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The year book also included his photograph and the hymn which he authored and for which he is best remembered, “The Corps.” 3
When the new West Point chapel was dedicated in 1910, Shipman was invited back to address those attending the ceremony. During the ceremony rain began to fall, and the service was shortened. Only one stanza of “The Corps” was sung, and his address was omitted. But a portion of the address was printed:
Every year men and women by the thousand . . . visit West
The officiant at the dedication service was Shipman's successor, Edward S. Travers. The Army-Navy Journal reported there were numerous applicants for the position once Shipman's intention to resign became known, and that Travers, the assistant rector of Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts, was judged to have the best qualifications. It said that Travers was an Episcopalian, a Spanish-American War veteran, 31 years old, unmarried, well educated, and a “tall man of athletic build.” It attached special importance to his record as an “all-round man in athletics” during his college days and noted that he “played brilliantly at halfback” on the football team, ran the 100 yard dash in 10.4 seconds, and the 220 yard dash in 23 seconds.
Travers served as West Point chaplain from 1905 to 1913 and continued the program developed by Shipman. He did, however, develop the program further. Giving particular attention to the improvement of the chapel music, he organized and directed a large children's choir. In 1911 he arranged for the hiring of the eminent organist and choir master, Frederick C. Mayer, who played the organ and directed the Cadet Chapel choirs until 1954. Travers also organized a “Boys' Club” and a “Friendly Girls' Society,” which met weekly on Monday and Wednesday
evenings. With money from a memorial fund in honor of Mrs. Emory Upton, he purchased gift Bibles for the members of each graduating class. 39
Though academy authorities were satisfied enough with Travers' ministry to renew his contract in 1909 for another four years, there were some who were either dissatisfied or indifferent toward it. The dissatisfaction, however, was directed at the requirement for compulsory worship rather than at Travers. In a letter to the Army-Navy Journal, a cadet acknowledged the “refining influence” of chapel attendance, but protested that it was "wrong, nevertheless, to force a man to go.” He also appealed unsuccessfully to the Army-Navy Journal to take up his cause to “abolish divine worship by force.” In the same letter he indicated that the faculty's indifference toward divine worship set a poor example before the cadets. He claimed that there were enough officers to fill the chapel, but that "none ever go except one aged professor and a lieutenant.” +0
When Chaplain Travers announced his intention to resign his chaplaincy in 1913, the academy superintendent received numerous applications to fill the position. After making a careful study of the qualifications of each applicant, the Academic Board selected Reverend H. Percy Silver, a 42 year old Episcopalian who had served as a Regular Army chaplain from 1901 to 1910. There was some controversy regarding the selection. Silver had been divorced, and when that was called to the attention of the Army Chief of Staff, Major General Leonard Wood, he wrote to the academy superintendent and suggested that the board make another selection. The board, however, was fully aware of the divorce, as well as his qualifications, and found no reason to change its selection. President Wilson approved the nomination, and on 1 September 1913 Silver was appointed."
Following his practice as an Army chaplain, Silver submitted a monthly account of his ministry through military channels to the Adjutant General of the Army; he was the first West Point chaplain to do so. His reports showed that he continued the traditional schedule of religious activities established by his predecessors. On Sundays he held morning and evening services, directed the Sunday school, and held early morning training sessions for those who led the cadet Bible classes. He reported that he outlined and explained Scripture passages at the training sessions and that about 200 cadets attended the classes. During the week he held training sessions for the Sunday school teachers, led a women's Bible class, and sponsored the “Boys' Club,” “Chapel Guild,”
and “Friendly Girls' Society.” He reported that the girls' organization consisted of 66 members. 42
Apparently Chaplain Silver enjoyed the respect of the West Point community during his five-year ministry there. He was spoken of with affection by many who were acquainted with him and his work. He was said to have been an excellent preacher; he was often invited to speak in other churches. His successor reported in 1918 that Silver's devotion to the enlisted men had “raised the entire moral tone of the detachments. He also commented favorably about the children's playground which had been constructed under Silver's leadership. Silver initiated the project so that the children would have an attractive area in which to play and would not interfere with the cadet sham battles and tactical exercises conducted on the post. He recruited the married soldiers to help him build the playground, but some single soldiers and cadets pitched in to help; the women furnished coffee to the workers. When it was completed, the playground contained “almost everything,” including slides, swings, a wading pool, and a swimming pool.**
When Chaplain Silver resigned from his position in September 1918, Remsen B. Ogilby, a recently appointed Army chaplain serving at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, was placed on temporary duty as the academy chaplain and offered the position. Bishop Charles H. Brent and other Episcopalian leaders encouraged him to accept it, but desirous of joining the A.E.F. in France, he declined. He believed that resigning his commission to accept a civilian appointment and foregoing an opportunity to go overseas would disqualify him for further work with young men. Furthermore, as a result of the War Department's decision to graduate cadet classes early and get them into the war, there were not many cadets left at the academy. The classes of 1920 and 1921 were graduated in October 1918, leaving only the plebe class whose graduation date of 1922 was rescheduled for June 1919. Ogilby did not want to remain at West Point under those conditions; he did not want a "peace job." Respecting his wishes, the Office of the Adjutant General ordered him to the Port of Embarkation at Hoboken, New Jersey. He served at West Point for only seven weeks, from 19 September to 27 November 1918."
Shortly before Ogilby departed for his new assignment, Clayton E. Wheat, also an Episcopalian, was appointed to succeed him. Arriving at West Point in late 1918, Wheat began his ministry among a cadet corps consisting only of plebes. As he became acquainted with them and served as their pastor, he observed their loyalty to the honor code. He was
“straightaway impressed with the high ideals and deep-rooted principles which governed and determined [their] ... action and life.” He also learned that the “Alma Mater” and “The Corps,” songs already cherished by the plebe cadets, set forth those ideals and principles, but he found no prayer whereby cadets might voice their desire to attain them. As a result, he composed one that ultimately became as much a part of the West Point tradition as either of the songs; he called it the "Cadet Prayer":
"O God, our Father .. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong · Help us, in our work and in our play ... that we may the better maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and acquit ourselves like men in our effort to realize the ideals of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country
. . Amen.56 Wheat obviously regarded the honor code as a complement to his ministry and embraced it for himself. In addition, he apparently enjoyed the academy environment so much that when he resigned his chaplaincy in 1926, he accepted a position in the English department, where he served as professor and department head until 1946.
Everything considered, the West Point chaplains demonstrated that they were able clergymen, particularly after the chaplaincy was separated from the professorship in 1896. Though they held a prestigious position, their labors were many. They not only operated a religious program for the academy community, but they had to contend with the dissatisfaction of cadets who resented compulsory chapel attendance and the indifference of many faculty members toward chapel attendance. But whatever burdens were inherent in their position, they persisted in their ministry.
1 William J. Roe, "Church Call at West Point,” The Outlook, 22 August 1908, p. 944.
Cephas C. Bateman, “The Army Chaplain Among U.S. Soldiers,” Theophilus G. Steward, Active Service, (New York: U.S. Army Aid Association, 1897–?), p. 32.
5 Roe, "Church Call at West Point," p. 945.
Congressional Globe, Vol. 76, (1838), p. 945.
Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1869, Vol. 1, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1869), p. 487.
* Official Army Register, 1871, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1871), p. 169; Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1871, Vol. 1 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1871), pp. 427, 437.
Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1871, Vol. 1, p. 437.
10 Official Army Register, 1875, p. 219; Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1875, Vol. 1, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1875), p. 354.
11 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1876, Vol. 1, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1876), p. 356.
12 Official Army Register, 1878, p. 356.
13 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1894, Vol. 1, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1894), p. 598.
14 Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1896, Vol. 1, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1896), p. 711.
Roe, “Church Call at West Point,” pp. 939–940.
Army-Navy Journal, 14 November 1896, p. 182; 29 May 1897, p. 731; Congressional Record, 55th Congress, 2nd Session, Chapter 635-637, p. 722.
George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy from 1802 to 1867, Vol. i, (New York: James Miller Publisher, 1879), p. 85; Dunbar Rowland, Editor, Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist, His Letters, Papers and Speeches, Vol. 7, (New York: J. J. Little Ives Co., 1923), p. 118.
18 O. O. Howard to Mother, from West Point, New York, 29 September 1857, Howard Papers, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.
Ibid., 6 November 1857.
20 Howard to Mother, from West Point, New York, 6 November 1857 and Howard to J. H. Philbrick from West Point, New York, 16 March 1883, Howard Papers, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine; Roe, “Church Call at West Point,” p. 938.
2 Howard to J. H. Philbrick from West Point, New York, 16 March 1883, Howard Papers, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.
Howard to Rowland (?) from West Point, 30 December 1858, Howard Papers, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine; Diary of 0. 0. Howard at West Point, 28 December 1858; 9 January 1859, Howard papers, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.
23 Tully B. McCrea to Cousin from West Point, 12 December 1858, Tully B. McCrea Collection, U.S. Military Academy Library, West Poir New York.
24 Army-Navy Journal, 14 August 1869, p. 823.
Special Orders No. 75, Headquarters U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, 9 January 1871.
24 Howard to J. H. Philbrick from West Point, 16 March 1883, Howard Papers, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.
* John W. Ellis to President Arthur, Washington, D.C., 12 October 1881, Selected ACP, W. M. Postlethwaite, RG 94, NA; John Ellis to John Sherman, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., 22 October 1881, Selected ACP, W. M. Postlethwaite, RG 94, NA.
28 Officer's Individual Report from U.S.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, 22 April 1890, Selected ACP, W. M. Postlethwaite, West Point, New York, 30 April 1890, 1 December 1891, Selected ACP, W. M. Postlethwaite, RG 94, NA; Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1896, Vol. 1, pp. 711, 721-722.
Officer's Individual Report from U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, 22 April 1890, Selected ACP, W. M. Postlethwaite, RG 94, NA.
Roe, “Church Call at West Point," p. 943.
Army-Navy Journal, 25 October 1884, p. 240; 6 December 1884, p. 362; 27 December 1884, p. 424; Annual Report of the Secretary of War, 1896, Vol. 1, p. 711.
Lester Kinsolving, “Pulpit Peddlers' Latest Gimmick: Sermons for Sale," Staten Island Advance, Staten Island, New York, 11 November 1972, p. 7.
Army-Navy Journal, 22 February 1896, p. 441. 34 Ibid., 12 September 1908, p. 34. * Roe, "Church Call at West Point,” p. 943; Army-Navy Journal, 12 September 1908, p.
34. 30 The Howitzer of 1906, (Springfield, Massachusetts: F. A. Bassette Company), four unnumbered dedication pages.
Army-Navy Journal, 18 June 1910, p. 1253.
Army-Navy Journal, 13 March 1909, p. 784, 17 April 1909, p. 921, 16 April 1910,
653. Major General Leonard Wood to Colonel C. P. Townsley, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, 10 July 1913, AGODF No. 315634, H. P. Silver, RG 94, NA; Colonel C. P.