The cannon on this historic site are trophies of war. They were captured or surrendered in American conflicts through more than two hundred years. The first trophies to come to West Point were guns captured in 1777 during the Battles of Saratoga.
At the end of the American Revolution, West Point maintained over 160 cannon for the fledgling United States Army. Even before the founding of the United States Military Academy in 1802, West Point had taken on the additional role of educating officers in the sciences of engineering and gunnery. These captured ordnance pieces became a source of instruction for the Corps of Cadets.
In 1837, the Military Academy Board of Visitors formally recommended West Point as the site for all U.S. Army war trophies. During the Mexican War, USMA graduates played critical roles in the Army's military operations; their pride in their accomplishments is reflected in the impressive number of cannon exhibited here.
The American Civil War, in which hundreds of USMA graduates became generals for the North or the South, added nearly fifty captured Confederate pieces to Trophy Point. After the war, efforts began to memorialize the fallen soldiers of the United States Regular Army. In 1897, General John M. Schofield formally dedicated Battle Monument, which stands as Trophy Point's most prominent memorial.
Other trophies and cannon were placed at this site and are now arranged and grouped by wars. Overlooking the Hudson River, at the east end of the display is the Revolutionary War area. Proceeding west is the display of cannon from the War of 1812. To the south of this area is the Spanish American War display, featuring trophies taken from Cuba and the Philippines. Confederate trophies taken in the American Civil War flank the walkways on either side of Battle Monument. Trophies from the Mexican War are in close proximity to the flagpole.
The items displayed at Trophy Point mark the first century of West Point's contributions to the shaping of our nation. Trophies taken during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and more recent conflicts, are on display in the West Point Museum, located at Pershing Center.
All cannon at Trophy Point are from the collections of the West Point Museum.