Editor’s note: This write-up was the history brief because that the October 2012 meeting of the Cleveland Civil battle Roundtable.

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There room some who take into consideration Robert E. Lee the best military leader the the polite War. However Ulysses S. Give beat Robert E. Lee, i m sorry calls into question the insurance claim that Lee was the biggest military leader of the civil War. However, the wasn’t an also fight, and even if backbiting of Lee and admirers of approve refuse to recognize that that wasn’t an also fight, it doesn’t change that fact. Nevertheless, there to be someone that did win Robert E. Lee in an also fight, and also that human was Charles Mason.

Lee graduated second in the West allude Class the 1829. Mason perfect first, which method that Mason to win Lee in an also competition. Some other notable members of the class of 1829 are Joseph E. Johnston (number 13), Theophilus Holmes (another Confederate general, that graduated third from the bottom), and also John F. Kennedy (number 14, although not the john F. Kennedy who was the 35th U.S. President). Mason finished v a total of 1,995.5 points the end of a possible 2,000; Lee finished v 1,966.5 points, 29 points less than Mason or around 1.5% behind him. Both Lee and also Mason had actually no demerits, together did three various other members of the course of 1829. Due to the fact that Mason i graduated from the U.S. Armed forces Academy ahead of Lee, why have we not read around the illustrious armed forces career of Charles Mason? The reason is that Mason did not have actually a military career, i beg your pardon is no to say the Mason did not have actually a identified career.


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Charles Mason

Mason to be born in Onondaga County, new York top top October 24, 1804. ~ graduating from West Point, that taught engineering there for 2 years and also then resigned native the military to attend law school in new York City. Mason practiced law for two years and also then functioned for the New York night Post top top its editorial staff, ultimately serving together Acting Editor. In 1836 he relocated to Wisconsin Territory, and a year later he married Angelica Gear. The couple lived on a farm close to Burlington and had three daughters. Iowa, which had actually been component of Wisconsin Territory, became a separate territory in 1838, and President Martin van Buren appointed Mason chef Justice the the Iowa territory Supreme Court. Mason’s first decision to be his many famous. Citing the Missouri damage of 1820, Mason ruled that a Missouri slave named Ralph, who had actually been sent out to Iowa by his master, to be not forced to go back to slavery. This judgment is contrary to the Dred Scott Decision, which come almost 20 years later. Mason stayed on the Iowa supreme Court because that nine years, up to and for a quick time after ~ Iowa ended up being a state. Ultimately Mason was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Patents, was chosen to the Iowa State board of Education, and founded a patent regulation firm.

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Charles Mason’s tombstone

During the polite War, Mason became a peace Democrat. Back he opposed secession and also slavery, that asserted that the constitutional civil liberties of the southern states should be protected. Mason disagreed through almost every one of Abraham Lincoln’s policies and also used the Dubuque Herald, a autonomous newspaper, to give voice to his Copperhead ideas in a series of anonymous letter signed merely “X.” that once proclaimed that the Union “can never ever be perpetuated by pressure of arms and also that a republican government held with each other by the knife becomes a military Despotism.” Mason was the democratic candidate for governor of Iowa twice, in 1861 and also 1867, and was defeated both times. After ~ his 2nd gubernatorial loss, Mason withdrew from prominence, but remained energetic for the remainder of his life in neighborhood affairs in his house city that Burlington. On February 25, 1882, at the age of 77, the guy who finished ahead the Robert E. Lee at West allude died in obscurity in ~ his farm.

Charles Mason wrote in his diary in 1864, “General Lee is winning great renown as a an excellent captain. Some of the English writers location him next to Napoleon and Wellington. I once excelled him and also might have actually been his equal yet possibly if I had actually remained in the army as that did.” due to the fact that of Mason’s job choices, we have the right to never know if that would have actually happened, and also it may be that some world view Mason together a human being who never fulfilled the good promise he proved at the U.S. Armed forces Academy. Yet this is one unfair referee of someone that lived a varied and also productive life and also contributed to society in a number of ways. It deserve to be said that a various quote through Charles Mason sums up his life better, and this quote likewise applies come the human who finished second to Mason at West Point. Mirroring on the unstable years during and shortly after ~ the civil War and also his component in those years, Mason composed in his diary, “I play the video game of life in ~ a an excellent crisis and also lost. I must be satisfied.”


Author clevelandPosted on April 21, 2020June 15, 2021Categories Biographies, background BriefsTags Author: David A. Carrino

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