Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, May, 1998 Page: 64
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
the other Texas representatives and senators for support and to call on Robert J. Walker,
friend of Angus McNeill, and former secretary of the treasury, who was still an influential
person in Washington, D. C. On February 25, 1853, Henry C. McNeill received notifica-
tion of his appointment to West Point. He accepted the President's appointment on April
17, 1853, along with his father's permission to serve in the army for eight years.60
While Henry C. McNeill was not an outstanding student at West Point, he
did finish, in 1857. He was 26th in his class of 38. Sixty-one cadets had started in 1853.
According to published records, McNeill's best subjects were English and mathematics,
and in his last year (1857) he ranked 11th in cavalry tactics, 17th in infantry tactics, 25th
in ethics, 29th in both engineering and minerals and geology, and 32nd in artillery, which
included practical instruction in artillery and instruction in fencing. He had acquired 161
demerits during his last year. Demerits were given for even the slighest violation of rules
such as swearing, failing to attend church, and whistling during study hours, so 161
demerits were not especially significant.61 Following his graduation, he was breveted
second lieutenant and served first at the Cavalry School for Practice in Carlisle, Pennsyl-
vania. On October 26, 1857, as second lieutenant, he was sent to New Mexico where he
served with the Mounted Riflemen at Fort Thorn, Fort Defiance, Fort Fillmore, Fort
Union, and Fort Stanton. He was engaged in scouting in Navajo country and in an expe-
dition against the Lipan Apaches which involved a skirmish near Fort Buchanan on De-
cember 3, 1860.62
In 1857, his father, Angus, had deeded to him part of the James Ross
Survey, obviously on the assumption that after his military service Henry McNeill would
return to Colorado County. His sister, Mary, already owned land and slaves in Colorado
County. On January 30, 1858, Mary married a second time, to Thomas Scott Anderson,
in Austin, Texas.63 Anderson, a lawyer born in Tennessee, had served in Tampico in the
Mexican War in 1848, as orderly sergeant under his brother James Patton Anderson, a
lieutenant colonel in command of the battalion from Mississippi.64 After the war he had
studied law and, in 1852, moved to Texas, where he advertised his services in the Texas
60 U S. Military Academy Cadet Application Papers, 1805-1866, National Archives Microfilm
Publication No. 688, Roll 182.
61 Official Register of the Officers and Cadets of the U. S. Military Academy (West Point, New
York: 1857), p. 7; Harold B. Simpson, "West Pointers in the Texas Confederate Army," Texas Military
History, vol. 6, 1967, p. 61.
62 Official Register of the Officers and Cadets of the U S. Military Academy, p. 462.
63 Marriage Records of Travis County, Texas, Book 2, p. 20; Deed Records of Colorado County,
Texas, Book 10, p. 573.
64 Patton Anderson, "Autobiography of Gen. Patton Anderson, C. S. A.," in R. A. Brock, ed.,
Southern Historical Society Papers (Richmond: 1896. Reprint: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1991), vol. 24, p.
59; Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Organizations from the State of Mississippi,
National Archives Microfilm Publication No. 863, Roll 8.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 2, May, 1998, periodical, May 1998; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151403/m1/16/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.