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Civil War Generals

How Many Civil War Generals Were There

Civil War generals numbered in the hundreds during the war.

Many officers were promoted to higher ranks during the war, which included promotions to the rank of general.

These promotions were called brevet promotions. They were only valid for as long as the war lasted.

After the war ended their rank reverted back to where it was prior to their brevet promotion.

George Custer was one example of this type of wartime promotion. He was promoted to the rank of general during the Civil War.

Generals of the Civil War either won or lost battles due to their competence as commanders or their incompetence.

Great Civil War Generals

Some generals such as Robert E. Lee and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are famous for their brilliant tactics and wise decisions on the battlefield.

A must read book about Stonewall Jackson is Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson this is a very well researched and fascinating biography about one of the Confederates best and most famous generals.

Bad Civil War Generals

Some less impressive generals during the Civil War are remembered simply for being as equally terrible as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were great.

Union General Ambrose Burnside is one example of incompetence and ineptitude that was nothing more than a burden to his subordinates and his men.

General Ambrose Burnside

General Ambrose Burnside

Burnside’s Blunder at Antietam

One of General Burnside’s most famous blunders was during the battle of Antietam at a bridge which forever bears his name called Burnside bridge.

He ordered his men to cross the bridge so that Union forces could cross Antietam creek and continue their attack against the Confederates. The bridge was defended by a small group of Confederate soldiers who held the high ground on the other side.

The defenders had easy targets as the Union troops tried to cross the narrow bridge.

Hundreds of General Burnside’s men were needlessly sacrificed trying to cross this bridge. Meanwhile General Burnside could have had his soldiers cross the creek a few hundred feet downstream where it was not defended and it was shallow enough for his men to have easily and safely walked across the Antietam creek.

Burnside himself even admitted publicly that he would make a very poor general, apparently nobody was listening and he was put in command anyway.

A great book about Civil War Generals from both sides of the conflict is Generals South, Generals North: The Commanders of the Civil War Reconsidered.

Below you will find a list of some of the more famous leaders during the Civil War.

Civil War Generals and Other Famous People

Abner Doubleday

(1819-1893) Abner Doubleday was born on June 26th 1819 in Ballston Spa, New York. He was a staunch Union loyalist [...]

Abraham Lincoln

(1809-1865) Abraham Lincoln Timeline - 1809 February 12 - Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin, near what is [...]

Albert Sidney Johnston

(1803-1862) Albert Sidney Johnston was born on February 2nd 1803 in Washington, Kentucky. At the outbreak of the Civil War [...]

Alexander Gardner

(1821-1882) Alexander Gardner was born in Scotland on October 17th 1821. In 1856 he arrived in the United States hoping [...]

Allan Pinkerton

(1819-1884) Allan Pinkerton was born in Glasgow, Scotland on August 25th 1819. In 1842 he left Scotland and came to [...]

Ambrose Burnside

(1824-1881) Ambrose Burnside was born in Liberty Indiana on May 23rd 1824. He attended West Point and served in the [...]

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Civil War Generals2019-07-25T22:26:40-04:00