Thursday, May 23, 2013

Civil War Generals

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Memorial Day is here this weekend. I thought it would be interesting to look back into our history at some facts about the generals in the Civil War.
Some leading commanders were elderly when the war came, notably the Federal Commander-in-Chief, Winfield Scott, who was seventy-five, General John Wool was seventy-four, Edwin V. Sumner wa sixty-four, and John Dix sixty-three.
The dean of ranking Confederates was the Adjutant General, Samuel Cooper who was sixty-three. Albert Sidney Johnston was fifty-eight. Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston were fifty-four.
Most of the war's famous general officers in the field were young. A partial list of these, and their ages at the outbreak of war in 1861:
Seventeen: Brevet Major General Galusha Pennypacker, USA, the youngest of the war's general officers. Born June 1, 1844, and too young to vote until the war's end.
Twenty: Brigadier General William P. Roberts, a North Carolina cavalryman, who was the youngest Confederate general.
Twenty-one: George A. Custer, USA, born in December, 1839, and a cavalry brigadier in June, 1863, at age-twenty-three.
Twenty-three: Judson Kilpatrick, USA, West Point, '61, a brigadier and major general in 1865, at the age of twenty-seven.
Twenty-four: W.H.F. (Rooney) Lee, son of Robert E. Lee, and Stephen D. Ramseur, CSA.
Twenty-five: The cavalrymen, Joe Wheeler, CSA, and Wesley Merritit, USA, the former a major general at twenty-six, the latter a brigadier two days before Gettysburg, at age twenty-seven.
Twenty-six: Godgrey Weitzel, USA, the corps commander who ruled fallen Richmond; Fitz Lee, CSA; and Adalbert Amers, USA, West Point, '61.
Twenty-seven: William Dorsey Pender, CSA.
Twenty-eight: The cavalrymen, Alfred Torbert, USA, and J.E.B. Stuart, CSA, and Stpehen D. Lee, CSA.
The Civil War - Strange & Fascinating Facts by Burke Davis, author of Gray Fox


Ana Morgan said...

Soldiers are often so young.
This is very interesting, Paisley. I love historical facts like this.

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Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I like the, too, Ana. My uncle who died at 24 in WWII, was honored with the purple heart and distinguished cross. I have them both and consider them a treasure. He saved 17 lives when he sacrificed his own.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Fascinating, Paisley. You have to wonder how they interrelated. Was there a generation gap?

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I was thinking the same thing. I suppose they had various age groups since most of the men signed up. Can't imagine the oldsters taking much crap from the younger ones. It must have been interesting to see how tempers went, if they had the strength left to argue. ;)

Ana Morgan said...

Weren't the older men the officers (non-com and up)? The younger men were the troops. I suspect they listened to the more seasoned men.

My husband served in Vietnam. Military life was probably different in that generation.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'm not sure, Ana, but these were listed as who the generals were. Maybe it went with who had education. I suspect nobody really knew much about war tactics when they started and they learned as they went.