Union Pre-War Organisation

Union Pre-War Organisation

January 1 1861-April 11 1861

Summary

The United States Regular Army was ill-prepared for a war on a continental scale and was organised primarily for operations on the western frontier and defense of major coastal locations against overseas threats. There were 198 companies formed into 10 Regiments of Infantry, 4 Regiments of Artillery and 5 Regiments of Cavalry. There were 1,098 Officers and 15,304 Enlisted Men of whom 727 Officers and 13,930 Enlisted Men were present for duty.

The majority of field forces were deployed along the western frontier and in the new territories. Garrisons were also located in the primary east coast ports where a new generation of coastal fortifications was under construction. These forts were not fully garrisoned but were held ready for occupation by the State Militia in the event of war with a European power. Of the 198 available companies or batteries, 183 were stationed at 79 different posts west of the Mississippi. The other fifteen companies, mostly artillery, were allocated to coastal fortifications, 23 arsenals, and on the Canadian border.

Historically, for major campaigns such as the War with Mexico in 1846-1848, the United States had supplemented its Regular Army by recruiting a temporary army of volunteers, called up for service of limited duration. In the coming Civil War, these US Volunteers would, as before, form the backbone of the forces engaged.

Army administration, equipment, and supply were handled by a system of bureaux reporting directly to the War Department and not subject to the direct orders of the General-in-Chief. The staff departments covered the following territories of responsibility: Quartermaster-General, Adjutant-General, Inspector-General, Commissary General of Subsistence, Paymaster-General, Surgeon-General, Judge Advocate-General, and later, Provost Marshal General; Engineers, Topographical Engineers (discontinued in 1863), and Ordnance.

The seven Departments at the start of 1861 were modified on January 15 1861 to six by combining the Department of California and the Department of Oregon into a new Department of the Pacific. Oregon was assigned to a new District.

The six military Departments in existence after January 15 1861 reported the following numbers available for duty: East 3,894, West 3,585, Utah 685, Pacific California 3,382, New Mexico 2,624 and Texas 2,258.

The Department of the East manned the eastern coast fortifications with 18 artillery companies and one company of engineers but no infantry or cavalry. None were stationed in the vicinity of Washington, DC. The Department of Utah had three companies of dragoons, three companies of artillery and four companies of infantry. Thirteen companies of infantry and two companies of dragoons were in the Department of New Mexico and one regiment of infantry was in the Department of Texas. There were forces also in the Department of California and the Department of Oregon.

Of 1,108 Regular Army officers serving as of 1 January 1861, 270 ultimately resigned to join the Confederacy. Only a few hundred out of 15,135 enlisted men left the ranks.

The imminence of war and the vulnerability of the capital region required the creation of the Department of Washington on April 9 1861.


Union High Command on January 1 1861

The Department of California comprised the country west of the Rocky Mountains south of the Oregon Territory and including the Utah Territory west of the 117 degrees longitude and the New Mexico Territory west of 100 degrees longitude. Headquarters were at San Francisco. 
The Department of New Mexico comprised the Territory of New Mexico east of 110 degrees of longitude and a part of southwest Colorado Territory. Headquarters were at Santa Fe.
The Department of Oregon comprised the area of the later states of Washington, Idaho and all but the south-western corner of Oregon. Headquarters were at Vancouver.
The Department of Texas comprised the state of Texas. Headquarters were at San Antonio. The Department of the East included all of the United States east of the Mississippi River. Headquarters were at New York.
The Department of the West comprised the country west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains, except for Texas, Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory. It included Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas Territory, Nebraska Territory, Indian Territory and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River. Headquarters were at St Louis.
The Department of Utah comprised Utah Territory east of 177 degrees west longitude. Headquarters were at Fort Crittenden.

Commander in Chief: President James Buchanan
Vice-President: John Cabell Breckinridge
Secretary of War: Joseph Holt
Secretary of the Navy: Isaac Toucey

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

  • Department of California: Benjamin Lloyd Beall temporary
  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of New Mexico: Thomas Turner Fauntleroy
  • Department of Oregon: George Wright
  • Department of Texas: David Emanuel Twiggs
  • Department of Utah: Philip St George Cooke
  • Department of the West: William Selby Harney

1st Regiment US Infantry: Colonel Carlos Adolphus Waite; HQ Fort Chadbourne, Texas
2nd Regiment US Infantry: Colonel Dixon Stansbury Miles, HQ Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
3rd Regiment US Infantry: Colonel Benjamin Bonneville; HQ Fort Clark, Texas
4th Regiment US Infantry: Colonel George Wright; HQ Fort Vancouver, California
5th Regiment US Infantry: Colonel Gustavus Loomis; HQ Fort Union, New Mexico Territory
6th Regiment US Infantry: Lieutenant-Colonel George Andrews (vice Colonel Washington Seawell); HQ Bernicia Barracks, California
7th Regiment US Infantry: Colonel John Joseph Abercrombie, HQ Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory8th Regiment US Infantry: Colonel John Garland; HQ San Antonio, Texas
9th Regiment US Infantry: Lieutenant-Colonel Silas Casey (vice Colonel George Wright); Fort Vancouver, California
10th Regiment US Infantry: Colonel Edmund Brooke Alexander; HQ Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory
1st Regiment US Dragoons (later 1st US Cavalry): Colonel Thomas Turner Fauntleroy; HQ Fort Tejon, California
2nd Regiment US Dragoons (later 2nd US Cavalry): Colonel Philip St George Cooke; HQ Waterloo, Iowa
1st Regiment US Mounted Riflemen (later 3rd US Cavalry): Colonel William Wing Loring; HQ Fort Union, New Mexico Territory
4th Regiment US Cavalry: Colonel Edwin Vose Sumner; HQ Fort Riley, Kansas

Quartermaster-General: Brigadier-General USA Joseph Eggleston Johnston, since 28 June 1860.
Commissary General of Subsistence: Colonel George Gibson, since 18 April 1818
Surgeon-General: Colonel Thomas Lawson, since 30 November 1836.
Chief of Engineers: Colonel Joseph Gilbert Totten, since 7 December 1838.
Chief of Topographical Engineers: Colonel John James Abert, since 1838.
Inspector-General: Colonel Sylvester Churchill, since 25 June 1841.
Adjutant-General: Colonel Samuel Cooper, since 15 July 1852.
Paymaster-General: Colonel Benjamin Franklin Larned, since 20 July 1854.
Chief of Ordnance: Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Knox Craig, since 10 July 1851.
Judge Advocate-General: Captain John Fitzgerald Lee, since 2 March 1849.

African Squadron USN: Captain William Inman USN
Brazil Squadron USN: Captain Joshua R Sands USN.
East Indian (Asiatic) Squadron USN: Captain Cornelius K Stribling USN
European Squadron USN: vacant
Home Squadron USN: Captain Garrett J Prendergast USN
Mediterranean Squadron USN: Captain Charles H Bell USN
Pacific Squadron USN: Captain John B Montgomery USN


Department of the East

(January 1 1861-April 11 1861)

  • John Ellis Wool (January 1 1861-April 11 1861)

January 1 1861: The Department of the East included all of the United States east of the Mississippi River. Headquarters were at New York. The Department of the East was commanded by Brigadier-General USA John Ellis Wool.

From April 12 1861: See Wartime organisation, April 12 1861-June 27 1865.


Department of the West

(January 1 1861-April 11 1861)

  • William Selby Harney (January 1 1861-April 11 1861)

January 1 1861: The Department of the West comprised the country west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains, except for Texas, Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory. It included Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas Territory, Nebraska Territory, Indian Territory and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River. Headquarters were at St Louis. The Department of the West was commanded by Brigadier-General USA William Selby Harney

February 28 1861: Colorado Territory was incorporated into the Department of the West.

From April 12 1861: See Wartime organisation, April 12 1861-June 27 1865.


Department of Texas

(January 1 1861-April 11 1861)

  • David Emanuel Twiggs (January 1 1861-February 18 1861)
  • Carlos Adolphus Waite (temporary February 19 1861-April 11 1861)

January 1 1861: The Department of Texas comprised the state of Texas. Headquarters were at San Antonio. The Department of Texas was commanded by Brigadier-General USA David Emanuel Twiggs

February 18 1861: Command of the Department of Texas became vacant following the defection of Brigadier-General David Emanuel Twiggs to the Confederacy.

February 19 1861: Colonel Carlos Adolphus Waite assumed temporary command of the Department of Texas, replacing Brigadier-General David Emanuel Twiggs.

From April 12 1861: See Wartime organisation, April 12 1861-June 27 1865.


Department of California

(January 1 1861-January 15 1861, discontinued, to Department of the Pacific)

  • Benjamin Lloyd Beall (temporary January 1 1861-January 15 1861)

January 1 1861: The Department of California was established. It comprised the country west of the Rocky Mountains south of the Oregon Territory and including the Utah Territory west of the 117 degree of longitude and the New Mexico Territory west of 100 degrees longitude. Headquarters were at San Francisco. The Department of California was commanded temporarily by Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin Lloyd Beall.

January 15 1861: The Department of California was discontinued, and its territory included in the Department of the Pacific.


Department of Oregon

(January 1 1861-January 15 1861, discontinued, to District of Oregon)

  • George Wright (January 1 1861-January 15 1861)

January 1 1861: The Department of Oregon comprised the territory of the later states of Washington, Idaho and all but the south-western corner of Oregon. Headquarters were at Vancouver. The Department of Oregon was commanded by Colonel George Wright.

January 15 1861: The Department of Oregon was discontinued, and its territory incorporated into the new District of Oregon in the Department of the Pacific.


Department of Utah

(January 1 1861-April 11 1861)

  • Philip St George Cooke (January 1 1861-April 11 1861)

January 1 1861: The Department of Utah comprised Utah Territory east of 177 degrees west longitude. Headquarters were at Fort Crittenden. The Department of Utah was commanded by Colonel Philip St George Cooke.

From April 12 1861: See Wartime organisation, April 12 1861-June 27 1865.


Department of New Mexico

(January 1 1861–April 11 1861)

  • Thomas Turner Fauntleroy (January 1 1861-January 21 1861 interim March 21 1861)
  • William Wing Loring (January 22 1861-April 11 1861)

January 1 1861: The Department of New Mexico comprised the Territory of New Mexico east of 110 degrees of longitude and a part of southwest Colorado Territory. Headquarters were at Santa Fe. The Department of New Mexico was commanded by Colonel Thomas Turner Fauntleroy.

January 22 1861: Colonel William Wing Loring was appointed to command the Department of New Mexico, arriving on 22nd March 1861.

March 22 1862: Colonel William Wing Loring arrived to command the Department of New Mexico, succeeding Colonel Thomas Turner Fauntleroy, who defected to the Confederacy.

From April 12 1861: See Wartime organisation, April 12 1861-June 27 1865.


Department of the Pacific

(Established January 15 1861-April 11 1861)

  • Albert Sidney Johnston (January 1 1861-March 22 1861 interim April 11 1861)

January 15 1861: The Department of the Pacific was established, comprising the territory west of the Rocky Mountains except for the part of Utah Territory east of 117 degrees west longitude and except for New Mexico Territory east of 110 degrees west longitude. Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston assumed command of the Department of the Pacific. The District of Oregon was established in the Department of the Pacific, comprising the state of Oregon and Washington Territory except for the territories of the Rogue and Umpqua Rivers.

March 2 1861: Nevada Territory and Dakota Territory were included in the Department of the Pacific.

March 23 1861: Brigadier-General Edwin Vose Sumner was appointed to command the Department of the Pacific, arriving on 25th April 1861.

April 10 1861: Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston resigned as commander of the Department of the Pacific but awaited the arrival of his successor, Brigadier-General Edwin Vose Sumner, before departing.

From April 12 1861: See Wartime organisation, April 12 1861-June 27 1865.

District of Oregon

(Established January 15 1861-April 11 1861)

  • George Wright (January 15 1861-April 11 1861)

January 15 1861: The District of Oregon was established in the Department of the Pacific, comprising the state of Oregon and Washington Territory except for the territories of the Rogue and Umpqua Rivers. Colonel George Wright assumed command of the District of Oregon.

From April 12 1861: See Wartime organisation, April 12 1861-June 27 1865.


Department of Washington

(Established April 9 1861-April 11 1861)

  • Charles Ferguson Smith (April 9 1861-April 11 1861)

April 9 1861: The Department of Washington was established, comprising the original boundaries of the District of Columbia (including Alexandria County, Virginia) and the state of Maryland as far south as Bladensburg, taken from the Department of the East. Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Ferguson Smith was appointed to command the Department of Washington, arriving on 10th April 1861.

April 10 1861: Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Ferguson Smith arrived to command the Department of Washington.

From April 12 1861: See Wartime organisation, April 12 1861-June 27 1865.


Union High Command on April 11 1861

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin
Secretary of War: Simon Cameron
Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

African Squadron USN: Captain William Inman USN
Brazil Squadron USN: Captain Joshua R Sands USN.
East Indian (Asiatic) Squadron USN: Captain Cornelius K Stribling USN
European Squadron USN: vacant
Home Squadron USN: Captain Garrett J Prendergast USN
Mediterranean Squadron USN: Captain Charles H Bell USN
Pacific Squadron USN: Captain John B Montgomery USN

General–in-Chief: Winfield Scott

  • Department of the East: John Ellis Wool
  • Department of New Mexico: William Wing Loring
  • Department of the Pacific: Albert Sidney Johnston interim Edwin Vose Sumner awaited
    • District of Oregon: George Wright
  • Department of Texas: Carlos Adolphus Waite
  • Department of Utah: Philip St George Cooke
  • Department of Washington: Charles Ferguson Smith
  • Department of the West: William Selby Harney
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