Major James Benjamin White
Superintendent, The Citadel Academy, 1861-1865
Major James B. White, Class of 1849, is one of The Citadel's most distinguished alumni. Appointed Superintendent in 1861, as early Citadel presidents were known, he was a pivotal leader during the Civil War.
During the Civil War, White led the Battalion of State Cadets as a Major. Comprised of cadets from both The Citadel and The Arsenal, the Battalion of State Cadets was routinely called to serve the State of South Carolina in combat. On several occasions, the battalion distinguished itself in battle. Two most notable occasions were the firing on the Star of The West, a resupply ship attempting to reach Fort Sumter, and the Battle of Tulifinny.
Major White was in command at both battles and may have carried with him the sword presented at this event. The saber is thought to have been forged in the 1840's and has a distinguished curved thirty-one inch blade that shows little sign of being seriously sharpened. The hilt contains gold etchings that detail patriotic themes and is complemented by a brass hand guard. While the saber itself has no personal markings, the scabbard is heavily inscribed. The most noticeable marking is the seal of the State of South Carolina with the date 1776. Below that is a one inch circular inscription with the stamp "State Cadets" and Major White's initials, "JBW" (James Benjamin White).
The acquisition of the White Sword was made possible through the generous donations of three Citadel alumni. Major White's epaulets were donated through the generosity of Major White's great-grandson, Hugh Walker White, III, Citadel class of 1960. Major White's portrait may be seen in the President's wing of Bond Hall. Major White's sword and epaulets are on display in The Citadel Museum.