Personalities of the American Civil War:

The people who impacted the North and the South before, during, and after the Civil War.  

One of the fascinating things about the American Civil War is the stories and biographies of the people involved in that greatest of all American conflicts. Here we list, with some biographical detail, men and women whose lives in some manner impacted America either before, during, or following the Civil War. Over time, more names and information will be added to this page.


Robert Anderson (1805-1871)-Union Army officer in the Civil War. Famous for his command of Fort Sumter at the start of the war, Major Robert Anderson became a national hero (in the North) for defending Fort Sumter in the first battle of the Civil War. At the end of the war, he returned to Fort Sumter and raised the American flag (the same one he rescued after the fall of Fort Sumter in 1861) over the newly recaptured Fort.

Historical Connections of Robert Anderson: Robert Anderson's father, Richard Clough Anderson, Sr. (1750–1826), served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War as an aide-de-camp to the Marquis de Lafayette, and also a founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati. As a Captain under George Washington's command, Richard Anderson led the advance of the American forces at the famous Battle of Trenton (December 24, 1776), crossing the Delaware River in the first boat as the Americans surprised the Hessian forces in Trenton on Christmas Eve.

Robert Anderson's mother, Sarah Marshall (1779–1854), was a cousin of John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


Abner Doubleday (1819-1893)--Union Army officer in the Civil War. Famous for firing the first "Northern" shot in the Civil War when he aimed a cannon in the defense of Fort Sumter (1861). Also served in the Seminole Wars, The Mexican War, and later Indian Wars. In the Civil War, the battles he fought in include:The Defense of Fort Sumter, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaigns of 1864. After the war, he received a patent for the San Francisco cable car railway when he was stationed in that city, and he is considered by some historians (and by Major League Baseball) as the historical inventor of the game of baseball. He began the Civil War with the rank of Captain (as second-in-commmand of Fort Sumter), and ended the war as a Major General. He was a Republican and strong supporter of President Lincoln.

Historical Connections of Abner Doubleday: Abner Doubleday's paternal grandfather, also named Abner Doubleday, served in the American Revolutionary War. His maternal grandfather, Thomas Donnelly, joined the Continental Army at the age of14, and was a mounted messenger for General George Washington. Doubleday' great-grandfather, Peter Donnelly. was a Minuteman at Lexington and Concord. Doubleday's father, Ulysses F. Doubleday, served in the War of 1812, and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Auburn, New York, was elected twice (1831-1833, and 1835-34) as a Jacsksonian Democrat.

Frederick Douglass-- The famous orator, author, and champion against slavery.

Mathew Brady-- The "Father of Photojournalism" whose photos of Civil War battlefields brought the horrors of war home to civilians on the homefront.

Clara Barton-- The "Angel of the Battlefield" who brought nursing care to wounded soldiers during the Civil War and later founded the American Red Cross.

John Buchanan Floyd (1806-1863)-American politician and Confederate Army General. Floyd served as Governor of Virginia (1830-1834), and as Secretary of War (1857-1860) under President Buchanan. Floyd's tenure as Secretary of War during the Secession Crisis of 1860 ended as his actions brought him under suspicion as a secret supporter of the Southern states that were seceeding from the Union. He was accused of hampering the potential defense of the Federal forts at Charleston, South Carolina, as well as ordering large numbers of weapons and ammuntion sent to Federal installations in the Deep South, presumably with the intention of allowing the Confederates to seize those war supplies. Following his removal from the War Department in December of 1860 and the secession of his native Virginia, Floyd became a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army. He commanded Southern troops in: the Battle of Kessler's Cross Lanes (1861), the Battle of Carnifex Ferry (1861), and the Battle of Fort Donelson (1862). Following his disastrous defense of Fort Donelson, he was relieved of command by Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Floyd died in 1863 due to poor health.

Historical Connections of John B. Floyd: John B. Floyd's father was John Floyd (1783–1837), representative in Congress from 1817 to 1829 and governor of Virginia from 1830 to 1834. In the 1832 Presidential election, Governor Floyd ran as the candidate of the Nullifier Party, and won South Carolina and that state's eleven electoral votes. Governor Floyd was also a veteran of the War of 1812.

John B. Floyd's second cousin once removed (his father's cousin), was Charles Floyd, the only member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to perish in their travels to the West.

Dr. Benjamin Rush-- Signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Constitutional Convention, noted physician and ardent supporter for the abolition of slavery.

Thomas Nast-American political cartoonist.

General George Armstrong Custer-- Famous American Cavalry officer who died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

General Robert E. Lee-- The commanding general for the South in the American Civil War.

Lorenzo de Zavala--First Vice-President of the Republic of Texas.