Hey! I’ve got a fun post for y’all today! I don’t know about you, but I love nicknames! Especially Civil War nicknames! So, I’m gonna give you a list of some famous (and not so famous) Southern and Northern nicknames! Enjoy!
Stonewall: General Thomas Jonathan Jackson was the owner of this special name. At the Battle of First Manassas on July 21st, 1861, C.S. General Bernard Bee stated to his men, “…There is Jackson, standing like a stone wall.” The South Carolinians under his command banded together and stood with the Virginians under Jackson, helping the Southern forces to carry the day. “Stonewall” stuck to Jackson and his brigade. Interestingly, Gen. Jackson is better known by his nickname than his real name!
Old Granny: This may surprise you, but this nickname belongs to none other than Gen. Robert E. Lee! Many Southern officers didn’t think Lee could make it as a field officer, since during the opening months of the war, his jobs were that of an engineer and military counselor. But this Mexican War veteran soon proved to be an expert on the field. Some of his tactics are still studied today!
Old Pete or Gloomy Pete: This name stuck to Gen. James Longstreet. Why Pete? I have no idea. But this Southern General was known for being a bit pessimistic and acted a bit like an “old man”. A more positive nickname he was given by Gen. Lee was “Old War Horse.”
Old Blue Light: Another nickname for Gen. Jackson. Stonewall had piercing blue eyes and his men described how when they were preparing for battle, the general’s eyes would light up.
The Last Cavalier: Gen. James Ewell Brown “J.E.B.” Stuart was a prominent Confederate Cavalry man. His men baffled Union forces time and time again, circling the Union Army of the Potomac twice. Known for his chivalry and jaunty air, J.E.B. Stuart truly was the last of the legendary cavaliers.
Unconditional Surrender: This name belonged to Ulysses Simpson Grant or “U.S.” Grant. This name stems from his order for “Unconditional Surrender” from the Confederates holed up in Ft. Donelson. This excited the Union press, who dubbed him “Unconditional Surrender Grant.”
Little Mac: Gen. George B. McClellan wasn’t the tallest Northern General, but no commander was more loved by his men, in spite of the fact that he wasn’t that great of a tactician.
Spoons: This nickname is strange and certainly not a complement. Gen. Benjamin Butler was the man who overthrew New Orleans and set up housekeeping there. He’s dictatorship of the city is often criticized and the Southerners said he would stoop so low as to steal silverware. In all seriousness, that was the last thing the New Orleans population had to be concerned about.
Rock of Chickamauga: Gen. George Henry Thomas earned this nickname for standing firmly during said battle. It did little good though, for the Confederates won a hard fought victory in this Georgia territory.
Drummer Boy of Shiloh: John “Lincoln” Clem is hailed as one of the youngest Union soldiers to fight in the war. The nickname is actually steeped in legend as official records show that Johnny didn’t start on with the Federals until after the famous battle of Shiloh. He was present in the 1863 Georgia campaign and was even taken prisoner. Later exchanged, the boy’s story was noised throughout the South, since he was an honorary sergeant at that point. They stated that the Union troops were in dire straits since they were pulling babies from the nursery and promoting them to sergeant. Clem was actually a drummer and courier. J
There are so many fun nicknames, I could do a series on just those! I hope you enjoyed this sampling…maybe I’ll do another nickname post sometime!
Have a blessed day!
Supporting My Heritage,
Christian. American. Southern. Author.