Charles Mason

Military Person

1804 – 1882


Who was Charles Mason?

Charles Mason was born in New York and became a patent attorney, taught engineering, and was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa from 1838 to 1847. He was later the United States Commissioner of Patents.

However, today Mason is perhaps most remembered as the cadet who graduated first in the class of 1829 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, ahead of future Confederate Army commander Robert E. Lee. Mason and Lee were tied for the head of the class in [Artillery, Tactics, and Conduct], but Mason bested Lee in all other subjects and graduated with an overall score of 1995.5 points out of a possible 2000, compared to Lee's 1966.5. Mason resigned his commission two years after graduation in 1831. They also finished first and second in the entire history of the school, and are still the best to this day, the third best being Douglas MacArthur.

He also was the Democratic candidate for Governor of Iowa in 1867, but was defeated by Samuel Merrill.


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United States of America
  • United States Military Academy
Feb 27, 1882

on July 23, 2013