They stopped when he passed out.
A Bastion of Antiquity
To be a Citadel man is to be part of a rich Southern tapestry. The school was formed in 1842 by an act of the South Carolina state legislature. Citadel cadets manning four Charleston Harbor cannons fired the first shots of the Civil War, on the Northern supply ship Star of the West.
The Citadel has earned a reputation as a good place to send your boy to purge him of all the hogwash and MTV gurgling in his cranium; a place to turn him into a gentleman soldier and a useful citizen. Your average Citadel cadet is a patriotic boy from a conservative family in a small, low-country town in the Carolinas, quite often a boy with a military man in his family or, even more often, a Citadel legacy. He is a boy who would like to test his guts against the Citadel horror stories he has heard. Nobody comes in naive, but nobody comes in ready, either.
You need to post only a 2.0 grade-point and an 800 SAT score to qualify for admission. Last year The Citadel ranked second among South Carolina public universities in entering freshmen's SAT scores. Of course, South Carolina public universities ranked dead last in the nation, so second docs not exactly get the commandant invited to the Rose Garden.
An entire military hierarchy is in place here, from the president, Lieut. Gen. Claudius Watts, to the cadet regimental commander to the platoon commanders to the company commanders right down to the lowliest, gutter-swabbing knob. On any Friday of the school year you can see The Citadel outfitted in its finest appointments, gray and black and buttons and flags, marching precisely on the parade field. It's the best and cheapest show in town. Of course, it's nothing more than that—a show.
Citadel cadets have no more connection to the military than do Harvard undergraduates. Only those students who have signed ROTC contracts will be obliged to be sworn into a branch of the service, and an ROTC contract can be signed on most any campus in the country. Even former Citadel president James Stockdale, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, likened attending The Citadel to playing soldier. Get up close and you can see it. Those splendid cadet uniforms—and the faculty's, too—are of the sort you might get at a good Army surplus store, vague grays and indefinite stripes and tags. The Citadel uniform is the equivalent of a World War II bomber jacket ordered through a catalog.
What's odd about all this is that The Citadel is a state-funded institution. What's odder still is that the taxpayers who pay for The Citadel are not allowed in the barracks, women are accepted only into the night program, and the school's policy-making body—the board of visitors—is made up entirely of Citadel graduates, all of them with honorary military rank.
Still, if you like that kind of show, there is none in America quite like it. To spend a night in the Citadel barracks is to bunk down in a military time warp. People salute people. Taps is played every night and reveille every morning. Cadets walk outdoors on 70-year-old balconies to get to their communal shower. The Citadel burr haircut is still given every day at the campus barbershop. Freshmen, not faxes, are still the most common way to send messages. Even the architecture is out of time and place. The Citadel's straight lines and whitewashed, Lego-castle walls evoke a stark Moorish prison. And within those walls the night is cleaved by mysterious screams.
A Towering Bulwark of Rigid Discipline