The Rebuilding Begins
"My mission", Sylvanus Thayer wrote General George Cullum in March 1865, "was to create, to construct, to build up from the foundation under difficulties coming more from within than without." Thayer actually had the task of reestablishing the Military Academy for it had never fully recovered from the hiatus caused equally by Secretary of War Eustis's neglect and Partridge's supervision. Attempting to categorize the problems facing Thayer from the viewpoint of sequential importance is almost impossible because of the interrelationships of these requirements.
A sound and comprehensive curriculum had to be established, but such a curriculum would require a competent faculty in sufficient numbers to instruct the 250 cadets. Faculty morale was low after contending with the dictatorial actions of Alden Partridge. Cadet discipline needed refining to eliminate the weaknesses developed by Partridge's favoritism. Administrative procedures were almost non-existent, and relationships between the enlisted detachment and the faculty and cadets had to be improved. Cadet and post regulations needed revision. The library was inadequate. Apparatus and models were in short supply. Cadet financial procedures had to be developed. The physical condition of the post was not adequate to support all the activities despite the new barracks, mess building, and academy.
After his return from Europe in May 1817, Thayer reported to Swift in New York where he remained while Swift escorted Monroe on his inspection tour of the East Coast. In all probability, Monroe met Thayer during his visit to New York, although no documentary evidence verifies such a meeting. It is logical to assume that such a meeting would have taken place in view of Monroe's