The Civil War, Day by Day

Thunder in the Valley (detail)

Gen. John C. Breckenridge, CS, born

Breckenridge served briefly in the Mexican War and then turned to politics after following in his father’s footsteps by studying and practicing law. After winning a seat in the Kentucky legislature in 1849, he went on to become a Congressman in Washington, D. C. His skill as a politician and orator gained him national recognition and he was elected Vice President as the running mate to James Buchanan in 1857.

When the war came, he decided to support the South and was commissioned a brigadier general. He distinguished himself at Shiloh and Port Hudson and with the help of 247 cadets from VMI, defeated a much larger Union Army at the Battle of New Market, securing his most decisive victory. On February 5, 1865, he was appointed Secretary of War for the Confederacy and after the surrender went to Florida, Cuba and finally Europe. He returned to Kentucky in 1869 and died in Lexington on May 17, 1875.

February's Archived Features:

Wednesday February 1, 2023
Thursday February 2, 2023
Friday February 3, 2023
Saturday February 4, 2023
Sunday February 5, 2023
Monday February 6, 2023



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.