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Shiloh, Battle of – Summary

Ulysses S Grant, at Cold Harbor, Portrait

Prelude At the onset of the American Civil War, the State of Tennessee comprised most of the northern border of the Confederate States of America in the West. Defending that border was difficult for the Confederacy because three major rivers (the Mississippi, which flows south to the Gulf of Mexico, and the Tennessee and Cumberland … Read more

Vicksburg Campaign, 1862-1863

Ulysses S Grant, at Cold Harbor, Portrait

Prelude to the Vicksburg Campaign At the onset of the American Civil War, the State of Tennessee comprised most of the northern border of the Confederate States of America in the West. Defending that border was difficult for the Confederacy because three major rivers (the Mississippi, which flows south to the Gulf of Mexico, and … Read more

Yorktown, Siege, 1862

George B. McClellan, General, USA, Civil War, LOC

Siege of Yorktown Quick Facts Siege of Yorktown Overview and History Within twenty-four hours of the Union’s defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861), the Lincoln administration called upon George B. McClellan to lead the Union war effort in the East. McClellan spent the first few months of his new command … Read more

Stones River, Battle, 1862, Overview

William Rosecrans, Portrait, Civil War General

Prelude Following the Battle of Perryville (October 8, 1862), Confederate General Braxton Bragg called off his Heartland Campaign and withdrew his forces from Kentucky to Tennessee. There, Bragg reorganized his command by merging forces with General Kirby Smith‘s Army of Kentucky to form the Army of Tennessee. In November, Bragg established a defensive position along … Read more

Chickamauga, Battle, 1863

William Rosecrans, Portrait, Civil War General

Battle of Chickamauga Prelude Following the Battle of Perryville (October 8, 1862), General Braxton Bragg called off his Confederate Heartland Offensive and withdrew his soldiers from Kentucky to Tennessee. There, Bragg merged forces with General Kirby Smith’s Army of Kentucky and reorganized his command to form the Army of Tennessee. In November, Bragg established a … Read more

Longstreet, James

James Longstreet, Portrait, Confederate General

Early Years James Longstreet was born in Edgefield District, South Carolina, on January 8, 1821, while his mother was visiting his mother-in-law. He was the fifth child and third son of James and Mary Ann Dent Longstreet. Longstreet’s parents owned a cotton plantation in northeast Georgia. When Longstreet was a boy, his father nicknamed him … Read more

Stuart, James Ewell Brown

JEB Stuart, Civil War General

Early Life James Ewell Brown Stuart (aka Jeb Stuart) was born on February 6, 1833, at Laurel Hill Farm, his family’s plantation, in Patrick County, Virginia. He was the eighth of eleven children of Archibald Stuart and Elizabeth Letcher Pannill Stuart. Stuart’s great-grandfather, Major Alexander Stuart, was a regimental commander in the Revolutionary War, and … Read more

Hill, Ambrose Powell

General AP Hill, Civil War

Early Life Ambrose Powell Hill was born on November 9, 1825, at Greenland, his father’s plantation near Culpeper, Virginia. His parents were Thomas and Frances Hill. U.S. Military Academy Cadet Hill attended local schools before entering the United States Military Academy in 1842. While at West Point, Hill and future Union General George B. McClellan … Read more

Hood, John Bell

John Bell Hood, Civil War General

Early Life John Bell Hood was born on June 1 or June 29, 1831, at Owingsville, Kentucky. Hood’s parents were Dr. John W. Hood and Theodosia French Hood. Although Hood’s father wanted his son to pursue a medical career, the military achievements of his grandfathers enamored Hood. U.S. Military Academy Cadet Hood’s uncle, U.S. Representative, … Read more

Pickett, George Edward

George Pickett, Confederate General

Early Life Historians disagree on the date of George Edward Pickett’s birth. Baptismal records show that he was born on January 16, 1825, in Richmond, Virginia. Other accounts have Pickett’s date of birth as January 25 or January 28. Whatever the correct date, Pickett was born in Richmond and raised on his prominent Virginia family’s … Read more

Early, Jubal Anderson

Jubal Early, General

Early Life Jubal Anderson Early was born on November 3, 1816, in Rocky Mount, Franklin County, Virginia. Early was the third of ten children born to Ruth Hairston Early and Joab Early, a wealthy tobacco farmer and local politician. After attending local schools and private academies in the Lynchburg and Danville, Virginia area, Early received … Read more

Fremantle, Arthur James Lyon

Arthur Lyon Fremantle, Civil War

Arthur Fremantle Quick Facts Early Life Arthur Lyon Fremantle was a British citizen born on November 11, 1835. He was the son of Major General John Fremantle and Agnes Lyon. Like his father and grandfather before him, Fremantle graduated from Sandhurst, the initial training center for British army officers. In 1852, Fremantle began a long … Read more

Burnside, Ambrose Everett

Ambrose Burnside, Civil War General

Early Life Ambrose Everett Burnside was born on May 23, 1824, near Liberty, Indiana. He was the son of Quaker parents, Edghill Burnside and Pamela Brown Burnside. Burnside received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in 1843, and he graduated in 1847. Following graduation, Burnside served in Mexico toward the end of the … Read more

Meade, George Gordon

General George Meade, Portrait

Early Life George Gordon Meade was born on December 31, 1815, in Cadiz, Spain. Meade was the eighth of eleven children of Richard Worsam Meade and Margaret Coats Butler Meade. Meade’s father was a wealthy Philadelphia merchant who was serving as an agent for the U.S. Navy at the time of Meade’s birth. When Meade’s … Read more

Fredericksburg, Battle of – Summary

Battle of Fredericksburg, 1862, Civil War

Prelude Following the bloody Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862), Confederate General Robert E. Lee retreated into Virginia, ending his first invasion of the North. The commander of the Army of the Potomac, Major General George McClellan, chose not to pursue Lee’s retreating Army of Northern Virginia, prompting President Abraham Lincoln to issue an executive … Read more

Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Civil War General

Early Life Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was born on September 8, 1828, in Brewer, Maine. He was the first of five children of Joshua and Sarah (Brastow) Chamberlain. Chamberlain came from a distinguished military ancestry; his great-grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War; his grandfather fought in the War of 1812; and his father served in the … Read more

Armistead, Lewis Addison – Biography

General Lewis Armistead, Civil War

Early Life Lewis Addison Armistead was born on February 18, 1817, in New Bern, North Carolina. His parents were Walker Keith Armistead and Elizabeth Stanly Armistead. Armistead’s father and his father’s five brothers served in the War of 1812. His uncle, George, commanded Fort McHenry during the British attack that inspired The Star-Spangled Banner during … Read more

Pickett’s Charge, 1863, Overview

George Pickett, Confederate General

Pickett’s Charge History and Overview During the first two days of the Battle of Gettysburg — July 1 and 2, 1863 — Robert E. Lee and his Confederate forces tried unsuccessfully to flank each end of the Union line. Believing that Major General George Meade had weakened the middle of the federal line to defend … Read more

Olive Branch Petition, Summary

John Dickinson, Illustration

Summary of the Olive Branch Petition Drafted by Thomas Jefferson and edited by John Dickinson, the letter was approved by Congress on July 8, 1775. Despite the fact that English and American blood had already been shed at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, the letter was conciliatory in nature, assuring the King that American colonists … Read more

Suffolk Resolves, Summary

Joseph Warren

At the urging of King George III, the British Parliament enacted five laws in 1774, in response to colonial actions flaunting British authority, particularly the Boston Tea Party. The British referred to the legislation collectively as the Coercive Acts or the Restraining Acts. In the American Colonies, they were called the “Intolerable Acts.” In September … Read more