Virginia Born Winfield Scott
Recently, on facebook, I noticed a couple of guys on my friends list discussing who had more generals from the other country, North or South. One young man guessed the North had more Southern born generals than the South had Northern born generals. He was quickly corrected by another friend who informed him that there were more Northern born generals who fought for the South. Initially, I believed him until I researched the situation myself.
After finding the answer, I realized that it should have been obvious to me all along. There were 33 Northern born Confederate Generals. There were 35 Southern born Federal generals that served during the Civil War. There were 583 generals commissioned during the Civil War on the Federal side and 425 Confederate generals commissioned during the war. Percentage wise, that puts the Confederacy in the lead, but number wise, it places the Federal army in the lead. Here is a complete list of the Southern born Federal generals and why they served the North.
Montgomery Cunningham Meigs
There were nine Federal generals born in the South who grew up on Northern soil before the war. They were Montgomery C. Meigs (Georgia, grew up in Pennsylvania), Jacob Ammen (Virginia, grew up in Ohio), David B. Birney (Alabama, grew up in Kentucky), William Birney (Alabama, grew up in Kentucky), James W. Denver (Virginia, grew up in Ohio), Benjamin M. Prentiss (Virginia, grew up in Illinois), William T. Ward (Virginia, grew up in Kentucky), Louis D. Watkins (Florida, grew up in Washington, D.C.), and Joseph R. West (Louisiana, grew up in Pennsylvania).
George Henry Thomas
There were 11 Southern born Federal generals that were in the old army before the war began and refused to leave the army in which they had served their entire adult lives. These officers were Philip St. George Cooke (Virginia, father of Confederate General John R. Cooke and father-in-law of Confederate General Jeb Stuart), John W. Davidson (Virginia), Alexander B. Dyer (Virginia), Alvan C. Gillem (Tennessee), Andrew J. Hamilton (Alabama), William S. Harney (Tennessee), John Newton (Virginia), George D. Ramsey (Virginia), Winfield Scott (Virginia, the hero of the Mexican War), William R. Terrill (Virginia, his brother James B. Terrill became a general in the Confederate Army), and George Henry Thomas (Virginia, possibly the best Federal general of the entire war).
U.S. President Andrew Johnson
Eight Federal Generals fought for the North because they opposed secession and remained loyal to the Union. They were William B. Campbell (Tennessee), Samuel P. Carter (Tennessee), Edmund J. Davis (Florida), Lawrence P. Graham (Virginia), Isham N. Haynie (Tennessee), William Hays (Virginia), Andrew Johnson (Tennessee, became president of the United States, Lincoln assigned him military governor of Tennessee with the rank of brigadier general), and James G. Spears (Tennessee).
John C. Fremont
There were five Southern born Union generals that moved North when they reached adulthood and remained loyal when the war began. They were Thomas T. Crittenden (Alabama, moved to Indiana), John C. Fremont (Georgia, moved to Missouri), Stephen A. Hurlbut (South Carolina, moved to Illinois), Solomon Meredith (North Carolina, moved to Indiana and commanded the famed Iron Brigade), and John D. Stevenson (Virginia, moved to Missouri).
There was one more Federal general who had been born in the South, but was loyal to the Union because he served in the Federal Navy before the war. He was John B. McIntosh (Florida, made New Jersey his home, he was the brother of Confederate General James M. McIntosh).
I will be the first to admit that I was shocked by the numbers. I knew George Thomas was born in Virginia and fought for the Union. I also knew about Winfield Scott. I'd heard about William R. Terrill and Stephen A. Hurlburt, but was truly surprised to learn that Andrew Johnson was commissioned a general by Abraham Lincoln. It just goes to show that a historian can always learn something new when he digs deep enough.