WEST POINT YEARS

Apparently Robinson's first months at West Point were not spectacular.  In February of 1831 his father received a letter telling
him that "Cadet A. R. Johnston of the 4th class consisting of 87 members is 74 in Mathematics, 82 (in) French, ..He has
committed 40 offences during these months 98 in demerit."  In response to this John wrote to Robinson saying:  

"I do not of course well understand the above but you will, and whatever may have been amiss on your part for the
late 6 months, you will have it in your power in future to rectify your experience there and your own good sense will
point out your future course.  I
n the present situation and resources of the family, the main dependence for money
matters being cut off, makes it a measure of no little advantage to get one of the Boys supported and educated at the
publick (sic) expense.
 You will therefore make your calculations for going through a regular course at West Point,
after which you will be qualified for getting through the world easy and honorably, and will possess many and great
advantages which never fell in my way.  May you, my son, prove to be everything that I wish you, and in your maturer
years be ranked among the Publick men, the Patriots and Sages of your Country."

Robinson must have heeded his father's advice.  By the end of his time at the Academy he had risen in rank to 23rd in a class
of 61 and the Engineering Dept. informed his father that Robinson's conduct was 'exceptional'.  He graduated July 1st, 1835
and was promoted in the army to the rank of Bvt. Second Lieut., Ist Dragoons.  

Possibly the most interesting - and character forming - event of Robinson's West Point years was a mishap on the ice.  He had
been ice skating and fell, while alone, breaking the 'bone of his thigh' as his father later wrote in a letter to the government
requesting compensation.  The accident happened just prior to January 1835.  In March of the same year, John Johnston
wrote to his son :
‘You may judge our surprise and consternation when in the place of you being on your feet walking
about that you are doomed to further confinement, that you broken limb is not healed, but the bones still remain
disunited. I presume your leg immediately swelled much as so many hours elapsed before assistance was had.  This
would be aggravated by the cold and the exertions of the muscles in crawling up the bank and getting to a place
where you could be heard.’  

What this did was lay this young man up for nearly eight months.  During that time a flurry of letters flew from his boyhood
home - from his father and mother and siblings - to him.  They were filled with concern, but also with wisdom and advice.  For
more than half a year Robinson had time to examine himself, to see what mettle he was made of.  What if the break left him a
cripple?  Could he then be 'useful' as his father had hoped?  What did it mean for his military career?  For him as a man?  He
seems to have weathered the storm and to have emerged from it stronger and more focused than ever.  

The fracture of his leg continued to be ignored and then neglected; his medical care was bungled, until finally, on May 20th he
was removed to New York to be attended there by a Dr. Rodgers.  Robinson's brother, Stephen - on leave from the Navy -
came to watch over him, and from that point on things seemed to happen.  By August of 1835, Robinson was finally back in
the Academy and able to complete his courses and graduate.






















                                                  Part Four:Military Service
West Point 1830