Monday, May 16, 2011

The West Point Class of 1846

This is the West Point class that the stars fell upon, much like the WP Class of 1915 (Ike, Bradley, etc.). Out of the 59 Graduates, 8 become Confederate Generals, and 10 became Union ones. The three most famous were Stonewall Jackson, McClellan (2nd in his class), Pickett (The Class Goat ranked 59th). The graduates of the class '46 were the perfect age for Civil war Generals, most were in their mid 30s when the war began. Still young enough for combat - but old enough to handle high command.

Some other facts:

  • Of the 59 Graduates, 18 were dead by 1861. Six had died in the Mexican War, three were killed by Indians and astounding (by 21st century standards) 9 out 59 had died of disease or injury.
  • Of the 41 alive in 1861 - 10 joined the Confederacy, 26 the Union, and 5 sat out the war. Two of these five spent the war as Vermont farmers, 2 had left the country (England and Cuba) and didn't bother to return, and 1 is simply listed as "whereabouts unknown".
  • 8 of the 10 Confederate Graduates became Generals. Davis, a West Point grad himself, gave preferential treatment to West Pointers.
  • 10 of the 26 Union grads became Generals. After McClellan, the most important were probably Reno, Couch, Stoneman, and Sturgis.
  • Of the 36 who fought; 4 Confederates died along with 3 of the 26 Unionists.
  • AP Hill is sometimes listed as "Class of '46" but didn't graduate until 1847.

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