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Over fifty per cent of the graduates of the United States Military Academy in the 19th century entered civil life at some stage of their careers. In these civil walks, most of them followed the tenor of the times. West Pointers entered the educational field, particularly that of engineering; they engineered and built the nation's first railroads, canals, and lighthouses; they turned to politics; and they became plantation owners and overseers. While so occupied there was always a willingness to fight on the military front in the 19th century wars.
In a survey of graduates of the United States Military Academy during the first hundred years of its existence (1802‑1901), 2371 of 4121 graduates found civilian occupations. The civil positions included one President of the nation, the President of the Confederate States, 3 presidential candidates, 4 cabinet members, one ambassador, 28 diplomatic officials, 24 members of Congress, 16 state governors, one bishop, 14 judges, 77 members of state legislatures, 17 mayors of cities, 46 presidents of railroads and other corporations, 228 civil engineers, 200 attorneys, 20 clergymen, 14 physicians, 3 artists, 49 bankers, 30 editors, 179 authors, and numerous merchants and planters.
This book is a consideration of the impact of 7 West Pointers upon the life of the past century. Though they had left the army (with the exception of Bonneville), they were always West Pointers. Lieutenant Colonel R. Ernest Dupuy has surveyed the West Point influence in the educational sphere; this volume enters varying fields of endeavor; a later volume will, I hope, show the West Point influence in railroad pioneering.
Acknowledgments are due a number of persons who aided in the preparation of this book. To Major General Jay L. Benedict, p. xii U. S. A., former Superintendent, United States Military Academy, for his sanction of this biographical work; to Brigadier General Robert L. Eichelberger, U. S. A., present Superintendent, for his like sanction.
To Lieutenant Colonel Elbert E. Farman, U. S. A., Retd., Librarian, United States Military Academy, for his help and for that of his staff, including Mrs. Edith Walsh, Miss Mary L. Sampson, and Sergeant Chester Green.
To others at West Point including Colonel Herman Beukema, Majors Ronald Shaw, Tyler Calhoun, and Captains Frederick Terry, Sidney F. Giffin, and Dodd Starbird. To members of the Department of Economics, Government and History at West Point.
To Lieutenant Colonel R. Ernest Dupuy, U. S. A., for his invaluable guidance and counsel.
The Staff of the New York Public Library have been of assistance, particularly in the Newspaper Room and the Manuscript Division where Mr. Wilmer R. Leech and Mr. Edward B. Morrison showed a personal interest in the research.
To Mr. Frederick P. Todd, of the National Archives, Washington, D. C.
Of the Du Pont Company, I wish to thank Mr. G. H. Kerr for his aid; also Mr. A. Duer Irving and Mr. F. Stratton Knox.
To A. C. Buchanan of the Encyclopaedia Britannica Research Staff.
To Mr. Charles Wielert, White Studio, West Point.
To Mrs. Elizabeth Freese for taking dictation and for the typing, in which she was assisted by Mrs. Elizabeth Egan.
Finally to Alice Brough Baumer for editorial assistance and encouragement.
West Point, N. Y.
April 22, 1941.
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