Charles River Editors
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
*Profiles the Class of 1846's most famous cadets, including George McClellan, Stonewall Jackson, George Pickett, A.P. Hill and others.
*Discusses the relationships between the cadets and their lives during and after West Point.
*Includes pictures of some of the cadets.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
“Toiling up hill is not what it is cracked up to be!” – Cadet George B. McClellan
West Point has long been America’s most famous military academy, but in the early 19th century, it was a highly unimpressive school consisting of a few ugly buildings facing a desolate, barren parade ground. Established with just five officers and ten cadets of the Corps of Engineers on March 16, 1802, the Academy was built on a spot just 50 miles north of New York City which had been a key Hudson River military fortress during the Revolutionary War. Cadets attending during the “Point's” first several decades were obliged to maintain their daily regimen knowing the school might shut down at any moment, as the U. S. government frequently questioned why it should provide free education.
As it turned out, West Point would become the foremost military academy in the nation, and it would churn out the cadets who became the most important generals in the Civil War. With that, the future generals’ years at West Point became a source of both camaraderie and colorful stories A clerical error by West Point administrators ensured that Hiram Ulysses Grant forever became known as Ulysses S. Grant, and years after Robert E. Lee met Albert Sidney Johnston and Jefferson Davis at West Point, George H. Thomas and William Tecumseh Sherman met each other and Richard S. Ewell. During the 1850s, classes included men like John Bell Hood, Union general Phil Sheridan and James Birdseye McPherson, who would become the only commanding general of a Union army to die in a Civil War battle when he fell in 1864 during Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.
But none of the West Point classes became as famous as the Class of 1846, which boasted more than a dozen future Civil War generals. The Class of 1846 included a shy kid named Thomas Jonathan Jackson who made few friends and struggled with his studies, finishing 17th in his class 15 years before becoming Stonewall. Also in that class was A.P. Hill, who was already in love with the future wife of George McClellan, a young prodigy who finished second in the class of 1846. A popular and mischievous George Pickett would play hooky at the local bar and struggle just to finish last in the class, and the Class of 1846 also churned out critical Union generals like Jesse Reno, Darius Couch, and George Stoneman.
Before these men opposed each other on Civil War battlefields, they forged their own friendships and charted their future paths together at West Point. The West Point Class of 1846 profiles the most famous cadets of the class, chronicles their time on campus together, and discusses their careers after the Academy. Along with pictures of important people and places, you will learn about the Class of 1846 like you never have before, in no time at all.