The Franklin Mint Civil War Checker Set

Who would have thought that two politicians born less than a year apart and in the same state would face off in America’s bloodiest war?  Abraham Lincoln, arguably the United States most popular president, and Jefferson Davis, the Confederate’s most popular president, each led their nation through America’s civil war.  Not everyone loved Mr. Lincoln.  Five days after he led the Union to victory John Wilkes Booth fired a shot to the head marking the nation’s first presidential assassination.  Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?  And Jefferson, although loyal, was not that popular.  But because he was the South’s only leader he holds the most-popular title.  Davis may have escaped the fate his opponent faced, but he had his own troubles after the war, spending a few years in the slam as a political prisoner.

 The Franklin Mint added the checker set to complement its popular civil-war chess set.  The attractive medallions were cast in pewter with corresponding blue or gray felt borders.  Some historical figures overlap the chess set but the checker set does fill in some important historical figures.  Most notable is the addition of the presidents. 

 The North:

Abraham Lincoln
Ulysses S. Grant
Samuel Dana Greene
Ambrose Burnside
William Tecumseh Sherman
George Meade
Philip Henry Sheridan
Joseph Hooker
David Glasgow Farragut
John Gibbon
George Armstrong Custer
George McClellan

The South:
Jefferson Davis
Robert E. Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Nathan B. Forest
James Longstreet
John Hunt Morgan
Raphael Semmes
John Hood
Jen Stewart
George Edward Pickett
Lewis Addison Armistead
Franklin Buchanan

I picked up my set when I bought the chess set off ebay.  My checker set is missing the display box and was absent a few of the biographical booklets.  I kept a watch on ebay and eventually picked up the remaining ones.  I can’t say what the original selling price was, but the sets are rare enough that you probably will pay a couple hundred bucks if you can find one.

Here is a bit more history courtesy of my friend Jebcc.  He commented on my last blog on some important figures missing from the chess set:

I am surprised that Nathan Bedford Forrest is not a Confederate knight since he is the only American general never to lose a battle, despite his controversial post war activities.  I am appalled that Beauregard is and Longstreet is not.  Or even Albert Sydney Johnston would be better than Beauregard since but for an arterial leg wound that caused him to bleed out the confederacy would have won the battle of Shiloh, Ulysses S. Grant would have been retired in disgrace and the war would have either gone for at least another year or ended in a Southern victory.  To leave Mclellan off the Northern pieces is harsh and Meade was a do nothing other than that Sherman, Sheridan, and Custer are right but what about Reynolds!

The checker set filled in a few gaps missing from the chess set with the addition of Forrest, Longstreet, and McClellan.  It’s well-crafted and is a nice complement to the chess set. In some ways the pieces are more attractive than their chess counterparts.




  • 4 years ago


    I completely agree Reynolds deserves to be a Union general of distinction on the Union set; the man even died in battle at Gettysburg.  In reality he is the Union version of Stonewall Jackson.  Burnside would be courtmartialed today for the senseless murder of his own men at redericksburg I am certain.   Forrest is included in the checkers set and rightly so.  War is about winning which Forrest did in every battle where he was in command of Southern forces.  Forrest was a slave catcher prior to the war and during wartime he more resembled a Mongol Khan than an American.  However, he was a winner. Beuregard was the Southern Burnside an incompetent dandy a socialite Bueregard was many things none of which were a competent General.  Meade was an administrator he basically parked his army on a ridge and didnt move for three days.  But yes he won so he gets his spot despite his mediocrity.  

  • 4 years ago


    Could you post enlarged pics of some (or all) of the individual checkers?

    I'm not surprised Nathan Bedford Forrest is not included, if memory serves me correctly both Sherman and Grant considered him to be a war criminal - for his activities during the war, not after.

    IMHO Beauregard  probably deserves a place in this set - for his historical significance, which I guess leaves the door open to everyone else of "historical signifcance" no matter how inept or incompetent. To say that Meade was a "do nothing" is erroneous, he could've lost the Battle of Gettysburg with the same ineptness demonstrated by Burnside, Hooker and McClellan when push came to shove and the shirt hit the fan.

    Why the bumbling incompetents Burnside and Hooker are included instead of Reynolds and George Henry Thomas is beyond me - Thomas is as unknown and under-rated a General as Carl Schlecter is as a GM IMHO.

  • 4 years ago


    really cool fantastic

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