Root Beer Lover
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During the early national period, the US Army adopted the European practice of allowing some cadets into the officer corps. The rank of cadet was basically unofficial military apprenticeship as a way to eventually obtain a military commission (which at that time were given in a way similar to a civil service appointment today). The rank became official in 1794 when the war department authorized two cadets per artillery and engineer company. As time went on, cadets began to receive organized instruction at the Engineer school at West Point which eventually became the US Military Academy. By 1830, virtually all regular army officers were appointed as cadets and attended West Point. Looking in the 1865 Customs of Service for Non-commisioned officers, I found a section that discusses the classwork, duties and requirements of a cadet, however, as far as I know, after the early national period, cadets had to complete their West Point instruction before receiving commissions and reporting to their units as Lieutenants (or "ensigns" before 1820). Hope that helps some. What sources are you finding those references in?
That the same section that discusses the courses per year, Mark? If so, I gotta say I loved that section when I came across it. Just the idea of telling the NCOs what courses they'd be taking and in what year they'd take them when at West Point.