Answered By: Marie Rose Last Updated: Nov 17, 2015 Views: 292
Eight murals hang in the library, four in the south reading room and four in the reference room. They depict the history of The Citadel. All the murals were done by David Humphreys Miller. They were paid for by an anonymous Citadel benefactor.
South Reference Room
The Corps of Cadets--1846 (8-ft. x 20-ft.) This picture was the fourth mural. It was dedicated on November 3, 1962. It shows the old Citadel, located north of Calhoun between King and Meeting streets in downtown Charleston. This is now known as Marion Square. In 1846, war with Mexico was declared and the cadets are training recruits of the South Carolina Palmetto Regiment. In the mural, the cadets are staging a demonstration parade for the benefit of the recruits. The Palmetto Regiment Flag shown in the painting was the first American flag to fly over Mexico City. Notice that the Corps is at left shoulder arms while the color guard is at right shoulder arms. This is no error. The 1835 edition of the U.S. Army Manual on Infantry Tactics states that the color guard always carries rifles at right shoulder arms. Only two Citadel cadets actually served in the war: Thomas J. Mackey and Allen H. Little. Both came back to The Citadel as veteran students after the war. Little graduated first in his class in 1852 but Mackey never graduated.
The Star of the West (8-ft. x 13-ft.) The third mural was dedicated June 2, 1960. It shows the first action of the Civil War. At dawn, January 9, 1861, Citadel cadets succeeded in driving off the federal ship, Star of the West, which was trying to bring supplies to Fort Sumter. Seventeen shots were fired, of which three hit the ship. The actual attack on the fort began three months and three days later, April 12, 1860. The picture depicts cadets manning four 24-lb. siege guns on Morris Island.
The Cadet Company (8-ft. x 13-ft.) The Cadet Company was the subject of the second mural in the Daniel Library, dedicated November 12, 1960. It was composed of 36 cadets who left The Citadel in 1862 to join the Confederate Army. They were joined by their friends and other cadets from the Arsenal in Columbia to form the Cadet Company. The mural depicts General Hampton on his bay horse Butler, leading mounted cadets. The confederate flag is flying and the general's saber is raised. General Hampton chose the Cadet Company of the Sixth Regiment of South Carolina Cavalry to lead the counterattack against Sheridan's Union forces. The action took place at Louisa Courthouse, Virginia, June 11, 1864. The Union force was halted until another Confederate force was able to attack its flank.
The Battle of Tulifinny (8-ft. x 13-ft.) This was the first mural. It was dedicated 1 June 1961. The date is December 9, 1864, and the place is Tulifinny Creek. Citadel cadets joined with cadets from their sister academy, the Arsenal in Columbia, S.C. to form the Battalion of State Cadets. This was different from the Cadet Company. They had been ordered to protect the Tulifinny trestle of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. The mural depicts the cadets repulsing the attack.
North Reference Room
Cadet Literary Societies (8-ft. x 13-ft.) This was the eighth and final mural. It was dedicated May 30, 1863. It is somewhat humorous, depicting an overly loud debate between the Calliopean and Polytechnical literary societies that had become so intense that it brought the Superintendent, Col. John P. Thomas, into the room. Only three cadets notice his presence and are trying to get the others to quiet down. The scene is set in 1883.
A Moonlight Raid (8-ft. x 13-ft.) This was the seventh mural. It was dedicated November 18, 1961. It represents a scene from World War I. It shows Barnwell Rhett Legge capturing some German soldiers. Legge (class of 1911) was one of the most decorated of all Citadel graduates. He retired from the army in 1948 with the rank of brigadier general, and died in 1949.
The Major of St. Lo (8-ft. x 13-ft.) Major Thomas Dry Howie, Citadel, 1929, commanded the Third Battalion, 116th Infantry, which led the attack against the German defenses at St. Lo, France, July 18, 1944. He brought his unit within a mile of St. Lo when he was killed by mortar fire. He told his commanding general "I'll see you in St. Lo." These words became the battle cry of his unit. They captured the city the day after he was killed. They brought his flag-draped coffin with them when they entered the city. This was the breakout from the Normandy beach head which was of enormous strategic significance. This mural was the sixth one painted. It was dedicated March, 17 1961. The small flag hanging sideways from a building had its stripes horizontally at first. A French official viewing it asked what the Dutch flag was doing in France. When told about it, Miller had two people hold his legs while he hung over the balcony. Miller repainted the current flag while he was upside down.
The Corps of Cadets--1962
This was the fifth mural. It was dedicated March 17, 1962. It shows the Corps in full dress review, awaiting inspection by Gen. Mark W. Clark who is in the official jeep with the regimental commander, Cadet Colonel Stanley W. Russell. The only other figure which can be discerned in Major Freda, the bandmaster. It is 8-ft. x 20-ft.
On the murals generally see: Hortense Roach, "The Citadel Murals," News and Courier, May 29, 1964, Special Citadel Supplement, p. 8-E; COL. D. D. Nicholson, Jr., "Focus on Citadel Murals," Alumni Magazine, vol. 34, no. 2 (Winter 1978), pp. 13-21 and front and back covers.