One hundred and eighty-five years ago today, sometime after 10 pm on the Christmas Eve 1826, a group of nine cadets began drinking whiskey-laced eggnog in room 28 of the West Point United States Military Academy’s North Barracks. Before long the party expanded to room 5, and the two gallons of whiskey smuggled into the Academy were gone. Some of the cadets immediately left to procure more whiskey; a trip which would prove successful.
Dozens of drunken cadets on a campus where possession of alcohol
could lead to expulsion eventually drew attention; even on Christmas
Eve. At around 3am Christmas morning the superintendent of the North
Barracks interrupted at least eight cadets in room 5 loudly singing, and
very drunk. One of them was named Jefferson Davis.
Attempts to silence the Christmas party eventually sparked a small
riot, which was fueled by the timely arrival of the third gallon of
whiskey. Twenty people would be court-marshaled, but Jefferson Davis
was not amongst them.
Thirty four years and a few months after the eggnog riots Davis would
come to the forefront of another uprising against the US. On February
1st 1861 Jefferson Davis would be named president of the then month-old
Confederate States of America.