My new book, Civil War Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions, is the second in my series, “Civil War Personalities, 50 At a Time.” Over the next few days I will be presenting samples from the book, which is available, along with all my other books, at
Today I’ll highlight two graduates of the West Point Class of 1848: Confederate Generals William “Grumble” Jones and Nathan “Shanks” Evans.
“The West Point class of 1848 had two Confederate generals who always seemed upset about something: William “Grumble” Jones and Nathan “Shanks” Evans.” The latter got the nickname at West Point because of his spindly knock-kneed legs. Throughout the war there were three constants with Evans: hard fighting, hard drinking, and hard-fought arguments with colleagues. As for Jones, when and how he earned the nickname “Grumble” is not known. But he was an effective and hard-fighting (often with his own commanders) General for the Confederacy, though several of his colleagues would have agreed that the nickname fit.
During the Maryland Campaign, after an intense argument, Evans ordered General John Bell Hood arrested, an order which Lee lifted just before the Battle of South Mountain.. Evans was assigned to North Carolina after Antietam, and he twice was arrested for drunkenness and disobedience of orders. He was acquitted both times, but his superiors, tiring of his abrasiveness and drinking, did not give him a new command for several months.
Jones, like JEB Stuart, his commander, was surprised when the Union cavalry attacked at Brandy Station, the largest cavalry battle of the war on June 9, 1863. Before the battle Jones had annoyed Stuart by disrupting one of his ostentatious cavalry parades. After Brandy Station, Stuart did not have Jones accompany him to Gettysburg. Afterward, Jones issued a written reproach to Stuart, who in turn had Jones court-martialed. He was convicted on the minor charge of disrespect, but Lee intervened and had Jones transferred to the West.”
Below are pictures of the two men and of the book.