Albert Sidney Johnston was born on February 2nd 1803 in Washington, Kentucky. At the outbreak of the Civil War he immediately resigned his commission in the United States army and promptly joined the Confederate army.
He was given the rank of full general. A rank held only by a handful of other officers. He had dedicated almost his entire adult life to military service.
He had been involved with several wars over his career, such as the Black Hawk War, Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War and the Utah War in which he led the army that put down a Mormon revolt in Utah. He was regarded at the beginning of the Civil War as the best general in either army.
Albert Sidney Johnston was second in command of the entire Confederate army. Confederate president Jefferson Davis gave Johnston command of Confederate Department No. 2 which was a huge area that covered the entire western theater of the Civil War. His command stretched from the Appalachians to the Mississippi River. It was a vast territory that was extremely difficult to guard against attack.
Albert Sidney Johnston (1803-1862)
Unfortunately for the Confederacy things did not go very well for them in the west. They were defeated at the Battle of Mill Springs in Kentucky on January 19th 1862. In February 1862 Union General Ulysses S. Grant attacked and captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. Losing these forts was a devastating blow to the Confederates since they guarded the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.
These forts were the responsibility of General Johnston and he failed to keep them protected. It is hard however to blame General Johnston for these defeats, the Confederates were outnumbered, had to defend a large territory, and they were always short of supplies and food. General Johnston did the best he could with what he had.
In March 1862 the Union’s objective was Corinth Mississippi.
General Johnston focused his 44,000 strong army at Corinth in order to protect the rail lines which were vital to the region for supply and communication, which the Union was trying to cut. Two Union armies were converging in order to attack the Confederacy in the west and deal a devastating defeat to the rebels. One army with 40,000 men was led by General Grant and the other with 20,000 men was led by General Don Carlos Buell. Once they joined each other they would be an unstoppable force that the Confederates would have little hope in defeating.
Albert Sidney Johnston
In March 1862 General Grant and his army landed at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee where they set up a base of operations only 22 miles from Corinth Mississippi. There they waited for the arrival of General Buell and his army. General Johnston saw an opportunity to attack the Union army before they were able to join together and hopefully inflict a devastating defeat on them.
Albert Sidney Johnston Death
Albert Sidney Johnston went on to lead the Confederate troops that attacked the Union army at Pittsburg Landing on April 6th 1862. This battle is better known as the Battle of Shiloh.
The first day of fighting went very well for Confederate forces, they pushed the Union army back inflicting great losses on them. While leading his troops on horseback during an attack General Johnston suddenly fainted and slumped over in his saddle. His men quickly removed him from his horse, assuming he was wounded.
They frantically searched his body looking for a wound. It was only after someone noticed his boot was full of blood that they realized he had been struck behind his knee. Johnston not thinking the wound was serious ignored it and continued to lead his men. The would was very serious and he could not be saved. He bled to death minutes later. He was the highest ranking officer from either side of the Civil War to be killed in combat.
The Zouaves were the fighting men of one of the most interesting and finely tuned fighting units of the Civil War. Compared to any other unit in the war, regardless of the side, Yankee or Rebel, hands down, they were the best, perfection, in everything they did.
They took their styling from their North African counterparts. During the war the Union created 70 regiments while the south had roughly 25 regiments.
Marching, signaling, fighting, even dying, they did it the best. Their colorful uniforms and precisely done maneuvers made this unit the one to be gazed upon and admired. They participated in many battles including the battle of Bull Run and Second Bull Run.
During the battle of Second Bull Run the 5th New York suffered grievous casualties while defending their position. Out of the 525-man regiment 120 men were killed and 330 were wounded.
Since they were mere militia and not regular army soldiers they did not participate in every battle during the war but when they did they were very brave and did their duty to the fullest. The Confederate counterparts were smaller in number but they were just as brave.
They mostly patrolled and kept order in their home states throughout the war only fighting in full-scale battles when the enemy encroached into their territory. Regardless they did have the best looking uniforms if nothing else.
William Tecumseh Sherman was a Civil War general who is best remembered for his military tactical ability but also his “scorched earth” policy in the Civil War. In the course of the modern history of war, no other general or leader could compare to the sheer brilliance of Sherman’s tactical maneuvers.
He gets bad remarks concerning the way that he handled the defeated Confederates but his winning ways on the battlefield are legendary. Graced with great intelligence and a lion’s heart, Sherman assisted the Union in defeating the Confederates more so that any other leader.
Sherman served under the command of Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863. He accompanied the great General Grant in the campaigns at Vicksburg and Tennessee.
His routing of the Confederates in the state of Tennessee was one of the reasons that Sherman was considered almost barbaric in his treatment of the defeated Confederates.
Born in 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio, Sherman found himself left with his mother and 10 siblings following the unexpected death of his father, Charles Sherman. Sherman’s mother, Mary Sherman, was left to raise the giant family by herself with no money since her husband failed to write out a will.
William Tecumseh Sherman
This proved to be too much for the widow and Sherman was left to a good friend of the family in Lancaster to be raised. This stroke of tragedy turned good fortune for young Tecumseh since the family friend was a prominent member of The Wig Party. His military career was set. William Tecumseh Sherman received an appointment to West Point where he was considered to be one of the brightest cadets at the legendary military academy.
It was his penchant for a good joke and his disdain for the strict code of behavior that set Sherman apart from the rest of his fellow classmates. In his own words, Sherman would recall his days at the academy as both enlightening and dark.
He was brilliant at all the standard subjects, math English science history, but was a trouble spot for the faculty. He remained a private his entire four years at West Point while the other cadets were given officer status through brevets and appointments.
General Sherman taken in the Civil War
At the first battle of Bull Run, a miserable showing for the Union army, Sherman stood out as a leader who knew the art of war. President Lincoln saw this and promoted Sherman to general in 1861. Sherman was said to have suffered a nervous breakdown while leading his army in the states of Kentucky and Missouri. This is told by eyewitness accounts of Sherman by family and military colleagues.
Insanity claims were arising against Sherman so the military sent him back to Ohio for recuperation and rest. After some time Sherman was rested and ready to lead and it was a good thing for the Union that he did.
Sherman’s legend was confirmed at the battle of Shiloh with General Grant and his troops. Sherman, unwilling to boaster his defenses and send out scout parties to look for Confederate troops, seemed destined for failure at Shiloh.
Portrait of an older General Sherman
Just the opposite occurred, as Sherman was able to rally his troops and although forced to retreat with Grant, saved the Union from a devastating massacre. The next day he would gather his troops and once again under the direction of General Grant, would defeat the Confederates at Shiloh.
A great turn of events for both William Tecumseh Sherman and Grant. Rumors abound about the unlikely duo to their ability to further lead the Union cause. The drunkard and lunatic were the rude remarks left by the citizens of the Union even after both generals were winning on the battlefield.
After the Civil War, Sherman kept far way from any political office and instead wrote a brilliant account of the war. “Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. By Himself” would prove to be a valued and treasured resource for a first hand account of the war through the eyes of a brilliant commander. Sherman is quoted with one of the most famous lines in military history in a speech he delivered at West Point in 1879. “War is hell.”
That description of the terror of battle is defined by its’ brevity and full detail of what war really is. Sherman died in 1891 in New York City. A more valued commander, the north had never known.
Winfield Scott Hancock had a well-earned nickname. “Superb”. A name that although was only one word, perfectly described this leader, this man. Winfield Scott Hancock was a Union commander during the Civil War.
He earned the name, “Superb” by his efforts at the Battle of Gettysburg where he lead his charge against the Confederate forces there.
The battle was seen as one of the greatest confrontations of the entire war.
That battle created the moniker that would follow and also define the Union leader’s military career, but there was another battle as well.
The Battle of Williamsburg was the best display of military leadership by a Union commander since Sherman.
The Battle of Williamsburg was Hancock’s tour de force, a brilliant showing of the military tactical movement education, even in the face of utter defeat. Victory in Civil War battles sometimes did not come in the field, there were other realities that made the difference and General Hancock exercised them to the tee. After leading his brigade to a few wins he then was called to Antietam where he led a force of Union troops to a much needed victory.
Winfield Scott Hancock during the Civil War
General Hancock was born in Pennsylvania on February 14th, 1824. Named after one of the revolutionary war heroes, Scott would grow up in a strictly religious household. His family wanted Winfield to be a professional something, yet the good general to be wished for military honor.
Winfield Scott Hancock
The goal would be attained during his lifetime and the Union would give thanks by recognizing him in a statuesque form in Pennsylvania. He graduated from West Point and was sent off to fight the Mexicans in their war against the United States. After dispatching the Mexicans Hancock was enlisted in the army and fought the Indians until his Civil War career was initiated.
Hancock proved his mettle in every battle that he fought and led in the Civil War and at Gettysburg he would earn the right to be called a leader. A freak-wound suffered at the battle would have the general on bed rest until the next great achievement. The infamous Overland Campaign would find General Hancock in the center of what many would call hell.
The Union troops were fighting well during that campaign and Scott was heralded at every foray until the disaster at Cold Harbor.
General Grant made one of his few major mistakes of the war when he ordered General Hancock to take a position held by experienced and savage Confederate troops. The assault failed miserably and the General suffered major defeat and his brigade was almost completely destroyed. This did not sit well with President Lincoln and he ordered the general to be replaced.
At Governor’s Island, New York the general commanded for the final time, he died in 1886 a hero to the very end, a superb life well lived and well commanded. The victory by the Union army over the Confederates cemented the honoring of one of her own; General Hancock did just that, fought and taught superbly.
Ulysses S Grant was born in 1822, the son of an Ohio tanner and a nurse mother, he gained his first military experience in the books and lecture halls of West Point. As a cadet he was neither stellar nor lackluster, average was the correct term of his educational tenure. After graduating, Ulysses S. Grant immediately enlisted in the infantry and was sent to battle the Mexican forces in the Mexican War. General Zachary Taylor would later say of Grant, “If I had 100 men with the valor of Grant this war would have been over in a day”.
During the Civil War, Ulysses S Grant was dispatched by Abraham Lincoln to repel an army of Confederates in the Mississippi Valley region of the South.
After defeating the Rebels at Fort Henry on February 1862 Grant then set his sights on the Confederate stronghold at Fort Donelson.
The battle was quick and one-sided and as the Southern commander asked for terms, Grant replied, “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.”
The Confederates surrendered and President Lincoln immediately promoted Grant to the rank of major general. The North had its first hero and the South had a man who could match their every move on the battlefield.
Previously, the Confederates knew that their men were generally regarded as better trained and better equipped than their Union foes. Once Grant showed Lincoln that he was every bit a field general as Lee, the President wasted no time in selecting Ulysses S Grant as leader of the union forces.
Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War
Lincoln showed his undying respect and commitment to his chosen commander when he promoted Grant to General-In-Chief in March 1864. Grant certainly had earned his proverbial stripes, with impressive victories over Confederate forces at Vicksburg and Chattanooga.
Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War
Finally, at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered. Grant showcased his hidden intellect when he mandated the terms of surrender that carefully protected Southern soldiers from being tried as traitors. This type of loyalty to the nation post-war would go down in history as Grant’s final description. The war hero now turned his sights on political affairs, a territory he showed no real promise for.
On the battlefield Grant was superior in almost every way in defeating the South yet in the oval office the tide had turned. Although Grant was a scrupulously honest man, he would find himself at the center of many a scandal such as Black Friday and the Belknap Bribery, as President.
President Ulysses S. Grant
The President must have done a fair job, as leader of the nation for Grant was re-elected for a second term in 1872. A clear sign that Grant’s Civil War reputation definitely preceded him as President. President Grant followed the path of a true Reconstructionist who kept a force of federal troops in the major cities of the South directly after the war.
This show of force and leadership was two-fold in as much as Grant desired a unified nation he also was keenly aware of the South’s ability to rearm herself.
When Grant’s political career was at it’s gracious ending, he became a partner in a financial firm that went bankrupt. A short time after the failed financial venture, Grant was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer. Unmoved by this diagnosis and life ending prognosis Grant got right back up and started writing his memoirs.
In a race against death to secure a future for his family, Grant produced and sold the rights to his autobiography earning $450,000, a tidy sum in the late 19th century and today. Three short painful days in which Grant wrote the final pages of his work were completed. Grant died soon after finishing his memoir, a hero and valiant man to the bitter end, Ulysses S. Grant will always be known as the Savior of the North.
Stonewall Jackson is one of the most famous Civil War generals, second only to Robert E. Lee in popularity. The military career of Jackson is seen as one of the most gifted instances of tactical operations in the course of the Civil War.
One battle in particular is studied not only in the United States but also worldwide for it’s sheer brilliancy.
The Valley Campaign with Jackson’s envelopment of the Union Army right wing is one of the most effective instances of Jackson’s career. He also demonstrated his eternal grit and earned his famous nickname, “Stonewall” while fighting at the first battle of Bull Run.
The important battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg were pivotal in the Confederates war effort and showed Lee that Jackson was a leader with exceptional range.
Born in Virginia in 1824, Jackson was the third child born in his family. His father saw the promise in him very early and sent him away so that he could have a better chance at a fine education.
Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War
He was appointed to West Point when upon graduation in 1846; Jackson enlisted to fight in The Mexican War. After his service in the war with Mexico, Jackson signed on as a professor at Virginia Military Institute in 1851. Though his cadets at V.M.I. considered him strange, Jackson left an indelible imprint on every student he taught. The cadets called him “Old Blue Light” for the color of his steely eyes.
Thomas Stonewall Jackson in 1847
When the war erupted, Jackson was commissioned a colonel in the Virginia Army and sent to Harpers Ferry to help recruit soldiers for the fight ahead. The first battle of Bull Run displayed Jackson’s tenacity as a leader and determination as a soldier.
He received high marks by Lee for this battle and was then sent to command the Valley. By winning key battles at front Royal, 1st Winchester and Cross Keys, Jackson proved invaluable to the Confederate army. Another brilliant maneuver was at Chancellorsville when Stonewall Jackson directed his corps around the flank of the Union forces. This cunning maneuver allowed Jackson and his division the opportunity to engage and rout the 11th Corps of the Union forces.
In a strange twist of irony, Jackson was shot in the arm by his own men during the battle of Chancellorsville and subsequently had to have his left arm amputated. After the amputation Lee referred to the loss of the appendage as akin to him losing his right arm. This showing of respect and admiration for Jackson by such a venerable general highlighted a rather dark area of Jackson’s life.
Eight days after being wounded he died from complications (pneumonia) resulting from the operation. He was laid to rest May 12th 1863 in Lexington, Virginia. The Confederate cause and the war itself, took a toll from the devastating loss of such a fine commander. Many speak of the loss of Jackson as a pivotal point in the war and eventual Union victory.
Robert E Lee was born on January 19, 1807 in Stratford Virginia. He was the proud son of Henry and Anne Hill Lee. Robert E Lee’s father fought in the Revolutionary War as a cavalry officer. Lee’s father acquired the unfortunate nickname “Light Horse Harry”.
He was called this because of his ever increasing financial problems. Robert E. Lee grew up in Alexandria Virginia. In 1825, Lee entered the US Military Academy at West Point where he did very well he graduated 2nd in his class in 1829.
After he graduated Lee became a second lieutenant in the United States army. In 1831 Lee married Mary Ann Randolph Custis. They eventually had seven children together. During the Mexican war Lee distinguished himself and received several promotions in rank after the war ended. After the war Lee briefly served as superintendent of West Point, followed by his taking command of the 2nd US Cavalry.
Starting in 1860 the talk of secession and forming an independent country by southern states was becoming more and more widespread.
Robert E Lee Joins the Confederacy
Lee and his family lived in Arlington Virginia, which is directly across the Potomac River from Washington. Lee never supported the idea of a revolt against the nation to which he had sworn an oath.
General Robert E. Lee
In 1861 The south seceded, Virginia included. Back then people thought of their state as their country so naturally when Virginia changed sides Lee had to go with his “country” Lee resigned from the United States army and joined the southern cause for independence.
Lee was more of a paper pusher than a field general at this time. Things eventually took a dramatic turn for Lee.
Robert E Lee takes command of the Army of Northern Virginia
In the beginning of 1862, General George McClellan’s Union Army of the Potomac were ready to attack the Confederate capitol of Richmond, Virginia and hopefully end the war. In the battle at Seven Pines, the commanding general of the Confederate army was badly wounded and Lee was assigned to command the Confederate army. Lee renamed it the Army of Northern Virginia.
This was actually the first time that Lee had even commanded troops in actual combat. Fighting alongside Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, Lee attacked the Union army on two sides.
Jackson made short work of the Union troops in the Valley, He then raced his troops to Richmond and joined with General James Longstreet’s Corps in attacking Union forces there. Together, Lee and his officers were able to defeat McClellan’s forces in a series of battles called The Seven Days. Lee had saved Richmond from the Union.
General Lee’s army was always outnumbered, Lee was smart however and understood battlefield tactics and with an engineer’s sense and the support of excellent commanders, he was able to constantly defeat the Union Army time and again.
It wasn’t all victories for Lee however, he had several defeats during the Maryland Campaign in 1862 which developed into the Battle of Antietam. Lee did technically win the battle of Antietam since it was his army that remained on the field. However his men had no strength to continue to attack the Union army and Lee was forced to retreat.
In December of 1862 after the battle of Fredericksburg, both sides spent the winter rebuilding their armies for renewed attacks in the Spring. The Union attacked first striking Lee’s army starting the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee
Robert E Lee turned this attack into a great southern victory and this truly made him a hero in the south, unfortunately during this battle perhaps Lee’s greatest General “Stonewall” Jackson was mortally wounded by his own troops. Lee had no choice but to continue the fight and even invaded the north once again. Lee and his troops marched through Maryland and southern Pennsylvania until they came to a little place in July of 1863 called Gettysburg.
This was a battle the south was not destined to win. His loss here was a crushing defeat for the Army of Northern Virginia and Robert E Lee took the loss very personally even attempting to resign but the Confederate government would not accept his resignation.
The defeat of Robert E Lee was the key to end the war, Grant new this and chose to challenge Lee in a strategic duel in the spring of 1864. The Wilderness Campaign pitted the two armies against each other continuously for many weeks through middle Virginia southward toward Richmond. The fighting was tough and Lee was able to block every attack that Grant made.
Lee could never win a war like this, he was running out of men. His men could never be replaced but for Grant he always had a steady supply of fresh troops to throw into battle. General Grant moved his forces around Richmond to Petersburg, Virginia, an important railroad junction for the south. Grant was stopped and defenses were built by Lee’s troops.
Robert E Lee was even so bold as to attack Maryland once again with a portion of his army led by General Jubal Early. This attack actually succeeded in reaching the outskirts of Washington before they decided to return back to Virginia.
Robert E Lee knew that his army could never last through a drawn out siege but he refused to give up even against a growing force of two armies. Early in 1865 Lee made one last desperate attack to break the Union siege however this was a failure. At this point nothing left could be done to break the Siege of Petersburg or prevent the Fall of Richmond and Lee was forced to retreat.
The Army of Northern Virginia Surrenders
After his retreat Lee hoped he would be able to join the remainder of his army up with General Joseph Johnston’s Army in North Carolina. Despite his best efforts, Lee knew that the war was over and along with his few surviving soldiers stopped near Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865.
Here General Robert E Lee, dressed in his finest uniform, surrendered the remains of the Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant.
Robert E Lee at this time had only 7,500 remaining soldiers in his entire army.
After the surrender Lee returned to Richmond. This was probably the lowest point in his life, most northerners saw him as nothing more than a traitor who should be hanged.
Robert E Lee After the Civil War
In late 1865, Lee was offered and accepted the position of president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. Robert E Lee brought the school up to a very high standard of education.
He also encouraged his former soldiers to return home and restart their lives as Americans not just southerners.
Lee never discussed the war and he never wrote about his war-time experiences. On October 12, 1870, General Robert E Lee suddenly died after a short illness and is buried in the chapel of Lee University.
William Seward was the definition of a true American diplomat. From the purchase of the great state of Alaska from Russia in 1867, to the spreading of the American-way into the island of Hawaii, Seward was a diplomatic machine. In the entire history of American land acclimation and territorial dominance, none waved the flag stronger and with as much political force as William Seward.
The 1820 graduate of Union College in New York, Seward set his sights higher than most men of his time in the middle of the 19th century.
A lawyer at the age of 24, William Seward was very much an active member of the newly created Anti-Masonic Party that set out to destroy anything the Masonic Lodges of America attempted to create.
After running out of gas with the minimalist-theories of the Anti-Masonic Party, Seward joined up with most of his peers and enlisted in the Whig Party of New York. A highly respected motivational politician, Seward soon ran for many offices in his home state.
Elected to the seat of Governor of New York in 1838, the newly elected Seward aimed to defend the anti-slavery groups that were rapidly spreading in the union controlled Northern states. Converting to the Republican Party during his mid 40’s, the Governor soon was elected as the candidate for the party. Losing to Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election, Governor Seward accepted the position of Secretary of State under Lincoln.
Secretary of State William Seward during the Civil War
With his never-ending vision for the American people and more importantly, for him, the right of hegemony, Seward would be recalled for his aggressive nature. Seen as one of the greatest “land gatherers” for the United States.
These territories would have been controlled by the likes of France and Great Britain had not the intestinal fortitude of Seward be so readily apparent. As the open and very vocal “voice of the country” Seward laid the foundation for over 13 territorial possessions for the young and rapidly expanding American empire.
It was not seen as that back then, colonization was something that was not spoke of yet the people of Alaska and Hawaii may have referred to it as just that, American empirical behavior.
The world, and all of its non-committed and secular territories, was seen as up for grabs in the eyes of Seward. The people that deny Seward’s impressive political abilities only have to open an atlas and look at the territory of the United States of America. From Alaska to the north to the tiny islands of the South Pacific, America’s influence can be felt worldwide and it is because of one man’ s passion.
In 1865 Seward found himself the target of an assassination attempt. Lewis Powell stormed into his bedroom on the same night that Lincoln was killed and stabbed Seward repeatedly in the face and neck. Seward survived this attack but carried the scars on his face for the rest of his life.
William Seward died in 1872 of rheumatic fever, a man that was ahead of his time and thankfully for that, right at home in international relations.
William Quantrill fought in the border war between Kansas and Missouri. It was a long and heated affair. He and his followers would make sure that the border-war would culminate in a bloody, massacre.
The rebellious Quantrill hailed from a small town in Kansas. Anti-slavery was the pulpit in which the “Ruffian” would launch terrorist-styled attacks into the states of the Union.
Not claiming any political side and definitely not a Southerner nor Northerner, Quantrill robbed and burned and pillaged.
Nothing more than a front was his anti-slavery position used as a disguise to kill and steal. He terrorized the entire Kansas countryside almost exclusively for the profits that could be gathered.
The massacre that was about to be launched and orchestrated by Quantrill’s Raiders was at hand. The year was 1863 and the Civil War was raging. With the armies of both nations fighting it out mostly in the south, Quantrill would use this diversion to sack the town of Lawrence, Kansas. The “Bushwhackers” rode into town unmatched and began the methodical slaying of every man they set eyes on.
Rebel raider William Quantrill
Burning Lawrence to the ground and robbing from the banks, the Raiders slipped off into the night. This made front-page news across the entire country North and South and before long a bounty was placed upon the head of one of the most notorious fiends the war had known.
The primary reason that Quantrill and his men rode into Lawrence was to kill or capture Jim Lane. The Kansas native was a near mirror image of Quantrill minus the murdering and killing. The two hated each other. Jim Lane escaped and the epic battle never came to fruition.
Where were the Federal troops that were sent to protect the towns and farms of the Midwest? They were there; just not an issue for Quantrill for the Union was significantly outnumbered at Lawrence and could not put up much of a fight.
To confront the likes of Quantrill and his Raiders was to put your life into your own hands. Fighting the Rebels was life-threatening enough for most Union soldiers. The size and ferociousness of Quantrill’s Raiders would take at least 1,000 seasoned troops to effectively fight. The victory could not be assured without a sizable force and those forces were busy on the fronts of the Civil War. A perfect time for raiders and hooligans especially one so organized and deadly as Quantrill’s.
In May 10th 1865 Quantrill and the dozen or so men he had left were ambushed by Union troops in Kentucky. Quantrill was shot and mortally wounded. He died on June 6th 1865.
For his valor demonstrated at Iuka and Corinth, William Rosecrans earned the moniker “Fighting General” from his Federal colleagues. A name that stuck with him during the entire Civil War.
The greatest military compliment he received came from President Lincoln in regards to his winning a hard fought battle at Stones River over the brilliant General Bragg of the Confederacy. Lincoln said, “If Stones River had been a defeat the nation could scarcely have lived over it.”
Strong words from an even stronger man. Yet the irony of that battle would be that his Civil War resume would never again shine so brightly.
He was born at Kingston, Ohio on September 6, 1819. He went to West Point Military Academy and graduated in 1842. He married his hometown sweetheart and had two children.
His upbringing was rather modest with the family educating him mostly at home. The hard lessons taught during those Ohio winters instilled in him the great character he is fondly known for.
General William Rosecrans
After graduating from West Point he enlisted into the army as an officer and spent 12 years fighting Indians and learning his military role. In July 1861 he won a battle at Rich Mountain, West Virginia against a seasoned and heavily armed rebel army. This was his first battle in the Civil War and he did not disappoint, at first.
Before he started to lose his grip on the battles, He kept Robert E. Lee out of West Virginia and saved countless human lives in the process. The bloody losses and wins contributed to his fatigue and sapped his will to fight. In the middle of the Stones River battle, another general took notice of his new demeanor and said about his face, “usually florid face had lost its ruddy color and his anxious eyes told that the disasters of the morning were testing his powers to the very verge of endurance.”
When he returned to Chattanooga, he was weary and his recovery was slow from the beating his army had taken at the hands of the rebels. The war had defeated him and he was definitely unwilling or unable to regain his ‘fighting general” nickname.
One example that pushed Lincoln over the edge in disfavor of him was when General Rosecrans was asked to report on his plans of battle against the Confederates and his replies were vague and confusing.
Lincoln would later say after he reluctantly dismissed Rosecrans from duty, “confused and acting like a duck that had been hit on the head.” He was able to regain a bit of his old self when he was given the command over The Department of Missouri which he valiantly lead to victory over the Confederates in 1864. But the glory was soon lost and in the fall of 1867 he resigned for the final time.
After the Civil War he was appointed by President Andrew Johnson to the role of Ambassador to Mexico in 1868. He served in that position for two years and then went into the private sector. Mining struck a chord in him and he was said to be one with the rock. Eventually he retired and spent the remainder of his days in California. On March 11, 1898 he died peacefully in his sleep.