Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/36

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The years that followed the Mexican War were as usefully spent as the previous ones. In charge of building Fort Calhoun[1], Colonel Lee was, in 1852, elected President of West Point, of which, as you remember, he had been an excellent pupil. The level of studies rose during the three years under his directorship, and one might have thought that progress in science had been the main concern of the new director when, in reality, his concern had extended to whatever could be good and useful for the cadets.

Convinced that bonds of trust and personal affection would be beneficial for them, he looked for means to bring the pupils closer to him. He had the impression that the young men were sometimes embarrassed at coming to see him during the hours of the day when their absence from common exercises could be noticed. He imrnediately changed entirely the program of his days so as to reserve the first hours in the morning for them. Even in winter he began his audiences at 6:00 a.m. and often gave up breakfast so as not to dismiss anybody. His solicitude brought excellent results, and many young men

attribute to his firm and friendly talks, with their

  1. That Fort, meant to protect the entry of the Port of Baltimore, had to be built on piles, and is one of the most remarkable pieces of work existing in America. (This opinion was expressed in 1875.)