Union & Confederate Army Structure

Company

  • 97 men and 3 officers
  • Commanded by a Captain
  • Companies and even whole regiments consisted of recruits from a single township, city or county
  • Ethnic affinity would form the basis of some companies and regiments as well

Regiment

  • Primary fighting unit of both armies
  • Usually carried the name of state of origin and chronological number of the creation of that regiment
  • Volunteer regiments retained close ties to their states
  • Men from same region of state often in same regiment
  • New regiment consisted of 1,000 officers and enlisted men
    • Losses, disease and desertion reduced the number of actual men in regiment during battle
    • Within a year of its organization, a typical regiment was reduced to half or less of its original number
  • Instead of recruiting old regiments up to strength, many states preferred to just organize new ones
    • This provided new opportunities for patronage in the form of officers’ commissions and pride in the number of regiments sent by each individual state
  • Consisted of 10 companies
  • Chain of command (highest to lowest): colonel à lieutenant colonel à major

Brigade

  • Consisted of 2-6 regiments (commonly 4)
  • Union brigades were numbered (3rd brigade) while Confederate brigades were named after current or former commanding officers (Bragg’s brigade)
  • Commanded by brigadier general who reported to major general

Division

  • Consisted of 3-5 brigades
  • Confederate divisions consisted of more brigades than Union divisions and twice as many men

Corps

  • Consisted of 2-4 divisions (commonly 3)
  • Union army corps commanded by a major general
  • Confederate army corps commanded by a lieutenant general
  • Confederate army division size similar to that of Union army corps
  • Corps not adopted by Confederate army until after Maryland campaign/Battle of Antietam

Army

  • Consisted of 2 or more corps
  • Commanded by a general
  • Union named armies after rivers or waterways (Army of the Potomac)
  • Confederates named armies after regions or states (Army of Northern Virginia)
  • Usually assigned to a District or Department

District

  • Subdivision of a Department (e.g. District of East Tennessee)

Department

  • Covered a defined region
  • Included responsibility for the federal installations therein and for the field armies within the borders

Military Division

  • A collection of departments
  • e.g. Military Division of the Mississippi
  • Some units only possessed 4-8 companies and were referred to as battalions

(3, various internet sources)

Photo: http://www.archives.gov/research/military/civil-war/photos/images/civil-war-006.jpg

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