You have to regret the absence of one of your number, who has been prevented by extreme illness from pursuing the studies of the last year. But I am glad to say that Mr. Barnett has so far recovered that he will be able to return to the Academy, and take his place in the next class.
Another member of the class has been called away by the death of his father, but he had passed his examination, and will graduate with you. His diploma will be sent to him.
With the single exception, then, above mentioned, I have the satisfaction of informing you that you graduate with the ranks of your class unbroken.
We take leave of you, gentlemen, not only with hope, but with full confidence that you will acquit yourselves well in the honorable career now before you. We give you our parental blessing, with fervent wishes for your prosperity, happiness, and honor.
Loud applause greeted the close of the general's speech, and the graduates were then called up one by one and Their diplomas delivered to them. The first to step forward was Mr. William M. Black, of Lancaster, Penn., whose career at the Academy has been remarkable. He has stood at the head of his class for the whole four years, actually distancing all competitors. He is a young man of signal ability, won his appointment in a competitive examination, and has borne himself with singular modesty and good sense. During the past year he has occupied the position of Adjutant of the Corps of Cadets--the highest post which can be held. General Sherman shook hands with the father of the young cadet--a grand-looking old gentleman, and very proud of his son, as he has a right to be--and warmly congratulated him on the brilliant career which was before the young man. The next on the list was Mr. Walter F. Fisk. When Mr. Flipper, the colored cadet, stepped forward, and received the reward of four years of as hard work and unflinching courage and perseverance as any young man could be called upon to go through, the crowd of spectators gave him a round of hearty applause. He deserves it. Any one who knows how quietly and bravely this young man--the first of his despised race to graduate at West Point--has borne the difficulties of his position; how for four years he has had to stand apart from his classmates as one with them but not of them; and to all the severe work of academic official life has had added the yet more severe mental strain which bearing up against a cruel social ostracism puts on any man; and knowing that he has done this without getting soured, or losing courage for a day--any one, I say, who knows all this would be inclined to say that the young man deserved to be well taken care of by the government he is bound to serve. Everybody here who has watched his course speaks in terms of admiration of the unflinching courage he has shown. No cadet will go away with heartier wishes for his future welfare.
When the last of the diplomas had been given, the line reformed, the band struck up a lively tune, the cadets marched to the front of the barracks, and there Cadet Black, the Adjutant, read the orders of the day, they being the standing of the students in their various classes, the list of new officers, etc. This occupied some time, and at its conclusion Colonel Neil, Commandant of Cadets, spoke a few kind words to the First Class, wished them all success in life, and then formally dismissed them.
At the close of the addresses the Superintendent of the Academy delivered the diplomas to the following cadets, members of the Graduating Class. The names are alphabetically arranged:
Ammon A. Augur, William H. Baldwin, Thomas H. Barry, George W. Baxter, John Baxter, Jr., John Bigelow, Jr., William M. Black, Francis P. Blair, Augustus P. Blocksom, Charles A. Bradley, John J. Brereton, Oscar J. Brown, William C. Brown, Ben. I. Butler, George N. Chase, Edward Chynoweth, Wallis O. Clark, Charles J. Crane, Heber M. Creel, Matthias W. Day, Millard F. Eggleston, Robert T. Emmet, Calvin Esterly, Walter L. Fisk, Henry O. Flipper, Fred. W. Foster, Daniel A. Frederick, F. Halverson French, Jacob G. Galbraith, William W. Galbraith, Charles B. Gatewood, Edwin F. Glenn, Henry J. Goldman, William B. Gordon, John F. Guilfoyle, John J. Haden, Harry T. Hammond, John F. C. Hegewald, Curtis B. Hoppin, George K. Hunter, James B. Jackson, Henry Kirby, Samuel H. Loder, James A. Maney, James D. Mann, Frederick Marsh, Medad C. Martin, Solon F. Massey, Ariosto McCrimmon, David N. McDonald, John McMartin, Stephen C. Mills, Cunliffe H. Murray, James V. S. Paddock, Theophilus Parker, Alexander M. Patch, Francis J. Patten, Thomas C. Patterson, John H. Philbrick, Edward H. Plummer, David Price, Jr., Robert D. Read, Jr., Solomon W. Roessler, Robert E. Safford, James C. Shofner, Adam Slaker, Howard A. Springett, Robert R. Stevens, Monroe P. Thorington, Albert Todd, Samuel P. Wayman, John V. White, Wilber E. Wilder, Richard H. Wilson, William T. Wood, Charles G. Woodward.