Wilson M. C. Fairfax to Nicholas P. Trist

My Dear Trist,

Having passed thro’ some anxious days and weeks, we are at length at rest. Before this reaches you, the court will have commenced its Inquiry. Ragland and I have good reason to suppose that the committee will be ordered to attend. In the interim I feel desirous to know the steps which that court pursues in their investigations; and if your leisure permits, I wish you to point out to me whether they take up the Subject in a manner sufficiently general to embrace all parties concerned; and if there be the appearance of independant fairness in examining witnesses.

I have every reason to confide in the Justice and penetration of Mr Calhoun but reason also to suspect the channels thro’ which official information must come to him. I hope that the Cadets have been patient in the necessary endurance of their most ignominious situation—that they have given no huddle to those who would undoubtedly make the most use of it to fill their cup with bitterness.

Let us all coolly trust promised justice; if it be bestowed we shall have an unreproving conscience and the admiration of our numerous friends; but—if it be denied—my determination is to retire from the service immediately.—my father as little brooks the idea as I do of wading thro’ the slough of Degradation to arrive at the splendid shore of military honours: Having then his approbation I cannot be refused my application to resign. In short it is the determination of Ragland Holmes & myself to admit of nothing as satisfactory which exculpates the Supt and blames, (even tho’ it should be [. . .]ly) the committee on those who appointed them.

I have the Satisfaction to state, my dear Trist that every man whose opinion deserves deference highly approves the whole procedure on the part of the cadets:—Our strongest in power, and I hope so too in Will, Gnl. Scott has not yet been heard from; Ragland wrote him a packet of 36 pages including a complete Set of our papers & a letter from Col. Hindman on our affairs which have much interested him. [. . .]

My short acquaintance with Mr Burwell has intitled him to my regard and grateful remembrance. He inquired after you, was glad, and, (strange to me)! surprised, to learn that you had much applicat[ion].—He is at present on National Bank [bu]siness in Phila with Wm Lowndes &c. T. Ragland is with me: & Holmes has just left us [. . .] for Charleston.

Yrs Sincerely
Wilson M. C. Fairfax

P. S.

the Sec. at War, overhearing some person approving the conduct of Bliss, expressed himself surprized that any one could entertain such sentiments—& that no young man who would submit to be struck should be permitted to go into the Army.—Ragland sends his love to you.

RC (NcU: NPT); torn at seal; stained; addressed; “Cadet Nicholas P. Trist—Military Academy West-Point N—York”; stamped and postmarked; endorsed by Trist: “Fairfax washington 18th Dec. 1818.”
Wilson M. C. Fairfax
Date Range
December 18, 1818