APL Colloquium

September 4, 2015

Colloquium Topic: For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862

“During the tense months leading up to the American Civil War, the cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point continued their education even as the nation threatened to dissolve around them. Cadets from both the north and south struggled to understand John Brown’s Raid, the secession of eleven states from the Union, and the attack on Fort Sumter.  By graduation day, half the Class of 1862 had resigned; only twenty-eight remained, and their class motto –  “Joined in a Common Cause” – was about to be severely tested.

In For Brotherhood and Duty, Brian R. McEnany follows the cadets from West Point on to the battlefield, focusing on twelve Union and four of their Confederate classmates. Drawing heavily upon primary sources, McEnany presents a fascinating chronicle of the young classmates who became antagonists during the greatest conflict ever untaken on American soil. Their vivid accounts provide new perspectives not only on famous battles such as Antietam, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg and the Overland and Atlanta campaigns, but also on lesser known battles such as Port Hudson, Olustee, High Bridge and Pleasant Hills.

There are countless studies about West Point and its more famous graduates, but McEnany’s groundbreaking book brings to life the struggles and contributions of its graduates as junior officers and small units. Generously illustrated with over one hundred photographs and maps, this enthralling collective biography illuminates the war’s impact on a unique group of young men and on the institution that shaped them.” (from the University Press of Kentucky 2015 Spring Catalog)

“McEnany’s deeply researched work is a welcome addition to the West Point canon, shedding a bright light on the men of the class, on their years at the Academy, and their courage in the Civil War.” – John C. Waugh, author of The Class of 1846: From West Point to Appomattox : Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan and Their Brothers

Colloquium Speaker: Brian R. McEnany

Brian R. McEnany, a graduate of West Point, is a historical writer and lecturer, focusing on West Point and the Class of 1862 during the Civil War.  His military service includes tours in Germany, Korea and Vietnam, graduate school at RPI, and multiple tours with both the U.S. Army and Joint staffs in the Pentagon.  Trained as an operations research analyst, he is a long-time member of the Military Operations Research Society and rose to become its president in 1994. Military history has always intrigued him but it was not until he retired from SAIC some years later that he put his skills as an analyst of military operations to good use in writing his new book, For Brotherhood and Duty, just released by University Press of Kentucky.

Brian is a member of the Bull Run Civil War Roundtable, and frequently leads tours to various battlefields and sites in Northern Virginia. He has given presentations about West Point during the Civil War to various Civil War Round Tables, the Army-Navy Club, various government agencies including the Center for Army Analysis, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University.  His articles on John Brown’s Raid and West Point were published in The Assembly (Oct-Dec 2009) and War Comes to West Point in North & South magazine (Oct-Dec 2010). He and co-author James Lewis, published Sunstroke and Ankle-Deep Mud (2012), a tour guide about the movement of the Army of the Potomac across Northern Virginia in June 1863. Their research led them to originate and dedicate a state-sponsored Civil War Trails marker at Wolf Run Shoals in Fairfax County, Virginia. 

Brian and his wife, Lillian, live in Vienna, Virginia.  For information about his book or lectures, please contact him at 703-734-1936 or email to bmcenany@cox.net.