Eager to serve


The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduated enough professional officers each year to staff a peacetime army<&ndash> but not nearly enough for the more than 2,000 regiments raised by the Union during the Civil War. The 27 members of the class of 1861 who signed this petition persuaded the secretary of war to let them graduate early and join the war effort<&ndash>

National Archives, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office