Course of Study and Books used at the Military Academy – Henry Flipper

First Year Fourth Class

Department Text-Books.

Mathematics, Davies Boudon s Algebra. Davies Legendre s Geometry and Trigonometry. Church’s Descriptive Geometry.

French Language, Bolmar s Levizac s Grammar and Verb Book. Agnel’s Tabular System. Berard s Lecons Francaises. Spier s and Surenne s Dictionary.

Tactics of Artillery, Practical Instruction in the and Infantry Schools of the Soldier, Company, and Battalion. Practical Instruction in Artillery.

Use of Small Arms, Instruction in Fencing and Bayonet Exercise.

Second Year Third Class

French Language, Bolmar s Levizac s Grammar and Verb Book. Berard s Lecons Francaises. Chapsal s Lecons Et Modeles de Litterature Francaise. Agnel s Tabular System. Rowan s Morceaux Choisis des Auteurs Modernes. Spier s and Surenne s Dictionary.

Spanish, Josse s Grammar. Morales Progressive Reader. Ollen-Dorff s Oral Method applied to the Spanish, by Velasquez and Simonne. Seoane s Neuman and Baretti s Dictionary.

Drawing, Topography, etc. Art of Penmanship.

Tactics of Infantry, Practical Instruction in the Artillery, and Cavalry Schools of the Soldier, Company, and Battalion. Practical Instruction in Artillery and Cavalry.

Third Year Second Class

Natural and Experimental, Bartlett s Mechanics. Bartlett s Philosophy Acoustics and Optics. Bartlett s Astronomy.

Chemistry, Fowne s Chemistry. Chemical Physics, from Miller.

Drawing, Landscape. Pencil and Colors. Tactics of Infantry,……Practical Instruction in the Artillery, and Cavalry Schools of the Soldier, Company, and Battalion. Practical Instruction in Artillery and Cavalry.

Practical Military, Myers Manual of Signals. Engineering Practical and Theoretical
Instruction in Military Signaling and Telegraphy.

Fourth Year First Class

Military and Civil, Mahan s Field Fortification.
Engineering, and Mahan s Outlines of Sciences of War. Permanent Fortification. Mahan s Fortification a Stereotomy. Mahan’s Advanced Guard and Outpost,etc. *Moseley s Mechanics
of Engineering.

Mineralogy and Geology, Dana s Mineralogy.Hitchcock s Geology.

Ethics and Law, French s Practical Ethics.
Halleck s International Law. Kent s Commentaries (portion on Constitutional Law). Law and Military Law, by Prof. French. Benet s Military Law and the Practice of Courts Martial.

Tactics of Artillery, United States Tactics for Cavalry, and Infantry Calvary. Practical Instruction in the Schools of the Soldier, Company, and Battalion. Practical Instruction in Artillery and Cavalry.

Practical Military, Practical Instruction in Engineering fabricating Fascines, Sap Faggots, Gabions, Hurdles, Sap rollers, etc.; manner of laying out and constructing Gun and Mortar Batteries, Field Fortifications and Works of Siege; formation of Stockades, Abatis, and other military obstacles; and throwing and dismantling Pontoon Bridges. Myer s Manual of Signals. Practical Instruction in Military Signaling and Telegraphy.

The second paper was a printed blank, a letter of acceptance or non-acceptance, to be filled up, as the case may be, signed by myself, countersigned by my father, and returned to Washington, D. C.

The third, which follows, is simply a memorandum for use of the candidate.


It is suggested to all candidates for admission into the Military Academy that, before leaving their place of residence for West Point, they should cause themselves to be thoroughly examined by a competent physician, and by a teacher or instructor in good standing By such an examination any serious physical disqualification, or deficiency in mental preparation, would be revealed, and the candidate probably spared the expense and trouble of a useless journey and the mortification of rejection. The circular appended to the letter of appointment should be carefully studied by the candidate and the examiners.

It should be understood that the informal examination herein recommended is solely for the convenience and benefit of the candidate himself, and can in no manner affect the decision of the Academic and Medical Examining Boards at West Point.

Note: There being no provision whatever for the payment of the traveling expenses of either accepted or rejected candidates for admission, no candidate should fail to provide himself in advance with the means of returning to his home, in case of his rejection before either of the Examining Boards, as he may otherwise be put to considerable trouble, inconvenience, and even suffering, on account of his destitute situation. If admitted, the money brought by him to meet such a contingency can be deposited with the Treasurer on account of his equipment as a cadet, or returned to his friends.

After I had secured the appointment the editor of one of our local papers, which was at the time publishing weekly, I think brief biographies of some of the leading men of the city, together with cuts of the persons themselves, desired to thus bring me into notoriety. I was duly consulted, and, objecting, the publication did not occur. My chief reason for objecting was merely this: I feared some evil might befall me while passing through Georgia en route for West Point, if too great a knowledge of me should precede me, such, for instance, as a publication of that kind would give.

At this interview several other persons white, of course were present, and one of them after relating the trials of Cadet Smith and the circumstances of his dismissal, which, apropos, had not yet occurred, as he would have me believe advised me to abandon altogether the idea of going to West Point, for, said he, “Them northern boys wont treat you right.” I have a due proportion of stubbornness in me, I believe, as all of the Negro race are said to have, and my Southern friend might as well have advised an angel to rebel as to have counseled me to resign and not go. He was convinced, too, before we separated, that no change in my determination was at all likely to occur. Next day, in a short article, the fact of my appointment was mentioned, and my age and degree of education. Some days after this, while in the post office, a gentleman beckoned to me, and we withdrew from the crowd. He mentioned this article, and after relating indeed, repeating, to my amusement, the many hardships to which I should be subjected, and after telling me he had a very promising son candid, wasn’t he? whom he desired to have educated at West Point, offered me for my appointment the rather large sum of five thousand dollars. This I refused instantly. I had so set my mind on West Point that, having the appointment, neither threats nor excessive bribes could induce me to relinquish it, even if I had not possessed sufficient strength of character to resist them otherwise. However, as I was a minor, I referred him to my father. I have no information that he ever consulted him. If he had, my reply to him would have been sustained. I afterward had reason to believe the offer was made merely to test me, as I received from strangers expressions of confidence in me and in my doing faithfully all that might devolve upon me from my appointment.



Flipper, Henry Ossian. The Colored Cadet at West Point: Autobiography of Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, first graduate of color from the U. S. Military Academy.

Search Military Records - Fold3

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top