Editor’s note: This article was the background brief because that the October 2012 meeting of the Cleveland Civil war Roundtable.

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There room some who think about Robert E. Lee the best military leader of the polite War. Yet Ulysses S. Give beat Robert E. Lee, which calls right into question the case that Lee to be the biggest military leader the the polite War. However, the wasn’t an also fight, and even if blaspheme of Lee and also admirers of provide refuse to admit that that wasn’t an also fight, it doesn’t adjust that fact. Nevertheless, there to be someone who did to 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 finished first, which means that Mason beat Lee in an also competition. Part other notable members the the course of 1829 are Joseph E. Johnston (number 13), Theophilus Holmes (another Confederate general, who graduated 3rd from the bottom), and John F. Kennedy (number 14, although not the man F. Kennedy that was the 35th U.S. President). Mason finished through a full of 1,995.5 points the end of a feasible 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 no demerits, together did three various other members that the class of 1829. Due to the fact that Mason i graduated from the U.S. Military Academy front of Lee, why have actually we not read around the illustrious military career the Charles Mason? The reason is that Mason go not have actually a military career, which is not to say the Mason walk not have a identified career.


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Charles Mason

Mason was born in Onondaga County, new York ~ above October 24, 1804. After graduating indigenous West Point, that taught engineering there for 2 years and also then resigned indigenous the army to attend law school in brand-new York City. Mason practiced legislation for 2 years and then functioned for the New York night Post top top its editorial staff, at some point serving together Acting Editor. In 1836 he relocated to Wisconsin Territory, and a year later he married Angelica Gear. The pair lived ~ above a farm close to Burlington and had three daughters. Iowa, which had been component of Wisconsin Territory, became a different territory in 1838, and also President Martin van Buren appointed Mason chief Justice the the Iowa are Supreme Court. Mason’s first decision was his most famous. Citing the Missouri compromise of 1820, Mason ruled that a Missouri slave named Ralph, who had been sent out to Iowa by his master, to be not required to go back to slavery. This judgment is contrary to the Dred Scott Decision, which came almost two decades later. Mason stayed on the Iowa can be fried Court for nine years, increase to and for a short time ~ Iowa became a state. Consequently Mason was appointed U.S. Commissioner the Patents, was chosen to the Iowa State board of Education, and founded a patent legislation firm.

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Charles Mason’s tombstone

During the civil War, Mason ended up being a tranquility Democrat. Although he protest secession and also slavery, the asserted that the constitutional legal rights of the southern states must be protected. Mason disagreed with almost all of Abraham Lincoln’s policies and used the Dubuque Herald, a autonomous newspaper, to give voice come his Copperhead beliefs in a collection of anonymous letters signed merely “X.” that once proclaimed that the Union “can never ever be perpetuated by force of arms and that a republican government held with each other by the sword becomes a military Despotism.” Mason to be the autonomous candidate for governor of Iowa twice, in 1861 and also 1867, and also was beat both times. ~ his 2nd gubernatorial loss, Mason withdrew from prominence, but remained energetic for the rest of his life in local affairs in his house city of Burlington. ~ above February 25, 1882, at the age of 77, the guy who perfect ahead that 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 together a an excellent captain. Few of the English writers ar him next to Napoleon and Wellington. I as soon as excelled him and might have been his same yet perhaps if I had remained in the military as the did.” because of Mason’s career choices, we deserve to never recognize if the would have actually happened, and also it might be the some world view Mason as a human being who never ever fulfilled the an excellent promise he showed at the U.S. Army Academy. But this is one unfair judgment of someone that lived a varied and also productive life and also contributed to society in a variety of ways. It can be suggested that a different quote by Charles Mason sums increase his life better, and also this quote likewise applies come the human who finished 2nd to Mason in ~ West Point. Showing on the unstable years during and also shortly ~ the civil War and his part in those years, Mason composed in his diary, “I play the video game of life at a good crisis and lost. I need to be satisfied.”


Author clevelandPosted ~ above April 21, 2020June 15, 2021Categories Biographies, history BriefsTags Author: David A. Carrino

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