"SIR: I saw an article yesterday in one of our local papers, copied from the Brooklyn Argus, concerning my dismissal from the Military Academy. The article referred to closes as follows: 'Though he has written letters to his friends, and is quite sanguine about returning and finally graduating, the professors and cadets say there is not the slightest chance. Said a professor to a friend, the other day: "It will be a long time before any one belonging to the colored race can graduate at West Point."'
"Now, Sir, I would like to ask a few questions through the columns of your paper concerning these statements, and would be glad to have them answered by some of the knowing ones.
"In the first place, what do the professors and cadets know of my chances for getting back, and if they know any thing, how did they find it out? At an interview which I had with the Secretary of War, on the 17th instant, he stated that he went to West Point this year for a purpose, and that he was there both before and after my examination, and conversed with some of the professors concerning me. Now, did that visit and those conversations have any thing to do with the finding of the Academic Board? Did they have any thing to do with that wonderful wisdom and foresight displayed by the professors and cadets in commenting upon my chances for getting back? Why should the Secretary of War go to West Point this year 'for a purpose,' and converse with the professors about me both before and after the examination? Besides, he spoke of an interview he had had with Colonel Ruger, Superintendent of the Academy, in New York, on Sunday, the 12th instant, in reference to me; during which Colonel Ruger had said that the Academic Board would not recommend me to return. Is it very wonderful that the Academic Board should refuse such recommendation after those very interesting conversations which were held 'both before and after the recommendation?' Why was the secretary away from West Point at the time of the examination.
"In the next place, by what divine power does that learned oracle, a professor, prophesy that it will be a long time before any one belonging to the colored race can graduate at West Point? It seems that he must have a wonderful knowledge of the negro that he can tell the abilities of all the colored boys in America. But it is possible that he is one of the younger professors, perhaps the professor of philosophy, and therefore expects to live and preside over that department for a long time, though to the unsophisticated mind it looks very much as though he would examine a colored cadet on the color of his face.
"I think he could express himself better and come much nearer the truth by substituting shall for can in that sentence. Of course, while affairs remain at West Point as they have always been, and are now, no colored boy will graduate there; but there are some of us who are sanguine about seeing a change, even if we can't get back.
"J. W. SMITH, "Late Cadet U.S.M.A."
"COLUMBIA, S.C., July 30, 1874.
To the Editor of the New National Era: