Sidor som bilder



As has been said he left Transylvania in 1824, when only 16 years old, to accept an appointment as cadet at the United States Military Academy, which was conferred on him by President Monroe, through Secretary John C. Calhoun, whose disciple he was to become, and with whom he was to serve in the United States Senate.

His cadet life at West Point presented no very marked characteristics, or incidents, except that it brought him in contact with many bright young fellows who were afterwards to figure in the annals of the army, and developed his own manhood and military zeal.

A fellow-cadet thus wrote of him : « Jefferson Davis was distinguished in the corps for his manly bearing, his high-toned and lofty character. His figure was very soldier-like and rather robust; his step springy, resembling the tread of an Indian 'brave' on the war path.”

Cullom's "West Point Register" gives the names of his class and the order of their graduation in June, 1828, as follows:

1. Albert E. Church, of Connecticut; 2. Richard C. Tilghman, of Maryland; 3. Hugh W. Mercer, of Virginia; 4. Robert E. Temple, of Vermont; 5. Charles 0. Collins, of New York; 6. I. J. Austin, of Massachusetts; 7. Edmund French, of Connecticut; 8. Joseph L. Lock, of Maine; 9. George E. Chase, of Massachusetts; 10. John F. Lane, born in Kentucky, appointed from Indiana; 11. William Palmer, born in Pennsylvania, appointed frcin Indiana; 12. Thomas

B. Adams, of Massachusetts; 13. Robert E. Clary, of Massachusetts ; 14. Robert Sevier, of Tennessee; 15. William W. Mather, of Connecticut; 16. Enos G. Mitchell, of Connecticut; 17. James F. Izard, of Pennsylvania; 18. Thomas Cutt, born in the District of Columbia, appointed from Maine; 19. William H. Baker, born in Michigan, appointed from Vermont; 20 James L. Thompson, of Tennessee; 21. Gustavo S. Rousseau, of Louisiana; 22. Benjamin W. Kinsman, of Maine ; 23. Jefferson Davis, born in Kentucky, appointed from Mississippi; 24. William L. E. Morrison, Missouri, appointed from Illinois; 25. Samuel K. Cobb, South Carolina, appointed from Alabama; 26. Samuel Torrence, born in Pennsylvania, appointed from Ohio; 27. Amos Foster, of New Hampshire; 28. Thomas F. Drayton, of South Carolina; 29. Thomas C. Brockaway, of Connecticut; 30. John R. B. Gardenier, of New York; 31. Crafts J. Wright, New York, appointed from Ohio; 32. James W. Penrose, of Missouri; 33. Philip R. Van Wyck, of New Jersey.

The best sketch of Mr. Davis of all of the newspaper sketches which we have seen, appeared in the New Orleans Times-Democrat, and it gives so admirable a statement of his associations at West Point, and his career as a young officer, that we cannot do better than to quote from it freely :

“Among his classmates at West Point were Albert E. Church, afterward distinguished as a mathematician and for many years professor of that department at West Point; Hugh W. Mercer, and Thomas F. Drayton, who became general officers in the Confederate army, and J. R. B. Gardenier, who, in addition to no little active service in the army, had achieved some reputation in light literature before his death in 1850. Beveral of the class died very young-among them James F. Izard, an intimate friend of, Davis, and an officer of great promise, who died of wounds received in a skirmish with the Indians while yet a subaltern, in 1836, during the Seminole

war. With the exception, however, of Jefferson Davis himself, but fow of his class have attained special eminencenone any brilliant or historic reputation-either in civil or military pursuits.

“And yct-although now long recognized as facile princeps among his fellow-cadets of that period—his class rank in the academy was relatively low. He graduated in 1828, No. 23, in a class of thirty-three. It would be interesting to know (what, perhaps the records of the academy might show,) in what particular departments of study or discipline the desiciencies were found, which operated to reduce his academical rank.

“Although, as above stated, Mr. Davis's own class has furnished but few distinguished names, yet among his associates at West Point, in the classes above and below him, were many who have since become famous. Alexander Dallas Bacho was three years ahead of him, and graduated, first of his class, in 1825. Of the same date were Alexander H. Bowman, who, as an engincer officer, had a leading part in the construction of Fort Sumter, and was afterwards superintendent of the Military Academy; Benjamin Huger, major-general in the Confederate army, and Robert Anderson, who made the memorable defense of Fort Sumter in 1861.

“Albert Sidney Johnston, the lifelong personal friend of Davis, and regarded by him as the ablest of Confederato generals, was an older man by five years, but only two years his senior in cadetship, graduating number eight of his class, in 1826. In the same class of 1826 were Samuel P. Heintzelinan, Martin P. Parks, afterwards an eminent clergyman, chaplain and professor at West Point, Amos P. Eaton, late CommissaryGeneral of the United States army, Silas Casey, Leonidas Polk, the warrior-bishop, Gabriel J. Rains and Philip St. George Cooke were among the graduates of the class of 1827, immediately senior to that of Davis.

“Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston, the most illustrious of his associates, though older by birth, were both his juniors at West Point by one year. Among others of the three classes junior to his own were 0. M. Mitchell, more distinguished in after years as an astronomer than as a general officer of the Federal army during the late war; Charles W. Hockley, Francis Vinton and William N. Pendleton-all afterward eminent clergymen of the Episcopal church, and the last named brigadier-general of artillery in the Confederate army; Sidney Burbank, William Hoffman, Albert G. Blanchard, of Louisiana, a general officer of the Confederate army; Caleb C. Sibley, Theophilus II. Holmes, William S. Basingen (a brilliant young officer, who graduated second in the class of 1830, and was killed in the massacre of Dade's command by the Seminoles in 1835); John Bankhead Magruder ("Prince John,' of the United States army before the war and afterward of the Confederate army); Albert T. Bledsoe, Assistant Secretary of War in the Confederate government, and eminent in theology, literature and political science; Lloyd J. Beall, Robert C. Buchanan, George W. Patten, soldier and poet; Henry Clay, Jr., who was killed at Buena Vista; Samuel ü. Ridgely and George H. Talcott, both artillery officers of much distinction in the Seminole and Mexican wars; Andrew A. Humphreys, Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army William H. Emory, Lucius B. Northrop, Confederate Commissary-General during the greater part of the late war; Samuel R. Curtis, Charles Whittlesey, geologist, author and journalist, and others of more or less note."



“On his graduation young Davis (then twenty years of age) was breveted second lieutenant in the Sixth regiment of infantry and soon after transferred to the First infantry, with a full commission of the same grade.

"Mr. Davis gave in private conversation an amusing account of his first report for duty in active service. Being (as he said) something of a martinet, he arrayed himself in full uniform and made his way to the regimental headquarters. The colonel and lieutenant-colonel being both absent—or perhaps one or both of those positions being vacant—the command of the regiment had devolved upon Major (afterward colonel and brevet-major-general) Bennett Riley. The major was not in, and the young officer was directed to the quarters of the commissary to find him. Repairing to the place indicated, he found Major Riley alone, seated at a table, with a pack of cards before him, intently occupied in a game of solitaire. In response to Davis's formal salute, he nodded, invited him to take a seat and continued his game. Looking up after a few minutes, he inquired, “Young man, do you play solitaire? Finest game in the world! You may cheat as much as you please, and have nobody to detect it.'

“Major Riley, who was a blunt soldier of the old school, afterward became very fond of the young lieutenant, habitually addressing him when off duty as “My sonľ They met eighteen years afterward, when Davis, with his regiment of Mississippians, joined the army of General Taylor on the Mexican

« FöregåendeFortsätt »