Union Civil War Generals

Don Carlos Buell
Born: March 23, 1818
Died: November 19, 1898

Remembering Shiloh, one soldier who'd fought under Buell described him as "a magnificent officer on the field, whose personal conduct and management had been superb."

 


 

Ulysses S. Grant
Born: April 27, 1822
Died: July 23, 1885

After his first big victory in Tennessee, Grant received thousands of cigars as gifts from grateful Northerners. He went through plenty of them at Shiloh. "Having such a quantity on hand," he later said, "I naturally smoked more than I would have done."


Henry Wager Halleck
Born: January 16, 1815
Died: January 9, 1872

In the winter of 1845-1846, Halleck gave lectures at the Lowell Institute in Boston, Massachusetts on the science of war. He published them as a book, "Elements of Military Art and Science," which was used as a manual during the Civil War.


Stephen A. Hurlbut
Born: November 29, 1815
Died: March 27, 1882

Hurlbut and his men endured a long first day at Shiloh, fighting fiercely in a peach orchard owned by Sarah Bell. He survived the Civil War to serve in Congress and as a diplomat in Columbia and Peru.


 

Benjamin M. Prentiss
Born: November 23, 1819
Died: February 8, 1901

Prentiss and his division heroically held their ground from 6 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on the first day at Shiloh, but were ultimately captured. They fought in an area where bullets whizzed by so thickly, it was later called the Hornet's Nest.


William Tecumseh Sherman
Born: February 8, 1820
Died: February 14, 1891

Sherman and Grant would forge a lifelong friendship at Shiloh, where Sherman led an assault while "dismounted, his arm in a sling, his hand bleeding, his horse dead, himself covered with dust, his face besmeared with powder and blood."


Lewis Wallace
Born: April 10, 1827
Died: February 15, 1905

After the war, Lew Wallace, the son of an Indiana governor, wrote Ben Hur, a popular epic novel of ancient Rome. It would be made into a movie starring Charlton Heston nearly 80 years later, in 1959.


Confederate Civil War Generals

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Born: May 28, 1818
Died: Feb. 20, 1893

Beauregard, who came from a Louisiana Creole family, spoke French before he learned English. After the war, he would turn down offers to lead several foreign armies.


Braxton Bragg
Born: March 22, 1817
Died: September 27, 1876

Known as a strict disciplinarian, the controversial Bragg inspired little devotion among his soldiers; one called him a "merciless tyrant." One of the largest military bases in the world, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is named for him.


William J. Hardee
Born: October 12, 1815
Died: November 6, 1873

An instructor at West Point before the war, Hardee published a textbook, Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics, that was used by both sides. Hardee survived the war -- but lost his 16-year-old son Willie, who was killed in battle at Bentonville, North Carolina in the war's final weeks.


Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson
Born: January 21, 1824
Died: May 10, 1863

Many of Jackson's students at the Virginia Military Institute, where he taught before the war, thought he was a lousy teacher. But he became a legend and got his nickname in 1861, when he and his brigade steadfastly confronted the enemy on a Virginia battlefield.


Albert Sidney Johnston
Born: February 2, 1803
Died: April 6, 1862

On the eve of war, Johnston was one of the most respected military officers in the country. A close friend of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, Johnston chose to resign his U.S. army commission to fight -- and die -- for the Confederacy.


Robert E. Lee
Born: January 19, 1807
Died: October 12, 1870

The future Confederate commander in chief graduated from West Point without a single demerit on his record. He came from a distinguished Virginia family: his father was a Revolutionary War hero, and two great-uncles signed the Declaration of Independence.


Leonidas Polk
Born: April 10, 1806
Died: June 14, 1864

The "Fighting Bishop" found his religious calling while still at West Point, and resigned from the army soon afterward. Polk did missionary work, rose to Bishop of Louisiana in the Episcopal church, and founded a university in Tennessee, before taking up arms in the war.

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