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 
Napoleon Bonaparte
(Emperor of the French (1804-1814))

Napoleon Bonaparte
12
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ajaccio, France
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 

 2 
Robert E. Lee
(Confederate General in the American Civil War)

Robert E. Lee
26
Birthdate: January 19, 1807
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: 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.

 3 
T. E. Lawrence
(Archaeologist, Army officer, Diplomat)

T. E. Lawrence
12
Birthdate: August 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tremadoc, Wales
Died: May 19, 1935
T. E. Lawrence was a British army officer who participated in the Arab Revolt, against the Ottoman regime, during World War I. Nicknamed Lawrence of Arabia, he inspired a movie of the same name. His treatise of his war experiences was published as Seven Pillars of Wisdom, his best-known work.
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 4 
William Tecumseh Sherman
(Former Commanding General of the United States Army)

William Tecumseh Sherman
12
Birthdate: February 8, 1820
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, Ohio, United States
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.

 5 
Stonewall Jackson
(Military leader)

Stonewall Jackson
14
Birthdate: January 21, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksburg, West Virginia, United States
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.

 6 
John J. Pershing
(Military officer)

John J. Pershing
5
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. 

 7 
Giuseppe Garibaldi
(Revolutionary)

Giuseppe Garibaldi
8
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.

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 8 
Erich Ludendorff
(General of German Army (1916-18))

Erich Ludendorff
11
Birthdate: April 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kruszewnia, Poland
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 
Nathan Bedford Forrest
(Confederate general during American Civil War)

Nathan Bedford Forrest
12
Birthdate: July 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bedford County, Tennessee, United States
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.

 10 
William Halsey Jr.
(Military officer)

William Halsey Jr.
5
Birthdate: October 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States
Died: August 16, 1959

 11 
Marquis de Lafayette
(Aristocrat and Military Leader)

Marquis de Lafayette
12
Birthdate: September 6, 1757
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chavaniac-Lafayette, France
Died: May 20, 1834

Marquis de Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military officer, who  is remembered for fighting in the American Revolutionary War, as the commander of American troops in several battles. After returning to France, he played key roles in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. Considered a hero in both America and France, he advocated the end of slavery.  

 12 
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
(6th President of Finland (1944-46))

Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
5
Birthdate: June 4, 1867
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Askainen, Finland
Died: January 27, 1951

Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim was a Finnish statesman and military leader who served as the leader of the White Guard during the Finnish Civil War of 1918. He also played a key role during World War II where he served as the Chief of Defense of Finland's defense forces. Thanks to his achievements, Mannerheim is regarded as Finland's greatest statesman.

 13 
Michel Ney
(Military commander)

Michel Ney
4
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. 

 14 
Sitting Bull
(Warrior)

Sitting Bull
6
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.

 15 
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
(The person whose assassination sparked the First World War)

Archduke Franz Ferdinand
8
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.

 16 
Geronimo
(Leader)

Geronimo
6
Birthdate: June 16, 1829
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Arizpe Municipality, 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.

 17 
David Farragut
(Military officer)

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

 18 
Zachary Taylor
(12th President of United States)

Zachary Taylor
6
Birthdate: November 24, 1784
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barboursville, Virginia, United States
Died: June 30, 1850
Zachary Taylor was the 12th U.S. president, from March 1849 till his death in July 1850, thus spending just 16 months in office. His heroism in the Mexican–American War had earned him the title of major general. A novice in political affairs, he was the last president who owned slaves.

 19 
Edward Smith
(Naval officer)

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

 20 
Billy Mitchell
(Military General)

Billy Mitchell
6
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936

 21 
Raymond A. Spruance
(Navy admiral during World War II)

Raymond A. Spruance
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: December 13, 1969

 22 
George Armstrong Custer
(Military officer)

George Armstrong Custer
13
Birthdate: December 5, 1839
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Rumley, Ohio, United States
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.

 23 
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
(Founder of the Scout Movement)

Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
7
Birthdate: February 22, 1857
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England
Died: January 8, 1941

 24 
Kit Carson
(Explorer & Soldier)

Kit Carson
5
Birthdate: December 24, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Madison County
Died: May 23, 1868

A frontiersman and a fur-trapper, Kit Carson played a major role in the US’s westward expansion. Mostly known for guiding explorer John C. Frémont, he was criticized for his contribution to the displacement of native Americans as an Indian agent. He became part of folk legend for his exploits as a fighter, too.

 25 

Louis-Philippe I of France
7
Birthdate: October 6, 1773
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Domaine National du Palais-Royal, Paris, France
Died: August 26, 1850

 26 
Robert Gould Shaw
(Military Personnel)

Robert Gould Shaw
6
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.

 27 
Matthew Ridgway
(Military officer)

Matthew Ridgway
4
Birthdate: March 3, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hampton, Virginia, United States
Died: July 26, 1993

 28 
Rudolf Hess
(Deputy Führer)

Rudolf Hess
9
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.

 29 
Hermann Goring
(German Military Leader)

Hermann Goring
17
Birthdate: January 12, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rosenheim, Germany
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.

 30 
John Graves Simcoe
(First Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada)

John Graves Simcoe
5
Birthdate: February 25, 1752
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cotterstock, Oundle, England
Died: October 26, 1806

 31 
Richard E. Byrd
(Naval officer)

Richard E. Byrd
5
Birthdate: October 25, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winchester, Virginia, United States
Died: March 11, 1957

American naval officer Richard E. Byrd is remembered for his pioneering expeditions to Antarctica, using airplanes. Though he was awarded a US Congressional Medal of Honor for completing the first flight over the North Pole, it was later revealed that he had returned when he was 150 miles away from the destination.

 32 
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
(Prussian field marshal)

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
4
Birthdate: December 16, 1742
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toitenwinkel, Rostock, Germany
Died: September 12, 1819

 33 
Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
(Military Leader)

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
6
Birthdate: September 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, USA
Died: July 12, 1944

 34 
James Longstreet
(United States Minister to the Ottoman Empire (1880-81))

James Longstreet
4
Birthdate: January 8, 1821
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edgefield, South Carolina, United States
Died: January 2, 1904

 35 
Charles George Gordon
(British soldier and Administrator)

Charles George Gordon
4
Birthdate: January 28, 1833
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London
Died: January 26, 1885

 36 
William, German Crown Prince
(Military commander)

William, German Crown Prince
6
Birthdate: May 6, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: July 20, 1951

 37 
Chief Seattle
(Tribal chief)

Chief Seattle
4
Birthdate: 1786 AD
Birthplace: Suquamish, Washington, United States
Died: June 7, 1866
Chief Seattle was a Suquamish and Duwamish chief who was a close friend of David Swinson "Doc" Maynard and is remembered for his amicable relationship with the white settlers. The city of Seattle was named after him. He is widely known for his speech on Native American land rights.

 38 
Winfield Scott
(Military Officer)

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

 39 
William Bligh
(Military Leader)

William Bligh
5
Birthdate: September 9, 1754
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Plymouth, United Kingdom
Died: September 7, 1817

 40 
Gerd von Rundstedt
(Military Officer)

Gerd von Rundstedt
4
Birthdate: December 12, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Aschersleben, Province of Saxony, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Died: February 24, 1953

Gerd von Rundstedt was a Nazi field marshal during World War II. His army was part of the German campaigns in France and Russia. He was defeated at the Battle of Normandy. Following the war, he was charged with war crimes but was not tried due to old age.

Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener
4
Birthdate: June 24, 1850
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ballylongford, Ireland
Died: June 5, 1916

Horatio Herbert Kitchener is remembered for his military acumen and for his large-scale organization of troops during World War I. He had served the Egyptian army and the British army in South Africa, and was the commander-in-chief in India. He died aboard the HMS Hampshire when the cruiser drowned.

 42 
Joshua Chamberlain
(Educator & War Hero)

Joshua Chamberlain
4
Birthdate: September 8, 1828
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brewer
Died: February 24, 1914

 43 
Philippe Pétain
(Marshal of France)

Philippe Pétain
6
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.

 44 
Francisco Franco
(Former Caudillo of Spain)

Francisco Franco
11
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.

 45 
Tadeusz Kościuszko
(Statesman, Engineer)

Tadeusz Kościuszko
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1892, 1746
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mieračoŭščyna
Died: October 15, 1817

Tadeusz Kościuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian statesman, military leader, and military engineer. Thanks to his participation in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's fight against Prussia and Russia and his role in the American Revolutionary War, Tadeusz Kościuszko is widely regarded as a national hero in the United States, Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania.

 46 
Matthew C. Perry
(Naval Officer)

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

 47 
Louis Botha
(Politician)

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

 48 
Jan Smuts
(2nd Prime Minister of South Africa)

Jan Smuts
4
Birthdate: May 24, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Riebeeck West, South Africa
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 
J. E. B. Stuart
(Confederate States Army General)

J. E. B. Stuart
4
Birthdate: February 6, 1833
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Patrick County, Virginia, United States
Died: May 12, 1864

 50 
P.G.T. Beauregard
(Confederate general during American Civil War)

P.G.T. Beauregard
5
Birthdate: May 28, 1818
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, United States
Died: February 20, 1893