Who was in the Civil War?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
Owner & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Messages
142,784
Location
Martinsburg, WV
The American Civil War was fought between the rebelling Confederate States (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina), and the loyal states of the United States of America (California, Connecticut, Delaware*, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky*, Maine, Maryland*, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri*, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia*, and Wisconsin).

Answering the question "Who was in the Civil War?" is not an easy one to answer. Many individuals participated in the American Civil War, as many as 3,164,000 men (and women) played military roles during this wartime period, and the nation (U.S.A./C.S.A. combined) had a population of 31,443,321 as a whole in 1860.

Below is a listing of the most prominent individuals to participate in this struggle.

The Union (United States of America)

lincoln.png
johnson.png
mcclellan.png
grant.png
meade.png

[Lincoln, Johnson, McClellan, Grant, Meade]​

Civilian Leadership


  • Montgomery Blair - U.S. Postmaster General
  • Gustavus V. Fox - Assistant Secretary of the Navy
  • Hannibal Hamlin - 1st Term Vice President of Abraham Lincoln
  • Andrew Johnson - 2nd Term Vice President of Abraham Lincoln, Future U.S. President
  • William H. Seward - Secretary of State
  • Edwin M. Stanton - Secretary of War
  • Thaddeus Stevens - Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania
  • Benjamin Wade - United States Senator from Ohio
  • Gideon Welles - Secretary of the Navy
Military Leadership


  • Robert Anderson - Major, commander of Fort Sumter, promoted to Brigadier General
  • Don Carlos Buell - Major General
  • Benjamin Butler - Major General
  • Ambrose Burnside - Major General
  • John A. B. Dahlgren - Rear Admiral
  • Samuel Francis Du Pont - Rear Admiral
  • David Farragut - Admiral
  • Andrew Hull Foote - Rear Admiral
  • John C. Frémont - Major General
  • Henry Halleck - Major General
  • Herman Haupt - Brigadier General, railroad engineer
  • Joseph Hooker - Major General
  • Henry Jackson Hunt - Chief of Artillery in the Army of the Potomac, Brevet Major General
  • Samuel Phillips Lee - Rear Admiral
  • Irvin McDowell - Major General
  • George Meade - Major General
  • Montgomery C. Meigs - Brigadier General, Brevet Major General
  • John Pope - Major General
  • David Dixon Porter - Admiral
  • William Rosecrans - Major General
  • Winfield Scott - Brevet Lieutenant General
  • Philip Sheridan - Major General
  • William Tecumseh Sherman - Major General
  • Daniel E. Sickles - Major General
  • George Henry Thomas - Major General
  • John L. Worden - Lieutenant in command of the U.S.S. Monitor at Hampton Roads
Other Notable Persons

  • Hiram Berdan - Inventor of the repeating rifle and received patent for musket ball
  • John Brown - Abolitionist, unsuccessfully raided Harper's Ferry in 1859
  • Samuel Colt - developed the first viable mass-produced revolvers prior to the Civil War
  • Frederick Douglass - former slave, orator, writer, and leader of the abolitionist movement
  • John Ericsson - inventor and engineer, designed the USS Monitor
  • William Lloyd Garrison - Abolitionist, editor of the newspaper, The Liberator
  • Horace Greeley - publisher and editor of the New York Tribune, opponent to slavery
  • Benjamin Tyler Henry - gunsmith and manufacturer, inventor of the Henry Rifle
  • William Mason - significant supplier of locomotives and rifles for the Union Army
  • Samuel Morse - co-inventor of the single line telegraph system and Morse Code
  • Robert Parker Parrott - soldier & inventor of military ordnance at West Point Foundry
  • Allan Pinkerton - head of the Union Intelligence Service, detective and spy
The Confederacy (Confederate States of America)

davis.png
lee.png
jackson.png
longstreet.png
beauregard.png

[Davis, Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, Beauregard]​

Civilian Leadership

  • Jefferson Davis - 1st and only President of the Confederate States of America

  • Alexander Stephens - Vice President of the C.S.A.
  • Judah P. Benjamin - 1st Attorney General, 2nd Secretary of War, 3rd Secretary of State
  • Thomas Bragg - 2nd Attorney General
  • John C. Breckinridge - 5th Secretary of War
  • George Davis - 4th Attorney General
  • Robert Hunter - 2nd Secretary of State
  • Stephen Mallory - Secretary of the Navy
  • Christopher Memminger - Secretary of the Treasury
  • Francis W. Pickens - Secessionist Governor of South Carolina
  • George Randolph - 3rd Secretary of War
  • John Reagan - Postmaster General
  • James Seddon - 4th Secretary of War
  • Robert Tombs - 1st Secretary of State
  • LeRoy Pope Walker - 1st Secretary of War
  • Thomas Hill Watts 3rd Attorney General
Military Leadership


  • Edward Porter Alexander - General, Longstreet's Chief of Artillery
  • Joseph Reid Anderson - Brigadier General, owner of Tredegar Iron Works
  • Richard H. Anderson - Lieutenant General
  • P. G. T. Beauregard - General, commanded firing on Fort Sumter
  • Braxton Bragg - Lieutenant General
  • Franklin Buchanan - Captain of the C.S.S. Virginia, Admiral on board the C.S.S. Tennessee
  • Patrick R. Cleburne - Major General
  • Samuel Cooper - Full General, highest ranking Confederate general during the war
  • Jubal Early - Lieutenant General
  • Richard S. Ewell - Lieutenant General, senior commander under Jackson and Lee
  • Nathan Bedford Forrest - Cavalry General
  • Josiah Gorgas - Chief of Ordnance for the Confederate Army
  • Wade Hampton III - Lieutenant General
  • Ambrose Powell Hill - Lieutenant General
  • John Bell Hood - Lieutenant General
  • Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson - Lieutenant General
  • Albert Sidney Johnston - General, killed at Shiloh
  • Joseph E. Johnston - Full General
  • James Longstreet - Lieutenant General
  • John Hunt Morgan - Brigadier General
  • John S. Mosby - Colonel, guerrilla leader
  • Sterling Price - Major General
  • William Quantrill - leader of Quantrill's Raiders
  • Raphael Semmes - Admiral, Captain of CSS Alabama
  • Edmund Kirby Smith - General
  • James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart - Major General, cavalry
  • Richard Taylor - Lieutenant General
  • Stand Watie - Brigadier General
  • Joseph Wheeler - Major General
Other Notable Persons

  • John Wilkes Booth - famous stage actor who assassinated Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre
  • Jedediah Hotchkiss - famous cartographer and topographer
  • Jean Alexandre LeMat - New Orleans physician and inventor of the LeMat Revolver
  • Samuel A. Mudd - physician, assisted John Wilkes Booth
  • Sir Joseph Whitworth - English engineer and inventor, designed the Whitworth Rifle
Women of the Civil War
* Border states with slavery in 1861: In Kentucky and Missouri, pro-secession "governments" declared for the South but never had significant control of the states. Also, West Virginia separated from Virginia and became part of the Union during the war, on June 20, 1863. Nevada also joined the Union during the war, becoming a state on October 31, 1864.
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
13,132
Location
Central Ohio
I'd include Franklin Buchanan in the Confederate military leadership and S. Phillips Lee and John A. B. Dahlgren in the Union military leadership, and Montgomery Blair in the Union civilian leadership.

(Though Blair was Postmaster General, it's clear from Gideon Welles' diary that Blair exerted more influence in the cabinet than his formal position might indicate, especially via his family contacts.)

ETA I think Gustavus V. Fox belongs in either the Union civilian leadership or "other" area also.

How about neutrals? Surely Lord Lyons, Sir Alexander Milne, Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell had significant influence...
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
19,926
Location
Laurinburg NC
Women--
Sally Thomkins, Juliet Opie Hopkins and Emma Sansom.

"If it is a crime to love the South, its cause, and its President, then I am a criminal. I would rather lie down in this prison and die than leave it owing allegiance to a government such as yours."

Belle Boyd
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
Owner & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Messages
142,784
Location
Martinsburg, WV
I'd include Franklin Buchanan in the Confederate military leadership and S. Phillips Lee and John A. B. Dahlgren in the Union military leadership, and Montgomery Blair in the Union civilian leadership.

(Though Blair was Postmaster General, it's clear from Gideon Welles' diary that Blair exerted more influence in the cabinet than his formal position might indicate, especially via his family contacts.)

ETA I think Gustavus V. Fox belongs in either the Union civilian leadership or "other" area also.

How about neutrals? Surely Lord Lyons, Sir Alexander Milne, Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell had significant influence...
I'll think about how I want to add neutrals...

Women--
Sally Thomkins, Juliet Opie Hopkins and Emma Sansom.

"If it is a crime to love the South, its cause, and its President, then I am a criminal. I would rather lie down in this prison and die than leave it owing allegiance to a government such as yours."

Belle Boyd
Under Confederate Military leadership I would add Wade Hampton III, Patrick R. Cleburne and Stand Watie
Great suggestions all, updated!
 

diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Messages
20,512
Location
State of Jefferson
Might I suggest adding James Dunwoody Bulloch and Thomas Haines Dudley? Better spies and intelligence gatherers than Pinkerton!
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Messages
13,132
Location
Central Ohio
Oh... James B. Eads, certainly, as a Union civilian, and John M. Brooke as a Confederate "other" (he's one of those sort of in-between military/civilian types, but deserves mention for his ordnance).
 

Robtweb1

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Joined
Apr 20, 2011
Messages
3,011
Location
Grand Junction, TN
Confederate Military - Leonidas Polk, A. P. Stewart, Benjamin Cheatham, William Loring
Confederate Civilian Leardership - Edmond Ruffin
 

Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Joined
Dec 31, 2009
Messages
33,316
Location
Smack dab in the heart of Texas
Confederate Postmaster John H. Reagan....one of the few truly useful folks in the government.
CSA General Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross
CSA General Benjamin McCulloch
CSA General Henry McCulloch
CSA John Robert Baylor
CSA Co. John "Rip" Ford
CSA Gen. Henry Sibley

U.S. General Benjamin Grierson
Col. Ranald Mackenzie

Women: Adelicia Acklen
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

prroh

Captain
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
5,570
Location
Maryland
For CSA notables, Judah Benjamin
For US military, Winfield Scott Hancock

The list of women seems a bit excessive. Some were minor players. Why not Mary Chesnut? Why was Samuel Morse on the list? For the telegraph or as editor of the anti-Lincoln Journal of Commerce?
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

prroh

Captain
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
5,570
Location
Maryland
It seems the lists are being Constantly updated and they weren't on a list at a time I posted is what I mean
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
Owner & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Messages
142,784
Location
Martinsburg, WV
I just want to remind everyone that this isn't supposed to be an Ultimate listing, instead it is more of a jumping off point for new users. However, I'd be willing to consider compiling more complete lists in another article.

In that vein, I'm going to move the list of Women to it's own article and we can flesh out that list further there.

I also plan to add more "Pillar Articles" as the week goes on. Keep the suggestions coming!
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top