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Union Generals

Summary List of Famous Union Civil War Generals during the American Civil War

There were many important Union generals during the American Civil War. Some, like Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, George Mclellan and Joshua Chamberlain are household names. Others are less well known but are still important, as the northern generals were the commanders that led the troops and helped decide the ultimate outcome of most civil war battles. Here is a list of important union generals, along with links to more information and articles about each one.

List of Union Generals

Ulysses S. Grant

General Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army during the later years of the civil war, and later became the President of The United States. 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 and also ran for President against Abraham Lincoln. 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, the first engagement of the Civil War. 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 famous demise 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. 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. Read more about Abner Doubleday

Ambrose Burnside

General Ambrose Burnside Ambrose, besides being a soldier, was an industrialist, railroad executive and an inventor. Read more about Ambrose Burnside

Arthur Macarthur

General Arthur Macarthur was one of five men to ever be promoted to the rank of a five star general of the army. 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. Read more about Benjamin Butler

Daniel Sickles

General Daniel Sickles was a Union general during the Civil War as well as a controversial politician. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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 leading, among others, the 20th Maine Brigade. 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. 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 was restored. 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.. Read more about William Starke Rosecrans

For a list of southern civil war generals, please see our confederate generals page. For a list of all important generals from the civil war, please see our civil war generals page.


Articles Featuring Union Generals From History Net Magazines

Featured Article

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 hinder the war effort? The battlefield failures of the likes of Nathaniel Banks, Benja­min Butler and John Charles Fremont have been documented as part of larger studies, but David Work’s Lincoln’s Political Generals is the first book dedicated solely to examining who these men were, how they were appointed, what their responsibilities were, how they performed and how they influenced the president and the war itself.

Lincoln was quite aware of the strange dynamic created by the need for political generals and supposedly even joked about it one time. When a brigadier general was captured along with some horses and mules, he apparently said: “I don’t care so much for brigadiers; I can make them. But horses and mules cost money.” At the outbreak of the war, Lincoln was indeed besieged by requests for officer appointments, and Work shows that because of the lack of trained, professional officers in the Army, this became both a military and political necessity for him. Lincoln adeptly appointed Republicans, Demo­crats and men of particular ethnic backgrounds to secure the support of their respective constituencies and thereby unite the North behind the war effort.

Work looks at 16 political generals who fought for the Union—eight Republicans and eight Democrats, including two Germans and two Irishmen—and follows them over all four years to show the effects of Lincoln’s policy. While some of these men are well known today, a number remain relatively obscure—the raw ground Work covers alone makes this a worthy addition to anyone’s library.

Lincoln’s Political Generals will appeal to enthusiasts of Civil War military history, since more than half the book examines how these political generals performed on the battlefield. This includes not only famous failures such as Franz Sigel’s 1861 loss at Wilson’s Creek, Banks’ 1864 Red River Campaign and Daniel Sickles’ incompetency at Gettysburg, but also the lesser-known successes of men such as John A. Logan during the Atlanta Campaign, James S. Wadsworth at Gettysburg and Francis P. Blair Jr. at Vicksburg. As Work shows, political generals who began the war subordinate to professional officers learned to become competent and victorious commanders themselves. Conversely, the “citizen generals” who were given immediate command of their own forces proved incredibly inept and detrimental, even dangerous, to the war effort.

But Work’s book is more than just battlefield history. He also examines how political generals affected the quasi-civil administration of military districts during and after the war; how their particular policies toward slavery and raising black soldiers affected Lincoln’s own policy; and, most pertinent to Lincoln himself, how they exerted their own political influence to support the president and the Union. (After Lincoln’s 1864 reelection, he removed a number of his political generals whose inadequate performance he had been tolerating in order to secure the votes of their constituencies.) The last three chapters covering these topics are in fact the most interesting and enlightening of the book, examining topics generally skimmed in typical war histories.

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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 …
George Armstrong Custer: Between Myth and RealityReality and myth about George Custer still collide on the battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania.

By Jeffry D. Wert

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad: The Union’s Most Important Supply LineThe Baltimore & Ohio Railroad survived numerous hardships of the Civil War in its service to the Union.
Battle of New Market Heights: USCT Soldiers Proved Their HeroismOn a gunfire-swept slope near Richmond on September 29, 1864, USCT soldiers stood to the test and proved black men made good professional troops. Fourteen of them received the Medal of Honor for their bravery.
Account Of The Battle of the WildernessIn the dark, forbidding woods of Virginia's Wilderness, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee stumbled blindly toward their first wartime encounter. Neither had a clear idea of his opponent's intentions, but each planned to do what he did best--attack.
Battle of Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry was the scene of an important 1862 battle in Lee's Maryland campaign and a prelude to 'Bloody Antietam.'
Black Hawk WarOutnumbered and harried through trackless swamps, Black Hawk's starving band of Sauk Indians made a desperate stand along the Mississippi.
Siege of Port HudsonPort Hudson, like Vicksburg, was a tough nut to crack. But the Union's traditional superiority in firepower, personified by the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery, quickly went to work on the Rebel bastion.
Account Of The Battle of ChickamaugaOverconfident and overextended, the Union Army of the Cumberland advanced into the deep woods of northwest Georgia. Waiting Confederates did not intend for them to leave. At Chickamauga Creek, the two sides collided.
American Civil War: The 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry RegimentThe Twenty-Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment included two future presidents and an Army Commander.
America’s Civil War: Loudoun RangersThe Quaker-dominated Loudoun Rangers openly defied Virginia tradition to serve the Union.
Brulé Sioux Chief Spotted TailSpotted Tail, chief of the Brulés, fought well, but his diplomatic skills were even better.
America’s Civil War: Major General John Pope’s Narrow Escape at Clark’s MountainWhile Robert E. Lee's entire army massed behind Clark's Mountain to attack the Union Army of Virginia, a daring Yankee spy swam the Rapidan River to warn Maj. Gen. John Pope of the imminent danger. It was, said one military historian, 'the timeliest single product of espionage' in the entire war.
Battle of Chickamauga: Colonel John Wilder’s Lightning Brigade Prevented Total DisasterArmed with their new, lethal seven-shot Spencer rifles, Wilder's Lightning Brigade was all that stood between the Union Army and the looming disaster at Chickamauga Creek.
Second Battle of Manassas: Union Major General John Pope Was No Match for Robert E. LeeBrash, bombastic John Pope tempted fate by returning to the old battleground at Manassas. He thought he had caught Robert E. Lee napping. He was wrong.
Battle of Sailor’s CreekThe April 6, 1865 Battle of Sailor's Creek constituted one of the darkest days in the Army of Northern Virginia's history.
America’s Civil War: Images of Peace at AppomattoxEvery picture tells a different story about Lee's surrender.
America’s Civil War: Horses and Field ArtilleryWorking side by side with soldiers, horses labored to pull artillery pieces into battle. Without them, field artillery could not have been used to such deadly effect.
Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman: War’s Kindred SpiritsKindred spirits Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman prepared themselves for another bloody year of war as 1863 dawned.
Battle of Antietam: Controversial Crossing on Burnside’s BridgeShould General Ambrose Burnside have ordered his men to wade Antietam Creek? Author Marvel undertook a personal odyssey to find out.
Battle of Stones River: Philip Sheridan’s Rise to Millitary FameWhen Braxton Bragg's Confederates swooped down on the Federals at Stones River, only one division stood between the Rebels and calamitous defeat. Fortunately for the Union, that division was commanded by Phil Sheridan.
44th Georgia Regiment Volunteers in the American Civil WarThe hard-fighting 44th Georgia suffered some of the heaviest losses of any regiment in the Civil War.
Battle of Antietam: Taking Rohrbach Bridge at Antietam CreekWhile Union commander George McClellan fumed and the Battle of Antietam hung in the balance, a handful of Rebels held off Federal troops at 'Burnside Bridge.'
Battle of Champion’s HillWith Ulysses S. Grant's army steadily menacing Vicksburg, Confederate General John Pemberton left the town's comforting defenses to seek out the enemy army. Too late, he found it, at Champion's Hill.
Frederick Stowe: In the Shadow of Uncle Tom’s CabinThe fame of novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe followed her son throughout the Civil War.

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Battle of Shiloh: The Devil’s Own DayAt a small Methodist meeting house in southwestern Tennessee, Union and Confederate armies met for a 'must-win' battle in the spring of 1862. No one, however, expected the bloodbath that ensued. It was, said General William Sherman, 'the Devil's own day.'
J.E.B. Stuart’s RevengeA stolen hat and wounded pride spurred Southern cavalryman J.E.B. Stuart into action. His vengeance would be swift, daring, and--unexpectedly--funny.
Father John B. Tabb: Aboard Confederate Blockade RunnersFather John B. Tabb, an unreconstructed Rebel to the end, had served the Confederacy aboard blockade runners.
Confederate General Samuel GarlandWhen Samuel Garland fell at South Mountain, the Confederacy lost a promising general and a proven leader.
Battle of Ball’s BluffConfederate soldiers drove inexperienced Union troops acting on faulty intelligence into the Potomac River like lemmings.
Brigadier General John Gibbon’s Brief Breach During the Battle of FredericksburgAlthough overshadowed by the doomed Federal attack on the Confederate center, General John Gibbon's 2nd Division managed -- however briefly -- to make a breakthrough on the Union left.
Battle at Sand Creek: The Military Perspective (Book Review)Reviewed by Alexander CookBy Gregory F. MichnoUpton and Sons, El Segundo, Calif., 2004 If you want to read another retelling of the Sand Creek tale (traditionally referred to as a “massacre”) in which the blood-thirsty Coloradoans led by Colonel John Chivington did the peaceful Cheyennes in Black Kettle’s village an immoral wrong, then this is …
Military Technology: The Confederate Floating Battery Revival During the American Civil WarPopular during the Crimean War, the floating battery was revived by hard-pressed Confederates.
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.
1st Louisiana Special Battalion at the First Battle of ManassasRecruited from New Orleans' teeming waterfront by soldier of fortune Roberdeau Wheat, the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion more than lived up to its pugnacious nickname--Wheat's Tigers--at the First Battle of Manassas.
Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi (Book Review)Reviewed by Mike Oppenheim By Michael B. BallardUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2004 Popular writers tell us the Confederacy successfully fought off the Union until July 1863. Then came Vicksburg and Gettysburg, after which defeat became inevitable. Meant to satisfy both sides, this traditional view pays too much attention to the stalemate in the …
Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi (Book Review)Reviewed by Brian J. MurphyBy Michael B. BallardUniversity of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 490 pages Michael B. Ballard’s new book on the Vicksburg campaign offers a refreshing experience. The research is exhaustive, and the writing is lively. It may not be surprising that a Mississippi historian would put a slightly Southern slant on the …
Memoirs of Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, Chief of the Aeronautic Corps of the Army of the United States During the Civil War: My Balloons in Peace and War (Book Review)Reviewed by Keith MillerBy Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, edited by Michael Jaeger and Carol LauritzenEdwin Mellen Press, 238 pages Thaddeus Lowe, a pioneer in wartime aviation, wrote his memoirs in 1911, but a serious accident cut short his efforts to publish his account of his contribution to the Union war effort. By bringing My Balloons in …
Ambrose Bierce’s Civil War: One Man’s Morbid VisionFor Ambrose Bierce, the enemy was not really the gray-clad host at the other end of the field, but death, and the terror of death and wounds.
The 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment Fought in the Battle of the Little BighornAmong the troopers advancing with Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer on the Little Bighorn in June 1876 were 1st Lt. Charles DeRudio and Privates John Martin and Augustus De Voto.
Frederick W. BenteenBenteen, though he displayed daring and audacity during his military career, would probably not be remembered today if not for his supporting role at the Little Bighorn more than 125 years ago.
Battle of Little Bighorn CoverupConcerned that the Indians in the village would escape, George Armstrong Custer ordered his force forward to the attack. Did Reno and Benteen try to hide the true nature of the attack?
Battle of Little Bighorn: Were the Weapons the Deciding FactorGeorge A. Custer's 7th Cavalry had Springfield carbines and Colt .45 revolvers; the Lakota and Cheyenne Indians had a variety of long arms, including repeaters. But were the weapons used on June 25, 1876, the deciding factor in the famous battle?
America’s Civil War Comes to West PointThough the Corps of Cadets was forced apart by political differences in 1860-61, and passions grew intense, there were more tears than hurrahs among the Northerners when their Southern friends resigned. The last institution to divide, the Academy was one of the first to reunite.
America’s Civil War: Front Royal Was the Key to the Shenandoah ValleyThe pretty little town of Front Royal, in the Shenandoah Valley, had a strategic value that belied its size. As Stonewall Jackson knew, it was the key to the valley, the state of Virginia and the war itself.
Eyewitness Account: A Tar Heel at GettysburgAfter capture, Lawrence D. Davis had to undergo being reviewed by 'big & fat' Ben Butler.
Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861 (Book Review)Reviewed by Dan Monroe By David Detzer Harcourt In Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861, retired history professor David Detzer returns to the battle that made plain the bloody intensity that was to characterize the Civil War in the Eastern theater. Caught up in a surging tide of Northern public opinion favoring aggressive action, …
THE CLASSICS: The Passing of Armies : An Account Of The Final Campaign Of The Army Of The Potomac (Book Review)Reviewed by Peter S. Carmichael By Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Fame for his actions at Little Round Top has overshadowed the rest of Joshua Chamberlain’s historical résumé. Admirers and critics alike tend to reduce his wartime contributions to a single but decisive moment on July 2, 1863. The Bowdoin College professor is partially to blame for …
America’s Civil War: Pre-dawn Assault on Fort StedmanLed by select groups of sharpshooters, the weary, muddy troops of the Army of Northern Virginia made one last desperate push to break out of Petersburg.
An Eyewitness Account of the Evacuation of Richmond During the American Civil WarConfederate express agent James P. Hawkins got caught up in the evacuation of Richmond.

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Second Battle of Bull Run: Destruction of the 5th New York ZouavesThe Texas Brigade tide bore down on the isolated 5th New York Zouaves at Second Bull Run. A fine regiment was about to be destroyed.
Immortal 600: Prisoners Under Fire at Charleston Harbor During the American Civil WarKnowingly exposing helpless prisoners to artillery fire seems unconscionable. War, however, has a way of fostering inhumane behavior.
Battle of Gettysburg: Union Cavalry AttacksAfter the conclusion of Pickett's Charge, ill-advised Union cavalry attacks killed dozens of Federal horsemen and a promising brigadier general.
Battle of Antietam: Carnage in a CornfieldMr. Miller's humble cornfield near Antietam Creek became the unlikely setting for perhaps the worst fighting of the entire Civil War.
Major General George Stoneman Led the Last American Civil War Cavalry RaidEven as General Robert E. Lee was surrendering at Appomattox, a vengeful Union cavalry horde led by Maj. Gen. George Stoneman made Southern civilians pay dearly for the war. It was a last brutal lesson in the concept of total warfare.
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?
Lieutenant Colonel Horace C. Porter: Eyewitness to the Surrender at AppomattoxLieutenant Colonel Horace C. Porter provides a firsthand account of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.
Edwin Booth Saved Robert Todd Lincoln’s LifeA Lincoln family incident during the Civil War became a remarkable snippet of assassination lore.
America’s Civil War: Assault at PetersburgSixth Corps Yankees stumbled out of their earthworks and toward the muddy pits of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was the beginning of the end at Petersburg.
37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the American Civil WarThe service of the 37th North Carolina epitomized the grit and determination of Tar Heel fighters.
The Last Stand of Crazy HorseAfter helping his people win the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the daring Oglala leader fought thesoldiers again at Slim Buttes in September 1876 and the Wolf Mountains in January 1877 before finally surrendering at Camp Robinson that May.
Battle of Gettysburg: Fighting at Little Round TopThe Battle of Gettysburg, and perhaps the fate of the Union, was decided in one hour of desperate fighting on the rocky ledges of Little Round Top.
Life at West Point of Future Professional American Civil War OfficersWhether they spent their energy studying or sneaking off to Benny Havens's tavern, the future professional officers of the Civil War left West Point with enough stories for a lifetime -- and an enduring common bond.
African American Troops of Company K, 9th Cavalry Fought in the Battle of Fort LancasterCaptain William Frohock, Lieutenant Frederick Smith and the black troopers of Company K, 9th Cavalry, received an after-Christmas surprise from Kickapoo raiders in 1867.
Truth Behind U.S. Grant’s Yazoo River BenderMurky facts and contradictions confuse the story of a purported 1863 drinking spree by the general.
First Battle of Bull Run: The U.S MarinesWith hordes of eager Confederates gathering at Manassas, panicky Union commanders massed whatever forces they could in the nation's capital. Among those answering the call were the U.S. Marines. Manassas, however, would not be one of their shining moments.
Lakotas: Feared Fighters of the PlainsThe Teton Sioux, or Lakotas, battled other tribes to become the dominant force on the Northern Plains and then took on the U.S. Army in an effort to maintain their way of life.
America’s Civil War: George Custer and Stephen RamseurGeorge Custer and Dodson Ramseur had a friendship that survived the Civil War -- until the Battle of Cedar Creek.
Sullivan Ballou: The Macabre Fate of a American Civil War MajorMajor Sullivan Ballou gained fame for the poignant letter he wrote to his wife before the First Battle of Bull Run. Not so well known is that after he was mortally wounded in that fight, Confederates dug up, decapitated and burned his body.
Eyewitness to America’s Civil War: William W. PattesonTeenager William W. Patteson fled his Virginia farm and fought at the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
America’s Civil War: Union General Phil Sheridan’s ScoutsCivil War Union General Phil Sheridan put together a group of daring scouts who wore Rebel uniforms and captured Confederate irregulars, dispatches and generals.
America’s Civil War: John Mosby and George Custer Clash in the Shenandoah ValleyWhen Civil War's John Singleton Mosby's Partisan Rangers clashed with George A. Custer's Union Cavalry, the niceties of war were the first casualty. Reprisal and counter reprisal became the order of the day.
America’s Civil War: Union’s Mission to Relieve Fort SumterFor three long months, Civil War Major Robert Anderson and his besieged troops waited for reinforcements at Fort Sumter. Back in Washington, Union naval officer Gustavus Fox raced against time to organize just such a mission.
Battle of Stones River: Union General Rosecrans Versus Confederate General BraggAmerican Civil War Union General William Rosecrans bided his time, waiting to attack Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Rebel army at Murfreesboro, 30 miles south of Nashville.
Battle of Chickamauga: Union Regulars Desperate StandCivil War Brigadier General John King's disciplined brigade of Union Regulars found itself tested as never before at Chickamauga. For two bloody days, the Regulars dashed from one endangered spot to another, seeking to save their army from annihilation.

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Harry Macarthy: The Bob Hope of the ConfederacyHe could make tired soldiers laugh, and his 'Bonnie Blue Flag' churned southern audiences into a frenzy. That was why Harry Macarthy was loved from one end of the confederacy to the other.
Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez: Heroine or HoaxerMadame Loreta Janeta Velazquez wrote a controversial memoir disclosing her activities as a double agent and brave soldier during the Civil War.
Battle of Gettysburg: Confederate General Richard Ewell’s Failure on the HeightsFor the second day in a row, Confederate General Richard Ewell inexplicably failed to take the offensive at Gettysburg. 'The fruits of victory, Robert E. Lee lamented, had not been gathered.
Did Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell Lose the Battle of GettysburgAfter disobeying Robert E. Lee's orders to avoid a general engagement at Gettysburg, Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell received an order to 'press those people.' His failure to do so created a controversy that survives to this day.
America’s Civil War: Digging to Victory at VicksburgTo the armies at Vicksburg, picks, shovels and manual labor proved as valuable as bullets and bombshells.
Cheyenne Chief Tall BullTall Bull led the Dog Soldiers in battle, but his death at Summit Springs ended Southern Cheyenne power.
The Dodge City WarWhen saloon owner Luke Short was told to get out of Dodge in 1883, he went. But he soon came back, and he was joined by the likes of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday.
Ulysses S. Grant’s Lifelong Struggle With AlcoholThroughout his legendary military and political career, U.S. Grant battled accusations that he was overly fond of the bottle. Did his alleged excessive drinking make him an alcoholic, or for that matter, did he really drink that much more that the average man of the nineteenth century?
America’s Civil War: Savage Skirmish Near SharpsburgWith Robert E. Lee's wily Confederates waiting somewhere in the vicinity of Antietam Creek, Union General George McClellan ordered I Corps commander Joseph Hooker to advance and turn the Rebel flank. But McClellan, for once, was too quick to move, and Hooker soon found himself in an unexpectedly vicious fight.
America’s Civil War: XI Corps Fight During the Chancellorsville CampaignDisliked and distrusted by their comrades in the Army of the Potomac, the men of the XI Corps would find their reputation further damaged by a twilight encounter with Stonewall Jackson's troops in the dark woods at Chancellorsville.
Battle of Chancellorsville: Day OneNew Union commander 'Fighting Joe' Hooker planned to encircle Robert E. Lee at the Virginia crossroads hamlet of Chancellorsville. The plan seemed to be working perfectly, until....
Battle of VicksburgUlysses S. Grant thought his formidable Army of the Tennessee could take Vicksburg from a 'beaten' foe by direct assault. He was wrong, thanks to near-impregnable fortifications, renewed Southern spirit, and surprisingly suspect Northern generalship.
Battle of CorinthThe strategic railroad town of Corinth was a key target for Confederate armies hoping to march north in support of General Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky.
America’s Civil War: Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet at Odds at GettysburgAt Gettysburg, Longstreet told Lee that a direct assault would end in disaster -- but Pickett's Charge went forward anyway.
America’s Civil War: Battle for KentuckyIt had been almost one month since Confederate General Braxton Bragg had pulled off an organizational masterpiece--four weeks since the first troop trains had rumbled into Chattanooga, Tennessee, completing an improbable 800-mile odyssey.
Abraham Lincoln: Deciding the Fate of 300 Indians Convicted of War Crimes in Minnesota’s Great Sioux UprisingEven as the Civil War intensified, President Abraham Lincoln faced the aftereffects of a bloody Indian war in Minnesota. More than 300 men faced execution, but the death sentences required the president's approval.
Battle of Chickamauga: Colonel John T. Wilder and the Lightning BrigadeColonel John T. Wilder's'Lightning Brigade' did all it could to stave off Union disaster at the Battle of Chickamauga.
Wild Bill HickokIn the wild west, few men could match colorful Wild Bill, whose exploits as a well-dressed but deadly frontiersman, peace officer and gambler have made him an enduring legend.
Death at Summit Springs: Susanna Alderdice and the CheyennesIn May 1869, Tall Bull's Cheyenne Dog Soldiers carried out a series of brutal raids in north-central Kansas, and though the white soldiers later caught up with them, vengeance could not make everything right.
Tecumseh, Red Cloud and Sitting Bull: Three Great Indian LeadersDiplomacy, courage and charisma were among the attributes of this trio of great Indian leaders.
Battle of Waynesboro: Jubal Early and Phil Sheridan Meet For the Last TimeWith his once-formidable army reduced to a mere shadow of its former self, Confederate General Jubal Early pulled up at Waynesboro to face his old nemesis, Phil Sheridan, for the last time.
The Dahlgren Papers RevisitedThe mystery surrounding documents detailing a Union plan to murder Jefferson Davis is put to rest by historian Stephen W. Sears.
The Irish Brigade Fought in America’s Civil WarTheir casualties were enormous but their courage and capacity for fun were legendary. General Lee, himself, gave highest praise to these Yankees of the Irish Brigade.
George Crook: Indian FighterAgainst the Apaches in Arizona Territory and the Sioux and Cheyenne in the northern Plains, Crook did his job more effectively than most Army leaders on the Plains.
Nez Perce WarWhen a white settler killed a Nez Perce warrior in 1876, the incident set off a chain of events that led to war.

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Battle of Gettysburg and American MythologyMuch of what Americans believe about Gettysburg is myth, but their flawed knowledge of the battle nevertheless serves to sanctify their national memory of the fight.
Grierson’s Raid During the Vicksburg CampaignU.S. Grant, bogged down outside Vicksburg, needed a diversion to ease his way. He got just that from a music teacher turned cavalryman--one who hated horses, at that.
General Barlow and General Gordon Meet on Blocher’s KnollOn July 1, 1863, two generals, one badly wounded, allegedly met. The veracity of that encounter, now part of Civil War lore, has long been debated.
Drones in the Great Hive: A Letter from an African-American Civil War SoldierChristian A. Fleetwood -- an African-American Medal of Honor-winner -- writes bitterly of the way the Union army treats its black soldiers.
America’s Civil War: Last Ditch Rebel Stand at PetersburgAfter nearly 10 months of trench warfare, Confederate resistance at Petersburg, Va., suddenly collapsed. Desperate to save his army, Robert E. Lee called on his soldiers for one last miracle.
Battle of Boydton Plank Road: Major General Winfield Scott Hancock Strikes the Southside RailroadWith Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia stubbornlyclinging to Petersburg, Ulysses S. Grant decided to cut its vital rail lines. To perform the surgery, he selected one of the North's proven heroes -- Major General Winfield Scott Hancock.
America’s Civil War: The South’s Feuding GeneralsIt sometimes seemed that Southern generals were more interested in fighting each other than in fighting Yankees. Their inability to get along together contributed greatly to the South's demise.
An Englishman’s Journey Through the Confederacy During America’s Civil WarSuave, gentlemanly Lt. Col. Arthur Fremantle of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards picked an unusual vacation spot: the Civil War-torn United States.
War Watchers at Bull Run During America’s Civil WarA crowd of Washington politicos, socialites, and newsmen came out to watch the war's first real battle, along northern Virginia's Bull Run. For most, the view was as disappointing as the fight's outcome. But a few got to see all the action they could handle, and more.
Battle of Nashville: Enemies Front and RearUnion forces under George H. Thomas destroyed the Confederate Army of Tennessee at Nashville as Thomas endured his own battle of resolve with Ulysses S. Grant.
The Fall of VicksburgOn July 4, 1863, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton surrendered the Confederate bastion of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to Union forces under Major General Ulysses S. Grant. The surrender brought an end to 47 days of unendurable siege, but it also brought an end to Confederate control of the Mississippi River.
Major General J.E.B. Stuart: Last Stand of the Last KnightMajor General J.E.B. Stuart posted his horsemen at Yellow Tavern -- between Union attackers and Richmond -- and waited for the collision. It would come with a deadliness he could never have imagined.
American History: 1864 Attack on New YorkManhattan proved an irresistible target for Confederate saboteurs who wanted to set the city ablaze and settle some scores with the Union.
Abraham Lincoln: Commander in ChiefAlthough he lacked the military experience, President Abraham Lincoln took on active direction of the Union war effort, influencing and managing events and generals in every field of operations.
Philip Wells: Wounded at Wounded KneeThe son of a white father and a half-blood mother, Wells nearly lost his nose in the tragic 1890 affair but still managed to be merciful.
Wild Bill Hickok: Pistoleer, Peace Officer and Folk HeroA legend in his own time,James Butler ('Wild Bill') Hickok was no average Joe when he went head-to-head with his enemies--he reportedly could 'draw and discharge his pistols with a rapidity that was truly wonderful.'
Betrayal at Ebenezer CreekTrapped between charging Rebels and a deadly flooded creek, thousands of fugitive slaves watched in horror as the Union army abandoned them. Then came catastrophe--and excuses.
Battle of Brawner’s Farm: Black Hat Brigade’s Baptism of FireJohn Gibbon's mostly green Midwestern troops found themselves in quite a scrape as the sun set on August 28, 1862.
Camp William Penn: Training Ground for FreedomUnder the stern but sympathetic gaze of Lt. Col. Louis Wagner, some 11,000 African-American soldiers trained to fight for their freedom at Philadelphia's Camp William Penn. Three Medal of Honor recipients would pass through the camp's gates.
General Francis Channing BarlowGeneral Francis Channing Barlow's clean-cut, boyish appearance belied his reputation as one of the Union's hardest-fighting divisional commanders.
America’s Civil War: Philip SheridanAt an obscure railroad station in northern Mississippi, an equally obscure Union cavalry colonel faced a personal and professional moment of truth. His name was Phil Sheridan, and his coolness and dash clearly marked him for bigger things.
Siege of Petersburg: The City and Citizens Were Impacted from the StartCircled by Confederate trenches, hard pressed by Union forces, the people of Petersburg had nothing left to do but endure -- and pray for a miracle.
Winchester, Virginia: A Town Embattled During America’s Civil WarWinchester, Virginia, saw more of the war than any other place North or South.
Northern Volunteer Nurses of America’s Civil WarA cadre of dedicated Northern women from all walks of life traveled to the charnel houses of the Civil War to care for the sick and wounded.
Battle of the Wilderness With General Robert E. LeeAs the Union army crossed the Rapidan River to commence its powerful 1864 spring offensive, Confederate General Robert E. Lee scrambled to divine his enemy's intentions. But not even Lee could fully pierce the fog of war.

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Reno Gang’s Reign Of TerrorLong before the James brothers began robbing trains, the Reno brothers tried their hand at it in post--Civil War Indiana, but the outlaw Hoosiers' reign didn't last long.By William Bell
Buffalo Soldiers in Utah TerritoryAt Fort Duchesne, black 9th Cavalry troops served alongside white infantrymen while dealing with the sometimes restless Ute Indians and the wild and woolly Duchesne Strip.
Old Dominion Brigade in America’s Civil WarThe Virginia regiments originally under the brigade command of William Mahone seemed to save their best for last. After two years of average service, they became Robert E. Lee's go-to troops in the Wilderness and at Petersburg's Crater.
Eyewitness to American Civil War: Iron Brigade Soldier’s Wartime LettersTimothy Webster survived Fredericksburg and Gettysburg with the Iron Brigade, but not Petersburg.
Battle of Port RoyalAs Union warships steamed past the Confederate defenses near Port Royal, Flag Officer Samuel Du Pont proudly noted that army officers aboard his ship looked on 'with wonder and admiration.' A revolution in naval tactics had begun.
J.E.B. Stuart: Battle of Gettysburg ScapegoatFollowing the Confederate debacle at Gettysburg, many blamed Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart for leaving General Robert E. Lee in the dark. But was Stuart really to blame for the defeat? And if so, was he the only one at fault?
America’s Civil War: Drummer Boy of the RappahannockWas the young lad's 'strange and romantic' tale the story of a colorful hero or a clever fake?
Battle of HanoverSouthern beau sabreur J.E.B. Stuart hardly expected to run head-on into enemy cavalry on his second ride around the Union Army. But a trio of 'boy generals' would soon give the famed Confederate horseman all the action he could handle.
Battle of Yellow TavernBadly misunderstanding his opponent's intentions, Jeb Stuart played into Phil Sheridan's hands at Yellow Tavern. A swirling cavalry fight ensued.
The Fatal Fetterman FightCalled a massacre at the time, the December 1866 clash near Fort Phil Kearny was, in fact, a military triumph by the Plains Indians and the Army's greatest blunder in the West until the Battle of the Little Bighorn 10 years later.
Book Review: Echoes of Battle: The Struggle for Chattanooga (Richard A. Baumgartner and Larry M. Strayer) : CWTECHOES OF BATTLE: THE STRUGGLE FOR CHATTANOOGA Echoes of Battle: The Struggle for Chattanooga, by Richard A. Baumgartner and Larry M. Strayer, Blue Acorn, Huntington, West Virginia, $43.75. Accounts of 450 Union and Confederate soldiers and a collection of 465 photographs, many previously unpublished, tell the story of the Union campaigns for Chickamauga, Georgia, and …
Book Review: Crazy Horse: The Life Behind the Legend (Mike Sajna) : WWCrazy Horse: The Life Behind the Legend, by Mike Sajna, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2000, $27.95. He was quiet, shy, and avoided attention off the battlefield, but on it, he was bold, brave and successful–as William Fetterman, George Crook, George Custer and many other U.S. soldiers found out in the 1860s-70s. His name …
Book Review: Conceived in Liberty: Joshua Chamberlain, William Oates, and the American Civil War (by Mark Perry) : CWTConceived in Liberty: Joshua Chamberlain, William Oates, and the American Civil War, by Mark Perry, Viking Penguin, New York, (800) 331-4624, 500 pages, $31.95. Joshua Chamberlain of the 20th Maine is the closest thing we have to a Civil War pop idol. Entire conferences focus on him, artists grind out image after image for an …
Book Review: Shades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War (Herman Hattaway) : CWTShades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War, by Herman Hattaway, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 295 pages, $29.95. No book answers a question that is not asked. Herman Hattaway obviously has benefited from his recent stint as a visiting professor at the U.S. Military Academy, where soldiers and cadets …
Book Review: Custer, Cody & The Last Indian Wars: A Pictorial History (Jay Kimmel) : WWCUSTER, CODY & THE LAST INDIAN WARS: A PICTORIAL HISTORYTwo of the most famous figures of the Old West, George Armstrong Custer and William F. (“Buffalo Bill”) Cody, were alsotwo of the most photographed individuals of their time. So if you want to do a Western pictorial history, those are two goodchoices to be your …
Book Review: Chancellorsville (Stephen W. Sears) : CWTChancellorsville by Stephen W. Sears, Houghton Mifflin, New York, New York, 577 pages, $35.For the members of the Union Army of the Potomac, particularly those in the XI Corps, the close of May 2, 1863, appeared at hand. Twilight neared, suppers simmered, and men lounged. They believed that Major General Joseph Hooker, commander of the …
Book Review: Little Big Horn Trading Cards (Martin G. Lord) : WWLITTLE BIG HORN TRADING CARDSI can just see it now: Two kids from Hardin, Mont.–or New Rumley, Ohio, for that matter–are doing some card trading. Firstkid: “I’ll give you a Captain Frederick Benteen, a Lieutenant J.J. Crittenden and a Private Giovanni Martini for a Sitting Bulland a Gall.” Second kid: “No way, man. That’s a …
Book Review: Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy (by Richard McMurry): CWTA Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents, by Richard M. McMurry, University of Nebraska Press, 402-472-3581, 222 pages, $32. Ever since Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Civil War historians have focused most of their attention on the campaigns and battles fought in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This emphasis on what happened in the eastern theater has …
Book Review: A Dispatch to Custer (Randy Johnson and Nancy Allan) : WWA Dispatch to Custer: The Tragedy of Lieutenant Kidder, by Randy Johnson and Nancy Allan,Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, Mont., 1999, $15 paperback. The mission seemed simple enough. Lieutenant Lyman Kidder, with 10 soldiers and a friendly Siouxguide, was to take a message that General William T. Sherman had received at Fort Sedgwick, Kan.,and deliver …
Book Review: Legends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West (Dale L. Walker): WWLegends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West, by Dale L. Walker, Forge Books, New York, 1997, $22.95. When we read history, we like to believe we are reading truth. But as Dale Walker so adroitly points out, individuals as well as history can become masses of contradictions. Truth and facts become blurred. Walker’s …
Book Review: A Frontier Army Christmas (compiled and annotated by Lori A. Cox-Paul and Dr. James W. Wengert) : WWA Frontier Army Christmas, compiled and annotated by Lori A. Cox-Paul and Dr. James W. Wengert, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, 1998, $12.95 paperback. Christmas on Army posts between 1865 and 1900 often brought the only real relief from the monotony of soldiers’ lives. The firsthand accounts, collected from diaries, letters and other sources, offer …
Book Review: The Men Stood Like Iron: How the Iron Brigade Won Its Name (Lance J. Herdegen) : CWTThe Men Stood Like Iron: How the Iron Brigade Won Its Name, by Lance J. Herdegen, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 288 pages, $24.95. Civil War veterans always argued among themselves about whose unit could fight harder, march farther, or steal more chickens. In the Union army, regiments of the “Iron Brigade of the West” seemed …
Book Review: Little Big Horn (Robert Nightengale) : WWLITTLE BIG HORN“The easiest way to start an argument is to bring up religion, politics, or Custer’s Last Stand,” writes longtime Custerania student Thomas E. O’Neil in his introduction to a book that, if it doesn’t start arguments, will surely cause readers to rethink the “facts” of the battle. Robert Nightengale says that George Armstrong …
Book Review: Everyday Life during the Civil War (by Michael J. Varhola): CWTEveryday Life during the Civil War: A Guide for Writers, Students and Historians, by Michael J. Varhola, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1-800-289-0963, 274 pages, softcover, $16.99. One hundred and thirty-five years after the last shots were fired, public fascination with the American Civil War continues unabated. The copious outpouring of campaign studies, biographies, memoirs, …
Book Review: The Great West: A Treasury of Firsthand Accounts (Charles Neider) : WWThe Great West: A Treasury of Firsthand Accounts, edited by Charles Neider, Da Capo Press, New York, 1997, $22.95 paperback. The almost 60 accounts and nearly 100 black-and-white illustrations selected by editor Charles Neider fill 457 pages–enough to give the reader a great taste of the Great West. How can you go wrong when your …

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