Spring 5-8-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Blakemore, Porter

Department Chair or Program Director

Ferrell, Claudine

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration


Department or Program

History and American Studies


The West Point Class of 1861 graduated on the eve of the American Civil War as a class defined by regional and political lines. As the secession crisis heated up, cadets appointed from southern states resigned and went south, some just two weeks shy of graduating, while northern cadets remained at West Point. Two months after graduation, the class exhibited their military ability and the value of their training during the Manassas Campaign in July of 1861. They also demonstrated a commitment of duty to the causes and countries they fought for. Furthermore, they showed devotion to each other, even as they fought on opposite sides of the war. The Civil War careers of six exemplary members of the class demonstrated the influence and significance of West Point to the war.