Prior to the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had no experience in military service, but he had the advantages of a government structure and the remnants of an army in place. Jefferson Davis was a graduate of West Point, a veteran of the Mexican War, and a Secretary of War under the Pierce Administration, but he had to start from scratch to construct both a government and an army. This two-volume set uses biographical sketches of key generals on each side to examine the actions of Lincoln and Davis as commanders-in-chief. Each volume contains more than 20 stand-alone biographical chapters that, if taken together, tell the story of the Civil War.
Designed to stand on alone and be read individually in any order, biographies range from high profile generals such as Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee to lesser-known figures such as John A. McClernand and Leonidas Polk. With a focus on character, ability to command, personality, family background, and how these factors would influence military decisions, each general comes to life. The outcome of particular battles, campaigns, or entire theaters would often depend heavily on the performance of key individuals, their competence, their personal connections, and their ability to play politics. These are the men that Lincoln and Davis would come to depend upon to create strategies and to carry them out. These are the men who fought, won, and lost the Civil War.