US Civil War Generals

Ask questions here about famous US Civil War generals, on both the Union and Confederate side.

3,553 Questions

Why were US Civil War generals reluctant to change their strategies of fighting?

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US Civil War generals in both the Confederate and Union armies were used to turning the nation's policies of conducting warfare into their strategies for accomplishing the objectives of the US Civil War or any war. The problem US Civil War generals were not so much about changing strategies, they were concerned that political leaders were making decisions that should be left with the military high command. Having a well meaning President Lincoln or a President Davis making policy and strategy was demoralizing and unproductive.

When did Nathan Bedford Forrest II die?

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It is my understanding that Nathan Bedford Forrest IV, great grandson of the Confederate General of the same name died over Europe during WW2 while piloting a bomber on a mission.

What caused Confederate generals to perform offensive operations in the wake of the Union's improved defense?

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Many US Civil War historians trace the Southern conviction that offensive operations were preferred to tactical defense to the Mexican American War. In that war, US offensive actions proved to be effective against Mexican armies. Confederate generals ignored the success of tactical defenses in the Mexican War and thus placed great faith in offensive assaults in the US Civil War.

What did Union generals McClellan Burnside and Hooker have in common?

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Union General Henry Wager Halleck and Confederate General P.T. Beauregard had a number of things in common. They both had high level positions in their respective armies and both of them graduated within a year from each other from West Point. Each of them had written books on the science of war as well. Upon graduation they were each in the top five of their classes. They both knew French. This was native to Beauregard, and Halleck taught French at West Point. That "French connection" enabled both of them to study books on the science of war that at the time were only available in French. They were students of war and each new about how wars were fought in the Napoleonic Era. And, they each held commissions in engineering.

Was Lieutenant General Robert E. Lee a great general?

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That's a matter of opinion. If you share his views and agree with his decisions, he was. If you disagree, he wasn't. Historians should not answer this question because it's opinionated. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Lee was excellent on the defensive. His spoiling attacks repulsed several Union offensives. He was able to fend off vastly superior forces through rapid outflanking maneuvers, confounding the enemy command. He was far less successful on the offensive. Both of his invasions of the North were turned back after crushing defeats incurring great loss of life. His experience in the Mexican War may have worked against him on the offensive, where he had been able to dislodge numerically superior forces with superior firepower. At Gettysburg, that led him to order Pickett's Charge, which ended disastrously. He did take responsibility for the debacle, and never lost the respect of his men.

Did Nathan bedford Forrest survive the civil war?

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Nathan Bedford Forrest began the war in a cavalry regiment and progressed quickly to a Colonel in command of a regiment. Later he became a cavalry general and commanded a cavalry Corps consisting of 2 Divisions of 2 brigades each. He was considered the most famous cavalry commander of the Civil War and one of the bravest. He was wounded several times and had many horses shot out from under him. After one battle, his cavalry was in charge of holding back the Union troops while the army retreated. He called a charge against the enemy but he was the only one to charge them. He had to fight his way out and he pulled one enemy soldier onto his horse as a shield but he was still shot in the back at close range---but survived. One of his most famous battle victories was the Battle of Brice's Crossroads. In this battle he attacked a force twice the size of his and completely routed them.

What type of people owned slaves?

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Well back then before the 1860's rich white men owned black poor slaves because of their color and what they didn't have or could not afford, so they considered them different.

What Union general lost a leg in the US Civil War?

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You're probably thinking of Richard S. Ewell, who lost his leg after being shot in the knee at the Second Battle of Manassas (or Bull Run) in August 1862. Ewell was away from the army for nearly a year recovering from the amputation, but was thought to be well enough to replace Stonewall Jackson in command of the Second Corps of General Lee's Army, after Jackson died from his wound received at Chancellorsville, in May, 1863. Chancellorsville was the big battle which immediately preceded Gettysburg, so Gettysburg was Ewell's first battle as a corps commander. Previously he had been a division commander, and a good one. But indecisiveness or timidity perhaps, maybe induced by his wound or his year-long absence from the fighting, or the paralysis of mind which afflicted many men when promoted one grade above their level of competence, some cause at any rate led to a performance at Gettysburg less effective than had been hoped. Ewell, though much liked personally, proved that he was certainly no Stonewall Jackson. Ewell had also married a widow woman during his year of convalescence, and spoke of "my wife, Mrs. Brown". Some ascribed his poor performance to her influence, but this seems unlikely to me. Ewell had to be strapped on a horse to get around the field, and in the end the rigors of service with the field army proved too much for him, and he was sent to command the defenses of Richmond. His departure in his reduced state was not much of a loss to the army.

Did jeb Stuart have any family members serve in the military?

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James E.B. Stuart was originally one of 11 children. By the start of the War, five of them had died. Only two of his brothers were living. Brother John Dabney Stuart, M.D., served with the 42nd and 54th Virginia infantries as a surgeon. Brother William Alexander ran the saltworks at Saltville, which provided tons of salt to the military and civilian populace, and his work was considered vital to the survival of the South.

Who were the top Confederate generals at the Battle of Gettysburg?

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Robert E. Lee was the General leading the Confederate Army at Gettysburg. Under Robert Lee was Lt. Gen. James Longstreet of the First Army Corps. Under him was Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws, he commanded McLaws' Division.

Brigade Commanders:

Kershaw Brigade

J.B. Kershaw

Barsdale's Brigade

William Barksdale

Semmes' Brigade

P. J. Semmes

Wofford's Brigade

W.T. Wofford


Col. H.C. Cabell

Pickett's Division comes next.

Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett Commanding.

Garnett's Brigade

R. B. Garnett

Kemper's Brigade

J.L. Kemper

Armistead's Brigade

L.A. Armistead


Maj. James Dearing

Hood's Division

Maj. Gen. John B. Hood

Law's Brigade

E. M. Law

Robertson's Brigade

J. B. Robertson

Anderson's Brigade

George t. Anderson

Benning's Brigade

Henry L. Benning


Maj. M. W. Henry

Artillery Reserve

Col. J. B. Walton

Alexander's Battalion

Col. E. P. Alexander

Washington (Louisiana) Artillery

Maj. B. F. Eshleman

Who commanded the North Virginia army during the Civil War?

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The Army of Northern Virginia was commanded by Robert E. Lee

How was Union Major General William T Sherman important during the US Civil War?

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William T. Sherman:

•Served as a major general in the Union Army

•Lead Sherman's March, which started in Atlanta and travelled southeast through Georgia, destroying everything in his path and living off of the land along the way. This made it impossible for Confederate troops to use any resources in the area.

•Captured Savannah just before Christmas.

•Marched through (and destroyed) South Carolina to aid General Grant in his fight against General Lee.

•Provided support to General Grant at Fort Donelson.

•Commanded the Army of West Tennessee, where he then fought in the Battle of Shiloh, and won.

•Handed out food and other supplies when he reached North Carolina as he anticipated the end of the war.

•Started campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate strongholds near the Mississippi River, where he helped with the routing of the Confederate armies in Tennessee.

•Captured the city of Atlanta, which contributed to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln.

•Accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in North and South Carolina.

•Succeeded General Grant as Commanding General of the Army for his outstanding war strategy and skill.

•Published his Memoirs, which became one of the best-known accounts of the Civil War.

* Sherman earned the reputation of being a ruthless commander. This he carried on after the war when killing Native Americans.

What generals led the Southern armies in the US Civil War?

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There were many Confederate generals that led Southern armies in the course of the four year long US Civil War. Names of note included generals such as:* Robert E. Lee * John Bell Hood * James Longstreet * JEB Stuart * Earl Van Dorn

* Joseph Johnston

* Albert S. Johnston

* PT Beauregard

* Stonewall Jackson

* AP Hill

* Braxton Bragg

These are just a few of the many Confederate generals.

How did General In Chief George B. McClellan plan to protect Washington DC while he was fighting in the Peninsula?

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Asked by ChuckSiata

The US Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton wanted to know from General George B. McClellan, his plans for protecting Washington DC while the main part of the Army of the Potomac was engaged in battle in the Peninsula campaign. Both he and US President Lincoln were concerned that while McClellan was in Virginia fighting his Peninsula campaign that there was a possibility of a Confederate assault on Washington DC.McClellan outlined for Stanton his plans for this. The troops he would leave in and around Washington DC would number 55,500 including the 35,000 troops in the Shenandoah. As General in Chief, McClellan assumed that all of these troops would remain under his command as he parted for Fort Monroe.

What prompted Union General Joseph Hooker to be allowed to attack Richmond in 1863?

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As General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia continued their march northward, Union leaders increased their preparation to safeguard Pennsylvania and Maryland. Hooker believed he saw an opening to cause serious damage to the Confederacy. On June 10, 1863, Hooker proposed to President Lincoln a plan to devastate the Confederacy. Hooker believed that he had absolute and reliable information that Confederate cavalry Major General JEB Stuart was preparing for a raid against the North. Hooker, however, was unsure whether the Confederates would send a large number of infantry along with their cavalry. He had to see this as a distinct possibility. If this was the case, then the Rebels would have left only a small force guarding Richmond. He pressed Lincoln to allow him to assault Richmond.

Who was the best cavalry leader in the US Civil War?

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Bedford Forrest of the Confederates.

The only reason he wasn't promoted higher was that the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, preferred to promote West Point graduates, preferably from high-class backgrounds like himself.

After the war, Davis said his biggest mistake was not promoting Bedford Forrest.

Bedford was a great commander, however, it may be a toss up between him and Confederate commander JEB Stuart.

Why were Union General William T Sherman's victories important to President Lincoln?

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Lincoln feared he would not be re-elected in 1864. Many Northerners felt the war had gone on too long and had caused too much destruction. But news of Sherman's victories helped Lincoln win a second term.

How old was Robert E Lee when he joined the Confederate army?

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Asked by ChuckSiata

Robert E. Lee joined the Military after he graduated from West Point in


How old was General US Grant when the US Civil War started?

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Asked by ChuckSiata

General US Grant was 39 years old when the US Civil War began. He was a West Point graduate and served in the Mexican War. He signed his commission as a captain in 1854 and went into private life.

What are four battles the South won during the US Civil War?

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During the course of the US Civil War there were many important Union victories. There are also many diverse answers to this question. Here is a list of six important Union victories:1. The capture of New Orleans;

2. The capture of Fort Donelson;

3. The battle at Shiloh;

4. The battle of Gettysburg;

5. The battle at Antietam, although in technical military terms this was a draw; and

6. The fall of Atlanta in 1864.

Was jeb Stuart a union or confederate soldier?

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I believe with the short research I've done, and after analyzing it all, that JEB Stuart was indeed a confederate.

Union general rosecrans followed bragg into Georgia not knowing that confederate troops had been reinforced and numbered over?

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Yes, General Rosencrans followed Bragg into Georgia not knowing that Confederate Army had been reinforced.

He firmly believed that Bragg were still retreating towards Rome and Atlanta and he even neglected to regroup his scattered divisions which were coming out from the Lookout Mountain's gaps.

How is General Sherman's march through Georgia an example of total war?

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The march through Georgia by General Sherman has always been defended as a means to end the US Civil War quickly. This is disputed. If General Lee had ripped apart the Northern areas he occupiedin his invasions of the North, he would have been condemned as a war criminal. The victors always get to write the history.