Thursday, December 23, 2021

"The Great Eggnog Riot"

From Modern Drunkard:

The booze-inspired uprising that West Point would prefer you not know about.
Sylvanus Thayer—whose name sounds like a lizard-rat-man hybrid Lord Voldemort would keep caged for dark-magic rape rituals—took command of West Point in 1817.

Within a few years, Thayer was given the title “Father of the Academy,” as his unique brand of puritanical tyranny was crucial in developing the strict disciplinary standards West Point practices to this day. By 1826, this goddamn Philistine managed to ban alcohol, intoxication, tobacco, gambling, and any detectable levels of happiness, upon threat of expulsion. It was thus only a matter of time before a rebellion sparked up.

On the evening of December 24, 1826, an elite cadre of cadets chose to think for themselves instead of cowering at the feet of authority. But this decision wasn’t an unjustified sophomoric mutiny. It was a courageous revolution of youthful ideals, guilty only of recovering their spirit (and the other sort of spirits) from the tyranny of evil men. And so we resurrect our drunken comrades from their winter war in 1826 by remembering a night known as The Great Eggnog Riot.

It started with the successful mission to transport two gallons of whiskey from a local tavern back to West Point. William Burnley, Alexander Center, and Samuel Roberts were the student-soldiers responsible, and their smuggled booze would be used to brace the bowl of eggnog set aside for the North Barrack’s Christmas party. While the idea of pouring good whiskey into what is essentially pancake batter may seem a grievous mistake, keep in mind that it was the holidays and these cadets were mostly giddy teenagers.

Roberts and company weren’t the only cadets willing to disobey Thayer’s sober mandate. A number of other cadets had gathered liquid reinforcements to fuel the West Point’s Christmas eve festivities and while they were not highly coordinated there was an understanding that there would be fun to be found throughout the campus.

The drunken festivities were not limited to the cadet barracks. Thayer and his cronies were already caroling the night away at their own private holiday gathering, pouring down fine wines with the level of hypocrisy reserved for government officials....