How Much Do You Know About Famous U.S. Generals?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: John Wesley Jarvis

About This Quiz

They guided soldiers to war, developed United States military strategy, and earned awards and recognition for their achievements. These are the most famous U.S. generals to ever head to battle. How much do you know about them, though? Could you pass a quiz on these great generals? Here's your chance to find out! 

These are the names you hear when people talk about the great generals produced by the United States since the country was founded: Washington, Scott, Grant, Eisenhower, Patton. These men were confident leaders who their countrymen could put their trust in. They knew how to win and the toll it would take, though they never shied away from the challenges that were presented. Without them, the United States may not be the country that it is today. It may not have ever even become a country. Yet, they succeeded in ensuring the country's growth as the United States has grown into a world power, and for their contributions, their legacies live on. 

Are you an expert on these famous U.S. generals? Could you pass this quiz that covers the best of them from the country's early years through two Great Wars? Why not find out? That's if you're up for the challenge. If you are, get started and prove your knowledge on these famous U.S. generals!

Which general became the 1st president of the United States?

George Washington served two terms as president of the United States. His decision to leave after his second term set the precedent for future leaders.


Where was George Washington born?

Jamestown was the first English settlement in the New World. It would later become the first capital of Virginia.


What posthumous title did George Washington earn?

General of the Armies is the highest ranking position in the United States military. Only two men have ever received this title.


Which British general did George Washington defeat at the Battle of Yorktown?

When the battle was over, Charles Cornwallis refused to appear at the surrender ceremony. He sent General Charles O'Hara in his place.


George Washington led troops to put down what rebellion?

George Washington is the only president to lead troops into the field while serving in office. Luckily, the rebellion ended without any fighting.


What year did George Washington resign as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army?

Immediately after the American Revolution, George Washington was the most powerful man in the country. Instead of seeking to advance that power, he gave it all away by resigning from his position.


Which general was a paid agent of the Spanish crown?

James Wilkinson served as major general in the War of 1812. However, he failed to win two campaigns in the St. Lawrence River theater.


This general started the General Recruiting Service.

John Brown was the first Commanding General of the United States Army. He served in the post from 1821 until 1828.


Who led the U.S. Army into the Battle for Mexico City?

The Mexican-American War was fought over the annexation of Texas. The war ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.


What was the name of Winfield Scott's plan to defeat the South in the Civil War?

Winfield Scott believed if you cut off all of the South's resources then they'd be forced to surrender. However, his plan called for a drawn-out​ war which Abraham Lincoln didn't want.


How long was Winfield Scott Commanding General of the United States Army?

Winfield Scott was the longest-tenured Commanding General of the United States Army. He served in the position until he was 75 years old.


In 1852, Winfield Scott ran for president under which party?

Winfield Scott ran for president three different times. However, he only received the nomination in 1852 but went on to lose the election to Franklin Pierce.


Who was the American commander at the Battle of Palo Alto?

Zachary Taylor served as a major general during the Mexican-American War. After his service, he ran for and won the presidential office, becoming the 12th president of the United States.


Who led the Union Army during the Peninsula Campaign?

The Confederate Army was led by Joseph Johnston at the beginning of the Peninsula Campaign, which was fought in the middle of 1862. Johnston was wounded during the campaign, and he was replaced by Robert E. Lee.


Where did George McClellan go to school?

West Point is home to the United States Military Academy. It was founded in 1802.


Which major general commanded the Department of the West during the Civil War?

John Fremont was an explorer as well as a soldier. He led several expeditions into the Western territory, creating maps and reports of the region.


Who was the Union commander during the Siege of Corinth?

Corinth is a town located in Mississippi. During the war, it was a strategic location for the South because of rail lines that ran through the city.


What position did Henry Halleck serve in after being removed as general-in-chief?

Henry Halleck failed to achieve the decisive Union victories needed to ensure the Civil War ended quickly. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln decided his talents were better suited in another administrative position.


Who was promoted to general-in-chief after Henry Halleck?

Ulysses S. Grant was a graduate of West Point who served in the Mexican-American War. He retired from the military for a short time before the start of the Civil War.


Before retiring from military service, how many stars did Ulysses S. Grant wear?

Lieutenant general was a title reserved for George Washington before it was awarded to Ulysses S. Grant. The title was given to Grant by Abraham Lincoln.


Where did Robert E. Lee surrender to Ulysses S. Grant?

After retreating from the Siege of Petersburg, the Army of Northern Virginia made an attempt to meet up with the Army of Tennessee in North Carolina. However, the Union Army outpaced and surrounded​ the Army of Northern Virginia, forcing Robert E. Lee to surrender.


On his "March to the Sea," William Sherman took his army from Atlanta to where?

William Sherman burned and destroyed houses, crops and railroads all the way from Atlanta, Georgia to Savannah, Georgia. His goal was to eliminate any hope the South had at continuing the war.


Who was the Union commander during the Battle of Gettysburg?

The Battle of Gettysburg was part of Robert E. Lee's second invasion of the North. Lee lost the battle and thousands of soldiers, crippling the Confederate Army.


Which Union general lost the Second Battle of Bull Run?

The Second Battle of Bull Run was a Confederate victory. The Union lost the battle because John Pope failed to recognize strategic movement on the Confederate side.


Who led the American Expeditionary Force into World War I?

John Pershing rose through the military ranks during his years fighting Indian tribes. He later fought in the Spanish-American War, where he led an all-black cavalry.


What title did John Pershing receive that no other living general has?

Leading up to World War I, John Pershing transformed the U.S. military from a force of 130,000 ill-prepared soldiers into a force of over 2 million. Instead of dividing his troops among European units during the war, Pershing insisted they stay together, which proved to be a valuable move against the Germans.


Which general received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953?

George Marshall received the Nobel Prize for the Marshall Plan. The plan aided European nations which were destroyed during the war. Part of its objective was to prevent the spread of Communism into the war-torn regions.


What position did George Marshall hold during World War II?

George Marshall was crucial in organizing the United States military leading into World War II. However, he never actually led men into combat.


Who was the commander of the U.S. Seventh Army, which was part of the Allied invasion of Sicily?

George Patton was an excellent fencer. He even competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics.


Who was named Field Marshal of the Philippine Army in 1936?

Douglas MacArthur was a unique United States general. Not only did he serve in the U.S. military, but he was also a member of the Philippine Army, where he oversaw the development of a Philippine defense plan.


Douglas MacArthur served in what position during World War II?

Douglas MacArthur received the Medal of Honor in 1942 for his heroism. His father received the same award in 1863 after the Battle of Missionary Ridge.


What was Douglas MacArthur in charge of after World War II?

Following World War II, Japan was under the control of the United States. With the help of Douglas MacArthur, Japan modernized, and its economy boomed in the post-war era.


Who was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary​ Forces in Europe?

After World War II, Dwight Eisenhower served as the 34th president of the United States. During his presidency, Eisenhower played a lot of golf and was the first president to ride in a helicopter.


Dwight Eisenhower was crucial in planning what?

D-Day saw the invasion of Normandy by Allied forces. It was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of the world.


What did Dwight Eisenhower warn the country about in his Farewell Address?

Dwight Eisenhower saw the dangers of private industry on the military market. His hope was that the world would de-militarize, though that still hasn't occurred​.


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