Browse Exhibits (3 total)

West Point and The Civil War


In response to the prevailing issues of systemic racism in America, the USMA Library collaborated with the West Point Museum to develop this exhibit, “West Point and The Civil War.” Using material in our Archives and Special Collections and from the West Point Museum collections, the exhibit provides a West Point perspective on the year leading up to the outbreak of the war, selected elements of the war itself, and the first year of reconstruction.

In some ways the Civil War was West Point's war, with graduates of the Academy so prominent among the senior commanders of both sides, including those loyal to the Union and country and those who rose in arms against the Union. The War sometimes pitted brother against brother, with the cost of slavery and the morality of human bondage in the balance.

The exhibit spans the years 1860 through 1865 and is presented in sections, beginning with a Prelude to War - 1860-1861: Division at West Point. We hope that the exhibit will serve to educate, and that the material we have selected will encourage discussion and engagement for West Point cadets, faculty and staff, and the general public. The treatment of the Civil War presented here via items from the West Point collections is deliberately selective. This exhibit does not seek to recount the entire war, nor does it treat every major event of the conflict. Rather, it seeks to represent the range of documentary and artifactual evidence within West Point's collections to cast light upon the institution's connection to this expansive conflict.

West Point provides a unique perspective on the Civil War as most of the senior commanding officers on both sides were U.S. Military Academy graduates. Although scholarly judgement is overwhelming that slavery was the cause of the war, many in society today still wish to believe it is a matter for debate. The perspectives on slavery evident in the letters, diary entries, and memoirs of West Point graduates certainly indicate that the continued bondage or freedom of the slaves was at the root cause of the war.

Cadet Letters Home: Physics


Virtual Exhibit of material from the Library's Archives and Special Collections pertaining to the cadet experience in the field of Physics.

"The mission of the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering is to educate and inspire cadets through physics and nuclear engineering course work, research, and support to the West Point Leader Development System so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country; and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army."

The department website can be found at:

Building West Point: Images of a Changing Landscape


This virtual exhibition highlights construction photos from 1870 onward in the collections of the USMA Library Archives and Special Collections and the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. Photos range from 1870 to the present.

"The mission of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering is to enhance the intellectual, character, and military development of all cadets within the context of a core course in physical geography, a three course engineering sequence, four distinct majors, and a diverse offering of elective courses and to support the continued development of faculty and staff."

The department website can be found at: