Okay, so the Confederacy was pro-slavery among other things. Discussion on this side of the coin can become heated, controversial, whatever. But one thing is for sure, no matter the “right” side or “wrong” side, each power has reasons behind its military strategy. Whether the reasons are based on religion, money, power, political gain, expansion, etc. there are reasons that each side has for making a military move.
During the Civil War, America was still so young, so new, and full of promise and possibilities. We Americans were not the first nation or society to enslave others for our gains. There are many others, and many other societies that were willing to sell their own into slavery. While slavery was the main basis for the Civil War, political factors definitely played a big role in the Confederacy’s and the Union’s military decisions.
While the Union’s victory oversaw the end of the Civil War, the Confederates’ conviction in the belief of their correct action is insurmountable. The Armed Forces of the Confederacy were actually many fielded armies at the time, the most famous being the Army of Northern Virginia, which was led by General Robert E. Lee. He is just one of quite a few top Army leaders.
So here it is, the list of the top 10 Confederate Army leaders:
10. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston
He was a Confederate general who never suffered a direct defeat during the Civil War. And although he never suffered a direct defeat, his effectiveness as a military leader was obstructed in part by a long-standing dispute with Confederate States President Jefferson Davis.
9. Confederate General William (Bloody Bill) Anderson
He was a guerrilla leader who was quite ruthless. As a matter of fact, Bloody Bill had 2 soldiers in his band who you all should recognize… Jesse and Frank James.
Bill led Confederate guerrilla troops all throughout the Missouri region creating mayhem.
8. Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard is known primarily as the Confederate General whose troops attacked and took Fort Sumter starting the Civil War.
Beauregard often had disagreements with Jefferson Davis but because of his hero status, he was put in 2nd in command of the Army of the Mississippi.
7. Confederate General George Pickett
General Pickett had many failures in his Confederate leadership, but he stood tall. One of those was when he took his soldiers to the Battle of Gettysburg to join General Lee. Pickett’s troops charged but were decimated. Because of it, the Union won Gettysburg and it was known as Pickett’s Charge.
6. Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest
He was considered one of the most feared leaders in the Civil War. Nathan started as a Private and was soon promoted quickly because of his cunning abilities. He was always disrupting Union strategies and even Union General Sherman declared that the devil Forrest must be killed at all cost.
5. Confederate General A.P. Hill
Known as Stonewall Jackson’s most trusted General, A.P. Hill commanded the Light Division. He even took over as Jackson’s protege when the General was killed. Hill was killed in action at Petersburg.
4. Confederate General James Longstreet
General Robert E. Lee called Longstreet his war horse. Longstreet commanded the First Corps of the Army of Virginia.
Longstreet had some fault in Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg in that he neglected to tell Pickett to be there early by orders of Lee.
3. Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart
James Ewell Brown Stuart, shortened to J.E.B. was a great Confederate General. He had what was known as an invincible cavalry. Stuart led many wins but was late at Gettysburg.
Stuart was fatally shot at the Battle of Yellow Tavern.
2. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson
He was devout to God and his Christian values. General Stonewall Jackson carried immense respect from his soldiers and citizens of the South. He fought with courage and esteem and while others showed fear, Stonewall Jackson earned his nickname by standing like a barrier,
His death was sad in that he was accidentally shot by a Confederate soldier.
1. So here we are at #1…guess who? That’s right, General Robert E. Lee.
He served as Major General of Virginia’s land and naval forces, brigadier general, and Commanding Departments of Northwestern Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, among other duties.
These are the top 10 Confederate Army leaders as I have studied in American History and through my own research. While the men on this list had trying times during their careers, they all have resignation at some point in common. But when it came to duty during the American Civil War, they stood up and did their jobs—some more effectively than others, but these men worked with the limitations of their time.
In this time when people have deemed it necessary to destroy images and reflections of Confederate soldiers and leaders, we feel history is important. No matter your feelings, we can learn from the errors of our past.
If there is someone I have not included or someone that should take a place in the top 10 Confederate Army leaders list, please feel free to include them in the comments section.
Also, if you have any other comments, suggestions or questions, please post them below. Thank you.