The Class of 1861: Custer, Ames, and Their Classmates after West Point

By Ralph Kirshner

George Armstrong Custer wrote approximately his good friend Pierce Manning Butler younger, who left West element to develop into a accomplice normal: "I bear in mind a talk held on the desk at which I sat through the wintry weather of '60–'61. i used to be seated subsequent to Cadet P. M. B. younger, a gallant younger fellow, a classmate of mine, then and because the warfare an intimate and valued friend—a major-general within the accomplice forces throughout the conflict and a member of Congress from his local country [Georgia] at a later date. the upcoming struggle used to be as traditional the topic of dialog during which all participated, and within the freest and so much pleasant demeanour. . . . eventually, in a part jocular, part earnest demeanour, younger grew to become to me and introduced himself as follows: 'Custer, my boy, we will have struggle. it is no need speaking: I see it coming. all of the Crittenden compromises that may be patched up will not evade it. Now permit me prophesy what is going to occur to you and me. you'll move domestic, and your abolition Governor will most likely make you colonel of a cavalry regiment. i'll cross all the way down to Georgia, and ask Governor Brown to provide me a cavalry regiment. And who is familiar with yet we might circulation opposed to one another in the course of the battle. . . .' calmly as we either appeared this boyish prediction, it was once destined to be fulfilled in a notable degree."

Ralph Kirshner has supplied a richly illustrated discussion board to permit the West element classification of 1861 to jot down its personal autobiography. via letters, journals, and released money owed, George Armstrong Custer, Adelbert Ames, and their classmates inform of their personal phrases in their Civil battle battles and in their various careers after the war.

Two sessions graduated from West element in 1861 as a result of Lincoln's want of lieutenants, forty-five cadets in Ames's category in may perhaps and thirty-four in Custer's category in June. The cadets diversity from Henry Algernon du Pont, first within the classification of may perhaps, whose ancestral house is now Winterthur backyard, to Custer, final within the classification of June. "Only thirty-four graduated," remarked Custer, "and of those thirty-three graduated above me." West Point's arithmetic professor and librarian Oliver Otis Howard, after whom Howard college is termed, can be portrayed.

Other well-known names from the category of 1861 are John Pelham, Emory Upton, Thomas L. Rosser, John Herbert Kelly (the youngest basic within the Confederacy while appointed), Patrick O'Rorke (head of the category of June), Alonzo Cushing, Peter Hains, Edmund Kirby, John Adair (the merely deserter within the class), and Judson Kilpatrick (great-grandfather of Gloria Vanderbilt). They describe West aspect earlier than the Civil warfare, the warfare years, together with the Vicksburg crusade and the conflict of Gettysburg, the braveness and personality of classmates, and the finishing of the war.

Kirshner additionally highlights postwar lives, together with Custer at Little Bighorn; Custer's insurgent good friend Rosser; John Whitney Barlow, who explored Yellowstone; du Pont, senator and writer; Kilpatrick, playwright and diplomat; Orville E. Babcock, Grant's secretary till his indictment within the "Whiskey Ring"; Pierce M. B. younger, a accomplice common who grew to become a diplomat; Hains, the one member of the category to serve on energetic responsibility in international conflict I; and Upton, "the category genius."

The booklet positive aspects eighty-three pictures of all yet one of many graduates and a few of the nongraduates. Kirshner comprises an appendix entitled "Roll Call," which discusses their contributions and lists them in accordance with rank within the class.

George A. Plimpton presents a foreword approximately his great-grandfather, Adelbert Ames-Reconstruction governor of Mississippi and the final surviving Civil conflict general-and President Kennedy.

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31. H. A. du Pont, Campaign, 63–64. Richard H. Brewer was twelfth in the class of 1858. Page 188 32. H. A. du Pont, Campaign, 68. 33. Senate Committee on Claims, Virginia Military Institute: Hearing Before the Committee on Claims, 63d Cong. , 2d sess. , February 7, 1914, on S. 544, a Bill  for the Relief of the Virginia Military Institute, of Lexington, Va. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1914), 8. 34. Michie, Life and Letters, 122. 35. Rosser to Elizabeth Rosser, September 13, 1864, RP. 36. H. A. du Pont, Campaign, 107.

Fifty three On April 13, 1933, Adelbert Ames died at his home in Florida. In 1956, his name would appear in Senator John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage, which says, "No  state suffered more from carpetbag rule than Mississippi. Adelbert Ames, first Senator and then Governor, was a native of Maine, a son­in­law of the notorious  'butcher of New Orleans,' Ben Butler. . . . He was chosen Governor by a majority composed of freed slaves and radical Republicans, sustained and nourished by  Federal bayonets . . . two former slaves held the offices of Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State.

Alfred Mordecai expresses a conventional view; yet the ranks involved are unusual. ''I know," Mordecai told Howard, "you do not care for  the rank, but since you have determined to serve in the war it is pleasanter to be a Brig Genl than a Col. "41 Mordecai's classmate Pierce Young, who would become a boy general of the Confederacy, was experiencing one of the unpleasant aspects of promotion. Young was  already a major commanding the cavalry in Cobb's (Georgia) Legion, where some of the men in his command were twice his age and had distinguished careers.

Yet Custer later wrote, "it required more than ordinary moral and physical courage to boldly avow oneself an abolitionist. The name was considered one  of opprobrium, and the cadet who had the courage to avow himself an abolitionist must be prepared to face the social frowns of the great majority of his comrades and  at times to defend his opinions by his physical strength and metal. "17 Emory Upton did so in a fight with Wade Hampton Gibbs of South Carolina. Morris Schaff, of the class of 1862, reports, "When he was being quizzed on his arrival  as a new cadet, as to what he had studied, and where he had been to school, he openly and frankly declared that he had been at Oberlin and was an Abolitionist.

Noll (Sewanee, Tenn. : University Press, 1905), 57– fifty eight. Quintard's account of Parsons at Perryville receives a full paragraph in Linderman's Embattled Courage, 69–70. forty-one. Michie, Life and Letters, 70–71. forty two. James E. B. Stuart to John R. Cooke, January 18, 1862, in Adele H. Mitchell, ed. , The Letters of Major General James E. B. Stuart (n. p. : Stuart­Mosby  Historical Society, 1990), 250. Although Stuart calls him "a graduate of May," Pelham had left West Point to go South two weeks before graduation. Stuart's brother­ in­law, John R.

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