A Very Brief History of the Civil War Courtesy of President Trump


There are a host of things about the president that are objectionable, but perhaps the greatest is his disdain for education, history and factual accuracy.

In this address at a rally in Ohio Trump explains that Robert E. Lee was a great general, that he was so great that Abraham Lincoln had a “phobia” about the problem.  Union generals were all in the top of their class at West Point, but couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee.  So, Abraham Lincoln reluctantly went to Ulysses S. Grant – despite warnings from everyone that Grant had a drinking problem – and told him to win and Grant “kicked the hell out of everyone” and won.

This will be the version of the war that Trump’s supporters remember.  It is simple.  It involves rejection of West Point “elites”.  It champions a general who fought for white supremacy and a general who was a drunk who won, apparently, by being a bully to other generals.

One thing that needs to be remembered about the Civil War is that rank was determined differently then, and officers often recruited their own army units. 

List of Confederate Generals who attended the U.S. Military Academy is here.

List of Union Generals who attended the U.S. Military Academy is here.

The numbers of West Point generals on both sides of the war appear about equal and include those who graduated and those who dropped out.

So, what was the class standing of Union Army Civil War generals?

There is something to what Trump said in the respect that the most recognizable names were outstanding cadets, except U.S. Grant.

 For example:

Winfield Scott, “Hero of the Niagara” in 1812, was commander of the Federal Army in 1861 and at age 75 offered the job to Robert E. Lee (Number 1 in his West Point class) who refused and resigned.  At that point Scott turned command over to General George McClellan.  Scott had 47 years of military service and fought in 6 wars.  He retired to West Point and is buried there.  Scott said of Robert E. Lee that he was “the finest soldier I have ever seen”.

George McClellan, Major General and Commander-in-Chief from Nov. 1, 1861-May 11, 1862 was 2nd in the West Point class of 59.

Major General Irvin McDowell, Class of ’38 and classmate of P.G.T. Beauregard.  Class standing unknown.

Major General Henry Halleck, General-in-Chief July 23, 1862- March 9, 1864, was 3rd in the class of 39.

Lieutenant General, Ulysses S. Grant, Commander-in-Chief March 10, 1864 – March 3, 1869 was 21st in the class of 39.

He defeated Lee through continuous contact of attack and siege effectively destroying the Army of Virginia.

Major General, William Tecumseh Sherman, 6th of 42 in Class of 1840.  Perhaps the most hated Union General by the South due to his march across the South during which he burned everything, destroying the South’s will to win.

The distribution of generals between the North and South was about the same.  Some of the Confederate generals were also ranked high in their class.


This wasn’t about Robert E. Lee or Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses S. Grant.

This was about putting someone with a drinking problem in charge.  Trump mentioned six times in his history lesson that Grant had a problem with alcohol. One can’t help finding a parallel between Lincoln’s choice and Trump’s choice of nominating a man with at least a one time drinking problem on the Supreme Court.

Yale Law School does not give grades or give class rankings to its students.  Several of his classmates remember his as “a serious, but not showy student.”  They remember him more as a good basketball player.  The point is, Trump’s claim that Brett Kavanaugh was tops in his class is without merit. 

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Comment by koshersalaami on October 14, 2018 at 3:46am


Birds fly

Dogs bark

Trump lies and makes a mess of history

It will be news when he doesn’t

Comment by Rodney Roe on October 14, 2018 at 4:29am

"Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It will just frustrate you and make the pig angry." Lou Holtz

I realize that Trump won't change; that he is a pig who cannot sing.  However, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to explain to his awe struck followers that squealing is not singing.

Comment by Rodney Roe on October 14, 2018 at 4:38am

Right now I am more upset about the intentional voter suppression efforts by Stacey Abrams' opponent Brian Kemp in the Georgia governor's race. 

Comment by alsoknownas on October 14, 2018 at 6:07am

List of Confederate Generals who attended the U.S. Military Academy and should forever be thought of as the traitors they were is here.

Comment by J.P. Hart on October 14, 2018 at 3:14pm

Among the 34 U.S. states in February 1861, seven Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the country to form the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy grew to include eleven states, all of them slaveholding. The Confederacy was never diplomatically recognized by the United States government, nor was it recognized by any foreign country.[d] The states that remained loyal to the U.S. were known as the Union.[e] The Union and Confederacy quickly raised volunteer and conscription armies that fought mostly in the South over the course of four years. Intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 people dead, more than the number of U.S. military deaths in all other wars combined.[f]


We must continue to provoke thought, civil discourse and not violence.

Possibly too late to reverse the disenfranchisement of North Dakotan Native Americans.

Here's additional statistic: In 2016, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by a 63% to 27% margin. The state's population of about 673,000 is little changed from what it was in 1920. As a result, North Dakota is one of seven states with the minimum three electoral votes.

Comment by Rodney Roe on October 14, 2018 at 6:18pm

I once met a doctor form Minot, ND.  He said that in the winter the most active business in town was the airport where planes took residents anywhere warmer.

It seems preposterous that North Carolina with a population around 9 million has the same number of senators as North Dakota with less than a million.

Comment by Rodney Roe on October 15, 2018 at 3:15am

@J.P.Hart ~ everyone in the South whose family has been here for multiple generations will tell you that they had family that fought on both sides of the Civil War.  Cousins fought against cousins and brothers against brothers.  I don't think they called each other traitors, but the anger and resentment usually lasted throughout the lives of the ones who survived.  There are families with the same last name living in adjacent valleys who don't talk to each other today.

I knew a woman named Blanton whose husband was descended from a carpetbagger.  She used to describe her husband as the first Blanton who ever walked upright.  People hold grudges for generations even when they can't remember why.

What I know about my own family is that great grandfathers fought for the Union and the Confederacy.  The war was stupid and unimaginably bloody.  Ken Burns special on the Civil War mentioned the fact that in the first year after the war ended 1/5th of the budget of the state of Mississippi went to buy veterans prostheses.  A great great grandfather rode off with his two sons out of Mississippi and in their first contact at some long forgotten battle in Kentucky my great great was wounded one of his soldiers was captured and died in prison and his other son was killed in action.  I am descended from their sister and daughter.  I know nothing about who the ones who died were as people.   I do know that my mother sang me lullabies that her mother sang to her that her mother sang to my grandmother that sound like she learned from a mammy.  But, that is speculation.

Of my two great grandfathers who fought for the Union one was a decent man who was a school teacher.  The other was a Union cavalry soldier was a horse trader who was remembered by my grandfather as a mean person and an abusive drunk. The school teacher was from Kansas and the other from Tennessee.

I didn't mention the part about tariffs and president, McKinley, from Ohio "who is just now becoming recognized as a great president" who used tariffs. "American opposition to the McKinley Tariff was so high that President Benjamin Harrison, a Republican, may have lost reelection in 1892 partly because of his support for the tax. "  Wikipedia

I'm surprised that Trump knew any of his intentionally slanted and misleading history.  I imagine that someone else, possibly on Fox News gave him the outline.  Trump is an idiot, a failure as a businessman, a fraud and a liar.  There is no "on the other hand".

Comment by Maui Surfer on October 16, 2018 at 8:45am

The lies regarding the Civil War itself, and in many ways more importantly Reconstruction, are in large part the problem with AmeriKKKa. First, remember the fact that West Point is at the center of all this, and then do a bit of Math and realize these supposed enemies had only a bit earlier in their careers engineered the theft of Mexico together as one unit. This sad truth can be hypothesized to be behind the reason Andrew Johnson was such a fucking traitor and ruined what could instead easily be the best country the world has ever seen by a perpetuation of lies, up to and including not just the typical "Klansman" Birth of a Nation nonsense revisionism that haunts the whole damn world today, and was picked up on by no less than Hitler, and also the total and complete exaggeration of Sherman's March, also a bullshit tale with its fake news story embedded by Scarlet O'Hara. Clark Gable should be turning over in his grave at Trump's support of the Klan and Confederate Monuments. Thanks Gable, you rat bastard.


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