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

By George S. Pappas | Go to book overview

8
Still in a State of Progressive Development

The June 1820 examinations showed the results of Thayer's efforts to transform the curriculum into an orderly, comprehensive course of study designed to develop officers with a technical background. Thirty First Classmen were qualified for graduation. Eleven had entered the Academy in 1814, eight in 1815, and nine in 1816. Their departure left only three cadets who had served under Partridge.

The Board of Visitors, which included retired General Joseph Swift, the first Academy graduate, did not restrict its report to comments on the examinations. The Board inspected all phases of Academy operations. After the tempestuous Ragland affair, it is not surprising that its primary interest was discipline and the method used to instill and continue that discipline. The Board recommended that the Superintendent be relieved of "the tedious duty of adjudging crimes and awarding punishment" and that instead "a court of council be authorized to assemble for the trial of all such delinquents whose cases might involve their dismissal or permanent disgrace." Many years later a similar concept was adopted. Boards of tactical officers were established to investigate serious violations of regulations and award punishments, subject to approval of the Commandant and the Superintendent. The Battalion "Batt Board" of pre-World War II cadets and the Regimental Board of the 1950s were tribunals of this type.

The Board of Visitors pointed out that there were differences between the regulations published by the War Department and those actually used at the Academy. "It is evident," the Board reported, "upon an inspection of the former that many of them must have of necessity become inapplicable from the changes that the institution has undergone." It recommended that the regulations be clarified and each cadet given a copy.

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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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