1859 WEST POINT ANNUAL EXAMINATION REPORT FOR STEPHEN C. LYFORD, 1ST US DRAGOONS, 1ST US CAVALRY, 3RD US ARTILLERY; BREVET CAPTAIN , MAJOR & LT. COLONEL

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One page pre-printed for filled out in ink. One blue paper measuring 7 ¾” x 9 ¾”. Dated “ENGINEER DEPARTMENT, / Washington, June 29, 1859. Document is basically a report card of sorts “At the Annual Examination of the Cadets of the United States Military Academy in June, 1859”.

Lyford was one of 60 members of the West Point Class of 1861 at the time.  He ranked 18th in Mathematics, 22nd in French, and 33rd in English. He had 4 demerits for the month of May and a total of 25 for the academic year.

Signed by William P. Craighill.

On July 1, 1857, Lyford entered the United States Military Academy as a plebe. The New Hampshire native, by perseverance and ability, would be graduated ranked 11th in the Class of 1861 (June). Upon this occasion, he was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant and assigned to the First United States Dragoons with a later assignment to the 1st United States Cavalry at the rank of second lieutenant. His transfer to the 3rd United States Artillery occurred in the fall of 1861. During his years at West Point, he excelled in the study of the ordnance field, and on October 24, 1861 Lyford transferred to this branch of the United States Army. For his "gallant and meritorious service during the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi", he received the honorary rank of brevet captain to rank from July 4, 1863. For his "gallant and meritorious service during the war", he was awarded a promotion of brevet lieutenant colonel on March 13, 1865. He remained in the military at the conclusion of the war in 1865, and would later return to West Point as an instructor in math. In addition, he instructed the cadets in Ordnance and Gunnery. As a career military officer, he was stationed in various arsenals throughout the country including Missouri and South Carolina. He was the commanding officer of the Frankford Arsenal in Pennsylvania at the time of his untimely death. A fellow officer remembered him as "a self-sacrificing, warmhearted friend...an officer of ripe experience, of marked administrative and executive ability, and of many strong traits of character." He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

William Price Craighill (1833-1909) was a classmate of future Civil War Generals Philip Sheridan, John Bell Hood, and James B. McPherson; he ranked second in the United States Military Academy class of 1853 and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. After working on several Atlantic coast forts, he taught engineering at the Military Academy from 1859 to 1862. A Virginian who stood for the Union, he was division and department engineer during the Civil War and worked on the defenses of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Francisco, and New York. In 1862 he published the “Army Officer’s Pocket Companion: A Manual for Staff Officers in the Field”, a work that greatly aided the many citizen-soldier Union Army officers who had no previous military training prior to the Civil War. After the end of the conflict, he superintended construction of defenses at Baltimore Harbor and Hampton Roads. He headed the engineering office in Baltimore from 1870 to 1895, overseeing river and harbor work in Maryland and parts of Virginia and North Carolina. When the Corps of Engineers began to build locks and dams on the Great Kanawha River in West Virginia in 1875, he assumed charge there as well. He completed the first moveable wicket dams in the United States after visiting France to study their use. He was appointed Chief of Engineers by President Grover Cleveland in 1895 and retired two years later with the rank of Brigadier General. He is buried in Zion Episcopal Churchyard in Charles Town, WV.

Accompanied by biographical info for both Lyford and Craighill.  [ld]

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