The Citadel traces its origins to a series of arsenals constructed by the state of South Carolina in the 1820s; founded by an act of the state legislature in 1842 as the South Carolina Military Academy it originally consisted of the Citadel Academy in Charleston and the Arsenal Academy in Columbia. The Arsenal was burned by General Sherman's forces during the American Civil War and never reopened. The Citadel Academy was occupied by Union troops in 1865 and reopened as an educational institution in 1882. During the Civil War, the SCMA Corps of Cadets was organized into a military unit known as the Battalion of State Cadets which took part in nine engagements. In January 1861, Citadel Academy cadets manning a battery on Morris Island fired the first shots of the conflict when they shelled the Union steamship Star of the West which was attempting to resupply Fort Sumter. In December 1864, the cadet battalion made up more than a third of a Confederate force that defended a strategic rail line during the Battle of Tulifinny.
In 1922, the school moved from its original location on Marion Square in downtown Charleston to a new campus on the banks of the Ashley River on the northwest side of the city. The Citadel has grown steadily from an enrollment of 460 to its present 3,500. During World War II, The Citadel had the highest percentage of any American college student body serving in the military and all but 46 of its living graduates were members of the armed forces. Alumni served as members of the Flying Tigers and Doolittle Raiders; 280 died in the service of their country. The first black cadet enrolled in 1966 and women were admitted in 1996. A graduate program was started in 1968. A major capital improvement campaign started in 1989 saw the replacement or extensive renovation of a majority of the buildings on campus, academic offerings have been continuously expanded to offer in demand courses and degrees in fields such as Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Criminal Justice and Nursing. Citadel cadets and alumni have served in every United States military action from the Mexican War to the current Global War on Terrorism.
March 8th, 2017
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