Home page Jews in the Civil War Jews in the Wild West History of Palestine The Occident Virtual Library



Frederick Knefler: Hungarian Patriot and American General

At 4:30 A.M., April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries ringing Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, opened fire on Fort Sumter. The small garrison, commanded by Major Robert Anderson, returned the fire as well as it could. Citizens of Charleston, together with people who had come from miles around, watched from rooftops and balconies along the promenade, cheering as the gunnery became more accurate. The furious bombardment went on for about thirty-six hours. With the fort reduced to rubble, his ammunition spent and food exhausted, Anderson, realizing that further resistance was futile, surrendered. He marched his men out with colors flying, drums beating, saluting his flag with fifty guns.

 As the news of the fall of Sumter flashed over the country, an intense and universal excitement was aroused in the free as well as the slave states. Indignation was paramount in the former; exultation ruled throughout the latter.

 On April 15 President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring that the laws of the United States were obstructed in the states of the secession by "combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceeding or by the powers vested in the marshals of law," and called upon the governors of the loyal states for 75,000 volunteers to serve for three months. Confederate President Jefferson Davis met Lincoln's proclamation by a call of his own for volunteers.

 In both North and South men rallied to their respective causes and went to war with gaiety as well as determination. Margaret Mitchell's classic best-seller of the century Gone with the Wind and the film of the same name faithfully capture the prevailing mood among Southerners. [Incidentally, in the movie, Ashley Wilkes, the dignified, sensitive and chivalrous Southern gentleman, was played by Leslie Howard, born in London, England, to a Hungarian Jewish immigrant father named Frank Stainer.]

 Most forecasters on both sides were aggressively confident of the triumph of their cause, to be achieved in the short run rather than the long. Few Americans in the spring of 1861 agreed with Virginia statesman George Wythe Randolph's dire prediction: "We are in the beginning of the greatest war that has ever been waged on this continent."

 Once described by Lincoln as a "fiery trial" through which America must pass, the Civil War was the largest and most destructive conflict in the Western world between 1815 and 1914. Both North and South mobilized armies far larger and more complex than ever before had existed in the Western Hemisphere. The first conflict of the technological age, the war was, in many respects, a modern war that presaged the total wars of the 20th century.

 The war preserved the nation from destruction, marked the triumph of nationalism over states rights and shaped the institutions of modern America. It did so at the cost of some 600,000 soldier deaths.

 It is often forgotten that many of the combatants on both sides were foreign-born. Men from Germany and Ireland comprised the bulk of the non-natives; the rest came from a long list of countries, including Hungary. One of the several hundred Hungarians who fought on the Union side was Frederick Knefler. Like most of the other Hungarians participants, he came to the United States following the unsuccesful 1848-49 War of Liberation.

 These political refugees constituted the first significant wave of Hungarian immigrants to the United States. Although today there are some two million Americans of Hungarian descent, prior to the arrival of the Forty-Eighters the Hungarian presence in the United States was confined to a handful of adventurous souls.

Knefler was born in the city of Arad, in the county of the same name, in 1833. The original family name was Knoepfler. His physician father, Dr. Nathan Knefler (that is, Knoepfler Náthán in the original Hungarian form) enjoyed great respect not only in the local Jewish community but among all the people of the city and the region. Young Knefler received a well-rounded education, befitting the son of a prosperous middle-class family.

At this time, Hungary, or more properly the Kingdom of Hungary, was part of the sprawling Hapsburg Empire, the political entity that dominated much of central Europe. Due to dissatisfaction with the Hapsburg rule, the revolutions which swept across much of Europe in 1848 struck a responsive chord in Hungary. Peaceful negotiations with the Emperor for much-needed political, social and economic reforms quickly escalated into open warfare between Hungary, led by the charismatic Lajos Kossuth, and the central government.

Most Hungarian Jews wholeheartedly espoused the revolutionary cause. Many joined the National Guard, and thousands enlisted in the volunteer army. How many Jews took part in the struggle against the Hapsburg dynasty is difficult to pinpoint. Citing various sources, Dr. Béla Bernstein in his 1848 és a magyar zsidók [1848 and the Hungarian Jews] estimates the number to be between 10,000 and 20,000. The revolutionary army numbered about 150,000 to 200,000.  

The participation and contributions of Jews in the War of Liberation have always been acknowledged. Major-General Julius Stahel, the highest ranking Union officer of Hungarian birth, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor and a veteran of the 1848-49 War of Liberation, wrote to Simon Wolf, noted lawyer, communal worker and executive committee member of the Independent Order B'nai B'rith, on May 22, 1895:

I know from personal knowledge that many Jews fought in the battles for the independence of Hungary in 1848, with as much bravery and gallantry as the American Jew fought here during the late strife between the North and the South, and I also know that the late humane and illustrious apostle of liberty, Louis Kossuth, always fully appreciated the patriotism, loyalty and devotion of the Jews to the cause of Hungary during that great struggle for freedom.

Patriotism and bravery are not the birthright of one nation or race, but all of mankind.

 In an article entitled "The Relations of Kossuth to the Jews," Dr. Adolph Kohut wrote in the March 1894 issue of the American Hebrew:

 . . . It cannot be denied that already at that time the majority of the Magyar Jews were patriotically inclined towards the country which they called their home. As by magic, they felt themselves drawn towards the man who preached liberty and equality, and at whose hands they were expecting redemption from the Ghetto and from civil and political degradation. As a matter of fact, thousands of Jews, . . . fought in the Magyar army.

Knefler was barely fifteen years old when he enlisted in the revolutionary forces. His father also took an active role in the struggle. Initially, he served as head physician of the Number 4 military field hospital at Arad. Afterwards, with the rank of captain, he was chief physician of the 101st Battalion. Towards the end of the war he held the same rank and position with the 102nd Battalion.

After initial setbacks, the poorly equipped and hastily organized Hungarian troops inflicted a series of decisive defeats on the Hapsburg Imperial Army, liberating virtually the entire country by May of 1849. Realizing the threat to his throne, Emperor Franz Joseph appealed to Czar Nicholas I of Russia for aid. The autocrat of Europe was only too happy to extend a helping hand to a fellow despot, and dispatched a contingent of more that 200,000. The overwhelming numbers of the combined Hapsburg and Czarist armies brought the war to an end by the middle of August, although the great fortress of Komárom did not capitulate until October.

The entire Knefler family fled abroad after the suppression of the Hungarian cause. Coming to America in 1850, they settled briefly in New York City and then migrated west to Indianapolis, Indiana. The Kneflers were among the earliest Jewish families to make Indianapolis their home. Dr. Nathan Knefler was one of fourteen men who, on November 2, 1856, founded the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, the city's first synagogue.

Besides working as a carpenter, a trade he learned in New York, Knefler studied law. While serving as assistant to the clerk of Marion County, he had the opportunity to meet many of the state's public figures and prominent personalities, including Lew Wallace, the future author of Ben-Hur and other popular novels. They became lifelong friends.

Six years older than Knefler, Wallace was the son of David Wallace, governor of Indiana from 1837 to 1840. At the call for volunteers upon the outbreak of the war with Mexico he entered the army as a first-lieutenant in the 1st Indiana infantry. Following the war, he returned to Indianapolis where he read law in his father's office. Admitted to the bar in 1849, he began practice in Indianapolis, moved to Covington for a while and then settled in Crawfordsville. Active in politics, in 1856 he was elected to the state Senate. Wallace kept his interest in military affairs by organizing and training a local militia company, which he drilled so efficiently that most of its members became officers in the Civil War.


President Lincoln's proclamation called on the men of Indiana to form six regiments each with ten companies to be mustered into the Federal service. As in most states, military preparedness in Indiana was woefully lacking. Commenting on this state of affairs, a prominent journalist wrote: ". . . the militia had fallen into undisguised contempt. The old-fashioned militia musters had been given up; the subject had been abandoned as fit only to be the fertile theme for the ridicule of rising writers and witty stump orators. The cannon issued by the government were left for the uses of political parties on the occasion of mass meetings or victories at polls. The small arms were scattered, rusty, and become worthless."

Oliver P. Morton, the first native Hoosier to hold the governorship, was a staunch Union man and an ardent supporter of Lincoln. A man of relentless and indomitable temper, he so dominated his region politically that he was referred to as "Deputy President of the United States in active charge of the Ohio Valley." Indianapolis having been designated by the War Department as the place of rendezvous for troops, the spacious Fair Grounds of the Indiana State Board of Agriculture, adjoining the city, were secured for that purpose, and named, in honor of the Governor, Camp Morton.

Morton appointed Wallace state adjutant-general to raise the required number of troops. Wallace chose Knefler as his principal assistant in carrying out the task. As they kept the telegraph wires humming, volunteers responded and thronged into Indianapolis as fast as the trains could carry them. Within a week, they assembled 130 companies, twice the number Lincoln had called for. The volunteers were organized in six regiments that were numbered from 6th to the 11th in recognition of the previous five regiments of the Mexican War.

The gratifying and universal response left no doubt as to the devotion of Indiana to the fortunes of the Union. Party lines were everywhere obliterated for the time being. Throughout the State the people acted patriotically and generously, providing the recruits with blankets, underclothing, and other necessary supplies which the authorities could not at the moment furnish.

Wallace was not content with administrative duties. He requested and was given command of one of the regiments formed, the 11th Indiana Infantry. Enrolling in this unit, Knefler was commissioned first-lieutenant. On June 5 he was elevated to the rank of captain.

After muster in, the 11th marched to the state-house to receive its colors from the patriotic ladies of Indianapolis. Following the presentation speech, Wallace replied, reminding his troops of the service and valor of Indiana regiments in the war with Mexico. He closed his speech with the motto, "Remember Buena Vista," which became of general acceptance by the Indiana regiments.

After performing routine duties locally, Wallace and his men were sent to the vicinity of Washington, D.C. They participated in several minor skirmishes, but missed the July 21 battle of Bull Run, the Civil War's first major engagement. By now, the 11th Indiana's enlistment term had expired, and they returned home where they were mustered out on August 2. Although they had seen comparatively little fighting, they had learned that war was not the picnic many had expected.

Wallace immediately began to recruit a new regiment, this time for a three-year term. Knefler was among those who reenlisted, and he was commissioned captain in the new 11th Indiana Infantry. Formal mustering in took place on August 31, 1861.

Both Wallace and Knefler soon parted with the regiment. Wallace was promoted to brigadier-general early in September, whereupon Knefler also left the 11th Indiana to become his assistant adjutant-general. On May 16, 1862, he was advanced to major. Knefler was by Wallace's side during the west Tennessee campaign which saw the capture of Fort Henry, the conquest of Fort Donelson and the bloody battle of Shiloh.


Fort Henry lay on the eastern bank of the Tennessee River, some eighteen miles south of the Kentucky border, while Fort Donelson, about twelve miles east of Fort Henry, was situated on the western bank of the Cumberland River. The strategic importance of the forts and the enormous advantages their capture would bring were fully recognized by the Union military brass. Besides opening middle Tennessee to Union penetration, the fall of the forts would force the Confederates at Columbus and Bowling Green, Kentucky, to retire to avoid being encircled.

Fort Henry was an earthwork with five bastions. It was built on low ground, but in a position where a slight bend in the stream gave it command of the stretch below for two or three miles.

General Ulysses S. Grant and Flag-Officer Andrew Hull Foote thought the capture of Fort Henry feasible, and asked General Henry W. Halleck, commander of the Department, for permission to make the attempt. Permission was given, and on February 3, 1862, Grant started up the Tennessee River with a force of some 15,000 men, embarked on transports and escorted by a squadron of gunboats under Foote.

At about half-past eleven o'clock, on the morning of February 6, Foote's gunboats opened fire upon Fort Henry. Shot and shell from the gunboats, which were fired with great rapidity and precision, had a very damaging effect upon the works. After about two hours of bombardment, the Confederates lowered their flag, and the fort and the garrison surrendered. The fleet lost two killed and nine wounded, besides twenty-eight scalded, many of whom died later. The capitulation of a land fortification to a naval flottila unassisted by land forces was something new in the annals of warfare; it was a feat that would not be repeated in the Civil War.

After the capture of Fort Henry, additional Union troops were sent to that point, and Grant made preparations to move against the stronger and more important Fort Donelson, near the small town of Dover. The vaunted Confederate stronghold occupied the summit of a high bluff, enclosed an area of about one hundred acres, and was protected on the river side by two formidable water batteries, and on its land front by outlying rifle pits, batteries and abatis.

Grant had, when he commenced the attack on Fort Donelson, about 15,000 men, in three divisions, commanded respectively, by Generals C. F. Smith, John A. McClernand and Lew Wallace. The Confederate defenders numbered about 20,000, under the command of General John B. Floyd.

On the afternoon of February 14, Foote moved up to the Confederate batteries with his flottila of four ironclads and two wooden gunboats. The gunboats opened fire when a mile and a half from the fort, and continued advancing slowly and firing rapidly. The vessels could use only bow-guns, three on each craft. For an hour and a half the gunboats poured a steady stream of shot and shell into the batteries, which replied with vigor and effect. Foote soon found that he was exposed to a different fire than the one he had encountered at Fort Henry. Shot and shell from the batteries fell rapid as hailstones on his vessels. The flagship, as usual, received the chief attention of the enemy. Fifty-nine shots struck the flagship, and more than a hundred in all, plunged upon the decks of the assaulting gunboats. Every vessel was disabled, except one which kept beyond the range of fire. Fifty-four, officers and men, were killed and wounded on the fleet. Foote himself was severely injured in the ankle by splinters.  

Among those listening anxiously to the sounds of the gunfire were Wallace and Knefler. Recalling those tense moments, Wallace wrote in his memoirs:

". . . it crept into our bones, slowly blending with the frost already there, that Foote was having a harder time here than at Fort Henry. A dropping-off in his fire was noticed; we hated to admit it, but all at once it quit altogether. We looked at one another like sick men.

"Whipped!" said Knefler, with a prefix sometimes excusable to the ear but never to the eye.

And it was so.

The repulse of the Federal gunboats raised the spirits of the besieged Confederates. However, they realized that to remain inactive rendered capture a question of but a short time, as Grant was being heavily reinforced, and the the Union army had them almost completely surrounded. Therefore, on the same night, Floyd called a council of the officers of divisions and brigades to discuss their precarious situation. It was unanimously agreed that but one course was left open of saving the garrison, and that was to make a sortie and then pass the troops into the open country.  

At 5 o'clock in the morning on the next day, the Confederates struck. The suddenness of the attack, as well as the overpowering number of Confederates, caused the Union troops to give way, after a stubborn resistance. A battle of several hours' duration ensued, and for the most part the Confederates gained ground, driving back the Union right upon the center. McClernand's division was scattered and in disarray, but Wallace extended to his right to form a flank and checked the Confederate onslaught. The prompt and energetic actions of Wallace and his men were decisive. By night the Confederates were back in their works, hopelessly enclosed by a greatly superior army.

Ghastly spectacles were abundant on the battlefield thickly strewn with dead and wounded. The ground was in many places red with frozen blood. Many of the bodies were fearfully mangled, and the the ponderous artillery wheels had crushed limbs and skulls.

Having failed to raise the siege or to escape, consternation and demoralization prevailed among the Confederates, especially at headquarters. A council of war decided that nothing was left but to give up the fort. Floyd declared that he would not surrender himself a prisoner, and passed command to  General Gideon J. Pillow, who also assumed the same importance and individual right for himself, and in turn handed over the command to General Simon Bolivar Buckner. Floyd and Pillow, with the aid of two small steamboats, succeeded in ferrying across the river and in getting away with almost 1,000 officers and men. Buckner remained to share the fate of his troops.  

At daybreak Buckner sent a messenger to learn what terms of surrender would be accepted. Grant response was: "No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately on your works." The reply was far from pleasing to Buckner and he called Grant's terms as "ungenerous and unchivalrous," but accepted them, forthwith capitulating with his remaining force.

Confederate losses were about 2,000 killed or wounded and more than 10,000 captured. Federal losses were about 500 killed and 2,100 wounded. Wallace's division lost 44 killed, 231 wounded and 18 missing. In his report of the battle, Wallace wrote: "Capt. Fred Knefler, my assistant-adjutant general, and Lieuts. James R. Ross and Addison Ware, my aides-de-camp, rendered me prompt and efficient service in the field. Their courage and fidelity have earned my lasting gratitude."

The capture of Fort Donelson was the first substantial victory won by the Union forces in the first nine months of the war and it caused universal joy in the North. Grant was hailed as "Unconditional Surrender" Grant and was transformed from a local commander to one of national prominence. Early in March, shortly after Grant was given his second star, Wallace was also promoted to major-general. At thirty-four, Wallace was the army's youngest major-general.


Fresh from the capture of Fort Donelson, the Union leaders decided to launch another offensive against the Confederates from a base at Pittsburg Landing, a steamboat docking point on the west bank of the Tennessee River, near the Mississippi-Alabama border. In charge of the operation was Grant, who envisioned a decisive campaign to end the Confederate threat in the West.

Pittsburg Landing was some twenty miles from Corinth, Mississippi, where two of the most important railroads of the Confederacy, the Memphis and Charleston and the Mobile and Ohio, crossed. This railroad junction was of immense importance to the South.

Grant's troops consisted of six divisions commanded, respectively, by Generals John A. McClernand, Lew Wallace, William H. L. Wallace (no relation to Lew Wallace), Stephen A. Hurlbut, William T. Sherman and Benjamin M. Prentiss. Five of Grant's divisions were encamped on the plateau above Pittsburg Landing. The position was naturally a strong one, protected on its flanks by the river and by deep creeks. Lew Wallace's division, numbering about 7,000 men, with ten pieces of artillery, was near Crump's Landing on the west bank of the Tennessee, six miles north of Pittsburg Landing. Two roads connected Crump's Landing to the rest of Grant's army, both in deplorable condition and over rugged terrain. The River road, a water-logged path, ran parallel to the Tennessee River to Pittsburg Landing itself. The Shunpike, an old farm road, traversing the countryside farther inland, led to Sherman's encampment, on the outer perimeter of the army.

Grant established his own headquarters at Savannah, a small town some nine miles north of Pittsburg Landing, and on the east side of the river. Two and a half miles southwest of the landing stood a crude log chapel by the name of Shiloh, from which the battle that was to ensue took its name.

It was Grant's plan to wait here until the arrival of General Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio, after which the united forces were to advance upon the enemy at Corinth. No works of any kind were thrown up, nor were any cavalry pickets posted between the camps and Corinth. The divisions were scattered over an extended space, with great intervals. "We did not fortify our camps against attack," wrote Sherman in his Memoirs, "Because we had no orders to do so, and because such a course would have made our men timid." According to John Codman Ropes, one of the most acute and learned military critics of the 19th century: "Probably there never was an army encamped in an enemy's country with so little regard to the manifest risks which are inseparable from such a situation."

The Confederates at Corinth, commanded by General Albert Sidney Johnston, considered by many the finest soldier in either army, and General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, were fully aware that they largely outnumbered Grant and that no measures had been taken to strengthen the position at Pittsburg Landing. They knew equally well that when Buell's army arrived and was added to Grant's forces, they could not possibly expect to hold their vitally important position at Corinth against the Federals. Their only hope, therefore, lay in attacking Grant before Buell arrived.

On April 3 Johnston started his troops on the march from Corinth to Pittsburg Landing. Before leaving, he addressed his soldiers with these words: "I have put you in motion to offer battle to the invaders of your country. With the resolution and disciplined valor becoming men fighting, as you are, for all worth living or dying for, you can but march to a decisive victory over the agrarian mercenaries sent to subjugate and despoil you of your liberties, property, and honor."

Due to bad roads and inclement weather, the advance was unexpectedly slow, and it was not until late Saturday afternoon, the 5th, that the attacking force was concentrated in the vicinity of the Federal army.

As the Confederates were taking up their positions around Pittsburg Landing, Buell's leading division, commanded by General William Nelson, arrived at Savannah. Nelson and his officers suggested to Grant that the troops should be transported at once to the landing. Grant, however, waved them off, promising to send boats for them Monday or Tuesday, remarking, "There will be no fight at Pittsburg Landing; we will have to go to Corinth." Buell himself arrived later in the evening, but did not report to Grant.

Confederate activity in front of the Union camps was perceived as simply reconnaissance and not as movements preparatory to a general assault. Sherman, the senior general on the field, ignored all evidence of enemy movement, assuring Grant: "I do not apprehend anything like an attack on our position." When Sherman dispatched this message, one Confederate corps was deployed in line of battle, not two miles from his camp, and the other three corps were in supporting distance. On the same day, Grant wired Halleck: "I have scarsely the faintest idea of an attack, (general one,) being made upon us but will be prepared should such a thing take place."

Well before the first glimmer of dawn, April 6, the Confederate army began to deploy for the mighty contest. A young Confederate soldier, Henry Morton Stanley, later an internationally renowned journalist and explorer, who tracked down Dr. David Livingstone in Africa, recalled: "At four o'clock in the morning, we rose from our bivouac, and, after a hasty refreshment, were formed into line. We stood in rank for half an hour or so, while the military dispositions were being completed along the three mile front."

When a reconnoitring party from the Union army engaged Johnston's pickets, the first really great battle of the Civil War was on. Hearing the gunfire, Johnston turned to his staff and said: "Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee River."

Since swollen creeks protected Grant's flanks, the attack was delivered in front. The full shock of the assault fell upon the divisions of Sherman and Prentiss, made up for the most part of inexperienced troops. "The surprise was complete," said Johnston's aide-de-camp. "Colors, arms, stores, and ammunition were abandoned. The breakfasts of the men were on the table, the officers' baggage and apparel left in the tents." Recalled a Confederate general: ". . . the enemy was found utterly unprepared, many being surprised and captured in their tents, and others, though on the outside, in costumes better fitted to the bedchamber than to the battle-field." Not until his orderly was shot dead beside him did Sherman realize, "My God, we're attacked!"

Famed war correspondent Whitelaw Reid - more widely known by his penname, "Agate" -who was present on the battlefield wrote: "In the just-roused camps thronged the rebel regiments, firing sharp volleys as they came and springing forward toward our laggards with the bayonet. Some were shot down as they were running, without weapons, hatless, coatless, toward the river. The searching bullets found other poor unfortunates in their tents, and there, all unheeding now, they still slumbered while the unseen foe rushed on."

The Federals were for the first few hours practically at the mercy of their anatagonists. The resistance offered to the Confederate assault was fragmented and disconnected. Fortunately for the bluecoats, the deep wooded ravines intersecting the battlefield divided the Confederate forces, and consequently their attack was not continuous but a series of disjointed assaults. Moreover, numerous Confederates abandoned their colors to pillage the captured encampments.

When Grant heard the heavy firing, he immediately started up the river from Savannah. Stopping on the way at Crump's Landing, he told Wallace to have his troops in readiness. When Grant arrived at Pittsburg Landing, and learned of the state of affairs, he saw that there was no danger of an attack on Crump's Landing, and issued an order to Wallace to march at once.

Delivery of Grant's verbal order was entrusted to Captain A. S. Baxter, quartermaster on Grant's staff. Fearful of making a mistake in transmitting the instructions, Baxter scribbled them down on a piece of scrap paper. Baxter arrived at Wallace's headquarters shortly before noon and found him ready to embark with his division to the scene of the action, either by the River road or by the Shunpike. Wallace, consistent with his legal training, read the note carefully and then passed it around to his staff officers. The note finally reached Knefler who tucked it under his sword belt and lost it in the ensuing turmoil. When Wallace asked Baxter how the battle was progressing, the latter replied that the enemy was being repulsed.

In accordance with Grant's directives, or so he thought, Wallace ordered his troops to begin marching to the battlefield by the Shunpike. At 1:30 the column was overtaken by a messenger from Grant who told Wallace to hurry up but said nothing about the perilous situation of the Union army. Blissfully unaware of the course of the battle, Wallace marched on. Shortly afterward a second courier, Captain William B. Rowley, arrived who informed Wallace of the terrible state of affairs at Pittsburg Landing. Shocked and dumbfounded at the startling news, Wallace realized, to his immense chagrin, that he was actually in rear of the whole Confederate army, and in order to avoid being entirely cut off from the main body of troops, the division must be transferred to the River road.

Being unfamiliar with the finer points of the terrain, he instructed two of his orderlies to find a local person who could act as a guide. Such an individual was duly found and he pointed out a little-used, muddy crossover path. Rather than having his men do a simple about-face and march in reverse, Wallace ordered the column to countermarch by brigades. "My object," stated Wallace later in justifying this maneuver which consumed precious time, "was to get certain regiments whose fighting qualities commanded my confidence to the front."

Around 3:30 two more of Grant's staff officers arrived. Their mission, like Rowley's, was to urge Wallace to march with all possible speed since the situation on the battlefield was becoming critical. Wallace, however, refused to be rushed, insisting that the formation and integrity of the division, essential for rapid and effective battle deployment, must be maintained. Consequently, Wallace and his troops did not reach the battlefield until 7 o'clock, by which time hostilities had ceased.

While Wallace was marching and countermarching, the rest of Grant's army was fighting for its life. After the initial shock, the Union troops fought stubbornly, slowing down the Confederate jaggernaut. Prentiss, Hurlbut and W. H. L. Wallace managed to rally some units and took up a determined stand along an abandoned wagon road, sunken by rain and runoff, which came to be known as the Hornets' Nest. Repulsing one furious charge after another, their heroic exertions saved Grant from complete disaster.

Shiloh was not a tactician's battle; it was a soldiers' slugfest. "The battle of Sunday," wrote Union officer Henry Stone, "was like an old-fashioned country wrestling match, where each combatant uses any method he chooses, or can bring to bear, to force his adversary to the ground." In the words of Northern reporter Junius H. Browne: "Men with knitted brows and flushed cheeks fought madly . . . with blood and perspiration streaming down on their faces. . . . Captains, majors, colonels, and generals fought like private soldiers, and it was not uncommon to see a field officer firing a musket or charging with his revolver. . . . No life was worth a farthing." Now and then there would be a brief lull somewhere along the front, but these pauses were fleeting.

Grant kept calm and retained his solid resolution in face of the Confederate onslaught. He reformed his shattered brigades, reanimated his silenced batteries, and established new lines of defense to replace those so suddenly demolished. Nevertheless, as the day wore on, the Union forces were steadily pushed back, perilously close to the Tennessee River. The fierce fighting took a fearful toll on both sides. Included among the fallen was General Johnston, who was struck in the leg by a bullet and bled to death. His loss was a great one to his army, for he was an inspiring leader of men. Thereupon Beauregard assumed command.

By 5:30 P.M. the Confederates turned the Union left flank and encircled the Hornets' Nest, forcing Prentiss and some 3,000 bluecoats to surrender. However, the Confederates were unable to capitalize on the confusion that followed the collapse of the Hornets' Nest. Their reserves were completely spent, and they could not muster the strength for a final and decisive charge.

The Confederates at the end of the day fell just short of victory. Having observed a widespread disarray in the Confederate rear, perceiving his men to be hungry and tired, and believing he would be able to finish Grant in the morning, Beauregard ordered a halt to the fighting as darkness started to envelope the battlefield.

In retiring from the front and abandoning the vantage-ground on the bluffs, the Confederates gave the Federals room and opportunity to emerge from the tight corner into which they had been driven, and dispose their troops on much more favorable ground than the crowded landing permitted.

During the night rain fell in torrents, and the groans of the wounded and dying could be heard in the din of the storm. Gore-daubed surgeons, overwhelmed by multitudes of casualties, cut and sawed and ligatured. There was no anesthetic; only an occasional sip of brandy or other spirits alleviated the pain and suffering during operations. At midnight Ned Spencer of the Cincinnati Times sat down to write his story of the battle. ". . . the dead and wounded are all around me. . . . The cries of the suffering victim, and groans of those who patiently await for medical attendance, are most distressing to any one who has sympathy with his fellow man."

Although there was no fighting during the night, two Federal wooden gunboats near the landing, the Lexington and the Tyler, blazed away at set intervals all night long, just to make the Confederates uncomfortable and break them of their rest. Boats kept constantly running back and forth transporting Buell's army across the river.

On April 7, the second day of Shiloh, there was nothing to interfere with the rule that victory takes sides with the heaviest battalions. The Confederate army was no match for the Union army. Augmented by the some 25,000 fresh troops of Wallace and Buell, Grant ordered a general attack. The Federals drove the Confederates, after eight hours' fighting from the field, recovering the lost positions. The badly demoralized Southerners withdrew to Corinth, which they soon evacuated before the advance of the Federal army.

The Union casualties during the two days were about 13,000; the Confederates, about, 11,000. Never before had a battle of such magnitude been fought on the North American continent. The total number of casualties on both sides exceeded American death and injuries in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War combined. "I saw an open field," said Grant, "in our possession the second day, over which the Confederates had made repeated charges the day before, so covered with dead that it would have been possible to walk across the clearing, in any direction, stepping on dead bodies, without a foot touching the ground." Another future president of the United States, General James A. Garfield, described Shiloh after the fighting as a scene of "unutterable horror." Many soldiers would remember Shiloh as the most horrible, sanguinary struggle in all their four years of fighting. New Orleans writer George W. Cable noted: "The South never smiled again after Shiloh."

Neither was there much joy in the North. The casualty figures stunned the North as well. Popular talk of a near end to the war ceased. Grant, the principal military figure of the battle, quickly became the target of public outcry and censure. All sorts of charges were made against him. His own troops criticized him severely for being surprised. Private letters from soldiers to their homes told of the enormous slaughter and aroused a feeling of indignation toward Grant. A sergeant wrote to a friend that Grant must be regarded "an imbecile character" for his blundering leadership. One of his Grant's most vociferous detractors was General McClernand, while General Buell portrayed himself as the savior of the battlefield. A number of newspapers published lurid accounts of the combat and asserted that Grant was drunk. "There was no more preparation by Gen. Grant for an attack than if he had been on a Fourth of July Frolic," decried the New York Tribune. Congress was in an uproar over the casualty list. "With such a record," declared Iowa politician James Harlan, "those who continue General Grant in active command will in my opinion carry on their skirts the blood of thousands of their slaughtered countrymen." Governor David Tod of Ohio spoke of the "criminal negligence of the Union command." Even Ohio Senator John Sherman, brother of General William T. Sherman, was embarassed by Grant's absence on the field when the shooting started. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton telegraphed to Halleck: "The President desires to know . . . whether any neglect or misconduct of General Grant or any other officer contributed to the casualties that befell to our forces on Sunday." Great pressure was brought to bear upon Lincoln to have Grant removed. But Lincoln said, "I can't spare this man; he fights."

Having ridden out the storm, Grant began to look for a scapegoat and Wallace fell into that role. Immediately after the battle, Grant had nothing but praise for Wallace. But now Grant began to blame Wallace's late arrival for the debacle on the first day of the battle. Some newspapers also began to deflect their invectives from Grant to Wallace.

To these accusations, Wallace replied that his delay was caused by the ambiguous wording of Grant's order which he tried to obey and follow as a good subordinate should. Grant answered that the order was quite explicit and Wallace, intentionally or unintentionally, misinterpreted its contents, dawdling on the Shunpike instead of taking the River road. However, Grant conceded that he never saw Baxter's note. Wallace vehemently insisted that no specific road was mentioned in the note and its ambiguous wording left the choice of roads open to interpretation.

Of course, the note Captain Baxter handed to Wallace would have clarified and settled the issue. However, that piece of paper had been lost by Knefler. This was most unfortunate and its loss left Wallace's word against Grant's. Naturally, Grant's officers supported their chief's statements, while Knefler and others on Wallace's staff corroborated their commander's claims. The truth will probably be never known, and historians have lined up on each side.

Removed from active duty for a time, Wallace eventually was reinstated. But he was never again entrusted with a battlefield command, and served out the remainder of the war in lesser assignments. He was never to escape the military discredit he had incurred at Shiloh. Despite his achievements as a diplomat and his enormous success as a writer, the failure to arrive in time for the first day's fighting haunted him for the rest of his life. He wrote hundreds of letters defending his behavior at Shiloh. Toward the end of his life he made frequent visits to the battlefield to relive and justify his actions.

The attacks and slurs on Wallace aroused the indignation of his supporters. "I wish the president could hear how the people of Indiana feel about the treatment of their best soldier," wrote Knefler to Wallace on August 28, 1862.


August was a momentous and busy month for Knefler. Upon the organization of the 79th Indiana Infantry, Governor Morton appointed Knefler the regiment's colonel. A strict disciplinarian, he was not popular with his men at first. But after demonstrating his leadership and bravery under fire he gained their respect and loyalty.

Immediately upon its muster into service, the regiment was sent to Louisville, Kentucky, to reinforce General Buell's Army of the Ohio, threatened by a Confederates force under General Braxton Bragg. Bragg had been urged, by leading Kentuckians in his command and others, to undertake the campaign in Kentucky with the promise of immense numbers of recruits and large quantities of supplies. He took 20,000 stands of arms for recruits, but the Kentuckians did not flock to his banners. Excepting in a few of the rich slaveholding counties around Lexington, and in that southwestern portion of the state which Bragg failed to reach, those in sympathy with the Confederate cause were a decided minority. 


Buell's army moved from Louisville on the first day of October. When Bragg learned that Buell was advancing in overwhelming force, he began to retire. On October 8, 1862, the hard-pressed Confederates made a stand at Perryville, some fifty miles southeast of Louisville. The battle raged from 2 o'clock in the afternoon till nightfall. It was the largest battle fought during the war on Kentucky soil, and one of the bloodiest of the war. 

Nearly 5,000 men were killed and wounded on each side. Though neither side could count the battle a clear victory, the advantage was with the North. There was no action on the following day and no pursuit of the Confederates until the 12th. As soon as the pursuit, which was fruitless in consequence of its late start and lack of vigor, was over, Buell retired to Louisville. Bragg retreated southeasterly, escaped into east Tennessee through the Cumberland Gap, and went into winter quarters at Murfreesboro, thirty miles southeast of Nashville.

Even though Buell was victorious, his tardiness and tactics came under fire. On October 24, he was relieved of his command and Major General William S. Rosecrans, a genial and popular figure, was appointed to the position of commander of the Army of the Ohio, subsequently known as the Army of the Cumberland. Rosecrans reorganized the army, appointing General Alexander M. McCook to command the Right Wing, General Thomas L. Crittenden the Left Wing and General George H. Thomas the Center. 

Great pressure from Washington was brought on Rosecrans to advance upon Bragg without delay. However, Rosecrans was unwilling as Buell had been to rush his army into east Tennessee, and at once gave orders for the concentration of his forces at Nashville. He refurbished his army and repaired the railroads which had been badly damaged by enemy horsemen. Early in December Halleck notified Rosecrans that Lincoln was most impatient, and added: "If you remain one more week in Nashville I cannot prevent your removal. Rosecrans wired back: "To threats of removal . . . I am insensible."  

On the morning of December 26 Rosecrans marched out of Nashville to attack and overwhelm Bragg. The 79th Indiana was one of the regiments in the First Brigade (Colonel Samuel Beatty), Third Division (Brigadier-General Horatio P. Van Cleve), Left Wing (Major-General Thomas L. Crittenden). Because of the miserable winter weather and the constant harassment by General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry, it took the Federals five days to get from Nashville to Murfreesboro.

Rosecrans found the Confederates drawn up a mile northwest of the town astride Stone's River, a sluggish tributary of the Cumberland. At the time of the battle the stream was so low that it could be crossed by infantry everywhere. Each of the commanding generals was ignorant of the purposes of the other, and each in the execution of his own plans expected to throw the other upon the defensive. Rosecrans intended to attack Bragg on December 31; this plan, however, miscarried when Bragg's forces struck first. Rosecrans's orders were for his troops to breakfast before daylight and attack at seven o'clock. Bragg issued orders to attack at daylight.  

Bragg's initiative gained him an immense advantage in execution in the earlier stages of the action. Launching their attack with great energy and tremendous effect, the Confederates caught the Federals at breakfast as they had at Shiloh. The entire right wing of the Union army was driven back in the greatest disorder. "Infantry, cavalry, artillery came flying in inextricable confusion, horror on their faces," recalled Knefler. "Our line was torn and trampled down. We were compelled to fix bayonets to preserve ourselves." The fighting was among the hardest of the war. Many of the regiments lost two-thirds of their officers; scarcely one escaped without loss. 

But Rosecrans did not lose his composure; as reports of disaster after disaster came to him, he remarked: "We will soon rectify it." Heedless of danger, he rode back and forth along the front lines rallying and inspiring his troops. His chief-of-staff and good personal friend, Cuban-born Colonel Julius Garesche, riding besides him, was decapitated by a cannonball, bespattering Rosecrans and those around him with his blood. "Garesche's appalling death stunned us all," wrote General Phil Sheridan in his memoirs, "and a momentary expression of horror spread over Rosecrans's face, but at such a time the importance of self-control was vital, and he pursued his course with an appearance of indifference."  

Showing great skill in handling troops and performing maneuvers requiring high qualities of generalship, Rosecrans reconstructed his order of battle. The Confederates, while inflicting severe losses, were unable to force the line again, and were repulsed with great toll in lives.  

Although the day's fighting ended with the Confederates unable to follow up on their initial successes, so convinced was Bragg of victory that he hastened into town early the next morning to telegraph President Jefferson Davis: "The enemy has yielded his strong position and is falling back. God has granted us a happy New Year." He had no doubt that Rosecrans would attempt to fall back on Nashville. Although some of his generals earnestly advised him to retreat to Nashville, Rosecrans had no such thought. He rode to the rear, examined the country, returned, and said to those about him: "Gentlemen, we conquer or die right here."  

The opposing armies watched and waited on January 1, 1863, and on the 2nd a Confederate attack was repulsed. At noon on January 3, Bragg, on consultation with his generals, decided to withdraw, leaving the field in possession of his opponent, and by 11 P.M. the whole Confederate army was in retreat in good order. Nearly 2,000 badly wounded Confederates and their medical attendants were left behind. Bragg in retiring did not fall back very far - only behind Duck River to Shelbyville and Tullahoma, both strong, defensive positions. Rosecrans made no attempt to follow him beyond Murfreesboro.

The toll on both sides was heavy and both armies were so crippled that a long time was required to repair the damage. The loss on the Union side was about 9,500 officers and men killed and wounded, and about 3,700 prisoners. Confederate losses were equally severe, being in killed, wounded and missing 14,700.

  In his official report of the battle, Knefler wrote:

The regiment went into action on December 31 with 341, rank and file, and lost during both engagements fully one-third of its available force, including more than half the commissioned officers in killed and wounded; but very few men are missing or taken prisoners.

Although Rosecrans had made the enemy fall back, he had not destroyed the Confederate army or gained any important territory. However, the battle was, in a very narrow sense, a Federal victory. Halleck telegraphed Rosecrans: "The victory was well earned and one of the most brilliant of the war. You and your brave army have won the gratitude of your country and the admiration of the world." Lincoln was likewise elated. "God bless you and all with you," he wired Rosecrans.  


During the first six months of 1863, the military operations of the Army of the Cumberland were of a minor character. Rosecrans spent most of his time recuperating and resupplying his troops and fortifying Murfreesboro. There could be no marching in midwinter or spring, for there were frequent rains, the streams were all swollen, and the mud deep on all the roads. 

Rosecrans was an old army man and, like many of them, was not satisfied with less than what he considered the necessary forces and supplies to undertake an offensive movement. Supplies and reinforcements had not been sent to him as promptly and abundantly as to other armies. His supplies were mainly drawn from Louisville, far distant, over a single railroad, traversing semi-hostile country, and requiring heavy guards along the entire line against Confederate raiders. While the Union infantry greatly outnumbered that of Bragg, his cavalry equally outnumbered Rosecrans's cavalry, and therefore in all advances rendered Federal communications liable to be broken. Rosecrans complained about this situation, and made appeals to Washington, for an adequate cavalry force.  

Early in June Rosecrans began placing his troops in position, preparatory to a general advance against Bragg. While Rosecrans was preparing to move against the enemy, a Union army under General Ambrose Burnside was marching from Louisville through Kentucky southeast to gain possession of east Tennessee.

Rosecrans's advance was well-planned and skillfully executed. By playing upon the Confederate fear of a coordinated move with Burnside, he maneuvered Bragg out of middle Tennessee, continued his advance through a very difficult terrain, and, without fighting a battle, marched into Chattanooga, on September 9. Called the gateway to the lower Confederacy, Chattanooga, situated at the north of the valley formed by Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, was one of the most important rail centers of the South. Bragg abandoned Chattanooga because his supplies were not sufficient to withstand a siege, and his army was not large enough to hold the city and cover his communications.  

Rosecrans was elated at the success of his strategy. Thinking that Bragg was fleeing to Atlanta and eager to strike at the Confederates, he ordered his troops in pursuit. But Bragg had no intention of retreating; on the contrary, he turned on the Federals. On September 19 and 20, 1863, took place the fierce and bloody battle of Chickamauga, described by a Union general as a "mad, irregular battle, very much resembling guerilla warfare on a vast scale."

During the battle of Chickamauga the 79th Indiana was one of the regiments composing the First Brigade, Brigadier-General Samuel Beatty commanding, Third Division (Brigadier-General Horatio Van Cleve), Twenty-first Corps (Major-General Thomas L. Crittenden).  

As the battle developed on the 19th, brigades, divisions and even regiments were thrown in without regard to larger organization. On the morning of that day, the 79th Indiana was moved to a position, in reserve of the 9th and 17th Kentucky Regiments. About 1 P.M. the brigade advanced forward toward the left of the army. Upon arriving at the designated spot, the 79th Indiana was placed in the front line of the brigade on the left of the 19th Ohio, supported in the rear by the 17th Kentucky, and ordered to keep on line with the 19th Ohio.  After penetrating the woods, and shortly after the firing began, Knefler's attention was directed by Lieutenant William P. Mounts to a Confederate battery in front and covering the left wing of the 79th Indiana. This battery, consisting of four guns and caissons, was Carnes's Tennessee Battery, commanded by Captain William W. Carnes.  

As Knefler gave orders to disable the men and horses, the battery was peppered with a heavy fire. Following a spirited and determined charge, the battery was captured. The regiment suffered considerable loss in this encounter, but not what it might have been had the opportunity been given to the enemy to discharge the pieces, which were found to be double shotted with canister. Carnes, who managed to avoid capture and survived the war, wrote two decades later: ". . . our losses were necessarily very heavy, and as a specimen of mortality, I will state that the loss in my own battery, of four guns, was forty-nine horses killed, and forty-one men killed and wounded."  

The day closed without a clear advantage to either side. Both armies knew that the renewal of the conflict was inevitable. "I saw that the morrow was likely to be more bloody and decisive than that day," wrote Rosecrans several years after the war. "I determined the new line, so that there should be the least possible moving of the tired troops, and that it should be short enough to give us seven brigades in reserve. All but one had been in action that day."

At daylight on the morning of the 20th a dense fog obscured everything; the battle resumed only after about 9 o'clock. It raged with frightful carnage and varying success until the execution of an ill-advised and unlucky order from Rosecrans opened a gaping hole in the heart of the Federal line of battle, through which the Confederates poured. The Union divisions on either side of the breach were slammed out of place "like doors swung back on their hinges and shattered by the blow." It was a disaster so appalling that men who at other times were cool and brave lost their heads. Officers who had kept their self-possession tried to rally panic-stricken soldiers. It was all to no avail; authority was gone, discipline lost.  

The Union army was cut clean in two, and soon the whole right wing crumbled into pieces and was sent flying in disorder toward Chattanooga. Charles A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, who had been for some time with the Army of the Cumberland, wrote: "Bull Run had nothing more terrible than the rout and flight of these veteran soldiers." Rosecrans and other prominent officers were swept along by the tide. Arriving in the city, Rosecrans commenced preparations to defend the place and save the remnants of his army.  

Matters, however, were not as desperate as at first sight they appeared. Almost the entire center and all of the Federal left wing under General George H. Thomas were unbroken and stood firm. Thomas moved back the center and his own right, and reformed the forces under his command on a ridge, called Horseshoe Ridge or Snodgrass Hill, directly across the road on which the jubilant Confederates were advancing. This location offered a strong position for defense. General Gordon Granger, with his reserve corps of two divisions, came up to help as did several brigades which had retreated, but had remained unbroken, or had been reformed. Thomas distributed these reinforcements to protect his wings and strengthen the weak points in his line. The furious charges of the Confederates were repulsed. As their ammunition became exhausted, they repeatedly resorted to the bayonet to shove back the attackers. Confederate General Thomas C. Hindman stated after the battle: "Our troops attacked again and again with a courage worthy of their past achievements. The enemy fought with determined obstinacy, and repeatedly repulsed us, but only to be again assailed. As showing the fierceness of the fight, I mention that on our extreme left the bayonet was used, and men were also killed and wounded with clubbed muskets."  

When darkness came, the Confederates drew back, and Thomas, upon orders from Rosecrans, retired from the battlefield and moved into Chattanooga. Thomas's resourceful and heroic stand prevented a complete disaster for the Federal army. No commanding general fought such a battle during the war. Thomas thus rightfully earned the sobriquet the "Rock of Chickamauga."  

The 79th Indiana was shattered along with the rest of Crittenden's corps when the Confederates split the Federal army. "Had sufficient space intervened, a stand could have been promptly made, but under the circumstances it was impossible to do anything," lamented Knefler, whose men were trampled by the fleeing soldiers of a nearby regiment as the rout erupted. Driven from the field, one portion of the 79th Indiana, under Knefler, remained with General Beatty and attempted to reorganize the brigade, until late in the afternoon, when they were withdrawn from the field. The other portion of the regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel P. Oyler, found its way to Snodgrass Hill, and remained fighting on that now memorable and historic hill until the last charge of the Confederates had been met and driven back.

In recognition of the services rendered by the regiment at Chickamauga, the state of Indiana erected a monument on the battlefield after the war. The tablet of the monument reads:


Col. Frederick Knefler, Commanding
First Brigade (Samuel Beatty)
Third Division (Van Cleve)
Twenty-first Corps (Crittenden)

Rosecrans estimated his losses in the bloody conflict at 36 pieces of artillery and 16,000 men and claimed the capture of 2,000 prisoners. Bragg admitted a loss of 18,000 men and claimed the capture of 51 guns and 8,000 prisoners. Every church, public building and available house in Chattanooga was taken for hospital purposes, for the wounded soldiers filled the town.

The tables were now turned. Rosecrans was in Chattanooga, and Bragg was the besieger.

Thus the army that had set out to capture the city ended by being caught in its own net. For the first time in the war, a large Federal army was besieged.

Expecting an imminent attack, Rosecrans had every able-bodied man on duty erecting fortifications. A journalist on the scene wrote: "Residences were turned into block-houses; black bastions sprang up in former vineyards; riflepits were run through grave-yards; and soon a line of works stretched from the river above to the river below the city, bending crescent-like around it, as if it were a huge bow of iron, and rendering it impregnable." Because the Federals worked so industriously with mud and logs to erect defenses and shelters, the Confederates called them "beavers in blue."

Believing that he could force Rosecrans to abandon Chattanooga, by preventing the passage of his supply trains, Bragg disposed his infantry and cavalry to bring starvation to the army which he failed to crush at Chickamauga. Bragg held Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and could send shot and shell into Rosecrans's lines. He controlled the river and also the railroad which ran along the southern side of the river. Bragg could look down from his headquarters on the summit of Missionary Ridge upon the Union army, with the confident expectation that in a short time Rosecrans would be starved out.

Because the Confederate force was insufficient to invest the city completely, one long, circuitous route remained open. It was a a tortuous sixty-mile wagon road, crossing almost impassable mountains and vulnerable to enemy cavalry raids. As the fall rains set in, the road became so soft that a lightly loaded wagon would sink up to its axles.

Under these circumstances the supplies of the Federal troops became precarious as well as scanty. Full rations quickly dwindled to half, then to quarter. A typical daily ration consisted of "coffee" made from parched corn, wormy and moldy hardtack, and a little beef from emaciated cattle. The cattle were so thin and poor, from want of grazing, that the soldiers said they were eating beef dried on the hoof. Authentic reports abound that tell of rats and other unappetizing creatures being used for food. Guards stood at the throughs of artillery horses to keep the soldiers from taking the scant supply of corn allowed these starving animals. It was almost impossible to obtain forage for horses and mules in Chattanooga, and ten thousand of them died of actual starvation during the siege.

The defeat at Chickamauga spurred the Federal government into vigorous action. It was plain that to give up Chattanooga would be a worse disaster than Chickamauga. At once, the Eleventh Corps and the Twelfth Corps were detached from the Army of the Potomac and sent under General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker to open communications and to reinforce Rosecrans. General Sherman, commander of the Army of the Tennessee, was ordered, September 23, to march with all speed with the Fifteenth Corps to Chattanooga. Never had so many troops been moved so far in so little time.

On October 16, 1863, Grant was assigned to the command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, a geographical area which embraced the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland and the Tennessee, thus effecting a consolidation of divided commands. The same order that assigned Grant relieved Rosecrans, who, according to Lincoln, having lost his nerve since Chickamauga, was acting "confused and stunned like a duck hit on the head," and placed Thomas, the "Rock of Chickamauga," in command of the Army of the Cumberland. On the 19th Grant telegraphed Thomas: "Hold Chattanooga at all hazards." Thomas replied: "We will hold the town till we starve."

Grant repaired in person to the scene of action, arriving at Chattanooga on October 23. Under his energetic leadership, a reliable supply line was established by driving off the Confederates obstructing certain key positions. Named "The Cracker Line," the new route solved the garrison's most pressing problem. The breaking of the blockade and the establishment of "The Cracker Line" constituted victory over starvation, and gave a tremendous lift to the morale of the officers and men.


In the reorganization of the army, after the battle of Chickamauga, the 79th Indiana was assigned to the Third Brigade (Brigadier-General Samuel Beatty), Third Division (Brigadier-General Thomas J. Wood), Fourth Army Corps (Major-General Gordon Granger).

Once he had all his forces properly marshalled Grant proceeded to take the offensive against Bragg. The Confederate line before Chattanooga, except on the left, had changed little since the first investment immediately after Chickamauga. Bragg held Missionary Ridge, the Chattanooga Valley, and Lookout Mountain, his left occupying the latter, and his right resting on the ridge, with the mass of his army in the valley. Missionary Ridge, the site of the main Confederate position, was about three to four hundred feet above the level of the valley, and its sides were steep and dotted with ravines.

In the afternoon of November 23 Thomas drove the Confederates from their position in the middle of the valley back to the line at the foot of Missionary Ridge, while during the night Sherman's troops were moved up to the north side of the Tennessee, and quickly constructing a pontoon bridge, crossed the river.

The next day Hooker led his soldiers up the slope of Lookout Mountain through rain and mist, and fought the famous "battle above the clouds." Seeing that they could not hold Lookout Mountain, the Confederates descended the slopes and joined the main body of the army on Missionary Ridge.

But the greatest feat of all was reserved for Thomas's men on the third day, November 25. Grant's plan was to attack the Confederates from the north end of Missionary Ridge, using Sherman's army, and at the same time begin flanking movements with Hooker's forces at the south end of the ridge. With these two movements in full swing, Thomas was to sweep up the face of the ridge in the Confederate front. The Confederates were strongly entrenched on the crest of the ridge, and had a second line half-way down and another at the base. In all, Bragg had 41,000 men and 112 cannons, holding a line between seven and eight miles in length.

It was Grant's intention to have Thomas attack only after Sherman and Hooker had made substantial gains on the flanks. But as the hours passed neither Sherman nor Hooker made much progress. Sherman ran into unexpectedly stubborn Confederate resistance in his sector, while the destruction of a key bridge over Chattanooga Creek detained Hooker's advance.

Finally, around 4 P.M. Grant gave the order for a limited attack. When Thomas transmitted the order to his divisions, the men of the Army of the Cumberland, burning for revenge for Chickamauga, cheered. The two divisions selected to spearhead the attack were those of Generals Sheridan and Wood. There were five Indiana regiments in Wood's division - the 6th, 32nd, 68th, 79th and 86th. On this occasion, the 79th Indiana was consolidated with the 86th Indiana, both regiments being under the command of Knefler. According to one account, as the assault was about to commence Sheridan drew a silver whisky flask from a pocket. Looking up at a Confederate artillery officer on the crest of the ridge, he raised his flask, saying, "Here's to you," and took a big gulp.

What followed has been described as one of the most brilliant charges made during the war. The assault was unique in its origin, conditions, conduct and issue, and in the risks it involved it was almost without parallel.  

The order was to take the rifle pits at the base of the ridge, and capture their occupants. Using bayonets and clubbed muskets, the Cumberlanders swept over the first line of rifle pits. But when they were taken the men were not satisfied. It was Knefler and his two regiments who inspired the movement to attempt the crest itself. They were the first to break out of the rifle pits and start up the slope of the ridge, but they had no sooner begun the movement than the whole of Wood's division followed after them. Their enthusiasm spread to the division of Sheridan. The fire along the Confederate line was terrific. Cannon and musket balls filled the air. Bu nothing could stop the determined Federals as they scaled the heights. Regiments were captured almost entire; battery after battery along the ridge was taken. Cannon that but a moment before was firing on Federal troops was turned and used against the Confederates as they were driven in masses to the rear.  

Bragg tried to rally his panic-stricken troops, but was himself borne away, as was Rosecrans at Chickamauga. "Every effort which could be made by myself and staff and by many other mounted officers availed by little," said a mortified Bragg afterwards. "A panic which I never before have witnessed seemed to have seized officers and men, and each seemed to be struggling for his personal safety, regardless of his duty or his character."  

One of the most vivid accounts of the assault was written by Benjamin F. Taylor, who witnessed it as the correspondent of the Chicago Evening Journal:  

What colors were first upon the mountain battlement I dare not try to say; bright Honor's self may be proud to bear - bear? - nay, proud to follow the hindmost. Foot by foot they had fought up the steep slippery with much blood; let them go to glory together. But this I can declare: the 79th Indiana, of Wood's division, fairly ran over the rifle pits, and left its whole line in the rear, and its breathless color-bearer led the way. . . . A minute, and they were all there, fluttering along the Ridge from left to right. The routed hordes rolled off to the north, rolled off to the east, like the clouds of a worn-out storm.

Dana, another eyewitness on the scene, wrote: "The storming of the ridge by our troops was one of the greatest miracles in military history. No man who climbs the ascent by any of the roads that wind along its front can believe that eighteen thousand men moved in tolerably good order up its broken and crumbling face unless it was his fortune to witness the deed. It seemed as awful as a visible interposition of God."  

Grant's report of the battle read: "These troops moved forward, drove the enemy from the rifle-pits, at the base of the ridge like bees from a hive; stopped but a moment . . . and commenced ascent of the mountain . . . following closely the retreating enemy without further orders. They encountered a fearful volley of grape and canister from nearly thirty pieces of artillery, and musketry from still well filled rifle pits on the summit of the ridge. Not a waver however, was seen in all that long line of brave men; their progress was steadily onward until the summit was in their possession." 

Knefler himself, in his official report, thus described the storming of the heights:

. . . at which time I was ordered by General Beatty to advance with my command beyond our works and form on the left of the front line of General [August] Willich, to advance and take the rifle pits of the rebels in our front. The rebels upon our approach abandoned their rifle-pits, which were occupied by our forces. Not having received any order to remain in the rebel works, I ordered my command to advance upon the mountain side in our front. Crossing the open space beyond the works we met a terrible fire, enfilading my command in all directions. The fire of the rebels became very severe, and their infantry in front, who were retreating before us, halting occasionally and firing upon us, I perceived that the safety of my command required it to get the protection of the mountain side to be enabled to take shelter among the trees and rocks. I urged a rapid advance, and with the hearty co-operation of the officers of both regiments the whole line was carried forward in the best order possible, on almost inaccesible ground. Here, protected by the steepness of the mountain, the men were enabled to make good their foothold, and reply to the rebel musketry, which was very galling, and almost surrounding us. We advanced steadily step by step. When near the top my attention was called by Captain [Daniel W.] Howe to the fact that our advance upon the mountain isolated us from the rest of the line with which we advanced upon the enemy's rifle-pits; there was no support on the right or left, and on looking back perceived our forces occupying the rebel works below; to retrace our steps would have been inevitable destruction to the entire command. The resolve to advance and hold every inch of ground until supported was our only safety. The line advanced firmly, taking advantage of every obstacle, under a most furious fire of artillery and small arms, the enemy rolling lighted shells among my men and throwing rocks upon our heads; but the ground was held and contested with the utmost determination. The rebels did not succeed in forcing us back one step. We remained in our position, our flags and enemy's almost touching, keeping up a heavy fire, until support came on the right and left, advancing up the mountain. At last orders were given to fix bayonets, and to charge them; once the effort failed, but advancing again succeeded, and gained the enemy's works, which were covered with dead and wounded, and full of rebels, who made haste to fling away their guns and to get to our rear. As my men swarmed upon the crest the rebels made another stand, commanded, as ascertained, by the rebel General [William J.] Hardee, but their resistance was very feeble; they were quickly broken, and  fled in the greatest confusion. Here a battle-flag was captured; I regret to say it was torn to shreds by the men in their eagerness to secure mementoes. After pursuing the rebels, and the capture of many pieces of artillery and numerous prisoners, the command bivoucked upon the crest of Missionary Ridge.

Knefler's valiant conduct was praised by both superiors and fellow officers. "In recounting the operations of my command in the advancing of the lines . . . and the charging of Missionary Ridge, I have to compliment Col. Fred Knefler," said General Beatty. "While it is out of place," wrote Colonel George F. Dick in his official report, "and I feel a delicacy in presuming to dictate as a junior officer, yet I must say that Col. Fred Knefler, Seventy-ninth Indiana Volunteers, well deserves and richly merits a commission as brigadier-general, for his gallantry displayed in the charging and taking of Missionary Ridge."

Thursday, November 26, was America's first official national Thanksgiving Day, and the resounding Union victory at Chattanooga was greeted with unrestrained joy throughout the North. Grant became the North's "man of the hour." The rank of Lieutenant-General was revived for him, and he was summoned to Washington to be Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces. When Grant assumed control, effective unity of command was for the first time achieved in the North. Bragg was removed from command at his own request and was succeeded by General Joseph E. Johnston. Johnston reorganized the stricken army, tightened discipline, restored confidence, and infused it with a new fighting spirit.  


A few days after the battle the 79th Indiana moved towards Knoxville, Tennessee, to the relief of General Ambrose Burnside, who was besieged by General James Longstreet's corps. Longstreet made an assault upon the Union works on November 30. He failed, being repulsed with heavy loss. Learning of Bragg's defeat and the approach of the Federal relief column, he abandoned the siege and retired towards Virginia. Following the raising of the siege Knefler and his men participated in an open winter campaign in east Tennessee, skirmishing with the enemy at Strawberry Plains, New Market, Mossy Creek and Clinch River. The regiment remained in east Tennessee until April of 1864 when it was ordered to join Sherman's army for the march on Atlanta.  


When in March of 1864 Grant was appointed Commander-in-Chief of all the armies of the United States, he named Sherman his successor as commander of the armies in the West.

Grant decided that while he would destroy Lee's army in Virginia, Sherman would strike into Georgia, and take Atlanta. Atlanta was the most important manufacturing center in the Confederacy; it was the key to the network of railroads extending to all portions of the Gulf States; it was the "Gate City" from the north and west to the southeast; it was the most important depot of supplies, and commanded the richest granaries of the South. Sherman's mission was to defeat and if possible destroy the Confederate army opposing him and to devastate the economic resources of north Georgia.  

To accomplish the objectives set forth, Sherman assembled an "army group" which included three armies: the Army of the Ohio, the Twenty-Third Corps, under General John M. Schofield; the Army of the Cumberland; the Fourth Corps, the Fourteenth Corps and the Twentieth Corps, under General George H. Thomas; and the Army of the Tennessee under General James B. McPherson. Thomas's army would be the heart of the campaign in terms of size, logistical support, intelligence and communications.

Sherman began the campaign with an effective force of about 100,000 soldiers and 254 cannon. Against this invasion, Johnston could muster 36,000 infantry and artillery and less than 7,000 cavalry. Sherman spent the month of March and most of April familiarizing himself with his new command. He had many things to do; oversee the preparations of his cavalry and artillery unit, his surgeons and their assistants, his telegraphers and signalmen, his engineers and cartographers, and his civilian workmen. The march into Georgia began on the first days of May. There was only one way for Sherman to advance into Georgia; this was along the line of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, running southeast, from Chattanooga to Atlanta, about one hundred and ten miles distant.

General Samuel Beatty, being sick and unable for duty, Knefler commanded the Third Brigade, Third Division (Brigadier-General Thomas J. Wood), Fourth Army Corps (Major-General Oliver O. Howard), during the campaign. In addition to the 79th Indiana, the brigade included the 86th Indiana, 13th Ohio, 19th Ohio, 59th Ohio, 9th Kentucky and 17th Kentucky. The brigade left camp near McDonald's Station Tennessee, on May 3, 1864.

While the Federal army was numerous and well equipped, it had enormous difficulties to face. Northern Georgia was wooded and mountainous, in great part thinly populated, and quite unsurveyed and unmapped. The huge army, with some 25,000 animals, relied on a single-track railroad for all its food, clothing, ammunition and sundry other necessities.

Johnston by nature and through experience was cautious and wary. He was determined to fall back slowly until circumstances should put the chances of battle in his favor, and he hoped by taking advantage of positions and opportunities to reduce the odds against him by partial engagements. 

Each army offered battle everywhere, but would accept it only on its own terms. At times there was almost continuous fighting and then the roar of battle would die down for days. It was a continual sparring, with Johnston constantly but with dogged slowness falling back, while Sherman, relying mainly on adroit flanking movements, was slowly but surely pressing on. Though constantly in retreat, the Confederates did not wage an unsuccessful warfare. Johnston inflicted great losses on the Federals.  

On May 14 Sherman came up with Johnston at Dalton, and turned his position at Buzzard's Roost by sending McPherson through Snake Creek Gap, when Johnston fell back to Resaca. After an assault, May 15, Johnston withdrew to Cassville and behind the Etowah River on the 17th.  

Johnston then established a defensive line slightly north of Dallas, extending from New Hope Church to Pickett's Mill on Pumpkinvine Creek. The outnumbered, but strongly entrenched Confederates delivered a stunning blow to the exposed, attacking Federals. The engagements at New Hope Church and Pickett's Mills cost Sherman 3,000 men. Moving his army to the left of the Confederate front and enveloping the Allatoona pass, Sherman compelled Johnston to evacuate his positions.

From the 10th of June to the 21st, the Union army advanced slowly toward Marietta, by attacking entrenchments and turning Confederate flanks. Incessant rain greatly retarded operations, and gave considerable discomfort to officers and men.  

Kennesaw Mountain, with its almost equally formidable neighbors, Pine and Lost mountains, now loomed before Sherman, with Confederate lines two miles long which Johnston fortified with every art at his command. Deviating from his normal policy of not storming strongly-held entrenchements and undoubtedly remembering Missionary Ridge, Sherman ordered a frontal assault on June 27.

For forty minutes prior to the attack the Union artillery delivered preparatory fire. "Gun spoke to gun, Kennesaw smoked and blazed with fire, a volcano as grand as Etna," wrote Colonel Joseph S. Fullerton, General Howard's adjutant-general. As the Federals moved forward, Confederate artillery on the heights tore gaping holes in their ranks, and sharpshooters stationed at the foot of the mountain cut them down in rows. Although some of the bluecoats managed to reach and penetrate the Confederate breastworks and a few soldiers were able to plant their regimental colors, most were stopped within twenty to thirty feet of the entrenchements.  

When the battle was over, some 2,000 Federals lay dead and wounded, against about 700 lost to the defenders. It was a serious defeat for Sherman; for Johnston it was a victory, albeit a defensive one. Sherman would never admit his mistake. In a report written two and one-half months later, he stated: "Failure as it was . . . Yet I claim it produced good fruits as it demonstrated to General Johnston that I would assault, and that boldly."

After the bloody repulse Sherman again resorted to flanking. On July 3 he moved McPherson's army toward the Chattahoochee River. Johnston, as soon as he became aware of the movement, departed from his fortified heights and retired to another entrenched position on the northwest bank of that river. When Sherman began to cross the river, threatening to strike his rear with a part of the army, while the rest lay entrenched in his front, Johnston fell back into his works around Atlanta. Once across the Chattahoochee, Sherman moved quickly to invest the city. Johnston believed if he could his own for a while longer, he might do much to bring about the downfall of the Lincoln administration in the presidential campaign now at hand.

Knefler and his men fought in most of the battles on the march to Atlanta, including the engagements at Tunnel Hill, Rocky Face Ridge, Dalton, Resaca, Adairsville, Cassville, Pickett's Mill and Kennesaw Mountain.

The fighting at Pickett's Mill, May 27, was particularly severe. On the morning of that day, Sherman, frustrated by the stubborn Confederate resistance at New Hope Church, decided to turn the right flank of the enemy position. He chose General Howard to carry out the assignment, selecting General Wood's division to lead the movement. Pushing through miles of woods and brush and across ridges and ravines, Howard did not find the enemy position until late in the afternoon, at Pickett's Mill, a tiny settlement about two miles northeast of New Hope Church. Howard drew up an assault formation in column of brigades. Wood thereupon arranged his three brigades, one behind the other: General William B. Hazen's Second Brigade in front, Colonel William H. Gibson's First Brigade behind Hazen, and Knefler's Third Brigade in the rear.

When Wood gave the order to attack at 4:30 P.M., Hazen's brigade, formed in two lines, moved forward. As the bluecoats stumbled through dense woods and underbrush, they were met with a devastating fire from the near-impregnable Confederate positions. Within a matter of minutes, Hazen suffered some 500 casualties. Following Hazen's repulse, Gibson brigade was thrown into the fray. The relentless fire of the defenders inflicted some 700 casualties. Now it was Knefler's turn. By that time it was about 7 o'clock and almost dark, too late for another attack. Wood therefore ordered him hold the ground without renewing the attack to allow the removal of the wounded from the field. While not suffering like Hazen's and Gibson's units, Knefler's brigade also sustained heavy casualties, in moving to the front and in carrying out their mission of mercy. The incessant Confederate fire slackened after darkness descended on the field; however, around 10 o'clock the Confederates launched a fierce attack on Knefler's line, but were driven back. When as many of the wounded as possible had been removed, Knefler withdrew from the field.

As the sun rose on the following day, the Confederates beheld the sight of hundreds of dead and dying Federals. Many of the Union soldiers fell within ten feet of the Confederate line. "All along in the front of the center and left of our brigade the ground was literally covered with dead men," wrote a Texas lieutenant. One dead bluecoat was found to have been riddled with forty-seven bullets. ". . . a great number of them have their skulls bursted open and their brains running out, quite a number that way," recorded Confederate Captain Samuel T. Foster.

General Wood later called the fight "altogether the fiercest and most vigorous assault that was made on the enemy's intrenched positions during the entire campaign," adding that the attack was carried out "under circumstances well calculated to task the courage and prove the manhood of the troops." Hazen described the engagement as "the most fierce, bloody and persistent assault by our troops in the Atlanta campaign, and the Confederates . . . were victorious." Stated General Howard in his Autobiography: "Johnston had forestalled us and was on hand fully prepared."

Referring to Howard as "a consummate master of the art of needless defeat" and the engagement as "The Crime at Pickett's Mill," Lieutenant Ambrose Bierce, a twenty-one year old topographical engineer on Hazen's staff who later attained renown as an elegant and polished writer, penned the following scathing comments: "It is ignored by General Sherman in his memoirs, yet Sherman ordered it. General Howard wrote an account of the campaign of which it was an incident, and dismissed it in a single sentence; yet General Howard planned it, and it was fought as an isolated and independent action under his eye."

In recounting the actions of his brigade in this battle, Knefler wrote in his report:

Having crossed the stream near Pickett's Mill at 4 p.m., the division took position to attack the enemy. The brigade was formed in two lines of battle, . . . Having received orders to that effect, the brigade marched in support of the First Brigade, . . . which brigade was soon engaged with the enemy. The attack made was so strongly resisted that it speedily necessitated the bringing of this brigade into action. In the advance the first line was completely enfiladed by the enemy's artillery, suffering severely. The advance was made rapidly and in good order. After sustaining a murderous fire, I regret to say it was thrown into disorder. The second line, . . . was then ordered forward. The advance was made in splendid style through a terrific fire; . . . A barricade was built of rails, which in a measure protected the line from the overwhelming fire of the enemy in front, . . . A very heavy fire was kept up till dark, when ammunition began to fail and the men were compelled to have recourse to the cartridges of the dead and wounded, as it was impossible to obtain a supply from any other source. . . . At 10 o'clock the order to withdraw was received; every effort was made to bring off the wounded previous to the movement. . . . All of a sudden, the enemy sallied from his works and made an assault upon the line, which was promptly and vigorously repulsed. . . . The brigade lost during the engagement heavily in officers and enlisted men.

That General Johnston conducted his retreat in a masterly fashion is now generally admitted. He had made the most of the advantages to the defensive afforded by the rugged region across which he had been steadily driven, and had missed no good opportunity to strike a damaging blow. The Confederate government, however, was greatly alarmed by his Fabian policy and failure to engage Sherman in a showdown battle.

On July 17 Johnston was removed from command and General John Bell Hood was appointed in his place. Hood possessed extraordinary personal courage, as attested by an arm disabled at Gettysburg and the stump of a leg shot off at Chickamauga. A hard fighter, Hood believed that military miracles were brought about by assuming and sustaining the offense. "Ground once taken should never be relinquished," was one of his favorite sayings. Hood, according to Southern writer and historian Edward A. Pollard, was "a commander who had indeed abundant courage, but a scant brain with which to balance it." Hood's ascent to command was greeted with a definite lack of enthusiasm by the rank-and-file. "I saw thousands of grown men cry like babies," recalled Private Sam Watkins. General Howard, who had been one year behind Hood at West point, summed up the prevailing opinion of the new Confederate commander among Federal officers in a letter to his wife with the following words: "He is a stupid fellow but a hard fighter - does very unexpected things." Sherman said: "The character of a leader is a factor in the game of war, and I confess I was pleased at the change."

Hood was expected to take the offensive, and he promptly did just that. On the 20th of July he attacked the Federals at Peach Tree Creek. The results were disastrous; he was repulsed with heavy losses. The 79th Indiana was the first regiment to cross Peach Tree Creek, capturing the Confederate works, in its front, taking many prisoners.

Knefler and his men were present in the siege of Atlanta, participated in the battles of Jonesboro and Lovejoy's Station, and marched into Atlanta with Sherman's victorious army.

The brigade sustained numerous casualties on the rugged terrain at Lovejoy's Station when General Wood ordered Knefler's troops, supported by the brigades of General William Grose and Colonel Jacob Taylor from General Nathan Kimball's division, to advance upon the well-entrenched soldiers of General Hardee.

Historian Albert Castel's account of the engagement in his Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864, published in 1992 by the University Press of Kansas, is spiced with a gratuitous supposition: ". . . all three units come upon a line of Rebel rifle pits. They charge and carry the pits, . . . they find themselves facing . . . the enemy's main works. Wisely Grose and Taylor order their men to halt and dig in. Not so wisely (perhaps he is drunk), Knefler orders his men to charge." Regretfully, such slurs toward the foreign-born are all too common in the Civil War literature.

Atlanta was formally surrendered to Sherman by Mayor James M. Calhoun. Upon taking possession of the city, a proud Sherman wired Washington: "Atlanta is ours, and fairly won." But the prize did not come cheaply. Since the first shots had been fired around Dalton in early May, each side had sustained upwards of 30,000 casualties - killed, wounded, captured and missing. "To realize what war is," Sherman wrote his wife," one should follow our tracks." The heavy toll in lives notwithstanding, the capture of Atlanta thrilled and rejuvenated the war spirit of the Northern masses.

Sherman promised that the lives and property of non-combatants should be respected, but he did not keep his promise. The "Prophet of Total War" at once proceeded to put his extraordinary doctrine, "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it," in practice by issuing the following orders on September 4: "The city of Atlanta belonging exclusively for warlike purposes, it will at once be vacated by all except the armies of the United States and such civilian employees as may be retained by the proper departments of the Government."

After withdrawing from Atlanta on the evening of September 1, Hood led his army to Palmetto, thirty miles from Atlanta, where he fixed his headquarters. Having no city to defend and no railroad to guard, he was free to move in any direction that promised success. With his knowledge of the country and the friendliness of the inhabitants, Hood could outmarch the swiftest Union army.

Realizing that he could not resist Sherman with his diminished forces on the plains of Georgia, he decided to move with his whole army to the rear of Sherman, tear up the single line of railroad carrying the Union supplies, destroy by cavalry raids the great railroad bridge over the Tennessee and completely cut off communications between Atlanta, Chattanooga and Nashville. If he could wreck Sherman's supply lines, in a matter of days the Union army would be starving in Atlanta.

Hood crossed the Chattahooche on the 1st of October and moved to Dallas. From there he sent a strong force against the railroad above Marietta, which it he demolished for fifteen miles, and then attacked the Federal garrison at Allatoona. Continuing the destruction of the railroad, Hood tore it up from Resaca to Tunnel Hill, and captured the Federal outposts at Tilton, Dalton and Mill Creek Gap.

Hood's movements caused Sherman to leave one corps in Atlanta and march northward with the main body of his army. To protect his rear from Confederate depradations, Sherman, on September 28, sent General Thomas, his most capable and experienced lieutenant, back to Tennessee to assume chief command there. If Hood should push into Tennessee, he was to resist, defeat and drive him out; if Hood should turn upon Sherman, Thomas was to follow him cautiously but closely.

On October 22 Hood concentrated his forces at Gadsden, Alabama, while Sherman established his headquarters at nearby Gaylesville. Here Sherman came to the conclusion that it is futile to follow an enemy who would not fight, whom he could not overtake, and who might be able to lead him on a profitless wild-goose chase for months. "To pursue Hood is folly," Sherman wrote to Thomas, "for he can twist and turn like a fox and wear out my army in pursuit."

Sherman now began to elaborate on a plan that he had first broached to Grant on October 1: let Thomas deal with Hood while he would march from Atlanta to the Atlantic Ocean, at Savannah, in order to separate the eastern and western halves of the Confederacy. The march to the sea would demonstrate the hollowness of the Confederacy, amaze and delight the world by its novelty and audacity, divest the South of vital resources, and spread discouragement in epidemic proportions among the populace. "I can make the march, and make Georgia howl," he told Grant. Initially neither Lincoln nor Grant was enthusiastic about Sherman's plan, viewing it as too ambitious. But, on November 2, Grant relented, saying: "Go on as you propose."

Sherman thus obtained the assent of his superior to the abandonment of the task which had originally been assigned to himself, - the destruction of the principal Confederate army in the West. Sherman had the utmost confidence in Thomas's ability to bear the great responsibility imposed on him.

Before returning to Atlanta, Sherman dispatched the Fourth Corps (which included Knefler and his men) to Thomas in Tennessee. He also detached and sent the Twenty-third Corps, General John M. Schofield, to the same destination.

While Sherman was formulating his plan for marching to the sea, Hood was hatching an equally grandiose scheme, the invasion of Tennessee and beyond. The invasion of Tennessee would be the first of a series of brilliant strategic movements, which would not only rout the Federal defenders and capture Nashville, but also eventually bring his army through Kentucky and Virginia, allowing his troops to join forces with Lee against Grant.

On November 15 Sherman's army, numbering 60,000 men, set out from Atlanta on its 300-mile march to the sea at Savannah. Before departing, Sherman crowned his ruthless methods by setting fire to the city.  A few days later Hood moved his army out from Florence, Alabama, and headed towards Nashville. Thus the two armies which had been engaged in so many weeks of continual fighting were now marching away from each other.


Upon reporting to General Thomas, the Fourth Corps was sent to Pulaski, a small town near the Tennessee line, eighty miles south of Nashville. The leading division of the corps arrived on November 1, and the other two divisions a few days later. On the 11th General Thomas sent General Schofield with the Twenty-third Corps from Nashville to Pulaski. Schofield was charged with the immediate direction of these two corps, with instructions to delay Hood's advance to the uttermost, retiring upon Nashville only as he was forced. Thus Schofield would have to rely on extraordinary judgment to know when to fight and when to withdraw.

Moving into Tennessee, Hood hoped to place his army between Schofield's forces and the garrison at Nashville, and defeat each separately.

On November 22 Schofield evacuated Pulaski, and reached Columbia on the 24th. The withdrawal in front of Columbia was safely affected after dark on the 29th; Spring Hill was passed without molestation about midnight, and, making a night march of twenty-five miles, the whole command reached Franklin, a town nestled in a little valley in a bend of the Harpeth River, at an early hour on the morning of the 30th.

The troops immediately threw up a line of earthworks on a slight eminence guarding the southern approach to the town. Hood, in close pursuit, came up the same day at 4 o'clock, and with his accustomed impetuosity, ordered a massive frontal attack. His generals, well aware of the strength of the Union position, were appalled and urged instead a flanking movement.

Hood, however, was adamant and the Confederates moved forward in the greatest infantry charge of the war. In perfect formation, eighteen brigades, with banners whipping in the breeze, advanced to the music of their regimental bands in full view of their commanding general and of the entrenched Federals.

Although Schofield was in command of the Union army, General Jacob D. Cox, regarded as the greatest civilian general of the war, was in active command of the front line troops. The battle lasted well into the night. The Confederates came on with a desperation and disregard of death, such as had been shown on few battlefields of the war. The volleys of the defenders were unremitting and deadly and the attackers were mowed down by grape and canister. Time after time the Confederates came up to the very works. More than one color-bearer was shot down on the parapet. Assault after assault was repulsed with great loss to the assailants and smaller to the defenders. A Union artillery captain stated that as he stood by one of his guns, watching the effects of its fire, he could hear the smashing of the bones when the missiles tore their way through the dense ranks of the approaching Confederates. In front of the Federal batteries bodies lay in heaps, some seven deep; not so much men but parts of men: limbs, trunks and heads.

The battle of Franklin was one of the most destructive during the war, for the numbers engaged. Never in any single-day battle during the entire war had that many Southern soldiers been slain. Moreover, on no single-day battlefield of the war had so many generals been killed. Five Confederate generals lost their lives in action, including the redoubtable Patrick Cleburne, the ablest division commander in all the Confederate army west of the Alleghanies and known by his associates as the "Stonewall Jackson of the West," riddled by no less than forty-nine bullets. Another general died ten days later. Five other Southern generals suffered disabling wounds and one was taken prisoner. Confederate Colonel Cassius E. Merrill, later a prominent Nashville journalist, stated: "Franklin was no battle storm, but a cyclone, rather, which struck and seared the earth and left it red with blood and vocal with groans of dying men." In his memoirs, Jefferson Davis referred to the battle as the most frightful of the entire war.

The Federals drew out of their defenses about midnight, and by noon of the next day were safe in the sheltering fortifications of Nashville.

As he rode into Franklin, Hood reportedly cried at the sight of the thousands of dead and maimed. Years later, however, recalling the event through the mist of time, he wrote in his memoirs: "I rode over the scene of action the next morning, and could but indulge in sad and painful thought, as I beheld so many brave soldiers stricken down by the enemy . . . their officers, many of whom had fallen upon or near the Federal breastworks, dying as the brave should prefer to die, in the intense and exalted excitement of battle."

Knefler and the 79th Indiana played a peripheral role in the battle. By direction of Schofield, the regiment and the rest of General Wood's division were posted on the north bank of the Harpeth River to cover the flanks should the enemy attempt to cross above or below the town. Hence they did not participate in the central action of the battle and sustained only minor casualties.

On December 2, 1864, when General Samuel Beatty took command of the Third Division of the Fourth Army Corps (General Thomas J. Wood), Knefler succeeded him in command of the Third Brigade, consisting of the 79th Indiana, 86th Indiana, 13th Ohio and 19th Ohio.

Hood, though his army had now been reduced by casualties and desertions to little over 35,000 men, pressed on to Nashville. The Federal position was too strong to be easily carried; Nashville was the most heavily fortified city on the North American continent. Hood therefore determined to secure the surrender or abandonment of the city by blockading the Cumberland River and cutting the railroad between the city and Louisville. He positioned his troops on the outer hills, from where he could carry on his operations, and cut off the Federal forces at Murfreesboro and Chattanooga. Although his line was nearly seven miles long, it did not touch the Cumberland River at either end. Spies from his army sifted into the city without difficulties, inspiring the Southern sympathizers to ill-founded hopes of a speedy deliverance from the Union army.

When Thomas arrived in Nashville on October 3, military affairs were in considerable confusion. On paper he had a formidable army. However, except for the Fourth and Twenty-third Corps, the troops they were mainly fragments of brigades and regiments, dispersed over a wide region. The situation was especially critical regarding the cavalry. Nominally there were about 12,000 cavalry under Thomas's jurisdiction, but most of them, because of a scarcity of horses, were dismounted and scattered all over Tennessee.

Thomas had much to do to meet Hood's challenge. Not an hour, day or night, was he idle. A clean sweep was made of every animal that could carry a cavalryman. All streetcar and livery stable horses, and private carriage- and saddle horses were seized. Even Andrew Johnson, the Vice-President-elect, was forced to give up his pair of carriage horses. A circus then at Nashville lost everything except its ponies. The work on the city's fortification was speeded with frantic vigor, and thousands of soldiers and hundreds of citizens were put to work throwing up earth on the long system of breastworks stretching in an arc around the city. To prevent enemy crossing of the Cumberland River, gunboats patrolled the stream above and below the city.

Hood's arrival in front of Nashville created a grave concern in Washington. Both President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton were convinced that Thomas should take the offensive at once. At their suggestion, Grant telegraphed Thomas on December 2, urging him to attack Hood without delay. A thousand miles from the scene of conflict, the administration and Grant himself lacked an appreciation of Thomas's situation and the logistical impediments confronting him.

Thomas was a methodical man of the old school of military science. In his eyes, he had no choice but to wait until his consolidated army was in proper condition to fight. He knew that time was on his side. By holding Nashville and showing a firm front, Hood would be compelled to keep his army together, and while Federal strength would be constantly augmenting, that of his adversary steadily decreasing.

Thomas was quite correct in his assessment; on the whole, Hood's army grew weaker day by day. It was not well supplied and the weather turned bitter cold after December 8. Most Confederate soldiers had no tents, few had blankets, and probably half the men were without shoes.

With nearly 60,000 splendidly equipped troops, Thomas was ready for battle on the 10th, but violent storms of freezing rains rendered troop movements virtually impossible as sleet converted the hillsides into sloping fields of ice. Men and horses fell whenever they attempted to move across the country. At 8 o'clock on the evening of December 14, Thomas telegraphed Halleck: "The ice having melted away to-day, the enemy will be attacked to-morrow morning."

On the morning of the 15th a heavy fog obscured the dawn and hid the early movements of Thomas's army. The ice had given place to mud, and the movements, like those of all winter campaigns, were slow. About 9 o'clock, the sun began to burn away the fog. General Wood, with the Fourth Corps, was ordered to form upon a position near the eastern line of the city's defenses, from where it was to make an attack obliquely upon the left of Hood's line.

Shortly after noon, following a vigorous artillery fire, Wood ordered Beatty's division to attack Montgomery Hill, the salient of the Confederate lines. The charge was led by Colonel P. Sidney Post's Second Brigade, while the First Brigade provided support and Knefler's Third Brigade was held in reserve. From General Thomas's headquarters, everybody looked on with breathless suspense as the blue line, with steady persistence, made its way up the steep hillside against a fierce storm of musketry and artillery. The color-bearers and those who kept up with them, Post himself at the head, leaped the parapet. As the Union colors waved from the summit, the whole line swept forward and was over the works, gathering in guns and a large number of prisoners.

By evening the Union troops carried the entire front, driving back Hood about two miles and capturing 16 pieces of artillery and 1,200 prisoners. Considering the results obtained, Federal losses were astonishingly light; the Fourth Corps sustained only 350 casualties.

The successful Union attack compelled Hood to contract his lines and take a position on the Brentwood Hills. The new Confederate line now rested upon high hills, Overton's and Shy's, between which the ground was lower, though rolling. Both elevations were amply fortified. Altogether, the new position, shorter by two and a half miles than the former one, was naturally very formidable.

The operations on the next day commenced with a simultaneous advance of the whole Federal line. The divisions of the Fourth Corps drove off the opposing skirmishers and took up positions in front of the enemy's new line, at one point coming within 250 yards of the salient at Overton's Hill.

After making a careful reconnaissance of the hill, Colonel Post reported to General Wood that an assault could be made successfully. As on the previous day, Post's brigade was chosen to lead the attack, supported by the First Brigade with Knefler's brigade in reserve. Preceded by a strong line of skirmishers, the Federals advanced, with orders to halt for nothing, but to gain the works at a run. The men dashed on, Post leading, with all speed through a hail of shot and shell. Some of the men reached the parapet, but they were received with so hot a fire, that they could not endure it, and after a short, sharp struggle they recoiled. The retreat was covered by the rest of Beatty's division and by the artillery. In those few minutes, the attacking force lost, in killed and wounded, some 500 men. Among the wounded was Colonel Post.

Commented General Cox: ". . . the casualties were probably half of all that occurred in the battle, adding another to the many proofs of the terrible disadvantage at which a direct assault of a well intrenched line is usually made."

The triumph of the Confederates was short-lived. Wood promptly reformed the survivors, and with the support of Knefler's brigade, renewed the assault. Charging with resistless force, they swept away the defenders, capturing 14 guns and 1,000 prisoners.

Soon Confederate resistance disintegrated along the entire front. The disheartened and decimated Southerners slammed down their arms or raced from the field in a disorganized mob. Some were killed, many were captured. In Hood's words: ". . . I beheld for the first and only time a Confederate army abandon the field in confusion." As Thomas rode to the crown of Overton's Hill at the end of the battle, he lifted his hat and said: "Oh, what a grand army I have! God bless each member of it."

Knefler's report of the action of his brigade for the two days said:

On the 15th day of December, 1864, the brigade was ordered to form in reserve of the two other brigades of the division and to conform to their movements. This position was maintained during the day. . . On the 16th day of December, 1864, the position of the previous day was ordered to be maintained, which was kept up until after the division reached the Franklin pike. In the afternoon of that day the brigade was moved forward to occupy the position of the First and Second Brigades, who were then forming for the assault of the enemy's intrenchements on Overton Hill. Orders were received, in case the assault should not succeed, to hold the line should the enemy advance. . . The assault being unsuccesful, the brigades engaged in it reformed in rear of the line. Shortly afterward great confusion became apparent among the enemy. I ordered the line to advance rapidly and to carry the works. This was accomplished without loss. Four guns, many prisoners, great quantities of ammunition, and large numbers of small-arms were captured. The line was ordered to advance in pursuit of the retreating enemy, . . . The pursuit was continued till dark, when orders were received to return and join the division.

Nashville was the most decisive victory gained by either side in the Civil War, and one of the most brilliant. The Confederate army in the West was virtually annihilated. Thomas had accomplished in two weeks what Grant had failed to do in six months; he had destroyed a Confederate army. The battle earned Thomas another nickname, the "Sledge of Nashville."

After pursuing the remnants of Hood's retreating army as far as Huntsville, Alabama, Knefler and his men went into camp on January 6, 1865. From Tupelo, Mississippi, a week later, Hood wired Richmond: "I respectfully request to be relieved from the command of this army."

On March 3, 1865, the Senate and the House of Representatives adopted the following resolution: "That the thanks of Congress are due and are hereby tendered to Major-General George H. Thomas and the officers and soldiers under his command for their skill and dauntless courage by which the rebel army under General Hood was signally defeated and driven from the State of Tennessee."

For gallant and meritorious services during the war Knefler was brevetted brigadier-general on March 13, the highest rank attained by a member of the Jewish faith in the Union army.

On March 17 Knefler and his men were sent to eastern Tennessee to participate in the intended advance upon Richmond under General Thomas. The fall of the Confederate capital and the surrender of General Lee found them at Jonesboro, Tennessee. After returning to Nashville on April 26, the 79th Indiana took part in the final review of Thomas's army on May 9. From a stand erected on the outskirts of the city, Thomas and a few invited notables watched fifty-four regiments, some barely one hundred men, pass in review. "Reverently and affectionately they saluted the old hero as they reached the reviewing stand," wrote one of the marchers. "Thousands of soldiers . . . never looked upon that strong and kindly face again." On June 5 Knefler and his men were ordered to Indianapolis for muster-out. He was mustered out of service with his regiment on June 11, 1865.


Unlike many of the veterans, Knefler did not put his reminiscences to pen. However, he did write a discourse about the storming of Missionary Ridge, in an entirely impersonal manner.

He maintained close social contact with many of his old comrades, notably Lew Wallace. Naturally many of their conversations centered around the campaigns of the war, especially the battle of Shiloh. Wallace's delay in reaching the battlefield on that fateful Sunday remained very much in the public eye. Books and newspaper articles fuelled the controversy. While Horace Greeley's The American Conflict and Benson Lossing's Pictorial History of the Civil War took Wallace's side, biographies of Grant by James S. Brisbin and Adam Badeau inclined towards Grant, dwelling on Wallace's tardiness.

Wallace, frustrated by his failure to clear his name during the conflict, wrote letter after letter to Grant to gain vindication of his military reputation. Ever the loyal friend, Knefler wrote several testimonials supporting Wallace's position. It all came to naught as Grant steadfastly refused to budge from his original stance.

Like most demobilized soldiers, Knefler made a successful transition back to civilian life. He entered the practice of law as the partner of John Hanna, former U.S. District Attorney. Subsequently, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Knefler pension agent for the district, a post he retained for eight years. He then became president of the board of regents of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indiana's memorial to the bravery and endurance of its citizen soldiery during the war. The cornerstone of the splendid monument, located in the heart of Indianapolis, was laid on August 22, 1889. Present at the ceremonies were Governor Alvin P. Hovey, a bevy of local dignitaries, and President Benjamin Harrison and some members of his Cabinet. The monument was completed in 1902, and formally dedicated on May 15 of that year, with Lew Wallace serving as master of ceremonies.

Sadly, Knefler did not live to see this day; he died on June 14 of the previous year. His death was mourned by the entire city. The Indianapolis Journal wrote: "He was one of the first to enlist, taking whatever place came to him, serving faithfully and tirelessly in the position to which he was assigned . . . During his four years spent at the front in doing the duties assigned him he won the regard of subordinates and the confidence of superiors. No better, braver soldier than he ever buckled on a sword . . . No truer American ceased to live, no better citizen in all the duties of citizenship was left in the city when the feeble flame of that manly spirit flickered out."

Note About Knefler's Name:

In a number of publications his name appears as Kneffler, rather than Knefler. Other mispellings of his name include Kneppler and Knifler.

In more recent Hungarian publications he is denoted as Frederick Knefler or Knefler Frigyes, Frigyes being the Hungarian equivalent of Frederick. [According to Hungarian custom, the family name comes first, followed by the given name.] Some of these mention that the original family name was Knoepfler; others do not.


Many publications mention mention Knefler. The information contained in some is correct; in others there are numerous factual errors about him.

Reliable references

Bodenhamer, David J. and Robert G. Barrows. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Contains a concise, but highly informative, biography of Knefler.

Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Des Moines: The Dyer Publishing Co., 1908.

This highly-regarded work contains, among other things, capsule histories of Federal units, including the 79th Indiana and others Knefler was associated with.

Endelman, Judith E. The Jewish Community of Indianapolis, 1849 to the Present. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984.

Contains some brief comments about the early days of the Knefler family in Indianapolis. Curiously, Knefler's outstanding military career is relegated to a few words in one of the end notes and there is no mention whatsoever of his distinguished post-war achievements. However, the book captures the Jewish experience in Indianapolis, an experience shared by Knefler and his family.

Indiana Commissioners for the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Park. Indiana at Chickamauga. Indianapolis: W. B. Burford, 1901.

Includes a comprehensive history of the 79th Indiana and fairly detailed accounts of Knefler and his men in the battle of Chickamauga and the taking of Missionary Ridge.

Lonn, Ella. Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1952.

Information on Knefler and other Hungarian Civil War participants in this book is based on Vasvary's Lincoln's Hungarian Heroes (see below).

Morsberger, Robert E. and Katherine M. Morsberger. Lew Wallace: A Militant Romantic. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980.

A well-researched, scholarly work on Wallace, it gives a good picture of Knefler's role in the early days of the war and the relationship between Knefler and Wallace during and after the conflict.

United States, War Department. The War of the Rebellion. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.

This, the principal source book of the Civil War, contains a number of reports, correspondences, etc. by Knefler as well as many reports, correspondences, etc. by others mentioning Knefler.

Vasvary, Edmund. Lincoln's Hungarian Heroes. Washington: The Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, 1939.

Contains a short and somewhat superficial biography of Knefler, with an emphasis on his role in the Civil War.

Wallace, Lew. Lew Wallace, an Autobiography. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1906.

Particularly useful about Knefler's military service up to the time he was with Wallace, i.e. the battle of Shiloh.

Welcher, Frank J. The Union Army, 1861-1865; Organization and Operations. 2 vols. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989-

Drawing heavily on the War of the Rebellion, this book mentions Knefler and the 79th Indiana several times in the second volume.

Young, Mel. Where They Lie. Lanham: University Press of America, 1991.

This book focuses on Jewish soldiers of the Union and Confederate armies who were killed in action, mortally wounded or died from other causes during the war. In describing the various engagements, it contains several reports by Knefler, extracted from the War of the Rebellion, on the battle of Stone's River, the battle of Chickamauga, the storming of Missionary Ridge, and the Atlanta campaign. The book, however, gives no personal details about Knefler.

References with omissions and serious errors

The Concise Dictionary of American Jewish Biography. Edited by Jacob R. Marcus. Brooklyn: Carlson Pub., 1994.

under the entry for Knefler:

To US 1859 . . . brevet major-general . . .

Korn, Bertram W. American Jewry and the Civil War. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1951.

With an introduction by eminent historian Allan Nevins, this work, described as a "scholarly and interesting book, with its wealth of new detail," does not even mention Knefler or any of the other notable Hungarian Jewish participants of the war.

Lengyel, Emil. Americans from Hungary. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1974.

p. 78:

. . . enlisted as a private in the Eleventh Indiana Volunteer Regiment . . . Lewis (Lew) Wallace . . . appointed Knefler his aide-de-camp.

Levinger, Lee J. A History of the Jews in the United States. 20th Revised Edition. New York: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1961.

p. 201:

Frederick Knefler . . . who volunteered as a private soldier in Indianapolis and rose to be colonel of the 79th Indiana regiment; . . . his highest actual rank was Brigadier General, to which the temporary rank of Brevet Major General was later added.

Markens, Isaac. The Hebrews in America. New York: The Author, 1888.

p. 131:

Frederick Knefler . . . enlisted as a private in the 79th Indiana Volunteers of Infantry, and rose, step by step, until he became Colonel of his regiment, soon rising to the rank of Brigadier-General and then Brevet-Major-General, for meritorious services at the battle of Chickamauga.

[This book, it should be noted, was published during Knefler's lifetime.]

Simonhoff, Harry. Jewish Participants in the Civil War. New York: Arco Publishing Co., 1963.

p. xix:

Without previous military training Frederick Knefler emerged step by step until he reached the rank of brigadier-general; then he was breveted major general.

and p. 23:

His impact on civilian life appears to have been slight and little is known of him - not even the time and place of his death. When 26, he emigrated to the United States in 1859 . . . Starting as a private in the 79th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, he rose step by step until he commanded the regiment as colonel. . . . For heroic conduct in the bloody battle of Chickamauga he was made brevet Major General, . . . After the war . . . all trace of him was lost.

The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia. Edited by Isaac Landman and Simon Cohen. New York: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia Inc., 1939-1943.

under the entry for Knefler:

. . . date and place of death uncertain (according to some investigators, he died about 1901). He came to the United States in 1859 . . . Starting out as private in the 79th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, he rose step by step until he was appointed brigadier-general, and then brevet major-general for meritorious conduct at Chickamauga.

Wolf, Simon. The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier and Citizen. Philadelphia: The Levytype Company, 1895.

p. 179:

He enlisted as a private in the 79th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, and rose step by step until he was promoted to Colonelcy of his Regiment. Subsequently he was appointed Brigadier-General, then Brevet Major-General for meritorious conduct at Chickamauga.

[Like Markens's work, this book was published when Knefler was still alive.]


Bernstein, Béla. 1848 és a magyar zsidók [1848 and the Hungarian Jews]. Budapest: A Magyar Zsidó Könyvtár Kiadóvállalata, 1906.

 Describes the participation of Hungarian Jews in the 1848-49 War of Liberation as well as the Jewish experience immediately before and after the conflict. Lists a number of privates, subalterns, officers, doctors and rabbis who served in the revolutionary army and elaborates on several of the more prominent personages.

 Patai, Raphael. The Jews of Hungary: History, Culture, Psychology. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1996.

The title is indicative of the contents.

 Perlman, Robert. Bridging Three Worlds: Hungarian-Jewish Americans, 1848-1914. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1991.

As in the case of the above work, the title describes the subject matter.

Visit Stephen Beszedits website
Hungarians in the Civil War