Five Best Generals In History Of U.S.
The United States is a war-like nation. We've been at war throughout most of our history and because of this, we have had our share of great generals. Obviously, this list is only an opinion of who was the best generals in history of the U.S. Anyone could come up with a different list and provide a good argument to why they are right. In fact, I welcome other opinions from readers for and against the people on this list. I put these in order of how I personally see them.
A cadet of West Point in 1829, Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class and joined the Army engineers. He fought in the Mexican War where he was a staff member of number five on our list. After that war, he went back to West Point where he to work as a superintendent. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lee was offered the position of head of the Union forces, but resigned when his home state of Virginia seceded from the nation. In 1862, after General Johnston of the Confederacy was wounded, he became the top general of the South. Lee was highly intelligent and knew his opponents. His men loved him and he was a true gentleman soldier. While Lee had some blunders during the Civil War, he was known for taking chances and strategically controlling the battlefield, overall.
Patton was a "blood and guts" soldier. A 1909 graduate of West Point, he was descended from a long line of American warriors. He was an Olympic athlete (pentathlon) and a member of the U.S. Cavalry and continued with it his entire career - even when they went from horses to machines. During World War One he led the first tank brigades into battle. Between the world wars, he helped in advancing the role of the tank in the military. This made his help during World War Two invaluable. He led America's 2nd Army Corps through Africa, Sicily, and Europe. Patton was a brilliant general who was aggressive in the face of the enemy. While being a great warrior, Patton was certainly not a politician. He spoke his mind to whomever he wished and it had a tendency to get him in trouble. One of Patton's plans was to continue World War Two and move directly into World War Three by invading Russia. If he would have been able to do this, Patton may have prevented the Cold War. Instead, he was killed in a car accident in 1945 although conspiracy theorists believe that he may have been assassinated instead of accidentally being killed.
Possibly one of the greatest strategic minds the United States has ever had leading an army. Jackson graduated from West Point in 1846. After school, Jackson fought in the Mexican-American war as a lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment. He proved to be a valuable officer and achieved the rank of major by the end of the war. Coming back east, he took a position as Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Instructor of Artillery at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) until the Civil War broke out. When Virginia seceded, Jackson joined the Confederacy as a drill master. He was ordered to command the troops at Harper's Ferry in 1861. His first major battle of the war would be at First Bull Run (First Manassas) where he stood against a withering Union artillery assault. As the Confederate troops started to collapse, Jackson urged his troops forward. It was here that Brigadier General Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!" His nickname - Stonewall - stuck with him the rest of his life. Jackson would go on to be one of the South's greatest tacticians and leaders, winning battles at The Valley Campaign, The Peninsula Campaign, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. It was at this last battle that Jackson was accidentally shot by his own troops while returning to the lines after dark. The incident cost him his arm and he died from pneumonia about a week later. The South never really recovered from the loss of this leader.
One of the greatest founders of our country, George Washington is often referred to as greatest of our Founding Fathers. A veteran of the Seven Year War (French-Indian War), Washington was chosen to lead the newly formed Continental Army against the British. While he had no formal training as a soldier, his tactics were unorthodox and he was able to beat the professional army of the British with help from the French. While Washington was not particularly successful fighting against the British, he made up for this by knowing how to turn militia into army regulars. He hired General Friedrich von Steuben, a veteran of the Prussian general staff, to train them. Washington also proved that he was a skilled speaker and politician who was capable of getting the equipment that he required to carry on the war. While he did not win that many battles against the British, his efforts were enough to force the surrender of the Empire and gain the U.S. freedom. His military career spanned over 40 years, in which time he won only two major victories during the Revolution. Nonetheless, he is The Father of Our Country and succeeded in driving a world superpower to surrender.
Winfield Scott was an impressive figure. He stood 6'5" tall and weighed over 250 pounds, which was a relative giant in early 19th century America. Known as "Old Fuss and Feathers", Scott's military career spanned the War of 1812, to the Indian Wars, and the Mexican-American War. He was the highest ranking general since George Washington. He spent over 30 years of military service where he proved an excellent tactician and commander. He gained his nickname as being very strict with military rules and adorning his headwear with feathers. Prior to the Civil War, an aging Scott warned Presidents Buchanan and Lincoln that the way to quickly defeat the Confederacy would be to use his "Anaconda Plan" - a way to strangle the South by keeping their resources and supply lines broken. This plan was initially ignored by Union generals until President Lincoln adopted it later in the war. It was one of the ways that eventually allowed the Union to defeat the South.