Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Early Life of Charles Ferguson Smith

Charles F. Smith was born in Philadelphia, PA on April 24, 1807. He was the son of Assistant Surgeon Samuel B. Smith of the U.S. Army. He attended the U.S. Military Academy from July 1, 1820 to July 1, 1825. Upon graduation he was made a brevet Second Lieutenant of Artillery. [Brevet refers to an authorization to promote a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank.] His status was made permanent on the same day. [Why was the brevet authorization even made?]

The superintendent from 1817 to 1833 was Colonel Sylvanus Thayer who is known as the "father of the Military Academy." Thayer improved academic standards, instilled military discipline and emphasized honorable conduct. He also created a teaching method which emphasizes self study and daily homework. Thayer made civil engineering the foundation of the curriculum and as a result West Point graduates were responsible for the construction of the bulk of the nation's initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads.

Please see United States Military Academy to learn more about this institution.

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