Last In Their Class: Custer, Pickett and the Goats of West Point
Today's Goat, the West Point cadet finishing at the bottom of his class, is temporary celebrity among his classmates. But in the 19th century, he was something of a cult figure. Custer's contemporaries at the Academy believed that the same spirit of adventure that led him to carouse at local taverns motivated his dramatic cavalry attacks in the Civil War and afterwards. And the same willingness to accept punishment from Academy authorities also sent George Pickett into the teeth of the Union guns at Gettsyburg. The story James S. Robbins tells goes from the beginnings of West Point through the carnage of the Civil War to the grassy bluffs over the Little Big Horn. The Goats he profiles tell us much about the soul of the American solider, his daring, imagination and desire to prove himself against high odds.