During the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and south ...
, the Union Army, also known as the Federal Army and called the Northern Army, referred to the
United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare, land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed services, and is designated as the Army o ...
, the land force that fought to preserve the Union of the collective
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
. It proved essential to the preservation of the United States as a working, viable republic. The Union Army was made up of the permanent regular army of the United States, but further fortified, augmented, and strengthened by the many temporary units of dedicated volunteers as well as including those who were drafted in to service as
conscripts Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service. Conscription ...
. To this end, the Union Army fought and ultimately triumphed over the efforts of the
Confederate States Army The Confederate States Army, also called the Confederate Army or the Southern Army, was the military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare ...
in the American Civil War. Over the course of the war, 2,128,948 men enlisted in the Union Army, including 178,895
colored troops The United States Colored Troops (USCT) were regiments in the United States Army composed primarily of African-American (colored) soldiers, although members of other minority groups also served within the units. They were first recruited during ...
; 25% of the white men who served were foreign-born.McPherson, pp.36–37. Of these soldiers, 596,670 were killed, wounded or went missing. The initial call-up was for just three months, after which many of these men chose to reenlist for an additional three years.


When the American Civil War began in April 1861, the U.S. Army consisted of ten regiments of
infantry Infantry is an army specialization whose military personnel, personnel engage in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and armored warfare, armored forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantrymen or infanteer, i ...

, four of
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications dur ...

, two of
cavalry Historically, cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldier A soldier is a person who is a member of a professional army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via O ...

, two of
dragoons Dragoons were originally a class of mounted infantry Mounted infantry were infantry who rode horses instead of marching. The original dragoons were essentially mounted infantry. According to the 1911 ''Encyclopædia Britannica'', "Mounted rif ...

, and three of
mounted infantry Mounted infantry were infantry at the Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the ...
. The regiments were scattered widely. Of the 197 companies in the army, 179 occupied 79 isolated posts in the
West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A co ...
, and the remaining 18 manned garrisons east of the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem), second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest Drainage system (geomorphology), drainage system on the North American continent, second only to ...

Mississippi River
, mostly along the
Canada–United States border The Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest border, international border in the world between two countries. The terrestrial boundary (including boundaries in the Great Lakes, Atlantic and P ...
and on the Atlantic coast. There were only 16,367 men in the U.S. Army, including 1,108 commissioned officers. Approximately 20% of these officers — most of them Southerners — resigned, choosing to tie their lives and fortunes to the Army of the Confederacy. In addition, almost 200
West Point The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point or simply Army is a four-year United States service academy in West Point, New York West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States ...
graduates who had previously left the Army, including
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and he ...

Ulysses S. Grant
William Tecumseh Sherman William Tecumseh Sherman ( ; February 8, 1820February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a General officer, general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–1865), achieving recogni ...

William Tecumseh Sherman
, and
Braxton Bragg Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was an American army officer during the Second Seminole War and Mexican–American War and later a Confederate army officer who served as a general A general officer is an officer of ...

Braxton Bragg
, returned to service at the outbreak of the war. This group's loyalties were far more evenly divided, with 92 donning Confederate gray and 102 putting on the blue of the United States Army. With the
Southern slave states
Southern slave states
declaring secession from the United States, and with this drastic shortage of men in the army, President
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th from 1861 until in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the , the country's greatest moral, cultural, constitutional, and ...

Abraham Lincoln
called on the states to raise a force of 75,000 men for three months to put down this subversive insurrection. Lincoln's call forced the border states to choose sides, and four seceded, making the Confederacy eleven states strong. It turned out that the war itself proved to be much longer and far more extensive in scope and scale than anyone on either side, Union North or Confederate South, expected or even imagined at the outset on the date of July 22, 1861. That was the day that
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

initially approved and authorized subsidy to allow and support a volunteer army of up to 500,000 men to the cause. The call for volunteers initially was easily met by patriotic Northerners,
abolitionists Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, was the movement to end slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), w ...
, and even immigrants who enlisted for a steady income and meals. Over 10,000
German Americans German Americans (german: Deutschamerikaner, ) are Americans Americans are the citizens and nationals Nationals may refer to: * People of a given nationality * A tournament or convention of national scope * Washington Nationals, a Major L ...
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the Northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

immediately responded to Lincoln's call, along with Northern
French Americans French Americans or Franco-Americans (french: Franco-Américains), are citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state ...
, who were also quick to volunteer. As more men were needed, however, the number of volunteers fell and both money bounties and forced conscription had to be turned to. Many
Southern Unionist In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Was ...
s would also fight for the Union Army. An estimated 100,000 white soldiers from states within the Confederacy served in Union Army units. Between April 1861 and April 1865, at least 2,128,948 men served in the United States Army, of whom the majority were volunteers. It is a misconception that the South held an advantage because of the large percentage of professional officers who resigned to join the
Confederate army The Confederate States Army, also called the Confederate Army or simply the Southern Army, was the military land force of the Confederate States of America (commonly referred to as the Confederacy) during the American Civil War (1861–1865) ...
. At the start of the war, there were 824 graduates of the U.S. Military Academy on the active list; of these, 296 resigned or were dismissed, and 184 of those became Confederate officers. Of the approximately 900
West Point The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point or simply Army is a four-year United States service academy in West Point, New York West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States ...
graduates who were then civilians, 400 returned to the United States Army and 99 to the Confederate. Therefore, the ratio of U.S. Army to Confederate professional officers was 642 to 283. (One of the resigning officers was
Robert E. Lee Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was an American Confederate general best known for his service to the Confederate States of America The Confederate States of America (CSA), commonly referred to as the Co ...

Robert E. Lee
, who had initially been offered the assignment as commander of a field army to suppress the rebellion. Lee disapproved of secession, but refused to bear arms against his native state,
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a in the and regions of the , between the and the . The geography and climate of the are shaped by the and the , which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capit ...
, and resigned to accept the position as commander of Virginian C.S. forces. He eventually became the commander of the
Confederate army The Confederate States Army, also called the Confederate Army or simply the Southern Army, was the military land force of the Confederate States of America (commonly referred to as the Confederacy) during the American Civil War (1861–1865) ...
.) The South did have the advantage of other military colleges, such as
The Citadel The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, commonly known simply as The Citadel, is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is ...
Virginia Military Institute Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is a Public university, public Senior Military College, senior military college in Lexington, Virginia. It was founded in 1839 as America's first state military college and is the oldest public senior military col ...
, but they produced fewer officers. Though officers were able to resign, enlisted soldiers did not have this right. As they usually had to either desert or wait until their enlistment term was over in order to join the Confederate States Army; their total number is unknown.



President Abraham Lincoln exercised supreme
command and control Command and control is a "set of organizational and technical attributes and processes ...
hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men's beaver felt hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safet ...

employs human, physical, and information resources to solve problems and accomplish missions" to achieve the goals of an organization or enterpris ...
over the Army in his capacity as
commander-in-chief A commander-in-chief or supreme commander is the person who exercises supreme command and control Image:CIC-USS-CarlVinson-2001.jpg, A watchstander at her station in the combat information center of USS Carl Vinson, USS ''Carl Vinson'' in the ...
of the
United States Armed Forces The United States Armed Forces are the Military, military forces of the United States of America. The armed forces consists of six Military branch, service branches: the United States Army, Army, United States Marine Corps, Marine Corps, Uni ...

United States Armed Forces
. Below him was the
Secretary of War The secretary of war was a member of the U.S. president The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foak ...
, who oversaw the administration of the Army, and the
General-in-Chief General in Chief has been a military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for ...

, who directed the field operations of the Army. At the start of the war,
Simon Cameron Simon Cameron (March 8, 1799June 26, 1889) was an American businessman and politician. He represented Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( ) ( pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlant ...

Simon Cameron
served as Secretary of War before being replaced in January 1862 by
Edwin Stanton Edwin McMasters Stanton (December 19, 1814December 24, 1869) was an American lawyer and politician who served as United States Secretary of War, Secretary of War under the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Administration during most of the Am ...
. The role of General-in-Chief was filled by several men during the course of the war:United States Army Logistics, 1775-1992: An Anthology. (1997). United States: Center of Military History, U.S. Army. p. 194-195 *
Winfield Scott Winfield Scott (June 13, 1786May 29, 1866) was an American military commander and political candidate. He served as a general in the United States Army from 1814 to 1861, taking part in the War of 1812, the Mexican–American War, the early st ...

Winfield Scott
: July 5, 1841November 1, 1861 *
George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan
: November 1, 1861March 11, 1862 * Henry W. Halleck: July 23, 1862March 9, 1864 *
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and he ...

Ulysses S. Grant
: March 9, 1864March 4, 1869 The gap from March 11 to July 23, 1862, was filled with direct control of the army by President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton, with the help of an unofficial "War Board" that was established on March 17, 1862. The board consisted of Ethan A. Hitchcock, the chairman, with Department of War bureau chiefs
Lorenzo Thomas
Lorenzo Thomas
, Montgomery C. Meigs, Joseph G. Totten, James W. Ripley, and Joseph P. Taylor. Reporting directly to the Secretary of War were the bureau chiefs or heads of staff departments which made up the Department of War. These included, at the onset of the war, the Adjutant General, Inspector General,
Paymaster-General Her Majesty's Paymaster General or HM Paymaster General is a ministerial position in the Cabinet Office The Cabinet Office is a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for supporting the prime minister and Cabinet ...
Judge Advocate GeneralA Judge Advocate General is a principal judicial officer for a military branch Military branch (also service branch or armed service) is according to common standard the subdivision of the national armed forces of a sovereign nation or state. T ...
Chief of Engineers The Chief of Engineers is a principal United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniform ...
, Chief of Topographical Engineers,
Quartermaster General A quartermaster general is the staff officer in charge of supplies for a whole army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily o ...
, Commissary General of Subsistence,
Chief of Ordnance The United States Army Ordnance Corps, formerly the United States Army Ordnance Department, is a sustainment branch of the United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Ar ...
, and Surgeon General. After the war started, the position of
Provost Marshal General The provost marshal general (pronounced "provo") is a United States Army staff position that handles investigations of U.S. Army personnel. It is the highest-ranking provost marshal position in the U.S. Army, reporting to the Chief of Staff of th ...
was also created. Originally established on September 24, 1862, as an office in the Adjutant General's department under Simeon Draper, it was made an independent department in its own right on May 1, 1863, under James B. Fry.Eicher, p. 58 The
Signal CorpsA signal corps is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, ...
was created and deployed for the first time, through the leadership of . One drawback to this system was that the authority and responsibilities of the Secretary of War, his Assistant Secretaries, and the General-in-Chief were not clearly delineated. Additionally, the efforts of the four "supply" departments (Quartermaster, Subsistence, Ordnance & Medical) were not coordinated with each other, a condition that would last throughout the war. Although the "War Board" could provide military advice and help coordinate military policy, it was not until the appointment of Ulysses Grant as General-in-Chief was there more than the vaguest coordination of military strategy and logistics.

Major organizations

The Union Army was composed of numerous organizations, which were generally organized geographically. ;
Military division A division is a large military unit or Formation (military), formation, usually consisting of between 6,000 and 25,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades; in turn, several divisions typically make ...
: A collection of Departments reporting to one commander (e.g.,
Military Division of the MississippiThe Military Division of the Mississippi was an administrative division of the United States Army during the American Civil War that controlled all military operations in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, Western Theater from 1863 until ...
Middle Military DivisionThe Middle Military Division was an organization of the Union Army , a regiment serving in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, Western Theater. File:GeorgeMcClellan1861a.jpg, 200px, left, General George B. McClellan with staff and ...
, Military Division of the James). Military Divisions were similar to the more modern term
Theater Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different from visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as pain ...
; and were modeled close to, though not synonymous with, the existing theaters of war. ;
Department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
: An organization that covered a defined region, including responsibilities for the Federal installations therein and for the field armies within their borders. Those named for states usually referred to Southern states that had been occupied. It was more common to name departments for rivers (such as Department of the Tennessee,
Department of the Cumberland The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union (American Civil War), Union armies in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio. History ...
,) or regions (
Department of the PacificThe Department of the Pacific or Pacific Department was a major command ( Department) of the United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight U ...
, Department of New England,
Department of the East The Department of the East was a military administrative district Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represente ...
Department of the West The Department of the West, later known as the Western Department, was a major command ( Department) of the United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is o ...
Middle DepartmentThe Middle Department was an administrative military district created by the United States Department of War, United States War Department early in the American Civil War to administer the troops in the Mid-Atlantic States, Middle Atlantic states. T ...
). ;
District A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by the local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or County, counties, several Municipality, municipal ...
: A territorial subdivision of a Department (e.g., District of Cairo, District of East Tennessee). There were also Subdistricts for smaller regions. ; Army : The fighting force that was usually, but not always, assigned to a District or Department but could operate over wider areas. An army could contain between one and eight corps, with an average of three. Some of the most prominent armies were: :*
Army of the Cumberland The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio. History The origin of the Army of t ...
, the army operating primarily in
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The S ...

, and later
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country), a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia * Georgia (U.S. state), one of the states of the United States of America Georgia may also refer to: Historical states and entities * Democratic Republ ...
, commanded by and
George Henry Thomas George Henry Thomas (July 31, 1816March 28, 1870) was a United States Army officer and a Union Army, Union General officer, general during the American Civil War, one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, ...
. :*
Army of Georgia The Army of Georgia was a Union army that constituted the Left Wing of Major General William T. Sherman's Army Group during the March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. History During Sherman's Atlanta Campaign in 1864, his Army Group was ...
, operated in the March to the Sea and the Carolinas commanded by Henry W. Slocum. :*
Army of the Gulf The Army of the Gulf was a Union Army that served in the general area of the Gulf states controlled by Union forces. It mainly saw action in Louisiana and Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), ...
, the army operating in the region bordering the
Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geographic features In hydrology Hydrology (from Greek: wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning ...

Gulf of Mexico
, commanded by
Benjamin Butler Benjamin Franklin Butler (November 5, 1818 – January 11, 1893) was a major general of the Union Army, politician, lawyer and businessman from Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most popu ...
, , and
Edward Canby Edward Richard Sprigg Canby (November 9, 1817 – April 11, 1873) was a career United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed ser ...

Edward Canby
. :*
Army of the James The Army of the James was a Union Army , a regiment serving in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, Western Theater. File:GeorgeMcClellan1861a.jpg, 200px, left, General George B. McClellan with staff and dignitaries (from left to r ...
, the army operating on the
Virginia Peninsula The Virginia Peninsula is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is u ...
, 1864–65, commanded by Benjamin Butler and
Edward Ord Edward Otho Cresap Ord (October 18, 1818 – July 22, 1883) was an American engineer and United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uni ...
. :*
Army of the Mississippi Army of the Mississippi was the name given to two Union armies that operated around the Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem), second-longest river and chief river of the sec ...
, a briefly existing army operating on the Mississippi River, in two incarnations—under John Pope (military officer), John Pope and in 1862; under John A. McClernand in 1863. :*Army of the Ohio, the army operating primarily in Kentucky and later Tennessee and Georgia, commanded by Don Carlos Buell, Ambrose E. Burnside, John G. Foster, and John M. Schofield. :*Army of the Potomac, the principal army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, Eastern Theater, commanded by , Ambrose E. Burnside, Joseph Hooker, and George G. Meade. :*Army of the Shenandoah (Union), Army of the Shenandoah, the army operating in the Shenandoah Valley, under David Hunter, Philip Sheridan, and Horatio G. Wright. :*Army of the Tennessee, the most famous army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, Western Theater, operating through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Carolinas; commanded by
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and he ...

Ulysses S. Grant
, William T. Sherman, James B. McPherson, and Oliver O. Howard. :*Army of Virginia, the army assembled under John Pope (military officer), John Pope for the Northern Virginia Campaign. Each of these armies was usually commanded by a Major general (United States), major general. Typically, the Department or District commander also had field command of the army of the same name, but some conflicts within the ranks occurred when this was not true, particularly when an army crossed a geographic boundary. The commanding officer of an army was authorized a number of aide-de-camps as their personal staff and a general Staff (military), staff. It included representatives of the other combat arms, such as a chief of artillery and chief of cavalry (the infantry being typically represented by the commanding officer) and representatives of the staff bureaus and offices.Eicher, p. 40 The staff department officers typically assigned to an army or military department included an Assistant Adjutant General, a Chief Quartermaster, a Chief Commissary of Subsistence, an Assistant Inspector General, an Ordnance Officer (all with the rank of Colonel) and a Medical Director.Newell & Shrader, p. 71

Tactical organization


A corps was commanded by a major general and consisted of between two and six divisions, with an average of three, for approximately 36,000 men.Eicher, p. 65-66 Corps had not existed in the United States Army prior to the Civil War, although the term was often used to refer to any large portion of an army. Corps were first legally authorized by an Act of 17 July 1862. Initially, corps were designated in relationship to the army they operated under, i.e. I Corps, Army of the Potomac. Eventually the practice of numbering corps without reference to higher command was adopted.McGrath, p. 17-20Wilson, p. 12-15 For a corps the number of staff officers authorized included an Assistant Adjutant General, a Quartermaster, an Assistant Inspector General, a Commissary of Subsistence, an Ordnance Officer (all of whom held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel) and a Medical Director.Newell & Shrader, p. 71


A Division (military), division was the smallest "self-sufficient" unit of the Union Army. It was commanded by a major general and consisted of between two and five brigades for approximately 12,000 men. On average an infantry division consisted of three brigades, while a cavalry division consisted of two. Divisions were considered to be the Army's basic administrative and organizational unit during the Civil War. They were numbered sequentially within their corps but often referred to by the name of their commanding officer in official reports. The exact composition of a division varied during the course of the war. For example, in the Army of the Potomac a division was initially constructed around three infantry brigades, a cavalry regiment, and four batteries of artillery. After the Peninsula campaign the cavalry were removed to form their own brigades under army control, with each corps retaining a squadron for various duties, and after Joseph Hooker took command they were organized into a dedicated corps of three division, each with two brigades of cavalry and assigned horse artillery. Likewise the artillery were reorganized into their own brigades, first as an artillery reserve for the army until after Battle of Chancellorsville, Chancellorsville when they were placed under direct corps control. Staff officers authorized to a division included an Assistant Adjutant General, a Quartermaster, an Assistant Inspector General, a Commissary of Subsistence, an Ordnance Officer (all with the rank of Major) and a Surgeon.


A brigade was commanded by a brigadier general and consisted of on average four regiments for approximately 4,000 men. However, infantry brigades could contain as few as two or as many as twelve regiments, while cavalry brigades could have between two and eight regiments. Because a system for replacing losses was practically non-existent, new regiments would simply be added to an existing brigade to bring its strength up to at least 2,000 men. While this could result in a mixture of veteran but smaller regiments grouped with larger novice regiments, it allowed the brigade to remain a consistently-sized unit that commanders could maneuver. Artillery was also organized into brigades but each contained only four to six batteries, were led by a Colonel and placed under the control of a parent corps. Early experiments at combined arms brigades were abandoned as the war progress, leaving brigades consisting of all just one type. Brigades were numbered based on their position within their parent division, but could also acquire nicknames even when this designation changed. Famous examples included the Iron Brigade and the Irish Brigade (Union Army), Irish Brigade. Brigades also used distinctive identifying flags for the first time during the Civil War. An initial generic design was eventually replaced with a triangular flag which would have the symbol of their parent corps and be color-coded to designate brigade and division numbering within the corps. Staff officers authorized to a brigade included an Assistant Adjutant General, an Assistant Quartermaster/Ordnance Officer, an Assistant Commissary of Subsistence (all with the rank of Captain (military rank), Captain) and a Surgeon.


The Regiment (United States Army), regiment was the fundamental unit of mustering, training and maneuvering in the Union Army. Commanded by a Colonel, an infantry regiment nominally consisted of ten companies for approximately 1,000 men. However, attrition could reduce a regiment down to as few as 100 men. Cavalry regiments typically consisted of four to six squadrons of two companies each, numbering between 660 and over 1,000 men. An artillery regiment consisted of between eight and twelve batteriesUnited States Army Logistics, 1775-1992: An Anthology. (1997). United States: Center of Military History, U.S. Army. p. 196-198 and averaged 1,800 men. Heavy artillery regiments were smaller with an average of 1,200 men in twelve batteries, but many were converted to infantry regiments rather than remain in garrison duty. Most logistical work was carried out at the regimental level, but unlike higher echelons the staff authorized to a regiment consisted of its own officers detailed to the position. The number of staff officers also depended on whether it was a Regular Army or Volunteer regiment and which combat arm to which it belonged. Regular infantry and cavalry regiments were authorized a regimental Adjutant, a Quartermaster/Commissary, an Ordnance Officer (all of Lieutenant rank), a Chaplain, and an Ordnance Sergeant. Regular artillery regiments were the same with the addition of a Commissary Sergeant, Quartermaster Sergeant, and Hospital Steward.Newell & Shrader, p. 70 Volunteer infantry and artillery regiments were similar to Regular units but included, a quartermaster sergeant, a commissary sergeant, a hospital steward, a surgeon and two assistant surgeons. Volunteer cavalry regiments replaced one of the assistant surgeons with another hospital steward and added another lieutenant as regimental commissary, a saddler sergeant, and a chief farrier or blacksmith.


An infantry battalion had no set definition in the United States Regular Army during the Civil War, only that every part of a regiment composed of two or more companies was designated a battalion. Sometimes if a regiment only consisted of between four and eight companies it would be referred to as a battalion. The cavalry equivalent was referred to as a Squadron (army), Squadron and typically consisted to two companies. Unlike the infantry, cavalry typically fought on the battlefield as squadrons. However, there were no Volunteer battalions, and many Regular units would eventually abandon the concept. Staff officers authorized for an infantry battalion included an adjutant, quartermaster/commissary, quartermaster sergeant, commissary sergeant, and hospital steward. Cavalry squadrons included a saddler sergeant and veterinary sergeant.


A Company (military unit), company was traditionally the smallest military unit and typically organized and recruited in a local community. Commanded by a Captain (military), Captain, an infantry company was approximately 100 men, with between 64 and 83 Private (rank), privates and 19 officers and other personnel. Companies were designated with a letter from A to K (minus J as it looked too much like I). Companies could be subdivided into smaller units, including platoons, squads, Section (military unit), sections and patrols. Infantry companies were not authorized any logistical personnel until after 6 September 1862 when Volunteer units could include a wagoner. The cavalry equivalent was referred to as a Troop and could range from 79 and 105 men. Regular troops were authorized a company quartermaster sergeant, a saddler, two farriers and a wagoner; Volunteer troops added two teamsters and a commissary sergeant. The artillery equivalent was a Artillery battery, battery and consisted of between 80 156 men with between four and six artillery pieces. Both Regular and Volunteer units were authorized a quartermaster sergeant, a wagoner, and between two and six Armed-forces artificer, artificers.


Regulars vs Volunteers

During the course of the Civil War, the vast majority of soldiers fighting to preserve the Union were in the Volunteer units. The pre-war Regular Army numbered approximately 16,400 soldiers, but by the end while the Union Army had grown sixty-two-fold to over a million men the number of Regular personnel was still approximately 21,699, a number of whom were serving with volunteer forces. Only 62,000 commissions and enlistments in total were issued for the Regular Army during the war as most new personnel preferred volunteer service.Newell & Shrader, p. 76 Since before the Civil War the American public had a general negative view of the nation's armed force, attributable to a Jeffersonian democracy, Jeffersonian ideal which saw standing armies as a threat to democracy and instead valorized the "citizen soldier" as being more in keeping with American ideals of equality and rugged individualism.Newell & Shrader, p. 1-3 This attitude remained unchanged during the Civil War, and afterwards many would attribute the Union's victory to the Volunteers rather than the leadership and staff work provided by the Regular Army.Newell & Shrader, p. 308-312 In return, officers of the Regular Army despised the militia and saw them as having dubious value. Commentators such as Emory Upton would later argue that the reliance on militia for the nation's defense was responsible for prolonging conflicts and making them more expensive in both money and lives spent. Despite these attitudes towards the Regulars, they would serve as an important foundation around which the Union Army was built. In the disastrous First Battle of Bull Run, it was the Regulars who acted as rearguard during the retreat while the Volunteers fled, and when George McClellan was put in charge of what became the Army of the Potomac he used Regular officers and non-commissioned officers to train the Volunteers. Training the Volunteers, especially in regards to critical administrative and logistical matters, remained an important function of the Regulars during the war.Newell & Shrader, p. 306-308 This was particularly the case with Regular Army artillery, as they were more widely dispersed than the infantry and cavalry (making them more visible to the Volunteers) and were assigned to specific units to train their Volunteer counterparts.Newell & Shrader, p. 283-285 In battle, the Regulars' performance could impress even the most battle-hardened Volunteers.Newell & Shrader, p. 215-218 At The Wheatfield during the Battle of Gettysburg, the Regulars' fighting skill and orderly retirement under fire drew the admiration of many observers, including Prince Philippe, Count of Paris. As one Volunteer put it, "For two years the U.S. Regulars taught us how to be soldiers [;] in the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, they taught us how to die like soldiers." The Regulars became the standard by which the Volunteers were measured, and to be described as being as good or better than them was considered the highest compliment.


Commissioned officers in the Union Army could be divided in several categories: general officers including Lieutenant General (added on March 2, 1864), Major Generals and Brigadier Generals; field officers including Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels and Majors; and Company-grade officer, company officers including Captain (military rank), Captains, First Lieutenants and Second Lieutenants. There was a further distinction between "line" officers - members of the artillery, cavalry or infantry branches - and staff officers, which were part of the various departments and bureaus of the War Department. All line officers outranked staff officers except in cases pertaining to their staff assignment, in which they received their orders from their respective department chiefs.Eicher, p. 30 Additionally, Regular general officers outranked Volunteer general officers of the same grade regardless of their date of commission, a feature which could become a subject of contention.Eicher, p. 34 The use of Brevet (military)#American Civil War, brevet ranks was also a common feature of the Union Army. Officer appointments depended on the commission grade and whether it was in the Regular or Volunteer forces. The President reserved the right to issue commission for all Regular officers and for general officers in the Volunteer forces. Volunteer field and company-grade officers could be commissioned by either the President or their respective Governor. Company officers were also unique in that they were usually elected by members of their company. The political appointment and/or election of Volunteer officers was part of a long-standing militia tradition and of a Spoils system, political patronage system common in the United States. While many of these officers were West Point graduates or had prior military experience, others had none, nor was military leadership a primary consideration in such appointments.Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Perryville, 8 October 1862. (2005). Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College. p. 3-6 Such a policy inevitably resulted in the promotion of inept officers over more able commanders. As the war dragged on and casualties mounted, governors reacted to their constituents' complaints and instead began to issue commissions on the basis of battlefield rather than political competence. Officers tended to suffer a higher percentage of battle wounds on account of either the necessity of leading their units into combat an their conspicuousness when accompanied by staff and escorts.Eicher, p. 61 Among memorable field leaders of the army were Nathaniel Lyon (first Union general to be killed in battle during the war), William Rosecrans,
George Henry Thomas George Henry Thomas (July 31, 1816March 28, 1870) was a United States Army officer and a Union Army, Union General officer, general during the American Civil War, one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, ...
William Tecumseh Sherman William Tecumseh Sherman ( ; February 8, 1820February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a General officer, general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–1865), achieving recogni ...

William Tecumseh Sherman
. Others, of lesser competence, included Benjamin Butler (politician), Benjamin F. Butler.

Non-commissioned Officers

Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) were important in the Union Army in maintaining the order and alignment of formations during marches, battles, and transitioning between the two. Sergeants in particular were vital in this role as general guides and their selection ideally reserved for the most distinguished soldiers. NCOs were also charged with training individuals in how to be soldiers. While the captain or other company-level officers were responsible for training the soldiers when assembled into squads, platoons or as a company, experienced NCOs could take over this training as well.Fisher (2001), p. 115-119 NCOs were also responsible for the regimental colors, which helped the unit maintain formation and serve as a rally point for the regiment. Typically a sergeant was designated the standard-bearer and protected by a color guard of corporals who only opened fire in defense of the colors. There were a number of staff NCO positions including quartermaster sergeant, ordnance sergeant, and commissary sergeant. NCOs in the Volunteer forces were quite different from their Regular counterparts as the war began. Appointed to their role as each regiment was created, they were often on a first-name basis with both their superior officers and the enlisted men they were tasked to lead. Discipline among friends and neighbors was not enforced as strictly as in the regular Army, and while some NCOs brought with them prior battlefield experience (whether from the Mexican-American War or foreign military service) many at the start of the war were as equally ignorant as their officers in military matters.Fisher (2001), 109-114 Training for these NCOs took place during off-duty hours and often involved lessons based on manuals such as William J. Hardee, ''Hardee's Tactics''. One notable exception was Michigan in the American Civil War, Michigan, which designated Fort Wayne (Detroit), Fort Wayne as a training center for both officers and NCOs. As the war progressed NCOs gained valuable experience and even drastic disciplinary measures such as execution by firing squad were carried out when deemed necessary. The promotion of soldiers to NCOs (and NCOs to officers) was also increasingly based on battlefield performance, although each state maintained their own standards for when and where promotions could be granted.

Ethnic composition

The Union Army was composed of many different ethnic groups, including large numbers of immigrants. About 25% of the white men who served in the Union Army were foreign-born. . About 200,000 soldiers and sailors were born in Ireland. Although some soldiers came from as far away as Malta, Italy, India, and Russia, most of the remaining foreign-born soldiers came from Great Britain and Canada. Many immigrant soldiers formed their own regiments, such as the Irish Brigade (United States), Irish Brigade (69th Infantry Regiment (New York), 69th New York, 63rd New York, 88th New York, 28th Massachusetts, 116th Pennsylvania); the Swiss Rifles (15th Missouri); the 55th New York Volunteer Infantry, Gardes de Lafayette (55th New York); the Garibaldi Guard (39th New York); the Martinez Militia (1st New Mexico); the Polish Legion (58th New York); the German Rangers; Sigel Rifles (52nd New York, inheriting the 7th); the Cameron Highlanders (79th New York Volunteer Infantry); and the Scandinavian Regiment (15th Wisconsin). But for the most part, the foreign-born soldiers were scattered as individuals throughout units. For comparison, the Confederate Army was not very diverse: 91% of Confederate soldiers were native-born white men and only 9% were foreign-born white men, Irish being the largest group with others including Germans, French, Mexicans (though most of them simply happened to have been born when the Southwest was still part of Mexico), and British. Some Confederate propaganda condemned foreign-born soldiers in the Union Army, likening them to the hated Hessian (soldiers), Hessians of the American Revolution. Also, a relatively small number of Native Americans (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek people, Creek) fought for the Confederacy.

Black people in the Union Army

By 1860, the African American or Black population of the United States consisted of four million Slavery in the United States, enslaved and half a million Free Negro, free Blacks. When the Civil War started, many freedmen in the North attempted to enlist in Federal service but were barred from doing so. Popularly-held prejudices doubted whether Black people could be effective soldiers, and President Lincoln believed allowing their enlistment would anger Northern whites and alienate not just the South but the Border states (American Civil War), Border States too. However he eventually changed his mind and pressed Congress to authorize the first official Black enlistment system in late 1862, which eventually evolved into the United States Colored Troops.American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection [6 Volumes]: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. (2013). United States: ABC-CLIO. p. 10-12, 14-15 Before they were allowed to enlist, many Black people volunteered their services to the Union Army as cooks, nurses, and in other informal roles, and several Volunteer regiments of Black troops were raised by the states. These include the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment, the first Black regiment to be raised and the first to engage in combat; the 1st Louisiana Native Guard (Union), 1st Louisiana Native Guard, raised from both freedmen and escaped slaves after the Capture of New Orleans; and the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which became the most famous Black unit after their valiant participation in the Battle of Fort Wagner, Morris Island, Battle of Fort Wagner. Their efforts helped to dispel the notion that Black soldiers were a liability, allowing approximately 200,000 Black soldiers to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War. Even as they served their country, Black soldiers were subject to a number of discriminations. They were more often assigned to menial labor as some Union officers refused to employ them in combat, but when they were they often had to use inferior weapons and equipment. Black soldiers were paid less than white soldiers ($10 vs $16 per month) until Congress yielded to public pressure and approved equal pay in June 1864. Black units were led predominantly by white officers, and while more than a hundred Black men were eventually made officers (disregarding those Passing (racial identity), passing as white), none were promoted to a rank higher than major. If captured by Confederate forces, Black soldiers risked being made slaves or summarily executed.

Women in the Union Army

Women took on many significant roles in the Union Army and were important to its ultimate success on the battlefield. The most direct way they could help was to enlist and fight as soldiers, although women were officially barred from doing so. Nevertheless, it is believed List of female American Civil War soldiers, hundreds of women disguised themselves as men in order to enlist. While many were discovered and forced to quit, others were only found out after they were killed in combat, and a number managed serve throughout the entire war with their true identity successfully concealed. One of the more traditional roles played by women in the Union Army was that of camp followers. Thousands of white and Black women accompanied Union armies in an unofficial capacity to provide their services as Cooking, cooks, laundresses, nurses and/or prostitutes. Many were the wives or other female relatives of the soldiers themselves who saw to their personal needs and (if time allowed) looked to the well-being of other soldiers. A somewhat more formal role for some camp followers was that of ''vivandière''. Originally a female sutler, the role of ''vivandière'' expanded to include other responsibilities, including on the battlefield. Armed for their own protection, they brought water to thirsty soldiers, carried the regimental colors and rallied their fellow soldiers to fight, provided first aid or helped the wounded back to a field hospital. A related (and often conflated) role was that of "daughter of the regiment." Often literally a daughter of one of the regimental officers, these women looked to the soldiers' well-being but also served as their regiment's "mascot" who inspired the men by wearing stylish clothing and enduring the same hardships as them. Some of the most prominent women to accompany the Union armies in the field include Anna Etheridge, Susie King Taylor, and Nadine Turchin. Women also sought to serve more formally as nurses in the Union Army, many having been inspired by the work of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War. However there was strong resistance against these efforts at first. Societal prejudices saw women as too delicate and the job too unsuitable for women of social rank, particularly at the thought of unmarried women surrounded by thousands of men in close quarters. Nevertheless, Congress eventually approved for women to serve as nurses, to which Dorothea Dix - appointed Superintendent of Army Nurses - was responsible for setting hiring guidelines and starting a training program for prospective candidates. For the women who served, nursing during the Civil War was a hazardous occupation: grueling hours spent in close proximity to deadly diseases and nearby battlefields resulted in many suffering permanent disabilities or death. Added to this were the prejudices of the male medical officers in charge who did not want them there and frequently clashed with the nurses over issues of triage, patient treatments and hospice care. Tens of thousands of women served as nurses for the Union Army, among whom are included Clara Barton, Mary Edwards Walker, and Louisa May Alcott. No less vital were the thousands of women who provided service to the Union Army in the field of espionage. Early in the war, women were at a distinct advantage as Spying, spies, Reconnaissance, scouts, smugglers, and saboteurs: the idea of women participating in such dangerous lines of work was simply not considered. Eventually though their opponents wised up to the fact of their existence, and while female spies caught in the act were not typically executed like their male colleagues, they still faced the threat of lengthy prison sentences. For self-evident reasons many of these activities were kept secret and any documentation (if it existed) was often destroyed. As such the identity of many of these women will never be known. Of those who became famous for their espionage work during or after the end of the war, prominent examples include Harriet Tubman, Mary Louvestre, Pauline Cushman, Elizabeth Van Lew and Mary Bowser.


Anti-slavery sentiment

In his 1997 book examining the motivations of the American Civil War's soldiers, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, ''For Cause and Comrades'', historian James M. McPherson states that Union soldiers fought to preserve the United States, as well as to end slavery, stating that: McPherson states that witnessing the slave system of the Confederacy first-hand also strengthened the anti-slavery views of Union soldiers, who were appalled by its brutality. He stated that "Experience in the South reinforced the antislavery sentiments of many soldiers." One Pennsylvania in the American Civil War, Pennsylvanian Union soldier spoke to a slave woman whose husband was whipped, and was appalled by what she had to tell him of slavery. He stated that "I thought I had hated slavery as much as possible before I came here, but here, where I can see some of its workings, I am more than ever convinced of the cruelty and inhumanity of the system."

Army administration and issues

Adjutant General's Department

The responsibilities and functions of the Adjutant General's Department (AGD) were many and varied during the course of the Civil War, but principle among them was handling military correspondence between the President, Secretary of War and General-in-Chief, and the rest of the Army. Other functions included administering recruitment, overseeing the appointment of chaplains, maintaining personnel records, and issuing instruction books and other Form (document), forms. During the war, some of the department's responsibilities and functions were spun off to new offices while new ones were added. The recruitment of new white Volunteers and draftees, and the suppression and punishment of absenteeism and desertion, was given to the newly-formed Provost Marshal General's Bureau in May 1863, while the position of Commissioner for the Exchange of Prisoners was created to take over this function from the AGD. The Bureau of Colored Troops was created within the AGD specifically to oversee the creation of the United States Colored Troops, and in the final year of the war the AGD was given the responsibility for collecting and editing documents which would constitute ''The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies''.Newell & Shrader, p. 85-90 At the start of the Civil War, the AGD numbered just fourteen Regular Officers: the Adjutant General (AG) with the rank of colonel, a lieutenant-colonel, four brevet majors, and eight brevet captains. In August 1861 the AG was raised to major-general and the strength of the AGD increased to twenty officers, and a year later it was reorganized to constitute the AG, two colonels, four lieutenant-colonels, and thirteen majors. The small number of civilian clerical staff supporting the officers was also increased as the war progressed, including the addition of up to ten noncommissioned officers by 1862. However to meet the need for assistant adjutant generals authorized for each corps, division and brigade, appointments were made from among the Volunteer forces, and by 1865 there were an additional 85 majors and 256 captains serving in these capacities. In spite of the rapid increase of the Army at the start presenting numerous challenges and being perpetually understaffed throughout the war, the AGD appears to have handled its responsibilities competently and with little disruption. The AGD also had fewer conflicts with field commanders compared to some of the other departments, partly because its authority was well-established and issued few controversial orders itself, and it was less affected by matters of procurement and emerging technologies. ;Leadership Colonel was named Adjutant General of the army on March 7, 1861, one day after Col. Samuel Cooper resigned the join the Confederacy. While Thomas served as the AG throughout the entirety of the war, he eventually ran afoul of Secretary Stanton, who reassigned him to the job of recruiting soldiers for black regiments in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, western theater. From March 1863 on then, the assistant adjutant general Colonel Edward D. Townsend essentially was the acting AG in Washington.

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands

In March 1865 the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was created by Congress with a mandate to see to the needs of all Black freedmen and white refugees, and the management of all lands within the rebel states which had been abandoned or otherwise come into the possession of the United States. It consisted of a commissioner as head of the bureau, an assistant commissioner for each of the rebel states, and a small staff of one chief and nine other clerics. Additionally, any military officer could be assigned to duty on behalf of the bureau. Major General Oliver Otis Howard was appointed to head the bureau at its creation and lead it throughout its lifetime. While the Freedmen's Bureau was the center of much controversy during the Reconstruction era and some of the relief it provided less than satisfactory, its most important contribution was in providing education to many Blacks and poor whites.Newell & Shrader, p. 106-107

Corps of Engineers

The Corps of Engineers was a small part of the Army prior to the Civil War but played an important role not only in the conflict but for the nation as a whole. The Corps was responsible for running the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, West Point, which supplied officers to all branches but whose top graduates were commissioned into the Corps. They were not only involved with military engineering such as constructing fortifications and harbor defenses but also oversaw civil engineering including building canals, bridges and similar projects. This focus on civil works did prevent the Corps from devoting its entire effort to the war though.Newell & Shrader, p. 285-292Baldwin, W. (2008). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: A History. United States: Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Office of History. p. 15-18 Corps personnel acted as combat engineers during battle, helping to construct pontoon bridges, repair roads and bridges, dig Trench warfare, trenches, and conduct Engineer reconnaissance, reconnaissance. The Corps also exerted an influence beyond its small size as many of the Union's most prominent officers, including McClellan and Meade, were themselves trained as engineers and used their knowledge to influence the outcome of battles.Baldwin, p. 107-110 Prior to the war, the Corps of Engineers consisted of just forty-eight officers and a single company of 150 engineer troops. Engineer Company A was first created for the Mexican-American War and guarded President Lincoln at his First inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, first inauguration. It was organized with ten sergeants (master-workmen), ten corporals (overseers), two musicians, sixty-four first-class privates (Armed-forces artificer, artificers) and sixty-four second-class privates (laborers). In August 1861 Congress authorized the formation of three more companies to be organized the same as Engineer Company A, with all four organized into a single battalion (the US Engineer Battalion, later 1st Engineer Battalion (United States), 1st Engineer Battalion), and the addition of two lieutenant colonels, four majors and six lieutenants to the Corps. The battalion had no formal headquarters but fell under the command of the most senior officer present. In March 1863, when the Corps of Topographical Engineers was disbanded and its function merged with the Corps of Engineers, Congress further revised the Corps to consist of a brigadier-general as chief engineer, four colonels, ten lieutenant-colonels, twenty majors, thirty captains, thirty first lieutenants and ten second lieutenants. The US Engineer Battalion served ably as part of the Army of the Potomac, but on its own was insufficient to see to the Army's need for engineers throughout the different theaters of war. A small number of Volunteer engineer regiments were formed during the war, including the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics Regiment, the 1st New York Engineer Regiment and the 1st United States Veteran Volunteer Engineer Regiment. However in many cases engineering work was carried out by line soldiers under the supervision of officers with engineering backgrounds, if any were available. ;Leadership *Joseph Gilbert Totten: December 7, 1838April 22, 1864 *Richard Delafield: April 22, 1864August 8, 1866

Corps of Topographical Engineers

The Corps of Topographical Engineers had been established in 1831 with the mission of exploration, surveying, and cartography, particularly in the American West. Topographical engineers (or "topogs") including John C. Frémont, Howard Stansbury, William H. Emory and Gouverneur K. Warren were instrumental in the westward expansion of the United States.Baldwin, p. 21-27 During the war, the civilian nature of the Corps' mission was largely suspended and it undertook the role of reconnaissance, construction of defensive works and supplying maps to the Army. In these conditions drawing a distinction between the two corps became increasingly impractical, until in March 1863 the Corps of Topographical Engineers was disbanded and its mission taken up by the Corps of Engineers. The Topographical Engineers numbered forty-five officers before the Civil War. In August 1861 an additional two lieutenant colonels, four majors and six lieutenants were authorized by Congress. There were no enlisted men in the Corps, although when the Corps was expanded Congress also authorized a company of engineers for the Topographical Engineers to be modeled after the Corps of Engineers. However this company was never formed, and the actual size of the Corps shrank as a number retired, died, defected to the Confederacy or became general officers of the Volunteers, until eventually the remaining officers were absorbed by the Corps of Engineers. The most important role played by the Topographical Engineers, even after their merger with the regular Corps, was providing desperately-needed maps to Army commanders. Each field army headquarters established their own topographical departments under the supervision of engineer officers, which would provide the army with maps necessary for a given campaign. Such departments themselves were staffed with teams of draughtsmen and assistants and stocked with printing presses, photographic and lithographic equipment. ;Leadership The Chief of Topographical Engineers at the start of the Civil War was Colonel John James Abert. Colonel Abert had been responsible for lobbying Congress to make the Corps an independent branch of War Department and was appointed to lead his creation in 1838. He retired in September 1861 and was replaced by Stephen Harriman Long, who remained in the position until the Corps was disbanded. Thereafter he continued to serve in the Corps of Engineers as the senior officer to the Chief Engineer.

Inspector General's Department

At the start of the Civil War, there was technically no Inspector General's Department, with neither a set of operating practices or centralized direction. Instead there were two Inspector Generals (IGs) with the rank of colonel whose duty was to conduct inspections and investigations to ensure the Army was organized and operating at full readiness, but these were done in an ad-hoc manner at the discretion of the Secretary of War. As the war progressed and membership in the inspectorate increased, the duties of IGs and assistant IGs were continually redefined, to the extent that any time a problem was identified the common response was simply to assign an inspector to it. Eventually in January 1863 a permanent office of the IG was established in Washington, and it was from here that the process of exerting a centralized control over IGs in the field and crafting standard policies and procedures was started.Newell & Shrader, p. 90-94 In August 1861, Congress authorized an increase of two additional IGs with the rank of colonel and five assistant IGs with the rank of major from among the Regular Army. This number stayed the same throughout the entire war, with the addition of a small civilian clerical staff once the Washington office was established. Congress eventually determined that each geographical department, army, corps, division and brigade would also be assigned an IG or assistant IG, however these positions were to be filled by Regular or Volunteer officers detailed from line units of the Army or from the other staff departments. The inspectorate faced many challenges during the Civil War, including hostility and lack of cooperation from some commanders and the mixed performance of some IGs in the field. Despite these issues it was able to successfully meet the challenges of the war overall, particularly with bringing under control the waste, fraud and abuse which had been rampant at the start of the conflict. ;Leadership At the start of the war the inspectorate consisted of Colonel Sylvester Churchill, the senior IG of the Army, and Colonel Joseph K. Mansfield, the junior IG. Churchill however took leave in April 1861 on account of his health and formally retired in September that year, while Mansfield was promoted to major-general and left to command troops in May. Colonel Henry L. Scott replaced Mansfield that same month, but when Churchill retired his position was given to Colonel Randolph Marcy, father-in-law to George McClellan, in the same month. Serving as the chief-of-staff to McClellan, Marcy did not formally take up his duties as senior IG until after the Battle of Antietam, by which point however his association with McClellan had soured Marcy's relationship with Secretary Stanton, who sent him on inspection tours of various geographical departments. Instead, the de facto leader of the inspectorate was whoever was the IG in charge of the Washington office, which was Colonel Delos Sacket between January 1863 and March 1864, and Colonel James Allen Hardie for the remainder of the war.

Medical Department

The Army Medical Department (AMD) was rivaled only by the Quartermaster's Department in the scope and complexity of its responsibilities: caring for sick and wounded soldiers, operating field hospital, field and general hospitals, and acquire and distributing medicine, medical equipment, hospital food and similar supplies. Functions such as Casualty evacuation, evacuating soldiers off the battlefield or constructing hospitals were handled were handled by other departments, though later in the war the AMD assumed many of these roles. In March 1864 it was placed in charge of casualty evacuation (U.S. Ambulance Corps) and organization and operation of Train (military), medical supply trains. In December it was given control over the construction and equipping of military hospitals, and of hospital trains and hospital ships in February 1865. Other responsibilities assumed during the war included care for disabled veterans and their families, prisoners of war, refugees and freed slaves; maintaining medical records of the dead and wounded; and preparing a medical and surgical history of the war. Unfortunately, the AMD started out the war staffed by a conservative and inflexible leadership which negatively impacted it's functioning, but would eventually be rectified by war's end.Newell & Shrader, p. 163-164 In April 1861 the AMD was the largest of the staff departments in the Regular Army: a Surgeon General (with the rank of Colonel), thirty surgeons, eighty-three assistant surgeons, and fifty-nine Hospital Stewards. However this number was barely adequate to meet the needs of the army in peacetime, and in May 1861 an additional ten surgeons and twenty assistant surgeons were added to cover the new Regular Army regiments being raised. Later that year in August, Congress authorized the appointment of fifty medical cadets to be chosen from young men with a liberal education and prior medical experience. They had the rank and pay of West Point cadets and were to act as ambulance attendants in the field and assistants in general hospitals.Newell & Shrader, p. 168-177 In April 1862, Congress authorized a substantial reorganization of the AMD. Beyond promoting the surgeon general to brigadier general and adding additional staff, one of the most controversial was the introduction of medical inspectors, as a number of these were appointed by Secretary Stanton for "political" purposes. Charged with supervising all aspects of sanitary conditions within the Army, their purview included the inspection of quarters, camps, hospitals and transports; their duties were later expanded to include issuing certificates of Military discharge, discharge for reasons of disability. Congress also gave the surgeon general the authority to hire as many hospital stewards as necessary, and a month later they authorized the addition of six trained apothecaries and druggists as medical storekeepers. Most Regular Army medical officers served in staff positions, whether at the office in Washington or out in the field as regimental surgeons, attending physicians in general hospitals, medical purveyors who ran medical supply depots and laboratories, or as the medical director of a division, corps, field army or military department. Medical directors oversaw the operation of field hospitals and the associate medical personnel, field sanitation and medical supply within their command. However there was no statutory basis for their assignment, and it wasn't until February 1865 when Congress bowed to pressure and provided for officers serving in these capacities to receive rank, pay and emoluments appropriate to their responsibilities. Added to the relatively small number of Regular Army medical personnel were a further 546 surgeons and assistant surgeons of US Volunteers, appointed by the president to supplement Regular Army personnel in staff positions; another 5,532 civilian doctors employed under contract (mainly in general hospitals) as acting assistant surgeons; a small number of medical officers of the Veteran Reserve Corps; and the thousands of regimental surgeons and assistant surgeons appointed to the Volunteer regiments by their respective state governors. Thousands more civilians were employed by the AMD as nurses, clerks, hospital attendants, laborers, etc. The AMD was further augmented by a number of private and semi-official philanthropic organizations, foremost among which was the United States Sanitary Commission (USCC). The chaotic aftermath of the first Battle of Bull Run - no coordination between field hospitals and casualty evacuation, regimental surgeons refusing to treat men from other units, and the few ambulance drivers robbing their charges or fleeing - exemplified the inadequacies of pre-war planning and preparations. Burdened with an aged and conservative leadership, it took the injection of more enlightened leaders to make the necessary reforms for the AMD to meet these new challenges. By the war's end, the AMD had implemented a better method of evacuating battlefield casualties to field hospitals and general hospitals, established laboratories to test and certify drugs and other medicines, identified reliable sources of supply and implemented effective contracting procedures, and increased the number of medical personnel necessary to see to the needs of over a million men under arms.Newell & Shrader, p. 188-192 Some challenges remained however, against which only small progress was made. Although improved field sanitation reduced disease rates and some advances like the use of chloroform proved helpful, lack of aseptic surgery or general understanding of the germ theory led to many deaths from disease, Shock (circulatory), shock or secondary infection. Psychological trauma was not well understood and the average soldier made due with an inadequate diet for maintaining their health. The AMD's reliance on the Quartermaster and Subsistence departments for transportation and rations respectively left these subject to interdepartmental rivalry until late in the war, and personal conflict between military commanders and their supporting medical personnel could lead to problematic health outcomes. Despite these faults, AMD personnel did their best to alleviate the suffering of their fellow soldiers and laid the groundwork for future improvement. ;Leadership The Surgeon General at the start of the war was Colonel Thomas Lawson (military physician), Thomas Lawson, who at 97 years was on his deathbed and his duties were being carried out Major Robert C. Wood, one of his assistants. When he passed in May 1861 Lawson was succeeded by Clement Finley, another old soldier who was characterized by contemporaries as "utterly ossified and useless." Finley was slow to act, failed to reform the AMD to address the needs of the war, and particularly opposed to the use of female nurses. He was forced to retire by Secretary Stanton in April 1862 and replaced with William A. Hammond, who immediately went about reorganizing the AMD, eliminating red tape and promoting competent young men to positions of authority. His strong independent streak also earned the enmity of Secretary Stanton, who in September 1863 sent him on an extended tour of the western theater and made Colonel Joseph Barnes (American physician), Joseph Barnes the acting Surgeon General. When Hammond was arrested, court-martialed and dismissed in August 1864, Barnes was promoted to fill his position. Barnes remained the Surgeon General until after the war's end and succeeded in continuing Hammond's reforms by maintaining an excellent relationship with Secretary Stanton.

Office of the Judge Advocate

An office of the Judge Advocate had existed in the US Army since its founding, consisting at the start of the Civil War of a single officer with the rank of major and small civilian clerical staff in Washington. It was not until after the war began however that Congress formally authorized the appointment of a Judge Advocate General (JAG) and creation of the Bureau of Military Justice, a de facto department and forerunner to a true Judge Advocate General's Department. The principle functions of the JAG included conducting Courts-martial of the United States, courts-martial and inquiry, inquiries; codifying the law of war, laws of war and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, military laws of the United States; reviewing the records of courts-martial, military commissions and inquiries; and asserting the jurisdiction of military commissions over civilians in times of war.Newell & Shrader, p. 94-98 To meet the demands of a vastly larger army, Congress authorized in July 1862 the appointment of a JAG with the rank of colonel and for President Lincoln to appoint a judge advocate of Volunteers with the rank of major for each army in the field. These judge advocates were to advise commanders on legal issues, prosecute offenses, and review and maintain the records of courts-martial and other proceedings in the field. A year later, Congress legislated the creation of the Bureau of Military Justice, gave it an appellant function, and authorized the JAG to head it as a brigadier general alongside an assistant JAG with the rank of colonel. With these authorizations came a small increase in the size of the clerical staff assisting the JAG. During the war the JAG and his subordinates were able to satisfactorily handle the increase volume and complexity of legal matters that came with the exponential growth of the Army. Among their most important accomplishments was the creation of the Lieber Code and, for the first time, collecting all precedents, decisions and opinions which had become US military law into a single digest and publishing it in early 1865. One of the most controversial issues associated with the bureau was the use of military commissions to try civilians, an issue which would not be settled until ''Ex parte Milligan'' was decided in 1866. ;Leadership The Civil War began with brevet Major John F. Lee serving as the judge advocate of the Army until September 3, 1862, when Joseph Holt was formally appointed as JAG. Holt played an important parts in helping to expanding the office of the JAG and oversaw some of the most important and sensitive trials of the war. However Holt also made many enemies while JAG and was severely criticized for his handling of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln#Conspirators' trial and execution, trial of President Lincoln's assassins.

Ordnance Department

The principal mission of the Ordnance Department (ORDD) during the Civil War was the development, procurement, storage, distribution and repair of all Army List of weapons in the American Civil War, ordnance and ordnance-related equipment such as limbers and caissons and accoutrements. It was also responsible for the procurement of horses to pull artillery until June 1861 when the Quartermaster Department took over that job. The department faced challenges during the war, particularly during the early months as it struggled to arm the vastly expanded Union Army whilst traitorous forces seized control of a number of arsenals and depots. Eventually it was able to resolve many of these challenges and succeeded in providing thousands of field artillery pieces and millions of small arms for the Union Army.United States Army Logistics (1997), p. 199-200 When the Civil War began the Ordnance Department was commanded by a Chief of Ordnance and authorized forty officers, many in command of the Army's arsenals and depots; fifteen ORDD military storekeepers; seventy ordnance sergeants, often placed in supervisory roles including command of some depots and arsenals; and four hundred enlisted men, most of whom were employed as technicians at the armories and arsenals. Hundreds of civilians were also employed, not only as clerks and laborers but also technicians and supervisors. There were also Armed-forces artificer, artificiers on the rolls of the Army's artillery regiments who were responsible for the maintenance of weapons within their regiments.Newell & Shrader, p. 122-127 Even in peacetime the size of the ORDD was insufficient, as fifty-six officers alone would've been required to bring the arsenals to their full authorized strength, and it proved inadequate once the war began. In August 1861 Congress increased the authorized number of officers to forty-five: the Chief of Ordnanced (brigadier general), two colonels, two lieutenant colonels, four majors, twelve captains, twelve first lieutenants, and twelve second lieutenants. This still was not enough, and so in March 1863 an additional lieutenant colonel, two majors, eight captains and eight first lieutenants were added, bringing the authorized strength to sixty-four officers where it would remain for the rest of the war. The number of ordnance sergeants and enlisted personnel were similarly increased on a yearly basis, until by 1865 they numbered 163 and 560 respectively, and the civilian staff was likewise increased. In the field, each regiment was authorized an ordnance officer (to be chosen from among the unit's lieutenants) who, assisted by an ordnance sergeant, saw to the requisition and issuing of arms to the troops and management of the regimental ammunition Train (military), train. For brigades and higher echelons of command, an ordnance officer was authorized to serve on the unit's staff with similar responsibilities. However unlike with the other supply departments, the ordnance department did not commission any Volunteer officers to this role, instead relying on ORRD officers or (at division level and below) relying on Regular officers filling the role as acting ordnance officers or combining the role with the assigned quartermaster. The ORDD maintained a number of arsenals, armories and depots, where the majority of the Army's arms, ammunition and other ordnance-related supplies were manufactured and/or stored. A number were seized before or at the war's outbreak, but more were created after fighting began and existing ones were expanded. By the middle of the war, the largest arsenals employed between one and two thousand civilians each. A substantial number of these employees were women and children, partly because they could be paid less than adult male workers, their small hands were thought to be better suited to assembling Cartridge (firearms), cartridges, and women were believed to be more safety-oriented. Their line of work was dangerous for obvious reasons, and a number died in accidental explosions during the war. In the single-worst accident of the war, the Allegheny Arsenal#Explosion, explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal, 70 of the 78 victims were women and girls. The ORDD faced an immediate crisis when the war began as it was suddenly responsible for arming the rapidly-expanding number of troops being brought into Federal service. This job was made more difficult by actions taken by Secretary of War John B. Floyd before the war, when he ordered the transfer of large numbers of arms from Northern to Southern arsenals and the sale of Federal arms to various Southern states.Newell & Shrader, p. 127-135 When the Southern states did seize the arsenals within their territory, in addition to the gun-making equipment at Harper's Ferry they were able to acquire about 159,000 small arms, 429 cannons, and 4.5 million rounds of small arms ammunition. ORDD was forced to make up the immediate shortfall by contracting with private companies or purchasing from European powers; many weapons bought under contract proved to be inferior to government standards or sold at inflated prices, while European governments were happy to get rid of their obsolete weapons. Eventually the fraud and corruption was brought under control and ORDD was able to bring its arsenals' productions levels up to where they could meet the Army's need. This can be see with the rapid expansion of the Springfield Armory, which before the war averaged 800 muskets a month but by January 1863 was producing 24,000 muskets and rifles a month. A more persistent issue faced by ORDD were efforts by members of Congress, the general public, and even President Lincoln to get them to adopt many new military technologies, particularly breechloader, breachloading and repeating rifles like the Spencer repeating rifle, Spencer and Henry rifle. The department's senior leadership was unwilling to wholeheartedly embrace this technology without extensive field testing, and worried over delays from retooling manufacturing equipment and other logistical concerns that went with their adoption. Nevertheless a limited number of these weapons were purchased and distributed to troops in the field, and trials were undertaken to determine which one would become the Army's standard rifle for general use, although these weren't completed until well after the war ended. After the war ORDD came under harsh criticisms, particularly over their conservatism in regards to new technology. However it did meet the challenge of equipping the Union Army with many modern weapons and other materiel. From the beginning of the war to the end, Federal arsenals produced 7,892 cannons with over six million artillery Shell (projectile), shot and shell and six million pounds of grapeshot and canister shot; more than 4 million small arms with over a billion rounds of small arms ammunition; over 13,000 tons of gunpowder and 45,000 tons of lead; and nearly 3 million complete sets of infantry and cavalry accoutrements and horse equipment. ;Leadership Henry K. Craig was the Chief of Ordnance when the Civil War began, having served in that position since 1851. Craig received much of the blame for the poor state of affairs at the time, and angered many special interests by resisting the purchase of new and untested weapons in favor of increasing arsenal production and limiting purchases to reputable domestic and international sources. His obstinate behavior saw Craig relieved and replaced with James Wolfe Ripley on April 23, 1861. However Ripley was similarly resistant to these same private contractors and their Congressional backers, particularly with adopting breech-loading rifles, and so was forced to retire on September 15, 1863. His replacement, George D. Ramsay, was more open to the new weaponry but did not have the confidence of Secretary Stanton, who inserted Captain George T Balch into Ramsay's headquarters to "call the shots." Ramsay endured this situation until forced to retire on September 12, 1864. Alexander Brydie Dyer took over as Chief of Ordnance and served out the remainder of the war heading the department. While resistant to the lobbyists like his predecessors, Dyer was a more enthusiastic proponent of breech-loading and repeating rifles. He was also more bureaucratically adept and able to remain on good terms with Secretary Stanton.

Pay Department

The Pay Department had the responsibility of accounting for, maintaining records regarding, and the disbursing of funds for payment to Army personnel, including allowances and bounties, as well as settling claims against the government related to pay and allowances. It was not however responsible for payments on contracts and other obligations incurred by the Army as those were handled by the respective department. Payments to officers and soldiers was supposed to be made on a bi-monthly basis, although circumstances might see these delayed significantly (as much as by eight months in some cases).Newell & Shrader, p. 98-104 As originally organized the Pay Department was headed by a paymaster general with the rank of colonel, two deputy paymasters general with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and twenty-five paymasters with the rank of major. There were also a small number of civilian clerks, but no enlisted personnel assigned to the department. Cash was received directly by the paymaster general from the United States Department of the Treasury, Treasury Department and forwarded to the supervising paymaster of a given "pay district" or field headquarters. These funds were then distributed under armed guard to the officers and soldiers within the pay district. Pay districts generally coincided with the boundaries of military divisions, departments and districts, which as the Army grew the number and size of pay districts grew likewise. This required the appointment of more paymasters during the course of the war and an increase in the number of civilian clerks, the latter of which reached a peak of 155 by 1864. The rapid increase in the size of the Army presented a significant challenge to the Pay Department, as the number of soldiers needed to be paid was over fifty times greater than the pre-war size. This was particularly the case for sick and wounded soldiers who were separated from their units and so harder to located. However while payments were occasionally delayed, it never got to the point where soldiers felt compelled to mutiny as had been done during the American Revolutionary War, Revolution. In the four years and four months of the Civil War, the Pay Department disbursed $1,029,239,000 of which $541,000 was lost due to embezzlements and other causes, at an expense of $6,429,600. ;Leadership When the Civil War began, Colonel Benjamin F. Larned served as Paymaster General but was in poor health. He was temporarily relieved of duty in July 1862 due to illness and would die a few months later. From July until December of that year, Major Cary H. Fry served as the acting Paymaster General, when Timothy Andrews (general), Timothy Andrews was appointed to the position. He would remain in that position until retiring in November 1864, when Benjamin Brice was appointed in his place and finished out the war as Paymaster General. Both Andrews and Brice argued that the position of Paymaster General should made a brigadier general and the number and rank of subordinate paymasters similarly increased, commensurate with the type of expansion other administrative departments experienced during the war, but their recommendations were ignored.

Provost Marshal General's Bureau

The Provost Marshal Genera's Bureau (PMGB) was created to oversee the apprehension of deserters, conduct counterespionage, and recover stolen government property. Originally established as an office of the AGD in September 1862, it was made an independent department in May 1863 as part of the Conscription Act of 3 March 1863. The Conscription Act also made it responsible for the administration of the draft system, with two other responsibilities added later that year: first with the management of the Invalid Corps in April, and then the recruitment of white volunteers in May. Intended only as temporary organization for the duration of the war the PMGB was effectively terminated in August 1866, whereupon all records, funds and responsibilities were transferred to the AGD.Newell & Shrader, p. 104-106 Initially consisting of a single officer, the provost marshal general (PMG) himself, eventually the bureau was authorized fourteen additional officers split between several branches. However, a mix of officers from the Regulars, Volunteers, and Invalid Corps were also detailed to the PMGB to fulfill a number of rolls. Each congressional district was appointed a provost marshal who served on a "board of enrollment." The board included two other persons (one of whom was to be a licensed physician) and was charged with overseeing the enrollment of men for the draft. An enrolling officer could also be appointed per subdistrict (town, township or ward) on a temporary basis, as could special agents tasked with apprehending deserters. Additionally, all provost marshals and special agents were empowered to arrest any stragglers and send them to the nearest military post. By November 1864 the PMGB (not counting the Invalid Corps) included 4,716 officers and employees. In the aggregate, the PMGB was successful in the enrollment and maintenance of sufficient manpower for the Union Army. Over one million men were brought into the Union Army at a cost of $9.84 per man (versus $34.01 per man prior to the bureau's formation) and the arrest and return to duty of over 76,500 deserters. The bureau was also able to raise $26 million to fully fund its enrollment and draft duties. ;Leadership When originally created as an office of the AGD, Colonel Simeon Draper was named the Provost Marshal General, which he held from October 1862 to March 1863. However, the PMGB did not live up to expectations under Draper's leadership. When it was made an independent department he was replaced with James Barnet Fry, who served as the PMG until the bureau's dissolution.

Quartermaster-General's Department

Included the U.S. Military Telegraph Corps, United States Military Railroad and Cavalry Bureau. *Joseph E. Johnston: June 20, 1860April 22, 1861 *Ebenezer S. Sibly (acting): April 22, 1861June 13, 1861 *Montgomery C. Meigs: June 13, 1861February 6, 1882 **Charles Thomas (acting): August 1, 1863January 8, 1864

Signal Corps

Subsistence Department

The mission of the Subsistence Department was the purchase, storage and distribution of Foods of the American Civil War, rations and related items in a timely manner. It was the smallest of the four supply departments, and even as the army grew to encompass over a million soldiers the department itself barely expanded in size. Yet it was able to meet its mission to such an extent that President Lincoln once remarked to an officer "Your department we scarcely hear of; it is like a well-regulated stomach, works so smoothly we are not conscious of having it."Newell & Shrader, p. 109-111 The authorized strength of the department at the war's start was a Commissary General of Subsistence (CGS) with the rank of colonel, an assistant CGS with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and ten commissaries of subsistence (CS), two with the rank of major and the rest captains. Those not assigned to work at the office of the CGS in Washington were in charge of one of the subsistence depots or purchasing offices, or assigned to the staff of one of the military departments. Although there were no enlisted personnel in the department (all commissary positions at the regimental level being fulfilled by members of the regiment), a small civilian staff of clerks and laborers was assigned to the department. To meet the needs of feeding the rapidly-expanding Union Army, Congress authorized a CS with the rank of captain to be assigned to each brigade in July 1861, and in August 1861 the department was expanded with twelve additional officers, four majors and eight captains. A year later when army corps were officially created a CS with the rank of lieutenant colonel was authorized to serve on their staff, and in February 1863 the department was further expanded when the CGS was promoted to brigadier general, a second assistant CGS was added with the rank of colonel, and two additional majors were authorized. Eventually in March 1865 Congress formally recognized wartime requirements by authorizing a chief CS with the rank of colonel for each field army, military department and division, and principle subsistence depot; an assistant CS with the rank of colonel assigned to Washington; up to six CS with the rank of lieutenant colonel to serve as inspectors or special duty assignment; a chief CS with the rank of lieutenant colonel for each army corps; and a CS with the rank of major for each division. The need to fill CS positions among the field units primarily came from Volunteer officers or Regular officers detailed to the duty, and by the end of the war there were 535 commissaries of subsistence of Volunteers, bringing the total compliment of officers in the department to 564. Although educating them in the principles of their duty was a constant problem, it was a minor one eventually fixed with time and experience, and those who couldn't meet the standards of the department were relieved of duty. During the war the principle subsistence depots and purchasing offices were located in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky, Louisville, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Depot commissaries, assistant by civilian clerks and laborers, received purchases in bulk at these locations and repackaged them for shipment to armies in the field. The actual transportation of rations was handled by the Quartermaster Department, requiring close cooperation between the two. Major beef depots were also established in Alexandria, Virginia, Alexandria (VA), Louisville and Washington. During the war the department developed a highly effective system of base, advanced, and temporary depots and mobile beef herds which followed behind Union forces in the field.Newell & Shrader, p. 112-118United States Army Logistics, 1775-1992: An Anthology. (1997). United States: Center of Military History, U.S. Army. p. 202 The success of the Subsistence Department in meeting the challenges of the war was noted by Secretary Stanton, who observed in 1865 that no operation conducted by the Union Army failed on account of the department being unable to meet its obligations. In total, the department purchased over $361 million in foodstuff and miscellaneous subsistence items from July 1, 1861 to June 30, 1865. The vast quantities of items managed by the department included over 504 million pounds of hardtack, 223 million pounds of bacon, 200 million pounds of brown sugar, 106 million pounds of fresh beef, 64 million pounds of roasted coffee and more than 322,000 live beef cattle. ;Leadership At the start of the Civil War the CGS was George Gibson (Commissary General), George Gibson. Gibson, who at eighty-six was the older serving officer in the Army, had been in this position since the department was first created in April 1818 and as such was responsible for establishing its procurement and distribution methods. When he died on September 29, 1861, he was succeeded by his deputy, Joseph Pannell Taylor. Taylor oversaw the department's expansion during the most eventful years of its history and served until his death on June 29, 1864. The senior assistant CGS Amos Beebe Eaton was promoted to the position upon Taylor's death and served as CGS for the rest of the war.

Military tactics

The Civil War drove many innovations in military tactics. W. J. Hardee published the first revised infantry tactics for use with modern rifles in 1855. However, even these tactics proved ineffective in combat, as it involved massed volley fire, in which entire units (primarily regiments) would fire simultaneously. These tactics had not been tested before in actual combat, and the commanders of these units would post their soldiers at incredibly close range, compared to the range of the rifled musket, which led to very high mortality rates. In a sense, the weapons had evolved beyond the tactics, which would soon change as the war drew to a close. Military railways, occasionally used in earlier wars, provided mass movement of troops. The electric telegraph was used by both sides, which enabled political and senior military leaders to pass orders to and receive reports from commanders in the field. There were many other innovations brought by necessity. Generals were forced to reexamine the offensive-minded tactics developed during the Mexican–American War where attackers could mass to within 100 yards of the defensive lines, the maximum effective range of smoothbore muskets. Attackers would have to endure one volley of inaccurate smoothbore musket fire before they could close with the defenders. But by the Civil War, the smoothbores had been replaced with rifled muskets, using the quick loadable minié ball, with accurate ranges up to 900 yards. Defense now dominated the battlefield. Now attackers, whether advancing in ordered lines or by rushes, were subjected to three or four aimed volleys before they could get among the defenders. This made offensive tactics that were successful only 20 years before nearly obsolete.

Desertions and draft riots

Desertion was a major problem for both sides. The daily hardships of war, forced marches, thirst, suffocating heat, disease, delay in pay, solicitude for family, impatience at the monotony and futility of inactive service, panic on the eve of battle, the sense of war-weariness, the lack of confidence in commanders, and the discouragement of defeat (especially early on for the Union Army), all tended to lower the morale of the Union Army and to increase desertion. In 1861 and 1862, the war was going badly for the Union Army and there were, by some counts, 180,000 desertions. In 1863 and 1864, the bitterest two years of the war, the Union Army suffered over 200 desertions every day, for a total of 150,000 desertions during those two years. This puts the total number of desertions from the Union Army during the four years of the war at nearly 350,000. Using these numbers, 15% of Union soldiers deserted during the war. Official numbers put the number of deserters from the Union Army at 200,000 for the entire war, or about 8% of Union Army soldiers. Since desertion is defined as being AWOL for 30 or more days and some soldiers returned within that time period, as well as some deserters being labeled missing-in-action or vice versa, accurate counts are difficult to determine. Many historians estimate the "real" desertion rate in the Union Army as between 9–12%. About 1 out of 3 deserters returned to their regiments, either voluntarily or after being arrested and being sent back. Many deserters were professional "bounty jumpers" who would enlist to collect the cash bonus and then desert to do the same elsewhere. If not caught and executed, this crime could pay well. Irish immigrants were the main participants in the famous "New York Draft riots" of 1863. Stirred up by the instigating rhetoric of Democratic politicians, the Irish had shown the strongest support for Southern aims prior to the start of the war and had long opposed abolitionism and the free black population, regarding them as competition for jobs and blaming them for driving down wages. Alleging that the war was merely an upper-class abolitionist war to free slaves who might move north and compete for jobs and housing, the poorer classes did not welcome a draft, especially one from which a richer man could buy an exemption. The poor formed clubs that would buy exemptions for their unlucky members. As a result of the Enrollment Act, rioting began in several Northern cities, the most heavily hit being New York City. A mob reported as consisting principally of Irish immigrants rioted in the summer of 1863, with the worst violence occurring in July during the Battle of Gettysburg. The mob set fire to African American churches and the Colored Orphan Asylum as well as the homes of prominent Protestant abolitionists. A mob was reportedly repulsed from the offices of the staunchly pro-Union ''New York Tribune'' by workers firing two Gatling guns. The principal victims of the rioting were African Americans and activists in the anti-slavery movement. Not until victory was achieved at Gettysburg could the Union Army be sent in; some units had to open fire to quell the violence and stop the rioters. Casualties were estimated as up to 1,000 killed or wounded. There were a few small scale draft riots in rural areas of the Midwest and in the coal regions of Pennsylvania.Kenneth H. Wheeler, "Local Autonomy and Civil War Draft Resistance: Holmes County, Ohio." ''Civil War History.'' v.45#2 1999. pp 147
online edition

See also

*American Civil War Corps Badges *Commemoration of the American Civil War *Grand Army of the Republic *Irish Americans in the American Civil War *German Americans in the American Civil War *Hispanics in the American Civil War *Italian Americans in the Civil War *Native Americans in the American Civil War *Military history of African Americans *Southern Unionists *Uniform of the Union Army *United States National Cemeteries *Army of the Frontier *Army of the Southwest *I Corps (Union Army), I Corps *II Corps (Union Army), II Corps *III Corps (Union Army), III Corps *IV Corps (Union Army), IV Corps *V Corps (Union Army), V Corps *VI Corps (Union Army), VI Corps *VII Corps (Union Army), VII Corps *VIII Corps (Union Army), VIII Corps *IX Corps (Union Army), IX Corps *X Corps (Union Army), X Corps *XI Corps (Union Army), XI Corps *XII Corps (Union Army), XII Corps *XIII Corps (Union Army), XIII Corps *XIV Corps (Union Army), XIV Corps *XV Corps (Union Army), XV Corps *XVI Corps (Union Army), XVI Corps *XVII Corps (Union Army), XVII Corps *XVIII Corps (Union Army), XVIII Corps *XIX Corps (Union Army), XIX Corps *XX Corps (Union Army), XX Corps *XXI Corps (Union Army), XXI Corps *XXII Corps (Union Army), XXII Corps *XXIII Corps (Union Army), XXIII Corps *XXIV Corps (Union Army), XXIV Corps *XXV Corps (Union Army), XXV Corps *Cavalry Corps (Union Army), Cavalry Corps



* Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. ''Civil War High Commands''. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. . * Ulysses S. Grant, Grant, Ulysses S.]
''Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant''
2 vols. Charles L. Webster & Company, 1885–86. . * Glatthaar, Joseph T. ''Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers''. New York: Free Press, 1990. . * Hattaway, Herman, and Archer Jones. ''How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War''. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983. . * James M. McPherson, McPherson, James M. ''What They Fought For, 1861–1865''. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994. . * McGrath, John J. ''The Brigade: A History, Its Organization and Employment in the US Army.'' Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, 2004. * Shrader, C. R., Newell, C. R. (2011). ''Of Duty Well and Faithfully Done: A History of the Regular Army in the Civil War.'' University of Nebraska, 2011. * Wilson, J. B. (1998). ''Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades.'' Washington, DC: Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1998.

Further reading

* Bledsoe, Andrew S. ''Citizen-Officers: The Union and Confederate Volunteer Junior Officer Corps in the American Civil War''. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 2015. . * Canfield, Daniel T. "Opportunity Lost: Combined Operations and the Development of Union Military Strategy, April 1861 – April 1862." ''Journal of Military History'' 79.3 (2015). * Kahn, Matthew E., and Dora L. Costa. "Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War." ''Quarterly journal of economics'' 2 (2003): 519–548
online version
* Allan Nevins, Nevins, Allan. ''The War for the Union''. Vol. 1, ''The Improvised War 1861–1862''. ''The War for the Union''. Vol. 2, ''War Becomes Revolution 1862–1863''. Vol. 3, ''The Organized War 1863–1864''. Vol. 4, ''The Organized War to Victory 1864–1865''. (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1960–71. .) * Prokopowicz, Gerald J. ''All for the Regiment: the Army of the Ohio, 1861–1862'' (UNC Press, 2014)
* Shannon, Fred A
''The Organization and Administration of the Union Army 1861–1865''
2 vols. Gloucester, MA: P. Smith, 1965. . First published 1928 by A.H. Clark Co. * Welcher, Frank J. ''The Union Army, 1861–1865 Organization and Operations''. Vol. 1, ''The Eastern Theater''. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989. ; . ''The Union Army, 1861–1865 Organization and Operations''. Vol. 2, ''The Western Theater''. (1993). .

External links

''A Manual of Military Surgery''
by Samuel D. Gross, MD (1861), the manual used by doctors in the Union Army.

depicting over 50 Union Army camps, are available for research use at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Official Army register of the Volunteer Force 1861; 1862; 1863; 1864; 1865Christian Commission of Union DeadRoll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vols 1–8Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vols 9–12Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vols 13–15Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vols. 16–17Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vol. 18Roll of Honor: names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vol. 19Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vols. 20–21Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vols, 22–23Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in Defense of the Union Vols. 24–27Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers who died in defense of the Union Vol. XXVII
{{authority control Union Army,