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Jefferson Davis at West Point Stumbled upon this reference while searching for something else... but it piqued my curiosity due to the fact so many West Point-trained men occupied senior positions during the War of the Rebellion, and especially after reading that, “no change was made to the entrance conditions [to gain admission to the United States Military Academy] until 1866.” Besides courses on offer, the style of uniform and description of military training, and conditions endured at the time, significant personalities mentioned include Ethan Allen Hitchcock, Major W. I. Worth, Ormsby Mitchel, Leonidas Polk, Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, John B. McGruder, Albert Sidney Johnston, Crafts Wright, Henry Clay, Jr. Some already mentioned, but USMA alumni J. Davis (USMA 1828) due to presence of three classes above and three classes below, would have known at West Point: Class of 1825 Daniel Donelson (Fort Donelson) and Robert Anderson (Fort Sumter); Class of 1826 Albert Sidney Johnston; Class of 1827 William Maynadier (Island No.10) Napoleon Buford (Island No.10) Leonidas Polk, Thomas Worthington; Class of 1828 George Chase (Pensacola fortifications) Crafts J. Wright (13th Missouri Infantry at Shiloh); Class of 1829 Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, Ormsby M. Mitchel, Thomas Davies; Class of 1830 John B. McGruder, Robert Buchanan (officer responsible for ending US Grant's Army career); Class of 1831 Jacob Ammen, Thomas McKean, Lucius Northrop and Samuel Curtis (Battle of Pea Ridge.) This reference is provided for background information, as a means to help understand the conditions and training endured by cadets during four years at West Point. And for those with greater interest in the Military Academy of the early 19th Century, there are a dozen additional references listed, at the bottom of pages of the text. Jefferson Davis at West Point by Walter L. Fleming (first published in Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Historical Society) this copy published at Baton Rouge by LSU in 1910. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044020445540&view=1up&seq=5 J. Davis at West Point made available by HathiTrust.
The United States Military Academy, since its founding in 1802, was an institution, sited at the isolated West Point on the Hudson River, with the acknowledged goal of molding ambitious, confident, clear-thinking young men of promise into Leaders of Men in exercise of the Military Arts. Typically, in the 19th Century, the intake of each year's Plebe Class involved young men between 16 and 21, possessing limited military knowledge, and unimpressive life experiences; these neophytes were instructed by worldly, knowledgeable, experienced military teachers, skilled at imparting their knowledge, and who could impress their charges merely by "exercise of authority" that seemed to be innate, somehow absorbed into the fabric of their being, and emitted at will. That routine process of super-skilled masters molding formless clay came undone in 1865; for in that year's intake -- Class of 1869 -- were three men of experience: Charles Morton. Private in the 25th Missouri Infantry. Veteran of Shiloh (at age 15). Finished 25th in his class of 39 and was commissioned as a Cavalry officer. Retired as Brigadier General in 1910. Eric Bergland. 17-year-old Second Lieutenant of the 57th Illinois Infantry. Veteran of Shiloh. Finished 1st in his class of 39 and was commissioned Artillery officer (but soon was transferred to Army Corps of Engineers.) Retired as Major, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1896. John G. Bourke. Joined the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry at age 16. Not a Veteran of Shiloh (but won the Congressional Medal of Honor at Stone's River in 1862.) Finished 11th in his class of 39 and was commissioned as a Cavalry officer. Was serving as Captain in the 3rd U.S. Cavalry at the time of his death Provided to illustrate another of the unexpected, but far-reaching outcomes of the Battle of Shiloh. Ozzy References: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/Army/USMA/Cullums_Register/Classes/1869.html http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jgbourke.htm John Gregory Bourke http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/Army/USMA/Cullums_Register/2273*.html Eric Bergland http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/Army/USMA/Cullums_Register/2297*.html Charles Morton