By Ralph Kirshner
George Armstrong Custer wrote approximately his pal Pierce Manning Butler younger, who left West aspect to develop into a accomplice common: "I be mindful a talk held on the desk at which I sat in the course of the iciness 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 struggle and a member of Congress from his local country [Georgia] at a later date. the upcoming warfare 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 became to me and added himself as follows: 'Custer, my boy, we'll have struggle. it is little need speaking: I see it coming. all of the Crittenden compromises that may be patched up will not evade it. Now enable me prophesy what's going to ensue to you and me. you are going to cross domestic, and your abolition Governor will most likely make you colonel of a cavalry regiment. i'm going to cross right down to Georgia, and ask Governor Brown to offer me a cavalry regiment. And who is familiar with yet we might stream opposed to one another throughout the struggle. . . .' calmly as we either looked this boyish prediction, it was once destined to be fulfilled in a awesome degree."
Ralph Kirshner has supplied a richly illustrated discussion board to let the West aspect category 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 warfare battles and in their diversified careers after the war.
Two sessions graduated from West aspect in 1861 due to Lincoln's desire of lieutenants, forty-five cadets in Ames's category in may possibly and thirty-four in Custer's category in June. The cadets variety from Henry Algernon du Pont, first within the category of might, whose ancestral house is now Winterthur backyard, to Custer, final within the category 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 collage is called, can be portrayed.
Other recognized names from the category of 1861 are John Pelham, Emory Upton, Thomas L. Rosser, John Herbert Kelly (the youngest normal within the Confederacy whilst appointed), Patrick O'Rorke (head of the category of June), Alonzo Cushing, Peter Hains, Edmund Kirby, John Adair (the simply deserter within the class), and Judson Kilpatrick (great-grandfather of Gloria Vanderbilt). They describe West element earlier than the Civil struggle, the conflict 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 buddy 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 normal who turned a diplomat; Hains, the one member of the category to serve on energetic accountability in global warfare I; and Upton, "the category genius."
The publication positive aspects eighty-three images 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 line with rank within the class.
George A. Plimpton offers a foreword approximately his great-grandfather, Adelbert Ames-Reconstruction governor of Mississippi and the final surviving Civil battle general-and President Kennedy.
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Additional resources for The Class of 1861: Custer, Ames, and Their Classmates after West Point
Parsons [#13, June] of the 4th Art. was married. . . . The groom and groomsmen were in uniform. "38 On October 8, 1862, at Perryville—during Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky—the courage of Charles Parsons was admired by both sides. Perhaps no battery commander ever received more praise after losing his guns. One Federal report said, "The conduct of First Lieut. C. C. Parsons, Fourth Artillery, who commanded an eightgun battery manned by volunteers, cannot be too highly praised. He fought his guns nobly and drove back the advancing enemy, and not until overpowered by numbers did his men give way. Even then Lieutenant Parsons, deserted though he was, remained bravely at his post and had to be removed by force. "39 An account of Parsons at Perryville by a Confederate chaplain is even more unusual. According to Charles Todd Quintard, The battle began at break of day by an artillery duel, the Federal battery being commanded by Colonel Charles Carroll Parsons and the Confederates by Captain William W. Carnes. Colonel Parsons was a graduate of West Point and Captain Carnes was a graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis. I took position upon an eminence at no great distance, commanding a fine view of the engagement, and there I watched. . . . Captain Carnes managed his battery with the greatest skill, killing and wounding nearly all the officers, men and horses connected with Parsons' battery. Parsons fought with great bravery and coolness and continued fighting a single gun until the Confederate infantry advanced. The officer in command ordered Colonel Parsons to be shot down. As the muskets were leveled at him, he drew his sword and stood at "parade rest," ready to receive the fire. Page 35 The Confederate Colonel was so impressed with this display of calm courage that he ordered the guns lowered, saying: "No! you shall not shoot down such a brave man! " And Colonel Parsons was allowed to walk off the field. In a reference to their postwar careers, Quintard adds, "Subsequently I captured Colonel Parsons for the ministry of the Church in the Diocese of Tennessee. " 40 In addition to displaying bravery on the battlefield, a young commander could win support from his men by looking out for them in camp. On December 7, 1862, Emory Upton wrote to his sister from Belle Plain, Virginia, noting, Day before yesterday our brigade marched to this point, the confluence of the Potomac River and Potomac Creek. When we arrived it was snowing and quite cold, and we had to encamp on the plain. There were no woods to break the wind, no wood to build fires, and the men were wet to the skin; the ground was covered with snow and water, and with but a thin sheltertent over their heads, and nothing but the cold ground to lie on and one blanket for a covering, you can imagine how the poor soldiers fared that night. Yesterday it was clear and cold, and last night colder than any night last winter. The ice froze thick enough to bear a horse. Today I took the regiment from the plain to the woods—dense cedar and a high ridge—to protect them from the wind, and tonight they are very comfortable.