Mutiny At West Point

In 1817, “Old Pewt’s” rebellious cadets met their master in Sylvanus Thayer

It was June 15, 1817, and up at West Point newly elected President James Monroe, staunch friend of the Military Academy, was in a towering rage. The place was in poor shape, its curriculum had unraveled, examinations were unknown, and discipline was non-existent. The acting superintendent, Captain Alden Partridge, Corps of Engineers, seemed to be running a “Dotheboys Hall” of sorts, where favoritism governed and cadets were being graduated without reference either to academic standing or military ability.Read more »

The Corps

The United States Military Academy turns 200 this year. West Point has
grown with the nation—and, more than once, saved it.

BATTALION AND REGIMENTAL leaders unsheath sabers for the issuance of shouted orders, and as drum and bugle corps thump and shrill, a great mass, 4,000 strong, moves into its mess hall of thick overhead beams below vaulting ceiling heights and the size-of-a-house painting of history’s groupedtogether Great Captains: Richard the Lion-Hearted on his charger, Joan of Arc, Napoleon, Alexander, Grant, the rest.

 
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West Point In Review

The old school is alive with the memory of men like Lee, Grant, Pershing, and Eisenhower

Each year most of West Point’s three million visitors enter the U.S. Military Academy through the Thayer Gate. They drive past the cluttered main street of Highland Falls, which the historian Samuel Huntington described as a town of a sort “familiar to everyone … a motley, disconnected collection of frames coincidentally adjoining each other, lacking common unity and purpose.” A moment later the visitors are in, as Huntington put it, “a different world [of] ordered serenity….Read more »

Comrades In Arts

A West Point Gallery

The usual image of U. S. Grant has him in his dingy infantryman’s coat, imperturbably chewing a cigar while under fire from the line on which he is willing to fight it out all summer; it is difficult to imagine him carefully putting the final touches to a watercolor.Read more »

Westpoint: 1978

What’s Happened to the Long Gray Line

No monument or institution has more power to stir the patriotic emotions of Americans, or evokes more poignintly the martial virtues of self-sacrifice and discipline, than the United States Military Academy at West Point. In the view of General George S. Patton, Jr., of the class of 1909, whose statue now belligerently confronts the academy library, West Point was “a holy place and I can never think of it without reverence and affection.” A general less given to extravagant speech or gestures, Lucius D.Read more »

Cadet Edgar Allan Poe

The young poet became a legendary plebe in the few painful months he spent at West Point

One morning in June, 1830, Edgar Allan Poe rode the steamer from New York up the Hudson River to West Point. His spirits, like his expectations, were uncharacteristically high. He was about to become a cadet at the United States Military Academy, but he anticipated only a brief cadet career; with his prior military experience he expected to be an officer soon. Read more »

Two Centuries Of American Military Art

In a sense, the museum of the United States Military Academy was in existence years before the academy itself was founded. When Burgoyne’s army surrendered at Saratoga, its cannon and other ordnance were shipped overland to West Point and placed in storage there. The Point was then a fortified camp of the Continental Army, and doubtless some curious souls went to peer at the guns of George III, come to grief in the New World.Read more »

My Room Mate… Is Dwight Eisenhower…”

“My room mate (tent mate, rather) is Dwight Eisenhower of Abilene, Kansas.…” On JuIy 30, 1911, Paul A. Hodgson thus informed his mother of the beginning of a close friendship, about which General Eisenhower commented in December, 1942: “The four years we spent in the same room more than a quarter of a century ago are still one of my most treasured memories.” Read more »

A Black Cadet At West Point

One morning Cadet Johnson Whittaker was found battered and bleeding, trussed to his barracks bed. Who had done it, and why?

West Point, April 7, 1880. At reveille—6 A.M. —it was discovered that Cadet Johnson Chesnut Whittaker was not in formation. This caused a slight stir of interest, for Whittaker was an unusual cadet. He was the only Negro at West Point. Read more »

Classmates Divided

On the eve of the Civil War differing loyalties sent some West Pointers north, others south, but their academy friendship survived the conflict.

It was just a century last summer since a tall, raw-boned Ohio farm boy stepped from the two o’clock boat to West Point’s South Dock. He shouldered his baggage and climbed the steep path to the plain.