[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home

[image ALT: link to previous section]
previous
Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
R. E. Lee: A Biography

by Douglas Southall Freeman

published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

The text, and illustrations except as noted, are in the public domain.


[image ALT: link to next section]
next
Chapter

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

Vol. I
p61
Chapter IV

The Education of a Cadet

With the return of spring, the corps' field exercises were less interrupted by bad weather, and there were fewer extra hours for study, but Robert made the most of them, despite an assignment in April, 1826, to special duty.1 Meantime, he was developing a military bearing, and by his friendliness and good humor was winning friends in the corps.

June came, and with it the board of visitors. This board consisted of five men of distinction, to supervise examinations and to report on the needs and condition of the institution. The new head of the War Department, James Barbour of Virginia, who had been one of those to recommend Robert for appointment, was interested in the academy and availed himself of a clause in the regulations which authorized him to invite to the examination, along with the board, such other "literary and scientific gentlemen" as he pleased.2 Jared Sparks, George Ticknor, Lieutenant-Colonel Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.J. G. Totten, and General Samuel Houston were among those he named that year. From their presence, in his regular turn, Robert emerged the third man in his class. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Charles Mason led and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.William Harford was second. Pressing close behind Lee were William Boylanº and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.James Barnes. Neither Lee, Mason, nor Barnes had received a demerit during the year, but Harford had seven and Boylan thirty-five, which made the standing of Boylan all the more remarkable.3 In mathematics Lee was fourth, and received a credit of 197 of a possible 200. In French he was fifth, and was rated 98¼ of a possible 100. On the roll of general merit, p62 he was put at the sum of these two ratings — 295¼ of a gross 300.4

This was a good showing and it brought immediate rewards. For it was a part of the code of Colonel Thayer to honor the diligent while punishing the wayward and dismissing the slothful. Robert was placed on the list of "distinguished cadets" — the first five in each class — whose names were certified to the Secretary of War for inclusion in the army register. His first appearance in that document was in the edition of 1826 when he was credited with special proficiency in mathematics and in French.5

Another honor awaited him. Under the rules of the corps, the best soldiers of good standing acted as officers. From the boys who had just completed their first year's work were chosen the corporals. The second class previously had furnished sergeants, and the first the lieutenants, the captains, and the most-sought‑after post of all, that of adjutant. During the winter of 1825‑26, the regulations had been so changed that the sergeancies did not all go to the second class.6 Robert had done so well in his drill, and had already developed such good military bearing that on June 23, when the appointments were read out, he was named staff sergeant, as high a position as any to which a man just finishing his first year at the academy could then aspire.7

A week later, on July 1, 1826, a great date was set on the calendar: Robert and his fellow-toilers ceased to be "plebes" and overnight became "upper-classmen," fit to hold fellowship with the lofty souls of the class of 1828, and permitted to look without apology on the faces of those who were now the first class.8 On the same day, the annual encampment on the plain began. Lee, with his comrades, had the monotony of infantry drill broken for p63 the first time by their introduction to artillery. For about nine weeks they had two hours daily with their muskets and four with artillery; work enough for warm days when the woods called and the river lured the boys who were sweating under canvas.9

With the return to barracks on September 1, 1826, Lee and his class plunged into more advanced mathematics — calculus, analytical and descriptive geometry and difficult conic sections, with instruction chiefly by Professor Davies. A course in perspective, shades and shadows was included with the mathematics.10 French was continued, with Gil Blas the text, followed late in the session by Voltaire's Histoire de Charles XII, as suited for the education of a soldier.11 The one added academic study was free-hand drawing of the human figure. This was under the tutelage of Thomas Gimbrede, an amiable Frenchman, a good miniaturist, and a competent engraver, who was not altogether without the blessed quality of humor. It was Mr. Gimbrede's custom to give each class of beginners an introductory lecture, in the course of which he endeavored to prove to unbelieving third-classmen that every one could learn to draw. His proof was: "There are only two lines in drawing, the straight line and the curve line. Every one can draw a straight line and every one can draw a curve line — therefore, every one can draw."12 Gimbrede was Lee's only new teacher that winter, though there were eleven changes in the academic staff.13 No material difference was made in the schedule, except that drawing alternated in the afternoons with the study and recitation of French.14 Infantry drill continued, in the school of the company, with instruction in the duties of corporals.15 Two hours every second afternoon during the academic term were devoted to artillery, under the direction of Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Z. J. D. Kinsley, a West Pointer of the class of 1819.16

This was a busy routine, but Robert was now so well-grounded p64 that he felt he could indulge himself in a little outside reading. For his first study, he borrowed from the library the second volume on Montholon's Memoirs of Napoleon and during October and November he seems to have steeped himself in the early operations of the Corsican, notably in the Italian campaign of 1796, and the advance on Moscow.17 To this same study he was to turn again, twenty-six years thereafter.

In addition to his reading, Robert essayed some teaching.a The regulations authorized the appointment of a number of "senior cadets" to serve as acting assistant professors of mathematics, with a compensation of $10 a month and the assurance — as if in apology for the smallness of the pay — that the post was in the nature of a honorary distinction. Generally, the words "senior cadets" were interpreted to mean members of the first class. This year, however, either because of their own proficiency, or else because a large number of new cadets were backward in their mathematics, Lee and the three others members of this class who had stood first in that subject were made acting assistant professors.18 The duties of the position were largely tutorial, and they consumed hours that Lee must have wished he could have given to other subjects, but they were helpful. His mother was greatly pleased at the distinction and was delighted that he received compensation for it.19 He must have been encouraged as he faced the tests of the second year, already staff sergeant and an acting assistant professor of mathematics.

But Robert's outside activities proved too much for him. On the semi-annual examination in January, 1827, his rating reflected the loss of the time he had devoted to reading and to teaching. In mathematics he was fourth, in French he was fifth, and in drawing fifth. He still had no demerits, and his drill-record was clean.20 William Boylan, who had stood next after Lee at the end of their first year, was no longer at the academy, but Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Catharinus P. Buckingham, No. 9 in June, 1826, was pushing ahead. p65 Charles Mason and William Harford continued to do admirably. Warned by their progress, Robert forthwith abandoned most of his extra reading and buckled down to his classes.

But there was one historical work he probably he could not resist. That was the new edition of his father's Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department. This had been prepared by his half-brother, Henry Lee, at the instance and expense of Colonel John R. Fenwick, who had been interested in the book both as a South Carolinian and as a soldier. The work was in a single volume, and though poorly printed by Peter Force, it contained some useful notes and addenda.21 Robert doubtless had read the first edition in boyhood, but now he could bring to bear on the book something of the understanding of a soldier, and could appreciate more fully the military qualities of his father.

"Light-Horse Harry" Lee, it will be remembered, had written late in life that "mankind admire most the hero; of all, the most useless, except when the safety of a nation demands his saving arm."22 Yet it was plain to Robert that his father had loved military life and had possessed high ability in it. Washington had thought so. After the Paulus Hook affair he had praised Henry Lee for displaying "a remarkable degree of prudence, address, enterprise, and bravery."23 Greene often mentioned Lee in orders. "Everybody knows I have the highest opinion of you as an officer," he told Lee in the correspondence preceding Lee's resignation from the army in 1782.24

What were the military qualities, then, that Robert Lee discovered in his father when he read the new edition of his Memoirs? The answer could not be without some effect on the education of the son as a soldier.

Skill in reconnaissance Henry Lee undoubtedly possessed,25 and with it a positive military logic, and a definite strategic sense, well p66 illustrated in his advocacy of operations in South Carolina after Cornwallis had started into Virginia. Perhaps the most notable quality of Henry Lee, the soldier, as revealed again in his book, was his ability in creating and maintaining an esprit de corps. His command, the biographer of Greene admitted, "was, perhaps, the finest . . . that made its appearance on the arena of the Revolutionary War."26 The first mention of his troopers in "Light-Horse Harry" Lee's extant correspondence shows him planning to have them make a good appearance. "How happy would I be," he wrote his colonel, "if it was possible for my men to be furnished with caps and boots, prior to my appearance at headquarters. You know, my dear Colonel, that, justly, an officer's reputation depends not only on the discipline, but appearance of his men."27 Months later, when he took a British fort, he created much murmuring by appropriating the available stores, and supplying his men with new uniforms, in which he proudly paraded them next morning. Each member of the corps in time acquired a Potter's sword, "the weapon most highly estimated for service, taken in personal conflict with the enemy," according to one of Lee's officers.28

As he read his father's Memoirs Robert discovered, also, that "Light-Horse Harry" was stern in his discipline. Immediate death had been threatened any soldier who did not observe absolute silence during the advance on Paulus Hook.29 When desertion began to spread, that same summer of 1779, he captured a man who had gone over to the enemy, hanged him, then cut off his head, with the rope still around the neck, and sent head and rope to Washington's headquarters, much to the horror of the commander-in‑chief.30 Desertion, however, ended that day.

On the other hand, when his men behaved with bravery, "Light-Horse Harry" saw to it that they were rewarded. After some of his dragoons had helped him and his brother officers beat off the attack at Spread Eagle Tavern, he assured the soldiers, p67 in the words of one of his admirers, "that he should consider their future establishment in life as his peculiar care, and he honorably kept his word. They were all in turn commissioned. . . ."31 He was careful not to expose them or himself needlessly, and was always so vigilant that after the episode at the tavern, he was never surprised. The animals of his command received almost as much attention at his hands as did the men.32 If his command deserved credit, he saw that they got it. "No officer," said Johnson, "was ever more devoted to the interests of his own corps or his own fame."33

The effect upon Robert of the probable reading of this edition of his father's Memoirs does not show in any of his letters but it must have confirmed him in his determination to follow the career of a soldier. In ways that neither biographer nor psychologist may fathom, it is possible, also, that Robert's admiration for his father led him to magnify and to copy the military virtues of the sire. The morale of the Army of Northern Virginia may have been inspired in 1781, though it was not until 1862 that the army itself was created.

Much closer to Robert in the winter of 1826‑27 than any dream of emulating his father in military achievement, was the daily round of his duty. He adjusted his hours to his teaching duties and began to form plans to win a furlough in July. No cadet could leave, except for serious illness, until he had been two years at the academy, and even then, only those could go home who had received the written consent of their parents and stood well on Colonel Thayer's records.34 Robert procured Mrs. Lee's written approval of his application; the money he was earning would suffice to pay his expenses; the rest depended chiefly on his own efforts. April arrived at last, and field exercises were resumed. May drew on, and the student settled to their special preparation for the June ordeal. Finally the examinations were over, and the results were announced. In mathematics Robert was fourth in his class and had earned 286 of a possible 300. His acquaintance with p68 Gil Blas and his mental marching with Charles XII left him fifth in French, receiving 98½ of a maximum 100. Among those whom Mr. Gimbrede was trying to convince they could draw, he was fourth, being credited with 46 of a possible 50. Leading in not a single class, he had not fallen far behind the pace-makers in any of them. His total on the roll of general merit was 430½, and this put him second in the class. Charles continued first. Robert remained staff sergeant, kept on the list of "distinguished cadets," and, of course, won his furlough.35

This began on June 30,36 in time to permit him to reach northern Virginia when sociable kinspeople of his name were starting their summer visits to one another. He found his mother residing in Georgetown, deeper in her invalidism, old at fifty-four by reason of disease and the burdens she had borne. He was able, however, to take her with him on at least one journey to the home of some of her Carter cousins. As her escort, dressed in his gray cadet uniform, with its white bullet buttons, his looks and his manner so‑called forth admiring comment from the girls of his stock.37 He was becoming by this time an exceedingly handsome young man, with manners in keeping. At the academy he was already styled the "Marble Model."38 A fellow-cadet testified years afterwards, "His personal appearance surpassed in manly beauty that of any cadet in the corps. Though firm in his position and perfectly erect, he had none of the stiffness so often assumed by men who affect to be very strict in their ideas of what is military. His limbs, beautiful and symmetrical, looked as though they had come from the turning lathe, his step was as elastic as if he spurned the ground upon which he trod."39

Shortly after his return to the academy on August 28, 1827, just as the encampment was about to end, Lee resumed his work as acting assistant professor of mathematics. Simultaneously he entered on scientific studies that were entirely new to him. Mathematics p69 was dropped. Drawing was continued and was given a higher credit. It called for two hours' work each week-day afternoon and included landscape and topography. Chemistry and "natural philosophy" — physics in modern academic terminology — became his major studies for the year.40

The course in "natural philosophy," had a valuation of 300 on the merit roll, three times as much as the year's work in chemistry. Taught only to men of the second class, it covered the elements of mechanics, experimental physics, light, heat, magnetism, electricity, and astronomy.41 The cadets on the upper half of the merit-roll were instructed by the professor, Jared Mansfield;b those on the lower half were in the care of the assistant professors, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.S. Stanhope Smith and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Thomas S. Twiss.42 Mansfield had been one of the pioneer physicists of the country, had also served as lieutenant colonel of engineers before the War of 1812, and had been a teacher at the academy for fifteen years when Robert entered his class. He was then sixty-nine and about to retire. Smith, the senior assistant, was a young man of promise but was destined to die within a year. Twiss, who had stood No. 2 in the class of 1826, did not remain long at the academy.43 Twiss's predecessor was a very interesting man who, in 1826, had turned from physics to mathematics and was then teaching that subject as an assistant professor. Lee probably saw something of him in his own rôle as an instructor of the mathematical dullards. He was Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Robert Parker Parrott, later the inventor of the "Parrott gun" that roared in so many battles of the War between the States.

Physics was taught every week-day from 8 to 11, and was supposed to command the study of second classmen from sunrise to 7 A.M. and from half an hour after sunset until 9:30.44 The texts were Newton's Principia, Gregory's Treatise on Mechanics, and Enfield's Institutes of Natural Philosophy.45 The subject interested Robert. It dealt with material, practical things that always appealed to him; it was an approach to engineering, which was the goal of nearly all ambitious cadets; and it meant much in p70 determining a cadet's standing. Lee seems to have concentrated on it his best energies during his third year at West Point.

The work in chemistry was the first half of a two-year course designed to cover the theory of the science, "chemical philosophy," as it was styled, and the application of chemistry to certain of the arts. The text was Henry's Chemistry, and the time allotted to the subject was one hour daily for study and one hour for recitation.46 The professor in charge was Doctor John Torrey, who subsequently became a botanist of repute. The assistant was Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Nicholas Tillinghast, of the class of 1824.

In military study, Lee's class passed that year through the school of the battalion, learned the duties of sergeants, and was drilled in the exercise and manoeuvres of artillery pieces. A new assistant professor of tactics had come to the academy that autumn, in the person of Lieutenant Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.John H. Winder, destined to have charge of many Federal prisoners, first at Richmond and then at Andersonville. Lee probably saw little of him, as most of the second class's instruction was in artillery, with Lieutenant Kinsley again in charge.

Corps activities took a certain amount of Lee's time that winter. Kosciuszko was in those days the patron saint of West Point. He had designed the Revolutionary forts, Clinton and Putnam, and had resided in the little cottage that had been preserved.47 For some years, the corps had been contributing twenty-five cents monthly per man toward the construction of a monument in honor of the Lithuanian supporter of American independence. Lee was one of the committeemen entrusted with completing the fund. Their progress was such in 1827‑28 that the formal preparation of a model was begun by the designated artist, John H. B. Latrobe. He was a former cadet,c who became more famous as the inventor of the stove that bears his name than as a maker of monuments.48 It was the plan of the committee to raise a total of $5000 and to unveil the shaft within the ramparts that Kosciusko had laid out.

While the cadets were preparing to add a memorial of the struggle for independence, one possessed by West Point was destroyed; p71 on December 26, 1827, the "Long Barracks" were burned. This two‑story building, which was near the site of the hotel, had been constructed during the first war with England, as already noted, for the use of the garrison, and from the establishment of the academy until the erection of the South Barracks, had housed the cadets.49 The weathered old structure had been the largest and, except for the forts, the most familiar of man's work at West Point to remind the country's prospective soldiers that they were in a literal sense sons of the Revolution.

The winter of 1827 brought a lesser sensation — but perhaps a deeper sorrow. It was not often that changes in the academic staff were made during the term, for the vigilant Colonel Thayer saw to it that such upsetting things occurred while the cadets were encamped and had no classes. Now came news that Chaplain McIlvaine had received a call to Saint Ann's Church, Brooklyn, and had accepted. At the end of 1827, to the vast regret of the corps, he left West Point, and on January 1, his successor, Reverend Thomas Warner, took up his duties, as chaplain and professor of moral and political philosophy. He was an elderly man of fine appearance, somewhat resembling Andrew Jackson. A strong logician, he lacked the brilliant appeal of the eloquent McIlvaine, and in his lectures, he usually disported himself intellectually in waters beyond the depth of the cadets. Fear lest he would make Sunday chapel the ordeal it had been before the coming of McIlvaine was removed by the pleasing discovery on the part of the boys that the reverend gentleman seldom preached longer than ten minutes.50

At Mr. Warner's coming there was little time for an appraisal of his qualities, for the cadets were groaning over their extra study for the semi-annual examinations. On January 7, the solemn academic board met, the blackboards were put in place, and the troubled cadets were commanded to give evidence of the knowledge that was in them. Robert Lee came out from the inquisition with an excellent showing. The wisdom of his concentrated attack on natural philosophy was rewarded by a standing of No. 2 p72 in that subject. He was third in chemistry, and in drawing fourth.51

Encouraged by this showing and relieved after April 1 of his mathematical teaching, Robert had more time for independent reading during the late winter and early spring of 1828 than in any other period of his cadetship. Between January 26 and May 24, he drew fifty-two books from the library. They covered a wide field — navigation, travel, strategy, biography, and history. His principal interest seems to have been in seamanship and in the works of Alexander Hamilton, for he borrowed Atkinson's Navigation seven times, and the second volume of Hamilton's Works no less than nine times during this period. This volume contains The Federalist, which Lee must have read very thoroughly. He indulged himself, moreover, in a reading of a French edition of Rousseau's Confessions.52

The whole list for these months has interest and is as follows:

Jan. 26, 1828:
Museum of Foreign Literature, vols. 5 and 6.
Feb. 2:
The same, vol. 6.
Feb. 2:
Martin's Optics.
Feb. 9:
Westminster Review, vols. 1 and 2.
Feb. 16:
Rousseau, vol. 23.
Feb. 23:
The same, vol. 24.
Feb. 23:
Leslie's Geometry, vol. 2.
Feb. 23:
Atkinson's Navigation.
Feb. 23:
Machiavelli's Art of War.
March 1:
Chartekkun's Travels, etc.
March 1:
North American Review, vol. 2.
March 1:
Rousseau, vols. 24, 25.
March 1:
Leslie's Geometry, vol. 2.
March 1:
Atkinson's Navigation.
March 8:
Rousseau, vol. 26.
March 15:
North American Review, vol. 18.
March 22:
Hamilton's Works, vol. 2.
March 29:
The same.
March 29:
Atkinson's Navigation.
March 29:
Edinburgh Review, vols. 33, 34.
April 5:
Hamilton's Works, vol. 2.
April 5:
Atkinson's Navigation.
April 5:
Retrospective Review, vols. 6 and 7.
April 5:
Drean's Military Dictionary.
April 12:
Hamilton's Works, vols. 1 and 2.
April 12:
Atkinson's Navigation.
April 12:
Retrospective Review, vol. 2.
April 26:
Hamilton's Works, vol. 2.
April 26:
Wamery's Anecdotes.
April 26:
Life of Paul Jones.
April 26:
Bonnyearth's Algebra.
April 26:
Retrospective Review, vols. 5 and 6.
May 3:
The same, vol. 3.
May 3:
Atkinson's Navigation.
May 3:
Hamilton's Works, vol. 2.
May 3:
Lempriere's Biographical Dictionary, vols. 1 and 2.
May 10:
Atkinson's Navigation.
May 10:
Hamilton's Works, vol. 2.
May 10:
Ferguson's Astronomy, vol. 4.
May 10:
Arrowsmith's Atlas.
May 24:
Hamilton's Works, vol. 2.
May 24:
Ferguson's Astronomy, vols. 1 and 2.

Robert's reading did not interfere that spring with his studies or with his military duty. He went into the annual oral test with the comforting assurance that his record in drill and in conduct was clean. Under the rules of the academy, however, the advantage from these things in the examinations of the second classmen was moral only. The credits for tactics, for artillery, and for conduct were deferred until the final computation of standing at the end of the fourth year. When the examinations were over, about June 19, 1828, Robert had not headed Charles Mason but he was immediately below him on the roll of general merit. He was credited with 295 of a possible 300 in physics and was second in that subject. He stood No. 3 in chemistry, with 99 of the p74 allowable 100. In drawing, he was third, higher than he had ever stood in Mr. Gimbrede's course, which now yielded him 97 of a maximum 100 points. His general merit for the year was very high — 491.53

The academic mortality in the class, however, had been heavy. Of the eighty-seven who had started in July, 1825, seventeen had fallen by the way at the end of the first session. Several had dropped out during 1826‑27, and three more had failed by July, 1827. Now eight men went down, and others were despairing.54 Of the four Virginians who had entered together in 1825 only half were left, Lee and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joe Johnston, nicknamed "The Colonel." These two were drawn closer together when they realized they were the sole representatives of their state, and they spurred themselves to new effort in order that Virginia might not be discredited.55 "We had the same intimate associates, who thought as I did," Johnston wrote years afterwards, "that no other youth or man so united the qualities that win warm friendship and command high respect. For he was full of sympathy and kindness, genial and fond of gay conversation, and even of fun, while his correctness of demeanor and attention to all duties, personal and official, and a dignity as much a part of himself as the elegance of his person, gave him a superiority that every one acknowledged in his heart. He was the only one of all the men I have known that could laugh at the faults and follies of his friends in such a manner as to make them ashamed without touching their affection for him, and to confirm their respect and sense of his superiority.56

These qualities and his high standing made Lee a contender in the mind of every cadet for that most coveted of West Point honors, the office of corps adjutant, which was awarded about July 1, when a class entered its final year. The appointment usually was awarded the first-classman of good standing who had the finest military bearing and the best record on the drill ground. Would it go now to Charles Mason, who had been No. 1 since the first examination, or would the post be awarded some other p75 cadet high on the honor roll? The answer came positively and promptly, as was the way with the decisions of Colonel Thayer and of Major Worth: The adjutant of the corps for 1828‑29 was to be Robert E. Lee of Virginia.

The award was popular and made Lee the most prominent cadet in the corps, though some of the young men thought that his Southern birth had something to do with the selection.57 He was again certified to the War Department as a "distinguished cadet." Mason, Buckingham, and himself had this recognition on all three subjects of their study; Harford and Barnes had it on natural philosophy and chemistry.58 Temporarily, in June and in August, Lee resumed duty as acting assistant professor of mathematics, for a reason that does not appear from the records. It probably was to coach backward cadets.59

Now began the term for which all else was preparatory, the term into which was crowded all the technical military training, together with a second course in chemistry and a hurried, superficial survey of geography, history, ethics, and moral philosophy. Lee put aside all extra reading and concentrated his efforts. His day began, as previously, at dawn. From sunrise until seven o'clock, he studied engineering and the science of war. After breakfast and class parade he went to the academy and spent three hours daily in drafting and in recitation of the subjects on which he had just prepared himself. Then came rhetoric and moral philosophy, with lectures and study periods alternating until one o'clock daily. At 2 P.M., as in previous years, military instruction began for all cadets and continued until sunset. Following supper, Lee worked over his engineering until 9:30.

In this subject he found especial satisfaction. His mind was scientific in its interests. As among the sciences, the applied meant more to him than the theoretical, though his devotion to mathematics was always high. When he began engineering he may have felt, also, that this more fully than anything else represented the profession he had chosen. He gave to it, in any case, high interest and warm enthusiasm.

p76 The course was comprehensive, considering the limitations of time, and was divided into five parts — field fortification, permanent fortification, the science of artillery, grand tactics, and civil and military architecture. The instruction in field fortification covered the description and analysis of various systems of fortified lines, the building of batteries and redoubts, calculation of the labor, time, and materials for the construction of different kinds of field works, military bridges, the defense of posts, and field defilement. All of these, as far as possible, were taught "on the ground." Permanent fortification included the attack and defense of fortified places, analysis of the systems of Vauban, Cohorn, Cormontaigne,º and of the later improvements, the construction of mines and fougasses and their use in attack and defense, the erection of works, the art of defilement, and the armament of fortresses. The "science of artillery" covered a technical study of the various types of guns and projectiles, followed by institution in the principles of gunnery, as far as range-finding and ballistics were understood at the time. "Grand tactics" comprised strategy as well as tactics — the organization of armies, the conduct of marches, the preparation of orders of battle, combat, the review of the general maxims of war deducted from the most important operations of history, and the study of castrametation,º or the art of laying out a camp. Civic and military architecture dealt with the elementary parts of buildings and arches, canals, bridges, and other public works, a description of the machines used for them, and the execution of drawings to illustrate the course.60

The principal textbook for these studies was S. F. Gay de Vernon's Treatise on the Science of War and Fortification, which had been translated in two volumes, with a separate atlas, by Captain J. M. O'Connor.61 Cadets who did not remember much that was contained in the work rarely forgot that it cost twenty dollars — more than a month's pay.62 It was, however, perhaps p77 the best book then available on the subject, for Baron Gay de Vernon had been eminent in the French Ecole Polytechnique. O'Connor added to his translation "A summary of the principles of grand tactics and operations," taken largely from Jomini, who, said O'Connor, "transcended all writers on war, and . . . exhibited the most extraordinary powers of analyzing and combining military operations."63 The gunnery book was Lallemand's Treatise on Artillery, and the work on mechanics was Hackett's untranslated Traité des Machines. For architecture, the text was Szannin's Programme d'un Cours de Construction.64

Under the regulations of the academy the section that stood first on the merit roll received personal instruction from the professor of engineering.65 This put Lee directly under the eye of David B. Douglass, head of the department of engineering.d Douglass was then thirty-eight and a man of great versatility. A Master of Arts of Yale, he had served brilliantly as a young engineer in the War of 1812, and among other feats he had repaired Fort Erie under the guns of the enemy. Ordered to West Point, he had first been assistant in physics, then professor of mathematics, and, after May, 1823, professor of engineering. His summer vacations were given over to special professional work, chiefly as consulting engineer for the state of Pennsylvania. His reputation was of the highest, and his standards of instruction and performance probably as good as any in the United States at the time.66 Douglass's assistant professors were Lieutenant W. H. C. Bartlett, who subsequently turned to physics, teaching that subject at West Point for thirty-seven years, and Lieutenant William Bryant, a Virginian, later a clergyman. Bryant assisted in engineering only for the session of 1828‑29.67

In chemistry and mineralogy the work was a continuance of what had gone before. The other course for the graduating class, was supposed to cover geography, history, and ethics.68 In the p78 first-named subject the text was Morse's Geography. History, according to the regulations, was to "comprise a general summary of universal history, with a view, most particularly, of the history and political relations of the United States,"69 but the only text, so far as is known, was Tytler's Elements of General History. Ethics was taught from Paley's Principles of Moral Philosophy, and was to "include moral philosophy, and the elements of national and political law."70 Vattel was the authority on international law.71

This course was an omnium gatherum of the subjects a soldier should know but could not learn in the other departments. It was so crowded and instruction was of necessity so hurried that the board of visitors in 1826 had recommended that it be "broken up."72 Under Chaplain McIlvaine, who was a man of wide reading and varied interests, the curriculum was changed from year to year. During the term of 1825‑26, a course on American constitutional law was given. The textbook was Rawle's On the Constitution, in which the right of secession by the states was plainly and repeatedly set forth, though the exercise of that right, in other than extreme cases, was reprobated.73

It has been assumed that Rawle was a text in subsequent years, also, and that Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jefferson Davis, Robert Lee, and other Southern leaders got their views of secession from Rawle, or had their Southern opinions on the subject confirmed by the book officially used in the military academy of their country.74 In the case of Davis, it is probable that if he had been brought to trial after the War between the States he would have sought to vindicate the constitutionality of secession by reference to the use of Rawle at West Point.75 But Davis himself is authority for the statement that though Rawle had been used by preceding classes, he was p79 himself taught Kent's Commentaries.76 As for Lee, there is no first-hand evidence that he was instructed in Rawle, or that he ever read the book. The course during his last year at West Point covered geography, rhetoric, and moral philosophy, with nothing in the records to indicate that constitutional law was included.77 Lee's individual accounts at West Point do not show that he purchased Rawle. Moreover, Mr. McIlvaine, who previously had adventured with Rawle and various other authors, was no longer at West Point. In his place was an older man, not so well furnished for instruction in new subjects and interested primarily in "moral philosophy." It is hardly probable that the Reverend Mr. Warner in the first year of his service as chaplain would have gone beyond the regular curriculum. Warner may have used Rawle in 1831‑32, for Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.B. S. Ewell, who graduated at the end of that session, owned a copy;78 but even this instruction is not certain. A little later, when constitutional law is known to have been taught again, the textbook was not Rawle, but Kent, which had been employed in 1827‑28. Kent was used for many years thereafter and was the textbook during Lee's own superintendency.79 The only evidence of any consequence, as distinguished from tradition, in support of the view that Lee was taught Rawle at West Point, is a letter of Joseph Wilmer, in which he said: "I have a distinct recollection of my father's [Bishop Wilmer's] statement that General Lee told him the 'Rawle' was a textbook during his cadetship at West Point."80 This, it will be noted, is not direct affirmation that Lee himself was instructed in the theories of that author.

Whether Rawle was among the textbooks or not, Lee spent a winter that was devoid of sensation, and full of crowded work. Seven changes in the academic staff had been made that autumn, but none of these affected the departments in which Lee was p80 studying.81 In November, however, it became known that on January 1, 1829, the commandant, Major Worth, was to be transferred. Robert had been under Worth during the whole of his cadetship and esteemed him greatly. To him, perhaps more than to any one else, Lee owed the military bearing that was to distinguish him throughout his military career. Other cadets felt as Lee did toward Worth, and they united in a petition that they might present the departing commandant with a sword. The request was duly forwarded to Washington, but for reasons that were hidden in the always curious logic of the executive mind, it was disallowed by the President.82 Worth went to other duty, much lamented, and on March 13, 1829, Captain Ethan A. Hitchcock, an able man, well-equipped and earnest, assumed charge of the cadets. In less than twenty years thereafter the new commandant and the young cadet who formed the battalion and presented it to him on parade were to be serving together on Scott's staff, battering their way to Mexico City.

Before Hitchcock took command, the critical semi-annual examinations of Lee's final year were held. Robert must have thought himself weak on his geology, for, thrifty as he was, he paid for special coaching on that subject,83 with the result that he was second in chemistry and mineralogy. He had like rating in rhetoric and moral philosophy. In engineering he was tied with Buckingham at the head of the class, and for the first time in any subject he stood ahead of the invincible Charles Mason.84 After the examinations, with even greater energy, he turned to the work of the final half term. On April 1 he procured relief as adjutant of the corps,85 got permission to board at Cozzen's Hotel,86 and thereafter, for two months, he concentrated on his studies.

Quickly enough the finals approached, and the board of visitors arrived. The new president of that august company was General p81 Pierre van Cortlandt of Peekskill, N. Y., grandson of Stephenus van Cortlandt and great-grandson of the redoubtable Oloff Stevense van Cortlandt, one of the pioneers of New Amsterdam. General Pierre van Cortlandt's title had been won in the militia, not in the country's wars, but he had his distinctions, for he had studied law under Alexander Hamilton, and while at the head of the Winchester levies he had named James Fenimore Cooper as one of his aides. Another member of the board was Major Worth, now Lieutenant Colonel Worth, who so recently himself had been subject to successive visitors. Still another of the fifteen members of the board was Doctor Robert Archer, then an assistant surgeon, stationed at Fort Monroe, a man of great ingenuity, who subsequently worked with his son-in‑law, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joseph R. Anderson, in developing the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, where many of Lee's cannon of the 'sixties were cast.87

Beginning June 1 the visitors and the academic board met jointly every day for a fortnight. It was a ceremonious test. In the examination room, at the head of one table, sat Colonel Thayer in full uniform, with the professors around the board. At the other table were General Vanº Cortlandt and the visitors. In front of this awesome group, three large blackboards were placed on easels. Six cadets were called in at a time, two for each board. While one demonstrated orally, the others prepared their problems. In this setting, Robert made his appearance when his name was called, and for five separate grillings of an hour each he explained what he knew of engineering, of strategy, and of the other subjects of the year's work.88

At last it was done; all forty-six members of the class were examined; the credits were all computed. Lee's consistent good conduct and soldierly bearing now found their reward in these entries on the roll of general merit:
 

Mathematics (maximum 300)
286
French (maximum 100)
98½
Natural Philosophy (maximum 300)
295
Drawing (maximum 100)
97
Engineering (maximum 300)
292
Chemistry and Mineralogy (maximum 100)
99
Geography, Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy (maximum 200)
199
Tactics (maximum 200)
200
Artillery (maximum 100)
100
Conduct (maximum 300)
300
General Merit (maximum 2000)
1966½89

These credits put him at the head of the class in artillery and tactics and gave him equal place in conduct with Barnes, Burbank, Harford, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Kennedy, and Mason, who had received no demerits during the whole of their four years at the academy.90 In final class standing Mason was No. 1; Lee was No. 2; Harford, Joseph A. Smith, and James Barnes followed in order.91 Lee finished his fourth year, as he had all the others, with a place on the list of "distinguished cadets."92

Exercising the right accorded the class-leaders of selecting the arm of the service in which they desired to be commissioned, he asked to be assigned to the Engineer Corps. This was the usual choice of those who stood highest on the merit roll and it conformed to Lee's own inclination. No subject of study at the academy had enthralled him so much as that which he now made the basis of his professional work in the army.

Commencement at West Point a century ago was not the great event it is today. There was usually a valedictory address and sometimes a speech by the Secretary of War or some other dignitary, but that was all. Each graduate received a formal diploma, signed by the superintendent and academic board.93 Likewise, each was granted a two-months furlough and to each was given whatever balance of pay and allowances his account book showed was due him. In Lee's case this amounted to $103.58, for while p83 he had spent as much as the average cadet with the tailor, and something more than the average for postage, he had been most economical in all his other personal expenditures.94

The tragedy of commencement was the separation of boys who had spent four years together in close and revealing companionship. Death was to claim seventeen of Robert's forty-five classmates and nine were to quit the service prior to the War between the States. Of the 323 who were with him at the academy and graduated in the classes of 1826‑32, inclusive, 119 came to their end before 1861. Seventy resigned and, so far as is known, did not return to the service when North and South took up arms.95 Robert's intimates and his rivals for academic honors found varying fortune. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jack Mackay, who was perhaps his closest friend, served in the Artillery and in the Engineers, chiefly in and near his native Georgia, until 1846, when protracted illness forced him to procure sick leave. He died in 1848, aged forty-two.96 William Harford left the Army in 1833 and lived only three years thereafter.97 Charles Mason remained at the academy for two years, as principal assistant professor of engineering, then practised law in New York and served as temporary editor of The Evening Post until 1836, when he went to Wisconsin. He later had a civil career of some eminence in Iowa, living to be seventy-seven.98 Mason, however, was by no means the last survivor of his class: Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joseph B. Smith, No. 7, defied time until he was ninety-three.99

The only men of '29 with whom Lee was closely associated in 1861‑65 were Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joseph E. Johnston and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Theophilus H. Holmes, but eleven of the cadets who were at "the Point" during his four years were to become general officers in the Confederacy, and one was to be president. Lee's future chief of artillery, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.W. N. Pendleton, was in the class of 1830. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.L. B. Northrop, the commissary general who was to cause Lee many an agonizing hour, graduated p84 in 1831, and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Abraham C. Myers, quartermaster general of the South until 1863, was an humble "plebe" in Lee's last year.100

Two of Lee's classmates, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.James Barnes, who was No. 5, and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Sidney Burbank, No. 17, were later to face him in Virginia, though not as commanding generals. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Silas Casey, of the class of 1826, as already noted, was to stand stubbornly on the doubtful field of Seven Pines. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Samuel P. Heintzelman, also of 1826, served with the Army of the Potomac, as division and corps commander, until October, 1863. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.W. H. Emory, a third classman in Lee's last year, came, in time, to command the Nineteenth Federal Corps in the Shenandoah valley, in the campaign against Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Early. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Erasmus D. Keyes, of the class of 1832, served with the Federals in the Peninsular campaign, as did Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Philip Saint George Cooke of '27. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Randolph B. Marcy, a graduate of 1832, later acted as chief of staff to his son-in‑law, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.George B. McClellan, who was a child of three years when Lee quit West Point. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.George W. Turner, a second classman, was to appear in the grisly tragedy of the John Brown raid, and was to be killed by the insurrectionaries whom Lee put under arrest at Harpers Ferry.101 Others of the corps were to fight in the west for the Union. A boy of the second class in Lee's final year, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.A. A. Humphreys, at the head of a famous corps, was to oppose Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Longstreet on the last day of all Lee's warring. In the main, however, cadets who were with Robert Lee at West Point were not those with whom or against whom he was to fight. Such pre-war knowledge of his opponents as he was to use effectually in the 'sixties he acquired in the Mexican campaigns, or in his later service, and not during the years that came to a close, that June day, 1829, when he shook hands and said good-bye to some, and climbed aboard the steamship with others to go down the Hudson, on the way home.

As the ship churned southward, Robert Lee doubtless looked back to get his last glimpse of West Point. He was then twenty-two and a half, full grown to his height of five feet, ten and a half inches,e with brown eyes that sometimes seemed black. His hair was ebon and abundant, with a wave that a woman might p85 have envied. There was dignity in his open bearing, and his manners were considerate and ingratiating. He had candor, tact, and good humor. The self-control he had learned from his mother was his in larger measure. The habit of "finishing up" that Hallowell had observed in him at Alexandria had been strengthened by the fine discipline and precise instruction of the academy. Already his character was formed and his personality was developed. It was easy for him to win and to hold the friendship of other people. His professional interest was fixed in engineering and thereafter it never wavered until disappointment over slow promotion led him to accept a cavalry commission. He was not, of course, a finished, or even an accomplished soldier. For him, as for all other cadets of his day, drill had been needlessly prolonged at the academy, and the technical instruction in war had been crowded into too brief a period. But the training he had received was the best his country could give. The rest lay with him.


The Author's Notes:

1 The West Point muster roll does not give the nature of this special duty.

[decorative delimiter]

2 M. A. Regs., §§ 1326‑27; 1361‑64.

[decorative delimiter]

3 Official Register . . . of United States Military Academy for 1826, "Roll of Cadets According to Merit in Conduct," p3.

[decorative delimiter]

4 This seems the simplest way of describing his standing. The technical method of determining general merit was to credit the top man in the class with the full allowance for that study, 100, 200, or 300 as the case might be, while the bottom man was credited with one-third of that maximum. The men between top and bottom had their general merit determined by the "common difference." This was arrived at by subtracting the standing of the last man from that of the first, and dividing this by a number one less than the number of men in the class. This "common difference" was then subtracted as many times as the individual stood from the head of his class. Cent. U. S. M. A., 1, 232‑233. For the merit basis, see M. A. Regs., §§ 1366‑68. Lee's rating is in the MS. U. S. Military Academy Records.

[decorative delimiter]

5 American State Papers, Military Affairs, 3, 575; for the order authorizing a list of distinguished cadets, see Boynton, 219; M. A. Regs., § 1368.

[decorative delimiter]

6 Heintzelman's MS. Diary, Nov. 19, 1825.

[decorative delimiter]

7 West Point MS. Orderbook, June 23, 1826. For the usage in such appointments, see American State Papers, Military Affairs, 2, 655.

[decorative delimiter]

8 M. A. Regs., §§ 1359‑60.

[decorative delimiter]

9 For the drill requirements, see M. A. Regs., § 1350; American State Papers, Military Affairs, 3, 381.

[decorative delimiter]

10 The text-books were Lacroix's Traité du Calcul Différentielº et Intégral; Biot's Essai de Géométrie Analytique Appliquée aux Courbes et aux Surfaces du Second Ordre; Crozet's Treatise on Perspective, Shades and Shadows; Crozet's Treatise on Descriptive Geometry and Conic Sections (M. A. Regs., Form D).

[decorative delimiter]

11 M. A. Regs., Form D.

[decorative delimiter]

12Cullum, 38; F. H. Smith, 12; for the scope of the course, see M. A. Regs., § 1342.

Thayer's Note: Several cadet reminiscences of Thomas Gimbrede, a self-portrait of his, and further biographical information are linked to in my note to Smith.

[decorative delimiter]

13 Register . . . of the United States Military Academy, 1827.

[decorative delimiter]

14 M. A. Regs., § 1356.

[decorative delimiter]

15 American State Papers, Military Affairs, 3, 381.

[decorative delimiter]

16 Cullum, 211.

[decorative delimiter]

17 The books he borrowed in the fall of 1826 were: Montholon: op. cit., vol. 2 (October 14 and 28); Light: Histoire de Napoléon (October 28); Ségur: Expéditions de Russie, vol. 1 (November 11); Montholon: op. cit., vol. 3 (November 11); Montholon: op. cit., vol. 1 (December 9). For a full list of Lee's borrowings from the library during his cadetship, the writer is indebted to Major E. A. Farman, Librarian of West Point.

[decorative delimiter]

18 M. A. Regs., § 1317; MS. Muster Rolls, U. S. Military Academy, October, 1826.

[decorative delimiter]

19 Ann Carter Lee to Smith Lee, April 10, [1827]; Lee MSS.

[decorative delimiter]

20 MS. U. S. Military Academy Records.

[decorative delimiter]

21 Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States, by Henry Lee . . . ; a New Edition, with corrections left by the Author, and with Notes and Additions by H. Lee, the Author of The Campaign of '81; Washington, Printed by Peter Force, 1827 (copyright entry, Feb. 26, 1827).

[decorative delimiter]

22 Henry Lee to Charles Carter Lee, April 19, 1817; Henry Lee's Memoirs, 66.

[decorative delimiter]

23Ford's Washington, 27; cf. his commendation of Marion and Lee for the capture of Fort Watson, 9 Ford's Washington, 265.

[decorative delimiter]

24 2 Johnson's Greene, 322.

[decorative delimiter]

25 Cf. George Washington to Anthony Wayne, July 14, 1779; 7 Ford's Washington, 493.

[decorative delimiter]

26 1 Johnson's Greene, 354.

[decorative delimiter]

27 Henry Lee to Theodoric Bland, April 13, 1777; E. J. Lee, 330.

[decorative delimiter]

28 Garden's Anecdotes, 67.

[decorative delimiter]

29 See the order in Henry Lee's Memoirs, 22‑23.

[decorative delimiter]

30 H. Lee's Observations, 150; Lee to Washington, July 11, 1779, Washington Papers, 1074. Robert E. Lee, in recounting this in his edition of his father's Memoirs, p21, considerately omitted the grisly details.

[decorative delimiter]

31 Garden's Anecdotes, 67.

[decorative delimiter]

32 2 Johnson's Greene, 323; Garden's Anecdotes, 62. Cf. Henry Lee to C. C. Lee, Feb. 9, 1817: "You know I am almost an Egyptian in my love for the cow and ox. . ." (E. J. Lee, 348).

[decorative delimiter]

33 2 Johnson's Greene, 123.

[decorative delimiter]

34 M. A. Regs., §§ 1392‑94; American State Papers, Military Affairs, 2, 656.

[decorative delimiter]

35 MS. U. S. Military Academy Records; Register of . . . the United States Military Academy, 1827. Mason and Lee were the only men on the list of distinguished cadets of the third class who were credited with excelling in all three of the subjects of the year's study.

[decorative delimiter]

36 MS. Muster Rolls, U. S. Military Academy.

[decorative delimiter]

37 Long, op. cit., 30, quoted a letter from a cousin who saw Robert at the time.

[decorative delimiter]

38 General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.L. L. Lomax, quoted in Walter Watson's Notes on Southside Virginia, 245.

[decorative delimiter]

39 "An Old Dragoon," evidently a fellow-cadet, quoted in The Lexington (Va.) Gazette, July 24, 1867.

[decorative delimiter]

40 M. A. Regs., § 1367.

[decorative delimiter]

41 M. A. Regs., § 1348.

[decorative delimiter]

42 M. A. Regs., §§ 1373, 1375.

[decorative delimiter]

43 For Mansfield, see Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 5, 194; for his resignation, March 31, 1828, see Cent. U. S. M. A., 2, 88; for Smith and Twiss, see 2 Cullum, 186‑87, 365.

[decorative delimiter]

44 M. A. Regs., §§ 1351, 1356.

[decorative delimiter]

45 M. A. Regs., Form D.

[decorative delimiter]

46 M. A. Regs., §§ 1346, 1356, and Form D.

[decorative delimiter]

47 See supra, p49.

[decorative delimiter]

48 The design for the monument had been approved Feb. 26, 1825 — Heintzelman's MS. Diary. See also Reminiscences of West Point, 29; Cent. U. S. M. A., 2, 88. The committee, (p71)besides Lee, were Charles Mason, John Mackay, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Charles Petigru, and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.William E. Basinger, the last-named being of the class of 1830. Basinger was later an officer of Dade's command and fell in the battle of Dec. 28, 1835, with the Seminole Indians (1 Cullum, 448).

[decorative delimiter]

49 Boynton, 253; Cent. U. S. M. A., 2, 88.

[decorative delimiter]

50 F. H. Smith, 13.

[decorative delimiter]

51 MS. U. S. Military Academy Records.

[decorative delimiter]

52 The edition he used was Oeuvres Complètes de J. J. Rousseau, nouvelle édition, classée par ordre de matières, et ornée de quatre‑vingt-dix gravures (Paris, 1788‑1803), 40 vols. For this information the writer is indebted to M. L. Samson, assistant librarian of West Point.

[decorative delimiter]

53 MS. U. S. Military Academy Records.

[decorative delimiter]

54 Register of . . . the United States Military Academy, 1826, 1827, 1828.

[decorative delimiter]

55 R. M. Hughes, J. E. Johnston, 15‑16.

[decorative delimiter]

56 Joseph E. Johnston, quoted in Long, 71.

[decorative delimiter]

57 E. D. Keyes: Fifty Years' Observation of Men and Events . . . (cited hereafter as Keyes), 212; John N. Macomb in Long, 28.

[decorative delimiter]

58 American State Papers, Military Affairs, 4, 80.

[decorative delimiter]

59 MS. Muster Rolls, U. S. Military Academy.

[decorative delimiter]

60 M. A. Regs., § 1349.

[decorative delimiter]

61 The full French title was: Traité élémentaire de l'art militaire et de fortification, à l'usage des élèves de l'Ecole polytechnique, et des élèves des écoles militaires (2 vols., Paris, 1805). For a note on Gay de Vernon (1760‑1822), see Nouveau Larousse Illustré, 4, 793.

[decorative delimiter]

62 F. H. Smith, 5.

[decorative delimiter]

63 Eben Swift: "The Military Education of Robert E. Lee," 35 Va. Mag. of History and Biography, 101.

[decorative delimiter]

64 M. A. Regs., Form D.

[decorative delimiter]

65 M. A. Regs., § 1374.

[decorative delimiter]

66Cullum, 35; 2 Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American History, 216. After he resigned, in 1831, Douglass had a varied career as engineer and professor. He it was who demonstrated to New York City how the flow of Croton River could be used for its water supply.

[decorative delimiter]

67Cullum, 364‑65.

[decorative delimiter]

68 M. A. Regs., § 1351.

[decorative delimiter]

69 M. A. Regs., § 1344.

[decorative delimiter]

70 M. A. Regs., § 1345.

[decorative delimiter]

71 M. A. Regs., Form D.

[decorative delimiter]

72 Quoted in E. S. Dudley: "Was 'Secession' Taught at West Point?" Century Magazine, Aug., 1909, p632.

[decorative delimiter]

73 The impressive passages from Rawle are quoted in Robert Bingham's Sectional Misunderstandings. This appeared originally in the North American Review, Sept., 1904, but was republished as a pamphlet (Asheville, N. C., n. d.) with Colonel Bingham's authorities for his statement that Rawle had been a text at West Point. The paragraphs in which Rawle deplores recourse to secession are printed conveniently in Dudley, loc. cit., 634. The conclusive evidence that Rawle was used in 1825‑26 is found in four references in Heintzelman's MS. Diary, Feb. 21, 23, March 27, and June 7, 1826. For these references the writer is indebted to Judge Edgar J. Rich of Boston, Mass.

[decorative delimiter]

74 Bingham, op. cit., 10.

[decorative delimiter]

75 Bingham, op. cit., 4, quoting Reverend L. W. Bacon.

[decorative delimiter]

76 Southern Historical Society Papers (cited hereafter as S. H. S. P.), vol. 22, p83.

[decorative delimiter]

77 MS. Records of Cadets' Examinations at West Point. These show the subjects taught. Colonel Dudley (loc. cit., p633) apparently overlooked the "G" (Geography) in the records, and consequently he stated that only rhetoric and moral philosophy were taught in 1828‑29.

[decorative delimiter]

78 Tyler's Magazine, October, 1930, p87.

[decorative delimiter]

79 Dudley, loc. cit., 633; infra, p347, n47. In Ex. Docs., 2d sess., 26th Cong., vol. 1, p152, is a protest by the Democratic majority of the board of visitors of 1840 against the use of Kent's Commentaries and Bayard's Exposition.

[decorative delimiter]

80 Bingham, op. cit., 2.

[decorative delimiter]

81 Including the coming of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Edward H. Courtenay as professor of natural philosophy, in succession to Jared Mansfield (cf. Register, 1828 and 1829). Among the other newcomers was Captain J. L. Gardner, of the 4th Artillery, assistant quartermaster, who preceded Major Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Robert Anderson in command at Fort Moultrie.

[decorative delimiter]

82 Cent. U. S. M. A., 2, 88.

[decorative delimiter]

83 MS. Accounts, U. S. Military Academy, made available through the kindness of Major E. A. Farman, Librarian of West Point.

[decorative delimiter]

84 MS. U. S. Military Academy Records.

[decorative delimiter]

85 MS. Muster Rolls, US. Military Academy.

[decorative delimiter]

86 MS. Accounts, loc. cit.

[decorative delimiter]

87 F. H. Smith, 1. Cf. Kathleen Bruce: Economic Factors in the Manufacture of Confederate Ordnance (Army Ordnance, vol. 6, Nos. 33 and 34).

[decorative delimiter]

88 This account of the final examinations is taken from a letter written by George Ticknor, while he was a member of the board of visitors in 1825. It appears in Hillard's George Ticknor, 1, 374. There is no reason to believe the method of holding the examinations was changed between 1825 and 1829.

[decorative delimiter]

89 MS. U. S. Military Academy Records.

[decorative delimiter]

90 But because his initial "L" was fifth among those of the men who had received no demerit during the whole of their cadetship, he appears as No. 5 on the Conduct Roll of 1829 (Register . . . of the United States Military Academy, 1829, p19).

[decorative delimiter]

91 Ibid., 1829.

[decorative delimiter]

92 American State Papers, Military Affairs, 4, 251.

[decorative delimiter]

93 M. A. Regs., §§ 1385‑88.

[decorative delimiter]

94 MS. Accounts, U. S. Military Academy.

[decorative delimiter]

95 These figures are checked from Cullum and from the registers of the different classes. Men who entered the academy but failed to graduate are not included.

[decorative delimiter]

96Cullum, 425.

[decorative delimiter]

97 Cullum, 421.

[decorative delimiter]

98Cullum, 419‑20; Annals of Iowa, 2, 163, 168‑73; 3, 203‑4; 4, 595; 5, 268; 7, 28.

[decorative delimiter]

99 Cent. U. S. M. A., 2, 359. Smith was graduated as Jos. Smith Bryce (1 Cullum, 424‑25).

[decorative delimiter]

100 The other general officers of the Confederacy were: Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Albert Sidney Johnston, class of 1826; Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Leonidas Polk and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Gabriel J. Rains of 1827; Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Thomas Drayton of 1828; Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Albert G. Blanchard of 1829; Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.John B. Magruder of 1830; and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Humphrey Marshall of 1832.

[decorative delimiter]

101Cullum, 473‑74. For Turner's death, see O. G. Villard: John Brown, 440‑41.


Thayer's Notes:

a For Cadet Lee as Acting Assistant Professor of Mathematics, see Prof. Rickey's site on the History of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at West Point.

[decorative delimiter]

b For a biographical sketch, a list of his publications, and a brief bibliography, see Prof. Rickey's page. For a slightly fuller biography focusing somewhat more on his important surveying work in Ohio, see this page at Bowling Green State University.

[decorative delimiter]

c At the end of his life, Latrobe wrote a good booklet on his cadet days, which I have onsite: Reminiscences of West Point.

[decorative delimiter]

d For a biographical sketch and a brief bibliography, see Prof. Rickey's page.

[decorative delimiter]

e Freeman also records Lee as being, in later life, 5′11ʺ. (Vol. I, p449).


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 10 Mar 14