Interactive Story Map :: Nimitz Library :: USNA

Nimitz Library

Regiments drilling on the grounds of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD. In 1861.

U.S. Naval Academy Interactive Map

Welcome to the U.S. Naval Academy Interactive Map User Guide. Utilizing the Nimitz Library's Special Collections and Archives digital collections, this map is designed to provide users with an interactive and educational portal into the Naval Academy of the past. Underlying a 2018 map of the academy is one from 1876 showing the buildings and grounds that existed before the academy was almost completely rebuilt during the first decade of the twentieth century. This map has been geo-referenced, and all buildings in the historical underlay represent their original location on the old academy grounds. Please contact staff at Special Collections and Archives if you have any questions, or desire further information about our records. For a general overview of the academy's history from 1845 to 2019 see the following timeline.

Map User Guide

Using the Map

The spyglass provides a portal to the 1876 map. Grab and move it to see other parts of the underlay. You can also adjust the overlay by grabbing and moving it outside the spyglass and using the zoom controls on the upper left-hand side. Click on the stickpins to view the historical photo associated with that location. Zooming in and out quickly and moving the spyglass corrects most errors when using the map, which is best viewed with Internet Explorer.

Notes on Photograph Descriptions

Titles of the Naval Academy and Classes

On October 10, 1845 the Naval School was opened at Annapolis. From 1845 to 1850 students at the Naval School were referred to as “acting-midshipmen” and classified according to the dates of their warrants. In 1851 the school adopted a new four-year collegiate program and was retitled the Naval Academy. Under the new organization, official designations of the four classes followed West Point terminology. Acting-midshipmen were identified as "fourth classmen" (freshmen), "third classmen" (sophomores), "second classmen" (juniors), and "first classmen" (seniors). Informally, fourth classmen became known as "plebes". Third classmen were called "youngsters" and second classmen were called "oldsters."

Titles of Midshipmen

In 1865 a unique two-year course was introduced to educate engineers. The Congressional Act of July 15, 1870 changed the designation of the Naval Academy midshipmen to “cadet-midshipmen,” and that of the two-year students to “cadet-engineers.” Under the act, academy graduates did not become full-fledged midshipmen until after they had completed the four-year (or two-year) academic course, performed a tour of sea duty, and returned to the academy to take a graduating examination. In February 1874 Congress abolished the two-year engineering program and provided for the annual appointment of twenty-five cadet-engineers to a four-year course. The Personnel Act of August 5, 1882 abolished the titles of “cadet-midshipman” and “cadet-engineer,” and substituted the comprehensive term “naval-cadet.” On July 1, 1902, Congress passed an act abolishing the term “naval-cadet” and reinstating the title “midshipman.” In 1912 Congress approved commissioning graduates on graduation day and ended the requirement for two-year sea service as passed midshipmen.

Titles of the Brigade

Throughout much of the nineteenth century, the various classes of students were collectively referred to either as a battalion or regiment. In 1903 the student body was expanded and transformed into a brigade.
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