- Pierre Beauregard was a Confederate general who
led forces on the firing of Fort Sumter and in battle at First
Manassas. He later oversaw unsuccessful campaigns in Florida and
Georgia during the closing years of the war.
John Bell was the Constitutional Union candidate for president in
1860. He received support mainly in the border states, finishing
a distant third in the electoral college and last among the major
candidates in the popular vote.
devoted abolitionist, John Brown (1800-1859) decided the slaves
must be freed by force. Leading 18 men on an attack of the U.S.
arsenal and armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, (presently West
Virginia), he seized the complex and took control of the town.
He was defeated by a company of U.S. marines led by Robert E. Lee,
arrested and charged with various crimes, including treason and
murder. During his trial he spoke eloquently on behalf of the abolition
of slavery, and when he was hanged in December, he became a martyr
to the abolitionist cause. He was immortalized in the song "John
Brown's Body Lies A-Mouldering in his Grave...," a song which became
the trademark tune of the North. The events surrounding his death
served to further heighten the tensions that would lead to civil
John Wilkes Booth
- John Wilkes Booth was Lincoln's assassin. A southern
sympathizer loyal to Virginia, Booth was a twenty-six-year-old
struggling actor at the time of the assassination. Shortly thereafter,
after escaping to Maryland and then Virginia, he was apprehended
and shot to death during a struggle with federal agents in a barn
in rural Virginia.
- Braxton Bragg was a Confederate general whose main
service came in Tennessee, at Shiloh, Mumfreesboro and Chickamauga.
He later served as a military adviser to President Davis.
- John Breckenridge, of Kentucky, served as Vice
President of the United States under James Buchanan from 1857-1861.
Backed by the Southern Democrats, he ran unsuccessfully for president
in 1860, finishing a distant second to Lincoln. He later served
as a Confederate general, seeing action at Shiloh, Mumfreesboro,
and Chickamauga. In the final year of the Civil War, he served
as Confederate Secretary of War.
- James Buchanan served as the fifteenth president
of the United States, from 1857-1861. A Pennsylvanian, he had
previously served as minister to Great Britain, and gained the
Democratic nomination by virtue of his neutrality in domestic affairs.
However, his weak administration did little to help save the rapidly
fragmenting nation, and he did not seek re-election.
- Ambrose Burnside was a Union general who fought
at First Manassas and Antietam before being promoted to command
the eastern forces in battle at Fredericksburg, where he was soundly
defeated by Confederates under the command of Lee.
John C. Calhoun
- John C. Calhoun served as Vice President under Andrew
Jackson from 1829-1833, and later gained further prominence as
a senator from South Carolina. He was a vocal champion of nullification,
and vigorously opposed the high tariffs that were regularly imposed
by northern special interest groups.
- As the result of a political bargain, Simon Cameron,
who held considerable political influence in Pennsylvania, was
named Secretary of War in Lincoln's first cabinet. After less
than a year, he was replaced by Edwin Stanton, and thereafter served
as minister to Russia.
Salmon Chase was governor of Ohio from 1855-1859. As Secretary
of Treasury during Lincoln's first administration, Chase spearheaded
several significant policy decisions involving banking, currency
and taxes. After conspiring to obtain the nomination for president
from Lincoln in 1864, he was relieved of his cabinet duties. Later
that same year, Lincoln appointed Chase as Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court, a post which he filled during the majority of the
reconstruction years, up until 1873.
Henry Clay was a prominent Whig senator from Kentucky who ran unsuccessfully
for President on three occasions. He was a supporter of internal
improvements per his American System, and is well known as "The
Great Compromiser" for his role in the Missouri Compromise and
the Compromise of 1850.
John J. Crittenden
- John J. Crittenden was a senator from Kentucky
who attempted to avert an impending Civil War with a Compromise
in 1860. The so-called Crittenden Compromise failed after Lincoln
dismissed it as too lenient with regard to the containment of slavery.
Crittenden later authored a resolution declaring the preservation
of Union to be the sole war aim of the federal government.
- David Davis was the Eighth Circuit Court Judge
in the State of Illinois, and a crucial engineer of Lincoln's bid
for the presidency in 1860. Thanks to Davis's ingenuity, the Wigwam
in Chicago was packed with Lincoln supporters for the Republican
Convention, and his political wheeling and dealing helped secure
the necessary delegates for Lincoln's nomination.
- Jefferson Davis was a two-term
senator from Mississippi who resigned his seat in the face of the impending
southern secession. Mere weeks later, he was named president of
the Confederate States of America, a position he held throughout
the Civil War. Reluctant to give up his post in the aftermath of
Appomattox, Davis was treated leniently by the federal government
during reconstruction, and lived to the ripe old age of eighty-one.
- Stephen Douglas was a senator from Illinois who
rose quickly up the ranks of the Democratic Party. He proposed
the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and defended his
doctrine of popular sovereignty during a series of debates with
Lincoln in 1858. Although he defeated Lincoln in this senate race,
he later lost the presidential election to Lincoln in 1860. Undeterred
from fighting for what he believed was right, he joined forces
with Lincoln in an attempt to preserve the Union, but died just
after the outset of the Civil War in 1861.
- Edward Everett was a senator from Massachusetts
who was nominated for Vice President on the Constitutional Union
ticket under John Bell in 1860. Everett is perhaps best known
today as the principal speaker at the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery,
where Lincoln made his famous two- minute Gettysburg Address.
- David Farragut was the impetus behind several Union
naval successes, most notably at New Orleans in 1862 and Mobile
in 1864. By the end of the war he had risen to the rank of Vice
John C. Fremont
- John C. Fremont, a notable frontier explorer, was
nominated for President in the 1856 election on the first-ever
Republican ticket. Fremont saw significant action as a general
in the western theater during the early stages of the Civil War,
but was relieved of his duties after freeing several slaves in an
unauthorized show of abolitionist spirit. Later he would mount
a challenge to Lincoln's authority in the Republican-turned National
Union Party, briefly flirting with a run for president in 1864
before withdrawing to improve Lincoln's chances of re-election.
- Mentor Graham was a schoolmaster in New Salem who
taught Lincoln and Ann Rutledge in their youth. He later recalled
the romance between Lincoln and Rutledge to William H. Herndon.
- Union General U.S. Grant began his service in the Civil
War in the western theater, enjoying early successes in Tennessee,
at Shiloh, and later on the Mississippi with the seizure of Vicksburg.
These victories led to his promotion by Lincoln as the overall commander
of Union forces in 1864. After a bloody campaign in Northern Virginia,
Grant finally arrived in Richmond and accepted Lee's surrender
at Appomattox a few short days later. In the years following the
Civil War, Grant was venerated as a national hero, and subsequently
served as the eighteenth president of the United States, from 1869- 1877.
- Horace Greeley was a journalist turned politician
who supported abolitionist causes and was highly critical of Lincoln's
policies throughout the war. He later mounted an unsuccessful
challenge on the Democratic ticket to the incumbent Grant in the presidential
election of 1872.
- Henry Halleck served as overall commander of Union
forces during the middle stages of the Civil War, and was later
named as Lincoln's chief of staff after being replaced by U.S.
- Hannibal Hamlin served as senator from Maine for
over a decade, and was Lincoln's Vice President from 1861-65.
He was replaced on the National Union ticket by Andrew Johnson,
who had a more needed regional appeal and brought in the support
of the War Democrats.
Rutherford B. Hayes
- Rutherford B. Hayes was the nineteenth president
of the United States, serving from 1877-1881. He was elected by
the narrowest of margins after a government committee declared
him the winner in exchange for an end to reconstruction. This arrangement
became known as the Compromise of 1877.
- William H. Herndon was Lincoln's
law partner from 1844 on. He later wrote a controversial biography
of Lincoln's early life.
John Bell Hood
- John Bell Hood was a Confederate General who fought
in the eastern theater during the early stages of the Civil War,
seeing action at Second Manassas, Antietam and Gettysburg. Later
he was transferred to the western theater, where he led a victory
at Chickamauga and fought a losing battle in Tennessee up until
the closing days of the war.
- Joseph Hooker fought at Antietam and Fredericksburg
and served briefly as overall commander in the eastern theater,
suffering an ignominious defeat at Chancellorsville. He later served
under Sherman during the siege of Atlanta.
- Andrew Jackson was a heroic
general who had won military honor at the Battle of New Orleans,
the concluding conflict in the War of 1812. He later served as
seventh president of the United States from 1829-1837, emerging
as the most significant Democratic leader of his era. Although
an advocate of states' rights, Jackson asserted the power of the
federal government during the Nullification Crisis sparked by John
C. Calhoun of South Carolina.
- Stonewall Jackson was a
Confederate General who commanded victories at First Manassas,
during the Seven Days' Battles, and at Fredericksburg. Tragically,
he was inadvertently shot and killed by his own men during the
Battle of Chancellorsville.
- Andrew Johnson was appointed
military governor of Tennessee in 1862. The only major official from
a Confederate state to remain loyal to the Union, he was later
named Lincoln's running mate as Vice President on the National
Union ticket in the election of 1864. After Lincoln's assassination,
Johnson became the seventeenth president of the United States, serving
from 1865-1869. He suffered from a rocky administration due to
the complications of reconstruction, later abandoning the Republicans
who opposed him to pursue re-election on the Democratic ticket
in the election of 1868, which he lost to U.S. Grant.
Sarah Bush Johnston
- A Kentucky widow, Sarah Bush Johnston was remarried
to Thomas Lincoln in 1819, and raised the young Abraham Lincoln
from the age of ten.
Robert E. Lee
- Robert E. Lee was offered command of the Union armies
at the outset of the Civil War, but refused out of loyalty to his
native Virginia. Later emerging as general-in-chief of the Confederate
army, Lee fought brilliantly in the eastern theater for over three
years despite inferior manpower and munitions. Lee signed the
surrender to Grant at Appomattox and went on to become the president
of what is today known as Washington and Lee College.
- Edward Baker Lincoln was
the second son to Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. He died prematurely
in 1850 at the age of three.
Mary Todd Lincoln
- Mary Todd Lincoln, born of a prominent Kentucky
family, married Lincoln on November 4, 1842. She bore him four
children, and struggled to harmonize with her aloof husband throughout
their marriage. After his assassination, her already delicate constitution
was upset beyond repair. Her son Robert committed her to an institution
in 1875, and she later died in Springfield in 1882.
- Nancy Hanks Lincoln was
Lincoln's mother. Little is known about her, as her origins are obscure
and she died at a young age of milk sickness. According to Herndon,
Lincoln believed her to be the product of an illegitimate union.
- Robert Todd Lincoln
was the eldest son to Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. He attended Harvard
University during his father's administration, later serving under
Grant in the closing months of the Civil War. He later went on
to a successful political career in his own right, functioning
as minister to Great Britain and ultimately as Secretary of War.
- Sarah Lincoln was the eldest child born to Thomas and
Nancy Hanks Lincoln. She died while giving birth in 1828, leaving
Lincoln as the only surviving child of his birth parents.
- Thomas "Tad" Lincoln was the youngest son to Abraham
and Mary Todd Lincoln. Born in 1853, he lived only into his late
teenage years, dying in 1871.
- Thomas Lincoln was
born and raised in Virginia, later moving to Kentucky to establish
himself and his young family. He was married twice. Later moving
to Indiana and finally Illinois, he had a distant relationship
with his son, who declined to attend his own father's funeral in
William Wallace Lincoln
Wallace Lincoln was the third son to Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln.
He died prematurely at the White House in 1862 at the age of eleven.
Stephen T. Logan
- Stephen T. Logan was Lincoln's second law partner.
The two men worked together between 1841 and 1844.
- Union General George McClellan saw early action during
the Civil War in Western Virginia, where he enjoyed several victories.
After earning promotion to command forces in the eastern theater,
McClellan suffered a defeat in his Peninsular Campaign, later redeeming
himself in part at Antietam. Nevertheless, Lincoln dismissed him
from his duties. Earning the Democratic nomination for President
in 1864, McClellan mounted an unsuccessful campaign against Lincoln's
bid for re-election.
- Irvin McDowell was a Union general who suffered
defeats at First and Second Manassas and was subsequently relieved
of his duties.
George Meade was a Union general who fought at Antietam and Fredericksburg
and later took command of the eastern theater in 1863, enjoyed
a rousing success at Gettysburg. He remained in control of the
eastern forces until the end of the Civil War.
III became the Emperor of France in 1852, after having previously
served as leader of the Second French Republic for four years.
He ruled France until suffering defeat in the Franco-Prussian War
of 1870-71. During the Civil War, he attempted to negotiate a
peace treaty between the Union and the Confederacy, and violated
the Monroe Doctrine when he occupied Mexico and set Archduke Maximillian
on the throne there in 1863.
Owens was a Kentucky woman whom Lincoln briefly courted in the late
1830s, only for her to reject his proposal of marriage.
- Archduke Maximillian of the Hapsburg dynasty was
set up on the throne of Mexico by Napoleon III's occupying forces
in Mexico in 1863. After the Civil War, when the United States
came to Mexico's defense and removed the French influence there,
Maximillian was deposed and beheaded.
- Franklin Pierce served as the fourteenth president of
the United States, from 1853-1857. As a result of his ineffectual
administration, he failed to secure re-nomination on the Democratic
ticket in the election of 1856.
James K. Polk
- James K. Polk served as the eleventh president
of the United States, from 1845- 1849. A fierce proponent of manifest
destiny, Polk spearheaded westward expansion and oversaw the progress
of the Mexican War. His powerful Democratic administration was
bitterly opposed by a cadre of congressional Whigs, including Lincoln.
Union General John Pope was roundly defeated at Second Manassas
and later served as a commander in the western theater.
Ann Rutledge was a New Salem woman rumored to have been engaged
to Lincoln when both were in their young twenties. After she died
unexpectedly in 1835, Lincoln was distraught, and remained a frequent
visitor to her gravesite for the rest of his life.
- William Seward was a former governor and senator
from New York who opposed Lincoln for the Republican nomination
for president in 1860. After being defeated, he accepted a post
in Lincoln's cabinet as Secretary of State, and played a significant
role in the development of Union policy during the Civil War. Nearly
assassinated on the night of Lincoln's assassination, Seward recovered
to continue as Secretary of State in Johnson's cabinet, and negotiated the
purchase of Alaska from Russia.
- Horatio Seymour was twice governor of New York
and a prominent Copperhead leader in opposition to Lincoln. The
New York City Draft Riots occurred under his administration.
- Winfield Scott earned distinction as a general
in both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. He ran unsuccessfully
for President on the Whig ticket against Franklin Pierce in the
Election of 1852. Later, he masterminded the Anaconda Plan in
the early stages of the Civil War, retiring from duty in late 1861.
- Phil Sheridan fought for the Union in the Tennessee campaign
of 1863 at Mumfreesboro and Chickamauga and was later promoted
to General, where he fought in various battles alongside Grant
- Union General William Tecumseh Sherman
fought at First Manassas and Shiloh, later directing the masterful
siege of Atlanta: he captured, evacuated, and burned the city before
laying waste to the state of Georgia in his march to the sea.
In the closing months of the Civil War, forces under Sherman pushed
North toward Richmond in a successful effort to close out the Confederates.
- James Shields was the Illinois State Auditor who challenged
Lincoln to a duel in 1842, in violation of existing state laws.
The confrontation was later called off after a series of conciliatory
- Edwin Stanton served as Union Secretary of War from
1862 to 1868. He had a strong role in Lincoln's cabinet and assumed
near-total control of the nation in the wake of Lincoln's assassination.
After President Johnson attempted to remove Stanton from office
in 1868 over a disagreement regarding reconstruction, Johnson was
impeached and nearly removed from office. Stanton died in the following
J. E. B. Stuart
- J. E. B. Stuart was a Confederate general who fought
at First and Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville,
among others. He was wounded in battle and died in the spring
John T. Stuart
- John T. Stuart encouraged Lincoln to take up the study
of law. The two men formed a law partnership between 1837 and
- Charles Sumner was a staunch abolitionist and a founding
member of the Republican party. A longtime senator from Massachusetts,
he was attacked by Preston Brooks of South Carolina on the Senate
floor after making an eloquent argument against the Kansas-Nebraska
Act. During reconstruction, Sumner led a radical push to penalize
the south for their transgressions, but eventually he softened
Roger B. Taney
- Roger B. Taney was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
from 1835-1864. He issued the landmark Dred Scott
in 1857, and fiercely opposed Lincoln's extension of executive
privilege during the Civil War.
- Zachary Taylor served as twelfth president of the United
States, from 1849-1850. He was elected on the Whig ticket on the
strength of his performance in the Mexican War. Opposed to the
appeasement of southern interests, he died in office as the Compromise of
1850 was being negotiated in Congress.
Clement L. Vallandigham
- Clement L. Vallandigham was a congressman from Ohio
and a prominent Copperhead. In 1863 Lincoln banished him from
the Union after he was arrested on charges of treason. He later
returned to campaign on behalf of McClellan against Lincoln in
the 1864 presidential election.
- Queen Victoria was the reigning monarch in Britain
from 1837 until 1901, and served as Empress of India from 1876
until 1901. Under her rule, Britain remained neutral during the
American Civil War, although tensions ran high during the Trent
Whitman was a renowned American poet who authored the much-lauded Leaves
He served as a nurse in Washington during the
Civil War, and later became a close friend and adviser to Lincoln.
(For more information, see the SparkNote on Walt Whitman's Poetry.