Alexander “Fighting Elleck” Hays
The Life of a Civil War General, From West Point to the Wilderness
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About the Book
Although he never achieved the renown of Ulysses S. Grant or Robert E. Lee, General Alexander Hays was one of the great military men of the Civil War.
Born July 8, 1819, in Franklin, Pennsylvania, Hays graduated from West Point and served with distinction during the Mexican War. When the Civil War began a few years later, it was no surprise that Hays immediately volunteered and was given the initial rank of colonel with a later meritorious promotion to general. Hays was also known for his concern for his men, a fact that no doubt contributed to the acclaim which he received after his death on May 5, 1864, at the age of 44.
From West Point to the Civil War, this biography takes a look at Hays’s life, concentrating—with good cause—on his military career. Personal correspondence and contemporary sources are used to complete the picture of a complex man, devoted husband and father, and gifted and dedicated soldier.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, maps, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011 
Table of Contents
1. Sam Hays’s Son 5
2. “Alexander Is the Best Rider at West Point” 12
3. “There Is No Man Whom I Would More Highly Commend”: The Mexican War 25
4. “Have Not Yet Determined on a Profession” 43
5. “The Boys Wonder Why I Am Always Awake”: Colonel Alex Hays 51
6. “Still Distant from Richmond”: The Peninsula Campaign 61
7. “The Gallant Hays Is Badly Wounded”: Second Bull Run 77
8. Alex Hays Has “Triumphed” 86
9. “The Angel of Death Alone Can Produce Such a Field as Was Presented”: Gettysburg 100
10. “Annihilating Lee’s Forces by ‘Masterly Inactivity’” 121
11. “We Fought the Rebels—As Usual, Whipped Them”: Morton’s Ford 138
12. “My Pathway Leads to Richmond or to the Grave”: The Army Reorganizes 149
13. Hays “Would Always Lead in Battle”: The Battle of the Wilderness 160
14. He Died in “Harness”: Memorials to “Fighting Elleck” 169
Appendix: Accusations of Drunkenness 179
Book Reviews & Awards
“well-written study”—Civil War News; “useful”—The NYMAS Review; “Alexander ‘Fighting Elleck’ Hays may never be fully understood, but this book helps bring him into focus and illustrates an important figure in the history of northwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, and the Civil War”—Western Pennsylvania History.