November 11, 1811–March 7, 1862
Unlike many generals who served during the Civil War, Benjamin McCulloch did not receive formal military training prior to the outbreak of war. Born in Tennessee, McCulloch moved to Texas in 1835 along with Davy Crockett. He fought with the Texas army in the Battle of San Jacinto against Mexican forces, and went on to serve during the Mexican American War under Zachary Taylor. When Texas seceded from the Union in February of 1861, McCulloch led a group of Texas state troops as a colonel and forced Union general David Twiggs to surrender arms and equipment in San Antonio. On May 11, 1861, McCulloch received a commission as brigadier general in the Confederate army, and was placed in charge of troops in Arkansas. McCulloch received praise for his service during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, where he led his poorly armed men to victory over Union general Nathanial Lyon. After Wilson’s Creek, McCulloch was put under the command of General Earl Van Dorn, and participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge on March 7, 1862, in Arkansas. During the battle, while leading an attack against Union positions, McCulloch was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest fired by a Union sharpshooter.