Judging General James A. Garfield. Political general to assassinated president.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
James . Garfield was a real rag-to-riches story. Born in a log cabin Garfield had to work his way through college. He became a lawyer then a politician. However, once the Civil War started Garfield saw the war as a holy crusade for the eradication of slavery and joined the army. Although not trained soldier he quickly became a brigadier general for his work in eastern Kentucky and finally was promoted to major general. He left the army to be a U.S. congressman from Ohio in 1863. He joined the radical wing of the Republican party. Elected to the Senate in 1880 he unexpectedly beat out Grant to win the Republican presidential nomination in 1880 He won the presidential race but was assassinated.

So now some questions. 1) Did Garfield leave the Army because Grant promoted Thomas over Garfield? I am not sure Garfield would have made a great army commander what do you think? Could Garfield have gained higher rank if he had stayed? Garfield was known as a radical abolitionist and he strongly supported black suffrage. How did the assassination of Garfield change the plight of blacks?
 

NedBaldwin

Major
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Feb 19, 2011
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California
Did Garfield leave the Army because Grant promoted Thomas over Garfield?
Not sure I follow. Garfield was just a BG at the time Grant replaced Rosecrans with Thomas; there were many who outranked him and his stature was not high enough for Lincoln to correct; and the instructions to Grant were keep Rosecrans or pick Thomas, Grant did not have the freedom to pick whomever he wanted.

He also had been elected to Congress that met that December, which I believe he intended to do.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Not sure I follow. Garfield was just a BG at the time Grant replaced Rosecrans with Thomas; there were many who outranked him and his stature was not high enough for Lincoln to correct; and the instructions to Grant were keep Rosecrans or pick Thomas, Grant did not have the freedom to pick whomever he wanted.

He also had been elected to Congress that met that December, which I believe he intended to do.
Garfield might have stayed in the army and not serve in congress if he had been promoted. I think his promotion to major general was more of a reward to a leaving general who might have some influence in congress. To be honest I am not real familiar with the Grant/Garfield situation and was more interested in if Garfield was a talented general. He was a political general with no military training but seemed to do reasonably well in eastern Kentucky. I know some political generals with strong political backing did obtain higher rank but I am not sure Garfield had enough political backing for this to happen for him. I also wondered if his radical abolitionist views would have held him back.
 
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