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Hope everyone had a great week. What with all that's going on with the election I thought it might be interesting to know what some of our past presidents did during the Civil War.

The source page is:

POTUS, Presidents of the United States

ANDREW JOHNSON: 17th President of the United States (April 15, 1865 to March 3, 1869)

Nickname: None

Born: December 29, 1808, in Raleigh, North Carolina

Died: July 31, 1875, in Carter's Station, Tennessee

Civil War era history:

United States Senator, 1857-62

Military Governor of Tennessee, 1862-65 - appointed by President Lincoln with the rank of brigadier general. Vice President, 1865 (under Lincoln)

ULYSSES GRANT: 18th President of the United States (March 4, 1869 to March 3, 1877)

Nickname: "Hero of Appomattox"

Born: April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio

Died: July 23, 1885, in Mount McGregor, New York

This could be another tidbit.

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES: 19th President of the United States (March 4, 1877 to March 3, 1881)

Nickname: "Dark-Horse President"

Born: October 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio

Died: January 17, 1893, at Spiegel Grove in Fremont, Ohio

Civil War era history:

Served with the 23d Ohio Infantry from June, 1861, entering service as a major. October '61: promoted to lt. colonel; Oct. '62 promoted to colonel, commanding the 23d. After Cedar Creek (Oct. '64), promoted to brigadier general of vols. Received one of the infinitely many brevets dated March 13, 1865 to major general, vols. Resigned June, 1865.

JAMES GARFIELD: 20th President of the United States (March 4, 1881 to September 19, 1881)

Nickname: None

Born: November 19, 1831, in Orange, Ohio

Died: September 19, 1881, in Elberon, New Jersey

Civil War era history:

Commissioned a lt. col in the 42nd Ohio, Aug. 1861, and promoted to Col. in November, '61. Commanded the 18th Brig. at Middle Creek, Jan. '62, defeating superior numbers, and was subsequently promoted to brigadier general. January, 1863-- appointed Chief of Staff to Rosecrans, "In a daring ride under enemy fire, during which his horse was wounded, he conveyed vital information from flank to flank. For this he was promoted to major general." Rosecrans said of him: "I feel much indebted to him for both counsel and assistance in the administration of this army...He possesses the instinct and energy of a great commander." Elected to Congress in Sept., 1863 Garfield resigned in Dec., 1863.

CHESTER A. ARTHUR: 21st President of the United States (September 19, 1881 to March 3, 1885)

Nickname: "The Gentleman Boss"; "Elegant Arthur"

Born: October 5, 1830, in Fairfield, Vermont

Died: November 18, 1886, in New York, New York

Civil War era history:

Served in New York State militia from Feb. '58 to Dec. '62, rising from brigade judge advocate to quartermaster genl. In Jan, '61, appointed engineer-in-chief with rank of brigadier general. Apr, '61, promote asst. QM genl; Feb '62 inspect. genl; July `62, QM general. Spring `62 inspected NY troops in Virginia. War Gov. Edwin D Morgan said: "He was my chief reliance in the duties of equipping and transporting troops and munitions of war. In the position of Quarter Master General he displayed not only great executive ability and unbending integrity, but great knowledge of Army Regulations. He can say No (which is important) without giving offense."

GROVER CLEVELAND: 22nd and 24th President of the United States (March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1889 and March 4, 1893 to March 3, 1897)

Nickname: None

Born: March 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey

Died: June 24, 1908, in Princeton, New Jersey

Civil War era history:

Drafted, but purchased a substitute. Paid $150 to George Brinske (or Benninsky), a 32-year-old Polish immigrant to serve in his place.

BENJAMIN HARRISON: 23rd President of the United States (March 4, 1889 to March 3, 1893

Nicknames: "Kid Gloves Harrison"; "Little Ben"

Born: August 20, 1833, in North Bend, Ohio

Died: March 13, 1901, in Indianapolis, Indiana

Civil War era history:

Was approached by Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton in early July, 1862 to raise a regiment in the congressional district in and around Indianapolis. Was given a provisional recruiting commission as 2nd Lt. on 9 July 1862, promoted to Captain on 22 July, and commissioned Colonel of the 70th Indiana Volunteer Infantry regiment on 7 Aug 1862 when the regiment was full. The commissions as Lt. and Capt. were essentially pro forma, as Harrison understood that he was to have command of the 70th IVI. Commanded a brigade under Hooker in the Atlanta campaign. Hooker recommended him for promotion to brigadier general for foresight, discipline and fighting spirit. He was brevetted Brigadier General 23 Jan 1865, and mustered out of the service 8 June 8 1865. He said, "I am not a Julius Caesar, nor a Napoleon, but a plain Hoosier colonel, with no more relish for a fight than for a good breakfast and hardly so much."

[Additional info contributed by Steve Towne]

© 2006 Winifred Ledoux