There were seven future U.S. Presidents who served during the Civil War. The one is obvious – Ulysses S. Grant. The other ones aren’t so obvious.
Chester A. Arthur -- 21st U.S. President -- Chester Arthur served as Quartermaster General for the state of New York during the war. He attained the rank of Brigadier General. He worked behind the scenes to secure supplies for the troops, but did not see any action.
James A. Garfield -- 20th U.S. President -- James A. Garfield commanded the 42nd Ohio Infantry, including attaining a battle victory at Chickamauga September 1863. He attained the rank of Major General.
Ulysses S. Grant -- 18th U.S. President -- Ulysses S. Grant was the commanding officer of the Union forces attaining the rank of Lieutenant General.
Benjamin Harrison -- 23rd U.S. President -- Benjamin Harrison was commanding officer for the 70th Indiana Regiment, a unit he raised. He participated in various action including Sherman’s march to the sea. He attained the rank of Brigadier General.
Rutherford B. Hayes -- 19th U.S. President -- Rutherford B. Hayes was very active in the Civil War and was in fact wounded five different times. He attained the rank of Brevet Major General.
Andrew Johnson -- 17th U.S. President -- Andrew Johnson served as military governor of Tennessee. The state had seceded, but Johnson stayed loyal to the Union. He was given the rank of Brigadier General. He did not participate in any military actions.
William McKinley -- 25th U.S. President -- William McKinley served on the staff of his life-long friend Rutherford B. Hayes. He attained the rank of Major.
Both McKinley and Hayes fought at the Battle of Antietam.
Another U.S. President was drafted into the war -- Grover Cleveland – but chose to opt out by paying a substitute to take his place, which was a perfectly legal option at the time.
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