Question of the Week: 1/23-1/29/22

Since we had several “Stonewall” Jackson posts recently, we’re thinking about nicknames.

In your opinion, which Civil War era person had the best nickname? Why?

24 Responses to Question of the Week: 1/23-1/29/22

  1. I believe there was a Virginia commander called Wickham, VA. Calvalry 1, who was nicknamed “Claw Hammer Wickham”

  2. I’m not sure anyone can beat George Thomas’ four – Pap, Old Slow Trot, the Rock of Chickamauga, and the Sledge of Nashville.

  3. My choice would be the nickname given to Nathaniel Banks by his Confederate opponents, “Commissary” Banks, for the grateful reason that he supplied all the rebel’s needs after his various defeats in the Valley Campaign, especially after the Battle of Winchester.

  4. William “Mudwall” Jackson. Can’t beat it for amusement value.

    Note that while the moniker seems to be a disparaging contrast to “Stonewall,” as Professor Robertson (the great Stonewall biographer) has explained, it actually was praise, stating: ‘… Jackson’s force did considerable damage, sent fear through the countryside, but managed to escape from a large pursuing Union force. That feat gave Jackson the name “Mudwall”. As one Confederate explained, “while Stonewall Jackson had been so hard on the Yankees, Mudwall Jackson had slid easily through their net”.’ Still, I would prefer to be called “Stonewall,” “the Rock of …,” or something a little more substantial than “mudwall.” “There oozes Jackson like a mud wall,” just doesn’t ring well.

  5. “Snapping Turtle” Meade…although I’m not sure that was an actual nickname. U.S. Grant, which lent itself to things like: United States, Unconditional Surrender, Uncle Sam, was pretty good. Forrest’s being the “Wizard of the Saddle” foreshadows his role in the KKK, although again, I doubt if anyone called him “Wiz” or “Wizard”. “Devil” Forrest maybe.

  6. “Contraband,” the name given to all African-American former slaves who worked in the Union armies

  7. Union Army General Edwin “Bull Head” Sumner, who got his nickname from a belief that a musket ball bounced off his thick skull during the Mexican War.

  8. I’ve always chuckled at the nickname of Confederate General and eventual Virginia Governor “Extra Billy” Smith, who received that unflattering moniker by sniping extra fees from the postal service.

  9. Not a nickname, but I love that there was a Confederate general whose given name at birth was States Rights Gist; The man was born to become a Confederate general. I also appreciate the irony that his birthplace was Union, South Carolina.

  10. I am going with the cantankerous Confederate cavalryman: Brigadier General William E. “Grumble” Jones:

  11. “Grumble Jones” I’d say is the best, but of course “Stonewall” Jackson really fits the man, and my favorite Confederate guy, “The Grey Ghost” for Mosby. But others mentioned here are great nicknames too!

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