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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.

Confederate Generals

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

Stonewall Jackson

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

J.E.B. Stuart

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

James Longstreet

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

Braxton Bragg

General Braxton Bragg led the Army Of Mississippi and Tennessee from Shiloh to Chattanooga. Read more about Braxton Bragg

George Pickett

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 Mosby

John S. Mosby was a Confederate Cavalry Commander known for his speed and elusiveness. Read more about John Mosby

P.G.T. Beauregard

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

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

Kirby Smith

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 Bee

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

Joseph Johnston

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 Early

Jubal Anderson Early was known for his aggressive and sometimes reckless style. Read more about Jubal Early

Lewis Armistead

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

Porter Alexander

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 Ewell

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

John Pemberton


Union Generals

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

George Mcclellan

General George Mcclellan led the Army Of the Potomac during the early years of the civil war. Learn more about George Mcclellan

Robert Anderson

Starting as a Major and ending as a Brigadier General, Robert Anderson is best known for surrendering Fort Sumter. Learn more about Robert Anderson

Nathaniel Banks

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

George Custer

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

Abner Doubleday

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

Ambrose Burnside

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

Arthur Macarthur

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

Benjamin Butler

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

Daniel Sickles

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

George Meade

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

George Thomas

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

Irvin Mcdowell

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

John Buford

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

John Pope

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

John Reynolds

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

Joseph Hooker

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

Joshua Chamberlain

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

Philip Sheridan

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

Oliver Howard

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

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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.
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
MHQ Reviews: Cain at GettysburgHistorynet Image 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 recognize three types. One alters some aspect of the engagement that changes the outcome, then …
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.
Tennessee town memorializes Nathan B. Forrest’s horseIn 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, rode several great mounts, including his loyal horse Roderick. At the March 1863 Battle of …
The Angola Train WreckNearly 50 people died and many more injured in the 1867 train wreck known as the Angola Horror. John D. Rockefeller narrowly missed being one of them.
Gas Balloons: View From Above the Civil War BattlefieldLed by pioneering balloonist Thaddeus Lowe, daredevil aeronauts on both sides of the war took to the skies in flimsy balloons to eyeball their opponents' every move. Soldiers on the ground often did not take kindly to the unwanted attention.
Battle of Resaca: Botched Union AttackWilliam Tecumseh Sherman waited expectantly to hear that his accomplished young protégé, James B. McPherson, had successfully gotten astride the railroad at Resaca and cut off the Confederate line of retreat. Hours went by with no word from McPherson. What was 'Mac' doing in Snake Creek Gap?
Book Review: Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla (by Albert Castel and Thomas Goodrich): CWTBloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla, by Albert Castel and Thomas Goodrich, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, 800-732-3669, 192 pages, $24.95. Americans like to think of their Civil War as a gentlemen’s disagreement, remarkably free from the barbarity and senseless killing that characterized revolutions in other parts of the world. …

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