To the Point: The United States Military Academy, 1802-1902

By George S. Pappas | Go to book overview

6
The Rebuilding Begins

"My mission", Sylvanus Thayer wrote General George Cullum in March 1865, "was to create, to construct, to build up from the foundation under difficulties coming more from within than without." Thayer actually had the task of reestablishing the Military Academy for it had never fully recovered from the hiatus caused equally by Secretary of War Eustis's neglect and Partridge's supervision. Attempting to categorize the problems facing Thayer from the viewpoint of sequential importance is almost impossible because of the interrelationships of these requirements.

A sound and comprehensive curriculum had to be established, but such a curriculum would require a competent faculty in sufficient numbers to instruct the 250 cadets. Faculty morale was low after contending with the dictatorial actions of Alden Partridge. Cadet discipline needed refining to eliminate the weaknesses developed by Partridge's favoritism. Administrative procedures were almost non-existent, and relationships between the enlisted detachment and the faculty and cadets had to be improved. Cadet and post regulations needed revision. The library was inadequate. Apparatus and models were in short supply. Cadet financial procedures had to be developed. The physical condition of the post was not adequate to support all the activities despite the new barracks, mess building, and academy.

After his return from Europe in May 1817, Thayer reported to Swift in New York where he remained while Swift escorted Monroe on his inspection tour of the East Coast. In all probability, Monroe met Thayer during his visit to New York, although no documentary evidence verifies such a meeting. It is logical to assume that such a meeting would have taken place in view of Monroe's

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To the Point: The United States Military Academy, 1802-1902
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations xi
  • Foreword xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • 1775-1802 1
  • 1 - The Foundation is Laid 3
  • 1802-1817 23
  • 2 - Struggle for Survival 25
  • 3 - Existence in Name Only 45
  • 4 - Right Man at the Right Time? 61
  • 5 - Deliver Your Sword to the Bearer 75
  • 1817-1828 97
  • 6 - The Rebuilding Begins 99
  • 7 - Governed by the Rules and Articles of War 119
  • 8 - Still in a State of Progressive Development 129
  • 9 - Members of One Brotherhood 149
  • 1829-1833 183
  • II - I Have the Honor to Tender My Resignation 185
  • 12 - I Believe It the Best School in the World 205
  • 1833-1852 219
  • 13 - A Firm Hand is Needed 221
  • 14 - Preparing for the Ultimate Test 239
  • 15 - We Follow, Close Order, Behind You 261
  • 1852-1865 279
  • 16 - The Ante-Bellum Army 281
  • 17 - When Shall We Meet Again? 287
  • 18 - Adhere to Your Purpose 323
  • 1865-1902 351
  • 19 - All Institutions Are Imperfect and Subject to the Law of Change 353
  • 20 - Guard Well Your Heritage 387
  • 1902 417
  • 21 - The Corps and the Corps and the Corps 419
  • Appendix A Superintendents, U.S. Military Academy 423
  • Appendix B Commandants of Cadets 427
  • Appendix C Deans of the Academic Board 431
  • Appendix D The 1780 Map of West Point: An Unintentional Historical Hoax 433
  • Appendix E Comments on Sources 437
  • Bibliography 447
  • Index 467
  • About the Author *
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