*** the American Civil War -- biographies

The American Civil War: Biographies

Figure 1.--

The history of the Civil War like other momentous events is of course the story of the countless individuals who participated or who were caught up in the Civil War. The central figure is of course newly-elected president Abraham Lincon. Evert president since Jackson were either southerns are willing to placate the South and accomodate them on the issue of slavery. Lincoln was willing to to avoid a major ininitaitive on slavery, but he was adament on union. And the South had largely mafe up their mind before he even took office. Perhaps the most fascinating biographical issue is the contrast between Lincoln and Cofederate president Jefferson Davis. The contrast between the two men we have one of the great imponderables of history.Lincoln had virtually no education, almost no military experience, and was a single term Congressman. Davis on the other hand was highly educated, a West Point grafuate and war hero, Mississpoi senstor, and Secretary of War. Despite this difference, Lincokn made the critical decesions that led to the Union victory. Davis on the other hand made decesions that contributed to the Confederate defeat. We will add here the biographies of other Civil War figures we have developed for HBC. HBC has biographical pages on some of the individuals involved in or associated with the Civil War. Many of these are in the HBC Presidential section, but we hope to build more biographcal pages as well.

(Prince) Albert (1819-61)

Prince Albert, Prince Consort of Britain, was not a central figure in the Civil War. One of the last important acts before his untimely death was to help lead the British Government away from supporting the southern states in their attempt to succeed. Many important British figures held concerns against the United States. Britain and America in the 1840s had come close to war over the Oregon Territory. Had Britain assisted the South it would have had major consequences in the War. Think how the 20th century would have developed if a strong, united American Republic nit have existed.

John Anglin (1850-1905)

John Anglin served as a Union (Northern) cabin boy and powder monkey. We notice various references to the ships on which he served, including the the 'USS Pawnee' and the 'USs New Hampshire' off Charleston. He may have served on more than one vessel. He is wearing a uniform with sailor elements such as the cap and bell-botom trousers, but not the the 'V' front a stripe derailing. Note the angle of his cap. He aas about 14 years old when this photograph was probly taken in 1864. He went on to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. John was born (October 6, 1850), we believe in Maine. The state has a maritime tradition which is perhaps why he enlisted in the Navy. We know nothing about his family or childhood. He was serving on the Union side-wheel gunboat USS Pontoosuc. He was a cabin bow which was an actual rank, but we believe that during actions, cabin boys served as 'powder monkies' along with the gun crews. Here the small size of boys made them more manuerable in the tight conditions of a gun deck and scrambling back and forth the bring up powder. We know that during the 18th and early-19th century that boys much younger than John served in these roles. We are not sure what age trends were for the U.S. Navy at the time of the Civil War. The heavy and inert cannon balls were stored on the gun deck bside the cannons, but not the gunpowder chargers. John was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second Battle of Fort Fisher (January 15, 1865).

John Brown (1800-59)

John Brown emerged from the guerrilla fihting in "Bleeding Kansas" as an individual willing to act and not just talk. He was determined to end slavery and was convined that it could not be done peacefully. Brown obtained clandestine financial support from various radical anti-slavery groups. Brown after Kansas moved into the Southern Appalachians (1857). He set up a base there and recruited a small company of men. Af first there activities focused on assisting runaways reach Pennsylvania and Ohio. Grafually a much more grandiose plan to launch a lave revolt. It was to be set off by seizing the Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry (October 1859). Brown did nanage to seize Harper's Ferry, but there was no slave uprising. And soon a detachment of Marines commanded by Robert E. Lee reahed Harper's Ferry. Brown and his conspirators were arrested and after a trial hung. While Brown's rebellion failed he succeeded more than he knew. His action although quickly suppressed convinced large numbers of southerners that there was no longer any place for them in the Federal Union.

James Buchanan (1791-1868)

James Buchanan was the 15th president of the United States. He has to be considered the worst president in American history. He groped for compromise as the South advanced toward secession. Tall, stately, stiffly formal in the high stock he wore around his jowls, James Buchanan was the only President who never married. Presiding over a rapidly dividing Nation, Buchanan grasped inadequately the political realities of the time. Relying on constitutional doctrines to close the widening rift over slavery, he failed to understand that the North would not accept constitutional arguments which allowed the South to extenbd slavery. Nor could he realize how sectionalism had realigned political parties: the Democrats split; the Whigs were destroyed, giving rise to the Republicans. He not only failed to prevent seccession, but he allowed subordinates to disperse Federal land and naval forces so Lincoln had few forces at his disposal upon taking office and Washington was virtually undefended.

Johnny Clem (1851-1937)

John Joseph Klem, often refered to as Johnny Clem, was probably the most famous boy who served in the Civil War. He is known to history as the 'Drummer Boy of Chickamauga' and also 'Johnny Shiloh'. He was one of the youngest, but not the youngest to do so. Like most younger boys who participated in the War, he served as a musician. The Federal Army alone had places for 40,000 muscians. Many of the boys given the turmoil of battle became involved in the actual fighting. Johhny was the most famous Union boy soldier. He became a drummer in the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry at age 11 years. He fought in the battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, and Atlanta. He was eventually promoted to serve as a mounted orderly on the staff of General George H. Thomas, with the 'rank' of lance sergeant.

William Baker Cushing

William Baker Cushing has to be perhaos the nost unsung military hero of the Civil War. Amateur historin Theodore Roosevelt writes of Cushing that he "... cpmes next to Farragut on the hero roll of American navalk history." Surprisingly even well read Civil War chroniclers have never heard of him. He was bounced out of Anapolis for 'bufoonery'. Cushing with the outbreak of Civil War proved himself adeot in small unit combat. He was given the command of a small Federal ship and proceed to conduct virtually suisidal raids. He 'cut-out' Condederate Navu ships and took a toll on blockade runners. His most impressive achievement was the destruction of the Confederat ironclad CSS Albemarle (1864).

George Armstrong Custer (18??-??)

George Armstrong Custer almost did not graduate from West Point. He ranked 34th in a class of 34. He proved to be was a dashing , but reckless civil War cavalry commnder. He he youngst general in the War. His character emerged duing the war. He was a restless man, hungering fo glory, and unwavering confidnce in his abiliies, and willing to risk not only his own life, but those of his men as well.

Jefferson Davis (1808-89)

The only Confederate President Jefferson Davis led a long and eventful life. He was a Mississippi planter, a husband, a father, West Point graduate, war hero, Congressman, Senator, Secretary of War, and finally President of the Confederate States of America. In many ways he was a study of contrast with northern counterpart, Abraham Lincoln. Davis was a rich, eduacted, war hero who did not understand the political process or have the personal skills to work with others. Lincon had none of the backgrond of Davis, but a consumate politician. Like Lee, Davis opposed sucession until his state left the Union.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was an influential spokesman for abolition in the years leading up to the Civil War. Douglass was a brilliant orator and with his first hand experiences, the American Anti-Slavery Society. He became famous in the North and Britain when his autobiography was publicized in 1845. His biograpohy provides a revealing look at the lives of slaves, including how slaves were dressed. It should be remembered that he was not a plantation slave in the deep South. Douglass 2 years later bagan publishing the antislavery paper, The North Star. Douglass advised President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and pushed for first abolition and then constitutional amendments that guaranteed voting rights and other civil liberties for freed blacks. Douglass provided a stirring voice for human rights and is words are still a powerful inditement of racial bigotry and injustice.

Joseph Chamberlain

Jubal Anderson Early

Virginian Lt. General Jubal Anderson Early was involved in almost every major battle in Virginia from First Bull Run (July 1861) to Cold Harbor (June 1864). Virginia was where the first and last Civil War batytles were fought. It was the single most important state of the Confederacy. Early earned a solid reputation as a competent first brigade and then division commander in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. His performance as a corps commander was more mixed. Lee gave Early command of his Second Corps (Jackson's Corps) which he committed to the Shenandoah Campaign. Lee had few commanders left to choose from. The Shenandoah Campaign was vital to the Army of Northern Virginia and the Confederacy. It was the agricultural breadbasket feeding Lee's Army. And the loss of the Shenandoah Valley doomed Lee's Army. Early did not rise to the occassion, but in fairness by 1864 the Federal forces superority in men and supplies was insurmountable. Early led an epic effort, but was defeated by General Philip H. Sheridan. Early's combat achievements are [erhaps best descibed as solid, but rarely did they rise to exemplary like Stonewall Jackson or James Longstreet. [Cooling] While Early's contribution to the Confederacy during the Civil War limited during the War, he had a major impact after the War. He became as 'Old Jube' the self-appointed custodian of Confederate history and more than anyone responsible for the 'Lost Cause' mythology which did so much damage to not inly the freed slaves, but to the South as a whole after the War. Early litteraly manufactured history from his position in the Souther Historical Society. Early used his position to reward and punish southern historians in an effot to perpetuate his view on the causes and conduct of the War. Early' Lost Cause mythology camr to doiminate American historioraphy of the Civil War until the rise of the Civil Rights Movement (1960s). The distortions and half truths have still not completely disappeared.

Richard S. Ewell

Nathan Bedford Forrest

Perhaps the Confederacy's most successful commander was Nathan Bedford Forrest. In the Western theater he achieved victories that eluded other commanders. He of course is credited with the axionm of "getting there first with the mostest". Civil War historians generally agree that he was one of the Confederacy's mos brillint coimmanders. Many students oif the War ask why he was not given important commands. Here the reason is social prejudice. Many Federal commanders like Grant came from humble backgrounds. Southern commanders mostly came from the Plantation aristocracy. Forrest before the war had made a fortune from slave trading. While there was no stigma associated with owning slaves in the South--slave trading was a different matter. In additon Forrest was a near illiterate. Thus he was never given a major command. He was not a professional who had graduated from West Point like many major Confederate commanders (Lee, Lngstreet, and others). In additon, Forest was connected with war crimes such as the murder of African-American POWs at Fort Pillow. Forrst was a virulent racist and after the War he founded the Ku Klux Klam. As an older man he tried to dissasociate himself from the worst excesses of the Klan. [Hanson, Ripples.]

Franklin Gaillard (1828-64)

Franklin Gaillard was a Lt. Col in the Army of Norther Virginia, the 2nd South Carolina Infantry. He was a competent officer receiving rapid promotions during the War. He is of interest to Civil War historians primarily because he was a prolific letter writer. His descriptive letters of the various campaigns in his letters home to his two children. Franklin was born to planter parents in Pineville, South Carolina (1829). From an early point he proved to be an excellent student and fine writer. His family had moved to Alabama, but Gaillard remained in South Carolina with his uncle in Fairfield County. He attended Mount Zion Academy in Winnsboro. As an older student, Gaillard developed a strong interest in politics. He graduated from South Carolina College (today's University of South Carolina). He graduating as class valedictorian (1849). He then took off for the California gold fields where he spent 3 years. When he returned to his uncle's home without making his fortune, he purchased the local Winnsboro Register , a paper with a strongly southern democratic outloook and readership (about 1852). He married that same year. The young couple had two children, a boy and girl. His wife tragically died (1856). His work in Winsboro was noted. He was accepted an offer to become the chief editor of the Carolinian newspaper, an important state newspaper. As a result, just as the sectional crisos was reaching a critical point, he was thrust in the middle of the public discourse in South Carolina. He was part of the many South carolinians who were outraged over perceived insults to Southern society from the increasingly important Abolitionist movement in the North. Secession of course was the inevitable result and South Carolinawas the first state to secced. Gaillard had no military experience and owned no slaves, but after playing an important role in the secession debate, he felt a need to serve his state. He had connections with importantbpoliticans and this got an officer�s position. He mustered into Company A of what would become the 2nd South Carolina Volunteer Regiment as a lieutenant. He took an immediate liking to military life and proved good at it. The Regiment played importsnt roles in major battles of 1862 an earky 1863. By the time of Gettysburgh he was promoyed to lieutenant colonel of the regiment, commanded by Colonel John D. Kennedy. Lt. Gaillard was very ethusiastic about the offensive into Pennsylvania , thinking that with Lee in command that they would achieve more imprtant victories. Gerrtys birg was a shock. Although involved in Pickett's Chasrge, he survived the battle. He wasm hoowever, killed in the Wilderness (1864). His two children were left orphans.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-77)

Ulysses S. Grant has been derided by many Civil War authors aslacking the tactical brilliance of Lee. Thereis an element of truth in this, but Grant is not the butcher just relying on the material supperority of the North. He was one of the few Federal generals who won a battle against a superior Confederate force. None other a source than Longstreet argued that it was Grant's strategic concepts that enabled the North to win the War. He argued that Grant believed in concentratioin of force while the South desirious of defending all of its territory, created many small commands that were defeated in detail. Grant was elected the 18th United States President in 1868. He came to the Presidency a great military hero, the leading Union general in the Civil War. Paradoxically, the decisive Civil War General is viewed by many historians to have been a weak and vascilating president. Other historians dispute this view and see him an upholder of Civil Rights for blacks and a supporter of efforts to move native Americans toward citzenship. Scrupuously honest himself, the trust he placed in friends and political associates was often misplaced and he presided over one of the most corrupt asministrations.

Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-86)

Winfield Scott Hancock was born in Pennsyvania (1824) and grew up with a twin btother> He graduated from est Point with a medicore reacord (1844). He fought in the Mexican War and from an early point in the Civil War emerged as one of the Federal's most skilled militaruy commnders. McClellan during the Peninsular Campaign called him, 'Hancock the Superb'. It was at Gettyburg that Hancock made his greatest contribution. It was Hancock more than any Federal Commander that helped create the Fish Hook position on the first day of combat that Lee and Confederate commanders were unable to crack. Hancock manananged this even though When Meade arrived to take command, he inherited the formidable Fish Hook disposition that Hancock had helped create. [Bretzger] After the War and furthr military service, he came very close to becoming president, but was nrrowly defeated by Garfielkd in the 1880 elction.

Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-93)

Ritherford B. Hayes was 19th president and one of two presidents to lose in the popular election, but still become president through a narrow victory in the electoral college. He urged badly needed civil service reform. He was an honest moderate reformer, but his administration marked the removal of federal troops from the South and thus the end of Reconstruction and the berginning of Jim Crow segregation laws. The first telephone was installed in the White House during 1879. At first it was hardly used, because there weren't many other phones in Washington to call.

John Bell Hood (1831-79)

No one ever questioned the bravery of Confederate General John Bell Hood, but his command of the Army of Tennessee was a disaster for the Confederacy. Hood was born in Owingsville, Kentucky during 1831. He grew up in the bluegrass region of central Kentucky near Mt. Sterling. His paternal grandfather was Lucas Hood who served in the Indian Wars under famed General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. His grandfather fought at Fallen Timbers. His maternal grandfather James French, served in the Revolutionary War. His fathe wanted him to be a doctor. Instead Hood through the assisance of an uncle, Congressman Richard French, secured an appoitment to West Point. There his academic career was average, but he awarded a large number of demerits--some by Superintendent Col. Robert E. Lee. Despite the demerits, Hood graduated 44th out of 52 in the class of 1853. Hood served in South Carolina and then with the calvary in Texas. When the Southern states seceeded, Hood was awarded a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army of Northern Virginia. He rapidly rose in rank. He was severely wounded at Gettsburg, but upon recovering joined the Army of Tennessee. Hood had priven a daring an effective commander under the command of Lee, but when given command of the Army of Tennessee he proved a disaster. After the War he fathered a large family.

Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson (1824-63)

Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson was born in Clarksburg, Vrginia (now West Virginia) (1824). His father was a lawyer, Jonathan Jackson. His mother was Julia Beckwith Neale. Thomas was the third child. Their father died soon after. After his mother remarried, Thomas did not get along with his stepfather. He lost his first wife. He was knwn for his regimented persnal habits at the Virginia Militry Accademy where he taught. A skilled military tactician, Jackson served as a Confederate general under Robert E. Lee with the Army of Northern Vrginia. He was one of the Civil War's most talented military commanders. Anf for Lee, he was one of his most important, if not the most important corps commnders. His tactical brilliance is best known and threatened the Federal victory. Less well known are his strategc innovations which began shattering conventional wisdom on warfare. [Gwynne] Jackson came to prominence at the First Bttle of Bull Fun (1861) where he earned his iconic knickname. He played vital roles at Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Lee's most brillint victory at Chancellorsville. A Cnfederate picket accidentally shot Jackson. His arm had to be amputated, but he did not survive. It is widely believed by Civil War historians that Lee could have won at Gettysburg had Jackson been there. His replacement, Richard S. Ewell, with Jackson's I Corps failed to take Culps Hill, the key to the Federal line, on the first day of the battle. After the War, Jackson became the embodiment of the romantic, vrtous Southern 'Lost Cause'.

Jesse James

One of the mythic figures of the Old West was outlaw Jesse James and his gang. During the War he served with Quantrils irregulars. Lost Cause historians hrlped turn him into a gallant figure resisting northern carpetbagers. Depictions vasried, including sn American Robin Hood take the farms of neigbor southern sympetisers. One historian dismisses these assrsments as bunk and describes him as a murderous ex-Confederaste pure and simple.

Robert E. Lee (18??-??)

Robert E. Lee was born into two of the most prestigious families of Viurginia. His father, "Light Horse" Harry Lee was a dashing young cavalry officer in the Revolution who served under George Washington. His lack of prudence in financial matters, however, clouded the family future. As a boy, he tenderly cared for his ailing mother. His choice of a military career was virtually by his father's squandering of his inheritance. As a younger brother, there was no money to pay for college. Family connections secured his appoinment to the West Point Military Academy. He led the Cadet Corps in 1829, graduated second in his class. He was the most perfect cadet in West Point history--never receiving a single demerit. He also became one of the most popular cadets in his class. He played an important role in the Mexican War. After that War, Lee returned to the Academy as superintendent. He was one of the the most outstanding superintendents in West Point history. He was affectionately regarded by the cadets for his fairness and moral leadership. As the Southern states began to succeed, Lincoln offered Lee command of the Federal armies. Ideas of pariotism and nationlity were different in ante-bellum America and when Virginia succeeded, Lee tendered his resignation and joined the Confederate Army. Lee is regarded by many as the greatest general to emerge from the Civil War. This is an open question. He may well have been the greatest field commandr. He was known for his audacity and bold strokes. [Alexander] Lee has been questioned about his strategic concept. Even in his great victories, therecwere very substantial Condederate losses. It may have been better foir the South to have hubanded its resources rather than to carry out Lee's two failed and very costly invasions of the North.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-65)

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. In the pantheon of American presidents, Lincoln stands second only to Washington. He was the most poorly educated of all American presidents, most of whom came from affluent families. . In fact, it is difficult to imagine an American president more poorly prepared for the responsibilities of being president. Nor has any president inherited a more difficult situation on his inaguration. It is also difficult to imagine how the Federal Govenment could have won the War without Lincoln or how he could have crafted policies better suited to conduct and win the War. He was illserved by a sereies of incompetent generals until afrer Vicksburg and Gettusburgh he finally settled on Grant. Oneof the mysteries o history is how a man with such limited education could have overseen such a brilliant militry and political effort to save the Union and free the slaves.

James Longstreet

George B. McClellan

General George B. McClellan graduated from West Point (1846). He was an engineer and Mexucan War veteran. He seved as a railroad executive. He played a major role in trhe first 2 years of the War. He compiled a decidely mixed record. He made a huge contribution to the Federl cause by building the Army of the Potomac. This was the largest Federal formtion and central to the outcome of the war. As a result he had his admirers, "One famous officer said of him, "I have more confidence in General McClellan than in any man living. I would forsake everything and follow him to the ends of the earth, I would lay down my life for him." [Custer] While creting the Army of the Poltomac, he hesitated to use it. The Peninsular Campaign in Virginia was his plan, but when Robert E. Lee struck back as the Federal troops neared Richmond, McClellan decided to wihdraw (1862). President Lincoln famously said, "If General McClellan does not want to use the Army, perhaps he could loan it to me."

(Emperor) Napoleon III (1808-73)

French Eperor Louis Napoleon used the Civil War as an opportunity to install and support a European regime in Mexico--the Emperor Maximillian. One of many disastrous foreign adventures that he persued as French Emperor.


Phillip H. Sheridan (1831-88)

Phillip H Sheridan had a meteoric rise in the Federal army. He was the acclaimed Federal cavalry commander of the War. Like Sherman, his passification efforts made him a hated figure in the South. He appears to have been born in New York during 1831. He was also a West Point graduate, although it took him 5 yers instead of the expected 4 years. He began the War as a second lieutenant in the infantry and yet rose to be the third most important Federal commander. He slowly built a solid military reputation in the western campasigns. When Grant was given command of the Federal armies in 1863, he appointed Sheridan to command the Army of the Potomac's calvary. Until this, the Confederat calvary had consistently outperormed their Fedral counterparts. Sheridan assisted with ample equipment and proivisioins built the Fedral calvary which showed at Brandy Station that it was no longer outclassed by Confederate forces. Confederate calvary commander was mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern. Sheridan was close to Grant, but had difficulties with other Federal commanders like Duffie, Meade, Stevenson, and Warren. This was interestin because Sheridan had the exact opposite tempermant of Grant, he was excitable as Grant was calm. [Hayes] Concerned by Earlys attack on Washington in 1864, Grant ordered Sheridan to command a new offensive into the Shenandoah Valley which was supporting Confederate forces. His victory in this offensive earned him the rank of major general. He burned his way through the Valley, ensuring that it could o longer provide provisions to Confederate fvorces. Rejoining Grant before Richmond, he penetrated the Confederate lines at Five Forks, necessitating the evacuation of both Petersburg and Richmond. He was forceful it cutting Lee off from joining Johnston in North Carolina and thus forcing his surrender at Appomatox. After the War he participated in a postwar show of force against the French-supported Emperor Maximilian in Mexico. He then headed the Reconstruction government of Texas and Louisiana. His severe administration resulted in his recall after only a half year. He reamined in the Army and was active in the actions agains the Plains Indians. He was appointed to command the Army in 1884.

William T. Sherman (1820-91)

William T. Sherman is one of America's great army commanders. Like Grant, he was born in Ohio and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Sherman grduated in 1840. He is perhaps the most controversial of the major military commanders. Sherman like Grant had left the Army, but after the sucession was commissioned as an infantry colonel. His first battle was in the east in the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) in July 1861. He soon joined Grant in the West. He was with Grant at Shiloh and witnessed Grant's legenbdary coolness under fire. Sherman was promoted to brigadier general in July 1863 and named commander of the Army of the Tennessee. He played a major role and played an important role in the Federal victory at Chattanooga. Sherman persued the Confederate forces into Georgia, but it was to be months before he succeeded in taking Atlanta. Sherman on May 5, 1864, a massive army of nearly 100,000 men back into Georgia. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston fought off Sherman with a much smaller force for 3 months. In desperation as Sherman edged closer to Atlanta, Davis replaced Johnston on July 17 with Texan John Bell Hood who engaged in aggressive tactics resulting in horrendous losses. The Confederate forces weree so weakened that after 6 weeks, Confederate casualties had doubled, and on September 1 Sherman entered Atlanta. The victory rose spirits in the North and were a great was a great help to President Lincoln's reelection bid. Sherman then launched his army on March to the Sea with 60,000 men. Removed from Federal supply lines, Sherman's army foraged and cut a swath of destruction across the heart of Georgia aimed at destroyong thge South's ability to wage war. Sherman entered the Atlantic coast port of Savanah where he could once again be supplied on December 23. Sherman's march through Georgia became a symbol of Federal brutality in the post-war years. It was not just the destruction, but Sherman sought to destroy the basis of plantatioin society which he saw as the root cause of the war. [Hanson, Soul] He then procedded in a similar march across South and North Carolina, moving north to hook up with Grant at Richmond and Pettersburg. . Before this occurred, Lee surrender at Appomattox. Johnston 2 weeks later was compeled to surrender in North Carolina on April 26, 1865. Excepted for small scattered forces, the Confederacy ceased to exist. Johnston would many years later serve as a pallbearer at Sherman's funeral and die soon after.

Edwin McMasters Stanton (1814-69)

Edwin McMasters Stanton was Linclon's Secretary of War, taking office during the second year of the War. Stanton was one of Lincoln's most important advisers, second only to Secretary od State Seward. He also served under President Johnson, although Johnson attemoted to fire him, igniting the impeachment crisis. Stanton was born in Steubenville, Ohio (1814). He attended Kenyon College and was admitted to the bar (1835). He specializing in patent law, contract law, and and title issues and developed a national reputation as one of the country's preeminent trial lawyers. He headed a team of lawyers that challenged Cyrus Hall McCormick�s patent of the mechnical reaper. A local lawyer was added to the team--Abrham Lincoln. Stanton and the other big city lawyer wanted nothing to do with Lincoln who was seen as local yokle. Stanton ws quoted as saying, "Why did you bring that damned long armed ape here?" It is a measure of Lincoln's character that he would choose men like Stanton for his cabinet. Stanton like others Lincoln chose at first looked down on him, but soon realised his unique abilities. Stanton was often adifficult person to work with. He was often brusqe and did not mince words. He was, however, a capable manager and scruposly honest. He proved to be a highly capable mnager of the enmense Federal war effort. After the war, President bJohnson kept him on as Secretary of War. Stanton came to noppose the soft policies advicated by President Johnson to bring the Confederate states back into the Union. Johnson's attempt to fire Stanton led to the Presiudent's impeachment by the House of Representatives abd trial in the Senate.

Hariet Beecher Stowe (United States, 1811-96)

Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe was born into a prominant religious family in Litchfield, Connecticut (1811). She was an ardent abolitionist and popular author. Henry Ward Beecher, Hariet's brother, was one of the most important church spokeman against slavery. They are examples as to how the Chrstain Church was at the heart of the growing Abolitionist Movement during the anre-bellum era. She wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), the most important of the slave literature published in the North. It was the most popular book of the 1850s before the Civil War. Stow was influenced by the experiences of two teenage Maryland slave girls, Emily and Mary Edmonson, who were rescued from being sold as 'fancy girls' to New Orleans bordellos. The story of Eliza , Topsy, Uncle Tom, and Simon Legree electrified northern readers and theater goers, powerfully affecting northern attitudes toward slavery. It virtually made the Civil War inevitable. And this is precisely what President Linson told Stow when he met her. Stowe's book moved people in the North that had not previously been touched by Abolitionis litrature. It infuriated people in the Siuth that were increainhly thinking tha they could not remain in the Union. The book depicts the harsh life for African American slaves and how it affected women and children. It was widely performed as a play throughout the North. Stow ent on to write 30 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters as well as speaking at public fora. She was influential not only for her published works, but alao her positins on the social issues of the day. Nothing comapred, however, to the imapct of Uncle Tom's Cabon. It is easily the most influntial book in American history.

Godfrey Weitzel

Brigader Geneneral and German immigrant Godfrey Weitzel is arrcirding to his biograoher the leat known Federal general. Biographers often overstate the importbce of the people they chronicle. Witzel is certainly a notable commnder. He was from Cininnti and a West Point graduate. At the beginning of the war he was at the cntr of actiin when Louisana seceeded (1861). He advance quickly and was promited to Brigadier Gneral (186). He is best known for taking command of the all-black XXV Corps. His corps was heavily involved in the Viginia fighting during 1864. and he would lead his men into Richmond when Lee abandined the city (1865). [Quatman]


HBC has received numerous requests from HBC readers for help in finding information about their relatives that were involved in the Civil War. We have little such information on our site. The National Park Service (NPS) maintains many Civil War battlefield sites, including military cemetaries woth the remains of Civil War soldiers are burried. The NPS has an excellent site which will help readers find information about their relatives. I believe its a work in progress, with names being added on a regular basis. It is sensitive to spelling, however: for example, if you put in Johnny Clem, you get no hits. If you put in John Clem you get several. There is not a lot of information on each individual, but it does give you regiment, company, rank in and out and the film number.


Alexander, Edward Porter. "Lee at Appomattox," The Century Magazine April 1902. Alexander was the commander of artillery in Longstreet's corps.

Bretzger, Paul. Observing Hancock at Gettysburg (2016).

Cooling, Benjamin Franklin III. Jubal Early: Robert E. Lee's 'Bad Old Man' (2014), 216p.

Custer, George Armstrong. As quoted in Paul Andrew Hutton, ed. The Cusytr Readr

Gwynne, S.C. Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson (2014), 688p.

Hayes, Ruthorford B. "Grant's Stoicism and Sheridan's Enthusiasm," The Ohio Soldier, September 17, 1888. Hayes was a brigade and division commander in the Federal Army and suceeded Grant as president of the United States.

Hanson, Victor Davis. Ripples of War.

Hanson, Victor Davis. The Soul of Battle (1999).

McPherson, James M. The Mighty Scourge: Perspectives of the Civil War (Oxford Univesity Press: 2007), 260p.

Quatman, G. William. A Young Genral and the Fall of Richmond: The life an Career of Godfrey Weitzel (2015), 368p.

CIH -- Civil War

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[Biographies] [Campaign] [Causes] [Emancipation] [Families and youth] [Fiscal policy] [Formations and units] [Law] [Railroads] [Slavery] [Soldiers] [Uniforms] [Weaponry]
[Lost Cause] [Civil Rights movement]
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Created: August 26, 2002
Last updated: 11:47 PM 10/8/2017