Famous 19th Century American Military Leaders

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite American

 1 William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman.
9
Famous As: General in the Union Army During the American Civil War
Birthdate: February 8, 1820
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: February 14, 1891
William Tecumseh Sherman served as the Union Army general during the American Civil War. He is best remembered for his “scorched earth” military policy and was known as "the first modern general.” His 1875 book Memoir, related his war experiences. He was associated with wildlife conservation in his later years.

 2 Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee.
20
Famous As: Confederate General in the American Civil War
Birthdate: January 19, 1807
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stratford Hall, Stratford, Virginia, United States
Died: October 12, 1870

A commander of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. He was a skilled tactician who served in the US Army for 32 years. Brilliant from a young age, he was a top graduate of the US Military Academy. In his later years, he became president of Washington College.

Recommended Lists:

 3 Stonewall Jackson

Stonewall Jackson.
12
Famous As: General
Birthdate: January 21, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksburg, West Virginia
Died: May 10, 1863

Stonewall Jackson was a commander of the Confederate States Army. He played a major role as a Confederate general in the American Civil War, winning several significant battles in the Eastern Theater of the war. Considered one of the most tactically sound commanders in the history of the US, Jackson was idolized by George Patton, Chesty Puller, and Alexander Vandegrift.

 4 John J. Pershing

John J. Pershing.
4
Famous As: US Army Officer During WW I
Birthdate: September 13, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Laclede, Missouri, United States
Died: July 15, 1948

John J. Pershing was a senior United States Army officer who served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. In his later years, he mentored generals who led the United States Army during World War II.  He was promoted to General of the Armies rank, the highest possible rank in the United States Army. 

 5 George Patton

George Patton.
24
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: November 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Gabriel, California, United States
Died: December 21, 1945

George Patton was a general of the US Army, remembered for his work as a commander of the Seventh United States Army during World War II. He is also remembered for commanding the Third Army in the Western Front in June 1944 after the Allied invasion of Normandy. His life and work inspired the 1970 epic biographical war film Patton.

 6 William Halsey Jr.

William Halsey Jr.
4
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: October 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States
Died: August 16, 1959

 7 Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant.
6
Famous As: 18th U.S. President
Birthdate: April 27, 1822
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Point Pleasant, Ohio, United States
Died: July 23, 1885

The 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant held office from 1869 to 1877. He led the Union Army as Commanding General of the United States Army during the American Civil War and was a war hero. As president, he stabilized the post-war national economy and created the Department of Justice. Historians generally recognize his presidential accomplishments.

You May Like

 8 Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull.
4
Famous As: Warrior
Birthdate: 1831 AD
Birthplace: Grand River
Died: December 15, 1890
Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is symbolic of the Native American resistance against the U.S. government. After the Battle of the Little Bighorn, he surrendered and performed at Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. The U.S. government, fearing he might join the Ghost Dance Movement, killed him during an attempted arrest.

 9 Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell
4
Famous As: Military General
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936

 10 David Farragut

David Farragut.
3
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: July 5, 1801
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Farragut, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 14, 1870

 11 Geronimo

Geronimo.
4
Famous As: Leader
Birthdate: June 16, 1829
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Mexico
Died: February 17, 1909
Native American hero Geronimo is remembered for his heroics in the Apache Wars against the U.S. and Mexico. After his surrender in 1886, he lived as a U.S. prisoner of war and spent the rest of his life being exhibited at various events and selling his belongings for money.

 12 Raymond A. Spruance

Raymond A. Spruance
3
Famous As: Officer, Diplomat
Birthdate: July 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore
Died: December 13, 1969

 13 George Armstrong Custer

George Armstrong Custer.
11
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: December 5, 1839
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Rumley, Ohio
Died: June 25, 1876

George Armstrong Custer was a US Army officer. He played an important role as a cavalry commander in the American Indian Wars and the American Civil War. His death at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, went on to become a well-known episode of the American Indian Wars.

 14 Matthew Ridgway

Matthew Ridgway
3
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: March 3, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hampton, Virginia, United States
Died: July 26, 1993

 15 Robert Gould Shaw

Robert Gould Shaw.
4
Famous As: Military Personnel
Birthdate: October 10, 1837
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: July 18, 1863
Union Army officer Robert Gould Shaw commanded an all-Black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts, during the American Civil War. A staunch abolitionist, he died in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863, but became a hero after his death, especially among the Black community. He inspired the 1989 film Glory.

 16 Kit Carson

Kit Carson.
5
Famous As: Explorer & Soldier
Birthdate: December 24, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Madison County
Died: May 23, 1868

 17 Smedley Butler

Smedley Butler.
5
Birthdate: July 30, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, US
Died: June 21, 1940

 18 Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
4
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: September 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, USA
Died: July 12, 1944

 19 Nathan Bedford Forrest

Nathan Bedford Forrest.
11
Famous As: Military commander
Birthdate: July 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chapel Hill
Died: October 29, 1877
Nathan Bedford Forrest, or the "Wizard of the Saddle", served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He was charged with war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow, where his forces killed Black prisoners of war. He was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

 20 Matthew C. Perry

Matthew C. Perry.
4
Famous As: Naval Officer
Birthdate: April 10, 1794
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: March 4, 1858

 21 Richard E. Byrd

Richard E. Byrd
4
Famous As: Naval officer
Birthdate: October 25, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winchester, Virginia, United States
Died: March 11, 1957

 22 Joshua Chamberlain

Joshua Chamberlain.
4
Famous As: Educator & War Hero
Birthdate: September 8, 1828
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brewer
Died: February 24, 1914

 23 Philip John Schuyler

Philip John Schuyler
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 20, 1733
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
Died: November 18, 1804

 24 John C. Breckinridge

John C. Breckinridge.
4
Famous As: Former Vice President of the United States
Birthdate: January 16, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lexington
Died: May 17, 1875

From being the youngest vice-president of the United States to joining the Confederate Army during the American civil war, John Breckinridge was a controversial figure in politics. While he was regarded as a shrewd military commander, the former Democratic Congressman was considered a traitor in the northern region. He fled the US after the Civil War but later on returned.

 25 George Marshall

George Marshall.
3
Famous As: Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
Birthdate: December 31, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Uniontown
Died: October 16, 1959

George Marshall was an American statesman and soldier who played a key role in the Allied victory during the Second World War. Marshall served as the third US Secretary of Defense from 1950 to 1951. As Secretary of State, George Marshall advocated economic recovery programs to aid post-war European countries, for which he was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

 26 Benjamin Tallmadge

Benjamin Tallmadge.
4
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: February 25, 1754
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: East Setauket, Brookhaven, New York, United States
Died: March 7, 1835

 27 P.G.T. Beauregard

P.G.T. Beauregard.
4
Famous As: Army General
Birthdate: May 28, 1818
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana
Died: February 20, 1893

 28 Philip Sheridan

Philip Sheridan.
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: March 6, 1831
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
Died: August 5, 1888

 29 Braxton Bragg

Braxton Bragg.
4
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: March 22, 1817
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warrenton, North Carolina, United States
Died: September 27, 1876

 30 Ambrose Burnside

Ambrose Burnside.
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: May 23, 1824
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Liberty, Indiana, United States
Died: September 13, 1881

 31 William Barret Travis

William Barret Travis.
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: August 1, 1809
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saluda County, South Carolina, United States
Died: March 6, 1836

 32 Alfred Thayer Mahan

Alfred Thayer Mahan.
3
Famous As: Naval Officer
Birthdate: September 27, 1840
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: West Point, New York, United States
Died: December 1, 1914

 33 Prescott Bush

Prescott Bush
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 15, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Died: October 8, 1972

 34 Henry H. Arnold

Henry H. Arnold.
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: June 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 15, 1950

 35 George Meade

George Meade.
3
Famous As: Army Officer
Birthdate: December 31, 1815
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: November 6, 1872

George Meade was a civil engineer and United States Army officer best remembered for decisively defeating Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War. After the war, he played an important role during the Reconstruction era. As a civil engineer, George Meade was involved in the construction of many lighthouses. 

 36 Horatio Gates

Horatio Gates
4
Famous As: Army General
Birthdate: July 26, 1727
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Maldon, England
Died: April 10, 1806

 37 Joseph E. Johnston

Joseph E. Johnston.
3
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: February 3, 1807
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Farmville, Virginia, United States
Died: March 21, 1891

 38 Holland Smith

Holland Smith
3
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: April 20, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Alabama
Died: January 12, 1967

 39 Anthony McAuliffe

Anthony McAuliffe
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: July 2, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Died: August 11, 1975

 40 Abner Doubleday

Abner Doubleday.
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: June 26, 1819
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ballston Spa, New York, United States
Died: January 26, 1893

 41 George Pickett

George Pickett.
4
Famous As: Army Officer
Birthdate: January 16, 1825
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, United States
Died: July 30, 1875

 42 George B. McClellan

George B. McClellan.
6
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: December 3, 1826
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 29, 1885

George McClellan was the governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881. He had previously been part of the Mexican–American War. He later quit the Army to serve railroads but re-joined during the American Civil War. He eventually became the commanding general and formed the Army of the Potomac.

 43 Winfield Scott Hancock

Winfield Scott Hancock
3
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: February 14, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 9, 1886

 44 James Longstreet

James Longstreet.
4
Famous As: General
Birthdate: January 8, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edgefield County Recreation, Edgefield, South Carolina, United States
Died: January 2, 1904

 45 Joseph Hooker

Joseph Hooker
3
Famous As: Officer, Soldier
Birthdate: November 13, 1814
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Massachusetts
Died: October 31, 1879

 46 George Dewey

George Dewey.
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: December 26, 1837
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montpelier, Vermont, United States
Died: January 16, 1917

 47 Henry Wirz

Henry Wirz
3
Famous As: Military personnel
Birthdate: November 25, 1823
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: November 10, 1865

 48 Winfield Scott

Winfield Scott.
4
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: June 13, 1786
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dinwiddie County, Virginia, United States
Died: May 29, 1866

 49 William J. Donovan

William J. Donovan
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: January 1, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States
Died: February 8, 1959

 50 Albert Sidney Johnston

Albert Sidney Johnston
3
Famous As: Military general
Birthdate: February 2, 1803
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Washington, Kentucky
Died: April 6, 1862