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Soldiers & Officers in American History

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Historic Civil War and Military Photographs

Young Federal soldiers during the Civil War.



From the American Revolution to the Civil War, Indian Wars, and everything in between, there were a number of men, and even a few women, who made names for themselves during these historic periods. Many were career soldiers, such as Generals Sherman and Terry; others went on to make names for themselves as explorers, such as Kit Carson and Zebulon Montgomery Pike; sadly, some died in the line of duty such as Davy Crockett and James Bowie at the Battle of the Alamo, and yet, a few more gained more fame as U.S. Presidents.



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  • John Brown, 1850'sJohn Brown (1800-1859) - Abolitionist who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to end all slavery. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas and made his name in the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859.

  • Buffalo Soldiers - Though African Americans have fought in various military conflicts since colonial days, they did not receive the nickname of "Buffalo Soldiers” until they began to battle Cheyenne warriors in 1867. 

  • Christopher "Kit" Carson (1809-1868) - Carson was a daring and brave explorer, mountain man, trapper, scout, soldier, and buffalo hunter.

  • Joshua L. Chamberlain (1828–1914) - Civil War Medal of Honor recipient.

  • John M. Chivington (1821-1894) - A hero in the Battle of Glorietta Pass in New Mexico, and the infamous Commander of the U.S. Army troops at the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado, John Chivington was born in Lebanon, Ohio on January 27, 1821. When he grew up he became a Methodist minister and was appointed to the Payson Circuit in the Illinois Conference, where he served for ten years.

  • Buffalo Bill Cody (1846-1917) - Army scout, frontiersman, and Old West entertainer.

  • David Crockett (1786-1836) - Frontiersman, explorer, and American folk hero, Crockett a represented Tennessee in the U.S. Congress, served in the Texas Revolution, and died at the age of 49 at the Battle of the Alamo.

  • George Crook (1828-1890) - General Sherman said the greatest Indian fighter of them all was General Crook, who finished near the bottom of his West Point class.

  • George Armstrong Custer - Dying at the Little Bighorn - A United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. In the Civil War, he developed a strong reputation and when it was over, was dispatched to the west to fight in the Indian Wars. His disastrous final battle overshadowed his prior achievements. Custer and all the men with him were killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.Confederate President Jefferson Davis

  • Jefferson Finis Davis (1808-1889) - An American military officer, statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as the President of the Confederate States of America for its entire history, 1861 to 1865.

  • Grenville Dodge (1831-1916) - Dodge served in the Civil War, obtaining the rank of Major General, and afterwards in the Indian campaigns in the West. He later served as a U.S. Congressman, and worked as a businessman and railroad executive who helped construct the Transcontinental Railroad.

  • Jubal A. Early (1816-1894) - Jubal Anderson Early - A lawyer and Confederate general in the Civil War, he served under Stonewall Jackson and then Robert E. Lee for almost the entire war, he rose to a lieutenant general and the command of an infantry corps in the Army of Northern Virginia. He was the Confederate commander in key battles of the Valley Campaigns of 1864, including a daring raid to the outskirts of Washington, D.C.

  • Richard Stoddert Ewell (1817-1872) - A career United States Army officer and a Confederate general during the Civil War, he achieved fame as a senior commander under Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. He fought effectively through much of the war, but, his legacy has been clouded by controversies over his actions at the Battle of Gettysburg and at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

  • Thomas Ewing, Jr (1829-1896) - Military officer, Free-State advocate and first Chief Justice of the State of Kansas.

  • Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) - A wealthy plantation owner, Forrest distinguished himself in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. A cavalryman, he saw extensive service in the Western Theater and became one of the most feared Confederate officers in the region. He was a master of mobile warfare and is often remembered for his fast attacks and raids.

  • John Charles Fremont (1813-1890) - Was an explorer, military officer, and politician who led multiple surveying expeditions through the western territory of the United States.

  • Johnny Fry (1840-1863) - The first "official" westbound rider of the Pony Express and Union soldier, he was killed during the Civil War.

  • Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) - An American General and the eighteenth President of the United States, he achieved international fame as the leading Union general in the Civil War, capturing Vicksburg in 1863 and Richmond in 1865. He accepted the surrender of his Confederate opponent Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.

  • Henry W. Halleck (1815-1872) - A loyal defender of the Union, Henry Halleck served first as a senior commander in the Western Theater before becoming the General-in-Chief of Union armies in July, 1862.

  • Oliver Otis Howard (1830-1909) - A career U.S. Army officer who made peace with Chiricahua Apache leader Cochise and made efforts to distribute land to African-Americans.

  • Nathanael Greene (1742-1786) - A major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, Greene's military reputation was second only to General George Washington's.

  • Samuel Houston (1793-1863) – Nineteenth Century statesman, politician, and soldier, Houston was a key figure in the Texas Revolution and acted as the the first and third President of the Republic of Texas.

  • Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (1824-1863) - A Confederate general during the Civil War, Jackson was the most revered Confederate commander after General Robert E. Lee. He is most famous for his audacious Valley Campaign of 1862 and as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee. His own troops accidentally shot him at the Battle of Chancellorsville and he died of complications from an amputated arm and pneumonia several days later.

  • Charles Ransford Jennison (1834-1884) - A physician, soldier, and anti-slavery Jayhawker.

  • Albert Sidney Johnston (1803-1862) - The experienced and well-respected Albert Sidney Johnston was the commander of all Confederate army operations in the Western Theater when his army attacked and nearly destroyed by Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh, Tennessee on April 6, 1862. Johnston was wounded in the battle and did not survive his injuries.

  • John Paul JonesJohn Paul Jones (1747-1792) - The first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War.

  • Stephen Watts Kearny (1784-1948) - One of the foremost frontier officers of the U.S. Army, General Stephen Kearney is remembered for his significant contributions in the Mexican-American War, especially the conquest of California.

  • James Henry Lane, aka: "The Grim Chieftain," Bloody Jim (1814-1866) - Principal leader of anti-slavery forces in Kansas during the Kansas-Missouri Border War and the Civil War.

  • Lane's Brigade, aka: Kansas Brigade (1861) - Described as little more than a mob of thieves and adventurers, these troops went on a looting and burning rampage in western Missouri in the summer and fall of 1861, in the end entirely destroying the city of Osceola, Missouri.

  • Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) -  Lee was a career U.S. Army officer and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the Civil War.

  • Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) - Explorer, soldier, and public administrator, Lewis was best known for his role as the leader of the Corps of Discovery, whose mission was to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase.

  • William Henry Lewis (1829-1878) - Army officer who participated in both the Civil War and the Indian Wars. He was killed in the Battle of Punished Woman Fork, the last Indian battle in Kansas.

  • James Longstreet (1821–1904) - Known as Old Pete and Lee’s War Horse, Confederate General Longstreet became one of the Civil War’s most controversial figures.

  • Isaiah Mays (1858-1925) - Buffalo Soldier who fought bandits in the Wham Paymaster Robbery and awarded the Medal of Honor.

  • George Brinton McClellan (1826-1885) - Serving in the Mexican-American War, McClellan became a Major General during the Civil War, in which he organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Buffalo Soldier Army.

  • Nelson Appleton Miles (1839-1925) - A career soldier, Miles served in the Civil War, Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War.

  • Colonel James Montgomery (1814-1871) - A Free-state leader during the Kansas-Missouri Border War, and a Colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War

  • Frank Joshua North (1840-1885) - Best known for his organization of a group of Pawnee scouts, North was instrumental in the Indian Wars, protecting the wagon trails and later, the railroad crews during the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

  • William C. Quantrill (1837-1865) - A guerilla fighter for the Confederate Forces, active in Kansas-Missouri border war.

  • John Clifford Pemberton (1814-1881) - John Clifford Pemberton was a career U.S. Army officer, veteran of the Mexican-American, Seminole and Mormon Wars, and a Confederate General.

  • Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779-1813) - A soldier and explorer for whom Pikes Peak in Colorado is named, Pike mapped much of the southern portion of the Louisiana Purchase.

  • Pottawatomie Rifles (1855) - A group of about one hundred abolitionist men formed to fight during the Kansas-Missouri Border War.

  • Salem Poor (1747–1802) - An African-American slave who purchased his freedom, became a soldier, and rose to fame as a war hero during American Revolution.

  • Sterling Price, aka: "Old Pap" (1809-1867) - A lawyer, politician, and general from Missouri, he fought in the Mexican-American War and for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

  • Marcus A. Reno - (1834-1889) - A career military officer in the Civil War and the Black Hills War against the Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne, Reno is most noted for his role in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

  • William S. "Old Rosy" Rosecrans (1819-1898) -  An inventor, business executive, diplomat, politician, and United States Army officer. He gained fame for his role as a Union general during the Civil War after sever prominent battles in the Western Theater. However, his military career was effectively ended following his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863.

  • William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) - A career military man, Sherman served in the Civil War before becoming an Indian Fighter.

  • Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) - A career military officer, Sheridan served in the Civil War becoming a Union General. In 1865, his cavalry pursued General Robert E. Lee and was instrumental in forcing his surrender at Appomattox. Later, he became involved in the Indian Wars, tarnishing his reputation with some historians, who have accused him of racism.

  • James Ewell Brown "J.E.B." Stuart (1833-1864) - Better known as "Jeb", Brown was a soldier from Virginia who served as a Confederate general during the Civil War. He was killed on May 12, 1864 during the Overland Campaign, at the Battle of Yellow Tavern.

  • Creed Taylor (1820-1906) - A career soldier and Texas Ranger, Taylor fought in the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War and against Indians during his time as a Ranger.

  • Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) - Distinguished general and 12th President of the United States, Taylor served in the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, where he earned the nickname of "Old Rough and Ready." He was elected president in 1848, the first to never have held any previous elected office. He was also the last President to hold slaves while in office. Just two years into his presidency he died.

  • Alfred Howe Terry (1827-1890) - Terry was a Union general in the American Civil War and the military commander of the Dakota Territory from 1866 to 1869 and again from 1872 to 1886.

  • William B. Travis (1809-1836) - A lawyer who settled in Texas from Alabama, Travis strongly disliked Mexican rule, and fought in the Texas Revolution. Fighting along with James Bowie and Davy Crockett, he was killed at the Battle of the Alamo.

  • Earl Van Dorn (1820-1863) - A West Point graduate and career U.S. Army officer, Earl Van Dorn fought with distinction in the Mexican-American War, but, resigned his commission in 1861 to join with his native state of Mississippi, in the Confederate cause. He would make the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs.

  • Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, aka: Private Lyons WakemanSarah Rosetta Wakeman; aka: Private Lyons Wakeman (1843-1864) - Disguising herself as a man, Wakeman fought in the Civil War for the Union.

  • Stand Watie (1806-1871) - Also known as Standhope Oowatie, Degataga "Stand Firm" and Isaac S. Watie, he was a leader of the Cherokee Nation and a brigadier general of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War.

  • Cathay Williams (1842-??) - When Congress passed an act authorizing the establishment of the first all Black units of the military, later to become known as "Buffalo Soldiers," Cathay Williams, became the first and only female Buffalo Soldier.


Continued Next Page



Also See:

Forts of the American West

Haunted Forts of the American West


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