My Favorite Historical (Civil War) Person: An Introduction

We are pleased to introduce our new blog series on Emerging Civil War: My Favorite Historical Person. We asked our members and a few guest authors to share about their favorite person from the Civil War era. The results are fascinating and might be a little different than you’d expect – definitely some emerging voices and lesser-known heroes.

So…if you saw the title and thought we were going to battle over Lee, Jackson, Grant or Chamberlain for the next few weeks, please guess again. It’s been very interesting to watch this series build, and we hope you’ll enjoy the perspective and opinions.

The premise of the series is straight-forward and simple. Each writer will simply share about a favorite historical person who lived during the Civil War period. Some have struggled to identify one “all-time” favorite historical character, and, let’s be honest, it’s quite difficult to have just one favorite; the writers chose who they wanted to spotlight as a favorite for this series…and that person may or may not be their “all-time” forever favorite. Still, we’ve assembled a collection of fine blog posts revealing some favorites and the writers explain why they view these historical people as heroes or heroines.

You’ll get to share your opinion in the coming weeks in the comments and answers. Our Questions of the Week will give you the chance to shout-out your favorite historical person from the Civil War era. We’ll be looking forward to seeing your opinions too.

We are thrilled to start this new blog series and hope it will provide much to consider.

3 Responses to My Favorite Historical (Civil War) Person: An Introduction

  1. My favorite Civil War person is General John Frederick Hartranft. He had an exemplary military record, heavily engaged in all the major campaigns in the east and later in the west. For staying to fight at First Bull Run, after all his men went home when their terms of service expired, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor. After the war, General Hancock appointed him commander of the Old Capitol Prison, As such he was responsible for the day-to-day care of the Lincoln conspirators (and one innocent man–Spangler), including meals, personal hygiene and sanitation. He carried out his responsibilities conscientiously and humanely. He was responsible for the removal of the barbaric hoods that Stanton had ordered to be placed over the heads of the prisoners (except Mrs. Surratt and Dr. Mudd), which had driven them to the brink of insanity. He read the last rites to the four who were hanged. To his brilliant military career, he added a fine political career, being elected Governor of Pennsylvania in 1872 and serving until 1879. As Governor, he supported suffrage for African-Americans, fought corruption and championed the rights of the working class, including recognition of labor unions. He was a Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (a Union veterans’ organization) and a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. He died in 1889 at the age of 58.

  2. Edward “Ned” Needles Hallowell, commander of the Fifty-fourth Mass after Shaw’s death. He had to put together the unit after Wagner, fought through wounds in many battles. Went home and died very young, likely of wounds. No movie, no memorial, little remembered.

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