By Dan Zeiser
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2006, All Rights Reserved
The debate has raged for decades. Was it George H. Thomas, Ulysses Grant, Robert E. Lee, William T. Sherman, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson? Each of us has his or her favorite. There are good arguments for those mentioned above and maybe a few others. In the end, perhaps there is no one right answer to the question who was the best general of the war. But ask who was the most effective general of the war and different names arise, names that would never be mentioned in response to the earlier question, names, mostly, of political generals. Benjamin Butler, Nathaniel Banks, John McClernand, while clearly not the best, were all effective generals. While the current notion is that all political generals were incompetent fools, while military generals won the war, that is not entirely true. Political generals acted in ways the military generals did not, often attaining goals military generals were simply incapable of. When examined in this manner, the most effective general was none other than John A. “Black Jack” Logan.
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