Memorial Day–formerly known as Decoration Day–was first observed on May 30, 1868, shortly after the Civil War, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, so that the roots of the holiday were very much entwined with the War Between the States. It’s always celebrated on the last Monday of May–a date close to the day of reunification of the country after the Civil War.
In the course of this deadly and divisive war, there were over a thousand soldiers who reached the rank of general, many of them becoming national heroes, and namesakes for babies born during and after the war. There were countless little Grants and Lees, just as there were Lincolns and Jeffersons and Davises. Looking at the rolls of officers on both sides, we find some interesting names–both first and last, as well as names attached to battlegrounds– that could still be inspiring today.
UNION GENERALS’ FIRST NAMES
CONFEDERATE GENERALS’ FIRST NAMES
SOME SURNAMES FROM BOTH SIDES
CIVIL WAR BATTLE-RELATED NAMES