Central Hosts General McPherson Scholar Skip to content

Central Hosts General McPherson Scholar

CCCK - General McPherson Email Header
In honor of the 150th Anniversary of McPherson, Central Christian College of Kansas is excited to host Dr. Steven Woodworth. He will be on campus for a special lecture on General McPherson, the city’s namesake. Join us in Greer Auditorium October 25, 2022 at 7 pm.

General James Birdseye McPherson was a Civil War hero, but few even know his name today. Born in Ohio, McPherson attended West Point where he graduated first in his class. Trained as an engineer, McPherson made his mark in the Union Army, rising quickly in the ranks under generals Grant and Sherman. His contemporaries from both North and South said he was a great man in which “the qualities of a true gentleman so happily blended with those of a real soldier.” James McPherson was “beloved by his officers and revered by his soldiers.” His untimely death at the Battle of Atlanta in 1864 was cause for great mourning. McPherson was the second-highest-ranking Union officer to be killed in action during the war. Grant and Sherman both believed that McPherson could be President of the United States if he survived the war.
When the Civil War was over, and veterans moved west, towns were named to honor war heroes. Some sources attribute the naming of McPherson County and the town to the fact that several veterans from Ohio settled in the area. But whatever the reason, McPherson was the kind of man whom everyone loved and respected – a man worthy of both the honor and remembrance that naming a town would perpetuate. In 1890 and 1891, the US Treasury issued $2 bank notes with McPherson’s picture on them. He is a forgotten hero that we need to remember.

“Dr. Woodworth brings a wealth of knowledge to our academic learning community as well as the larger community as he brings to life the history of General McPherson.  This lecture offers a special place in our local history as our community celebrates 150 years.” remarks Dean of Students, Dr. Vanderhoof.

Professor Dianne Craig is coordinating the event and shared, “Our town is named after James Birdseye McPherson,  a man who was a very distinguished general – well-known and well-loved during the Civil War. Because of his untimely death, he has been forgotten over time. McPherson’s sesquicentennial (150th anniversary)  is the perfect time to revisit his story, understand why our town bears his name, and learn from his example.”

Dr. Steven E. Woodworth is the author, coauthor, or editor of twenty-eight books on the Civil War era. These include Jefferson Davis and His Generals: The Failure of Confederate Command in the West (1990), Davis and Lee at War (1995), Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns (1998), and While God Is Marching On: The Religious World of Civil War Soldiers (2001). Among his more recent books are a biography of William T. Sherman; Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865 (2005); and Manifest Destinies: Westward Expansion and the Civil War (2010), an examination of how territorial expansion during the 1840s contributed to the political crisis that led to the Civil War; and a short study of command in the Battle of Shiloh.

He is currently working on a longer work tracing the careers of two companies—Company E of the 44th New York and Company I of the 5th Texas—and their respective hometowns—Albany, New York, and Independence, Texas—from the years leading to the Civil War until the two companies met each other on the battlefield of Gettysburg. Woodworth teaches history at Texas Christian University.


Central Christian College of Kansas is a regionally accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate-level programs. Central strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person – heart, mind, soul, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students.

Back To Top