While nearly 450 West Point generals served in the Civil War, many other Academy officers also made significant contributions during the conflict. “The West Point Civil War Tribute” features artwork with symbols from the United States Military Academy at West Point to honor the graduates of West Point, and also features eight of the most revered and storied generals who so bravely led there troops into battle during the Civil War.
Robert Edward Lee, Class of 1829, Born 1807 in Virginia. He was a master army engineer, revered American soldier, and the inspirational leader of the Confederate forces. A former superintendent of the Academy, Lee was offered the Chief of Command of U.S. forces at the outbreak of the War, but resigned the Army to serve Virginia and the Confederate cause.
Ulysses S. Grant, Class of 1843, Born 1822 in Ohio. Remembered as a brilliant, aggressive, and resilient leader, Grant rose quickly through the ranks to the command of all Union troops. His leadership provided the momentum for the final decisive campaigns of the War. Grant later became the 18th president of the United States in 1868.
Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, Class of 1846, Born 1824 in Virginia. After serving in the Mexican War, Jackson joined the faculty of Virginia Military Institute, and led VMI cadets to Richmond to serve as drillmasters for Confederate recruits. A man of “fire and brimstone” and a brilliant leader, Jackson died on May 2, 1863 of wounds incurred in battle. With the death of Jackson, Lee remarked, “I have lost my right arm.”
William Tecumseh Sherman, Class of 1840, Born 1820 in Ohio. Son of an Ohio Supreme Court Justice, Sherman was a ruthless and resourceful Union leader who gained fame by introducing the world to modern warfare in his drives through Atlanta, Savannah, and the Carolinas.
James Ewell Brown “J.E.B.” Stuart, Class of 1854, Born 1833 in Virginia. After resigning from the U.S. Army to become a Confederate Colonel, Stuart rose to the rank of general and commanded the Cavalry Division of the Army of Northern Virginia until he was mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern in May, 1864. Stuart was a legendary Cavalry commander and a flamboyant, bold, and intelligent officer.
Philip Henry Sheridan, Class of 1853, Born 1831 in New York. After serving on the Western frontier, Sheridan quickly moved through the ranks and was instrumental in many of the military campaigns, including a triumphant victory in the Shenandoah Valley. A noted battlefield tactician, Sheridan laid waste to the Shenandoah and took part in the final campaigns in Virginia.
James Longstreet, Class of 1842, Born 1821 in South Carolina. The “Old War Horse” left the U.S. Army in 1861 and soon was a top Confederate general. Also a brilliant tactician, Longstreet was seriously wounded in the battles of the Wilderness, but returned to assist Lee near the end of the War.
George Armstrong Custer, Class of 1861, Born 1839 in Ohio. A general at the age of 23, Custer was one of the most controversial and celebrated leaders of the Civil War. Described as a brave risk-taker, Custer was instrumental in many daring Cavalry campaigns and was present during the surrender at Appomattox.
Each of these generals, in their quest for battlefield victory, relied upon the education they received in the classroom and training camps of West Point. It has been said that without their leadership, the Civil War might have been an entirely different war.