Confederate Leaders, Forces & Soldiers of the Civil War


Confederate Commanders of the Civil War

Confederate Commanders of the Civil War

“They do not know what they say. If it came to a conflict of arms, the war will last at least four years. Northern politicians will not appreciate the determination and pluck of the South, and Southern politicians do not appreciate the numbers, resources, and patient perseverance of the North. Both sides forget that we are all Americans. I foresee that our country will pass through a terrible ordeal, a necessary expiation, perhaps, for our national sins.”

— General Robert E. Lee

William “Bloody Bill” Anderson (1839-1864) – Best known as one of Quantrill’s Raiders, Anderson fought for the Confederates during the Civil War.

Army of Northern Virginia

Army of Northern Virginia

Army of Northern Virginia (1861-1865) – The primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War, the army most often battled against the Union Army of the Potomac. The Confederates created three divisions under the Department of Northern Virginia, which included the Aquia District, led by Major General Theophilus H. Holmes; the Potomac District under the leadership of General P.G.T. Beauregard, and the Valley District, led by Major General “Stonewall” Jackson.

Army of Tennessee (1862-1865) – The principal Confederate army operating between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River during the Civil War. It was formed in late 1862 and fought until the end of the war in 1865, participating in most of the significant battles in the Western Theater. The Union also had an army division by the same name.

General P.G.T. Beauregard (1818-1893) – General Beauregard earned early fame for the capture of Fort Sumter, South Carolina and victory at the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia. After being defeated at Shiloh, Tennessee other officers found it difficult to work with General Beauregard, who moved through a series of secondary commands.

Braxton Bragg (1817-1876) – A career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate Army, he was the principal commander in the Western Theater of the Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

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.

Jefferson Davis by C.E. Emery, about 1888

Jefferson Davis by C.E. Emery, about 1888

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.

Jubal A. Early (1816-1894) – Serving largely with the Army of Northern Virginia, Jubal Early took part in most of its major battles. In 1864, Jubal Early led Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley and threatened Washington, DC until being badly defeated by Major General Philip Sheridan.

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 Brown Gordon (1832-1904) – Serving in the Army of Northern Virginia, John B. Gordon fought in most of its campaign and became one of General Robert E. Lee’s most trusted leaders. At Appomattox, John B. Gordon led Confederate forces during the surrender proceedings.

Ambrose Powell Hill (1825-1965) – A noted Confederate corps commander Hill rose through the ranks of the Army of Northern Virginia, seeing action at most of the army’s major battles. He was killed in April 1865 during the final battle for Petersburg, Virginia.

John Bell Hood (1831-1879) – Hood served in both the East and West, developing a reputation an aggressive leader. Wounded several times, Hood led the Army of Tennessee to its destruction in 1864.

Stonewall Jackson

Stonewall Jackson

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.

General Albert Sidney Johnston – A veteran of the Texas Revolution and the US Army, Johnston was appointed to lead Confederate forces in the West. Albert Sidney Johnston was killed during the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862.

General Joseph E. Johnston – Fighting at First Bull Run, Joseph Johnston next led the Confederate army during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign until he was badly wounded at Seven Pines. Joseph Johnston later commanded the Department of the West and the Army of Tennessee.

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. He took command of Confederate forces in the east in mid-1862, he led the Army of Northern Virginia to a string of impressive victories such as Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Lee remained in command until the end of the war when he surrendered at Virginia.

Lieutenant General James Longstreet – Rapidly rising through the ranks, Longstreet led the First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia for much of the conflict. A gifted corps commander, Longstreet oversaw the disastrous infantry assault known as Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan – One of the Confederacy’s most notorious raiders, Morgan was captured in 1863, after raiding north across the Ohio. Escaping, he returned to Southern service and was killed in September 1864, at Greeneville, Tennessee.

Colonel John Singleton Mosby – A noted Confederate cavalryman and partisen ranger during the American Civil War. Enlisting in the Confederate army, Mosby was quickly noted as a skilled leader and swiftly rose through the ranks. Given command of a partisen ranger unit, John Singlton Mosby became renowned for daring lightning attacks on Union.

Major General George Pickett – Commander in the Army of Northern Virginia, he is best remembered for Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. In the war’s final days, Pickett was defeated at the Battle of Five Forks.

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

Major General J.E.B. Stuart – A cavalry commander, J.E.B. Stuart is best known as the flamboyant leader of the Army of Northern Virginia’s cavalry corps. Stuart served with General Robert E. Lee’s army until his death at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864.

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.

Major General Joseph Wheeler – Serving in the Western Theater of the Civil War, Joseph Wheeler took part in most of the major actions in that region. Returning to the US Army after the war, Joseph Wheeler later was a key commander during the Spanish-American War.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated October, 2017.

Also See:

Causes of the Civil War

Civil War

Confederate States of America


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