December 25 – Eggnog Riot

Posted on December 25, 2013

On Christmas Day in 1826 (and, to be honest, on Christmas Eve as well), about 70 cadets at West Point turned the Christmas party into a riot.

Why is it called the Eggnog Riot?

You might see eggnog in grocery stores around this time of year. It is sweetened milk mixed with whipped eggs, and it is richer and frothier than regular milk.

Eggnog is generally sold only in November and December.

Many people add eggnog to coffee or tea. Many people add ground cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin spice to their eggnog. And some people add alcohol.

In 1826 the commander of West Point military academy informed the cadets that there would be no alcohol in their holiday-party eggnog. The commander made this rule partly because he didn't want drunk-and-disorderly behavior.

So what happened next? Some of the cadets decided to smuggle in alcohol to spike the eggnog on the sly. And the people who drank the eggnog started to act drunk and disorderly! 

I do not think this incident convinced the commander that his cadets could, in fact, drink responsibly!

One of the most famous people involved in the Eggnog Riot was a guy named Jefferson Davis. He would later become president of the Confederate States of America, when the South broke away from the U.S. at the beginning of the Civil War. Davis didn't face court martial because of his involvement in the Eggnog Riot, but around 20 cadets did.

If you celebrate Christmas, have fun today. But no rioting!

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