South's most famous soldier in 1860

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MikeyB

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Its December 1860, the eve of the Civil War. Who would you say was the South's most famous soldier and who were societal crowds whispering as the most likely GiC?

AS Johnston?
JE Johnston?
Lee?
Beauregard?
Jefferson Davis?
 
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James N.

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Its December 1860, the eve of the Civil War. Who would you say was the South's most famous soldier and who were societal crowds whispering as the most likely GiC?

AS Johnston?
JE Johnston?
Lee?
Beauregard?
Jefferson Davis?
Whitfield Scott as the most well known?
Sidney Johnston would be my choice, though he was still in far-off California at the time. Joe Johnston was supposedly the highest-ranking in the Old Army of those who resigned to "go South" but that was as Quartermaster General and therefore he wasn't really known as a commander, despite his own opinions to the contrary. Lee too was best known as a staff officer more than a field commander, though his experience had been on the battlefield. Until Sumter, Beauregard was little-known outside his native Louisiana. Davis had been a regimental colonel and Secretary of War but (again, despite his own opinion) had little actual command experience. Scott was probably most people's favorite but too old and adhered to the Union so a moot point.
 

jackt62

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Not sure if the South had a "most famous soldier" at the start of the war. The commanders listed in your post were all West Point trained regulars so their reputations were more closely aligned with the United States military rather than any particular southern state. In the pre-Civil War period, generals such as Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor, Sam Houston were the famous names (Scott and Houston did not become associated with the confederacy at all.) Certainly, once hostilities commenced, Beauregard became the most famous southern general during 1861, probably closely followed by AS Johnston.
 
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John Hartwell

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If you restrict it to living soldiers, without doubt it was Winfield Scott. He was the most famous soldier everywhere, North or South -- and the only living American soldier whose name was known among educated circles in Europe.

Other than Scott, I don't know as any serving American soldier was really "famous". Many names were well-known within military circles, but not among the general populace. Of those not serving, with Zachary Taylor gone, only Jeff Davis comes to mind -- & he was less well known as a soldier than as a politician.
 
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Stratagemo

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@MikeyB Great question!

I'd actually go for Jefferson Davis (thanks for including him in the list!) while not a serving solider, he had made quite a name for himself in the Mexican War as a successful officer and leader of troops. As he had been Secretary of War he also would have had the understanding of the political elements (and favours) to help him in the position.

He would have been (and I understand considered himself to be) qualified to serve as a GiC in my view. I believe that some historians argue that he did in fact act in this capacity in his time as President of the CSA.
 
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major bill

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Any thought about William J. Hardee? Because of his book on tactics and its use by militias, many people would have known his name. People would have assumed he was some kind of expert on military tactics. Also people would know his name from the wide use of the Hardee hat but militias across the nation.

I would not say he was the finest officer in 1860, but many people would associate his name with military skills.
 

Ole Miss

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Albert Sidney Johnston was considered the most able man to be in control of Confederate Forces. Joseph Johnston, though the Quartermaster General in the old pre-war army, was considered more of an administrator than military commander. Robert E. Lee was a little known and not highly regarded. P.G.T. Beauregard was not in the running as far as Jefferson Davis was concerned after Beauregard allegedly took a greater portion of credit for the Manassas victory at Davis's expense.
Regards
David
 
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