Here’s a little trivia quiz for all you history buffs (and nonbuffs, too).
Q.: Which two members of the Confederate cabinet gained distinction as generals in the Confederate army?
A.: Robert Toombs was the first Secretary of State for the Confederacy. But he quickly became dissatisfied with his job at State. He resigned on July 24, 1861, after only five months in the office.
Robert Toombs might have been a more effective general than he was a Secretary of State.
Now for the second part of the answer. (The question did ask for the names of two men.)
John C. Breckinridge gained fame as a general before he joined the Confederate cabinet. The former Kentucky senator and U.S. presidential candidate (1860) was commissioned a brigadier general although he had little military experience and no combat experience. His command was the 1st Kentucky Brigade, also later known as the “Orphan Brigade.” The list of battles in which he saw action reads like a battle chronology of the Western Theater: Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Port Hudson, Stone’s River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, New Market, Cold Harbor, and elsewhere.
When James Seddon resigned as Secretary of the War Department, President Jefferson Davis named Breckinridge to the post in January 1865. He had only about four months to serve, the Confederacy ceasing to exist in May of that year.