Who Are These People


I am by no means a very active historian in the period of American History known as the American Civil War, so understand if this is a little too elementary for our more educated readers.  After doing some basic research, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of the leadership during the war.  If you encounter any errors, please contact myself, or the editors, and I will acknowledge the error.

The first General I want to discuss was a born in 1819, and lived until 1914.  At 15 years of age he had enough with school. Through dogged determination he worked as a typesetter and even wrote some articles. While he would eventually with help get to college, he would not graduate.    Prior to the war he was a friend of “Tammany Hall”, served as Secretary of legation in London, married someone nearly ½ his age,  served in Congress from 1857-61, and killed a man, by most accounts point-blank after a fight, in cold blooded strike of rage.  Add to this public accounts of his wife’s affair, an apology which would eventually make it into the papers, his taking her back, the time period (at the time a man could likely have affairs with little consequence, but  a woman was another story—since he was known as a womanizer and drinker—his actions made him a hero of sorts, but after his taking her back, a noble thought, most thought his career was done), and the fact that the man shot was son of a famous writer of a patriot hymn, and one to think our tabloid news  looks weak compare with that of his day. His attorney, Edwin M. Stanton, would develop basically a new defense, temporary insanity of sorts, and it worked. 

Who is this man?  Do you know yet?  Does it help that the dead man’s father wrote “The Star Spangled Banner”.

How about his asking for a cigar and puffing it as he left the battlefield wounded, not wanting to help create fear for his men.  Or his donation of that leg to science (Army Medical Museum) ( p. 270).  Or his prior permission to raise a regiment, soon to become the “Excelsior Brigade” (making him a Brig. Gen in 1861).   How about that he is often given credit for the Gettysburg Battlefield being as great as it is.  But he is perhaps most known for his taking a very forward position away from Cemetery Hill and Little Round Top.  His detractors would have say he nearly lost the Battle of Gettysburg.  He and others would argue that his forward position helped break up Longstreet’s attack and stopped Meade from  considering a retreat from the field.    Either way Daniel E. Sickles interesting life did not seem to end here, but I think I will.

Another General I would like to mention is the youngest Union General in U.S. Civil War’s Army.  Born in Pennsylvania, he began his military career at 16.  At 19 he commanded a regiment.  Surviving life-threatening wounds at Fort Fisher in 1865, he became a Brigadier General in 1865 (brevetted Major General later that year) , nearly 21 years old, at that time making him unable to vote. Who was this other leader—none other than Galusha Pennypacker (p.310-1). 

Lastly I wish to leave you with a challenge, answers of which can be placed in the “Smoking Room”.  This person was an engineer in New Orleans prior to the war.  He served in the Louisiana Legislature.  He made a good sum of monies from making steam gauges and such, only to convert to making minie balls during the war.   The occupation of New Orleans and the desperate need for victory of any sort would take him to South Carolina.  There he would lose his life in 1863.  His fame would rise to a greater lever in 1864—from an act of courage and desperation.  Who might this person be?

Most information for this paper was taken from Civil War Journal: The Leaders,  ed. William Davis, Rutledge Hill Press, Inc,. 1997, Nashville (p. 254-75, 310-12)

Cross referenced with  (p.446-7) Generals in Blue, Ezra Warner, Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1964