Civil War Soldiers Often Gave Their Generals Pointed Nicknames

The connection between troopers and their commanders will be indicated by nicknames, which additionally present insights into how opponents and civilians on either side considered numerous generals. Nathan Bedford Forrest, lauded by Confederates because the “Wizard of the Saddle,” vexed William Tecumseh Sherman as “that satan Forrest.” Rebels cursed Benjamin F. Butler as “Beast” and “Spoons” and mocked Nathanial P. Banks, whose military deserted provides throughout the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Marketing campaign, as “Commissary Banks.” Saddled with the un-martial nickname “Previous Brains,” Henry W. Halleck might need envied James Ewell Brown Stuart, whose three initials created “Jeb,” a splendid piece of luck for a dashing cavalryman. Richard S. Ewell (“Previous Bald Head”) and William Farrar Smith (“Baldy”) definitely harbored no doubts about how they acquired their casual monikers.
New Orleans residents accused Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler of stealing silver spoons whereas army commander of their metropolis. This spoon, made in Lowell, Mass., pays humorous tribute to the final.
No basic skilled a higher turnaround in nicknames than Robert E. Lee. Scorned as “Granny” or the “King of Spades” early within the struggle, he remained controversial when assigned to exchange the wounded Joseph E. Johnston exterior Richmond on June 1, 1862. The following 12 months introduced victories that solidified Lee’s status as a gifted commander whose troopers referred to as him “Marse Robert.” Another type of “grasp” sometimes related to enslaved African People, “marse” carried cultural weight in a patriarchal slaveholding society. For Lee’s troopers, the nickname mixed respect for supreme authority and affection. A North Carolinian defined in early 1864 that comrades “communicate of him amongst themselves universally as ‘Marse Robert’ & use it as a time period of endearment & affection.” Lee’s troops developed a way of familial loyalty and obligation that confirmed when James Longstreet’s Corps returned to Virginia from Tennessee in April 1864. Artillerist Edward Porter Alexander recalled the second Lee rode onto a knoll to overview the lads: “The overall reins up his horse, & bares his good grey head, & seems at us & we shout & cry & wave our battleflags & take a look at him once more….Every man appeared to really feel the bond which held us all to Lee. There was no talking, however the impact was that of a army sacrament, during which we pledged anew our lives.”
Solely George B. McClellan impressed comparable devotion amongst males within the ranks. His nickname, “Little Mac,” conveyed no sense of army expertise or goal—certainly, as a diminutive model of “McClellan” it might be construed as one way or the other unfavorable. However the nickname had nothing to do with stature—at 5’ 8” tall, McClellan was barely above common peak—and every thing to do with acknowledging a way of closeness between the final and his troops. McClellan labored laborious to construct spirit within the Military of the Potomac, making himself accessible by means of unannounced visits to camps and utilizing critiques to imbue the lads with a way of being a part of the republic’s best army pressure. In vital methods, the military remained McClellan’s after he departed within the wake of Antietam. A Rhode Islander captured prevailing attitudes within the ranks to McClellan’s removing in early November 1862. “This has been a tragic day for the Military of the Potomac,” he wrote: “Gen. McClellan has been relieved from command and has left us. He rode alongside the strains and was heartily cheered by the lads….This transformation produces a lot bitter feeling and a few indignation. McClellan’s enemies will now rejoice, however the Military loves and respects him.”         
Avuncular imagery often signaled robust ties between troopers and their commander. William Tecumseh Sherman and Joseph E. Johnston, generally known as “Uncle Billy” and “Uncle Joe” by their males, solid reputations as officers who averted pointless bloodshed and sorted their troops. “Uncle John” Sedgwick, chief of the Union sixth Corps, stood, within the phrases of 1 soldier who commented in regards to the basic’s loss of life at Spotsylvania, as “our buddy, our idol…the nice chief, the cherished buddy, he that had been greater than a father to us all.”
“Previous” figured in lots of nicknames and infrequently connoted a reciprocal bond throughout ranks. Though celebrated as “Stonewall” (certainly the perfect of all Civil Battle nicknames), Thomas J. Jackson most frequently was “Previous Jack” to his males. Equally, James Longstreet’s troopers knew him as “Previous Pete” (derived from a boyhood and West Level appellation), although he additionally earned respect as Lee’s “Previous Battle Horse” and “the Bull of the Woods.” William J. Hardee (“Previous Dependable”), William S. Rosecrans (“Previous Rosey”), P.G.T. Beauregard (“Previous Bory”), and Jubal A. Early (“Previous Jube”) impressed fairly totally different reactions amongst their males, with Early, curmudgeonly and sharp-tongued, in all probability the least fashionable. George H. Thomas, “Previous Sluggish Trot” to those that thought his actions too sluggish, was most frequently referred to as “Pap” by devoted troops or “The Rock of Chickamauga.” 
A constructive nickname might be turned towards an officer. Joseph Hooker emerged from the Richmond marketing campaign of 1862 as “Combating Joe,” which many troopers embraced as a result of it set him other than overly cautious generals within the Military of the Potomac. Hooker despised it. “Don’t name me Combating Joe,” Harper’s Weekly quoted him as saying in February 1863. R. E. Lee took a dismissive tone in late February 1863, saying, “I owe Mr. F J Hooker no thanks for protecting me right here on this state of expectancy. He must have made up his thoughts way back what to do.” After Hooker’s ignominious collapse at Chancellorsville, the nickname grew to become a weapon for anybody of a sardonic bent. Equally, John Bell Hood, generally known as “the gallant Hood” within the Confederacy, fell sufferer to a sarcastic twist throughout his military’s retreat from Nashville in December 1864. To the tune of The Yellow Rose of Texas, a few of his troopers, in lyrics that in contrast Hood unfavorably with Joe Johnston, sang: “I’m going again to Georgia / To seek out my ‘Uncle Joe’ / Chances are you’ll sing about your dearest maid, / And sing of Rosalie, / However the gallant Hood of Texas / Performed hell in Tennessee.”
Troopers bestowed no nickname on among the struggle’s main generals. Ulysses S. Grant’s initials yielded “Sam” (quick for “Uncle Sam”) from fellow cadets at West Level and “Unconditional Give up” from newspapers after Fort Donelson, and Confederates and a few Democrats (particularly Copperheads) referred to as him “Butcher” throughout the Overland Marketing campaign. However no lasting nickname originated along with his troops. John Pope, Braxton Bragg, and Irvin McDowell, amongst military commanders, equally emerged from the battle with out a nickname. That may have been factor in every of their circumstances. ✯

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