Some people know John Gibbon best as one of the commanders of the Army of the Potomac’s Iron Brigade; others know him best for his service as a division commander at Gettysburg (where he was put in charge of II Corps) and through the 1864 campaigns (where he did not always get along with his corps commander, Winfield Scott Hancock). By 1865 he was in charge of the newly-created XXIV Corps, which he led from Petersburg through Appomattox. I’ve also visited another battlefield where Gibbon fought: the Battle of Big Hole in 1877, where the Nez Perce handled his command roughly and Gibbon was wounded.
John Schofield’s most memorable service came at Franklin, where his men fended off a series of attacks made by John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee, inflicting heavy losses. His curious career path included serving a stint as secretary of war in 1868-69 (under both Andrew Johnson and Grant) before rising to the position of general-in-chief upon the death of Phil Sheridan. Schofield also headed the board of inquiry in the Fitz John Porter case.Schofield’s replacement as secretary of war in 1869 was none other than John A. Rawlins, who is best known as Ulysses S. Grant’s chief of staff. Rawlins did not serve long in that position, dying that September. People still disagree over how much influence he exercised on Grant.
Not too far away lies Hiram Berdan, commander of the famed 1st United States Sharpshooters. His encounter with Confederate troops under A. P. Hill on July 2, 1863, led to Daniel Sickles’s decision to visit a particular Peach Orchard in force.
One of Grant’s most trusted subordinates, Edward O. C. Ord replaced John C. McClernand in 1863 and Benjamin F. Butler in 1865, thus ridding Grant of two difficult subordinates. Like Sheridan, Rawlins, and several other people, he was present in Wilmer McLean’s parlor when Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant.