West Point in the Making of America

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Illustration, morning roll call

Morning Roll Call at West Point



Related Items



Rendering, gun

Student drawing

Photograph of cadet mess hall

Cadet mess

Sketch of indoor cavalry trainiing

Cavalry training in the old riding hall

<i>Hazing the plebes</i>

Hazing the plebes

Cadets in summer encampment

Cadets in summer encampment with friends


West Point after the Civil War

After the Civil War, West Point was but one engineering school among many. A number of other centers of engineer training, many shaped by West Pointers, had sprung up before the war. Yet West Point remained a fine engineering school and its graduates continued to make their presence felt, overseeing the construction of such Washington landmarks as the Washington Monument and the Library of Congress. They also contributed mightily to one of the age’s great engineering projects, the Panama Canal.



But technical military proficiency increasingly became the focus of studies at West Point. Its graduates led the army’s professionalization, the expansion of military higher education, and the creation of a general staff. When the United States entered World War I, West Pointers took charge of virtually every aspect of mobilization, logistics, and combat.


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The Antebellum Army




Did You Know?

Did you know that soon after the Civil War ended, both Generals Grant (Class of 1843) and Sherman (Class of 1840) reviewed the West Point graduating class of 1865?




Smithsonian National Museum of American History


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West Point in History Introduction 1802–1860 1861–1870 1866–1914 1914–1918 Epilogue Introduction 1802–1860 1861–1870 1866–1914 1914–1918 Epilogue A School for the Nation West Point after the Civil War