What if Wednesday? What if George Pickett challenged US Grant to a duel? As cadets.

The Civil War was a West Point war. One of the many pieces of trivia I had to memorize as a plebe at West Point was: In the 60 major battles of the Civil War, West Pointers commanded both sides in 55, and one side in the other five.

For me it brings into sharp contrast the difference between Honor and Loyalty.

Jefferson Davis almost got kicked out of West Point as a cadet for partying. What if he had? What if some of those implicated in the eggnog party/riot at Christmas in 1826 had been kicked out? Jeff Davis the most notable, along with a future Governor of Mississippi, a future Supreme Court Justice, a future Secretary of State of the Republic of Texas, and a Confederate Army General.

West Point has produced a large number of people who have had great influence in our country and around the world. So I started what-iffing different possibilities for them while they were cadets, having had one or two scuffles with the discipline system as a cadet.

One possibility was posed in the subject line of this blog. Pickett was class of ’46. Grant ’43. Grant had no tolerance for alcohol. Pickett liked to pretend he was southern aristocracy although the reality was somewhat different. What if the two had crossed paths in a bad way at Benny Havens Tavern, just off the West Point reservation?BTW- we had to memorize Benny Havens Oh! too. A song about the illegal tavern.

I explored this possibility in D-Day (Time Patrol).

It should be remembered that Pickett was part of a very successful charge. During the Mexican War. Which was, percentage-wise, the bloodiest war in our history.

I’m starting to slip down the rabbit hole of history now. But what if . . . .

Of more interest, the different between honor and loyalty. I like to pose it this way: would you rather have an honorable friend or a loyal one?

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Originally published at www.writeitforward.com on July 27, 2016.

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