Book Chat
"Class of 1846:
From West Point to Appomattox"
By
John C. Waugh

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 01/18/09 and covered "Death in the Family" and  "Gone Are the Days of Our Youth".

1/18/2009 9:13 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Welcome to Book Chat number two on John Waugh's "The Class of 1846," anyone have anything to review from last week's chat?

1/18/2009 9:13 pm (et) Susansweet: This is January 19, 2009 Death in the Family

1/18/2009 9:14 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Next Chapter - Death In the Family - Comments?

1/18/2009 9:14 pm (et) Susansweet: oops rushed ahead.

1/18/2009 9:14 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I should also remind everyone to refrain from using PM during chat. 

1/18/2009 9:14 pm (et) Susansweet: Was interested to read Stoneman was Jackson's roommate and how they were both so quiet.

1/18/2009 9:15 pm (et) Susansweet: Stoneman later was a commander of the Drum Barracks so this really interested me .

1/18/2009 9:15 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Go ahead and take it Susan, you're probably more prepared than I.

1/18/2009 9:15 pm (et) Susansweet: Yikes , okay

1/18/2009 9:15 pm (et) Susansweet: Not really prepared you do so well but if you say so

1/18/2009 9:15 pm (et) bluelady: Considering the academy had people from all walks of life and their fare was not the greatest (unless that was a typical college complaint) I am surprised more cadets didn't get sick.

1/18/2009 9:16 pm (et) Susansweet: The food was horrible wasn't it.

1/18/2009 9:16 pm (et) Susansweet: Wonder how it compares with other schools of the time?

1/18/2009 9:17 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Although it should be considered that they were choosing the cadets, and were probably weeding out those more likely to be in poor health.

1/18/2009 9:17 pm (et) bluelady: I'm guessing that the young men never got enough.

1/18/2009 9:17 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Harvard seemed to have it a lot easier according to our last book, even though it was 14 years later.

1/18/2009 9:17 pm (et) bluelady: That's true...hence the medical exam they had as plebes.

1/18/2009 9:17 pm (et) Susansweet: Oh right .

1/18/2009 9:17 pm (et) amhistoryguy: There was always pancakes at Benny's.

1/18/2009 9:18 pm (et) Susansweet: Of course they were in the middle of a town and could go to other places for meals at Harvard.

1/18/2009 9:18 pm (et) Susansweet: And the hash they made in the rooms Dave .

1/18/2009 9:18 pm (et) bluelady: As well as tutoring..;)

1/18/2009 9:18 pm (et) bluelady: abeit illegal hash

1/18/2009 9:19 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Also take into consideration that soldiers ALWAYS complain about food. We had some great meals from time to time when I was in service, and we still complained.

1/18/2009 9:19 pm (et) Susansweet: Right hidden ingredients in their hats.

1/18/2009 9:19 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The instructors seemed to be the best in their filed, but some of the courses seem strange looking at it from today's perspective.

1/18/2009 9:20 pm (et) Susansweet: Speaking of instructors what did you think of Bartlett?

1/18/2009 9:20 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I wondered that too LF, how did OPTICS translate into a valuable course?

1/18/2009 9:20 pm (et) bluelady: We always complained about our food in college as well...lead to ordering delivery from the nearby pizza place.

1/18/2009 9:21 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I would have loved to take a course from him. I had teachers like that and those were the ones I remember the most.

1/18/2009 9:22 pm (et) bluelady: It was part of the physics (natural philosophy) course and written by Bartlett.

1/18/2009 9:22 pm (et) bluelady: The text that is.

1/18/2009 9:22 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: There was a teacher at the local middle school that tried to fly off a desk. Maybe he was trained at WP.

1/18/2009 9:22 pm (et) mobile_96: Exactly what was Optics as taught at that time?

1/18/2009 9:22 pm (et) Susansweet: He seemed to be a fair instructor.

1/18/2009 9:23 pm (et) secret squirrel: These guys did a lot of cramming and memorizing. it is a wonder they retained anything when it came to applications.

1/18/2009 9:23 pm (et) Susansweet: Says it was about light.

1/18/2009 9:23 pm (et) Susansweet: I thought that too. I remember cramming for a test and not knowing a thing the day later .

1/18/2009 9:23 pm (et) bluelady: Sometimes I guess engineering had to deal with physics..?

1/18/2009 9:24 pm (et) Susansweet: Dabney Maury is one of those that boned this course and passed.

1/18/2009 9:24 pm (et) amhistoryguy: FWIW, the tune played at the service for Raymond, "Death March for Saul," is available on I Tunes - just make sure you get the "Classic" and not the Metal version.

1/18/2009 9:24 pm (et) mobile_96: Usually the math I'd expect.

1/18/2009 9:24 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Didn't they have any courses on battle strategy or commanding troops?

1/18/2009 9:25 pm (et) calcav: Waugh didn't do a good job of explaining OPTICS, I guess he had a hard time like the cadets...except for Maury.

1/18/2009 9:25 pm (et) bluelady: Boy at this time I wish AoT was still with us.

1/18/2009 9:25 pm (et) Susansweet: Thanks I was going to ask Blue about the Death March.

1/18/2009 9:25 pm (et) amhistoryguy: None, some practical training was done in those areas, but WP was an engineering school.

1/18/2009 9:26 pm (et) bluelady: That was in the senior year I think LF or that could have been part of the summer encampments.

1/18/2009 9:26 pm (et) Babs: I miss AoT every time I sign on in the early morning.

1/18/2009 9:27 pm (et) Susansweet: I didn't even know him but I have heard so much I wish I had known him.

1/18/2009 9:27 pm (et) bluelady: Yeah.

1/18/2009 9:27 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Yeah, but that was only for a few weeks. They were trained very well in engineering but poorly prepared for battle.

1/18/2009 9:27 pm (et) Pvt Miles: Optics, magnetism & galvanism -all taught by Bartlett

1/18/2009 9:27 pm (et) bluelady: IIRC he did a year at the Point.

1/18/2009 9:28 pm (et) bluelady: LF keep that in mind for next week.

1/18/2009 9:28 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Galvanism sounds like a religion.

1/18/2009 9:28 pm (et) Babs: Maybe they learned to use field glasses in optics.

1/18/2009 9:28 pm (et) calcav: Jumping ahead a tad, but the military study took up a whopping 9 HOURS of the four years of study. Page 65.

1/18/2009 9:28 pm (et) Susansweet: Would be helpful.

1/18/2009 9:29 pm (et) Susansweet: Thanks Calcav.

1/18/2009 9:29 pm (et) bluelady: There, question answered.

1/18/2009 9:29 pm (et) Susansweet: I know what Galvanism is when you attach two metals to each other

1/18/2009 9:30 pm (et) Pvt Miles: George Derby was one with whom I could relate.

1/18/2009 9:31 pm (et) Babs: He's my favorite too.

1/18/2009 9:31 pm (et) bluelady: What a prankster he was! no wonder he became a humorist.

1/18/2009 9:31 pm (et) calcav: His plan for handling a siege was priceless.

1/18/2009 9:31 pm (et) Susansweet: Here is what Optics is today at West Point

1/18/2009 9:32 pm (et) Susansweet: meeting the growing demand for graduates who have background in optical engineering,the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Photonics Research Center at the U.S. Military Academy have jointly developed an instructional program that familiarizes every student with principles of laser operation and provides undergraduate research opportunities in optics for electrical engineering majors and others. The program includes a series of laboratory demonstrations in the Photonics Research Center for students in all majors during their sophomore year. For electrical engineering majors, the program also offers a senior level photonics engineering course, advanced individual study in laser applications, and a variety of capstone design projects. Advanced individual study may include up to three semesters of experimental research similar to masters degree thesis work in a graduate program, while the capstone project is accomplished in one semester by design teams based on the design-build- test methodology. Both types of projects address real-world requirements specified by faculty advisors or external mentors. Our integrated approach to optics education supports ongoing state-of-the-art research in the Photonics Research Center and provides technically qualified graduates to meet the demands of the field Army of the 21st century.

1/18/2009 9:33 pm (et) bluelady: Then Bartlett was ahead of his time.

1/18/2009 9:33 pm (et) Susansweet: I loved George Derby what a personality.

1/18/2009 9:33 pm (et) Pvt Miles: No lasers in1846.

1/18/2009 9:33 pm (et) bluelady: Moving on, I think we get a sense of the brotherhood as the cadets stood vigil over the bed of classmate Raymond.

1/18/2009 9:34 pm (et) Babs: Galvanism is electricity, esp. as produced by a chemical reaction.

1/18/2009 9:34 pm (et) Susansweet: That was very emotional to read.

1/18/2009 9:35 pm (et) Susansweet: Even Jackson considered him a friend.

1/18/2009 9:35 pm (et) Babs: The metal coating thing is galvanization.

1/18/2009 9:35 pm (et) bluelady: And to top it off professor Weir's wife died the same day.

1/18/2009 9:36 pm (et) amhistoryguy: That brotherhood was also called upon to deal with the deaths of "family members" at West Point. No grief counselors to help, they relied upon one another, just as they would in later years.

1/18/2009 9:37 pm (et) mobile_96: Optics as in surveying or Vision, maybe!

1/18/2009 9:37 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Is galloping consumption TB? He must have been ill for a while.

1/18/2009 9:37 pm (et) bluelady: Either that or Pneumonia

1/18/2009 9:38 pm (et) calcav: It said he was no stranger to the malady.

1/18/2009 9:38 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Pneumonia sounds more likely.

1/18/2009 9:38 pm (et) bluelady: And he was sick about a month.

1/18/2009 9:38 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Consumption is TB, so I would imagine that the "galloping" version is probably something close.

1/18/2009 9:39 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Pneumonia sounds probable.

1/18/2009 9:39 pm (et) Babs: Jackson was interesting. He visited that guy confined to quarters and never had any other contact with him.

1/18/2009 9:39 pm (et) bluelady: I think at the time they called anything that caused a cough consumption.

1/18/2009 9:39 pm (et) Susansweet: Right and considered him a friend .

1/18/2009 9:40 pm (et) Susansweet: What did you think of Derby?

1/18/2009 9:41 pm (et) Susansweet: And his trick on the the French professor?

1/18/2009 9:42 pm (et) Babs: He must have been pretty smart. Finished seventh in spite of his shenanigans.

1/18/2009 9:42 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I liked his answer on page 57 about besieging the fortress for 45 days.

1/18/2009 9:43 pm (et) Susansweet: That was so good , and the professor was good too about the grain of black powder.

1/18/2009 9:43 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Jackson, Derby, McClellan, throw in the instructors and you have the makings of a good sit-com.

1/18/2009 9:43 pm (et) Susansweet: Any other comments on this chapter or should we go on to Gone are the days of our Youth ?

1/18/2009 9:43 pm (et) bluelady: Yeah I would have problems with drawling in my books... I am a doodler too...but at least not in the books.

1/18/2009 9:44 pm (et) bluelady: No seemed as if they were ready for their senior year.

1/18/2009 9:45 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Their last year they had doctrines of engineering, fortifications and military tactics. Something useful at last.

1/18/2009 9:45 pm (et) Susansweet: They finally get to work with explosives.

1/18/2009 9:45 pm (et) mobile_96: Think they were ready to see it from day 1.

1/18/2009 9:46 pm (et) bluelady: "To make efficient officers who are capable of performing any scientific task that may be imposed on them....that seems to sum up the purpose.

1/18/2009 9:46 pm (et) bluelady: Like so may Guy Fawkeses.

1/18/2009 9:48 pm (et) Susansweet: Mahan sounds like an important professor for the cadets.

1/18/2009 9:48 pm (et) bluelady: They were glad that Delafield and Thomas left.

1/18/2009 9:48 pm (et) Susansweet: His most important weapon was biting sarcasm.

1/18/2009 9:48 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Mahan sounds like a tough instructor - and he pretty much ran the academy.

1/18/2009 9:49 pm (et) Susansweet: He was well trained for his position.

1/18/2009 9:49 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Wasn't it Mahan who told them how good they were at the end of the term?

1/18/2009 9:49 pm (et) bluelady: Something my daughter could appreciate...her sarcasm bite sometime.

1/18/2009 9:50 pm (et) bluelady: I believe he was.

1/18/2009 9:50 pm (et) Susansweet: Yes he was.

1/18/2009 9:50 pm (et) Susansweet: Poor little Mac had to settle for second in the class.

1/18/2009 9:50 pm (et) mobile_96: Right LF, and I didn't see where anyone didn't actually like him, as if they understood what he was trying to do.

1/18/2009 9:50 pm (et) bluelady: going back to the list of professors...it seemed that the Point was able to attract the best of their fields to come teach there.

1/18/2009 9:51 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I love the picture this book gives of Jackson - boy, talk about being focused.

1/18/2009 9:51 pm (et) Susansweet: Yeah if he stayed another year he would have been head of his class?

1/18/2009 9:51 pm (et) bluelady: His knickname was "old cobbon sence".

1/18/2009 9:52 pm (et) Pvt Miles: Not much was said about Stewart, who finished first.

1/18/2009 9:52 pm (et) amhistoryguy: They certainly learned how to deal with a wide range of personalities and standards. Considering many of them started as teenagers and developed through the system into men.

1/18/2009 9:52 pm (et) bluelady: He didn't have to worry about his posture.

1/18/2009 9:52 pm (et) bluelady: Except that he was very good at book learning.

1/18/2009 9:52 pm (et) bluelady: He didn't even make general during the CW.

1/18/2009 9:53 pm (et) Susansweet: Right Blue.  He was just a colonel.

1/18/2009 9:53 pm (et) bluelady: Exactly and I think that probably rings true today.

1/18/2009 9:53 pm (et) Susansweet: Look at all the goats that become successes in the field .

1/18/2009 9:54 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: The book index says Stewart is no longer mentioned. Anyone know what happened to him?

1/18/2009 9:55 pm (et) Babs: oh-oh. Extra credit research project.

1/18/2009 9:55 pm (et) mobile_96: Killed in the Indian wars.

1/18/2009 9:55 pm (et) mobile_96: 1851

1/18/2009 9:56 pm (et) bluelady: No he became a Col in the CW.

1/18/2009 9:56 pm (et) Babs: Stewart, not Stuart.

1/18/2009 9:56 pm (et) bluelady: Wrong Stewart Mobile.

1/18/2009 9:57 pm (et) mobile_96: Got it.

1/18/2009 9:57 pm (et) Susansweet: http://underbelly-buce.blogspot.com/2007/07/more-solace-for-those-who-werent-first.html

1/18/2009 9:57 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: For all his distinction as a student, Stewart seems to have accomplished substantially nothing in his combat career. He served as a major of engineers under McClellan in the Peninsular campaign, and didnít even make colonel until after the war.

1/18/2009 9:59 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Susan, we had the same website, but still nothing much on him. McClellan seems to be first by default.

1/18/2009 10:00 pm (et) bluelady: That's because he did nothing...as I said his was more book learning and not the practical.

1/18/2009 10:00 pm (et) Susansweet: What do you think of the episode of Jackson and Cadamus Wilcox in Washington ?

1/18/2009 10:00 pm (et) bluelady: He served with the engineers.

1/18/2009 10:00 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: If ever I wanted a picture, it would be one of Jackson dancing with his roomie when they were on leave.

1/18/2009 10:01 pm (et) Susansweet: It cracked me up.  So un Jackson

1/18/2009 10:01 pm (et) Babs: And what was that one piece of clothing he was wearing?

1/18/2009 10:01 pm (et) Babs: nightshirt? long johns?

1/18/2009 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: Hope so.

1/18/2009 10:02 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Hat?

1/18/2009 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: Anymore on this chapter or should we finish off the last chapter for tonight.

1/18/2009 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: War at Last.

1/18/2009 10:02 pm (et) mobile_96: His hat??

1/18/2009 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: Poor Mac foiled again

1/18/2009 10:03 pm (et) Babs: Just that a footnote implies this incident made Jackson give up liquor.

1/18/2009 10:04 pm (et) bluelady: Now here is a question...Jackson knew the words to the Benny Havens drinking song?

1/18/2009 10:05 pm (et) Babs: possibly second hand?

1/18/2009 10:06 pm (et) mobile_96: Or heard it from others returning from a night on the town.

1/18/2009 10:06 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: I thought that funny also, blue. I can't see him there for some reason.

1/18/2009 10:06 pm (et) Susansweet: I am sure he heard the others singing it.

1/18/2009 10:06 pm (et) Susansweet: He said he was too fond of liquor.

1/18/2009 10:06 pm (et) bluelady: Well but the footnote explains it too.

1/18/2009 10:07 pm (et) Susansweet: This was his first and last time.

1/18/2009 10:07 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: So he could sing as well as dance. Not a side of him one usually sees. He certainly was complex.

1/18/2009 10:08 pm (et) bluelady: Really complex.

1/18/2009 10:08 pm (et) bluelady: Do others think we should continue the next chapter next week?

1/18/2009 10:08 pm (et) Susansweet: Page 81 George Taylor talks about him to D H Hill.

1/18/2009 10:08 pm (et) bluelady: I know Susan had asked...I was just repeating the question.

1/18/2009 10:09 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: Bacon's suicide was said to be brought on by brain fever. Now what is that?

1/18/2009 10:09 pm (et) Susansweet: Maybe so along with Pages 87 to 139

1/18/2009 10:09 pm (et) Susansweet: It fits better with the other chapters than this week

1/18/2009 10:10 pm (et) bluelady: meningitis?

1/18/2009 10:10 pm (et) bluelady: I agree Susan

1/18/2009 10:10 pm (et) Susansweet: It is going on second hour of discussion.

1/18/2009 10:10 pm (et) Susansweet: Brain fever was another one of those multi use things.

1/18/2009 10:11 pm (et) bluelady: Brain fever describes a medical condition where a part of the brain becomes inflamed and causes symptoms that present as fever. The inflammation of "brain fever" causes acute and chronic changes in the brain tissue, as well as causing mental, emotional, and motor difficulties and deterioration.

1/18/2009 10:11 pm (et) Susansweet: Babs Fan Calcavs , Pvt and Mobile what do you think ?

1/18/2009 10:11 pm (et) Susansweet: Continue next week

1/18/2009 10:11 pm (et) Susansweet: With War at Last ?

1/18/2009 10:11 pm (et) bluelady: That was from Wikipedia.

1/18/2009 10:12 pm (et) Pvt Miles: I agree with blue lady.

1/18/2009 10:12 pm (et) Babs: Fine with me. This book seems to be a fast read but a slower talk.

1/18/2009 10:12 pm (et) mobile_96: Its ok with me.

1/18/2009 10:12 pm (et) Lincoln Fan: OK with me. Is this supposed to last 60 or 90 minutes. We had been doing around 90.

1/18/2009 10:12 pm (et) mobile_96: Agree with Babs.

1/18/2009 10:12 pm (et) bluelady: I agree babs..it is a very easy read.

1/18/2009 10:13 pm (et) Susansweet: War at Last The City Shall Soon Be Ours , The Seventeen Minute Victory To the Halls of Montezumas.

1/18/2009 10:13 pm (et) bluelady: well good night all

1/18/2009 10:13 pm (et) Pvt Miles: Next week for "War at Last"

1/18/2009 10:14 pm (et) Susansweet: And stop it there At Page 130.

1/18/2009 10:14 pm (et) Susansweet: That gives us a night on the Mexican War . The chapter after than is Indian wars.

1/18/2009 10:15 pm (et) Susansweet: Any other comments tonight ?

1/18/2009 10:17 pm (et) Susansweet: If no more comments this ends the discussion this week on Class of 1846 by John Waugh . Homework will be posted on YODB

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