General Officers in the American Civil War: Overview

Introduction: The dilemma of recruiting a High Command

When hostilities began in April 1861 there were very few experienced military men available to fill the rapidly expanding positions of high commands in the Union and Confederate armies. Each side had to look very widely to find sufficient men with evidence of, or the potential for, military leadership.

Serving US Army officers, former US Army officers, Mexican-American War veterans and military school graduates filled most of the higher positions as Colonels and as General Officers. Some foreign émigrés, many with military training, found positions. Many posts were also filled by prominent politicians, professional people, lawyers or vocal civilians with little or no military training. Some of these had served in the pre-war Militia of the various States and other military groups, but few had authentic military experience and almost none had experience of leading large forces. A few individuals had risen to prominence during the pre-war troubles in Kansas or Nebraska and elsewhere, or on the various frontiers, but their experience was on a scale soon to be dwarfed by the mass armies of the Civil War. Some gained prominence by raising regiments or even entire brigades for service and were rewarded with command by their State governors.

With very few exceptions, the General Officers and even Colonels appointed at the start of the war by both sides were short of experience of commanding and organising large forces beyond the size of a company. Those who had led a regiment were highly prized members of the military class. The shortage of experienced staff officers was as challenging as the dearth of field commanders.

As the war progressed, especially after the scale of fighting and level of casualties accelerated from early 1862 onwards, it was increasingly possible for both armies to promote and appoint commanders with battlefield experience. Officers promoted to General grades were increasingly Colonels of regiments who had earned their elevation by merit or distinction and not only by seniority or public prominence. A few had served as staff officers to senior commanders. By 1863 the Generals in both armies were nearly all experienced soldiers and most of the incompetents and place-seekers had been weeded out. By 1865 both sides had built a proven corps of highly professional and battle-tested General Officers, but the process of their emergence differed.

Introduction: What is a “General”?

In the Middle Ages, armies were generally led by kings, dukes, and other feudal lords, who commanded their own loyal retinues. These were grouped together into larger blocks for battle, largely in order of rank. These temporary assemblies were known as “Battles”, the origin of the term battalion.

The main military unit was always a Company of soldiers, commanded by their own Captain. Captains recruited, maintained, and led their own permanent units of varying size. They were commissioned or authorised to raise and command their own company. They increasingly were conferred a position or office of the state conferred by some political authority. They were “officers”. Their subordinate leaders did not have such a commission from the political power, but they held a position or office of authority, and so they became known as non-commissioned officers.

Companies (or Squadrons) held together as permanent units, bound by duty, loyalty, or other inducements. They would also be in the same arm of service – infantry, cavalry, artillery, dragoons, etc. The Captain’s deputy would be a Lieutenant, taking their name from the French term “lieu tenant” or place-holding, denoting that the officer was standing in for their Captain. When a number of companies were collected together, the senior Captain would be named as the Captain-Major – the “big Captain” – and this was the origin of the grade of Major, usually commanding a battalion of more than one company.

As military units were organised more systematically from the 15th Century onwards, a number of battalions or squadrons would be grouped together to march together in a “Column”. The column would be led by the Major in charge, who was named Colonel, a term derived from the French word “colon”, for column. The Colonel’s second-in-command would be a Lieutenant-Colonel, “holding the place of the Colonel”. The columns very quickly became more permanent groupings and were known subsequently as a regiment. Regiments – and their constituent battalions and companies – became the building blocks of the larger armies that were formed during the 18th and 19th centuries. They would typically comprise soldiers of the same arm – for example, infantry, cavalry, artillery, dragoons, and their various permutations. Their battalions and companies might operate separately, but in some armies the regiment became the living repository of the heritage and traditions of a particular group of soldiers and their successors, and the term regiment survived sometimes even after it became an honorific or administrative designation.

As armies became larger, the proliferation of subordinate commanders became unmanageable for a single army commander, so the next stage of evolution occurred in the 15th Century to 17th centuries to group these base units together. Whereas previously, each regiment, battalion, squadron, or battery operated independently under its own field officer who reported directly to the army commander, a new concept assembled these into temporary “brigades” of mixed-arms composition, and put together for a specific and temporary mission. Increasingly, a group of more than one regiment was referred to as a brigade, a word derived from French and Italian origins, and this gradually became common usage in modern armies. The creation of the brigade solved the problem of managing a proliferation of independent formations acting under their individual commanding officers. As armies grew in size, brigades were collected into a Corps, or “a body” of a large army. A further invention by Napoleon Bonaparte sub-divided each Corps into divisions when necessary.

Captains, Majors, and Colonels had emerged as the key officers in command of permanent or enduring military formations of increasing size. They were usually connected indissolubly to their subordinates. The higher conglomerations of brigades, divisions, corps and armies were generally more transient, comprising in interchangeable mixtures of the fixed building-blocks of companies, battalions, squadrons and regiments.

However, an officer commanding a large and variable force needed to have authority above and beyond their own “home” unit for which they had a commission. They often commanded mixed arms forces of infantry and artillery, or cavalry, and their support echelons. Their responsibility was more “general”. A “General Officer” was an officer who could be appointed to lead any group of sub-units, whether of single or mixed arms, and of varying size and composition; moreover, they could be transferred from group to group as circumstances demanded.

By the 18th Century, increasingly large armies were made up more from massed civilians put in uniform for fixed periods than from lifelong career soldiers. At the same time, the highest command transferred from Kings and Emperors to the appointed officers of their army or armies. These appointed officers would gradually evolve into professional soldiers because the maintenance of their forces, and their complex equipment, weapons, training, and supply became a year-round task, rather than a temporary duty for a single campaign. Therefore, the highest officer of an army had to be a “General”. The General could be switched from command to command and was entrusted with significant authority.

The original name of an army commander was “General Major” – the “big general officer”. Over time, as the brigade became a key tactical formation, a “General of Brigade” would be appointed, usually from among its constituent units. These terms clearly evolved into Major-General and Brigadier-General. In due course, the overall commanding officer would be the General and, needing a named most senior deputy, the grade of Lieutenant-General eventually appeared.

Note: Most names of military formations and officers’ grades or ranks tended to derive from the French language, as the French armies pioneered and innovated many of the features recognisable in the emerging professional armies of Europe. For example, platoon, company, battalion, regiment, brigade, division, corps, and even army, are all words based on French or earlier origins.

Introduction: How does this apply to the American Civil War?

In the American Civil War, the original volunteer armies were recruited by companies that were banded together later to form regiments. Later on, regiments were recruited en bloc. The company was the ordinary soldier’s “home” or family, and it became the unit that managed an ordinary soldier’s practical and day-to-day existence. The company Captain was accessible, visible, and significant.

As there were usually ten companies in a volunteer infantry regiment, so the regiment’s Colonel was usually a more remote, but prominent figure. The regiment became the most important tactical unit for the deployment of infantry and cavalry in action. Usually fighting together as a single unit, regiments gained a character and identity with which soldiers could build a strong or even lifelong association. A well-led regiment, with a popular or respected Colonel, could be a powerful force on the battlefield.

Tactical command was managed primarily at the brigade and division level and so the grade of Brigadier-General was extremely important for command at that front-line level. Casualties at that level were remarkably high. Operational command for divisions and corps was typically the domain of the Major-General.

Introduction: Union Evolution

The Union had an immense military machine, but they were bound to the command structure of the existing US Regular Army. The creation of new General officer grades would set precedents for the post-war army that they sought to avoid. The Union armies managed with two grades of General officers, differentiated as commissions in the US Regular Army and US Volunteers. It was not until 1864, when pragmatic necessity compelled it, that the revival of the grade of Lieutenant-General was permitted by Congress. The grade of General was not revived in the US Army until after the war.

On the Union side, President Abraham Lincoln became increasingly impatient with his initial pool of higher commanders and acted with increasing decisiveness to secure their dismissal or, if that was impossible, to side-line them. The first batch of Union Generals included many self-publicists, incompetents and outright embarrassments, some of whom survived longer than was justified by their inability. There were also several Regular Army officers both in staff departments and line commands whose age and seniority immediately conferred a high command but whose capacity to cope with a new and dynamic style of warfare and larger forces soon proved to be inadequate.

It was not until early 1863 that a strong body of reliable, experienced and suitable General Officers had emerged across the Union armies. These commanders had passed the test of fire and by late 1863 most of the important field commands were occupied by competent and, in some cases, by talented commanders. Some peripheral or administrative posts were occupied by those who had failed on the main stage but whose service could not be easily terminated. Some senior officers who could not be dismissed for reasons of political necessity and, whenever possible, these were side-lined to less critical positions. Nevertheless, some remained in high command far longer than was desirable.

The list of the highest Union commanders in 1865 shows little resemblance to that of 1861 and early 1862. Comparatively few of the original senior commanders of 1861 and 1862 remained in important field commands by 1865, having been supplanted by more dynamic commanders who had advanced through merit and experience.

Introduction: Confederate Evolution

As will be described later, the Confederates had the opportunity to create a brand-new command and grade structure. They immediately appointed its first senior officers to the novel grade of General and a year later they created Lieutenant-Generals, to provide grades matching the different levels of authority of their immense forces. Major-Generals and Brigadier-Generals were appointed immediately.

Broadly speaking, but with some egregious exceptions, the Confederates were more fortunate than the Union in their selection of commanding Generals in the early part of the war. Some outstanding commanders emerged at all levels early in the conflict and this contributed to some significant successes during 1862 and 1863. There were also some poor appointments where the officer had to be removed or reassigned; but it was the high rate of battle casualties, especially by the middle of 1864, that caused the most severe erosion in the quality of the Confederate high command. Confederate Generals were elevated to high command as much through the necessity of replacing casualties and failures as through more conventional routes of succession and seniority.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis showed great loyalty to his earliest appointees and as a former soldier and Secretary of War he was also very alert to the sensitivities and protocols of seniority. While a few highly talented exceptions had broken into the highest echelons of the Confederate army through proven ability by the end of the war, the list of Confederate Generals holding the very highest grades and commands changed remarkably little between early 1862 and 1865.

Introduction: Numbers of General Officers

During the Civil War, there were between 554 and 564 substantive grade Union Generals and between 398 and 401 substantive grade Confederate Generals, who were properly appointed, confirmed, accepted appointment and served as General Officers.

It is believed that 583 actual, substantive Generals of various grades or levels were appointed by United States President Abraham Lincoln and confirmed by the Senate for the Union Army and 425 actual, substantive Generals of various grades or levels were duly appointed by Confederate States President Jefferson Davis and confirmed by the Senate for the Confederate Army during the course of the American Civil War. These numbers could properly be reduced by about 25 names each to account for cancelled appointments and unconfirmed nominations. For various reasons there are significant disparities concerning the number of Militia Generals and many anomalous cases who might or might not be counted or recognised in some manner as Generals or where evidence is unforthcoming.

A General Officer of the Union Army, whether of the United States Regular Army or United States Volunteers, and whether of full or Brevet grade, could legally be promoted to a grade of General Officer only if appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. Field promotions, exercise of command duties or Brevet rank promotions alone were insufficient to qualify an officer as a substantive General Officer until duly appointed and confirmed.

A General Officer in the Confederate Army could be appointed only by the President of the Confederate States and confirmed by the Confederate States Senate; an exception being those officers holding a grade on the date of enactment of the first Confederate law on the subject of appointment of General Officers, 21st May 1861, were permitted to keep those ranks. Late in the war these practices had to be loosened in two significant way. Firstly, after the Trans-Mississippi region was almost completely cut off after the fall of Vicksburg and General Edmund Kirby Smith was given interim plenipotentiary powers as he could not obtain proper confirmation of promotions by the President or Senate. Secondly, a number of “Special” promotions were permitted where a General was appointed to a higher grade on an interim basis only, usually to cover the extended absence of another commander through illness or wounds. Most of these promotions were either confirmed and became permanent but some expired and the officer reverted to their substantive rank.

The Union Army was supported in active field command by a all number of State Militia Generals who were not taken into the United States Volunteers with a state regiment or were not promptly recruited to Federal service. The Union Army also had several officers assigned to command or temporarily placed in command of units normally assigned to a General Officer but who did not receive full rank appointments commensurate with their command.

A number of Confederate officers exercised high command as commanders of Militia or State Troops, but were never formally appointed as Confederate Generals. There were many officers assigned to a command or temporarily placed in command of units normally assigned to a General Officer but who did not receive full rank appointments. As many as 159 uncertain cases and 226 Militia officers have been identified as Confederate Generals of some sort. Ten officers who were assigned to duty by General Edmund Kirby Smith in the Trans-Mississippi Department but unconfirmed by Congress after communications were severed are among these uncertain cases.

There were 1,367 Union officers who were not promoted to a substantive General rank but were awarded Brevet General Officer rank (or, to within 10 of this number). Most Brevet ranks were awarded posthumously or to rank from dates near the end of the war and many of them were not confirmed until 1866 or later. At the time of the Civil War these Brevet appointments were honorary titles and had little effect on command positions or status, especially since most of the awards were not confirmed until months or even years after the war was over, regardless of the date from which the awarded Brevet grade was to rank. In some respects, they might be seen as an early equivalent of medals for valour, conduct or service that were created later.

The Confederate Army never introduced a system of awarding Brevet ranks although a similar form of recognition would undoubtedly have been introduced had the Confederacy achieved its goal of independence.

Introduction: United States Army (USA) and United States Volunteers (USV)

When hostilities threatened to begin the United States adopted a practice that had been effective in the Mexican War of 1848 to mobilise the high numbers of armed men to create armies and a navy large enough for the task. Rather than increasing the size of the permanent US Regular Army, it was decided to expand it slightly but to keep it distinct as a core of professional soldiers.

It was envisaged that the Regular Army would maintain its existing structure, officers and men, and that it would be assigned largely to operate on the frontier against the Native Americans or in garrisons and fixed fortifications. Some Regular Army units, especially artillery, would serve with the armies.

It was not intended for the Regular Army to become a trained cadre from which officers and trained non-commissioned officers would be drawn to command in units of US Volunteers.

Although the Regular Army would remain little changed, it would be reinforced with a much larger temporary force, engaged for specified periods of temporary service. This temporary force was designated the US Volunteers. Even when the desperate need for men eventually forced the adoption of the draft and compulsory conscription, the force retained the name of US Volunteers. The US Volunteers ultimately expanded to an unprecedented size. The Regular Army expanded also but to a smaller extent.

Almost all units of the US Volunteers, with a few interesting exceptions, were recruited on a state-by-state basis, with each State fulfilling a stipulated quota of men to serve under officers appointed by the State. Each State raising units for the US Volunteers was expected to identify and appoint commanders for its units. Suitable candidates with the ability to learn and to lead were sought from all walks of civilian and professional and political life but those with a military training or experience were at a premium. While military experience was usually viewed as a disadvantage, more formal military training was thought by some to inculcate a rigid and rule-bound approach. Nevertheless, any form of military training and expertise was highly prized. By necessity, men with no military credentials whatsoever took command of many regiments, trusting that their civilian leadership qualities would supplement eager hands-on learning in the field.

Officers and General Officers could be appointed to a grade either in the United States Army (USA) or the United States Volunteers (USV) or, very often, in both simultaneously. A grade in the US Army was a permanent promotion in the Regular Army that would remain substantively in force after the end of hospitalities. As such, General Officer grades in the US Regular Army ranks were authorised very sparingly and within strict regulations; at first, only those commanders who would be expected to remain in service when hostilities ended, and the armies contracted back to pre-war proportions received such appointments. Eventually, however, some men were appointed whose Regular Army commitment was not so clear cut.

There was stiff competition to secure the most promising talent from the pool of current and retired officers to command new units. Anyone with military training or experience was prized. Many Regular Army officers were induced to retire in order to take a higher command and more rapid promotion in the US Volunteers. Others retained their Regular Army grade and were appointed simultaneously to serve in the US Volunteers. State origin often influenced the appointment of officers – and also directed the choices of the officers themselves – but it was not essential to hail from a particular State to receive a commission in the US Volunteers.

The US Volunteers force expanded rapidly, creating opportunities for men who had commanded no more than a squad or a militia unit –perhaps in the rather distant past – to be appointed as colonels of regiments.

A dilemma arose for all Regular Army officers. Should they retain their secure and permanent regular commission or resign to seek a temporary but more lucrative and senior commission in the US Volunteers at a much higher rank? The US Regular Army was largely static, if not stagnant, and seniority was the primary factor in advancement. Many frustrated or ambitious officers responded to the appeal to join the US Volunteers, alongside many retired officers. Grade in the US Volunteers was always considered a temporary appointment and it did not confer continuing rank or position when or if an officer rejoined the Regular Army after the end of hostilities. Many Regular Army officers did not resign their Regular commission at all and took Volunteer commissions in parallel, effectively receiving a leave of absence from their Regular unit. If they progressed through the Volunteer grades, their Regular Army grade sometimes had to advance to ensure that they could continue to exercise authority over subordinates in both hierarchies.

It was very soon obvious that the US Volunteers would expand to a point where regiments would need to be formed into brigades, then later into divisions, and finally into corps and entire armies. While the States appointed the colonels of their US Volunteers’ regiments, their commission permitted them only to command their state’s forces. The jurisdiction of Generals exceeded the limits of any particular state, and their commands usually comprised units deriving from more than one state, and not only the state of their original commission. Therefore, General Officers commanding brigades or higher commands had to be appointed by the US government. Colonels could and did command brigades and higher commands interim through seniority or other factors, if there was no general officer present or if they were awaiting promotion.

Seniority for General Officers was determined by the date of rank stated in the Senate’s confirmation resolution, which could be a date earlier than the confirmation date. Otherwise, rank would be determined by the order of names on the lists of officers confirmed in the same resolution made on the same date to rank from the same date. Where uncertainty arose about seniority, rank in the USA was deemed higher than the equivalent rank in the USV. For example, a Brigadier-General in the US Regular Army outranked a Brigadier-General in the US Volunteers. However, a Major-General in the US Volunteers might outrank a Brigadier-General in the US Army, although the circumstances were such a command was asserted were rare. The US Army was usually punctilious in ensuring that those US Volunteers who were promoted to senior commands also eceived promotions both in the USV and the USA appropriate to their status and needful authority.

Prior to the Civil War the US Army system of promoting officers was based strictly upon seniority. As a result, the General Officers, chief staff officers and full colonels of the small pre-Civil War Regular Army were few in number and almost all were of advanced age. Among the top field officers, 11 of the 19 colonels of the line had fought in the War of 1812 as commissioned officers. Thirteen of these individuals stayed with the Union and during the Civil War five died, seven retired and one was relieved. Not one was still on active duty by the end of hostilities. Of the four who joined the Confederacy, three were appointed to the grade of General in 1861; one died, one was killed in action and the two others were still serving at the end of the war.

General Officers in the Union Army

 Union Commander-in-Chief

The Constitution of the United States of America provided that the President should be Commander-in-Chief of the Army, the Navy, the Marines and the Militia of the several States when called into actual service.

United States Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy

The War Department was led by the Secretary of War, who conducted the political and administrative oversight of the Army, Navy and the Marines; and all matters pertaining to the conduct of military operations. The Secretary of the Navy took delegated authority over the US Navy and maritime matters.

Union General-in-Chief

After the Revolutionary War the United States Army appointed no active duty General Officers. When General Officers were again appointed, the highest authorised rank in the Army was Major-General, and the senior Major-General on the Army rolls was referred to as the Commanding General of the United States Army, or less officially as the General-in-Chief. This position was traditional rather than statutory.

Secretaries of War since 1821 had designated a general to be in charge of the field forces without formal congressional approval. Major-General Winfield Scott served as General-in-Chief since his victory over Mexico in 1848. Scott enjoyed a high reputation, but he was no longer capable of active command in the field. He devised the so-called “Anaconda Plan” which was executed as the successful war plan of the Union. President Abraham Lincoln had little knowledge or experience of military matters; despite the acknowledged abilities of Scott, Lincoln did not have complete confidence in him, partly because of his advanced years and infirmity.

Lincoln promoted George Brinton McClellan in Scott’s place, partly in response to public clamour after McClellan’s early victory in West Virginia, and partly because of McClellan’s reputation for success in many enterprises, including railroad construction. On 1 November 1861 Scott retired and was replaced by Major-General George Brinton McClellan. McClellan’s apparent prevarication and disagreements with the President led to his temporary relief from the duties as General-in-Chief on 17 March 1862, although he continued to retain command of the most important field army. His official permanent relief as General-in-Chief occurred on 22 July 1862. McClellan’s methodical strategy may have seemed militarily sound to McClellan, but it was unacceptable politically.

During McClellan’s temporary relief of command as General-in-Chief, Ethan Allen Hitchcock, who had been purposely promoted Major-General USV on 10 February 1862, was advanced from his role as Special Adviser to the Secretary of War, to become Chairman of the War Board. During the interregnum of General-in-Chief, Hitchcock performed the staff duties but not the command responsibility of the General-in-Chief. In the absence of a General-in-Chief the command role was taken by Lincoln.

It became clear by mid-1862 that it was not effective for the President to act as General-in-Chief. Lincoln turned to Henry Wager Halleck. Halleck held the highest command in the western theatre operations. Halleck was undistinguished as a field commander but was a talented administrator and had shown organisational sagacity. Major-General Henry Wager Halleck was appointed General-in-Chief on 11 July 1862 and took up the post of General-in-Chief on 23 July 1862. Lincoln struggled to exert concerted strategic direction even with Halleck’s aid.

Neither McClellan nor Halleck was on active service in the Regular Army when war broke out, and neither had advanced beyond the grade of Captain in the Regular Army. Their appointments were made in disregard of the existing rules of seniority and succession, based substantially on credentials acquired outside military service.

It was not until late 1863 that Lincoln identified Ulysses Simpson Grant as a commander he could entrust with supreme strategic direction of the war until it was won. Grant had not advanced beyond Captain in the Regular Army but, by the time he was appointed in 1864, he had the benefit of three years’ experience and of consistent success in increasingly demanding commands.

Ulysses Simpson Grant was identified as Halleck’s successor as General-in-Chief after his significant victories in the western theatre. Grant brought strategic vision and an outstanding record of field command to the role. The grade of Lieutenant-General was revived for Grant to give him seniority over all the more senior Major-Generals in the Army, including Halleck. Grant was promoted Lieutenant-General to rank from 2 March 1864 and he held the position of General-in-Chief until after the end of hostilities. Halleck, Grant’s former superior officer, stayed on and continued to serve effectively as Chief-of-Staff, dealing with the administrative burden and releasing Grant to give strategic leadership and to exercise field command in the eastern theatre.

Union Generals (Regular Army)

The grade of General was never authorised in the United States Army during the Civil War. Ulysses Simpson Grant was not appointed to the newly authorised rank of General until after the war on 25th July 1866, becoming the first officer in the US Army to hold that grade since George Washington. Two other Civil War generals attained the rank of General in the US Army.

25 July 1866: Ulysses Simpson Grant
8 March 1869: William Tecumseh Sherman
1 June 1888: Philip Henry Sheridan

Union Lieutenant-Generals (Regular Army)

The highest authorised rank during the war was Lieutenant-General. The grade of Lieutenant-General was activated when Winfield Scott received a Brevet promotion to the rank in 1855, Nobody held the substantive rank until 4th March 1864 when Ulysses Simpson Grant was appointed Lieutenant-General and de facto General-in-Chief. Until this date the Union Army had only two substantive grades of General: Major-General and Brigadier-General.

Grant was promoted Brigadier-General USV, Major-General USV, Major-General USA and Lieutenant-General USA. He missed the grade of Brigadier-General USA to be promoted direct to Major-General USA.

During and after the war, the following Civil War generals were appointed as Lieutenant-General USA:

4 March 1864: Ulysses Simpson Grant
27 July 1866: William Tecumseh Sherman
4 March 1869: Philip Henry Sheridan
5 February 1895: John McAllister Schofield
11 February 1901: Nelson Appleton Miles

Union Major-Generals (Regular Army)

Major-Generals were nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Major-Generals could be appointed in the United States Regular Army (USA) or the United States Volunteers (USV).

Many states designated the commander-in-chief of their State Militia, Home Guard, Reserve or similar local forces at the grade of Major-General. These officers had authority only within their State and were out-ranked by Generals of the USA and USV; few held active field commands. Major-Generals outranked Brigadier-Generals and all other lesser officers.

Major-Generals served in a few cases as staff officers to other Generals or as War Department staff officers. Most commanded Military Divisions, Military Departments or the Military Districts within them; many served as commanders of Armies, Corps or, less often, of a Division.

Command of Armies and Army Corps was intended to be exercised by Major-Generals, although the temporary command of Army Corps was often exercised by Brigadier-Generals. The Union practice was not synonymous with the Confederacy’s use of the grade, and Union Major-Generals led divisions, corps and even armies, whereas the Confederates sought more strictly to assign General ranks to match the size of commands.

Until one Lieutenant-General was appointed in 1864, almost all the most important positions were held by Major-Generals. Their rank within the grade was determined by seniority since confirmation; however, the grade of Major-General in the USA Regular Army was deemed higher than the same grade in the US Volunteers. During the war, it became necessary to promote accomplished officers in the Regular Army in order that they could command fellow Major-Generals who had seniority over them in the US Volunteers.

The Army Corps or Corps formation was not authorised officially in the Union army until 17th July 1862. However, the term was already in frequent but unofficial use prior to this date. Roman numerals are used to designate a Corps following current convention e.g., XVIII Corps but this was not contemporary usage during the Civil War. At that time, they were normally designated by ordinal numbers, for example, Twenty-First Corps or Twelfth Corps.

Corps were initially numbered unofficially to describe large formations within an army; a I Corps, II Corps and a III Corps were named in the Army of the Potomac, and in the Army of Virginia, the Army of the Mississippi unofficially and the Army of the Cumberland. The term “Provisional Corps” was applied to V Corps and VI Corps in the Virginian theatre early in 1862. This meant that that there was some duplication of the terms I Corps to VI Corps prior to the authorisation of the organisation. After official authorisation, Corps designations were regularised, and they were ultimately numbered officially and without duplication from I Corps to XXV Corps actually, First Corps to Twenty-Fifth Corps.

There were never twenty-five named and active Army Corps designations at one time, because as some Corps were broken up and reformed for temporary operations and sometimes the designation of their constituents became confused or anomalous. Several Corps were discontinued and some re-activated or transferred to new Departments. A few Corps remained in existence and comprised substantially similar constituent units from the early years almost until the end of the war e.g., II Corps, VI Corps; some others were short-lived. Most Corps were discontinued, merged or significantly reorganised at least once, and some on several occasions. The transfer in and out of brigades or even divisions was common.

The informal term Wing was used occasionally to describe a group of Corps within an army but, confusingly, it could also be used for the constituent parts within a particular Corps e.g. XIII Corps and XIV Corps had Left Wing and Right Wing groups within them. In 1862, the Union Army of the Cumberland and the Army of the Tennessee were composed of a single designated Corps and their sub-units of Corps size were therefore termed as Wings. The XVI Corps was divided during 1863 and 1864 into two Wings, while they operated in separate theatres of war. It was usual for forces of more than one Corps to be termed an Army.

Some Corps numbers were discontinued and revived again with similar forces in the same theatre or the term re-assigned to wholly different forces and in a different theatre e.g. IV Corps. Some Corps only ever served within one field army or Department while others e.g. IX Corps were transferred from Department to Department. Some Corps designations referred to field forces that never operated as integrated field commands but were largely administrative commands, overseeing reinforcements, training or garrisons or local forces e.g., VIII Corps, XVI Corps.

Divisions were created early in the war to group brigades together under one command. They were usually numbered 1st Division, 2nd Division or 3rd Division within an Army and, fairly quickly, numbered within a Corps. On occasion, especially early in the war, divisions had a named designation, e.g. Kanawha Division or Coast Division, especially when operating independently. Early in the war some divisions in the western theatre were numbered across the Army or Department but it soon became standard practice to number within a Corps. The standard organisation was for a Corps to have three Divisions but almost as many Corps had only two divisions; some Corps were organised with four divisions, but they rarely and only temporarily had more than four.

In the US Regular Army there were:

1 pre-war Major-General (W Scott)
9 Major-Generals promoted between 1861 and 1865 (J C Frémont, U S Grant, H W Halleck, G B McClellan, G G Meade, P H Sheridan, W T Sherman, G H Thomas and J E Wool). One of the latter was promoted onward to Lieutenant-General (U S Grant)
5 were active in the US Army on 31 December 1865: (H W Halleck, G G Meade, P H Sheridan, W T Sherman and G H Thomas)
4 ended their service in the US Army during the war: (W Scott, J C Frémont, G B McClellan, and J E Wool). All four reigned or retired prior to 31 December 1865.
1 was promoted from Major-General USA to Lieutenant-General USA during the war (U S Grant)
1 was promoted to Major-General USA from Brigadier-General USA before the war (W Scott)
1 was promoted to Major-General USA from Brigadier-General USA during the war (J E Wool )
3 were appointed directly as Major-General USA (J C Frémont, H W Halleck, G B McClellan)
4 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV, Brigadier-General USA and Major-General USA (G G Meade, P H Sheridan, W T Sherman, G H Thomas)

Union Brigadier-Generals (Regular Army) promoted 1861-1865

Brigadier-Generals were to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Brigadier-Generals could be appointed in the United States Regular Army (USA) or United States Volunteers (USV). Some states appointed Brigadier-Generals in the State Militia, Home Guard, Reserve and similar local forces. These had authority only within their own state and were out-ranked by Generals of the USA and USV; few held active senior commands. Brigadier-Generals outranked all other lesser officers.

Brigadier-Generals served in a few cases as staff officers to other Generals or as War Department staff officers. Some commanded Military Districts or temporarily commanded Military Departments; some served temporarily as commanders of Corps within a field army. The majority commanded divisions or brigades.

The organization of regiments into brigades was already authorized. Appointment to brigade permanent command in the Confederate Army was usually accompanied by promotion to the commensurate rank of Brigadier-General. It was intended in the Union Army also that brigades of infantry and cavalry should be commanded by a Brigadier-General. Brigadier-Generals were appointed later in the war to command concentrations of artillery and to some senior staff positions. Many Union brigades were indeed commanded by Brigadier-Generals, but brigade command was typically and increasingly exercised by a Colonel. Rank in the USA and USV offered a degree of differentiation in ranks but the effect of this was far less distinct than in the Confederate Army.

Union practice was not synonymous with the Confederacy’s use of the rank, and Union Brigadier-Generals led brigades, divisions, or even Corps temporarily.

Rank within the grade was determined by seniority since confirmation; however, the grade of Brigadier-General in the USA Regular Army was deemed higher than the same grade in the US Volunteers. During the war, it became necessary to promote accomplished officers in the Regular Army in order that they could command fellow Brigadier-Generals who had seniority over them in the US Volunteers.

Brigades were usually numbered within a division or other command e.g. 1st Brigade, 2nd Brigade. Informal practice was to name them after their commander e.g. “Opdycke’s Brigade” but this was usually only for convenience and clarity. Even where they were named they were usually also numbered, and usage would alternate. Sometime a brigade, especially on detached operations, would have a territorial designation.

Within a Brigade, each Regiment was commanded by a Colonel, supported at full strength by a Lieutenant-Colonel and a Major. In the absence of the appointed Brigadier-General, the senior Colonel of the brigade would command the Brigade. The connection between an individual’s grade and his command was less pronounced than in the Confederate army, and it was common for brigade command to be exercised by a Colonel rather than a Brigadier-General.

In the US Regular Army there were:

5 pre-war Brigadier-Generals (W S Harney, E V Sumner, D E Twiggs and J E Wool in the line, and J E Johnston in the staff).
1 was promoted bypassing Brigadier-General to Major-General and then to Lieutenant-General (U S Grant),
1 was promoted from Brigadier-General USA to Major-General USA during the war (J E Wool)
1 were promoted from Brigadier-General USA to Major-General USA (G G Meade, P H Sheridan, W T Sherman G H Thomas and J E Wool).
4 were previously promoted Brigadier-General USV and Major-General USV (G G Meade, P H Sheridan, W T Sherman, G H Thomas)
4 were promoted directly to Major-General USA without first being appointed as Brigadier-General (J C Frémont, H W Halleck, G B McClellan).

Of the officers were promoted to Brigadier-General USA between 1861 and 1865:

11 held line commands (R Anderson, P S Cooke, W S Hancock, J Hooker, O O Howard, J F K Mansfield, I McDowell, J B McPherson, J Pope, J M Schofield and A H Terry).
15 held staff commands (J K Barnes, H K Craig, R Delafield, A B Dyer, A B Eaton, J B Fry, W A Hammond, J Holt, M C Meigs, G D Ramsay, J A Rawlins, J W Ripley, J P Taylor, L Thomas and J G Totten)
19 were still serving at the end of the war, although some of the staff heads had been superseded but remained in service.
2 were killed in action during the war (J F K Mansfield, J B McPherson).
4 died during the war (E V Sumner, J P Taylor, J G Totten, D E Twiggs).
1 was dismissed during the war (W A Hammond).
3 resigned or retired during the war (R Anderson, H C Knox, J D Ramsay).
2 were relieved but continued in service (J W Ripley, L Thomas).

Major-Generals (United States Volunteers) promoted 1861-1865

This list includes officers who were promoted to the grade of Major-General in the US Volunteers between 1 January 1861 and 31 December 1865. Of these,

7 were promoted directly to the grade of Major-General USV and 105 were promoted from the grade of Brigadier-General USV

And of these the seven direct appointments,

5 resigned before 31 December 1865 (J A Dix, B F Butler, E D Morgan, C M Clay, G Cadwalader),
1 was mustered out of USV (N P Banks),
1 remained in post by December 31 1865 (E A Hitchcock).
None were appointed or promoted to grades in the US Regular Army

Of the 105 promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV,

5 were killed in action (P Kearny, J Sedgwick, J L Reno, J F Reynolds, H G Berry),
1 died of wounds before 31 December 1865 (I B Richardson),
4 died from other causes before 31 December 1865 (C F Smith, O M Mitchel, W Nelson, D B Birney),
1 was dismissed (F J Porter),
24 resigned (A E Burnside, D C Buell, F Sigel, J A McClernand, L Wallace, E D Keyes, D N Couch, H W Slocum, R C Schenck, C S Hamilton, F J Herron, N J T Dana, R H Milroy, R J Oglesby, B M Prentiss, J A Logan, C C Washburn, F P Blair, J S Negley, J Stahel, C Schurz, J A Garfield, F C Barlow, M D Leggett),
4 resigned and continued to serve in the US Regular Army (A M McCook, L H Rousseau, G K Warren, W F Smith),
3 mustered out of USV (J J Peck, S A Hurlbut, J G Blunt),
5 mustered out of USV and continued to service in the US Regular Army after 31 December 1865 (D Hunter, S P Heintzelman, S Casey, G L Hartsuff, W H French),
22 remained active in USV (E O C Ord, S R Curtis, W B Franklin, T L Crittenden, J G Foster, J G Parke, C C Augur, G Granger, D Butterfield, G Sykes, A Doubleday, J J Reynolds, J M Palmer, J B Steedman, G M Dodge, P J Osterhaus, J D Cox, J W Geary, H E Davies, G Mott, H J Kilpatrick, R B Potter, Gi A Smith),
26 remained active in USV and continued in the US Regular Army after 31 December 1865 (D E Sickles, D S Stanley, G Stoneman, F Steele, A Pleasonton, A A Humphreys, Q A Gillmore, E R S Canby, H G Wright, A J Smith, J Gibbon, J A Mower, G Crook, G Weitzel, W B Hazen, T J Wood, W Merritt, C Griffin, G A Custer, J H Wilson, B H Grierson, W Swayne, W H Emory, N A Miles, A C Gillem, F Fessenden),
5 reverted to Brigadier-General USV (G B Morell, W W Burns, N B Buford, J Newton, W T H Brooks),
4 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV posthumously or near posthumously, effectively as honorary awards (I I Stevens, A W Whipple, J Buford, G C Strong)
1 was promoted from Brigadier-General USV and onward to Major-General USA and Lieutenant-General USA (US Grant)
4 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV and onward to Brigadier-General USA and Major-General USA (G G Meade, P H Sheridan, W T Sherman, G H Thomas)
4 were promoted when already Brigadier-General USA to Major-General USV (J F K Mansfield, I McDowell, W S Rosecrans, E V Sumner)
7 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV and promoted onward to Brigadier-General USA (W S Hancock, J Hooker, O O Howard, J B McPherson, J Pope, J M Schofield, A H Terry)

Brigadier-General (United States Volunteers) promoted 1861-1865

This list shows officers were promoted to the grade of Brigadier-General in the US Volunteers between 1 January 1861 and 31 December 1865.

5 officers were promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV but reverted to Brigadier-General USV (G B Morell, W W Burns, N B Buford, J Newton, W T H Brooks)
1 was promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV and bypassed Brigadier-General USA onward to Major-General USA and Lieutenant-General USA (U S Grant)
4 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV and onward to Brigadier-General USA and Major-General USA (W T Sherman, G G Meade, P H Sheridan, G H Thomas)
7 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV and onward to Brigadier-General USA (W S Hancock, J Hooker, O O Howard, J B McPherson, J Pope, J M Schofield, A H Terry)
1 was from Brigadier-General USV to Brigadier-General USA (J A Rawlins)
4 were promoted from Brigadier-General USA bypassing Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV (W S Rosecrans, I McDowell, J F K Mansfield, E V Sumner)
96 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV (C C Augur, F C Barlow, H G Berry, D B Birney, F P Blair, J G Blunt, D C Buell, A E Burnside, D Butterfield, E R S Canby, S Casey, D N Couch, J D Cox, T L Crittenden, G Crook, S R Curtis, G A Custer, N J T Dana, H E Davies, G M Dodge, A Doubleday, W H Emory, F Fessenden, J G Foster, W B Franklin, W H French, J A Garfield, J W Geary, J Gibbon, A C Gillem, Q A Gillmore, G Granger, B H Grierson, C Griffin, C S Hamilton, G L Hartsuff, W B Hazen, S P Heintzelman, F J Herron, A A Humphreys, D Hunter, S A Hurlbut, P Kearny, E D Keyes, H J Kilpatrick, M D Leggett, J A Logan, J A McClernand, A M McCook, W Merritt, N A Miles, R H Milroy, O M Mitchel, G Mott, J A Mower, J S Negley, W Nelson, R J Oglesby, E O C Ord, P J Osterhaus, J M Palmer, J G Parke, J J Peck, A Pleasonton, F J Porter, R B Potter, B M Prentiss, J L Reno, J F Reynolds, J J Reynolds, I B Richardson, L H Rousseau, R C Schenck, C Schurz, J Sedgwick, D E Sickles, F Sigel, H W Slocum, A J Smith, C F Smith, Gi A Smith, W F Smith, J Stahel, D S Stanley, J B Steedman, F Steele, G Stoneman, W Swayne, G Sykes, L Wallace, G K Warren, C C Washburn, G Weitzel, J H Wilson, T J Wood, H G Wright),

plus:

4 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV posthumously or near posthumously, effectively as honorary awards (I I Stevens, A W Whipple, J Buford, G C Strong)
4 were promoted from Brigadier-General USV to Major-General USV and reverted to Brigadier-General USV after expiry of commission as Major-General USV (J Newton, W T H Brooks, W W Burns, N B Buford)
21 were killed in action (N Lyon, T Williams, R L McCook, P A Hackleman, H Bohlen, J W Sill, J S Jackson, C F Jackson, W R Terrill, A Hays, W H Lytle, D A Russell, J S Morton, T G Stevenson, E P Chapin, S H Weed, E J Farnsworth, J C Rice, C G Harker, H Burnham, D D Bidwell),
14 died of wounds before 31 December 1865 (J S Wadsworth, W H L Wallace, G D Bayard, I P Rodman, G W Taylor, E N Kirk, S K Zook, T E G Ransom, S Vincent, S A Rice, W P Sanders, D McCook, T A Smyth, C R Lowell),
13 died from other causes before 31 December 1865 (F W Lander, J Cooper, M Corcoran, C D Jameson, G Wright, J B Plummer, W H Keim, D P Woodbury, F E Patterson, A Schimmelfennig, M M Crocker, T Welsh, J B Howell),
1 was dismissed after resignation (J McKinstry),
1 was dismissed after expiry of commission (Gu A Smith),
1 was discharged after expiry of commission (E H Stoughton),
1 was dismissed (J G Spears),
2 were honourably discharged USV (L Blenker, R Cowdin),
117 resigned USV before 31 December 1865 (B F Kelley, G A McCall, R King, W R Montgomery, J W Phelps, J H Martindale, J W Denver, E L Viele, J Shields, A Duryée, E A Paine, E Dumont, C M Thruston, W T H Brooks, M S Wade, A W A F Von Steinwehr, S Hamilton, G W Morgan, J T Boyle, L G Arnold, A Johnson, D Tyler, O S Ferry, M R Patrick, I F Quinby, J Craig, M D Manson, W S Smith, J H Van Alen, L F Ross, M S Hascall, N S Dow, T T Crittenden, M Weber, J C Sullivan, A P Hovey, A S Piatt, J M Tuttle, J White, G C Smith, W B Campbell, J Ammen, M L Smith, C P Buckingham, H D Terry, J Cochrane, J B Turchin, G F Shepley, T L Kane, N Taylor, C E Pratt, W W Averell, F B Spinola, J H H Ward, J Bowen, J W Revere, A W Ellet, G Marston, T A Rowley, N C McLean, J F Farnsworth, D M Gregg, C A Heckman, J T Copeland, E E Potter, S G Champlin, J W McMillan, W W Orme, I J Wistar, F S Nickerson, J Beatty, E S Dennis, G W Deitzler, J D Webster, A L Lee, M K Leopold, C C Dodge, E B Brown, J McNeil, E Harland, W Harrow, H Tyndale, L Cutler, R P Buckland, J M Shackelford, F L Vinton, T Ewing, J M Thayer, H E Paine, H T Reid, A C Harding, J A J Lightburn, R S Foster, J C Starkweather, J L Kiernan, R A Cameron, H L Eustis, A J Hamilton, H W Birge, L Fairchild, S Miller, J H Ledlie, T F Meagher, J W Fuller, J F Miller, J T Croxton, J W Reilly, W H Seward, F Van Derveer, W H Powell, R B Hayes, J Bailey, P H Jones, J G Mitchell, G B Raum, T O Osborn, G P Estey),
8 resigned USV and continued to serve in the US Regular Army on 31 December 1865 (A M McCook, L H Rousseau, G K Warren, W F Smith, W W Burns, B Alvord, E W Hinks, L P Bradley),
82 mustered out of USV before 31 December 1865 (A Porter, C P Stone, H H Lockwood, G B Morell, J J Abercrombie, W A Gorman, W T Ward, W K Strong, T J McKean, H M Naglee, T A Davies, J G Lauman, H P Van Cleve, J McArthur, J Cook, S S Fry, A Asboth, N Kimball, N B Buford, J C Veatch, E B Tyler, S G Burbridge, G H Gordon, F H Warren, C Cruft, F C Saloman, H S Briggs, J D Morgan, J S Phelps, J R Kenly, J P Slough, N J Jackson, M Brayman, S Meredith, E P Scammon, G L Andrews, C B Fisk, C K Graham, S A Meredith, W Vandever, W B Krzyzanowski, T W Sweeny, W H Morris, D Tillson, G D Wagner, G F McGinnis, T T Garrard, J F Knipe, E H Hobson, D Ullmann, H Baxter, J Nagle, J T Owen, J B Carr, G R Paul, E Ferrero, W Birney, A Shaler, A N A Duffié, W C Whitaker, A B Underwood, W A Pile; C Bussey, L A Grant, S G Griffin, J Hayes, B R Pierce, E W Rice, E S Bragg, W W Belknap, P Clayton, E J Davis, J M Oliver, J S Robinson, J A Williamson, C C Doolittle, S Thomas, J I Gilbert, J H Ketcham, J H Stokes, F T Sherman, E Opdycke),
13 mustered out of USV and continued to service in the US Regular Army after 31 December 1865 (S D Sturgis, H M Judah, T Seymour, G C Gilbert, J H King, A J Slemmer, R Arnold, W P Carlin, T H Neill, J D Stevenson, K Garrard, E M McCook, C Ewing),
62 remained active in the USV on 31 December 1865 and mustered out in 1866 (A S Williams, A F Schoepf, R B Mitchell, C Devens, J C Caldwell, A Willich, J R West, W Dwight, J Barnes, H B Ewing, S Beatty, M K Lawler, G J Stannard, C T Campbell, H H Sibley, J J Bartlett, P E Connor, E A Wild, J B Sanborn, J A Maltby, T K Smith, W Q Gresham, M F Force, J M Corse, A L Chetlain, C C Andrews, J F Hartranft, S Connor, J L Chamberlain, W F Bartlett, C J Paine, G H Chapman, J A Cooper, W Grose, J W Sprague, J D Fessenden, T W Egan, J R Hawley, J Edwards, I H Duval, J R Slack, T J Lucas, G L Beal, C Hamlin, B F Potts, R K Scott, N M Curtis, C J Stolbrand, T M Harris, L B Parsons, O Edwards, J E Hamblin, W Wells, H A Barnum, A V Rice, W B Woods, W T Clark, R F Catterson, C H Van Wyck, W B Tibbits, M H Chrysler, J A Dewey),
87 remained active in the USV on 31 December 1865 and continued in the US Regular Army (T W Sherman, J B Ricketts, O B Willcox, H W Benham, W F Barry, L P Graham, S Van Vliet, J Newton, I N Palmer, S Williams, J G Barnard, J M Brannan, J P Hatch, R W Johnson, G W Cullum, Z B Tower, J C Davis, W S Ketchum, J W Davidson, E A Carr, C Grover, R Saxton, S W Crawford, H W Wessells, J H Carleton, J C Robinson, W P Benton, G S Greene, H Prince, A Baird, W L Elliott, A P Howe, B S Roberts, H J Hunt, G W Getty, A Sully, R S Granger, F Wheaton, J E Smith, R O Tyler, A T A Torbert, J S Mason, L C Hunt, I Vogdes, W Hays, T C H Smith, H B Carrington, T G Pitcher, T H Ruger, R B Ayres, J P Hawkins, A Ames, D H Rucker, R Allen, R Ingalls, G A De Russy, A S Webb, C R Woods, J W Turner, P R D de K De Trobriand, E Hatch, A V Kautz, S S Carroll, E Upton, J R Brooke, M D Hardin, J B McIntosh, C C Walcutt, J A Haskin, E Long, W D Whipple, T C Devin, A Gibbs, R S Mackenzie, H G Thomas, G Pennypacker, F T Dent, J H Potter, J S Brisbin, J M Warner, R H Jackson, J W Forsyth, C H Morgan, W H Penrose, W Gamble, L D Watkins),
remained active in the USV on 31 December 1865 and continued in the US Navy (S P Carter),
15 had their commission as Brigadier-General USV expired and not renewed (J McKinstry, J B S Todd, R Busteed, C E Hovey, R B Marcy, Gu A Smith, D H Williams, O M Poe, F S Stumbaugh, D Stuart, I N Haynie, R C Buchanan, J A Hardie, A Chambers, I F Shepard)

General Officers in the Confederate States Army

The General Officers of the army of the Confederate States of America were the senior military leaders of the Confederacy. They were often former officers from the United States Regular Army prior to the Civil War, while others were given the rank based on merit or when necessity demanded. Most Confederate Generals needed confirmation from the Confederate Congress. They answered to their civilian leadership in President Jefferson Davis, and “commander-in-chief” of the Army, Navy and Marines in the Confederate States.

Much of the design of the Confederate States Army was based on the structure and customs of the US Army when the Confederate Congress established their War Department on February 21 1861. The Confederate Army was composed of three parts; the Army of the Confederate States of America (ACSA), intended to become the permanent regular army, the Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS), a “Volunteer” Army to be disbanded after hostilities, and the Militias of the several States.

Graduates from West Point and Mexican War veterans were highly sought after for military service, especially as General Officers. Both the Confederate and Union armies appointed Generals from professional and political backgrounds as well as present and past members of the military. Ranks were roughly based on the US Army in design and seniority. On February 27 1861, a General staff for the army was authorized, consisting of four positions: an Adjutant-General, a Quartermaster-General, a Commissary General, and a Surgeon-General. Initially the last of these was to be a staff officer only. The post of Adjutant-General was filled by Samuel Cooper the position he had held as a colonel in the US Army from 1852 until resigning and he held it throughout the Civil War, as well as the army’s Inspector-General.

The Confederate Army had four grades or levels or “ranks” of General Officers: General, Lieutenant-General, Major-General and Brigadier-General. The regular Army of the Confederate States of America ACSA did not progress beyond the planning stage as an equivalent to the US Army and only six Generals and a few lower grade officers were named. Since the Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS) was the only effective Confederate Army that was organized by the Confederacy, the PACS and ACSA ranks were effectively synonymous.

Initially the Confederate Army commissioned only Brigadier-Generals in both the volunteer and regular services; however, the Confederate Congress quickly passed legislation allowing for the appointment of Major-Generals as well as Generals in the PACS, thus providing clear and distinct seniority over the existing Major-Generals in the various state Militias. On May 16 1861, when there were only five officers at the grade of Brigadier-General ACSA, this legislation was passed, which stated in part: “That the five General Officers provided by existing laws for the Confederate States shall have the rank and denomination of ‘General’, instead of ‘Brigadier-General’, which shall be the highest military grade known to the Confederate States…”

As of September 18 1862, when Lieutenant-Generals were authorized, the Confederate Army had four grades of General Officers; they were in order of increasing rank Brigadier-General, Major-General, Lieutenant-General, and General. As officers were appointed to the various grades of General by Jefferson Davis and were confirmed, he personally created the promotion lists. The dates of rank, as well as seniority of officers appointed to the same grade on the same day, were determined by Davis “usually following the guidelines established for the pre-war US Army.” With four grades of general officer available, the Confederates were usually able to assign commands at a level closely aligned to the grade of their commanders.

Confederate Commander-in-Chief

The permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America provided that the President should be Commander-in-chief of the Army and of the Navy, and of the Militia of the several States when called into actual service. President Jefferson Davis became Commander-in-Chief on his inauguration as President of the Confederate States of America on 18th February 1861. Davis had previously seen distinguished service in the United States Army and as Secretary of War of the United States.

Jefferson Finis Davis of Mississippi 8 February 1861 to 21 February 1862 (provisional)
Jefferson Finis Davis of Mississippi 22 February 1862 to 5 May 1865

Confederate Secretary of War

Leroy Pope Walker of Alabama 21st February 1861 to 17th September 1861
Judah Philip Benjamin of Louisiana 17th September 1861 to 17th March 1862
George Wythe Randolph of Virginia 17th March 1862 to 17th November 1862
Major-General Gustavus Woodson Smith of Kentucky served temporarily from 17th November 1862 to 21st November 1862
James Alexander Seddon of Virginia 21st November 1862 to 6th February 1865
Major-General John Cabell Breckinridge of Kentucky 6th February 1865 to the close of the war on 10th May 1862.

Confederate Military Adviser to the President and General-in-Chief

Robert Edward Lee was the only officer appointed to this position, which was created late in the war by the Confederate Congress on January 23 1865, but it had been debated as early as February 27 1862. Jefferson Davis voiced his rejection and veto of creating this position to the Congress on March 14 of that year, believing that such a General could “command an army or armies without the will of the president.” Davis performed many of the responsibilities of a General-in-chief himself throughout the war, acting as both a military operations manager and commander-in-chief.

Robert Edward Lee (June to November 1861 and March to May 1862) and Braxton Bragg (February 1864 to January 1865) acted as Military Advisers to the President, “charged with the conduct of military operations in the armies of the Confederacy.” Executive authority remained with the President but with guidance from the Adviser.

June 8 1861: General Robert Edward Lee appointed Military Adviser to the President
November 5 1861: The position of Military Adviser to the President became vacant
March 5 1862: General Robert Edward Lee re-appointed Military Adviser to the President
June 1 1862: The position of Military Adviser to the President became vacant
February 24 1864: General Braxton Bragg appointed Military Adviser to the President
January 31 1865: General Robert Edward Lee appointed General-in-Chief; the position of Military Adviser to the President was discontinued
April 10 1865: The position of General-in-Chief was discontinued.

Adjutant-General and Inspector-General

General Samuel Cooper served as Adjutant-General and Inspector General in Richmond, Virginia. He was the senior General of the Confederate Army, but he performed an administrative role rather than in a field or advisory command throughout the war.

16 May 1861: General Samuel Cooper

CONFEDERATE GENERALS ACSA AND PACS

On 16th May 1861, when there were only five officers at the grade of Brigadier-General in the Confederate States’ Army (ACSA). Legislation was passed which stated in part: “That the five General officers provided by existing laws for the Confederate States shall have the rank and denomination of ‘General’, instead of ‘Brigadier-General’, which shall be the highest military grade known to the Confederate States…” At that time Samuel Cooper, Robert Edward Lee and Joseph Eggleston Johnston were the three men actually holding commands as Brigadier-General. Albert Sidney Johnston and Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard followed later in 1861.

The first five Confederate Generals were enrolled in the ACSA to ensure that they outranked all Militia officers. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was initially appointed General in the PACS, but was elevated to ACSA rank two months later, backdated to the same date of rank. Braxton Bragg was appointed a General in the ACSA to date from 6th April 1862, the date when General Albert Sidney Johnston was killed in action. Edmund Kirby Smith was appointed General only of the PACS. These Generals outranked all other grades of Generals, as well as all lesser officers in the Confederate States Army.

The first officers appointed to General, in order of seniority were Samuel Cooper, Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert Edward Lee, Joseph Eggleston Johnston and Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.  This order of seniority placed Cooper, who served only in a staff role and never as a field commander, as the senior General. This arrangement affected the Confederacy’s military effectiveness, most notably because of the strained relationship it caused between General Joseph Eggleston Johnston and President Jefferson Davis. Johnston had been the only serving General officer in the United States Army who joined the Confederacy. He considered himself the senior officer and resented the order of seniority that Davis had authorized. However, his position in the US Army was as a staff, and not as a line officer, a difference which Davis evidently identified to the detriment of former staff officers on more than one occasion when assigning seniority and rank in the Confederate Army.

On 17th February 1864 legislation was passed to allow the President to appoint an officer to command the Trans-Mississippi Department, with the rank of General in the PACS. General Edmund Kirby Smith was the only officer appointed to this position. The effective separation of this Department from the remainder of the Confederacy after the Union re-conquest of the Mississippi necessitated an exceptional degree of autonomy in that Department.

The Congress passed legislation in May 1864 to allow for “temporary” General officers to be appointed at any grade in the PACS by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and to be given a non-permanent command. John Bell Hood was appointed a “temporary” General on 18th July 1864, the date he took command of the Army of Tennessee, but this appointment was not confirmed by the Congress, and he reverted to his rank of lieutenant-General in January 1865. In March 1865, Hood’s status was clarified by the Confederate Senate, which stated: “General J B Hood, having been appointed General, with temporary rank and command, and having been relieved from duty as Commander of the Army of Tennessee, and not having been reappointed to any other command appropriate to the rank of General… has lost the rank of General, and therefore cannot be confirmed as such.”

Beauregard, Cooper, J E Johnston and Lee all had their ranks re-nominated on 20th February 1863 and re-confirmed on 23rd April by the Confederate Congress. This was in response to debates on 17th February whether confirmations made by the provisional legislature needed re-confirmation by the permanent legislature. This was achieved by an Act of Congress issued on 19th February 1863.

Generals occupied the most senior posts in the Confederate Army, commanding Armies, Military Divisions or Departments, or serving as Military Adviser to the President. Eight Generals were ultimately appointed, and one was killed in action.

2 officers were appointed directly as General ACSA (S Cooper, A S Johnston)
3 officers were promoted from Brigadier-General ACSA to General ACSA (R E Lee, J E Johnston, P G T Beauregard)
2 officers were promoted from Lieutenant-General PACS to General PACS (E K Smith, J B Hood)
1 officer was promoted from Major-General PACS to General PACS (B Bragg)
1 officer reverted from General PACS to Lieutenant-General PACS (J B Hood)
1 General was killed in action (A S Johnston)
2 Generals ACSA were surrendered and/or paroled (S Cooper, R E Lee, J E Johnston, P G T Beauregard)
1 General PACS was paroled (B Bragg, E K Smith)

CONFEDERATE LIEUTENANT-GENERALS PACS

As of 18th September 1862, the rank of Lieutenant-General was authorized, and from that date the Confederate Army acquired four grades of General officers; they were in order of increasing rank Brigadier-General, Major-General, Lieutenant-General, and General.

The Confederate Congress passed legislation in May 1864 to allow for “temporary” General officers in the PACS, to be appointed temporarily in special circumstances by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Under this law Richard Heron Anderson was appointed temporarily to Lieutenant-General on 31st May 1864 and reverted later to Major-General. Jubal Anderson Early was appointed temporarily to Lieutenant-General on 31st May 1864 and reverted later to Major-General. Stephen Dill Lee and Alexander Peter Stewart were also appointed temporarily to Lieutenant-General on 23rd June 1864 and reverted later to Major-General. Stephen Dill Lee was nominated a second time to Lieutenant-General on 11th March 1865, but on this occasion, he was confirmed permanently on 16th March 1865.

Congress legalized the creation of Army Corps on 18th September 1862 and directed that a Lieutenant-General should command. Lieutenant-Generals were nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. All Lieutenant-Generals were appointed in the PACS. Army Corps or Corps were officially formed from 6th November 1862 after the appropriate rank of Lieutenant-General had been authorised. Some Lieutenant-Generals never commanded a Corps within an Army as such but commanded comparably sized forces in a Territorial Command. Prior to November 1862 the term Corps was not officially authorised, but it had been in infrequent but unofficial use. Other terms were also used before and after this date to denote subdivisions of an Army larger than a division e.g. Right Wing, Longstreet’s Command without using the unauthorised designation.

Army Corps were numbered within an Army and when this was done the preferred orthography was, for example, “First Corps”. By modern convention Corps are usually denoted by Roman numerals e.g. I Corps for clarity and consistency but this was never the contemporary practice in the Confederate Army. While they were occasionally designated “First Corps” etc but most frequently, and even when numbered, they were known by their commander’s name. Some Corps were never assigned a number and even those that were numbered continued in usual practice to be referred to by their commander’s name. Confederates Corps are sometimes designated by a Roman numeral for clarity although this is both anachronistic and technically inaccurate. After some initial duplication of numbers in 1862 the United States Army sought to end such anomalies from late 1862 onwards and regulated the assignment of all Corps numbers, using Roman numerals. The Union eventually fielded Corps numbered from I Corps to XXV Corps, with some duplications and anomalies. In contrast, the Confederates only numbered the several Corps within one field army rather than across the Army as a whole and therefore had several commands designated as I Corps, II Corps etc.

Corps usually remained with their parent army but were occasionally detached to operate independently e.g. Longstreet’s Corps operated in Southern Virginia in 1863, Early‘s Corps operated in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864, Breckinridge’s Reserve Corps operated at Baton Rouge in 1862. A Corps operated temporarily with another field army on only one occasion when Longstreet’s I Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia was transferred temporarily to the Army of Tennessee in the autumn of 1863. It returned the following spring.

In the absence of the appointed Lieutenant-General, the senior Major-General of the division would normally assume command but the Corps would retain officially the name of the appointed Lieutenant-General. Occasionally, when the Lieutenant-General had an extended absence or was as yet unnamed, the Corps would be referred to for clarity by the name of the temporary commander. Necessity sometimes forced the appointment of a new or temporary Corps commander from outside the Corps.

This rank was not synonymous with the Union use of it; Ulysses Simpson Grant was one of only two Union Lieutenant-Generals during the war, the other being Winfield Scott who had received a promotion to Brevet Lieutenant-General by a special act of Congress in 1855. Grant was by the time of his promotion, March 9 1864, the only substantive Union Lieutenant-General in active service.

5 officers were appointed to General ACSA without being previously appointed as Lieutenant-General (S Cooper, A S Johnston, R E Lee, J E Johnston, P G T Beauregard)
1 officer was promoted to General PACS without being previously appointed as Lieutenant-General (B Bragg)
1 General PACS reverted to Lieutenant-General PACS (J B Hood)
17 Major-General PACS were promoted to Lieutenant-General PACS (J Longstreet, L Polk, T H Holmes, W J Hardee, T J Jackson, J C Pemberton, R S Ewell, A P Hill, J B Hood, R Taylor, Ri H Anderson, J A Early, A P Stewart, S D Lee, S B Buckner, W Hampton, N B Forrest)
1 Lieutenant-General PACS reverted to Major-General PACS (D H Hill)
3 Lieutenant-General PACS were killed in action (L Polk, T J Jackson, A P Hill)
1 Lieutenant-General PSCS resigned (J C Pemberton)
2 Lieutenant-General PACS were honourably discharged (Ri H Anderson, J A Early)
11 Lieutenant-General PACS were surrendered and/or paroled (J Longstreet, T H Holmes, W J Hardee, R S Ewell, J B Hood, R Taylor, A P Stewart, S D Lee, S B Buckner, W Hampton, N B Forrest)

CONFEDERATE MAJOR-GENERALS PACS

Major-Generals were to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Major-Generals were all appointed to the PACS. Some states designated the commander-in-chief of their State Militia, Home Guard, Reserve and similar local forces as Major-General. These had authority only within their own state and were out-ranked by Generals of the ACSA and PACS; few held active senior commands.

Major-Generals served in a few cases as aides to other higher-ranking Generals or War Department staff officers. Many commanded Military Departments or the Districts within them, the majority served as commanders of Divisions within a field army.

The creation of Divisions within a field army was authorized by the Congress on 6th March 1861 to be commanded by a Major-General. Divisions, whether they were within an Army Corps or acting independently, were intended to be commanded by a Major-General. Divisions were occasionally numbered within a Corps or an Army e.g. “1st Division” but the most widespread practice was to name them after their appointed commander e.g. “Cleburne’s Division”. Even on the infrequent occasions where they were assigned a numeral they were more frequently referred to by the commander’s name. In contrast, from mid to late 1862 onwards, Union Divisions were generally but not invariably numbered within a Corps e.g. 1st Division, VI Corps.

In the absence of the appointed Major-General, the senior Brigadier-General of the division would command but the Division would retain officially the name of the appointed Major-General. In practice, especially when a Major-General had an extended absence or was as yet unnamed, the Division would be referred to for clarity by the Brigadier-General’s name. Necessity sometimes forced the appointment of Division commanders from outside the Corps.

By war’s end the Confederacy had at least 88 different men and possibly as many as 92 promoted to the rank of Major-General in the Confederate States’ Army (PACS).

5 officers were appointed to General ACSA without being previously appointed as Major-General PACS (S Cooper, A S Johnston, R E Lee, J E Johnston, P G T Beauregard)
17 Major-General PACS were promoted to Lieutenant-General PACS (J Longstreet, L Polk, T H Holmes, W J Hardee, T J Jackson, J C Pemberton, R S Ewell, A P Hill, J B Hood, R Taylor, Ri H Anderson, J A Early, A P Stewart, S D Lee, S B Buckner, W Hampton, N B Forrest)
1 Lieutenant-General PACS reverted to Major-General PACS (D H Hill)
5 officers were promoted direct to Major-General PACS without previously being promoted Brigadier-General PACS (D E Twiggs, G W Smith, M Lovell, S Price, J F Gilmer)
67 Brigadier-General PACS were promoted to Major-General PACS (E Van Dorn, J B Magruder, B Huger, G B Crittenden, W W Loring, B F Cheatham, S Jones, J P McCown, T C Hindman, J C Breckinridge, L McLaws, J E B Stuart, S G French, G E Pickett, D R Jones, C L Stevenson, J H Forney, D H Maury, J G Walker, A Elzey, P R Cleburne, F Gardner, I R Trimble, D S Donelson, J Wheeler, W H C Whiting, E Johnson, R E Rodes, W H T Walker, H Heth, J S Bowen, R Ransom, W D Pender, J M Withers, C M Wilcox, F Lee, W Smith, T H Cobb, M L Smith, J A Wharton, W T Martin, C W Field, J P Anderson, W B Bate, C A J M De Polignac, R F Hoke, W H F Lee, J F Fagan, Jo B Gordon, J B Kershaw, B R Johnson, S D Ramseur, E C Walthall, H D Clayton, W Mahone, J C Brown, L L Lomax, M C Butler, J L Kemper, G W C Lee, T L Rosser, A R Wright, P M B Young, B Grimes, T J Churchill, J S Marmaduke, H T Hays)
4 Major-General PACS were killed in action (J E B Stuart, P R Cleburne, R E Rodes, W H T Walker)
3 Major-General PACS died of wounds before 31 December 1865 (W H C Whiting, W D Pender, S D Ramseur)
6 Major-General PACS died of other causes before 31 December 1865 (D E Twiggs, E Van Dorn, D R Jones, D S Donelson, J S Bowen, J A Wharton)
3 Major-General PACS resigned (G W Smith, G B Crittenden, W Smith)
50 Major-General PACS were surrendered and/or paroled (J B Magruder, B Huger, W W Loring, B F Cheatham, S Jones, J P McCown, D H Hill, J C Breckinridge, L McLaws, S G French), G E Pickett, C L Stevenson, J H Forney, D H Maury, A Elzey, F Gardner, I R Trimble, J Wheeler, E Johnson, H Heth, R Ransom. C M Wilcox, F Lee, J F Gilmer, T H Cobb, M L Smith, W T Martin, C W Field, J P Anderson, W B Bate, R F Hoke, W H F Lee, J F Fagan, Jo B Gordon, J B Kershaw, B R Johnson, E C Walthall, H D Clayton, W Mahone, J C Brown, L L Lomax, M C Butler, J L Kemper, G W C Lee, T L Rosser, P M B Young, B Grimes, T J Churchill, J S Marmaduke, H T Hays)
7 Major-General PACS are not recorded as surrendered or paroled, or departed abroad (M Lovell, S Price, T C Hindman, J G Walker, J M Withers, C A J M De Polignac, A R Wright)

CONFEDERATE BRIGADIER-GENERALS ACSA and PACS

Before the authorization of the grades of General ACSA or PACS, Lieutenant-General PACS and Major-General PACS, the first five General officers in the Confederacy were appointed as Brigadier-General in the ACSA. These five were later re-appointed as General ACSA.

Some states designated commanders of their State Militia and local forces as Brigadier-General. These had authority only within their own state and were out-ranked by Generals of the ACSA and PACS.

The appointment of officers as Brigadier-General was authorized by Congress on 6th March 1861. Those who received this grade in the ACSA were soon elevated to General ACSA. All other Brigadier-Generals were appointed only within the PACS.

The organization of regiments into brigades was authorized by the Congress on March 6th 1861. It was intended that Brigades of infantry and cavalry should be commanded by a Brigadier-General. Brigadier-Generals were nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Brigadier-Generals were appointed later in the war to command larger concentrations of artillery and to some senior staff positions.

Brigades, whether acting within a Division or independently, were intended to be commanded by a Brigadier-General. Occasionally Brigades might be numbered within a division or command e.g. “1st Brigade” but the standard practice was to name them after their commander e.g. “Kemper’s Brigade”. Even where they were numbered they were more frequently referred to by the commander’s name.

Within a Brigade, each Regiment was commanded by a Colonel, supported at full strength by a Lieutenant-Colonel and a Major. In the absence of the appointed Brigadier-General, the senior Colonel of the brigade would command the Brigade, but it would retain officially the name of the appointed Brigadier. In practice, especially when a Brigadier-General had an extended absence or was yet to be assigned, the Brigade would be referred to for clarity by the commanding Colonel’s name. Preference to command a brigade was usually accorded to the senior Colonel if a promotion was required, but necessity sometimes forced the appointment of brigade commanders from outside the division or even the corps.

5 officers were appointed to General ACSA without being previously appointed as Major-General PACS (S Cooper, A S Johnston, R E Lee, J E Johnston, P G T Beauregard)
2 officers were promoted from Brigadier-General PACS through grades to General PACS (E K Smith, J B Hood)
1 officer was promoted from Brigadier-General ACSA to Major-General PACS then directly to General PACS (B Bragg)
5 officers were promoted directly to Major-General PACS without previously being promoted Brigadier-General PACS (D E Twiggs, G W Smith, M Lovell, S Price, J F Gilmer)
17 Brigadier-General PACS were promoted to Major-General PACS and to Lieutenant-General PACS (J Longstreet, L Polk, T H Holmes, W J Hardee, T J Jackson, J C Pemberton, R S Ewell, A P Hill, J B Hood, R Taylor, Ri H Anderson, J A Early, A P Stewart, S D Lee, S B Buckner, W Hampton, N B Forrest)
67 Brigadier-General PACS were promoted to Major-General PACS (E Van Dorn, J B Magruder, B Huger, G B Crittenden, W W Loring, B F Cheatham, S Jones, J P McCown, T C Hindman, J C Breckinridge, L McLaws, J E B Stuart, S G French, G E Pickett, D R Jones, C L Stevenson, J H Forney, D H Maury, J G Walker, A Elzey, P R Cleburne, F Gardner, I R Trimble, D S Donelson, J Wheeler, W H C Whiting, E Johnson, R E Rodes, W H T Walker, H Heth, J S Bowen, R Ransom, W D Pender, J M Withers, C M Wilcox, F Lee, W Smith, T H Cobb, M L Smith, J A Wharton, W T Martin, C W Field, J P Anderson, W B Bate, C A J M De Polignac, R F Hoke, W H F Lee, J F Fagan, Jo B Gordon, J B Kershaw, B R Johnson, S D Ramseur, E C Walthall, H D Clayton, W Mahone, J C Brown, L L Lomax, M C Butler, J L Kemper, G W C Lee, T L Rosser, A R Wright, P M B Young, B Grimes, T J Churchill, J S Marmaduke, H T Hays)
52 officers were appointed directly to Brigadier-General PACS without being previously appointed as Colonel PACS (C Clark, J B Floyd, H A Wise, R S Garnett, B E Bee, J H Winder, G J Pillow, F K Zollicoffer, R A Toombs, J B Grayson, R S Ripley, A Pike, J R Anderson, L P Walker, G J Rains, T F Drayton, J H Trapier, H Marshall, R B Garnett, H C Wayne, W W Mackall, D Leadbetter, D M Frost, J E Slaughter, S M Barton, S R Gist, J S Roane, W Y Slack, J Finegan, T Jordan, J G Martin, M E Green, E D Tracy, A Buford, E F Paxton, M M Parsons, M J Wright, W L Cabell, A E Jackson, J M Jones, B G Humphreys, R D Johnston, W Y C Humes, R L Page, J Dearing, R P Maclay, S J Gholson, R D Lilley, R C Barringer, G M Sorrel, W H F Payne, M L Bonham)
263 officers were promoted from Colonel PACS to Brigadier-General PACS (A R Lawton, B McCulloch, H H Sibley, R C Gatlin, D Ruggles, P O Hébert, A G Blanchard, A H Gladden, L Tilghman, P St G Cocke, N G Evans, L T Wigfall, W H Carroll, H W Mercer, R Griffith, W M Gardner, L O Branch, M Gregg, R E Colston, J K Duncan, S A M Wood, J K Jackson, J M McIntosh, G W Randolph, J R Chalmers, J L Hogg, J J Pettigrew, C S Winder, W S Featherston, W B Taliaferro, A Rust, H P Bee, S B Maxey, J M Hawes, G H Steuart, W D Smith, P J Semmes, L M Walker, J B Villepigue, H E McCulloch, B H Helm, W N Pendleton, L A Armistead, W N R Beall, H Little, W Preston, R A Pryor, G E Maney, J J A A Mouton, J Echols, J S Williams, T L Clingman, S Garland, R H Hatton, T Ashby, D W Adams, L Hébert, J C Moore, J J Archer, G B Anderson, B H Robertson, St J R Liddell, J Hagood, M Jenkins, A G Jenkins, W E Starke, W Barksdale, M D Ector, E A Perry, J Gregg, A H Colquitt, J Daniel, W R Scurry, A Nelson, W Steele, F A Shoup, J R Davis, W E Jones, W E Baldwin, J C Vaughn, E M Law, E B Greer, F R T Nicholls, P Smith, A Cumming, W S Walker, G P Doles, M D Corse, G T Anderson, A Iverson, T R R Cobb, J H Lane, E L Thomas, J R Cooke, J B Robertson, C Posey, J E Rains, E McNair, W G M Davis, A Gracie, W R Boggs, J C Tappan, D McRae, J Pegram, J H Morgan, R W Hanson, Z C Deas, L E Polk, W H Jackson, J Adams, J Cantey, W T Wofford, H L Benning, S McGowan, F C Armstrong, G B Cosby, M A Stovall, J D Imboden, R B Vance, A M Manigault, D H Cooper, J W Frazer, J W Whitfield, J A Walker, T Green, I W Garrott, A M Scales, M W Ransom, H H Walker, G C Wharton, F M Cockrell, J P Major, L S Baker, J Deshler, S W Ferguson, O F Strahl, P D Roddey, E Hunton, T P Dockery, H B Davidson, H W Allen, C A Battle, W A Quarles, W W Kirkland, G Bryan, W C Wickham, A M Perrin, A W Reynolds, T N Waul, E W Pettus, H R Jackson, A L Long, W W Adams, Ja B Gordon, J H Lewis, J A Smith, M P Lowrey, L A Stafford, E Higgins, J H Kelly, J T Morgan, C C Wilson, J H Clanton, J J Finley, A J Vaughan, R V Richardson, J O Shelby, J R Chambliss, R H Chilton, L S Ross, D C Govan, R L Gibson, C H Stevens, N H Harris, A Thomas, A T Hawthorn, R C Tyler, E P Alexander, W W Allen, H B Granbury, W F Tucker, C W Sears, A Baker, D H Reynolds, J B Clark, H Gray, X B Debray, J Chesnut, R Waterhouse, S Watie, J Bratton, T M Scott, J McCausland, C A Evans, W Terry, M W Gary, B D Fry, S Elliott, J B Terrill, Z York, T F Toon, W R Cox, W G Lewis, J C C Sanders, W R Terry, J Conner, J S Preston, H B Lyon, W L Brandon, B T Johnson, J C Carpenter, J T Holtzclaw, S Benton, W F Brantley, Ro H Anderson, G D Johnston, J H Sharp, G G Dibrell, T B Smith, D A Weisiger, W Miller, B M Thomas, P Cook, W H Young, G W Gordon, J Dunovant, L J Gartrell, W H Stevens, B W Duke, C M Shelley, P T Moore, E G Lee, W H Wallace, W MacRae, P B Starke, S R Anderson, J Gorgas, J B Palmer, D M Du Bose, R Bullock, B J Hill, J P Simms, W L Jackson, J E Harrison, J D Kennedy, R L T Beale, T Harrison, W McComb, R Lowry, W H Forney, T M Logan, I M St John, W R Peck, R L Walker, W P Roberts, W F Perry, T H Bell, A W Campbell, E Capers, Y M Moody, W P Lane, R M Gano, W P hHrdeman)
42 Brigadier-General PACS were killed in action (B McCulloch, R S Garnett, F K Zollicoffer, L Tilghman, R B Garnett, L O Branch, J M McIntosh, C S Winder, S R Gist, H Little, J J A A Mouton, S Garland, R H Hatton, T Ashby, M E Green, M Jenkins, W E Starke, E D Tracy, J Gregg, W R Scurry, W E Jones, P Smith, G P Doles, T R R Cobb, E F Paxton, J E Rains, A Gracie, J Pegram, J H Morgan, J Adams, J M Jones, T Green, I W Garrott, J Deshler, O F Strahl, A M Perrin, J R Chambliss, R C Tyler, H B Granbury, J B Terrill, J C C Sanders, J Dunovant)
21 Brigadier-General PACS died of wounds before 31 December 1865 (B E Bee, A H Gladden, R Griffith, M Gregg, J J Pettigrew, P J Semmes, B H Helm, W Y Slack, L A Armistead, G B Anderson, A G Jenkins, W Barksdale, J Daniel, C Posey, R W Hanson, L A Stafford, J H Kelly, C H Stevens, J Dearing, J C Carpenter, S Benton)
16 Brigadier-General PACS died of other causes before 31 December 1865 (J B Floyd, J H Winder, R C Gatlin, J B Grayson, P St G Cocke, J H Trapier, J K Duncan, J L Hogg, W D Smith, L M Walker, J B Villepigue. J J Archer, A Nelson, W E Baldwin, M M Parsons, C C Wilson)
21 Brigadier-General PACS resigned (C Clark, R A Toombs, A Pike, J R Anderson, L P Walker, L T Wigfall, W H Carroll, H Marshall, H C Wayne, S A M Wood, G W Randolph, S B Maxey, R A Pryor, J C Moore, W G M Davis, D McRae, G Bryan, W C Wickham, M P Lowrey, R H Chilton, S J Gholson)
3 officer had the commission as Brigadier-General PACS expired, revoked or cancelled (J W Frazer, R V Richardson, E G Lee)
1 Brigadier-General PACS was dropped from rolls (D M Frost)
1 Brigadier-General PACS reverted to Colonel PSCS (T F Toon)
139 Brigadier-General PACS were surrendered and/or paroled (H A Wise, G J Pillow, R S Ripley, A G Blanchard, T F Drayton, N G Evans, H W Mercer, J K Jackson, J R Chalmers, W W Mackall, W S Featherston, W B Taliaferro, G H Steuart, S M Barton. J S Roane, W N R Beall, W Preston, G E Maney, J Echols, J G Martin, T L Clingman, D W Adams, B H Robertson, St J R Liddell, J Hagood, M D Ector, A H Colquitt, A Buford, W Steele, J R Davis, J C Vaughn, W S Walker, M D Corse, G T Anderson, J H Lane, E L Thomas, J R Cooke, W R Boggs, M J Wright, J Cantey, W T Wofford, H L Benning, S McGowan, F C Armstrong, G B Cosby, M A Stovall, W L Cabell, J D Imboden, R B Vance, D H Cooper, J W Whitfield, J A Walker, A M Scales, M W Ransom, H H Walker, G C Wharton, F M Cockrell, J P Major, L S Baker, P D Roddey, E Hunton, T P Dockery, B G Humphreys, H B Davidson, H W Allen, W A Quarles, W W Kirkland, R D Johnston, A W Reynolds, E W Pettus, H R Jackson, A L Long, W W Adams, J H Lewis, J A Smith, E Higgins, W Y C Humes, J H Clanton, J J Finley, A J Vaughan, D C Govan, R L Gibson, N H Harris, A Thomas, E P Alexander, W W Allen, C W Sears, R L Page, A Baker, D H Reynolds, S Watie, J Bratton, J McCausland, B D Fry, S Elliott, Z York, W R Cox, W G Lewis, W R Terry, W L Brandon, J T Holtzclaw, W F Brantley, Ro H Anderson, D A Weisiger, W Miller, B M Thomas, P Cook, W H Young, G W Gordon, W H Stevens, B W Duke, C M Shelley, P T Moore, W H Wallace, W H F Payne, P B Starke, J B Palmer, D M Du Bose, J P Simms, W L Jackson, J E Harrison, J D Kennedy, R L T Beale, T Harrison, W McComb, R Lowry, M L Bonham, W H Forney, T M Logan, I M St John, W R Peck, R L Walker, W P Roberts, W F Perry, T H Bell, A W Campbell, E Capers, Y M Moody, R M Gano)
73 Brigadier-General PACS are not recorded as surrendered or paroled, or departed abroad (A R Lawton, H H Sibley, D Ruggles, P O Hébert, G J Rains, W M Gardner, R E Colston, D Leadbetter, A Rust, H P Bee, J M Hawes, J E Slaughter, H E McCulloch, W N Pendleton, J Finegan, T Jordan, J S Williams, L Hébert; E A Perry, F A Shoup, E M Law, E B Greer, F R T Nicholls, A Cumming, A Iverson, J B Robertson, E McNair, J C Tappan, Z C Deas, L E Polk, W H Jackson, A E Jackson, A M Manigault, S W Ferguson, C A Battle, T N Waul, Ja B Gordon, J T Morgan, J O Shelby, L S Ross, A T Hawthorn, W F Tucker, J B Clark, H Gray, X B Debray, J Chesnut, R P Maclay, R Waterhouse, T M Scott, C A Evans, W Terry, M W Gary, R D Lilley, J Conner, R C Barringer, J S Preston, H B Lyon, B T Johnson, G D Johnston, J H Sharp, G G Dibrell, T B Smith, L J Gartrell, G M Sorrel, W MacRae, S R Anderson, J Gorgas, R Bullock, B J Hill, W P Lane, W P Hardeman) 

BREVET RANKS IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY

The Confederate States of America had legislation and regulations for the use of Brevets in their armed forces, provided by Article 61 of the nation’s Articles of War, and by their 1861 Army Regulations, which were based on the US Army’s 1857 version of their regulations. Although Article 61 was revised in 1862, it had no effect since the Confederate States Army did not award any Brevet commissions or during its existence.

ACTING AND UNCONFIRMED CONFEDERATE GENERALS

Many Confederate officers were appointed as Generals late in the war by General Edmund Kirby Smith in the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department, and others have been thought of Generals and exercised command as Generals but who were not duly appointed and confirmed or commissioned. Some State Militia Generals held field commands in their home states but were never given appointments or commissions in the Confederate States Army. Some Colonels or lower ranking officers exercised brigade or division command, and some are erroneously referred to as Generals. A few temporary or temporary Confederate Generals were appointed and confirmed as such.

TRANS-MISSISSIPPI APPOINTMENTS

Several Generals were assigned to duty by General Edmund Kirby Smith but not appointed by President Jefferson Davis or approved by the Confederate Senate because of interrupted communications with the capital Some of Smith’s earlier nominees were formally appointed, but at least nine officers were appointed by Smith late in the war and May have served in the capacity of Generals for a period of time but were never officially appointed and confirmed by the civilian authorities. The nine temporary Generals assigned to duty in this category are listed below.

Bagby, Arthur Pendleton (Alabama) 1833 Colonel 15 November 1862 Brigadier-General March 17 1864 Major-General May 16 1865 to rank from May 10 1865 unconfirmed
Debray, Xavier Blanchard (France) Born 1816 Colonel 5 December 1861 Brigadier-General 13 April 1864 unconfirmed
Gordon, Benjamin Franklin (Massachusetts) Born 1826 Colonel 15 December 1862 Brigadier-General 16 May 1865 unconfirmed
Jackman, Sidney Drake (Kentucky) Born 1826 Colonel 10 August 1863 Brigadier-General May 16 1865 unconfirmed
King, Wilburn Hill (Texas) Born 1839 Colonel 10 August 1863 Brigadier-General 11 May 1864 to rank from April 16 1864
Lewis, Levin Major (Missouri) Born 1830 Colonel 4 March 1863 Brigadier-General, May 16 1865 unconfirmed
Maclay, Robert Plunket (Pennsylvania) Born 1820 USMA 1840 Brigadier-General May 13 1864 to rank from 30 April 1864
Randal, Horace (Tennessee) Born 1833 USMA 1854 Colonel 12 February 1862 Brigadier-General 13 April 1864 to rank from 8 April 1864 DOW 30 April 1864 Jenkins’ Ferry
Terrell, Alexander Watkins (Virginia) Born 1827 Colonel 12 June 1862 Brigadier-General May 10 1865

INCOMPLETE CONFEDERATE APPOINTMENTS, UNCONFIRMED APPOINTMENTS, REFUSED APPOINTMENTS, POSTHUMOUS APPOINTMENTS OR UNDELIVERED COMMISSIONS

The following Confederate officers are often referred to as Generals, but their appointments were never completed or confirmed, or their commissions were not properly delivered. The appointments of a few were withdrawn before they were voted upon by the Confederate Senate. Some appointments were nominated but not confirmed by the Confederate Senate. Some commissions as Generals were not delivered until after their death. In a few cases, promotions to General officer grades were made posthumously as tokens of honour. Some General officer commissions still remained undelivered when the war ended. At least two appointments were unauthorised appointments on the field of battle which were not approved and confirmed by the civil authorities before the war ended. About 24 officers fall into these categories where their appointments, confirmations or commissions were incomplete, or they died, or the war ended before they received their commissions.

The role of the United States Military Academy (West Point)

The United States Military Academy was established at West Point, New York in 1802 to train the new nation’s young men in advanced military and engineering skills and prepare the future leaders of the United States Army. The Academy produced 445 Civil War generals – 294 for the Union and 151 for the Confederacy. Of graduates who were still alive at the start of the war, 105 were killed and 151 had been wounded – 25% of the total. A West Point graduate commanded one or both armies in every one of the 60 major battles of the war.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, 296 US Regular Army officers of various grades resigned. Of these, 239 joined the Confederate Army in 1861 and a further 31 joined after 1861. Of these 270 Confederate officers from the US Army, 184 were United States Military Academy graduates. The other 809 active officers in the US Army, 640 of whom were West Point graduates, remained with the Union. Approximately 900 West Point graduates were in civilian life at the beginning of the war, and of these 114 returned to serve in the Union Army and 99 joined the Confederate Army.

In total, there were 283 Confederate and 754 Union “West Pointers” but professional military training did not necessarily confer high command. Loudly voiced prejudice was often voiced against West Pointers, especially in the North. This was partially justified by the small size, limited field experience and overly bureaucratic nature of the pre-war army, but accusations of excessive punctiliousness or even incompetence among them were largely unfounded. The Confederates were more energetic in finding and promoting officers with West Point training.

The first cadets of the United States Military Academy graduated in 1805; 52 cadets graduated in the first ten years, of whom only three served in the Civil War.

Graduates of Military Institutes

Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont furnished more officers to the war than any other military school except the United States Military Academy (West Point) and the Virginia Military Institute. The school contributed 523 officers to the Union Army and 34 to the Confederate Army. Norwich was the only military college in the Union states, other than West Point, with a sizable number of military-trained alumni. Of the 1,902 men who had attended the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, 1,781 fought for the Confederacy. One-third of the field officers of Virginia regiments in 1861 were VMI graduates. The Citadel Military College of South Carolina provided at least six General Officers to the Confederate Army as well as 49 field grade officers, and 120 company grade officers. Another, Colonel Charles C Tew, was killed on the eve of his promotion to Brigadier-General.

Militia Generals

Most states had Militias in place since Revolutionary War times consistent with the US Militia Act of 1792. They went by varied names such as State “Militia” or “Armies”, “State Troops”, “State Guard” or “Guard” and most were activated and expanded when the Civil War began. These units were commanded by “Militia Generals” in order to defend their particular state, and rarely left native soil to fight. State Militias used the General Officer ranks of Brigadier-General and Major-General; the commanding General of the Militia in a State was usually a Major-General. The regulations in the Act of 1792 provided for Militias into two classes based on age. Class one was to include men from 21 to 30 years old, and class two would include men from 18 to 20 years as well as from 31 to 45 years old.

At the beginning of the Civil War the Union Army incorporated most State Militia units from the States adhering to the Union for federal service. Many Generals of these units did not receive US appointments and remained appointments with authority only within their state. Some states retained or recruited Militia units for local defence, but Generals rarely saw active service as State Militia units remaining under State control did not leave their States for service elsewhere.

The Confederate States Army followed a similar pattern with respect to incorporating volunteer Militias, but certain States retained a significant number of Militia units for local defence. Some State-appointed Generals saw significant active service, usually under the command of Confederate States Army commanders. On a few occasions they were the only forces available to oppose Union operations. State units fought in Texas, Missouri, Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina. The list below is limited to those known to have served in the field in command of Militia units on in another significant capacity in an active theatre or in temporary command of Confederate Army brigades or divisions. As such they may be described as Confederate Generals although they were State Militia Generals.

There was an acute shortage of weapons, uniforms and trained officers in the Militia. Among the available States’ Militia regiments there were very uneven standards of training, with none being battle-ready. Typical Militia training at the time amounted at best to parade-ground drill. Militia units were raised in local communities and rarely met above company-level; they never drilled together in formations as large as regiments.

Some states retained or recruited Militia units for local defence, but Militia Generals rarely saw active service as State Militia units remaining under State control did not leave their States for service elsewhere. Notable examples of Militia and local defence forces being on active service occurred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, and Ohio.

In the West, some State and Territorial Militias were more active forces and acted in defence of settlers. California had many active Militia companies at the beginning of the war and these increased in number throughout the conflict. California also provided the largest contingent of volunteers from west of the Rocky Mountains, (eight regiments and two battalions of infantry, two regiments and a battalion of cavalry). It also provided most of the men for a volunteer infantry regiment from the Washington Territory. Oregon raised an infantry regiment and a cavalry regiment. Colorado Territory Militias were organised to resist Confederate invasion and civil disorder provoked by secessionists, Copperheads, Mormons and Native Americans. Colorado Volunteers participated in the repulse of the Confederate invasion of New Mexico Territory and later instigated the Colorado War with the Plains Indians. California Volunteers of the California Column travelled east across the southern deserts to drive the Confederates out of southern Arizona, New Mexico and the part of west Texas around El Paso. They continued to fight the Navajo and Apache until 1866. They also guarded the Overland Trail, kept the Mormons under observation by the establishment of Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City and fought a campaign against the Shoshone. California, Oregon and Washington Territorial Volunteers tried to protect the settlers in Nevada, Oregon and Idaho Territory, and fought against the Goshute, Paiute, Ute and hostile Snake Indians in the Snake War from 1864 to 1866. California Volunteer forces fought the Bald Hills War in the north-western forests until 1864 and also the Owens Valley Indian War in 1862-1863.

In Missouri, Home Guards companies and regiments were raised by Union supporters, particularly German-Americans to oppose the secessionist paramilitary Minutemen, secessionist elements in the official Missouri Volunteer Militia and then the secessionist Missouri State Guard. Many Home Guard regiments in the St Louis area were raised from among the existing Wide-Awakes (a Republican Party organisation established during the 1860 election), and from members of the German Turnverein or “Turner” cultural organization. St Louis Unionists were mustered into Federal service in April 1861. Five regiments were designated the 1st – 5th Missouri Volunteers and five additional regiments were formed as the United States Reserve Corps. The second group were commonly referred to as the St Louis Home Guard, and their creation was criticised as these regiments exceeded the requirement for Missouri volunteers under the Militia Act of 1792. Governor Claiborne Jackson and Missouri State Guard commander Major-General Sterling Price demanded that the 1st – 5th USRC be disbanded as illegal organisations. Nevertheless, they continued to serve though the Missouri Secession Crisis and were later converted into three-year Volunteer regiments. Union Home Guards outside St Louis were organised and mobilised by Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon to oppose the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard. Later in 1861 and in early 1862 the three-month service Home Guard were replaced by Militia regiments including the new Missouri State Militia, the compulsory Enrolled Missouri Militia in July 1862 and the later Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia.

Iowa Home Guard companies provided border defence along the Missouri border. During the engagement at Athens, Missouri, Iowa Home Guard companies protected the supply depots on the Iowa side of the Des Moines River. Kentucky Home Guard participated in the action at Barbourville, Kentucky, in September 1861 as well as at Camp Wildcat and other skirmishes. Union volunteer infantry regiments known as the Indian Home Guard were recruited from the Five Civilized Tribes in the Indian Territory. Although the tribal leadership had generally supported the Confederacy, many tribal members did not, and this provided an opportunity for them to serve the Union.

“Civilian” and “Political” Generals

Popular sentiment for “self-made” Generals proven in action and the influence of political figures secured many high commands for unqualified civilians. Pre-war Governors, Senators, Congressmen, Mayors and other holders of high office were appointed to high commands early in the war on both sides, with the assumption that leadership and position in civilian life were good indicators of their military potential. Some proved to be very able leaders and succeeded spectacularly despite their inexperience; others proved to disasters or embarrassments. Both armies encountered difficulty in removing influential political and public figures who had proved unsuited to the task and some who were relieved of command subsequently became political thorns in the side of the government.

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