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Epaphras Hoyt of Deerfield, Massachusetts, was a Brigade Major and an inspector of the Massachusetts Militia when he wrote these "Practical Instructions" for officers. Hoyt had long been a student of Military Science. He joined the staff of Deerfield Academy and offered in 1807 a course on the "Theoretical and Practical Art of War. " Hoyt asked the academy's young men to note the "Present Critical Situation of our Country" and sign up for his course.