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  • I always found it strange that a major US fort would be named after Bragg.

    • Rsmith

      We have a US fort named Bragg because he is one of the reasons the US won the Civil War.

      • Geoff

        This is a very funny quote. It answers my question about Ft. Hood in Texas as well.

      • Debauchee69

        Sorry, Wrong Bragg. It’s named after a Mexican War US CPT

        • nobody

          Same one; he fought in the Mex. war.

    • Debauchee69

      What is more amazing is FT Lee, NJ is named after the Great American Traitor GEN Charles Lee of Battle of Monmouth infamy. When GEN Lee was captured by a British patrol he(he went drinking and whoring at a small road house and got caught), he was about to be shot for treason Apparently, he never got around to selling back his Royal Commission as a MAJ in His Majesty’s Army before joining the American Rebels. He cut a deal whereas he detailed the entire defense plans of GEN Washington (his mentor) which lead to athe catastrophies in the Southern Campaigne. His map was found in the mid 1800’s in GEN Burgoyne’s personal effects. Too bad, there aren’t cities named after the Hero of Saratoga (Arnold) or my personal favourite, GEN Wilkenson of War of 1812 fame

      • Yourself

        The fort is leftover from the actual revolutionary war, where fort lee stood. It is interesting though

  • PastTime

    Good list, I usually only hear about the dominate Generals of the Civil War. It is really amazing how important war leaders really are.

  • If the Union didn't have such overwhelming numbers I wonder if they outcome of the civil war may have been different. Thanks goodness it wasn't.

  • Thanks for this history in American Generals.

  • nutuba

    Wonderfully informative and interesting post! Nicely done.

  • RW Stoufus

    I am surprised that neither Dan Sickles USA or Hezekiah Burch CSA made this infamous registery of fools.

    Burch almost singlehandedly lost the day at Chilliwack Falls. Not to mention his complete failure to keep the Federals from moving on Charlotte in May 1962.

    Sickles stupidity at Gettysburg could have easily turned the tide against the Federals and subsequently broken the line at the Mason Dixon.

    In retrospect you should compile a list of the stupidest Generals like the fellow who upon being warned of Confederate snipers quipped " At this distance I doubt they could hit an elephant!"

    Within a minute he was shot through the left eye and fell dead.

    • Thing

      That was John Sedgwick who made the elephant quote, and unfortunately timed remark not withstanding, he was a very capable general.

  • Phil E. Drifter

    Why would ANYONE want a mustache like 3. Ambrose Everett Burnside?

    • Fraser

      hahaha, I agree

      • Brad

        Cavalry Man's whiskers. An impressive set, go back a few years and those whiskers would have been worn by the classiest men in society.

  • BigDave

    I too, have long wondered why a U.S. for would be named after Bragg. Especially with Bragg’s reputation for executing AWOL solders who voluntarily returned after putting out the family crops.

  • BigDave

    AND a U.S. Fort named after a Confederate General!

  • nntrancer

    To list William Rosecrans here is a travesty and what's more, a betrayal of ignorance. Many (including the Confederates) considered him the most brilliant Union general of the war. The distorted charges you list here were those claimed by his political enemies. I suggest anyone interested could start with reading "The Edge of Glory" by Lamars.

    • Yourself

      I like rosecrans but he was a mediocre general and was indecisive. Similar to McClellan who I also think shouldn’t be on this list. Lee himself called McClellan the most capable general he faced.

  • EGR

    Being English, I don’t know much about the American civil war, but I do seem to recall that the USA won. So how come nearly all of these generals are from the USA, and only a few from the CSA?

    • Chris S.

      The Union had a lot more Generals than the South and many (including, from this list, Butler, Banks and Sigel) were politicians appointed to appease some interest group for the sake of national unity.

    • Debauchee69

      EGR,s you have to understand the times of 1860. The American Regular Army in 1860 fielded less than 16,000, hadn’t fought a real war since 1848 and primarily consisted of border posts protecting citizens from the Indians. SEC of War Jefferson Davis was a Mexican War Hero (COL) and was well qualified for CSA President. SEN Abe Lincoln never served in the military, was a failour in everything he put his hand to, was opposed to the Mexican War and was hospitalized in a Mental Institution from 1832-1833.

      The talented generally had to change sides, the stupid or lame just had to stay put. Look what Lincoln had to put up with as his top commander(s) His best Commander, GEN Winfield Scott twas too fat and infirm to lead the war effort and was forced to retire in 1861. Lincoln Fired MG McDowell and replaced him with MG McClellan. Lincoln had to then pinch his eyes and fire ‘Lil Mac for slowness and gross incompetence. Who does Lincoln replace him with? GEN ‘Fredricksberg-MudMarch-The Cretor’ Burnside!!! Lincoln fired and replaced him with GEN Hooker who Lincoln did not get a chance to fire because idiot got all pissy with Lincoln and resigned in protest (before the Battle of Gettysberg no leses) which Lincoln immediately accepted. Lincoln appointed the ‘victor’ of Gettysburg MG Meade as Army Commander but he proved to be almost as incompetent as McClellan—only with the appointment of the H.U.G. Grant did America ‘get its act together’ and win the war.

      FYI, I am upset America’s ‘Clown Prince’ MG James Pope wasn’t on the list, let alone number #01?!!! Who is my FAVOURITE CIVIL WAR GENERAL? MG Jefferson Davis. Quick—name the two US Generals arrested and facing the death penalty? BG Hull (surrendered his command without a shot when woefully outgunned (8,000 US troops vrs 600 British troops) GEN Brock captured Detroit and graciously offered him terms of surrender?!!! The second was MG Jefferson Davis who, upon being slappmed in the face by the glove of his superior officer, whipped out his pistol and shot him dead!!! MG Davis was escorted to his tent, placed under armed guard and then given a new command?!!! [Damn AGRs—can’t touch ’em; different funding code!!!].

  • Chris S.

    Mostly good list although I’d find room for Sickles somewhere, and maybe William B. Franklin.

  • stilenrail

    Agreed about Rosecrans. He beat Lee in West Virginia, won at Corinth, held on at Stones River – winning Lincoln’s deep gratitude, and delayed in part due to gross deficiencies in Union cavalry in TN. Take him off the list and put on Hood from the South or Pope or Hooker from the Union

  • Dan Kleiber

    I would add John Bell Hood- for the same reasons as Judson “KillCavalry” Kilpatrick –
    also gotta toss in Sickles- for many reasons -including some off the battlefeld shenanigans involving other people’s wives

  • Coleman Spinks

    I like this list. One general i would take out would be Don Carlos Buell. He did screw up a few times but he was a decent general. I would add J.E.B. Stuart. I would put him at 10. He was a great general before gettysburg. It was one of his only battles he didnt perform great. If it werent for his faults at gettysburg, the war would of probably turned out different. The rebels would of had control of western PA and Maryland. They also would of controlled West Virginia, eastern Ohio, and Delaware. They would of expanded their control north and could of takin control of all of Ohio, PA, New Jersey and would of forced the USA to surrender and give them freedom.

  • Gary

    How can any list of the worst generals not include Dan Sickles who should have been court marshaled for his disobeying orders at Gettysburg and having so many of his men butchered? What is truly amazing is that years later he used his political connections to have himself awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Truly the most undeserving to have ever received the honor.

  • Steven

    Buell was known as one of the best discipliners of the whole army, so his placement is unfair. Rosecrans is there mostly because of his one disastrous defeat at Chattanooga, which really isn’t his fault. Sickles definitely deserves a spot on the list. Burnside can’t be blamed for the disaster at the Crater, as Grant forced him to change his original plan due to demographical issues. How Leonidas Polk is not on the list is beyond me.

  • Steven

    By the way, where’d you get the picture of the chamber pot?

  • Wade

    Comparing anything done by Butler with fascism and the Gestapo is mind-numbingly ignorant or insensitive (take your pick). Fascism claimed millions of lives, thousands of which were tortured and killed by the Gestapo. Butler insinuated that certain secession-minded “ladies” be regarded as whores. As for the rest, Burnside was hit or miss, as was Rosecrans, but neither was in any way amongst the worst of Civil War generals.

    • I don’t really think Burnside qualifies as “hit-or-miss.” His two notable victories (New Bern and Knoxville) were relatively minor engagements with small commands. Whenever put in charge of a good-sized body of troops Burnside perpetuated a disaster.

  • Ken

    I’ve been a Civil War reenactor for 6 years and a CW buff for much longer. The idea of a first person impression of George McClellan was recently thrown out to me and I’ve been pursuing it with a great deal of energy. It’s pretty much all true… the egotism, the slowness to react, the overestimation of his enemies’ strength and the insubordination towards the administration. There is much to dislike about the man, but in actuality, much to love and admire if you learn what a great and brave soldier he was. At this point, I firmly believe cowardice was not an issue with Little Mac. True, being as he was, it is doubtful whether or not he belonged on the battlefield during the Civil war and in command of an army. But his skill and intelligence twice took discouraged beaten rabble crawling back from battle with their tails between their legs, and made them believe in themselves as soldiers.

    In short, I’m not defending the man, but merely suggesting that he deserves more than what credit has been given him.


  • Alex

    Its funny how the USA pretty much owned this list and still won the Civil War.

  • Brock

    duh they won it was U.S. vs. the U.S. it is called the American Civil War for a reason.

  • matt

    Brock…it was United States vs. the Confederate States…it’s called succession for a reason.

  • Don Micklon

    Strange I have always had McClellan as the Best Civil War general that the South had. In all consideration, I would put McClellan as # one (i.e. the worst) when one takes into account the power he had, his longevity as top man and his influence. His one saving grace was that he did indeed build the Army of the Potomac into a truly great army. he was a ledgend in his own mind!

    Sickles a lot to advance his own glory, particularly at Gettysburg; almost changed the outcome single handedly.

  • Paris T

    just a shot in the dark–the writers leaning are towards the south?

  • Dennis St. Andrew

    Say what you want about Kilpatrick, he was a proactive cavalry leader who wasn’t
    afraid to fight the Confederates. In other words, just what the Union desparately needed.
    Sherman knew this and picked Kilpatrick to command the cavalry on the march to the sea.
    Was Kilpatrick perfect? No. Was he effective? Yes. There is no way Judaon Kilpatrick
    should be on this 10 worst generals list.

    Dennis St. Andrew
    Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

  • Mark Parish

    Coming from the fact that I was barn/raised and still live in the same home town as Gen. Rosecrans, it seem rather biase that 80% of the Generals on this list are from the north. Correct my history if I am wrong, but didn’t the north win. Yes I am sure that each of these men made thier mistakes. But It might be good to look at all aspects of the Generals that are listed. For much of what the local historical society has unearthed about the success of Gen. Rosecrans was credited to his commanding Generals.

  • merl

    Almost all Army posts in the South are named after Confederate Generals. Fort Polk was named for Leonidis Polk, maybe it was just to rub the souths noses in their defeat.
    Nathan Bedford Forrest refused to surrender at Fort Pillow, he and his men escaped. He told either Pillow or Bragg, I forget which that if he ever saw him again, he would kill him.


    My nomination for the most infamous Confederate general is the Bishop Leonidas Polk. His conduct was mutinous and he routinely disobeyed orders. He should have been tied to a stake and shot, however a federal bullet eliminated the need for a firing squad. Many of the Confederate failures in the west can be laid at his feet.

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  • Robby

    Somewhere on this list there should have been Union General “Devil Dan” Sickles, a political general, who disobeyed orders and created a dangerous, costly salient in the Union fish hook formation at the Battle of Gettysburg. And what about Union General Jefferson C. Davis, who, in a fit of rage, assassinated his commanding officer, General Nelson?

  • Joe

    Roscrans a bit unlucky to be in the company of these mega losers, John Bell Hood lucky that his name isn’t here.

  • Joe

    Beg pardon, Rosecrans.

  • uriel moore

    I’m sorry. Where the hell was John Bell Hood? He effectively massacred the entire western rebel army at the battles of Franklin and Nashville. He should not only be on the list, but should be number 1.