Academic journal article Military Review

Major McKinley: William McKinley & the Civil War

Academic journal article Military Review

Major McKinley: William McKinley & the Civil War

Article excerpt

MAJOR MCKINLEY: William McKinley & the Civil War, William H. Armstrong, Kent State University Press, Ohio, 2000, 191 pages, $18.00.

Iron Majors rejoice! There is hope for all. William H. Armstrong's Civil War biography, Major McKinley, about President William McKinley's military career during the Civil War, is easy and interesting to read. McKinley, unlike other presidential veterans, came from the ranks and served in unheralded staff positions. Despite this, he served well and used the experience he gained in his Presidency.

McKinley enlisted as a private in the 23d Ohio Volunteer Infantry under future Major (later Major General and President) Rutherford B. Hayes. McKinley's relationship with Hayes is a well-known aspect of his own subsequent rise to the presidency.

Hayes noted McKinley's sharp appearance and attention to detail and assigned him as a clerk in the brigade quartermaster's office. McKinley's skills as a clerk earned him the respect of his superiors, and he was soon appointed regimental commissary sergeant. As a brigade quartermaster he understood logistic requirements and support. …

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