Monday, September 14, 2015

Art of Civil Generals

I was at Mother's Tuesday for dinner and she was excited about the Civil War documentary movie she had been watching.  During the commercial break of another show she skipped over to the Civil War. She was very intrigued by all the information they were giving her that was not covered in school or University. She asked if I minded if we watched it and of course I agreed. They spoke an incredible amount about General George Brinton McClellan, General William Tecumseh Sherman, General Robert E. Lee, General Grant, General Joseph Eggleston Johnston and a few others. 

Union Generals Dix, Blair, Rousseau, Ore, Wadsworth, Wallace, Logan, and Butterfield. Engraved by J. B. Hall, Jr.

I wondered about how many actual Generals were engaged in the Civil War. 

There were hundreds of men promoted to the rank of General. They were called brevet generals.Brevet made its way through history to mean "a commission promoting a military officer to a higher rank without increase of pay and with limited exercise of the higher rank, often granted as an honor immediately before retirement." It comes from an old French word, brievet meaning "papal indulgence". 

After the War these generals ranks reverted back to what they were prior to becoming Generals.  As example in 1863 Captain George Armstrong Custer was given a brevet promotion to Brigadier General of Volunteers. In 1866 when Custer mustered out of the Army his rank reverted to Captain. 

                            Union General George A. Custer

The husband of my second cousin Sara Elizabeth Pearis was David Emmons Johnston. He enlisted in the Confederate Army but was given a brevet promotion to General. 

This week take a look at the Art of Civil Generals. 

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