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Famous American Generals – Part 1

There have been many famous generals that have commanded American troops and help to forge the history of this great nation. From conflicts that won independence to peace initiatives all around the world. In this post we are going to look at the life and times of this great leaders of men.

George Washington

George Washington was born in Virginia, and under the supervision of his brother he eventually became a surveyor. In 1752 his military career began as he joined up with the Virginia militia, fought in the French India War and climbed to the rank of brigadier general.

After a period of peace, he took command of the dwindling Continental Army in 1775 as the American Revolution was looming large on the horizon. And it was Washington who shaped the rag-tag army into proper Continental Army regiments.

His first major success was to force Sir William Howe and his British army from the field at Boston and set him packing in his ships back to New York. His famous retreat from Long Island into Pennsylvania in 1776 saved the army. But later in the same year Washington’s army crossed the Delaware and drove Sir William Howe’s army out of Trenton.

A few weeks later he routed the British troops at Saratoga. Washington was not successful in everything that he did, but his masterstroke was containing the British in the north while defeating Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. Because Washington did not have a military background his tactics were unusual and hard to anticipate, so whether it was party luck that he defeated the British we shall never know.

Winfield Scott

Scott was another general that hailed from Virginia, he was a huge man standing six and a half feet high and weighing two hundred and fifty pounds. Because of his sheer size he transferred from being a cavalry officer to the light artillery as a captain.

When war broke out in 1812, Scott became a lieutenant colonel and he valiantly led more American troops into battle than any other American officer. Scott became a national hero and was loved by the people who nicknamed him Old Fuss and Feathers.

He remained a general for thirty years, he fought with Seminole Indians and successfully against Santa Anna’s Mexicans. On his return to Washington he was promoted to brevet lieutenant general in 1855, being the highest-ranking officer ever to command the American army since George Washington himself.

He even tried to negotiate with Abraham Lincoln and James Buchanan to prevent the American Civil War but unsuccessfully. Scott will forever be remembered for being a top strategist and diplomat, and his strategy of strangling the South by depriving it of supplies, was first sneered at but eventually won the war. But he was also a man obsessed with Army red-tape, which held back many important decisions and actions.

In part two of our blog about famous American generals we look at the greatest Confederate general of the American Civil War and a more recent military figure, Dwight D Eisenhower.