View Full Version : Officers' Ages

08-28-2004, 09:31 PM

Sorry for a rather elementary question, but was it common, or rather documented, that there were officers younger than say 21 or 20 years old? I have read of only a few.

And if they were that age, what caused them to obtain that rank? Being promoted from NCO status, or because perhaps their fathers were higher ranking officers.


08-29-2004, 03:22 AM
It was fairly common to has junior officers in their late teens early 20s. Galusha Pennypacker was promoted bigadier general a few weeks before his 21st birthday. I belive Pennypacker was the youngest General officer in US military history.

A Sykes Regular
08-29-2004, 11:15 AM
Even among the Regular regiments, junior officers tended to be fairly young. Just looking at the USMA classes of 1860 and 1861, a substantial number had entered West Point at the age of 16-17 (still a 5-year curriculum before the war). So, many of these cadets joined the ranks as 21-22 year old 2nd LTs in 1861 - some rapidly promoted to 1st LT within a few months. At least this was the case for junior officers in the 2nd, 4th and 6th US Inf ...