Who was the best political general of the Civil War?
John C. Breckinridge
By Kent Fonner
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2023, All Rights Reserved
Editor’s note: The subject of the annual Dick Crews Memorial Debate at the February 2023 Roundtable meeting was: “Who was the best political general of the Civil War?” Four members made presentations on the topic; the article below was one of those four presentations.
“. . . Breckinridge demonstrated that a man did not need to go to West Point to be an excellent general . . .”
–Civil War Historian Albert Castel
John C. Breckinridge (1821-1875) in 15 years (1850-1865) served as a Kentucky legislator, congressmen, U.S. senator, vice president of the United States under President James Buchanan, presidential candidate in 1860, brigadier general and then major general CSA, and secretary of war CSA, all before he was 45 years old. Well educated with a degree from Center College, a semester of graduate work at Princeton, law study under Governor Owsley of Kentucky, and an LL.D. from Transylvania University, he had no formal military education. But as a major in the 3rd KY Volunteers in 1847 in Mexico, he did have some military experience before the Civil War.Continue reading “The Best Political General of the Civil War: John C. Breckinridge – A Great Military Leader”