Question of the Week #1

This week starts a new feature at Emerging Civil War. A Question of the Week will be posted every Monday. Questions will vary week to week, topic to topic. Please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and responses. Through the Question of the Week, we hope to bring to life a lively and respectful conversation between authors, readers and editors. Please see this weeks question below.

“Who do you rate as the top five best Union generals?”

George B. McClellan

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22 Responses to Question of the Week #1

  1. Berry Fitzhugh says:

    Sheridan,Sherman,Thomas,Grant,Custer( while he was closely managed)

  2. cc2001 says:

    Grant, Sherman, Buford, Sheridan, Chamberlain

  3. Paul E. Fowler says:


  4. Paul says:

    Grant, Sherman, Buford, Henry Hunt and Sheridan.

  5. mende says:

    Thomas,Grant, Sherman,Sheridan,Rosecrans

  6. joe truglio says:

    Thomas, Hunt, Grant, Buford, Hancock

  7. Anthony says:

    Grant, Sheridan, Hancock, Sherman, Chamberlain

  8. Lyle Smith says:

    Grant, Sherman, Meade, Rosecrans, and Kearny.

  9. Amanda Warren says:

    (1) I believe Thomas the greatest of all, for Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Nashville just to name the highlights. (2) Grant for never giving up at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and all the battles leading up to Appomattox (but his dislike and mischaracterization of Thomas detracts). (3) I would add Gouverneur Warren because of his superlative engineering expertise that contributed to many others’ successes, especially his discernment of the importance of the Little Round Top position, and the victory in his own right at Bristoe Station. (He was wronged by Sheridan at Petersburg.) (4) John Gibbon because he made the Iron Brigade into one of the best fighting units of the Union army. (5) Also, I agree with Lyle that Meade deserves inclusion in this group, for Gettysburg and the final victory of the Army of the Potomac for which he rightfully shares credit with Grant.

  10. Al Mackey says:

    Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Hancock, McClellan

  11. Meg Thompson says:

    In no particular order: Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Hancock, Pleasanton

  12. George Deutsch says:

    Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Meade, Hancock

  13. Amanda Warren says:

    Here’s a tally of the vote so far: Grant 12; Sherman 10; Thomas 7; Sheridan and Hancock tied with 6; Meade and Buford tied with 3; Chamberlain, McClellan, Hunt and Rosecrans tied with 2; and Custer, Pleasonton, Gibbon, Warren and Kearny each got 1.

  14. Ned B says:

    Grant, McPherson, Gibbon, Ransom, Mower.

  15. Ned B says:

    A seemingly simple question but yet so amorphous. There was a range of roles, responsibilities and circumstances for officers in the Civil War with the rank of “General”. So best at what?

  16. I’m not one to have a “favorite” general. But I do like Grant because he did what he had to do to win the war; I think that even though everyone gets down on McClellan for military failures, he was great at organization and motivation. A teaming up of Grant’s fighting style and McClellan’s organization would have been great. I also respect Warren for his efforts to stop practically suicidal actions (notably at Mine Run) even if that gets him in trouble with the army later on in 1864.

  17. Amanda Warren says:

    Updated tally: Grant 14; Sherman 10; Thomas 7; Sheridan and Hancock tied at 6; Meade, Buford and McClellan tied at 3; Chamberlain, Hunt, Rosecrans, Gibbon and Warren tied at 2; and Custer, Pleasonton, Kearny, McPherson, Ransom and Mower all receiving 1.

    Grant is the only one for whom everyone has voted.

  18. Zac Cowsert says:

    I’ll throw my five cents in here!

    1-Ulysses Grant 2-William Tecumseh Sherman 3-GeorgeThomas 4-George Meade 5-Samuel Curtis (to represent the Trans-Mississippi!)

  19. Amanda Warren says:

    Presumably the final tally: Grant 15; Sherman 11; Thomas 8; Sheridan and Hancock tied with 6; Meade 4; Buford and McClellan tied with 3; Chamberlain, Hunt, Rosecrans, Gibbon and Warren tied with 2; and Custer, Pleasonton, Kearny, McPherson, Ransom, Mower and Curtis all receiving 1.

    Grant is still the sole general receiving a unanimous vote.

  20. Meade, Grant, Sherman, Hunt, A. Williams.

  21. Amanda Warren says:

    New final tally: Grant 16; Sherman 12; Thomas 8; Sheridan and Hancock tied with 6; Meade 5; Buford, McClellan and Hunt tied with 3; Chamberlain, Rosecrans Gibbon and Warren tied with 2; and Custer, Pleasonton, Kearny, McPherson, Ransom, Mower, Curtis and Alpheus Williams all receiving 1.

    Grant remains unanimous.

  22. Ted says:

    Grant, Sherman, Meade, Hancock, and Sheridan over Warren, only because Sheridan had more chances for independent command.

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