Recognizing the 149th anniversary of the "Star of the West"
On Jan. 9, 1861, cadets of The Citadel manning an artillery battery on Morris Island fired the first shots of the Civil War, repulsing the federal steamship Star of the West, which was carrying supplies and two hundred federal troops dispatched by President Buchanan to reinforce Union Forces garrisoned at Fort Sumter.
A depiction of the historic event can be seen in the Star of the West mural in the Daniel Library. Commenting on the events of that day, The New York Evening Post reported: "The military men on board [Star of the West] highly complimented the South Carolinians on their shooting in this first attempt. They say it was well done..."
|Cadet Marqus Javon Ross was twice named best-drilled cadet as in the annual Star of the West drill competition. He won in 2007 and 2009.|
Star of the West Today
In recognition of that important milestone in The Citadel's history, the college maintains an annual competition to celebrate the precision required in military maneuvers and in the leadership of others in general. The Star of the West competition began in 1886 to recognize the best-drilled cadet in the Corps of Cadets.The college began awarding the The Star of the West Medal to the best-drilled cadet in 1893. The names of all Star of the West winner are engraved on the Star of the West monument that stands near the flagpole on Summerall Field.
The Star of the West Monument is dedicated to the memory of the cadets who fired on the Star of the West in 1861 and to all Citadel graduates who have died in defense of their country.
The granite monument was raised in the spring of 1961, 100 years after Citadel cadets fired on the federal supply ship from the northern point of Morris Island. Cadets were chosen to man the 24-pound siege guns because they were the best-trained men in Charleston to fire the weapons.
Inscribed on the monument are the names of those cadets who have won the Star of the West Medal for individual drill competition.