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George Washington Whistler

George Washington Whistler



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William Gibbs McNeill (18011853); George Washington Whistler (18001849)
CLASS OF 1817; CLASS OF 1819

McNeill and Whistler began their lifelong friendship as cadets. After his first wife, Mary Smith, died very young, Whistler married McNeill’s sister, Anna Matilda. Their son, the noted painter James McNeill Whistler, attended West Point without graduating.

Both McNeill and Whistler spent their active army careers as topographical engineers. During the 1820s, when West Point graduates were virtually America’s only trained engineers, the government began lending their services to private companies. McNeill and Whistler went to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Other railroad and related engineering projects followed, both before and after they resigned their commissions, Whistler in 1833, McNeill in 1837. Whistler went to Russia in 1842 to supervise construction of the Moscow-St. Petersburg railroad, Russia’s first. Other projects followed, and he never returned.


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George Bomford




Key Figures






William Gibbs McNeill
William Gibbs McNeill
1801–1853
Class of 1817


George Washington Whistler
George Washington Whistler
1800–1849
Class of 1819



George Bomford
George Bomford
1782–1848
Class of 1805



Robert Parker Parrott
Robert Parker Parrott
1804–1877
Class of 1824



Joseph Reid Anderson
Joseph Reid Anderson
1813–1892
Class of 1836





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 The Western Reconnaissance Engineering for a New Nation Wars of Expansion