The Young Lions Confederate Cadets at War James Lee Conrad

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The Young Lions
Confederate Cadets at War
James Lee Conrad
“In making soldiers of them, ” said Confederate president Jefferson Davis regarding the
mobilization of his nation’s youths, “we are grinding the seed corn.” Yet the bloody millstones of war ground them nevertheless, and nowhere more noticeably than at the
Confederacy’s de facto “West Points.” The legend of the Southern cadets is one of
untrained boys wastefully flung in the path of Yankee armies as the Confederacy came to
a turbulent end. The reality is one of highly trained young men who rendered valuable
service from the earliest days of the war and, when confronting the enemy on the battlefield, acquitted themselves as well as veteran troops did.
The Young Lions is the story of the Southern cadets at four major military colleges
during the Civil War—the Georgia Military Institute, the South Carolina Military
Academy (Columbia’s Arsenal campus and the Citadel in Charleston), the University of
Alabama, and the Virginia Military Institute. It is also the story of the Confederate
government’s lack of a cohesive policy toward military colleges and its failure to adequately support the institutions that fostered its officer corps.
This study is the first thorough examination of the interrelationships and common
challenges of the South’s major military colleges, giving a detailed history of these
Southern institutions. James Lee Conrad discusses the cadets’ day-to-day lives as well as
the academic and military systems of the schools. From the opening of the Virginia
Military Institute in 1839 through the struggles of all the schools to remain open during
the war, the death of Stonewall Jackson, and the Pyrrhic victory of the Battle of New
Market to the burning of the University of Alabama, Conrad reveals the everyday heroism of cadets both on and off the battlefield.
JAMES LEE CONRAD is a graduate of the
Virginia Military Institute, the Cumberland
School of Law at Samford University, and
the National Law Center at Georg e
Washington University. Conrad has published articles in such journals as Civil War
Times Illustrated and America’s Civil War. A
contributor to the E n c y clopedia of the
C o n fe d e racy, he is the author of Rebel
Reefers: The Organization and Midshipmen
of the Confederate States Naval Academy. A
retired U.S. Air Force colonel, Conrad lives
in Beavercreek, Ohio.
THE YOUNG LIONS
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