West Point 150 years old.
******* West Point 150 Years Old The United States Military Academy Academy at West Point, N. Y., has 'announced plans for the cele- "bration of its sesquicentennial through the peiiod from January January to June 1952. Maj. Gen. Bryant E. Moore, superintendent superintendent of the Academy, in a general general order proclaiming the observance, observance, has directed all personnel personnel at West Point to lend their support to activities commemorating commemorating the founding of the institution through an act of Congress Congress in March, 1802. ...-,:,.; . : . ' The school, .,which; has been the' alma mater of'so .many of America's greatest military'lea- ders, was established through the efforts of the founding fathers fathers of the republic who emphatically emphatically urged upon • the government government the necessity for such an institution. In his annual message message to Congress in 1797 President President Washington said: "The institution of a military academy is recommended by cogent reasons. However pacific pacific the general policy of the nation nation .may be, it ought never to be without a stock of military knowledge for emergencies." The garrison site at West Point which had been occupied by the Arniy .since 1778, consisting of 1,795: acres, was purchased in 1790; and was available when U. S. MILITARY' ACADEMY LIBRARY—This gray stone Tudor building, designed by Maj. Richard Delafield in 1841, was intended to house an astronomical observatory, post headquarters and a library. About 1900 the interior was extensively remodeled to adapt it to library purposes alone. It contains about 135,000 volumes, exclusive of those in 13 departmental libraries. This photograph from the National Archives is from a negative made by Matthew Brady at West Point more than SO years ago. Next year the Academy observes its sesquicentennial. : * * * I the school was opened during | the presidency of Thomas Jeff| Jeff| erson, July 4, 1802. Maj. Jona- I than Williams, grandnephew of ^Benjamin Franklin, was the first i superintendent. His faculty consisted consisted of five officers, with ten cadets ^present. The War of 1812 gave an impetus impetus to the growth of the Academy Academy and effected its educational educational aims in the period of peace j which followed. National interest called now for canals, road, river river improvement, railroads, and the exploitation of soil and. mineral mineral wealth. There was a wide call for engineers, and Col. Sy- Ivanus Thayer, superintendent from 1817 to 1S33, set.out to give the country trained men of excellence excellence in knowledge and leader ship. Through the years the Academy Academy has kept pace with the times and there has been a grad- i ual liberalization of the curricu- 1 lum and training. Today 2,400 j cadets are organized into 24 companies companies of about 100 men each. The 24 companies are formed into six battalions; and the six battalions into two regiments. The two regiments make up the cadet brigade. BRADY'S EARLY WEST POINT PHOTO-Some of the original buildings at the U. S. Military Academy are shown in this p,S made by Matthew Brady shortly after the Civil War. The old struc- S?,VP m Jr e back ? r ° und are part of a row of officers' quarters built during the supenntendency of Sylvanus Thayer about 1820. All feJffi rem ? ved - Th « ! ar e° buiWing on the left is the present Central Barracks, erected in 1851 when Capt. Robert E. Lee—later distinguished Confederate general—was superintendent