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Rulers of the North
Rulers of the North
Rulers of the North

Rulers of the North

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12" Wooden Ruler made in U.S.A. of American-grown basswood.

During the American Civil War of 1861-1865, all generals, or general officers, in the Union Army answered to the Commander-in-Chief. This was President Abraham Lincoln for the first 1,464 days of the conflict, and President Andrew Johnson for the final 24 days.

Many of these men had military experience before the Civil War. George Meade (1815-1872) had previously fought in Florida in the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), and in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848).  He is best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) at the Battle of Gettysburg (1863).

One of the best-known names on the ruler is that of William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891), who was a brilliant military strategist, but at the same time ruthless in his harsh strategies which involved asking his 62,000 troops to live off the land, creating huge property damage, especially in northern and eastern Georgia.

It’s very interesting to read some of the creative nicknames given to these generals. Andrew “Old Goggle Eyes” Humphreys (1810-1883) was nicknamed for his glasses, but if you search for old photographs of him, you never see him wearing any glasses! Speaking of old photographs, search for pictures of Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881) and you will see some impressive sideburns. Was he trying to live up to his name?

For each general we have listed the years of their birth and death, their nickname if they had one (and best-known nickname if they had more than one!), and an important detail about their life, often the battle with which they are most associated.

Two other notable entries on our ruler: Major General Lew Wallace (1827-1905) published the novel Ben Hur in 1880, and Major General Oliver Otis Howard (1830-1909) played a role in the founding of Howard University, and served as its President from 1869 to 1874.

The “head” is that of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), who commanded the victorious Union Army, and went on to become President. His nickname “Unconditional Surrender,” comes of course from his initials, which may also stand for “United States." His body is entombed in New York City. Our image is based on a pre-1864 photograph attributed to the studio of Mathew Brady (1822-1896). 

If you like this ruler, you might also be interested in Rulers of the South, Rulers and Patriots, or United States Rulers.