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Alfred Mordecai

Alfred Mordecai



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Bronze gun

Bronze gun


William Gibbs McNeill (18011853); George Washington Whistler (18001849)
CLASS OF 1823

Mordecai led his class academically and taught engineering at West Point for two years. In 1832 he shifted to the Ordnance Corps, in which he pioneered the application of scientific methods to developing and testing weapons and ammunition. He also played major roles in compiling the army’s first ordnance manual (1841) and reorganizing army artillery along more rational lines (1849).

In 1861 Mordecai, a North Carolinian, resigned his commission, refusing to break his oath but unwilling to fight against Southern family and friends. He spent the war years teaching math in Philadelphia, near the family of his wife, Sara Ann Hays Mordecai. Their son Alfred graduated from West Point in 1861 and fought for the Union. After the war, Mordecai turned to railroading, briefly as an engineer in Mexico, then as an official with the Pennsylvania Railroad.


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George Henry Thomas




Key Figures






Alfred Mordecai
Alfred Mordecai
1804–1887
Class of 1823



George Henry Thomas
George Henry Thomas
1816–1870
Class of 1840



John Clifford Pemberton
John Clifford Pemberton
1814–1881
Class of 1837



Robert Anderson
Robert Anderson
1805–1871
Class of 1825



Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
1815–1893
Class of 1838





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 Choosing Sides Organizing for War Fighting the Civil War The Army in Reconstruction