I don't normally like to plaster warning signs in articles until discussion can take place. This article is in strong need of a References section and citations. See WP:CITE. Finding secondary sources that characterize these men as political would go a long way. It also should probably be renamed Political generals of the American Civil War unless someone has evidence that this concept has never occurred in other wars, worldwide, which I doubt. It would be interesting to add the claim that there were no "political admirals" if you can find a scholarly source for it. I also toned down a number of unencyclopedic statements. Hal Jespersen 15:19, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
I was wondering about the listing of Barksdale as a "political general". While I don't know the specifics of his appointment, Ezra Warner's Generals in Gray indicates that he had served as an enlisted man, then becoming an officer, in the Mexican War. Does previous military experience play any part in determining if the appointment is political? Also, he was appointed as a colonel, initially, of the 13th Mississippi, and did not see promotion until Aug. 12, 1862. If someone could provide more details about his appointment which confirm or deny its political nature, I think that that would really help this article. 126.96.36.199 (talk) 02:24, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Franz Sigel was undoubtedly far from competent at his nominal job, but he was a military academy graduate and former army officer in Germany, and had experience losing battles in important commands dating back to 1848. Aside from the fact that he was an experienced officer, he's an almost perfect example of a political general by the intro's definition. If we're to include Sigel, we'd probably be compelled to include US Grant as well. He ended his Army career as a captain years before the Civil War began and was, as hostilities were getting under way, appointed a colonel of militia by the Governor of Illinois. He then got his appointment to brigadier general a couple months later from Lincoln, thanks largely to the lobbying of an Illinois congressman.
General Wheeler's inclusion is also dicey, because, though brought back into the fold for largely political reasons, he had already served with distinction in a similar level of command as that to which he was appointed in 1898.
In other news, I've removed John C. Frémont from the list because he had had a fairly impressive military career until his ego-battle with Stephen Kearny got him court-martialed in 1847. I also removed Zachary Taylor from the Mexican War list because his inclusion on the list made no sense whatsoever. --Dynaflow babble 09:54, 28 February 2009 (UTC)