Facts about Civil War Generals

Painting of General Lee surrendering
General Lee's Surrender

Introduction - Civil War Generals

An army is only as good as the men that fight for it and the commanders that lead it. This is certainly true of generals during the American Civil War; many of who led their troops to stunning victories against seemingly hopeless odds and others who handed victory to the enemy due to their incompetness as military commanders. In this section of Civil War facts you will find interesting Civil War General facts. Below you will find the names of some of the best generals and worst generals of the war between the states along with a short description of what made them so good or so bad.

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Facts about the Best Civil War Generals

General Robert E Lee (Confederate)

Topping the list of best Civil War generals has to be Robert E Lee. Time after time, as commander of the Confederate army, he defeated larger Union forces. His victories include Fredericksburg, Seven Days, and Chancellorsville battles. He is rightfully considered by many to be a military genius.

General Ulysses S. Grant (Union)

General Grant served as the commander of the Union forces torwards the end of the war and led the Union to victory. Before being appointed commander he gave the Union its first major victories by capturing Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. He went on to become the 18th President of the United States.

General William T. Sherman (Union)

General Sherman was hated and feared by the South and loved by the people of the North. Famous for his March to the Sea through Georgia in November and December of 1864 in which the Union Army deystroyed numerous military targets and civilan property.

General Thomas Jackson (Confederate)

Known as Stonewall Jackson he is undoubtlly one of the best generals of the Civil War. In fact many historians consider him a military genius as was displayed when he led a smaller Confederate force in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862; repeadetly surprising and beating a much larger Union army. He also displayed his superior military skills at the First Battle of Bull Run, the Second Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.

General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Union)

The hero of Gettysburg he was one of the most intelligent generals of the war. Positioned at the southern tip of the Union line, on Little Round Top, he led his troops in holding several Confederate attacks and led an amazing counter attack which caught the enemy by surprise.

Facts about the Worst Civil War Generals

General Ambrose Everett Burnside (Union)

This inept commanders lack of ability led to the unnecessary slaughter of thousands of Northern soldiers at the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg.

General George Brinton McClellan (Union)

This commander of the Union forces failed to capitalize on the overwhelming superiority of his forces at Antietam. Holding back numerous reserves when he should have attacked, he let the confederates slip away to fight another day.

General Braxton Bragg (Confederate)

General Bragg was disliked by fellow officers and soldiers alike. He led the army to numerous defeats. In 1863 he was defeated in the Tullahoma Campaign and had to retreat into Chattanooga where he was later routed by Grant in the Battles for Chattanooga.