Civil War Generals
Summary List of Famous Civil War Generals & Commanders during the American Civil War
There were hundreds of generals commissioned in the American Civil War on both the Union and Confederate armies. Some, like Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Ulysess S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman are household names. They, along with many generals and commanders, both major and minor, were the commanders that led the troops and helped decide the outcome of most civil war battles. Here is a list of important civil war generals and commanders, along with links to more information and articles about each one.
List of important Confederate (or Southern) Civil War Generals
Robert E. Lee
General Robert E. Lee was the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia and is considered the most successful confederate general. Learn more about Robert E. Lee
General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson fought brilliantly from First Bull Run to his death at the battle of Chancellorsville from friendly fire. Learn more about Stonewall Jackson
General J.E.B. Stuart was a famous cavalry commander known for his reconnaissance. Read more about Jeb Stuart
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest was an innovative cavalry commander, and was the only General on either side who began as a private. Read more about Nathan Bedford Forrest
General James Longstreet led the First Corps of the Army Of Northern Virginia is considered one of the most capable generals on either side. Read more about James Longstreet
General Braxton Bragg led the Army Of Mississippi and Tennessee from Shiloh to Chattanooga. Read more about Braxton Bragg
General George Pickett is best remembered for his futile and bloody assault on Cemetery Ridge On Day 3 of the Battle of Gettysburg. Read more about George Pickett
Bloody Bill Anderson
William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson started life as a brutal killer, leading pro-confederate units on attacks against Union forces. Read more about Bloody Bill Anderson
John S. Mosby was a Confederate Cavalry Commander known for his speed and elusiveness. Read more about John Mosby
Pierre Gustave Toutant (PGT) Beauregard was a Confederate General best known for starting the civil war with his attack on Fort Sumter. Read more about P.G.T. Beauregard
A.P. Hill was a confederate General best known for commanding the "Light Division," and fighting ably with his commander Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Read more about A.P. Hill
Edmund Kirby Smith commanded armies in Tennessee and the Trans-Mississippi Theaters. Read more about Kirby Smith
John Bell Hood
John Bell Hood (1831-1879) was reputed for his aggressive and bold commands, a reputation which continued in battles despite his physical disabilities. Read more about John Bell Hood
Albert Sidney Johnston
Albert Sidney Johnston fought and battled in five wars. He was mortally wounded at age 59 during the civil war at the Battle of Shiloh. Read more about Albert Sidney Johnston
Barnard Elliot Bee Jr. died at age 37 in action at First Bull Run and is known for giving the nickname "Stonewall" to Brigadier general Thomas J. Jackson. Read more about Barnard Bee
General Joseph Johnston was the highest ranking officer to leave the U.S. army to join the Confederacy. He fought in many of the Civil War’s major battles and died of pheumonia. Read more about Joseph Johnston
Jubal Anderson Early was known for his aggressive and sometimes reckless style. Read more about Jubal Early
Lewis Addison was a successful Confederate General who fought and died during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. Read more about Lewis Armistead
Edward Porter Alexander was a Brigadier General known for being the first man to use signal flags to send messages using signal flags. Read more about Porter Alexander
Richard Stoddert Ewell led numerous battles during the Civil War, but his failure to capture Cemetery Hill on day one at Gettysburg led to his men and himself to be captured and imprisoned at Richmond. Read more about Richard Ewell
List of important Union (or Northern) Civil War Generals
Ulysses S. Grant
General Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army during the later years of the civil war, and with his victory at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ended the civil war. Learn more about Ulysses S. Grant
General George Mcclellan led the Army Of the Potomac during the early years of the civil war. Learn more about George Mcclellan
Starting as a Major and ending as a Brigadier General, Robert Anderson is best known for surrendering Fort Sumter. Learn more about Robert Anderson
General Nathaniel Banks was a hapless leader of the Union Army, suffering one defeat after another. Learn more about Nathaniel Banks
General William Tecumseh Sherman
General William Tecumseh Sherman fought in many battles and his best known for taking Atlanta followed by his brutal by effective "march to the sea." Learn more about William Tecumseh Sherman
General George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer who served in the civil war and Indian wars, meeting his end at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Read more about George Custer
Winfield Scott Hancock
General Winfield Scott Hancock was a US Army officer for his entire career and eventually a nominee for the office of President of the US in 1880. He served in the army for a total of four decades and is considered a war hero for his Gettysburg service. His nickname is “Hancock the Superb.” He died at Governor’s Island in 1886 because of complications from diabetes and an infected carbuncle. He was buried at the Montgomery Cemetery in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Read more about Winfield Scott Hancock
Though there is a myth saying that Abner Doubleday was the inventor of baseball, he never said that he did. Doubleday was a big supporter of Abraham Lincoln. He died of a heart condition and was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Read more about Abner Doubleday
General Ambrose Burnside Ambrose, besides being a soldier, was an industrialist, railroad executive and an inventor, eventually becoming the governor of Rhode Island as well as US Senator. In 1881, Burnside died of a heart attack and was buried at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island.. Read more about Ambrose Burnside
General Arthur Macarthur was one of five men to ever be promoted to a five star rank of the general army. Eventually, MacArthur became the governor general for the military for the Philippines in 1900. He died of a heart attack at the age of 67 and though he was originally laid to rest in Milwaukee, his remains were moved to the Arlington National Cemetery. Read more about Arthur Macarthur
General Benjamin Butler was not only a soldier but also a lawyer and eventually a politician for the state of Massachusetts. He still ranks as one of the, if not the, most controversial political generals during the Civil War. Butler died in court at the capital, Washington DC. He is buried at his in-laws’ cemetery in Lowell, Massachusetts. Read more about Benjamin Butler
General Daniel Sickles was a Union general during the Civil War as well as a controversial politician. Sickles was injured during battle and his leg was amputated. Even then he did all he could to boost the morale of his soldiers. After the war, he served as a Minister to Spain and as the New York State Board of Civil Service Commissioners’ President until 1889. He was sheriff of New York and eventually a representative for Congress. He died in New York City and was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery. Read more about Daniel Sickles
General George Gordon Meade was a civil engineer and an army officer before serving as a Union general during the Civil War. He was successful in defeating General Lee but was criticized for not pursuing the Confederate Army when in his grasp. He became a commissioner of Fairmont Park in Philadelphia until his death. He died from a combination of pneumonia and old wounds and now rests at the Laurel Hill Cemetery. Read more about George Meade
General George Thomas served as an army officer throughout his career and a Union general at the time of the American Civil War. His career was an overall success even if he did not get the fame that other contemporaries did. Thomas died of a stroke while he was writing an answer to a critique of his military career. He was laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery in upstate New York. Read more about George Thomas
General Irvin Mcdowell was an army officer who is better known for the defeat at First Battle of Bull Run. McDowell had at his disposal the army of Northeastern Virginia which unfortunately was inexperienced and not ready. He launched his attack due to pressure from Washington and though the strategy was imaginative, his troops were not ready to carry it out. McDowell died in 1885 and was buried at the San Francisco National Cemetery. Read more about Irvin Mcdowell
General John Buford was an officer of the Union Cavalry during the Civil War and one of his most important roles took place at Gettysburg. Buford is known for selecting the right field of battle during Gettysburg. He died at the age of 37 due to contracting typhoid. Even in his death bed he was thinking of military strategy as his last words were “Put guards on all the roads and don’t let the men run to rear.” Read more about John Buford
General John Pope was a general for the Union during the Civil War and a career army officer. He is mostly known for the defeat at Second Battle of Bull Run in the east, after which he was sent to Minnesota. John Pope eventually became major general in the regular army and would die at the Ohio Soldiers’ Home in Sandusky, Ohio. He was then buried at the Belle Fontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. Read more about John Pope
General John Reynolds was an army officer and a general during the Civil War. He was a very respected senior commander and is known for committing the Army of the Potomac to Gettysburg. Reynolds was killed early in that same battle. He was buried in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1863. Read more about John Reynolds
General Joseph Hooker was a major general for the Union during the Civil War and a career army officer. Hooker was known for his audacious battle strategies, one of which took place against Robert E. Lee. However, he lost that Battle at Chancellorsville. Hooker led the procession for the funeral of President Lincoln. He died while visiting Garden City in Long Island, New York and was laid to rest at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. Read more about Joseph Hooker
General Joshua Chamberlain was a college professor and eventually a brigadier general and brevet major general for the Union army during the Civil War. He is known for having been given the command of Union troops for the surrender ceremony with Robert E. Lee. He served as the governor of his state of Maine. He died in 1914 in Portland, Maine and was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Brunswick. Read more about Joshua Chamberlain
General Philip Sheridan was a Union general and an army officer throughout his career. He is known for his association with Ulysses S. Grant and for his fast assent to major general. He was also very instrumental to the development of Yellowstone National Park. He died of heart failure in Dartmouth, Massachusetts in 1888 and he was buried near Arlington House in the Arlington National Cemetery. Read more about Philip Sheridan
General Oliver Howard was a Union general in the Civil War and a career army officer. He suffered defeats at Gettysburg and Chancellorsville but at Western Theater his reputation went back up. Howard would base a lot of his policy decisions on his religion and that is why he was nicknamed “The Christian General.” Howard died in Vermont and is buried at the Lake View Cemetery in Burlington. Read more about Oliver Howard
William Starke Rosecrans
General William Starke Rosecrans was not only a general for the Union during the Civil War, but also a coal and oil company executive, an inventor, a politician and a diplomat. His early military career was full of success, however, later suffered humiliating defeats. He was considered a possibility for a Vice Presidential run with Abraham Lincoln. He served as a congressman from California and eventually died in Redondo Beach, California. Read more about William Starke Rosecrans
Civil War Generals Articles From History Net Magazines
How in the world did they shoot Stonewall Jackson?It’s one of the best-known stories of the Civil War: Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is accidentally shot by his own men during the Battle of Chancellorsville and then dies a few days later. His death, perhaps, alters the course of the war itself.
January - February 1863
Emancipation causes a stir both North and South, and a section of Virginia prepares to secede—from Virginia
1 – The Emancipation Proclamation takes effect—as does the Homestead Act, signed into law the previous May.
The first recorded homestead claim …
Tennessee TensionNeither Braxton Bragg nor William Rosecrans was a stranger to controversy. Which one could weather their meeting at Stones River?
Lincoln's midtermsEvery president faces a shift in Congress after two years, but this halftime show was especially dangerous.
Teacher, Preacher, Soldier, SpyHow the headmaster of a Washington boys' school became a Rebel spy—and tried to kidnap Lincoln
September - October 1862
General Lee heads north, producing a bloodbath in Maryland. And Abraham Lincoln presses emancipation
2 – In the aftermath of the Union's second loss at Bull Run, George McClellan is restored to full command of the Army of the …
Abraham Lincoln's RefugeIn the summer of 1862, Abraham Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation at a roomy cottage on the grounds of the Soldiers Home outside Washington, D.C.
Hard War on the Southern PlainsThis story about Sherman's post-Civil War Indian campaign just won a top award from Army Historical Foundation
Julian Scott Civil War PainterCurator Michael McAfee talks about artist Julian Scott and 51st New York Infantry at Antietam.
Confederate Flags in Times Square?Is it, or isn't it? That is our question!
Battlefields&Beyond: New York CityHarold Holzer's Top 13 Civil War Sites in NYC.
Book Reviews - July 2012
The Global Lincoln by Richard Carwardine, Jay Sexton, eds. Oxford University Press 2011, $29.95
At the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 2009, a new area of Lincoln studies emerged: his legacy outside the United States after the Civil War …
July - August 1862
Rebels go marauding, emancipation occupies Abraham Lincoln and starving Sioux get restless
1 – Battle of Malvern Hill ends the Seven Days' battles with a Union victory.
The Revenue Act of 1862 establishes the Bureau of Internal Revenue …
Field Notes - July 2012
The original painting (left) next to the Mary Todd fake. (images courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum)The Lady and the scamp
Is she or isn't she? That question has been answered with a resounding "no": The portrait purported to …
Unknown Soldier: Manning Ferguson Force, the Hero of AtlantaHow a bookish Ohio attorney inspired a Union stand against a furious Confederate assault
In the hot seat over GettysburgSouthern vets had long blamed James Longstreet and Jeb Stuart for their loss, but had Lee called a formal inquiry?
Wild West - June 2012 - Table of ContentsThe June 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about Libbie Custer's enduring love for her "Boy General," the "Arapaho Five" at the Little Bighorn, plural marriage among the Plains Indians, Kansas' lethal innkeepers the Bloody Benders, and the long-gone California grizzlies.
Interview With Historian Paul HedrenIn his new book After Custer, Paul Hedren draws on his extensive knowledge of the Great Sioux War to paint a picture of changing life on the Prairie in the wake of the Little Bighorn.
Ambrose Bierce and America's First Great War StoriesAuthor and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce wrote of an ugly war, not the romanticized version found in most writings by his fellow veterans. His war was waged deep within the conscience of the individual solider and was often cloaked in supernaturalism.
A Killer's MetamorphosisFrank James, Jesse James' older brother, renounced the outlaw life after Jesse's death and slipped quietly into old age.
Battle Of South Mountain: Battlefield And BeyondJune Issue Extra: Lee’s first invasion of Union territory was turned back at the Battle of South Mountain
Major General Adelbert Ames: Forgotten Man of the 20th MaineJune Issue Extra: Adelbert Ames preceded Joshua Chamberlain as colonel of the 20th Maine
1862: May and June
Lincoln urges farmers to go west, McClellan stalls and a new Rebel commander takes over
3 – Confederate General Joseph Johnston orders troops to evacuate Norfolk, Va. Evacuation is completed May 10, and on May 11, the crew of …
The Beast turned loose in New OrleansMaj. Gen. Benjamin Butler cleans up and clamps down on the rebellious Crescent City
A surprise visit from Morgan's RaidersThomas Lewis had avoided war -- until it invaded his own farm
Emory Upton and the Shaping of the U.S. ArmyHow one soldier’s combat experiences and study of the world's great military powers led to a tactical revolution
'John Brown's Body' - Stephen Vincent Benet and Civil War Memory'John Brown's Body' by Stephen Vincent Benet, published in 1928, remains a vibrant tapestry of America's diversity and its unity, its 15,000 lines re-imagining the Civil War as Lincoln understood it.
MHQ Reviews: Cain at Gettysburg
MHQ Home Page
Cain at Gettysburg
By Ralph Peters. 432 pp. Forge, 2012. $25.99.
Reviewed by Noah Andre Trudeau
I confess to being a fan of Civil War fiction involving real battles. Over the years I've come to …
Sherman's Folly at ShilohBefore one of the Civil War’s most brutal battles, one of its finest generals ignored signs of danger—and paid a steep price
Union at Shiloh
A letter from Pvt. William Christie, 1st Minnesota Battery, to his father. Christie's battery lost three men killed and six men wounded.
I supposed you have heard of the great battle on the 6th and 7th of this month. …
Confederates at Shiloh
On April 6, 1862, following the first day of fighting, General Ulysses Grant ordered Union gunboats on the Tennessee River to fire broadsides all through the night, in an effort to unnerve the enemy. John S. Cockerill of the 70th …
Book Review: Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek, by Louis KraftWith this new biography Louis Kraft establishes himself as the authority on Indian wars figure Ned Wynkoop.
Letter from Wild West - April 2012Red Cloud often gets third billing—behind Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse—in the annals of Sioux history, but that is selling short his historic contributions, says R. Eli Paul, editor of the great chief's autobiography
Louisa May Alcott Goes to WarEager to support the North, the budding author volunteered for a fledgling corps of female nurses
Eyewitness Account: The Battle of ShilohUnion Lieutenant William M. Reid recounts the Battle of Shiloh. PLUS: Three other accounts of the battle.
March and April, 1862
Stunning events on land and sea: Naval warfare is reinvented and a placid church gets a bloodbath
March 3 – President Lincoln appoints Andrew Johnson, the only Southern U.S. senator to remain loyal after his state seceded, military governor …
Fearless French MaryBattlefield held little terror for feisty Marie Tepe as she focused on aiding her beloved Zouaves
Ron Maxwell Interview - 'Gods and Generals' Extended Director's CutA HistoryNet exclusive interview with director Ron Maxwell about the extended director's cut of his film Gods and Generals, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
George Crook at the Battle of KernstownDid the Union general’s refusal to listen cost him the Second Battle of Kernstown?
Longstreet - Scapegoat or CulpritDid Lee order Longstreet to attack at dawn on July 2 at Gettysburg? Did Longstreet drag his feet because he disapproved?
Civil War Times - February 2012 - Table of Contents
The Loyalty of Silas Chandler
Was he a heroic black Confederate—or a slave forced to do his master's bidding?
By Myra Chandler Sampson and Kevin M. Levin
'Terrible Has Been the Storm'
William Sherman's men took out years of …
Wild West - February 2012 - Table of ContentsThe February 2012 issue of Wild West features stories about the Homestead Act of 1862, Prohibition cowboy Richard "Two-Gun" Hart, Arizona's and New Mexico's respective statehood centennials, the conflicting stories of a Fort Laramie hanging, and the Battle of the Hot Springs (Ark.) Gamblers.
Diaries of a Liberty Hall Volunteer return home
An old Washington and Lee alum—with a little help from his friends—has posthumously provided his alma mater with a treasure trove of firsthand observations of the Civil War in Virginia, after some alert re-enactors and a Lexington historian spotted his …
In Time of War - 150 years ago
1 - The Lincoln administration releases Confederate emissaries James Mason and John Slidell from Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, ending the Trent Affair. The diplomats continued their voyage to Europe, on an unsuccessful mission to win support for the …
Wild West - December 2011 - Table of ContentsThe December 2011 issue of Wild West features stories about the iconic photo of the infamous Fort Worth Five, the aftermath of Lt. Col. George Custer's 1868 victory over Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle, Wounded Knee reporter Teresa Dean, the controversial 1886 death of black Mormon sheepherder Gobo Fango, and West Pointer turned white renegade Thomas Twiss.
Wild West Discussion - December 2011
How do you rate the performance of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at the November 27, 1868, Battle of the Washita (near present-day Cheyenne, Okla.), including the way he handled the loss of Major Joel Elliott and his small party …
Wounds from the Washita: The Major Elliott AffairThe death of popular 7th U.S. Cavalry officer Major Joel Elliott at the 1868 Battle of the Washita—and Lt. Col. George Custer's response to it—spawned disunity within the ill-starred unit
Book Review: Historic Photos of Heroes of the Old West, by Mike Cox, and Historic Photos of Outlaws of the Old West, by Larry JohnsonMike Cox honors the heroes of the Old West and Larry Johnson the outlaws of the Old West in these two entries from Turner Publishing's Historic Photos series.
Unfinished Railroad Cut at Second ManassasA railroad to nowhere gave Confederates a tactical advantage at Second Manassas.
Antietam Battlefield’s Miller farmhouse gets a facelift
Halfway through a five-year renovation of the historic Miller farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield, the Park Service preservation teams have been offering a handful of sneak previews of their handiwork.
David Miller's cornfield became an icon of the battlefield, after …
History we can chew on
If we want the young to learn history, we must find appealing ways to teach it
The Lincoln restaurant offers this large white leather banquette as an inviting version of the president's perch at the Lincoln Memorial. Photo courtesy of …
Who owns Gettysburg?
Preservationists, residents, entrepreneurs and Civil War enthusiasts all want a stake in its legacy
At times it seems as if there isn't enough Gettysburg to go around, and almost 150 years after the nation-changing battle, the site remains a hotly …
'I Am Well and Hearty' - Walt Whitman's Brother in the Civil WarWalt Whitman has the reputation as a Civil War writer, but it was his younger brother, George Washington Whitman, who saw the war up close and personal as a member of Company K, 51st New York Volunteer Infantry.
Wild West - October 2011 - Letters from ReadersIn the October issue of Wild West, readers bend our ears about Baseball in the West.
Churchill Imagines How the South Won the Civil WarIn Winston Churchill’s fanciful alternative history, Robert E. Lee wins at Gettysburg, and Jeb Stuart prevents World War I
The War List: Overrated Civil War OfficersHistorian Gary W. Gallagher picks Union and Confederate officers whose hype doesn't match reality.
Misrepresented 'Monster' Major Marcus Reno
The major is often badmouthed as the villain of the Little Bighorn, but eyewitnesses insisted Reno was no coward—and he was in fact exonerated
"What do you do when you're branded, and know you're a man?'
That question comes up …
The Ultimate Political Action Committee
A congressional war panel proves too many cooks can poison the pot
By any standard, Ball's Bluff was a fiasco. What began as a raid in October 1861 escalated into an unintended battle for Leesburg, Va. The Yankees so badly …
The art of war
The 150th anniversary of our greatest conflict implores us to take another look
Back in February, the London-based Art Newspaper, the most important journal in the museum world, published a front-page article bemoaning the shocking absence of American art …
What a difference a day makes
Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee camp on the outskirts of Hagerstown, Maryland, in September of 1862. Image courtesy of Weider History Group archive.
War seemed far away to the editors of a Maryland weekly newspaper–until …
Gaming board says no to Gettysburg casino
No gambling for historic Civil War town
Preservationists claimed victory in Gettysburg this spring when for the second time in five years, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected plans for a casino on the fringes of Gettysburg National Military Park.…
Irreconcilable DifferencesWinston Groom, author of Vicksburg 1863, explores the reasons the North and South found themselves at war.
Who Was the Youngest Civil War GeneralTrivia buffs beware: Galusha Pennypacker’s claim to being the Civil War’s youngest general doesn’t hold up
Irvin McDowell's Best Laid Plans
The orderly advance of Union troops at the start of the battle would become a distant memory in the hellish retreat that followed the fighting. Picture credit: Frank Leslie'sThe 'unexpected' Rebels he met at Bull Run weren't unexpected at all…
New Gettysburg Film from Ridley and Tony Scott
Scott brothers produce Gettysburg film for History channel
The famed filmmaking Scott brothers—Ridley (Gladiator; Black Hawk Down; American Gangster) and Tony (Unstoppable; Man on Fire; Top Gun)—have teamed with the cable channel History to produce Gettysburg, …
McClellan's War-Winning StrategyThe "young Napoleon" had a viable plan to beat the Confederacy. What went wrong?
Union Cavalry Escapes from Besieged Harpers FerryIn September 1862 some 1,600 Union cavalrymen seemingly trapped at Harpers Ferry carried out one of the Civil War's most successful missions of stealth and deception.
Wild West - June 2011 - Table of ContentsThe June 2011 issue of Wild West features stories about Major Marcus Reno's role at the Little Bighorn, baseball in the West, jailbreak artist William "Idaho Bill" Sloan, Colorado huntress and taxidermist Martha Maxwell, and a low-down dirty shooting at Fort Worth's Palais Royal Saloon.
Baseball in the WestNew Yorker Alexander Cartwright brought the game to the frontier during the California Gold Rush, making it truly the national pastime.
Interview With Author John KosterNo survivors with George Armstrong Custer at the Little Bighorn in June 1876? John Koster, author of Custer Survivor, says otherwise.
Triumph at Kasserine PassHow the U.S. Army wrung victory from one of their worst defeats
Gettysburg's Best and Worst MonumentsWhat are Gettysburg's best and worst monuments?
Where is General George MeadeHow Union General George G. Meade became the Rodney Dangerfield of the Civil War
Walmart Withdraws from Wilderness Battlefield
Preservationists win Wilderness battle
Rather than face what would likely have been an image-bruising court fight, Walmart has abandoned plans to build a retail supercenter on the doorstep of the Wilderness battlefield in central Virginia.
"This project has been controversial, …
Stonewall Jackson at Harpers Ferry
Jackson, Johnston and conflicting interests
The fate of strategic Harpers Ferry hung on the leadership styles of two Southern commanders
Confederate Battery at Harper's Ferry. Courtesy of the Harper's Ferry National Historic Park.
Ten weeks before earning the sobriquet "Stonewall" …
Building the Army of the PotomacStephen Sears writes of how the Army of the Potomac's politically appointed generals and short-term volunteer troops nearly unhinged Lincoln’s plans in 1861 to win the Civil War.
Robert E. Lee Takes ChargeGeneral George McClellan thought he was timid. Newspapers called him ‘Granny Lee.’ But once in command, the General Robert E. Lee attacked quickly and boldly.
Ask MHQ—North or South: Whose Was the Army of the Rebellion?Nowadays "Army of the Rebellion" is most commonly used to refer to the Confederates, but during the American Civil War the term was often applied to the Union forces as well.
Last Chance for Peace: Fort Sumter at 150For months the Confederates trained dozens of guns on Fort Sumter. But no one seemed eager for war.
Ten Civil War ClassicsThe country’s bloodiest war has been captured in novels, memoirs, and battle narratives. Here are 10 classics
Battle of Big BethelA skirmish near the tip of Virginia’s Peninsula served as a harbinger of the four-year bloodbath to come.
Black Jack John Logan Goes to WarUnlike most politicians, John Logan played a pivotal role on the battlefield.
Two Virginias Two Civil Wars
Two Virginias, two Civil Wars?
The state in the forefront of war remembrance still argues over what happened
The state of Virginia has been back in the news, again at war with itself and again over issues relating to the …
James Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President
Education, Preservation, Dedication
Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer has made saving endangered battlefields his life's passion
Jim Lighthizer. Photo by Kevin Johnson.
What is the biggest threat to Civil War battlefield preservation right now?
No question about it, development—the …
Gideon Welles Blockades Charleston Harbor
The one-way voyage of the Stone Fleet:
An aging armada sets course to become an obstacle
There may not have been a less impressive fleet in the entire history of the American Navy. The ships were old, long past their …
Union Spy in Confederate TerritoryUnion agent Pryce Lewis had his share of close calls
Lee to the RearA Texas private’s long-forgotten account of Robert E. Lee’s brush with death at the Battle of the Wilderness.
The Calamities of Calamity JaneLate in life Calamity Jane, the legendary frontierswoman, lived in a world of saloons, dance halls and brothels. Actually, it wasn't so different from her younger days.
Battle Of Franklin: Civil War Sites - Carnton, Carter House, Lotz HouseThe Carter House, Lotz House and Carnton Plantation still stand as witnesses to the five bloody hours of fighting in the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, November 30, 1864.
Survivors Remember Shiloh7 Lives Altered by Shiloh: Two Fateful Days Can Make Reputations, Shatter Families, and Shape Destinies
Pre Civil War Peace ConferenceAs secession fever spreads through the South, political patriarchs try to avert war—-but at what price?
10 Battles That Shaped AmericaAmerica was born of war, and the following 10 battles helped forge the nation and forever change world history.
Gen. George McClellan at Second ManassasGeneral Disobedience: ‘Little Mac’ let John Pope twist in the wind;
With response from Prof. Ethan S. Rafuse
Remembering the Confederates' last stand at Petersburg: The Confederate Alamo: Bloodbath at Petersburg's Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865
by John J. Fox III
Angle Valley Press, 2010, $34.95
Although it typically doesn't attract the attention it merits, April 2, …
Segways appear at Fredericksburg NMP
Segways slipping silently across the battlefield might resemble the charge of the very, very light brigade, but the two-wheel, stand-up scooters could be an ideal way for tourists to inspect hallowed Civil War sites.
Beginning in June, the Fredericksburg and …
Was Secession Legal
Southerners insisted they could legally bolt from the Union.
Northerners swore they could not.
War would settle the matter for good.
Over the centuries, various excuses have been employed for starting wars. Wars have been fought over land or honor. …
Antietam RememberedA veteran of Antietam spent his life collecting accounts of the war’s most horrific fighting
Civil War Times - October 2010 - Table of Contents
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'Until Every Negro Has Been Slaughtered'
Why did Rebels execute USCTs at Petersburg?
By Kevin M. Levin
Mad as a Hatter
Crazy Boston Corbett shot down John Wilkes Booth
By Eric …
The Last Waltz: Prelude to the Siege of VicksburgIn August 1863 astonished Vicksburg revelers watch a convoy of Federal gunboats successfully pass the town's batteries, thanks to the keen observations and ingenuity of Union admiral David Porter.
Bloody Field at Champion’s HillAfter three months of frustration, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in May 1863 succeeded in getting his army onto the east bank of the Mississippi River in the rear of the fortress city of Vicksburg. In a lightning campaign Grant’s army defeated Confederate detachments at Port Gibson on May 1, Raymond on May 12, and Jackson on May 14, neutralizing the Mississippi capital as a Confederate base for the relief of Vicksburg. Then he turned toward Vicksburg itself.
Wild West Discussion - October 2010
George Custer and David Crockett each died dramatically in battle—exactly how remains open to debate—at the Little Bighorn and the Alamo, respectively. Those might be the two most memorable deaths in the West, but what other Western endings do you …
What if Lee had been a Yankee?
A video giving an opinion of what would have happened had General Robert E. Lee had been a Yankee.
To view the video, click here.
John Howard, Superintendent, Antietam National Battlefield
Superintendent John Howard plans to retire at year's end after 16 years at the helm of Antietam National Battlefield. Here he shares a few parting thought.
What accomplishment stands out most in your time at Antietam?
John Howard. Photo by …
Gettysburg is an Endangered Battlefield
A proposed casino near the site of Pickett's Charge has landed the Gettysburg National Military Park on the Civil War Preservation Trust's list of the 10 most endangered battlefields in 2010.
In its annual report History Under Siege, CWPT identified …
True Causes of the Civil War
Simmering animosities between North and South signaled an American apocalypse
Any man who takes it upon himself to explain the causes of the Civil War deserves whatever grief comes his way, regardless of his good intentions. Having acknowledged …
Murder in the Civil War
Getting away with murder
The battlefield claimed many a brave officer, but there were a few others who met not-quite-so-honorable ends
The death toll among general officers during the Civil War was staggering. Because military necessity often placed a general …
Richard Ewell at GettysburgSecond-Guessing Dick Ewell: Why didn’t the Confederate general take Cemetery Hill on July 1, 1863?
Lee's Unwritten MemoirWhy didn’t Robert E. Lee write his memoirs?
Civil War Times - August 2010 - Table of Contents
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Second-Guessing Dick Ewell
Is it fair to blame General Richard Ewell for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg?
By Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
PLUS: 5 Battle Maps by David Fuller
The Proclamation and the …
Is General Stanley A. McChrystal more like General John Pope or George McClellan?MSNBC's Keith Olbermann compares President Obama's predicament with General McChrystal to Lincoln's decision about General John Pope.
Glen Swanson - Art of the WestGlen Swanson, sculptor and avid Custeriana collector, has created a sculpture of Custer as he appeared on the eve of his Last Stand on the Little Bighorn.
Letter from Wild West - August 2010Cheyenne Indians are often overlooked in the chronicles of the 19th century Indian wars, despite having engaged in almost as many fights as the heralded Sioux warriors.
At Gettysburg with the Lousiana Tigers
The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign, June-July, 1863
By Scott L. Mingus Sr.,
Louisiana State University Press, 2009
The legendary Louisiana Tigers, one of the more feared units in the Army of Northern Virginia, get a welcome and comprehensive …
'The Roar and Rattle': McClellan's Missed Opportunities at AntietamThe Battle of Antietam resulted in more pivotal changes, across a broader spectrum of events—military, political, diplomatic, societal—than any other battle of the war. Yet if evaluated in purely military terms, it was not decisive at all.
MHQ Summer 2010 Table of ContentsThe Summer 2010 issue of MHQ features articles about looted art throughout history, the bombing of Guernica, the Battle of Antietam, U.S Navy in the Korean War, the Emperor Julian, and the O'Brien brothers during the American War of Independence.
Explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal‘Noble Union Girls’: The thousands of Northern women who worked in Federal arsenals risked their lives for the cause.
Israel Richardson at Antietam
A Rising Star Struck Down in His Prime
Until Antietam: The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army, by Jack C. Mason, Southern Illinois University Press
Up to the moment he was mortally wounded along Antietam's …
Wild West Discussion - June 2010
How do you grade the Battle of the Little Bighorn performances of Lt. Col. George Custer, Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen on the following grading scale: A-plus (superhero), A (hero), B (almost a hero), C (half hero, half …
Interview with Author Mark Lee GardnerMark Lee Gardner, author, historian and general renaissance man of the West, has written a dual biography of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
Joseph Wheeler managed to keep Braxton Bragg from drowning at MurfreesboroFightin’ Joe: Taunted by subordinates and sometimes ignored by his commander, Joseph Wheeler managed to keep Braxton Bragg from drowning in a Tennessee bloodbath
Emmitsburg Road Preservation Campaign
Civil War Preservation Trust announces latest campaign
Fundraising has begun for the preservation of a crucial two-acre parcel on the Gettysburg battlefield. The property, originally part of the historic Philip Snyder farm, lies along the Emmitsburg Road and is entirely …
1864: McClellan vs. Lincoln Gallery EXTRAIn the 1864 “bayonet election,” the soldier vote—and a timely Union success—helped a pro-war civilian, Lincoln, defeat a pro-peace general, McClellan.
Irvin McDowell: The Most Unpopular Man in AmericaTwo words came to define McDowell’s military prowess for the general’s most critical
superiors: ‘Bull’ and ‘Run’
Andrew Johnson ImpeachedBehind the scenes in the case of a president on trial.
Gettysburg maps sesquicentennial strategyCivil War battle strategy can be tricky enough itself to convey, but that wasn’t what was giving German journalist Hermann Schmid problems in Gettysburg last fall.
Lincoln’s Political Generals
Lincoln's Political Generals, by David Work
University of Illinois Press, 2009
Abraham Lincoln made his share of mistakes as commander in chief during the Civil War, but did his politically motivated appointments of nonmilitary men as Union generals help or …
Will Biographers Ever Get out of a Rut?
Biographies of Civil War generals have appealed to generations of Americans. Famous commanders often attract readers who end up pursuing a lifelong interest in the conflict. J.E.B. Stuart played that role for me.
As an 11-year-old, I was drawn to …
Staying the Course at GettysburgLincoln's remarks gratified the war's proponents and silenced his critics
'A White Man's War'William T. Sherman’s adamant refusal to field African-American troops amounted to outright insubordination
Who kept U.S. Grant sober?John Rawlins used his brains and blue language to keep his boss in check.
Gettysburg Grows by 45 Acres: December/January 2010
Gettysburg residents Wayne and Susan Hill recently donated 45 acres to the Gettysburg Foundation. Located near the eastern base of Big Round Top at the southern end of the battlefield, the acreage encompasses an area where Union skirmishers maneuvered on …
Why Doesn’t Grant Get the Love?: December 2009/January 2010Ulysses S. Grant has occupied dramatically different positions in the American pantheon. His imposing stature between the end of the Civil War and the early years of the 20th century cannot be disputed.
Masters of their Medium: October/November 2009The Civil War era has attracted more than its share of gifted writers. Unexcelled political drama, compelling individuals in and out of uniform and storied battles provide rich material for anyone seeking to tell a gripping story.
Murder and Mayhem Ride the Rails - Union Soldiers Rampage in Virginia
Smoke and fire filled the skies south of Petersburg in December 1864 as the Army of the Potomac's V Corps targeted the Weldon Railroad. During a raid along this vital supply line linking southeastern Virginia with North Carolina, liquor-fueled Federals …
A Promise FulfilledThe Emancipation Proclamation all but guaranteed the death of slavery, but exactly what that document did–and did not–do remains the subject of heated debate
Digging deeply into the earthworks at PetersburgIn the Trenches at Petersburg:
Field Fortifications & Confederate Defeat
by Earl J. Hess
University of North Carolina
New biographies that focus on Civil War–era figures inevitably face the dilemma of how to interpret race, politics and equality …
Edwin Forbes Gettysburg Paintings - GalleryScenes from the Battle of Gettysburg painted by the reporter and artist Edwin Forbes.
Six Weeks in the Saddle with Brig. Gen. John BufordUnion Brigadier General John Buford's troopers kept their carbines warm harassing Robert E. Lee's army during the 1863 Gettysburg campaign.
Capital Defense - Washington, D.C., in the Civil War
When the first inklings emerged early in 1861 that a fighting war pitting North versus South would soon break out, the residents of Washington, D.C.—at least those whose sympathies were with the Union—began to feel more than a little threatened. …
Tennessee town memorializes Nathan B. Forrest’s horse
In the annals of American history, no war has produced as many famous horses as the Civil War: Traveller, Little Sorrel and Rienzi are among the best known, but there are others. Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, for example, …
Robert K. Krick, Chronicler of Robert E. Lee's Army
Robert Krick worked for 31 years as the chief historian at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park and is a renowned expert on the Army of Northern Virginia Interview by Kim A. O'Connell
How did a California kid get …
The South's Last Great VictoryAn alliance of the Confederacy’s eastern and western armies earned a bloody triumph at the September 1863 Battle of Chickamauga
Hanging Captain GordonNathaniel Gordon was the only American sent to the gallows for slave traiding.
Lincoln or Bust
Abraham Lincoln posed for several famous photographs at Alexander Gardner's Washington, D.C., gallery on November 8, 1863: one with his private secretaries John Nicolay and John Hay, and another full-face close-up that showed the steely-eyed president staring directly into the …
Here’s evidence that Abraham Lincoln was as good as his wordsKaplan has done a service to Lincoln scholars and general readers alike by reconstructing Lincoln's self-education, and showing how the books he read and reread may have shaped his mind.
A not-so-prim dissection of the war from across the pondAmerica's Civil War: The Operational Battlefield 1861-1863
by Brian Holden Reid
Prometheus Books, 2008
One can read extensively in Civil War historiography and not once come across the word "puerile." Yet Brian Holden Reid, professor of American history and military …
Believe it or not, here's something new on LeeRobert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863-1865
by Ethan S. Rafuse
Rowman & Littlefield, 2008
Is it really possible there's anything new to say about Robert E. Lee, who probably has had more written about him than …
The Long Shadow of the March to the Sea
Sherman's March in Myth and Memory
by Edward Caudill and
Rowman & Littlefield, 2008
Memory studies are now a recognized discipline within the canon of Civil War historiography, with leading historians Gary Gallagher, David Blight and …
Interview with Author-Playwright Louis KraftAuthor/Playwright Louis Kraft turns his attention to Indian agent Ned Wynkoop, portraying him onstage.
The Cowboy Brigade's Roosevelt Inaugural InvasionIn March 1905, Seth Bullock, onetime Deadwood sheriff, brought rough-and-ready Westerners to Washington, D.C., to ride in Teddy Roosevelt's inaugural parade.
Did Robert E. Lee Doom Himself at Gettysburg?By blindly relying on poor intelligence and saying far too little to his generals, Lee may have sealed the Rebels’ fate.
Fighting Words: Inspiration From AnnihilationThe Civil War was one of the deadliest conflicts in history. Some 620,000 troops died, an estimated two-thirds from disease rather than combat. This number represented about 2 percent of the American population, and far more than the casualties of any previous conflict of the United States. It is not surprising, therefore, that several of the terms born during that conflict incorporate the word “dead.”
Ever Heard a Real Rebel Yell?: August/September 2009
Many Union soldiers wrote about the soul-chilling yells of attacking Confederates. Thanks to the Museum of the Confederacy, you can hear the real thing on a CD featuring the authentic yell as performed by two elderly Confederate veterans. The two …
Abraham Lincoln Museums - An OverviewFour museums dedicated to presenting the life of Abraham Lincoln, each one different in character, are examined in detail, with photos.
Medicine Bill Comstock - Saga of the Leatherstocking ScoutMedicine Bill Comstock, descendant of James Fenimore Cooper, brought his uncle's mythical Natty Bumppo to life on the Great Plains as a hunter, trapper and cultural go-between.
Interview with George Custer Expert James DonovanJames Donovan, author and George Custer expert, covers new ground in the story of the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn in his new book A Terrible Glory.
Key Third Winchester Site Saved: April/May 2009Third Winchester, the bloodiest battle to take place in the Shenandoah Valley, will likely draw more visitors than ever now that a larger portion of the battlefield is being preserved
Grant and Lee: MIA in New York: April/May 2009Visitors to the New-York Historical Society’s ongoing exhibit on Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee will likely be intrigued by the first artifacts they see: artwork created by the legendary commanders themselves long before they were famous.
Let the Chips Fall Where They Will: April/May 2009Historians interested in the Confederacy navigate in perilous interpretive waters.
Daily Quiz for March 16, 2009This Tammany Hall politician went through several scandals during his career including escorting a known prostitute, Fanny White, into the chambers of the New York state Assembly and taking her with h
Mothers of the Lost CauseAn army of determined Southern women buried the dead but kept
the mythic Confederate legacy of the Lost Cause alive
They're Called Killing Grounds for a Reason: February/March 2009A 10-year study of the geomorphology of Civil War battlefields reveal connection between geological features and casualties.
Go To Gettysburg!: February/March 2009Noted historian Gary W. Gallagher gives his perspective in the Civil War Times bi-monthly column Blue and Gray.
Fighting Dick and his Fighting Men
On a bleak hillside overlooking the battleground of Sailor's Creek, General Robert E. Lee watched as hundreds of his men fled through the fields and wooded ravines below. "Men without guns, many without hats," one witness recalled, "all mingled with …
Decision at The Battle of Five Forks - 1865
The headstrong Gen. Philip Sheridan (left) had little patience for the careful battle tactics of Gen. Gouverneur Warren (right) and replaced him at Five Forks. But in 1880 Sheridan would be forced to justify his actions before a court of …
Shiloh's False HeroIn exchange for waving a white flag, Benjamin Prentiss
was hailed as the savior of the “Hornets’ Nest”
Letters from the Front - Correspondence Spanning Two Centuries of American WarCorrespondence from a two-century span of American wars, from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. Several feature audio recordings, including Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., reading the letter he wrote home about his experiences as a POW in World War II.
Ox Hill Battlefield: Honoring Second Bull Run’s Bloody PostscriptThe Battle of Ox Hill or Chantilly, in Virginia, has been commemorated with a new battlefield park along Rt. 608. The Sept. 1, 1862, battle was fought in a rainstorm and resulted in the death of Union generals Philip Kearny and Isaac Stevens.
Daily Quiz for October 25, 2008As commander of the Army of the West during the Mexican War, he captured Santa Fe in August 1846 without a shot being fired.
Nicholas Biddle:The Civil War's First BloodJust days after Fort Sumter, a pro-Confederate mob in Maryland turned ex-slave Nicholas Biddle into the war's first casualty.
Union General Daniel SicklesOn two separate battlefields, Union General Daniel Sickles carelessly exposed his men -- and the entire army -- to possible defeat. Only the quick actions of other Federal officers managed to compensate for Sickles' errors and keep his mistakes from becoming disasters. It was life as usual for 'Devil Dan.'
Victorio's WarFor Apache chief Victorio, the decision to make war on the United States was a matter of rights and spirituality. Known as the "greatest Indian general" ever, he terrorized settlers and the army, surpassing Geronimo's feats and ferocity.
Ask MHQ - Did Confederate Generals Consider Attacking Washington?Did Confederate generals ever consider a direct attack on Washington during the Civil War? Noted author Steven A. Sears answers that question for a Military History Quarterly reader.
When Railroad Guns RuledFor 85 years, railroad guns were regarded as the ultimate weapon, large enough to do substantial damage but movable to wherever railroad tracks could go. Unparalleled bunker busters, they also terrorized civilians by firing on cities from afar.
Stumbling in Sherman's PathStandard histories of Major General William T. Sherman’s celebrated March to the Sea invariably portray the Confederacy’s response as inconsequential. Such broad generalizations may assuage wounded Southern pride, but they also rewrite history.