Henry Halleck: Lawyer and Civil War general
A number of Union and Confederate generals spent time in California prior to the Civil War. Some are well-known: Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, John Geary and Albert Sidney Johnston. Others, like Henry Wager Halleck, faded into obscurity. Halleck, however, was not simply a general; he was Lincoln's general-in-chief of the Union Army. Halleck was probably the most controversial officer in the war. Gen. Sherman wrote, "I confess I owe (Halleck) all I now enjoy of fame." Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles differed with Sherman. "(Halleck) originates nothing, anticipates nothing. . . . takes no responsibility, plans nothing, suggests nothing, is good for nothing." Three things about Halleck, however, are undeniable: He was regarded by friends and foes alike as uncommonly brainy; he was one of California's earliest moguls; and he was buffeted by storm, not all of his own making, throughout the Civil War.