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

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

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

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

Synopsis

This volume goes beyond military personalities to cover the first 100 years of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Pappas focuses on the institution itself--describing how the Academy was formed and who its early leaders were. He tells us of the central role of Jonathan Williams and Sylvanus Thayer in ensuring that West Point would become both a military academy and a quality engineering school--despite many problems in its early years. Emphasis is placed on descriptions of events found in letters and diaries of cadets, officers, and family members. Myths and legends about the Academy without any factual basis are thoroughly debunked. Pappas also recounts the development of the instructors, the curriculum, and the cadet; the importance of honor; the creation of a library; the role of discipline; daily exams and weekly academic reports; life in the barracks; Benny Haven's Tavern--these and many other vignettes of West Point are brought to life in an unparalleled writing style. Including numerous photographs and maps, this book will both fascinate and teach. A must for all military historians, buffs, West Point graduates, and veterans.

Excerpt

Many friends have asked me why I decided to prepare a new history of the Military Academy when so many have already been published by both graduates and historians. There were two reasons for my decision. First, while working on my book about the Cadet Chapel, I noted that a recent history written by an eminent historian included many errors of fact and perpetuated unfounded myths about West Point. To satisfy my own curiosity, I began looking at older histories to determine where some of these legends had originated. I was amazed and appalled to find that some resulted from authors' deliberately withholding information or changing facts to attain a predetermined objective. Countless cadets and graduates perpetuated unfounded myths and even rumors, passing such stories on from generation to generation. Both the inaccurate accounts of early authors and institutional legends often have been accepted by later historians and writers who failed to ascertain the veracity of these statements. Many of these inaccuracies are pointed out in this work. This led to my determination to research every available source to produce a history of the Academy based upon facts and actual occurrences, not on legend, cadet "sinkoids," or hearsay.

My second reason was the early discovery of new materials not previously available to or not used by other historians. Perhaps the best example of such materials are the Henry Burbeck papers, given to the USMA Library in 1987. These papers provided the first definitive information about the pre-1802 West Point academy of the Corps of Artillerists and Engineers. Regimental, battalion, and artillery company muster rolls provided additional information. The data from these sources was supplemented by material found in Quartermaster waste books, Court Martial records, pay vouchers, medical returns, and other similar . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.