) was commissioned in the Infantry.  Assigned to the frontier, he was, while still a Second Lieutenant, placed in charge of the military escort for the expedition, headed by a U.S. Indian Agent, which fixed the source of the Mississippi River in Northern Minnesota.   The expedition covered 2,800 miles in 79 days.   A later and more famous explorer wrote, "The honor of having first explored the sources of the Mississippi, and introduced a knowledge of them in physical geography, belongs to Mr. ___ and Lieutenant ___.  I came only after these gentlemen. . . ."    Transferring to the Dragoons, he continued to serve on the frontier, reaching the rank of Captain.  His second exploring expedition, consisting of himself, 3 lieutenants (one the son of a powerful politician), an assistant surgeon, 50 dragoons of "I" ompany, 1st Dragoons and 2 infantry privates, covered 740 miles in 54 days through territory inhabited only by wandering bands of Sioux and other Indians.   A few years later, he was dispatched to recruit a group of Mormon refugees for the Mexican War.   Meeting with Brigham Young, he was successful in his recruiting effort.   Along with Brigham Young himself, he organized a large number of Mormons "The Mormon Battalion" to assist the U.S. in the impending war effort.   Appointed Lt. Colonel of the Mormon Battalion, and second in command of the entire western theater of operations, he was set to make history.  Unfortunately, he fell ill and died before the expedition to California got underway and is today a mere footnote in history.

This concludes Trivia Test No. 15. Thanks for participating.

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