The Civil War was often called the “Brother’s War” because it pitted states, towns, villages, and even families against each other. For example, Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, had three brothers who fought for the Confederacy and were killed.
Many of the soldiers and officers for both sides had attended West Point or other military schools. They felt torn between their loyalty to the Union and their loyalty to their families or communities.
Questions and Answers
Question: What happened to Civil War leaders after the war?
Answer: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated just five days after the Civil War ended; Ulysses S. Grant went on to became U.S. President.
General Robert E. Lee was pardoned by Lincoln for his role in the Civil War, but his life wasn’t easy. His estate in Arlington, Virginia became the site of a cemetery for Union soldiers. He took a low-paying, obscure job as president of Washington College. He felt deeply wounded by the part he had played in the divisive and bloody war. In 1865, he signed an oath, asking to become an American citizen again. He did this partly for himself and partly as an example to other Confederate soldiers. He wanted to restore peace to his country. Unfortunately, the oath was misplaced and he died without regaining his citizenship. The oath was discovered 100 years later in the National Archives. In 1975, President Ford declared General Lee a citizen once again.
Stonewall Jackson died in 1863 from pneumonia, after being accidentally shot by his own troops. William Sherman became the general of the U.S. Army. He later retired and led a quiet life.
Visit Civil War Trust to watch a video about the Civil War leaders.
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Tobin, Declan. (2019). Facts about Civil War Leaders - American History for Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/civil-war-leaders/