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[Corrected at Military Academy, October 15, 1868.]


©2006, Transcribed by K. Torp


I.- Application may be made at any time (by letter to the Secretary of War) by the applicant himself, his parent, guardian, or any of his friends, that his name may be placed on the register in the office of the Inspector of the Military Academy at Washington, D. C. The precise age and permanent abode of the applicant, as, also, the number of the Congressional District in which he resides, must be stated, and no application will be considered wherein these instructions are not complied with. No preference is given to applications on account of priority, nor can any information be communicated as to the probable success of an application before the appointments are made. By an act of Congress, the appointment of a person who has served in any capacity in the military or naval service of the so-called Confederate States is prohibited, and, as a general rule, no person will be appointed who has had a brother educated in the Academy. By provision of law, each Congressional and Territorial District and the District of Columbia, is entitled to have one Cadet at the Military Academy, and no more. In addition to these, the appointment annually of a number, not exceeding ten "at large," not confined to a selection by Congressional Districts, is authorized. The District and Territorial appointments are made upon the nomination of the member of Congress or Delegate representing the District or Territory at the date of appointment, and the law requires that the individual selected shall be an actual resident of the District or Territory, or District of Columbia, from which the appointment purports to be made. The selections "at large" and from the District of Columbia, are made by the President. Appointments are required by law to be made one year in advance of the date of admission, -that is to say, about the 1st of July in each year, except in instances where it maybe impracticable, from any cause, so to make them. Persons, therefore, receiving appointments have ample time afforded them in which to prepare for a successful examination prior to their admission.

II.-To prevent the disappointment, mortification, and useless expense that might attend the acceptance of a Cadet appointment by a person not possessing the necessary qualifications for admission, and for the instruction and aid of others, the following information is communicated: Candidates must be over seventeen and under twenty-two years of age at the time of entrance into the Military Academy; no modification of the law in this respect can be made; but any person who has served honorably and faithfully not less than one year as an officer or enlisted man in the army of the United States either as a volunteer or in the regular service, during the war for the suppression of the rebellion, shall be eligible for appointment up to the age of twenty-four years. They must be at least five feet in height, and free from any deformity, disease, or infirmity, which would render them unfit for the military service, and from any disorder of an infectious or immoral character. They must be able to read and write well, and perform with facility and accuracy the various operations of the four ground rules of Arithmetic, of reduction, of simple and compound proportion, and of vulgar and decimal fractions. The Arithmetic is to be studied understandingly, and not merely committed to memory. They will also be required to have a knowledge of the elements of English Grammar, of Descriptive Geography, particularly of our own country, and of the History of the United States.

III.-It must be understood that a full compliance with the above conditions will be insisted on-that is to say: the candidate must write a fair and legible hand, and without any material mistakes in spelling such sentences as shall be dictated by the examiners; and he must answer promptly and without errors, all their questions in the above-mentioned rules of Arithmetic and in the other branches; failing in any of these particulars, he will be rejected.

IV.-Every candidate will, soon after his arrival at West Point, be subject to a rigid examination by an experienced Medical Board, and should there be found to exist in him cause of disqualification to such a degree as will immediately, or in all probability may at no very distant period, impair his efficiency, he will be rejected.

V.-During the months of July and August, the Cadets are engaged in military duties and exercises, living in camp. The Academic exercises commence the beginning of September. The semi-annual examination takes place in January. At this time the Cadets are rigidly examined in the subjects they have studied, and the new Cadets, if found proficient therein, (their conduct having been correct in all respects,) will receive the warrant of Cadet, and take such a station in their class as their respective merits, as determined at the examination, may entitle them to. If any have been unable to master the course, they will be pronounced deficient by the Academic Board, and their connection with the Academy will cease.

VI.-It is important that it be clearly understood, that this examination, like all subsequent ones, is very thorough, does not permit any evasion or slighting of the course, and exacts a very close and persevering attention to study. The examining officers have no option; they must reject the deficient.

VII.-In June there is held the "Annual Examination," which, in its character of searching scrutiny, is 1ike the Semi-Annual examination in January. Cadets who have failed to make the requisite proficiency, and are not likely to succeed in future, are discharged.

VIII.-The pay of a cadet is $41.66 per month, with one ration per day, and is considered sufficient, with proper economy, for his support.

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By the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, Congress is empowered in general to raise and support armies; to provide and maintain a navy, and to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces. By the second section of the second article, the President is appointed commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States. On August 7,1789, Congress established a Department of War to enable the President to carry out the provisions of the Constitution for military affairs. A number of "Original Rules and Articles of War," which were enacted by the Congress of 1776, were continued in force under the Constitution, with several modifications. These rules were the basis of the actual Articles of War, enacted in 1806, which, with slight alterations, form the military code which govern all troops when mustered into the service.

At the commencement of the year 1861, the army consisted of about 14,000 regular troops, stationed chiefly in the Southern states. A large number of these joined the cause of the Southern confederacy, so that at the breaking out of the rebellion the Federal army numbered only about 8,000 men. April 15, 1861, the President called out 75,000 volunteers for three months to defend the national capital; and on May 3, he called out 75,000 volunteers to serve for three years, or to the close of the war. By subsequent proclamations and acts of Congress the army was increased; the whole number enrolled to the end of the civil war amounted to 2,653,062. Since the close of the war, the army has been reduced to about 50,000 men.

The executive duties growing out of the management of the naval forces were by Congress committed to the War Department by act of August 7, 1789, but in 1798, a separate department was created, with a Cabinet officer called the Secretary of the Navy. At the breaking out of the civil war in 1861, the naval forces consisted of 41 men of war on active service, most of which were sailing vessels. This number was largely increased during the war by purchase and the construction of new vessels. The naval force has been diminished since 1865.


The Secretary of War has charge of all the duties connected with the army of the United States, fortifications, etc., issues commissions, directs the movement of troops, superintends their payment, stores, clothing, arms, and equipments, and ordnance, and conducts works of military engineering.
The following bureaus are attached to this department:

Commanding General's Office. The Commanding General has charge of the arrangement of the military forces, the superintendence of the recruiting service, and the discipline of the army. He is to see that the laws and regulations of the army are enforced. The office is at Washington and is called the Headquarters of the army.

Adjutant-General's Office. In this office are kept all the records which refer to the personnel of the army, pay-roll, etc., and all military commissions are made out. All orders which emanate from Headquarters, or the War Department proper, pass through this office, and the annual returns from the army are received by it.

Quartermaster-General's Office provides quarters, storage, and transportation for the army, and has charge of the barracks and the National Cemeteries.

Paymaster-General's Office has charge of the disbursements to the regular army and the Military Academy.

Commissary-General's Office provides subsistence stores for the troops and military forts.

Ordnance Bureau has charge of the Ordnance stores, and the various arsenals and armories.

Engineer's Office has charge of the military defenses of the country, the improvement of rivers, the surveys relating thereto, and the care of the Military Academy.

Surgeon- General's Office. All matters connected with medicine and surgery, the management of the sick and wounded, and the hospitals are under the control of this office.

Topographical Bureau. This bureau has charge of all topographical operations and surveys for military purposes, and for purposes of internal improvement, and of all maps, drawings, and documents relating to those duties.



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