"Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and
keep to the paths of the righteous."
Major Peter Fayssoux Stevens
Class of 1849
"No man can be rightly called educated who is not acquainted
with the rich store of history contained in the Bible."
In January 1861, South Carolina Governor Pickens ordered Major P. F. Stevens and a detachment of cadets to man a battery on Morris Island. His orders were to fire on any vessel bearing the United States flag entering Charleston harbor. The result was the historic driving back of the United States vessel Star of the West. Stevens had entered The Citadel in January 1846 and, after graduating first in the class of 1849, he began a career in engineering.
In 1852, Stevens accepted a professorship at the Arsenal in Columbia, South Carolina. He transferred in 1853 to The Citadel, and in 1859, became Superintendent of The Citadel.
On August 6, 1861, Stevens resigned his position as Superintendent in order to organize the Holcombe Legion, which was noted for its distinguished service in Virginia in the Civil War. During and after the war, Stevens was active in the ministry. He later became Bishop in the Reformed Episcopal Church. When Thomas brought his History
to a close, he took time to recognize distinguished graduates in various fields of endeavor.In speaking of "the highest style of men,consecrated servants of Christ, men who have dignified and ennobled her in the exalted sphere of the Church of the living God," he stated that the South Carolina Military Academy had not been wanting. Thomas then described Stevens as such:
[Peter Fayssoux Stevens] the graduate with the first honors of his Class of 1849; the brilliant Professor and able Superintendent of the Academy; the daring Commander of the Holcombe Legion, praised by Lee; the self-sacrificing missionary devoting his ministry to men of low estate, the Bishop with the courage of his convictions, the saintly man of God with martyr-like spirit and heroic nature.
Brigadier General Micah Jenkins
Class of 1854
"In a moment of highest earthly hope, he was transported to serenest heavenly joy; to that life beyond that knows no bugle call, beat of drum or clash of steel. May his beautiful spirit, through the mercy of God, rest in peace!
General James Longstreet, C.S.A.
Micah Jenkins was ambitious and a natural leader. He was described by one biographical author as, "A stalwart son of a family used to every benefit of immense wealth, he was, above all, a brave, naive, restless and ambitious Christian Gentleman." Early on, in what John Peyre Thomas attributes to the "Providence of God," he, as a first class cadet, met young Micah Jenkins.
Jenkins had turned fifteen only the month before entering the South Carolina Military Academy, and Thomas recalled striking up a conversation with the new cadet from Edisto Island, South Carolina. It was during this brief conversation that Jenkins expressed his desire and intention to graduate first in his class. Jenkins would fulfill that intention by graduating first in the class of 1854.
(Rev.) General Ellison Capers, D.D.
Class of 1857
As an epitaph on his gravestone, Ellison Capers had these words etched in stone: "And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar, and unto God the things which be God." His life would prove to be a living testimony to those principles.
As we review his life as a Citadel cadet, as a Civil War general,as a statesman, and as an Episcopal Bishop,it becomes evident that the words written on his tombstone were also written on his heart. We begin our look at this pious man of God as he enters the Arsenal Academy in Columbia, South Carolina, on January 1, 1854. In his memoirs and personal journal, he recounts the difficulty faced by cadets in those days:
Distinction's fan, puffing at all, winnowed the light away, and we [the class of 1857] went down to Charleston numbering thirtynine. The winnowing process went on until we received our diplomas,on the 18th of November 1857, when we numbered twenty.
Although his personal memoirs do not recite the following account,a glimpse of Ellison Capers as a young man of 18 is garnered through the journal of another cadet, Thomas H. Law, who was at The Citadel at the same time. In this early incident, we see the youthful side of Capers. After John Law Adger, author of the Journal of Cadet Tom Law detailed significant accomplishments of Capers, he made the following observation in a footnote:
Ellison Capers, became Bishop of South Carolina Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church 1893, and at the time of his death in 1908, the best loved man in South Carolina,a glorious record for one who had graduated 20th in his class of 20, and whose escapades as a cadet were long outstanding as those of a young hellion.
Alvah H. Chapman, Jr.
Class of 1942
The Citadel can boast of many distinguished graduates who were ambitious and had successful careers. While it is not possible to place laurel wreaths upon all the individual brows, we can choose one to represent them, and Chapman is worthy of such designation.
Scores have wondered what made Alvah Chapman so successful in every endeavor he pursued. Others have asked where Chapman finds the strength to continue his vigorous schedule. Chapman answered these questions in his own words when he said, "I owe my success to three things: my Christian faith; my wife, Betty; and the leadership training, education and sense of discipline I received at The Citadel."
Those were the words spoken by Alvah H. Chapman, Jr., during an interview for an article that appeared in The Citadel Magazine in 1999. Chapman recounted those remarks in an impromptu speech given to a group of MBA students at a major university. He did not have a planned speech for the occasion and therefore spoke straight from his heart. Later Chapman said that if he had been afforded the opportunity to prepare, he would have added a fourth contributing factor to his success. The fourth factor would have been his mother and father, who raised him in a Christian home. Ambitious and successful men and women typically have strong beliefs in which they bestow their trust and their time.
Chapman feels strongly about his beliefs in his Christian faith, which has always been a part of who he is. He believes strongly in and cares deeply for Betty, who has been with him for more than 60 years. Finally,Chapman believes in and gives much credit to The Citadel experience for his success. He cites the leadership training, the education and sense of discipline he received there as being invaluable to him throughout his career.