Just in time for March Madness, we’re rolling out our own Cottage Madness. The title they’re competing for? Best Civil War Name. (And trust us, there are some doozies to choose from.)
Here are the rules:
We’ve slotted 16 different names to battle head to head on Facebook. Simply click this link and vote. Here’s the time table:
Monday, 3/20 until 11:59 PM- Round 1
Tuesday, 3/21 until 11:59 PM- Round 2
Wednesday, 3/22 until 11:59 PM- Round 3
Thursday, 3/23 until 2 PM- Round 4 (Championship Round)
The winner will be announced in our e-newsletter, the Proclamation, which comes out Thursday, 3/23. To sign up, and find out who claims all the glory, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our list!
Download the bracket here: Civil War Names Bracket — Round 1
Round 1 Matchups
1. Orville C. Bumpus (Enough said) vs. 16. Abraham Lincoln (the OG):
Our No. 1 seed appeared as a voiceover narrator in Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary. Not much is known about him, though an Orville Cicero Bumpus lived from 1823-1868, and is buried in Aberdeen, Mississippi. But as this site says “His name is all we really know about him. It is enough.” There is, however, a doll named after him. On the other hand, we think you might have heard of our No. 16 seed before. He was the president that saved the union, wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, lived at the Cottage. You know those sort of things. So this matchup boils down to Great name of an obscure figure vs. Fine name of a legend. Who ya got?
8. Sojourner Truth (Ain’t I a good name?) vs. 9. Ambrose Burnside (I GAVE YOU SIDEBURNS):
Sojourner Truth was an eloquent abolitionist and women’s rights advocate who actually grew up speaking Dutch in New York. Born Isabella Baumfree, she escaped from slavery in 1826 along with her infant daughter, and changed her name upon becoming a Methodist in 1843. Her most famous speech became widely known during the Civil War as “Ain’t I a Woman?” Ambrose Burnside perhaps was not as eloquent as Sojourner Truth, but he nonetheless left an indelible mark on the English language, as the term sideburns originated as an homage to his distinct whiskers. Will he beat out the Truth by a hair or more?
5. “Fighting” Joseph Hooker (A lover, not a fighter) vs. 12. Mary Boykin Chestnut (Cutest Civil War name?)
While it’s not exactly true that Hooker, like Burnside, gave his last name to a modern term, his nickname of “Fighting Joe” is actually a good story. Hooker was an excellent commander for the Union at the Battle of Williamsburg, and afterwards he was promoted to major general. In reporting on the battle a newspaper forgot to include a colon or dash in the headline “Fighting Joe Hooker,” leading to the rise of his nickname. Mary Chestnut was a diarist who wrote one of the most extensive accounts of the Civil War from a Southern civilian’s perspective. She was somewhat critical of slavery in her account, and C. Van Woodward’s annotated collection of her diaries won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for History. We’re pretty sure she would’ve caught the newspaper typo that gave Hooker his nickname.
4. Jedediah Hotchkiss (Because John Smith is too pedestrian) vs. 13. Ulysses S. Grant (An “epic” name)
One of several people in the bracket who transversed both North and South, Hotchkiss was born in New York, but settled in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. While there, he became a cartographer and topographer, and once the Civil War started, he offered to map the entire Shenandoah Valley for Stonewall Jackson. After the war, he published some of his maps, 600 of which eventually ended up in the Library of Collection. Ironically, Hotchkiss surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant–his round 1 opponent–at Appomattox. Graceful in victory, Grant returned the confiscated maps Hotchkiss had created to him. Of course, Grant himself famously had his name accidentally changed when he entered West Point, as Hiram Ulysses Grant got transformed somehow into the moniker we all know today. But is that enough to upset Jed?
6. P.G.T. Beauregard (Just try saying this with a Southern drawl) vs. 11. Braxton Bragg (I heard he was a humble guy)
What makes a good name? Crazy initials or alliteration certainly help and this all-Confederacy matchup has both. General Beauregard (birth name Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard; signed his correspondence G.T. Beauregard) was briefly superintendent of West Point for five days, but was relinquished after his native Louisiana succeeded. He was the first C.S.A. Brigadier General, led the attach on Fort Sumter, and won the First Battle of Bull Run. Braxton Bragg meanwhile had very little success. The North Carolinian served in the Western Theater, and constantly lost battles by retreating. The one exception was Chickamauga, which probably would be a one-seed in best battle names of the Civil War.
3. Bushrod Johnson (No explanation needed) vs. 14. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (This guy sucked on lemons during battle. A legend to end all legends)
Like another top seed, Jedediah Hotchkiss, Bushrod Johnson was born in the North (Ohio), but moved south (Tennessee and Kentucky). Ironically, he was born a Quaker, and his family participated in the Underground Railroad. But at 18 he defied his family, and enrolled at West Point. Later, he left his son with Northern relatives, and his son grew up thinking he was serving in the Union. In reality, he was a C.S.A commander at Fort Donelson, as well as the Battle of Shiloh where he was non-mortally wounded. Stonewall Jackson was probably the most famous nickname of the Civil War. He also was notorious for his superstitions and personal quirks. He sucked on lemons to fight dyspepsia, he thought one of his arms was longer than the other, and he occasionally would fall asleep with food in his mouth. So this matchup comes down to the rebel who defied his family (swoon) vs. the crazy southern.
7. Winfield Scott Hancock (His nickname was “Hancock the superb.” That my friend, is enough) vs. 10. Winfield Scott (AKA “Old Fuss and Feathers”)
Arguably one of the more well-known names on the list, Winnie Scott made the 10 seed due to his amazing nicknames, “Old Fuss and Feathers,” and the oh-so-creative “The Grand Old Many of the Army.” Scott enjoyed a 53-year military career, and boasts the title of longest active duty general in all of American history. He commanded forces in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, Mexican-American War, the Second Seminole War, and famously during the Civil War, where he acted as Union general and helped conceive the Anaconda Plan, that was used to eventually defeat the Confederacy. Fun fact: He helped found the Soldiers’ Home, and his statue can be found on the AFRH grounds not far from the building named after him! The other Winfield Scott, General Hancock was actually named after Winnie. So this matchup is like when a young coach goes up against his mentor in the NCAA Tournament. The younger Winfield Scott’s nickname, “Hancock the Superb,” launches him to our number 7 seed. Hancock was a career U.S. army officer during the Civil War and, just like the Winfield Scott before him, unsuccessful presidential nominee, this time in 1880. While he’s most known for his reputation as a war hero at Gettysburg, this Unionist could be most reputable for that nickname.
2. Pleasant Unthank (If you’re going to unthank someone, at least do it pleasantly) vs. 15. Jubal Early (???)
Goodness, how were these two names cobbled together for one dynamite name? Due to the uncommon nature, Pleasant Unthank sits as our #2 seed. While there’s not much information about the life of Pleasant Unthank, we couldn’t agree more with The Weekling’s assessment: “[he] was a minor figure in the Underground Railroad with a name made for the big leagues.” A lesser known Confederate General—although a memorable name—Jubal Anderson Early served in the Eastern Theater of the war and was a division commander under Stonewall Jackson (our 14 seed). In an ironic twist, after many battles and a dangerous military career, Jubal Early passed away after falling down a flight of stairs. He invaded Maryland in 1864, eventually bringing the Confederate Army to D.C. at the Battle of Fort Stevens. A ferry boat near where he crossed the Potomac is named after him today. So who will win this battle of the Underground Raildroad vs. Potomac Ferryboat?