James S. Wadsworth was a successful lawyer and influential New York politician when the Civil War broke out. His wealth, strong anti-slavery views, and active support of President Lincoln made him a controversial public figure in the early war years. In 1863, he was given a field command and proved himself to be one of the Union's most able and daring commanders, although he died before the war ended. His battlefield boldness and righteous resolve to end slavery is, as former U.S. Congressman James W. Symington says, "a vivid reminder that our Civil War was, indeed, fought on moral grounds."