Affectionately called Old Rosy by his
troops, William Starke Rosecrans proved to be one
of the finest strategists of the war. His successes
were great, and he achieved them right from the
start. In July 1861, Rosecranss brigade won the
Battle of Rich Mountain, Virginia, thus securing
a Union foothold in territory that would ultimately
become the state of West Virginia. His ability to
maneuver the enemy was especially evident in the
western theater, where he commanded the Army of
the Cumberland in the battles of Stones River and
Murfreesboro. At Chickamauga in September 1863,
however, his army suffered disaster when one of
his orders was misconstrued. This allowed the enemy
to attack through a wide gap in the federal line.
The mistake cost Rosecrans his command and virtually
ended his active service in the war.
This likeness of Rosecrans was painted in 1868
by Samuel Price, who, as a colonel in the 21st
Kentucky Volunteers, may have known the general
during the Civil War. At the time of the pictures
execution, Rosecrans had retired to private life
and was serving as the American minister to Mexico.