Sunday, March 4, 2012

Civil War Generals from West Point

I just finished reading Michael weeks latest blog based on his statistical analysis of data on Civil War generals.  Please check out General Studies - The West Point Brotherhood for more information. 

West Point
Michael indicates that 354 West Pointer's became generals during the Civil War with 140 serving in the Confederacy and 214 in the Union.  The split is a little more than the two-to-one demographic that is common to students of the Civil War.  This split is based on population data for the North and South.

Weeks points out that only 29% of those graduating at the top of their class went on to become generals.  This may not be surprising.   Generals may excel in military matters but not in the other topics taught at West Point.  Remember that West Point was the nation's foremost engineering school and many graduates chose to pursue that profession.  It is also important to remember in the words of Benny Havens' song, "In the Army there's sobriety, promotion very slow."  So many graduates left the military to get married and provide for their growing family. 

Lee at West Point
I did an analysis of the members of the Class of 1829, which was the year that Lee and Joseph Johnston graduated, and discovered the following:

Out of 46 graduates:
  • 14 served in the Mexican War
  • 17 served in the Civil War (13 Union and 4 Confederate)
  • 13 resigned near or before their Active Duty Service Obligation
  • 8 rejoined the military to fight in the Civil War
  • 10 died in service
  • 6 died under 30
  • 9 died over 70


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