In other words, who do you think acted honorably and morally during the Civil War era? Who put the country above party or personal gain? Who sought peace before war? Who fought honorably, if they fought at all? Who behaved morally? Etc., etc., etc. Here are my top seven, in alphabetical order, and brief reasons for each person: Patrick Cleburne -- Not only did Cleburne fight honorably and with great skill (some called him the "Stonewall of the West"), but in January 1864 he led a movement in the Army of Tennessee to call for the emancipation for slaves (and their families) who would serve in the Confederate army. He got 13 fellow officers to sign his proposal. Sadly, Jefferson Davis was not yet ready to take this sensible step, and Davis ordered him to cease his efforts. John J. Crittenden -- Senator Crittenden was a true patriot who strove to maintain the Union and avoid war. Though a Southern slaveholder, he fiercely condemned the secessionists and even said force could be used to maintain the Union under some circumstances. Yet, he did more than anyone to try to avoid war, and he spoke out strongly against Radical confiscation bills after the Sumter collision. Although Crittenden did not vote for Lincoln, he came to admire him and began to defend him in the Senate against Radical attacks (Albert Kirwan, John J. Crittenden: The Struggle for the Union, University of Kentucky Press, 1962, pp. 449-453). Stephen A. Douglas -- Senator Douglas was another mighty champion of peace and compromise. He worked tirelessly to support Senator Crittenden's compromise plan and several other plans that would have avoided war. However, once the Confederates fired on Sumter, he strongly backed Lincoln's troop call-up and in fact urged him to call up even more troops, but he would never have condoned the total war tactics pushed by the Radicals. George McClellan -- McClellan believed in honorable warfare, gradual emancipation, and state rights without secession. He spoke out against the total war policy being urged by some Republicans and generals. He did not believe in the right of secession and he agreed with the use of force to maintain the Union, but if he had been in charge, an honorable peace would have been achieved. Before the war, like most other Americans, he supported the Crittenden Compromise (Ethan Rafuse, McClellan's War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, Indiana University Press, 2005, pp. 87-89). Robert Gould Shaw -- Shaw was the subject of the famous Hollywood movie Glory. He was a senior Union officer who abhorred total war and condemned war crimes whenever he saw them. He was ashamed of what some of his fellow officers were doing in the South. He was well head of his times when it came to civil rights. Robert E. Lee -- Lee opposed secession and wanted Virginia to remain in the Union, but, like most other Virginia Unionists, disliked coercion much more than secession. Lee always strove to fight honorably and repeatedly called on his soldiers to observe the rules of war. Long before the Confederate debate on emancipation went public, Lee was privately urging Davis to support the official use of black combat troops and emancipation for those slaves and their families. George Thomas -- Thomas was one of the Union's most honorable, and effective, generals. He believed in honorable warfare and rejected as shameful the total war tactics employed by some of his fellow generals. Thomas voted for Bell in the election and supported compromise efforts before the war, but when Sumter was fired upon, he gladly accepted a command in the Union army. I highly recommend Benson Bobrick's superb book on Thomas, Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas (New York: Simon & Shuster, 2009).