19th Century Military Leaders

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Military Leaders, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Charles de Gaulle, George S. Patton, Otto von Bismarck and Erwin Rommel.

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

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 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.

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 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 Paul von Hindenburg

Paul von Hindenburg.
7
Famous As: General, Second President of Weimar Republic
Birthdate: October 2, 1847
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Posen, Duchy of Posen, Kingdom of Prussia (now Poznań)
Died: August 2, 1934
Paul von Hindenburg served as the second president of the German Weimar Republic, from 1925 to 1934. In 1933, he appointed Adolf Hitler as the Chancellor of Germany, and also signed the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler total administrative powers. Following his death, Hitler declared himself the Führer.

 5 Giuseppe Garibaldi

Giuseppe Garibaldi.
6
Famous As: Italian Nationalist
Birthdate: July 4, 1807
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: June 2, 1882

Italian general, patriot, and republican Giuseppe Garibaldi is remembered for the role he played in the Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. He is considered one of Italy's "fathers of the fatherland." A highly proficient military general, he also led the Expedition of the Thousand on behalf of Victor Emmanuel II. He died in 1882.

 6 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.

 7 Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck.
9
Famous As: German Statesman
Birthdate: April 1, 1815
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Schönhausen
Died: July 30, 1898
Otto von Bismarck was a German statesman. Bismarck is credited with masterminding the unification of Germany and served as its first chancellor. He is also credited with creating the first modern welfare state in the world. Regarded as a hero by German nationalists, Otto von Bismarck's life has inspired a couple of TV series.
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 8 Erich Ludendorff

Erich Ludendorff.
9
Famous As: General of German Army
Birthdate: April 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: December 20, 1937

German military leader Erich Ludendorff gained fame with the victories at Liège and Tannenberg during World War I. He promoted the theory that Marxists, Jews, and Freemasons were responsible for Germany’s defeat in the war. He later became a military theorist, writing books such as The Total War.

 9 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

 10 Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle.
11
Famous As: Former President of France
Birthdate: November 22, 1890
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lille, France
Died: November 9, 1970

Charles de Gaulle was a French statesman and army officer. Charles de Gaulle fought against Nazi Germany in the Second World War by leading the Free French Forces. He also worked towards re-establishing democracy in France. He founded the Fifth Republic, France's current republican system, and rewrote the Constitution of France. He then served as the president of France.

 11 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.

 12 Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
4
Famous As: The person whose assassination sparked the First World War
Birthdate: December 18, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Graz, Austria
Died: June 28, 1914
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the eldest son of Archduke Karl Ludwig, was the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. He was also the inspector general of the Austro-Hungarian army. His assassination by Young Bosnia member Gavrilo Princip triggered Austria’s conflict with Serbia, leading to World War I.

 13 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.

 14 Rudolf Hess

Rudolf Hess.
6
Famous As: Deputy Führer
Birthdate: April 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Alexandria
Died: August 17, 1987
Nazi Party member Rudolf Hess was Hitler’s Deputy Führer and helped in the passage of the Nuremberg Laws. While on a trip to Scotland to initiate peace talks with the U.K. during World War II, he was arrested, and then convicted of war crimes. He eventually committed suicide in prison.

 15 Francisco Franco

Francisco Franco.
10
Famous As: Former Caudillo of Spain
Birthdate: December 4, 1892
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ferrol, Spain
Died: November 20, 1975

Francisco Franco overthrew the Second Spanish Republic by leading the Nationalist forces as their general during the Spanish Civil War. Subsequently, Franco ruled over Spain as a dictator from 1939 to 1975. He had such an impact as a dictator that the period between the Nationalist victory and Franco's death is known as Francoist Spain in the history of Spain.

 16 Michel Ney

Michel Ney.
3
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: January 10, 1769
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saarlouis, Germany
Died: December 7, 1815

Michel Ney was a French military commander. One of the 18 Marshals of the Empire inaugurated by Napoléon Bonaparte, Michel Ney played important roles in the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolutionary Wars. Nicknamed the Bravest of the Brave by Napoleon himself, Ney was renowned for his valor in wars. 

 17 David Farragut

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

 18 Hermann Goring

Hermann Goring.
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Famous As: German Military Leader
Birthdate: January 12, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rosenheim, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
Died: October 15, 1946

Hermann Goring was a German military and political leader. One of the most influential personalities in the Nazi Party, Göring oversaw the creation of the Gestapo. He also played a key role in the Holocaust, for which he was later convicted of crimes against humanity and crimes against peace.

 19 Edward Smith

Edward Smith
6
Famous As: Naval officer
Birthdate: January 27, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Died: April 15, 1912

 20 Raymond A. Spruance

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

 21 Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
8
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: November 2, 1767
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace, England
Died: January 23, 1820

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn was the father of Queen Victoria. His army career took him to Canada and the West Indies, making him the first royal family member to stay in North America. He was also the governor of Gibraltar and played a major role in Canada’s development.

 22 Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck

Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck
3
Famous As: Politician, Writer, Officer
Birthdate: March 20, 1870
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saarlouis
Died: March 9, 1964

 23 George Armstrong Custer

George Armstrong Custer.
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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.

 24 Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

Helmuth von Moltke the Elder.
3
Famous As: General, Historian
Birthdate: October 26, 1800
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Died: April 24, 1891

Helmuth von Moltke the Elder was a Prussian field marshal who served as the chief of staff in the Royal Prussian Army for 30 years. Moltke, who commanded troops during Austro-Prussian War, Second Schleswig War, and the Franco-Prussian War, is credited with creating a new method of directing armies. He is also credited with pioneering the military usage of railways. 

 25 Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell

Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell.
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Famous As: Founder of the Scout Movement
Birthdate: February 22, 1857
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paddington
Died: January 8, 1941

 26 Louis-Philippe I of France

Louis-Philippe I of France
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Famous As: King of France
Birthdate: October 6, 1773
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Domaine National du Palais-Royal, Paris, France
Died: August 26, 1850

 27 Frederick III, German Emperor

Frederick III, German Emperor.
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Famous As: King
Birthdate: October 18, 1831
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Palace, Potsdam, Germany
Died: June 15, 1888

Frederick III, German Emperor reigned as the king of Prussia and emperor of the German Empire from 9 March 1888 until his death on 15 June 1888. Although he played key roles during the Austro-Prussian, Second Schleswig, and Franco-Prussian wars, Frederick professed hatred for warfare and was willing to make the German Empire more liberal before his untimely death.

 28 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.

 29 Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis

Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis.
4
Famous As: Former Governor-General of India
Birthdate: December 31, 1738
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Grosvenor Square, London, United Kingdom
Died: October 5, 1805

 30 Kit Carson

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

 31 John French, 1st Earl of Ypres

John French, 1st Earl of Ypres.
4
Famous As: British Army Officer
Birthdate: September 28, 1852
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ripple, Kent
Died: May 22, 1925

 32 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

 33 Smedley Butler

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

 34 John Graves Simcoe

John Graves Simcoe.
4
Famous As: First Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada
Birthdate: February 25, 1752
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cotterstock, Oundle, England
Died: October 26, 1806

 35 Charles George Gordon

Charles George Gordon.
4
Famous As: British soldier and Administrator
Birthdate: January 28, 1833
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London
Died: January 26, 1885

 36 Alfred Jodl

Alfred Jodl.
4
Famous As: Military Commander, Nazi War Criminal
Birthdate: May 10, 1890
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Würzburg
Died: October 16, 1946

Alfred Jodl was a German colonel-general who played an important role throughout World War II by serving as Chief of the Operations Staff of a German Armed Forces High Command called the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. After the war, Jodl was tried at the Nuremberg trials and was found guilty on charges, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes.

 37 William Bligh

William Bligh.
4
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: September 9, 1754
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Plymouth, United Kingdom
Died: September 7, 1817

 38 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

 39 Philippe Pétain

Philippe Pétain.
6
Famous As: Marshal of France
Birthdate: April 24, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cauchy-à-la-Tour
Died: July 23, 1951
French military leader Philippe Pétain, also known as “The Old Marshal,” led France to win the Battle of Verdun during World War I. During World War II, he became the president of the Ministerial Council and collaborated with the Axis. He was later convicted for treason and sentenced to life.

 40 Joshua Chamberlain

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

 41 Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby

Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby
3
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: April 23, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nottinghamshire, England
Died: May 14, 1936

Known for his distinguish services during WWI, Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, is especially hailed for his decisive victory over the Turks at Gaza, leading to the capture of Jerusalem. Later, he also captured Damascus and Aleppo, thus ending Ottoman power in Syria. Later appointed Special High Commissioner of Egypt, he governed the country firmly, until its independence in 1922.

 42 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

 43 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

 44 Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig

Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig.
4
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: June 19, 1861
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: January 29, 1928

 45 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.

 46 José de San Martín

José de San Martín.
4
Famous As: Military Leader, Politician
Birthdate: February 25, 1778
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yapeyú
Died: August 17, 1850

José de San Martín was an Argentine general who played an important role in the Spanish American wars of independence. San Martín is considered a national hero of Peru and Argentina. The Order of the Liberator General San Martín, the highest honor conferred by the government of Argentina, was created in his honor.

 47 Louis Botha

Louis Botha
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 27, 1862
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Greytown
Died: August 27, 1919

 48 Jan Smuts

Jan Smuts
4
Famous As: Botanist, Officer, Lawyer
Birthdate: May 24, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Malmesbury, Western Cape
Died: September 11, 1950

Jan Smuts was a South African military leader, statesman, and philosopher. He played a key role in the formation of the Union of South Africa and helped shape its constitution. From 1919 to 1924 and again from 1939 to 1948, he served as the Union of South Africa's prime minister. He played a major role in establishing the United Nations.

 49 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

 50 Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Foch.
4
Famous As: General
Birthdate: October 2, 1851
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tarbes, France
Died: March 20, 1929

Ferdinand Foch was a French military theorist and general who played a key role during the First World War where he served as the Supreme Allied Commander. Ferdinand Foch played a crucial role in stopping a renewed German advance in the Second Battle of the Marne. Foch was promoted to Marshal of France for his role in World War I.