James A. Garfield wanted to advance his political career… a brief stint commanding Ohio volunteers followed by an undistinguished term as a Congressman stalled the upstart’s career.
Concluding military service essential to future political ascension…. Garfield used favors of his mentor (and distant cousin) Salmon P. Chase to reenter military service, this time as a General. The Lincoln administration needed an appropriate duty station for the young Ohioan’s “talents.”
Eccentric, brilliant, but irascible… William S. Rosecrans was on Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s last nerve. Stubborn to a fault, Rosecrans refused to bow to the Administration’s unreasonable timetables. The popular Rosecrans needed to go, but Stanton needed just cause. The cagey Garfield seemed the perfect plant- Rosecrans needed a new Chief-of-Staff- Stanton needed an ally close to the troublesome Commander. The drama was set….