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The University of Alabama Had a Chance of Surviving The Us Civil War

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The Article that I had an opportunity to review is entitled “The Burning of The University of Alabama” by Clark E. Center, Jr. Center in this article highlights the events preceding and succeeding the destruction of The University of Alabama. The University began in 1831 and was “modeled on universities in the… east” and “ had been founded to provide a classical education to the state’s youth and to prepare them for service to church, state, and society”. Early, in the university’s history, discipline among the students was a dilemma. As school codes had failed to curtail unsuitable behavior, University President Landon C. Garland instituted a military system to the university. Garland studied other military academies such as The United States Military Academy to prepare; Garland also gathered the supplies necessary to operate such a school. This endeavor proved expensive; however, Garland took the cadets to Montgomery to display them and successfully petitioned the legislature for more funds. Soon after, the Civil War began, and a significant number of cadets left to join the war effort. However, applicants for admission remained stable for the school. During the war, the university would supply troops to the Confederate army and take on the alias “West Point of the Confederacy”.

Union Major General James H. Wilson and his forces left North Alabama headed for central Alabama. His goal and orders dictated that destroy confederate resources in Montgomery, Selma, and Tuscaloosa; he was to then enter Georgia. Upon reaching Elyton (Birmingham) on the way to Centerville, Wilson dispatched General Croxton to Tuscaloosa “In an effort to divert Nathan Bedford Forrest” . Croxton ater skirmishing with Confederate General W.J. Jackson made his way to Tuscaloosa. Before entering the city, Croxton devised a plan to rush a bridge, overwhelm the guarding confederate’s, and enter the city. After executing this plan, Croxton crossed into Tuscaloosa. A mile away, a rider notified University President Garland of the presence of Union forces. Garland ran to the campus yelling ‘Beat the long roll! The Yankees are in town!’ A group of cadets were sent to intercept the troops as skirmishers. Later, the Corps main force under the command of Commandant Murfee made its way to the action. However, President Garland, after being briefed on the situation made the decision to leave; the cadets and faculty traveled eight miles and imbedded themselves on a hill. Croxton’s forces destroyed much of the University and Confederate resources surrounding the city by burning. Interestingly, according to lore, Croxton sent a request to General Wilson to spare the library but was denied. However, he chose to spare one volume which was “English translation of The Koran: Commonly Called the Alco-ran Of Mohammed”. After this Croxton made his way to Georgia to rejoin with General Wilson.

To conclude I want to write that Croxton’s expedition into Tuscaloosa left a profound impact upon the area. Civilian lives were disturbed, and the University was burned to the ground. Interestingly, it is debatable that the University could have survived the war. Common arguments are that “the University of Alabama was destroyed so near the end of the war”  and Grant had refocused Union attacks towards specifically the Confederate Army. Moreover, this article was a remarkably interesting read and is very important to Alabama state history. This article is relevant to the chapter as it mentions General Wilson and his activity within the state. The Civil war was a turbulent time in U.S. and Alabama history as the divided country was embroiled in Civil War.  

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The University of Alabama Had a Chance of Surviving the US Civil War. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
“The University of Alabama Had a Chance of Surviving the US Civil War.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
The University of Alabama Had a Chance of Surviving the US Civil War. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
The University of Alabama Had a Chance of Surviving the US Civil War [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 29 [cited 2022 May 17]. Available from:
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