The Class of 1846: From West Point to Appomatox- Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan and Their Brothers

The Class of 1846: From West Point to Appomatox- Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan and Their Brothers

John C. Waugh

Language: English

Pages: 672

ISBN: 034543403X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


No single group of men at West Point--or possibly any academy--has been so indelibly written into history as the class of 1846. The names are legendary: Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, George B. McClellan, Ambrose Powell Hill, Darius Nash Couch, George Edward Pickett, Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox, and George Stoneman. The class fought in three wars, produced twenty generals, and left the nation a lasting legacy of bravery, brilliance, and bloodshed.

This fascinating, remarkably intimate chronicle traces the lives of these unforgettable men--their training, their personalities, and the events in which they made their names and met their fates. Drawing on letters, diaries, and personal accounts, John C. Waugh has written a collective biography of masterful proportions, as vivid and engrossing as fiction in its re-creation of these brilliant figures and their pivotal roles in American history.

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vermin-ridden, they were happy to be in Maryland. It was such a rich, lush land—a cornucopia. Many of them would one day agree with the Yankee poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who would write of it: “Fair as a garden of the Lord,/ To the eyes of the famished rebel horde.”50 As the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia passed over the river onto northern soil, the Union Army of the Potomac began filing out of Washington City in wary pursuit. It was an army still reeling from the beatings on the

24 (January-February, 1932), pp. 2–3; Sears, George B. McClellan, 13; William Addleman Ganoe, The History of the United States Army, rev. ed. (New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, 1942), p. 206; and Morrison, “The Best School in the World,” p. 8. 7. McClellan to Frederica English, 16 August 1846, and to Elizabeth McClellan, 23 August 1846, McClellan Papers. 8. George Brinton McClellan, The Mexican War Diary of George B. McClellan, ed. William Starr Myers (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University

Douglas, I Rode with Stonewall, p. 155. 60. Compte de Paris, History of the Civil War in America, ed. Henry Coppée, rev. ed., 3 vols. (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1876, 1883), vol. 2, pp. 325–26. 61. Douglas, “Stonewall Jackson in Maryland,” p. 627; Hill’s report of this action is in O.R., ser. 1, vol. 19, pt. 1, p. 980. 62. See Lee’s summary of the capture of Harpers Ferry, O.R., ser. 1, vol. 19, pt. 1, pp. 144–48. 63. Lee’s dispositions at Sharpsburg are in O.R., ser. 1, vol. 19, pt. 1,

chief, Antonio Lopéz de Santa Anna, had hurled wave after wave of his army against Taylor’s little force and the American line had quavered several times. But it didn’t break, and under a withering counterfire from the roving American artillery, Santa Anna had simply claimed victory, given it up, and withdrawn. And now there was trouble ahead on the high road to Jalapa. In a place called Cerro Gordo, dug in on a conical thousand-feet-high hill called “El Telegrafo,” was the ubiquitous Santa

with flowers and alive with the song of birds. The air was scented with the exquisite aroma of “the most delicious of perfumes.” The city itself, embowered among the hills, seemed to Semmes “a delicate mosaic set in a massive frame of emerald.”44 When a friend of George Derby’s from home heard that the wounded lieutenant was being carried there, he wrote Mrs. Derby reassuringly that Jalapa was “one of the most delightful, & healthy places in the western world.” There was no better place for

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