The American Civil War Portal
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, formed of eleven southern states‘ governments which moved to secede from the Union after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. The Union’s victory was eventually achieved by leveraging advantages in population, manufacturing and logistics and through a strategic naval blockade denying the Confederacy access to the world’s markets.
In many ways, the conflict’s central issues – the enslavement of African Americans, the role of constitutional federal government, and the rights of states – are still not completely resolved. Not surprisingly, the Confederate army‘s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865 did little to change many Americans‘ attitudes toward the potential powers of central government. The passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution in the years immediately following the war did not change the racial prejudice prevalent among Americans of the day; and the process of Reconstruction did not heal the deeply personal wounds inflicted by four brutal years of war and more than 970,000 casualties – 3 percent of the population, including approximately 560,000 deaths. As a result, controversies affected by the war’s unresolved social, political, economic and racial tensions continue to shape contemporary American thought. The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of much discussion even today.
The United States Military Academy (USMA) is an undergraduate college in West Point, New York that educates and commissions officers for the United States Army. The Academy was founded in 1802 and graduated its first class in October of the same year. It is the oldest of the five American service academies. Sports media refer to the Academy as “Army” and the students as “Cadets”; this usage is officially endorsed. A small number of graduates each year choose the option of entering the United States Air Force, United States Navy, or United States Marine Corps. Before the founding of the United States Air Force Academy in 1955, the Academy was a major source of officers for the Air Force and its predecessors. Most cadets are admitted through the congressional appointment system. The curriculum emphasizes various fields in sciences and engineering.
This list is drawn from alumni of the Military Academy who served as general officers in the Confederate States Army (CSA), including three members of the Lee family of Virginia: Robert E. Lee (class of 1829), his son George Washington Custis Lee (class of 1854), and his nephew Fitzhugh Lee (class of 1856). Other notable Confederate generals include James Longstreet (class of 1842), Stonewall Jackson (class of 1846), and J.E.B. Stuart (class of 1854).
Other notable graduates include 2 Presidents of the United States, 18 astronauts, 4 heads of state, 74 Medal of Honor recipients, 70 Rhodes Scholars, and 3 Heisman Trophy winners. Among American universities, the Academy is fourth on the list of total winners for Rhodes Scholarships, seventh for Marshall Scholarships and fourth for Hertz Fellowships.
Grand Parade of the States
George Sykes (October 9, 1822 – February 8, 1880) was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War. Born in Dover, Delaware, he graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1842 and was commissioned as a brevet second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Infantry. He served in the Mexican–American War and Seminole War and was brevetted as a captain for actions at the Battle of Cerro Gordo .
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Sykes was assigned as a major in the 14th U.S. Infantry. At the First Battle of Bull Run, he commanded the Regular Infantry Battalion, a collection of eight regular army companies from different regiments, the only regulars on the field. He continued his association with regulars in the early defensive positions around Washington, D.C., and then as a division commander of regulars in the Peninsula Campaign, the 2nd Division of the V Corps.
Sykes continued as a division commander through the battles of Second Bull Run, Antietam (in reserve), and Fredericksburg. At Chancellorsville, his regulars led the advance into the Confederate rear at the start of the battle. When corps commander Maj. Gen. George G. Meade was promoted to lead the Army of the Potomac on June 28, 1863, Sykes assumed command of the V Corps. At the Battle of Gettysburg, Sykes’ corps fought in support of the beleaguered III Corps on the Union left flank. In his 1st Division, the fabled defense of Little Round Top was led by brigade commander Col. Strong Vincent and the 20th Maine Infantry under Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
None of these battles demonstrated any aggressive or unique offensive capabilities on his part. He was known to his colleagues by the nicknames “Tardy George” and “Slow Trot” Sykes.