Famous People of the Civil War
Ullysses S. Grant
Ulysses Simpson Grant served effectively with Zachary Taylor's
army at Monterey during the Mexican war. Right when the war began
Grant obtained a position on the staff of General George McClellan.
During the war he showed courage in both physically and morally
manners. In February 1862 Grant captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson
with help from the Federal navy. In October he was appointed commander
of the Department of Tennessee, and told to take Vicksburg,
Mississippi. Earl Van Dorn captured Grant's base at Holly Springs and
he had to retreat. In 1864 Grant was promoted to lieutenant general
and named general in chief of all federal armies. In April 1865 Grant
forced Lee to surrender after an 88 mile pursuit. Grant was elected
president in 1868 and served two terms.
Robert E. Lee
During the Mexican war Lee was an engineering officer with
Winfield Scott's force. Jefferson Davis appointed Lee a general in the
southern army in 1861. He was not successful in preventing an invasion
of western Virginia, so he was sent to the Atlantic Coastal defense.
In 1862 when Joseph E. Johnston was wounded, Lee became commander of
the confederate army in Virginia. In Richmond Lee drove the unionist
away from the capital in the Seven Days' Battles. In August he
defeated the Northern army in the second Battle of Bull Run. In May
1863 Lee won his greatest victory but also suffered his worst loss in
life. The Unionist were driven back with heavy casualties. The
following year Lee led his army against a series of bloody attacks
against the Northern Army commanded by Ulysses S. Grant. Robert Lee
was one of the best commanders during the Civil War and was an
Stonewall Jackson was a confederate general in the American
Civil War. He joined the Confederate army in 1861 and later fought in
the first battle of Bull Run. There he earned his nickname, "like a
stone wall". In 1863 Jackson commanded a Confederate army in the
Shenandoah Valley, and he defeated Federal generals whose strength was
several times his own. In May of 1863 Jackson was in command of more
than half of all the Confederate army and made an attack on the
Federal army. After returning one night he was accidentally shot by
some of his own men.
James Ewell Brown Stuart was a Confederate officer in the
Civil War. He is probably the most famous soldier in Robert E. Lee's
Army. In the Gettysburg campaign, Stuart went on a controversial raid
around the Federal army when Lee most needed him to gather
intelligence. He arrived after the Battle of Gettysburg was over. A
number of people think that the Confederate defeat was mainly Stuart's
fault. On May 11, 1864 Stuart was badly wounded. He died the next day.
Hooker was named a general in 1861 an was known as fighting
Joe. During the Mexican War he received three brevets for bravery. He
commanded the army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville,
he lost and was replaced before Gettysburg. In November 1863 he won
the Battle of Lookout Mountain at Chattanooga. In 1864 Hooker served
under William Sherman in Georgia. He resigned because he wasn't
promoted after he served
George E. Pickett
George Pickett was a Confederate general during the Civil War.
He is most remembered for Pickett's charge at the Battle of
Gettysburg. Pickett graduated from West Point in 1846 and remained in
the U.S. Army until 1861, when he joined the Confederate army. On July
3, 1863 he led his troops on a spearhead attack on Cemetery Ridge that
was supposed to break through the center of the union line. This has
been called the Confederacy's "high-water mark".
Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist and a fugitive slave. She
was born to slave parents and escaped to freedom. In the 1850's she
made many journeys to free slaves through the Underground Railroad.
She was aided by abolitionists and Quakers, and John Brown who
consulted with her for the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859. During the
Civil War she served as an army cook, a nurse, and became a spy for
Maryland and Virginia. After the war she ran a home for elderly blacks
until her death.
Clara Barton is most remembered for organizing the American
Red Cross Society. As a young girl she was shy, but she overcame her
timid nature to become a very influential women during the Civil War.
She was a nurse during the Civil War and cared for the wounded. After
the war she began a search for missing soldiers. In 1881 Barton
established the American Red Cross Society and has it become a life
saving organization for the past 100 years that has saved countless
numbers of lives. They help disaster victims and casualties during
wars. Clara Barton excelled in several careers in a time when women
were expected to be just wives and mothers. She was also an
advisor to politicians including senators and the president.
William Garrison played a major role in the American
Abolitionist movement. He published a paper called the Liberator which
said that slavery was wrong and we needed change immediately. In 1833
Garrison was head of a meeting that organized the American
Anti-Slavery Society. Garrison's opinions were used throughout the
existence of the society. Garrison cooperated easily with other major
abolitionists until the 1840s when he met people like James Birney and
Elizer Wright, Jr. Some of his beliefs drove these people from the
society. Garrison didn't want slavery to be ended violently, but in
the 1850s he used violent resistance to the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law.
After the Civil War Garrison worked to help black equality.
John Brown was an abolitionist and is remembered mainly for
his raid for the military weapons at Harpers Ferry. During most of
Brown's adult years he wandered from job to job, but in the 1850's he
was in command of the local Free-Soil militia in Kansas. Within a year
Brown had to retaliate because proslavery forces sacked the town of
Lawrence. Brown, four of his sons, and two other people killed five
helpless settlers in May of 1856 in the Pottawatomie River Country. He
took full responsibility even though he wasn't caught. In 1859 Brown
gathered 21 men and occupied the federal weapons. The next day when
Lee's army arrived, ten of Brown's men were killed. Brown was arrested
and charged with treason.
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Sherman was undisciplined and graduated sixth in his
class at West Point in 1840. During the Mexican War he won honors for
excellent service. Sherman rejoined the army at the beginning of the
Civil War and was in command of an army at the First Battle of Bull
Run. At the Battle of Shiloh, he was in charge of a division in
Ulysses Grant's army. The confederate army made a surprise attack and
almost defeated Sherman. He became in command of about 100,000 men
after Grant became general in Chief. After a long series of attacks,
Sherman captured Atlanta in September 1864. Sherman was an expert in
planning long marches. In late 1864 he spread out his men 50 miles
wide and attacked the Confederacy on the unprotected Georgia
countryside. It resulted in the capture of Savannah. In 1881 Sherman
established the famous school at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and he died
Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland in 1817. In
1838 he obtained seaman's papers from a free black and escaped to New
Bedford. In 1841 he joined the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.
With Douglass's great speeches, people didn't believe that he used to
be a slave. Douglass wrote a book called Life and Times of Frederick
Douglass to tell people about his life when he was a slave. After 2
years of living in the British Isles, some of his friends bought his
legal freedom for 150 ponds and he came back to the United States.
During the Civil War Douglass fought for black people to be able to
fight for the Union. Before he died in 1895, he stayed an active part
of the United States.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Stowe was the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, an
anti-slavery novel that is sometimes thought of as one of the causes
of the Civil War. Stowe's first publication was The Mayflower, which
were sketches of scenes and characters of the descendants of the
Pilgrims. When she and her husband moved to Maine in 1850, she wrote
The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin and Dred: A Tale of Great Dismal Swamp.
All of her novels were written because of her hatred for slavery. She
still wrote novels, essays, and poetry after the Civil War about New
England scenes. Harriet Stowe is one of America's most recognized
Sojourner Truth was an American preacher and abolitionist. She
was born into slavery and given the name Isabella Baumfree. Sojourner
ran away after New York's emancipation act of 1827. Her master didn't
pay attention to it. When she got to New York City she joined a
religious cult, but left in 1843 because she didn't know what the cult
did. She struggled for black emancipation and women's suffrage during
the Civil War. She continued to work after the war for equal rights
for women of all colors.
Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hardin County,
Kentucky in a log cabin. In 1830 the Lincolns moved from Indiana to
Illinois. Lincoln was elected to the Illinois lower house in 1834 and
served four terms until 1841. Lincoln became a lawyer and moved to
Springfield the following year. There he met Mary Todd and they
married in 1842 and had four sons. Lincoln served one term in the
House of Representatives from 1847 to 1849. In 1860 he won the
presidential election. By the time of his inauguration 7 states had
seceded from the Union. The Civil War began when South Carolina fired
on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Lincoln gave command to Ulysses
Grant during the Civil War. A couple of years later he allowed blacks
to fight in the army. Lincoln signed the 13th amendment in 1864 that
abolished slavery. On April 14, 1865 Lincoln was shot while attending
a performance at Appomattox Court House by John Booth.
Thaddeus Stevens was one of the most influential Republican
leaders during the reconstruction era. In 1861 he became chairman of
the House of Representatives. He played an important role in the
printing of paper money during the Civil War. His greatest development
was the Reconstruction policy. During the Civil War he fought for
antislavery measures and stricter terms for Reconstruction. After the
Confederate surrender, Stevens didn't agree with President Johnson's
Reconstruction plan and wanted a more effective policy. In 1868
Stevens was a prosecutor in the president's impeachment trial.
Jefferson Davis was the only president of the Confederate
States of America. He struggled to lead the Confederacy to freedom
during the United States Civil War. Davis wanted Mississippi to leave
the Union and he wanted to be the commander of the southern army.
Instead he was elected president of the Confederacy. For the four
years he was in office he gave his complete dedication to the country.
Even though he tried hard, he wasn't a very good president. He kept
friends in office that weren't trained and he wasted some of his time
on unimportant matters. His greatest weakness was that he couldn't
work well with other people. Because of these things, he gradually
became unpopular as the war continued. In 1865, when the Confederacy
was losing, Davis fled from Richmond and hoped to continue the war
from the deep south or the west of the Mississippi River. When he
retired he wrote books about the defense of the South and about
John Coldwell Calhoun
John Calhoun was the vice-president of the United States and
worked for Southern rights. He also served in the state legislature
and Congress. In Congress he was a war hawk. James Monroe appointed
Calhoun as his Secretary of War in 1817. In 1828 he wrote the "South
Carolina Exposition and Protest" which stated that the state should
have the power to nullify federal laws. In 1828 Calhoun was reelected
vice-president when Andrew Jackson was president. When Jackson didn't
like South Carolina's efforts to nullify the tariff, he resigned from
vice-president. Calhoun then served in the Senate and was a good
spokesman for slavery and Southern rights. For the last years of his
life he defended the right of slavery to go into federal territories.
He died on March 31, 1850.
Henry Clay was a key figure in U.S. politics in the early 19th
century. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1811. Clay
was the leader of the "War Hawks" in Congress who wanted to go to war
against Great Britain. In 1815 he made a program that would build
roads linking the East and the West. Clay ran for president in 1824,
but when no candidate won a majority, Clay supported John Adams. When
Adam's won, Clay was named Secretary of State. In the 1840's he help
to guide a new tariff law and a national bank to Congress. Clay helped
persuade congress to accept the Compromise of 1850, which saved the
Union for a decade.
Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on Dec. 29, 1808
and when his family moved to Tennessee he opened a tailor shop in
Greeneville. Before Johnson became vice-president he was an alderman,
mayor, state representative, senator, congressman, and a governor.
When the Union occupied part of Tennessee in 1862, Lincoln chose
Johnson for the military governor. In 1865 He was elected
vice-president with Lincoln as president. When Lincoln was shot
Johnson became the president of the United States. He was a Southerner
and he believed that whites should have control over government and
society. He also believed that Congress didn't have the power to
interfere with the southern states. When Congress passed the Tenure
of Office Act and Johnson vetoed it, he tried to fire his secretary of
war. Congress decided to impeach the president for misdemeanors. The
Senate decided that he wasn't guilty. He died on July 31, 1875.