James Lee Conrad is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, and the National Law Center at George Washington University. Conrad has published articles in such journals as Civil War Times Illustrated and America's Civil War. A contributor to the Encyclopedia of the Confederacy, he is the author of Rebel Reefers: The Organization and Midshipmen of the Confederate States Naval Academy. A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Conrad is an attorney with its Judge Advocate General's Department.
The Virginia Military Academy, which later became the Virginia Military Institute (VMI); the South Carolina Military Academy; the Georgia Military Academy; and the University of Alabama Corps of Cadets all served a vital role in preparing raw recruits for the military. They also served as de facto "West Points" for the South, and their graduates made up the majority of Confederate field officers. This is a detailed history of these schools and their role in the Civil War. It is also a very readable account of the problems involved in keeping the schools open during the war and the part that young students played. Conrad, a graduate of VMI, has divided his work in sections by year, and within each year he gives a detailed account of events at each institution, as well as any engagements in which its cadets participated. Recommended for all Civil War collections.‘W. Walter Wicker, Louisiana Tech Univ., Ruston (ret.)