THE CLASS OF 1846 by John C. Waugh


From West Point to Appomattox: Stonewall, McClellan and Their Brothers
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 The ``brothers' fight'' of Civil War legend and historical clichÇ is grounded in firm fact: not only did the war split many actual families along partisan lines, but a sizeable number of celebrated officers in blue and in gray had been bosom buddies at West Point and subsequently comrades and mess-mates in the prewar Federal army. In an exceedingly well-written narrative, Waugh tackles this subject head-on, following school friends of the 1846 West Point graduating class from their four rigorous years at the Academy through the questionable heroics of the Mexican War and the early Indian wars on the Great Plains to the grim carnage of America's Iliad. The ``Class of `46'' produced ten generals on the Union side, including the ultimately unsuccessful George McClellan (who at least survived the war), and nine on the Confederate, including those fabled warriors ``Stonewall'' Jackson and A.P. Hill (both of whom were killed) and the luckless, ultimately bitter George Pickett, who had graduated last in his class. By a perversity of fate, the number-one man in the class (McClellan was ranked second) never made it higher than colonel during the conflict. Wonderful, poignant stories, often alluded to but rarely told, and even more rarely told so well. (B&w photos--16pp)

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1994
ISBN: 0-446-51594-9
Page count: 656pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1994


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