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For Brotherhood and Duty

For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862

Brian R. McEnany
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 508
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    For Brotherhood and Duty
    Book Description:

    During the tense months leading up to the American Civil War, the cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point continued their education even as the nation threatened to dissolve around them. Students from both the North and South struggled to understand events such as John Brown's Raid, the secession of eleven states from the Union, and the attack on Fort Sumter. By graduation day, half the class of 1862 had resigned; only twenty-eight remained, and their class motto -- "Joined in common cause" -- had been severely tested.

    InFor Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862, Brian R. McEnany follows the cadets from their initiation, through coursework, and on to the battlefield, focusing on twelve Union and four Confederate soldiers. Drawing heavily on primary sources, McEnany presents a fascinating chronicle of the young classmates, who became allies and enemies during the largest conflict ever undertaken on American soil. Their vivid accounts provide new perspectives not only on legendary battles such as Antietam, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, and the Overland and Atlanta campaigns, but also on lesser-known battles such as Port Hudson, Olustee, High Bridge, and Pleasant Hills.

    There are countless studies of West Point and its more famous graduates, but McEnany's groundbreaking book brings to life the struggles and contributions of its graduates as junior officers and in small units. Generously illustrated with more than one hundred photographs and maps, this enthralling collective biography illuminates the war's impact on a unique group of soldiers and the institution that shaped them.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6063-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Part 1. The West Point Years

    • 1 Aspirations
      (pp. 3-12)

      The city of Natchez stands on the bluffs above the Mississippi River some seventy-five miles south of Vicksburg. By the time Tully McCrea was born, it was the capital of the South’s cotton kingdom. Cotton brought wealth to the area, and most of its six thousand white inhabitants lived in large homes with white columns and wide porches. The hot summers were made more bearable by shade from the moss-laden trees that lined the river banks and roads to nearby plantations. Schools were filled with the best books, and the plantation owners often sent their children to the finest schools...

    • 2 The Beginnings of Strife
      (pp. 13-56)

      It was mid-morning on June 10, 1858, when the steamer from New York City arrived at the south dock. Tully and the other candidates picked up their bags and walked down the gangplank. The sentry halted them at the end of the dock and carefully recorded their names on his slate—Tully McCrea, Clifton Comly, Joseph Alexander, Richard Kinney, John West, Henry Wharton—as he did for each arrival. They put their bags on a horse-drawn cart and followed it up the steep road cut into the granite cliffs. Three-quarters of the way up the incline, the road branched to...

    • 3 Crises of Conscience
      (pp. 57-92)

      Furlough, that elusive event that each member of Tully’s class planned so carefully, finally arrived on June 19. They donned their furlough uniforms, slung their bags over their shoulders, and walked down the hill to the south dock. Tully looked through his window and tried to keep up appearances as he watched them leave.

      The furlough uniform worn by his classmates consisted of an army blue uniform coat with a single row of brass buttons, a standing collar, and blue trousers. A white shirt and dark tie were worn under the coat. A black hat with a brass plate and...

    • 4 “When Shall We Meet Again?”
      (pp. 93-124)

      The heroic actions at Fort Sumter led to the encampment being named Camp Robert Anderson that summer. Just before camp began, Henry Wetmore applied for a leave of absence, but when his initial request was denied, he compounded the problem by getting caught absent without leave, thereby losing his appointment as quartermaster sergeant for the summer. Tully was appointed to replace him.¹

      Tully’s new appointment had one major advantage. He shared one of the larger tents with the quartermaster, a first classman who was heavily engaged in studying in the barracks and seldom present. The spacious tent soon became a...

  5. Part 2. The Civil War Years

    • 5 McCrea Joins the Army of the Potomac
      (pp. 127-140)

      After graduation, Tully traveled to Morristown, New Jersey, to spend a few days with Ranald Mackenzie’s family, then on to Brooklyn to participate in a wedding. His dancing created great havoc with his wildly swinging saber striking left and right. Perhaps he should have taken those dance lessons after all. The next day he was off to Washington to try to get his orders early.

      Upon arrival he found lodging in the same boardinghouse that Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, the general in chief of the army, had occupied when he was in the city. The next morning, he walked to...

    • 6. McCrea, Egan, and the Maryland Campaign
      (pp. 141-156)

      General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had given Maj. Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia a serious drubbing during the Second Battle of Bull Run in August. As Pope’s defeated troops slowly moved toward the safety of the Washington defenses after the battle, Maj. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson attempted to cut off Pope’s withdrawal at Ox Hill (Chantilly) on September 1. The engagement brought part of the Union Third Corps and the Ninth Corps into contact with Jackson’s command, resulting in the loss of Union generals Philip Kearny and Isaac Stevens. James Lord with 1st Lt. Samuel N. Benjamin’s (May...

    • 7 Egan at Fredericksburg
      (pp. 157-168)

      More than a month after the Battle of Antietam, the drummers sounded the long roll, and McClellan’s army began leaving Maryland over bridges constructed across the Potomac River by George Gillespie, Charles Suter, and the engineer brigade at Berlin (now Brunswick). John Egan was transferred to 1st Lt. George Dickenson’s (June ’61) Battery E, Fourth US Artillery, and left Pleasant Valley to cross at Berlin on October 26. They and the rest of the Ninth Corps followed Brig. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry southwards along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge.¹

      Twenty-three-year-old John “Dad” Egan was now a veteran. His...

    • 8 Sanderson, Arnold, McIntire, and Warner at Chancellorsville
      (pp. 169-190)

      Late in the evening of April 30, a tired and dusty James Sanderson was located near Hartwood Church after a rapid sixteen-mile march from the lower bridge crossings south of Fredericksburg. Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles and the Third Corps were ordered to join the rest of the army at Chancellorsville no later than daybreak on May 1.²

      The preceding days had been filled with much anticipation and preparation. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker had replaced Ambrose Burnside as the commander of the Army of the Potomac three months before. His plan to attack General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia...

    • 9 Calef, Mackenzie, McCrea, Egan, Dearing, and Blount at Gettysburg
      (pp. 191-214)

      2nd Lt. John Calef and his battery rode into Gettysburg with Brig. Gen. John Buford’s First Cavalry Division. The troopers were ordered to “proceed to Gettysburg no later than the night of June 30.” Buford’s division was part of Maj. Gen. George Meade’s vast army that stretched along the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, awaiting word of the location of Lee’s army. Meade, the newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, had just replaced Hooker on June 28. Around the same time, John Calef became the first in his class to take command of a regular unit, Battery A, Second US...

    • 10 Mansfield, Semmes, and West at Port Hudson
      (pp. 215-222)

      Col. Samuel M. Mansfield, US Volunteers (USV), left his tent on the grounds of the US Arsenal at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and gazed around at his camp. It was January 1863, and his regiment, a part of the Nineteenth Corps, had recently occupied the city. His days were filled with company and battalion drills to improve the discipline and training of the Twenty-fourth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.

      After graduation from West Point, Mansfield was initially assigned to the staff of his father, Maj. Gen. Joseph K. F. Mansfield, with the Seventh Corps at Suffolk, Virginia. He remained behind when General Mansfield...

    • 11 McCrea and the Battle of Olustee
      (pp. 223-238)

      Just after the New Year began, 1st Lt. Tully McCrea was temporarily detailed to Brig. Gen. Truman Seymour’s staff at Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore’s headquarters on Hilton Head Island. He found his new duties a welcome reprieve from the boredom of camp life. His experience with the Army of the Potomac stood him in good stead. Seymour officially commended him for his performance, an act that raised Tully’s status among his fellow officers.¹

      It had been four months since he left the Army of the Potomac. The previous August, he requested transfer to his permanent unit in the Department of...

    • 12 Sanderson, Semmes, and West at Pleasant Hill
      (pp. 239-246)

      James Sanderson found himself along Bayou Teche in western Louisiana near the area where Sam Mansfield had earlier led the Twenty-fourth Connecticut volunteers during the battle of Irish Bend. He was now assigned to 1st Lt. Franck E. Taylor’s Battery L, First US Artillery, which he joined in November 1863 after leaving the Army of the Potomac. Marching orders sent Sanderson’s battery and Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin’s Nineteenth Corps toward Alexandria to join the rest of General Banks’s forces gathering for the Red River Campaign.¹

      Sanderson was a veteran of multiple campaigns, having served on “detached duty” in several...

    • 13 Mackenzie, Gillespie, Calef, Egan, Dearing, and Schaff during the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns
      (pp. 247-264)

      May 1864 was an auspicious time. Grant’s plan to coordinate the efforts of the various Union armies began with a major attack by Meade’s Army of the Potomac against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. At the same time, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and three armies were to march on Atlanta, destroy Gen. Joseph Johnston’s Army of Tennessee, and sweep away all Confederate forces east of the Mississippi. Supporting these operations were three smaller campaigns. Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler and the Army of the James were to push up the James River, threaten Richmond, and destroy the railroads south of...

    • 14. Murray at Atlanta
      (pp. 265-276)

      Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman began his campaign to seize Atlanta on May 4, 1864, at the same time that Meade’s Army of the Potomac advanced into the Wilderness. Roughly following the railway, Sherman’s three armies marched south from Chattanooga and Knoxville toward Atlanta.¹

      1st Lt. Albert M. Murray, commanding Battery F, Second US Artillery in the Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps, was a part of Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee. His battery moved along generally good mountain roads into the six-mile-long Snake Creek Gap south of Gen. Joseph Johnston’s rebel positions at Resaca, Georgia. McPherson’s army...

    • 15 Mackenzie and McIntire in the Shenandoah Valley
      (pp. 277-288)

      Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie, USV, and the Second Connecticut Heavy Artillery Regiment were almost to Ashby’s Gap on October 13 when they and the Sixth Corps were suddenly ordered to return to Cedar Creek. Mackenzie was baffled until it became clear that Maj. Gen. Jubal Early’s command had reoccupied Fisher’s Hill, just south of Strasburg.

      Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah had followed Early’s rebels up the valley after the Battle of Winchester in September 1864. Then, in early October as Sheridan’s army slowly withdrew toward Winchester, his cavalry destroyed grain, mills, and barns and left the valley...

    • 16 Dearing at High Bridge
      (pp. 289-298)

      Two months after Gettysburg, Maj. Gen. George Pickett and his much-reduced division were assigned to the Department of Virginia and North Carolina at Petersburg. When they arrived, James Dearing and his artillery battalion camped near a farmhouse outside the city. Close proximity to the farmhouse led him to meet Roxanna Birchett, the daughter of the wealthy Prince George County planter who lived there, and they soon fell in love.

      By November 1863, Pickett, commanding the department, found himself in need of cavalry to help guard the Weldon Railroad and created a composite brigade of cavalry units from Georgia, North Carolina,...

    • 17 Mackenzie, Lord, and Dearing at Appomattox
      (pp. 299-310)

      Brig. Gen. Ranald Mackenzie’s small cavalry division from the Army of the James was bivouacked along Plain Run about a mile south of the intersection of the Lynchburg and Oakville roads. It was April 8, and Mackenzie’s troopers were part of the final thrust by Sheridan’s cavalry to bring Lee’s army to a halt. The twinkling campfires of Meade’s Army of the Potomac and Ord’s Army of the James almost surrounded Lee’s army, camped between them near Appomattox Court House. All was quiet in the early evening hours. It was possible that history was in the making.

      His classmates, for...

    • 18 Warner, Bartlett, and the Last Battles
      (pp. 311-324)

      Charles N. Warner spent his birthday on the march to Macon, Georgia, with 1st Lt. George B. Rodney’s Battery I, Fourth US Artillery. His battery supported Maj. Gen. Emory Upton’s Fourth Division in Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson’s (’60) cavalry corps. When Wilson’s cavalry arrived on the outskirts of Macon on April 21, the lead elements were met by a Confederate messenger carrying a white flag. The messenger announced that a truce was in effect after General Johnston’s surrender in North Carolina. Declining to accept the messenger’s announcement, Wilson’s cavalry swept into the town and captured the entire garrison. For...

    • 19 Remembrances
      (pp. 325-334)

      Washington was draped in patriotic colors as the city prepared itself for a grand military review near the end of May. General Meade’s Army of the Potomac and General Sherman’s two armies were camped near the city. Their camps were filled with soldiers cleaning their uniforms and polishing their gear. Small groups gathered around sergeants who explained what would happen the next day. The evening before the first parade, one of Meade’s corps crossed the Long Bridge and camped in a field east of the Capitol. The others left their camps in Alexandria early the next morning in plenty of...

    • Epilogue Class Assessment
      (pp. 335-350)

      The accomplishments of West Point classes are often measured by collecting statistics, such as the number of members promoted to general officer, the number of awards for gallantry, and how many held high-level offices or commands. Such information about the twenty-eight members of the Class of 1862 was found in theBiographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academyby George W. Cullum, theAnnual Reports,and theAnnual Reunionspublished over time by the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy.

      It is easy to collect statistics but much more difficult to measure...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 351-352)
  7. Appendix: Biographical Sketches of the Class of 1862
    (pp. 353-392)
  8. Notes
    (pp. 393-436)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 437-456)
  10. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 457-458)
  11. Index
    (pp. 459-496)