User avatar
Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:19 am

Short biographies

Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:54 pm

(This thread was begun in the Beta team, then stopped as time was running out)

This is a first version of short biographies. Any thoughts ? TIA

Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. BANKS
As a political appointee, but with no military experice, Banks was named a major general and given divisional and departmental command near Washington early in the war. He was routed by Gen. Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley campaign and at Cedar Mountain. In the Gulf area, he led the costly siege of Port Hudson and the dismal Red River campaign.
His field career was rather desastrous but his appointment served its purpose in rallying support for the war effort.
Major Commands:
Vth Corps, Army of the Potomac (March - April, 1862)
XIXth Corps, Dept. of the Gulf (Dec. 1862 - Aug. 1863)
Dept. of the Gulf (1862 - 1865)

Maj. Gen. Don Carlos BUELL
In Washington in September 1861, Buell helped organize the Army of the Potomac under McClellan. He then led the Army of the Ohio into Tennessee and took a notable part in the battle of Shiloh. He lost his field command for failing to follow up the retreating CSA after the battle of Perryville on October 24, 1862.
Major Commands:
division, Army of the Potomac (Oct. - Nov. 1861)
Army of the Ohio (Nov. 1861 - Oct. 1862)

Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. BUTLER
At the beginning of the war, Butler's contingent of Massachusetts militia was one of the first to reach Washington. He then restored order in secessionist Baltimore and was named military governor of New Orleans. There his highhanded rule infuriated the people of the South and earned him the name "Beast". He suffered several defeats as commander of the Army of the James and was removed from active command in Dec. 1864.
Major Commands:
Massachusetts militia (1861)
New Orleans, military governor (1862)
Army of the James (1863 - 1864)

Maj. Gen. John C.FREMONT
As a general, Fremont's major Civil War contribution was more political than military when he focused Union attention on the role emancipation should play in the North's war policy by his (unprecedented and unauthorized) "proclamation" of 1861. Lincoln, who was very concerned by the support of the slave-holding borderstates, revoked this proclamation and removed Fremont from command. He was very popular however and Lincoln gave him another appointment at the head of the army's new Mountain Department. He then suffered a severe defeat during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign and was eventually relieved at his own request when ordered to serve under Gen. Pope.
Major Commands:
Army of the Mountain Dept. (1862)

Maj. Gen. Quincey A. GILLMORE
By the time the Civil War began, Gillmore was a 1st Lt. of the Corps of Engineers. He was greatly admired when he captured Fort Pulaski in April, 1862, using the new rifled artillery. Such fortifications (called third system forts) were considered invincible, and he helped to bring about the capture of Morris Island and Fort Wagner, as well as the destruction of Fort Sumter. He also spent many years after the war to improve fortifications and harbours on the south Atlantic coast.
Major Commands:
2nd Division, Army of Kentucky (Oct. 1862 - Jan. 1863)
District of Central Kentucky (Jan. - Apr. 1863)
Department of the South and X Corps (June 1863- May 1864)

Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. GRANT
When the war began, Grant helped recruit Illinois volunteers and was appointed Colonel. After serving in different lesser commands, he commanded Union forces as a general then as general-in-chief since March 1864. He has been described by military historian as the greatest general of his age and one of the greatest strategists of any age. In 1869 he was elected president of the United States.
Major Commands:
Volunteers (May 1861)
Army of the Tennessee (Feb. 1862)
General-in-chief (March 1864)

Maj. Gen. George B. McCLELLAN
George McClellan had been observer in the Crimean War and had a large experience of the European armies. He organised the famous Army of the Potomac brilliantly but was constantly overestimating the strength of the enemy facing him and was often reluctant to fight. He had some minor successes in his Peninsula Campaign but the general outcome of his action was negative and his command was transferred to John Pope. He was later restored to active command the Maryland Campaign, but failed to win a decisive battle. He relinquished command again in Nov. 1862 and was not given another.
McClellan was a brilliant engineer and a highly capable military organizer but simply not an army commander.
Major Commands:
Ohio Militia (1861)
Army of the Potomac (1861)
C-in-c of the Union Army (Nov. 1861 - March 1862).

Maj. Gen. Irvin McDOWELL
Despite never having commanded troops in combat, McDowell was promoted to Brig. Gen. in the first days of the war and given command of the inexperienced and unready Army of Northeastern Virginia. His overly complex strategy let to the disaster of First Bull Run. He was again blamed in part for the defeat of Second Bull Run and was not given another major combat command.
Major Commands:
Union forces at First Bull Run (March 1862)
III Corps, Army of Virginia (June - Sept. 1862)

Maj. Gen. William S. ROSECRANS
After some engineer duty in McClellan's staff at the begining of the war, Rosecrans was promoted to brigadier general. His decisions proved extremely effective in the West Virginia Campaign, but he received no credit for his plans. He thus requested a transfer to the West theater, where he ably led the Army of the Mississippi and the Army of the Cumberland. He was relieved of command after his deafeat at Chickamauga and eventually was given command of the Department of Missouri until wars end.
Major Commands:
Army of the Mississippi
Army of the Cumberland/XIVth Corps (oct. 1862 - Nov. 1863)

Lt. Gen. Winfield SCOTT
A national hero after the Mexican War, and a candidate to the presidential election of 1852, Scott (who was called "Old Fuss and Feathers" because of his devotion to military pomp and protocol) was 74 when he took command of the Union armies at the start of the Civil War. He was then suffering from different infirmities and weighed more than 300 pounds, but he conceived the strategy known as the Anaconda Plan that would eventually be used to defeat the Confederacy. Blamed for the Union's dismal failures in he first months of the war, Lincoln accepted Scott's offer to resign on November 1, 1861.
Major Commands:
Commander In Chief until Nov. 1, 1861

Maj. Gen. William T. SHERMAN
Sherman volunteered for service in the Union Army when the War started. His military career had repeated ups and downs, but he is one of the most famous Northern general, receiving both recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy, and criticism for the harshness of the destruction policy he implemented in conducting total war against the South. In that sens, he has been described by military historian as the first modern general. He is also noted for his absolute refusal to be drawn into politics.
Major Commands:
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Army of Virginia (June - Aug. 1861)
5th Division, Army of the Tennessee (March - Oct. 1862)
XV Corps, Army of the Tennessee (Jan. - Oct. 1863)
Army and Department of the Tennessee (Oct. 1863 - March 1864)
Military Division of the Mississippi (March 1864 - June 1865).

(more to come)

User avatar
Posts: 263
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:33 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:21 pm

I strongly recommend you get copies of two very useful books:

Generals in Blue
Generals in Gray

They have short biographies of every general in the war, and are fairly cheap from

User avatar
Posts: 462
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:22 pm

Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:35 pm

I've seen this concept in other games also and I think the serious history grognard really likes this stuff as I do. Good idea! Below are some resources you may already know about but passing on anyway.

User avatar
Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:19 am

Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:13 pm

Pocus wrote:Great feature, I hope we will have time to get a bio for every general. :)

Some more, I hope I'm not too late.

Gen. Ambrose E. BURNSIDE
Burnside, as commander of the Rhode Island militia, was one of the few experienced officers of the North and ideally qualified for an important command at the outbreak of the Civil War. Within a month, he ascended to brigade command at First Bull Run then successfully led a Corps of the Army of the Potomac in the expeditions against the North Carolina coasts and eventually accepted to take command of the whole Army of the Potomac. His urged attack toward Richmond was countered in a costly defeat at Fredericksburg, however. Burnside was then assigned to command the Department of the Ohio until the spring of 1864, when he commanded again a Corps in Virginia. He later received the blame for the fiasco of the battle of the Crater and was relieved of command.
Burnside also invented a breechloading carabine which was extensively used during the war.
Major Commands:
IX Corps, Army of the Potomac (Sept. 1861 - July 1862)
Right Wing, Army of the Potomac (Sept. 1862 - Nov. 1862)
Army of the Potomac (Nov. 1862 - Jan. 1863)

Gen. Jefferson C. DAVIS
Davis was promoted to division command in 1861 and fought at the battles of Pea Ridge and Corinth. He then went on sick leave, but he killed a superior officer during his convalescence. He returned to active duty and avoided conviction for this murder because the Union Army desesperatly needed capable field commanders like him. He never received the second star of a
major general though.
Major Commands:
XIV Corps (1864)

As a carreer officer defending Fort Sumter, Doubleday fired the first US shot of the war. He was promoted to brigade thendivision command in Virginia and led his men into the deadliest fightings at Antietam. He later played a pivotal role in the Battle of Gettysburg where his Corps was essentially destroyed as a combat force. He held no further active command.
Major Commands:
1st Divn/I Corps at Antietam (1862)
I Corps at Gettysburg (1863)

Gen. Henry W. HALLECK
In the first days of the Civil War, Halleck's reputation as a military scholar earned him the rank of major general, making him the fourth most senior general in the Army. He commanded the Department of the Missouri and of the Mississippi. President Lincold appointed him general-in-chief in 1862, but Halleck was more a bureaucrat than a field commander and he was unable to impose his instructions to his subordinates. After two years he was relegated to chief of staff where he very effectively supplied, equipped, and reinforced the vast U.S. armies.
Major Commands:
Geneal-in-Chief (July 1862 - March 1864)

Gen. James B. McPHERSON
McPherson was Grant's Chief Engineer and played an important role in the capture of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson and Corinth. He was promoted to Corps command in the Vicksburg campaign, and commanded the Army of the Tennessee in the Atlanta campaign. He was killed in the Battle of Atlanta, on July 22, 1864.
Major Commands:
XVII Corps, Army of the Tennessee (Dec. 1862 - March 1864)
Army of the Tennessee (March 1864 - July 1864)

Gen. George G. MEADE
Meade was a military engineer at the outbreak of the Civil War and was assigned to brigade command, then led competently a division in the Maryland Campaign. In the Battle of Antietam, Meade was given command of a Corps over other generals his superior in rank. He played a crucial role in the battle of Gettysburg, but was criticized for not aggressively pursuing the
Confederates during their retreat. He commanded the Army of the Potomac under Grant, but was overshadowed and frustrated by the direct supervision of the general-in-chief, who received most of the credit for the campaigns of 1864 and 1865.
Major Commands:
V Corps, Army of the Potomac (Dec. 1862 - June 1863)
Army of the Potomac (June 1863 - June 1865)

Gen. George H. THOMAS
Thomas was promoted in rapid succession in the first months of the Civil War. In command of an independent force, he defeated an early Confederate offensive campaign in eastern Kentucky at Mill Springs, gaining the first important Union victory of the war. He led the Army of the Cumberland to the victory at Chattanooga and Nashville and, at the same time, managed the logistics and engineering for his entire army group.
Major Commands:
Right Wing, Department of the Mississippi (April 1862 - June 1862)
Army of the Cumberland (Nov. 1863 - June 1865)

User avatar
Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:19 am

Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:59 pm

Gen. William W. AVERELL
Averell was a career cavalry officer. He was given commanded of a mounted brigade in the Peninsula campaign and at the battle of Fredericksburg. He then ascended to division commands and claimed victory against the Confederate cavalry at Kelly's Ford. He was relieved from duty for poor performance during a cavalry raid in the battle of Chancellorsville. He still fought a serie of minor engagements and raids in Virginia at the brigade and division level. He was relieved of command again in Sept. 1864, following a dispute with Gen. Sheridan, and this time was not given another combat command.
Major Commands:
Cavalry Brigade, Army of the Potomac (July 1862 - Feb. 1863)
2nd division, Cavalry Corps (Feb. 1863 - May 1863)

Gen. George A. CUSTER
Custer distinguished himself by his personal bravery in aggressive cavalry actions and became brigadier general at the age of 23, despite having no direct command experience. He fought at Gettysburg, was promoted to division command and took part in most cavalry actions of Virginia.
This distinguished war record has been overshadowed in history by his role and fate in the Indian Wars of 1876, however.
Major Commands:
2nd Brigade of the 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps (June 1863 - Sept. 1864)
3rd Cavalry Divison, Cavalry Corps (Sept. 1864 - April 1865)

Winfield S. HANCOCK
When the Civil War broke out, Hancock was quickly promoted to brigade command. He assumed the command of a division at Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, then commanded the II Corps with distinction at Gettysburg where he was severely wounded. He participated in the Wilderness Campaign and in the Richmond Campaign but never regained full mobility and his former energy. Hancock was noted for his personal leadership.
Major Commands:
1st Division, II Corps, Army of the Potomac (Sept. 1862 - June 1863)
II Corps, Army of the Potomac (June 1863 - April 1865)

Return to “ACW History Club / Histoire de la Guerre de Sécession”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest