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

By George S. Pappas | Go to book overview

2
Struggle for Survival

Little immediate change occurred when the Act of Congress created the Corps of Engineers, which was to "constitute a Military Academy." No sign was erected at the gate; there was no gate. The nine cadets and several young officers in Burbeck's school for Artillerists and Engineers continued their studies. The same instructors taught the same subjects. Jonathan Williams, who was transferred to the new Corps of Engineers as its senior officer, continued as Superintendent of the new Academy.

Contact with the outside world was still primarily by water. Near the dock was a new stone building used to store supplies until they could be moved up the hill and also to provide shelter for passengers in inclement weather. The path to the plateau above was still narrow and unimproved. Erosion caused by severe winters was corrected by using nearby rocks and dirt. At the top of the path was a set of officers' quarters occupied by the Artillery commander, Lieutenant Robert Weir Osborn. It was also used for the Artillery officers' mess. The class building, the "Academy," was on the western edge of the plain near the site of the present Superintendent's home. South of the Academy near a pond was a small building once used for offices but now quarters of the military storekeeper, Major Fleming. Other houses lay in a rough line to the south. The last was Major Williams' quarters.

To the east were a model yard, more quarters, and a building used as a laboratory. In the In the spring of 1802, Cadets Swift and Armistead planted twelve elm trees around the model yard. The trees were still standing during the Sesquicentennial Observance in 1952 but were removed during the 1970s because of Dutch elm disease and new construction.

A hard-surface walk, possibly of brick, extended diagonally from the garden

-25-

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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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