Question of the Week: 9/20-9/26/21

Who gets your prize for grumpiest personality during the Civil War era? Why?

19 Responses to Question of the Week: 9/20-9/26/21

  1. For the Union: Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War. Too officious; micro-manager; always looking for “the inside edge” (weaknesses and hidden flaws) of every person with whom he was associated: expected the worst in other people. [The Parole Camp was his idea, because he did not trust Union POWs released “on their parole” from Rebel captivity (almost all were volunteers through 1862) to return to their regiments after being properly exchanged.]
    For the Confederacy: General Braxton Bragg. Perhaps it was the too-frequent migraine headaches; maybe he was simply inclined to be petty and vindictive (and unimaginative.) But I would struggle to find a General during the Civil War who had more of his own men shot, or hanged [documented at Pensacola, Shiloh vicinity, Rutherford Tennessee…]

    1. Bragg might be the overall winner. Not sure if the story about him as the pre-War post commander filing a complaint against himself as quartermaster is true, but the fact that it was circulated probably reflects how his peers felt.

      1. All good answers, but I’ll have to agree with Mike and John. Braxton Bragg wins hands down. After Chickamauga, his general staff almost mutinied. Bragg’s only ally was Jefferson Davis. The two became friends in the Mexican War.

    2. Additionally, Stanton appeared to go insane when Lincoln was murdered. His treatment of the accused, by masking them in prison and imposing other intolerable conditions was barbaric (as well as grumpy).

    1. He’s a good choice … Lee called him a “croaker” (19th century lingo for whiner, wanker, chronic complainer, et al) … so while Lee didn’t want him, he had enough backing to get his third star … so, they sent him west to the AOT … not a good ending their either.

  2. all my good choices have already been taken … so i will go with Henry “Old Brains” Halleck … T. Harry Williams (Lincoln and his Generals) called him “the most unpopular man in Washington … a title he worked hard to deserve … surly and gruff in manner, he had no restraints in insulting people.”

  3. Gouvenor Warren after being relieved by Sheridan at five forks. Warren spent the rest of his life sulking and trying to clear his name. He said “happiness is not my companion”. He died embittered and declined any military honors at his funeral.

  4. Bragg for sure, but Sheridan has always seemed like a jerk to me as well. Blowing up at Meade after the Wilderness when he was in the wrong, then relieving Warren. Warren wasn’t the best of corps commanders, but Sheridan had to know by then that Lee’s army was used up and the end was near. Why then destroy an honorable man’s reputation and life, knowing the chance to redeem himself on the battlefield was highly unlikely? If Grant wanted the deed done he should have done it himself and long before. Napoleon complex should be retired in the U.S and rechristened the Sheridan Complex…

  5. “Grumpy” is not the same as “a jerk.” I’ve known lots of pleasant jerks. (Some might even classify me that way, but let’s not go there. Please. ?) Grumpy brings to mind the chronic complainers, such as Bragg or DH Hill.

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