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Subject: U.S. Civil War FAQ, Part 1/2

This article was archived around: 29 May 2006 04:18:53 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: civil-war-usa/faq
All FAQs posted in: alt.war.civil.usa, soc.history.war.us-civil-war
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Archive-name: civil-war-usa/faq/part1 Posting-frequency: monthly Last-modified: 2002/3/19 Version: 9.11
U.S. Civil War FAQ v9.11 (19 Mar 2002) This is part 1 (of 2) of a collection of answers to frequently asked questions (and some not-so-frequently, too!) about the Civil War. It is posted on or about the 20th of each month. It was compiled by Justin M. Sanders (jsanders@jaguar1.usouthal.edu) who tried to be as complete and accurate as possible, but who is definitely human and has probably made several errors. Please send comments, suggestions, or corrections to the address above. The topics covered are (a plus means a new entry, an asterisk means a revised entry): ---Part 1--- Section 0: alt.war.civil.usa, soc.history.war.us-civil-war, and net stuff *Q0.1: What are these groups anyway? *Q0.2: Are the FAQ and Reading List archived somewhere? *Q0.3: Where can I find Civil War images, documents, and so forth on-line? Section 1: Secession and the beginning of the War Q1.1: When did state X secede? Q1.2: Was there a declaration of war or something? Q1.3: Was Texas given a right to secede by the Treaty of Annexation that brought it into the Union? Q1.4: Did the Supreme Court ever rule on the legality of secession? Q1.5: What were the populations of the states at the outbreak of the war? Section 2: Battles and fighting forces Q2.1: What are the alternative names of various battles? Q2.2: Who were the U.S. Generals at the outbreak of the war, and who were the first Generals appointed after the war began? Q2.3: Who were the first C.S. Generals appointed? Q2.4: What were the naval ranks during the Civil War? Q2.5: What were the organization and strengths of various units in the armies? Q2.6: What is the difference between grapeshot and canister? Q2.7: How did prisoner exchanges and paroles work? Q2.8: What did a brevet promotion indicate, and what did an officer gain by being given a brevet? ---Part 2--- Section 3: The end of the War Q3.1: When did the war end? Q3.2: If the rebel states were never considered legally out of the Union, how was Reconstruction justified? Q3.3: When were the different states readmitted to representation in Congress? Q3.4: Who was the last surviving veteran of the Civil War? Section 4: Genealogy and Unit Histories Q4.1: My ancestor fought in the war-- how do I find out about his service? Q4.2: How can I find information about a particular regiment? Section 5: Miscellaneous Q5.1: What is the "Stars and Bars"? Q5.2: What changes to the U.S. flag occurred during the war? Q5.3: How was the state of West Virginia created? Q5.4: What war records did the post-war presidents have? Q5.5: What are the various alternative names for the war? *Q5.6: What are good books on the war? Q5.7: How can I get the soundtrack to Ken Burn's "Civil War"? Q5.8: Did U.S. Grant and R.E. Lee both own slaves and free them? Q5.9: What is the recipe for hardtack? *Q5.10: Where can I get a copy of the Sullivan Ballou letter quoted in Ken Burn's "Civil War"? *Q5.11: What were the lyrics to "Dixie", "The Bonnie Blue Flag", etc.? Q5.12: How can I get the "Official Records" on CD-ROM? Answers Section 0: alt.war.civil.usa, soc.history.war.us-civil-war, and net stuff ------------------------------ *Q0.1: What are these groups anyway? The USENET newsgroup alt.war.civil.usa was created in the Spring of 1992 at the suggestion of Patrick L. Dunn (Thanks!). The earliest articles are dated in early May 1992. The charter of alt.war.civil.usa reads: The purpose of this group is the discussion of topics related to the United States Civil War (1861-65). Topics can involve military, political, social, economic or other factors which impacted upon this period of history. This newsgroup will also serve as a source of information, assistance, or referral for persons seeking guidance via responses from more knowledgeable subscribers. The USENET newsgroup soc.history.war.us-civil-war is a moderated group created in June 1995. Andrew McMichael spearheaded the drive to create the group (thanks Andrew!). Its purpose is very similar to alt.war.civil.usa; the whole panoply of topics related to the U.S. Civil War may be discussed. However, it is moderated. This means that articles are screened by volunteer moderators to insure that they remain on topic, do not excessively quote other articles, are not flames, and do not contain racial or other attacks. A more detailed explanation of the moderation policy is posted in the group at the beginning of each month. It is also available at the soc.history.war.us-civil-war Web Page at http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/Delta/7002 ------------------------------ *Q0.2: Are the FAQ and Reading List archived somewhere? Yes, the latest versions of the FAQ and Reading List are available for anonymous ftp at: ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/civil-war-usa/faq/part1 ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/civil-war-usa/faq/part2 ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/civil-war-usa/reading-list ------------------------------ *Q0.3: Where can I find Civil War images, documents, and so forth on-line? [Your humble FAQ maintainer asks the net cruisers among you to keep him notified of changes and errors.] A large collection of e-texts relating to the Civil War including the Confederate Constitution, secession ordinances, Lincoln's Inaugurals, the Emancipation Proclamation, lists of CS Navy ships, the autobiography of CSA Gen. D.H. Maury, plus images of famous people on both sides are available at the anonymous ftp archive site ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/academic/history/marshall/military/civil_war_usa Here is list of URL's that will lead to dozens more [Compiled with assistance from Steven Rohr]: The American Civil War Homepage (Univ of Tennessee) http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/ U.S. Civil War Center (LSU) http://www.cwc.lsu.edu Civil War Page (Jim Janke) http://homepages.dsu.edu/jankej/civilwar/civilwar.htm Civil War Resources http://www.usafa.af.mil/dfeng/cwarres.htm The Gettysburg Discussion Group http://www.gdg.org Causes of the Civil War site (Jim Epperson)-- lots of documents from the period leading to secession) http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/causes.html The Library of Congress has a Civil War image collection at http://rs6.loc.gov/amhome.html An archive of articles previously posted in alt.war.civil.usa and soc.history.war.us-civil-war is available at http://www.google.com Section 1: The beginning of the War ------------------------------ Q1.1: When did state X secede? Before Lincoln's call for troops, the following states seceded: 1. South Carolina, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 20 Dec 1860 2. Mississippi, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 9 Jan 1861 3. Florida, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 10 Jan 1861 4. Alabama, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 11 Jan 1861 5. Georgia, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 19 Jan 1861 6. Louisiana, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 26 Jan 1861 7. Texas, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession, 1 Feb 1861, to take effect 2 Mar 1861 provided it was ratified by the voters on 23 Feb 1861 (approved 46,153 to 14,747). Texas admitted to the Confederacy, 2 Mar 1861. After Lincoln's call for troops on 15 Apr 1861, the following states seceded: 8. Virginia, Convention rejected secession 4 Apr 1861, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession 17 Apr 1861 and ratified C.S.A. Constitution, both subject to ratification of voters 23 May 1861 (approved 132,201 to 37,451). Virginia admitted to CSA 7 May 1861. 9. Arkansas, Convention rejected secession ordinance on 18 Mar 1861 and called for referendum in August, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession 6 May 1861. Arkansas admitted to C.S.A. 20 May 1861. 10. North Carolina, Voters narrowly rejected (47,705 to 47,611) calling a Convention 28 Feb 1861. Legislature called Convention 1 May 1861. Convention passed Ordinance of Secession 20 May 1861. North Carolina provisionally admitted to CSA 17 May 1861. 11. Tennessee, Voters rejected (69,772 to 57,708) calling a Convention 9 Feb 1861. On 6 May 1861 Legislature passed "Declaration of Independence" and ratification of CSA Constitution subject to referendum on 8 June 1861 (approved 104,471 to 47,183). Tennessee admitted to CSA 17 May 1861. The following two states never seceded via any mechanism provided by a "regular" government: 12. Missouri, Convention rejected secession 9 Mar 1861; Convention reconvened in July 1861 and declared offices of governor and legislature vacant; rump legislature, meeting in Neosho, passed Ordinance of Secession 31 Oct 1861 and requested admission to CSA. Missouri admitted to CSA 28 Nov 1861. 13. Kentucky, southern sympathizers called for convention Oct 1861, Convention passed Ordinance of Secession 18 Nov 1861. Kentucky admitted to the CSA 10 Dec 1861. Sources: Civil War Day-by-Day; Official Records, Ser. IV, Vol 1; D.W. Crofts, *Reluctant Confederates* (1989); W.L. Buenger, *Secession and the Union in Texas* (1984). ------------------------------ Q1.2: Was there a declaration of war or something? 1. The United States never declared war. This was in keeping with its position that the rebel states did not form a new nation, rather they were states in which a rebellion was taking place. Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation that an insurrection existed in the states of SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, and TX on 15 Apr 1861 (Messages & Papers of the Presidents, vol. V, p3214). He also proclaimed a blockade of Southern harbors on 19 Apr 1861, and the date of this proclamation was taken by the Supreme Court in several cases to be the official beginning of the insurrection. 2. The Confederate States passed "An Act recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States" on 6 May 1861. This act exempted MD, NC, TN, KY, AR, MO, DE, and the territories of AZ and NM, and the Indian Territory south of KS. Sources: McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom; Official Records, Ser. IV, Vol. 1 ------------------------------ Q1.3: Was Texas given a right to secede by the Treaty of Annexation that brought it into the Union? Texas *was not* brought into the Union by treaty. There was an attempt to do this in 1844, but the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the treaty. Texas was annexed by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1845. Neither the failed annexation treaty nor the Resolution of Annexation reserved any right for Texas to secede. In fact, the treaty would have made Texas a mere territory, but the Joint Resolution gave immediate statehood. In addition, the Resolution provided that Texas might divide itself into as many as five states, if it so desired. In 1845, Texas did not avail itself of this provision of the Resolution, and it is not clear whether the provision would still be operable after that time. ------------------------------ Q1.4: Did the Supreme Court ever rule on the legality of secession? Yes, it did-- after the war. Perhaps the clearest statement is in the case Texas v. White (74 U.S. 700). Chief Justice Chase, writing for the court in its 1869 decision, said: "The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States. ... Considered, therefore, as transactions under the Constitution, the Ordinance of Secession, adopted by the convention and ratified by a majority of the citizens of Texas, and all the Acts of her Legislature intended to give effect to that ordinance, were absolutely null. They were utterly without operation in law. ... Our conclusion, therefore, is, that Texas continued to be a State, and a State of the Union, notwithstanding the transactions to which we have referred." The entire decision is available on the Web at http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/cases/historic.htm ------------------------------ Q1.5: What were the populations of the states at the outbreak of the war? The following statistics are from J.C.G. Kennedy, Supt. of Census, _Population of the United States in 1860_ (Washington, G.P.O., 1864) State White Free Colored Slave Total[1] Military[2] AL 526,271 2,690 435,080 964,201 99,967 AR 324,143 144 111,115 435,450 65,231 CA 323,177 4,086 0 379,994 169,975 CT 451,504 8,627 0 460,147 94,411 DE 90,589 19,829 1,798 112,216 18,273 FL 77,747 932 61,745 140,424 15,739 GA 591,550 3,500 462,198 1,057,286 111,005 IL 1,704,291 7,628 0 1,711,951 375,026 IN 1,338,710 11,428 0 1,350,428 265,295 IA 673,779 1,069 0 674,913 139,316 [3] KS 106,390 625 2 107,206 27,976 KY 919,484 10,684 225,483 1,155,684 180,589 LA 357,456 18,647 331,726 708,002 83,456 ME 626,947 1,327 0 628,279 122,238 MD 515,918 83,942 87,189 687,049 102,715 MA 1,221,432 9,602 0 1,231,066 258,419 MI 736,142 6,799 0 749,113 164,007 MN 169,395 259 0 172,023 41,226 MS 353,899 773 436,631 791,305 70,295 MO 1,063,489 3,572 114,931 1,182,012 232,781 NH 325,579 494 0 326,073 63,610 [4] NJ 646,699 25,318 18 672,035 132,219 NY 3,831,590 49,005 0 3,880,735 796,881 NC 629,942 30,463 331,059 992,622 115,369 OH 2,302,808 36,673 0 2,339,511 459,534 OR 52,160 128 0 52,465 15,781 PA 2,849,259 56,949 0 2,906,215 555,172 RI 170,649 3,952 0 174,620 35,502 SC 291,300 9,914 402,406 703,708 55,046 TN 826,722 7,300 275,719 1,109,801 159,353 TX 420,891 355 182,566 604,215 92,145 VT 314,369 709 0 315,098 60,580 [5] VA 1,047,299 58,042 490,865 1,596,318 196,587 [5] VA1 691,424 55,269 472,494 1,219,299 129,786 [5] WV 355,875 2,773 18,371 377,019 66,801 WI 773,693 1,171 0 775,881 159,335 Territories 76,214 (all terr.) CO 34,231 46 0 34,277 DK 2,576 0 0 4,837 NE 28,696 67 15 28,841 [6] NV 6,812 45 0 6,857 [7] NM 82,979 85 0 93,516 UT 40,125 30 29 40,273 WA 11,138 30 0 11,594 DC 60,763 11,131 3,185 75,080 12,797 The bottom line: White Free Colored Slave Total Military Union* 21,475,373 355,310 432,650 22,339,989 4,559,872 CSA 5,447,220 132,760 3,521,110 9,103,332 1,064,193 *includes MO and KY, DC, and territories The following statistics are from J.C.G. Kennedy, Supt. of Census, _Preliminary Report on the Eighth Census, 1860_ (Washington, G.P.O., 1862) and from Annie Abel, _The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist_ (1915, repr 1992: U of Nebraska Pr) The Five Civilized Tribes Tribe White Free Colored Slave Indian Choctaw 802 67 2,297 18,000 Cherokee 713 17 2,504 21,000 Creek 319 277 1,651 13,550 Chickasaw 146 13 917 5,000 Seminole 8 30 0 2,267 The following statistics are from J.C.G. Kennedy, Supt. of Census, _Agriculture in the United States in 1860_ (Washington: G.P.O., 1864) [ratios calculated by JMS] State Slave- Slaveholders in slaves per holders white pop. (%) slaveholder AL 33,730 6.4 12.9 AR 11,481 3.5 9.7 DE 587 0.65 3.1 FL 5,152 6.6 12.0 GA 41,084 6.9 11.2 KY 38,645 4.2 5.8 LA 22,033 6.1 15.0 MD 13,783 2.7 6.3 MS 30,943 8.7 14.1 MO 24,320 2.3 4.7 NC 34,658 5.5 9.6 SC 26,701 9.2 15.1 TN 36,844 4.4 7.5 TX 21,878 5.2 8.3 VA [5] 52,128 5.0 9.4 VA1 [5] 48,523 7.0 9.7 WV [5] 3,605 1.0 5.1 Total 393,967 4.9 [8] 10.0 The number of free households in the 15 slave states was 1,515,605. Since the census generally counted only one slaveholder per household, the number of slaveholding households will be roughly equal to the number of slaveholders. So there were roughly 393,967 slaveholding households in 1860. Taking the ratio shows that 26% of Southern households were slaveholding households. Notes: [1] Total includes other racial/ethnic groups. [2] White males aged 18-45 [3] KS became a state in 1861; it was a territory during the Census. [4] "Slaves" are "colored apprentices for life." [5] VA includes the present state of WV, VA1 is just the present state of VA, and WV is just the present state WV. The whole of VA in 1860 (i.e. VA1 plus WV) was used in later calculations. [6] NV became a state in 1864. [7] White includes "half-breeds." [8] White population used was the total of the 15 states (WV included with VA) in the table. Section 2: Battles and fighting forces ------------------------------ Q2.1: What are the alternative names of various battles? Union Confederate Bull Run, VA Manassas 21 July 1861 Wilsons Creek, MO Oak Hills 10 Aug 1861 Logan's Cross Roads, KY Mill Springs 19 Jan 1862 Pea Ridge, AR Elkhorn Tavern 6-8 Mar 1862 Pittsburg Landing, TN Shiloh 6-7 Apr 1862 Fair Oaks, VA Seven Pines 31 May-1 Jun 1862 Bull Run, VA (2nd) Manassas 29-30 Aug 1862 Antietam, MD Sharpsburg 17 Sept 1862 Chaplin Hills, KY Perryville 8 Oct 1862 Stones River, TN Murfreesboro 30 Dec 1862-2 Jan 1863 Elk Creek, Ind. Terr. Honey Springs 17 July 1863 Ocean Pond, FL Olustee 20 Feb 1864 Sabine Cross Roads, LA Mansfield 8 Apr 1864 Opequon Creek, VA Winchester 19 Sept 1864 ------------------------------ *Q2.2: Who were the U.S. Generals at the out-break of the war, and who were the first Generals appointed after the war began? [Contributed by Carlton Andrews (andrews@mls.ed.ray.com)] USA Generals - Prior to Army Expansion Name Rank *Commission Date Age 7/1/61 ---- ---- --------------- ---------- Winfield Scott M.G. 6/25/1841 75 John Ellis Wool B.G. 6/25/1841 77 David Emanuel Twiggs B.G. 6/30/1846 [Twiggs was dismissed 3/1/1861 for handing/surrendering all men and equipment in Texas to the state of Texas] William Selby Harney B.G. 6/14/1858 60 [Harney was removed from his command in Missouri 29 May 1861. He was not reassigned and retired 1 Aug 1863.] Joseph E. Johnston QM-B.G. 6/28/1860 [staff appt.] Edwin Vose Sumner B.G. 3/16/1861 64 ARMY EXPANSION May 1861 ----------------------- Regular Commissions George Brinton McClellan M.G. 5/14/1861 34 John Charles Fremont M.G. 5/14/1861 48 Henry Wager Halleck M.G. 5/19/1861 46 Joseph K. F. Mansfield B.G. 5/14/1861 57 Irvin McDowell B.G. 5/14/1861 42 Robert Anderson B.G. 5/15/1861 56 William Starke Rosecrans B.G. 5/16/1861 41 Volunteer Commissions John Adams Dix M.G. 5/16/1861 62 Nathaniel Prentiss Banks M.G. 5/16/1861 45 Benjamin Franklin Butler M.G. 5/16/1861 42 37 officers B.G. 5/17/1861 * Commission Date is date to rank from, not date appointed. ------------------------------- Q2.3: Who were the first C.S. Generals appointed? [31 Aug 1861 will be the cut-off date for this answer.] Generals in the CS Army (all were appointed on 31 Aug 1861, to date from the date given below): Samuel Cooper 16 May 1861 (Adjt & Insp. Gen) Albert Sidney Johnston 30 May 1861 Robert Edward Lee 14 Jun 1861 Joseph Eggleston Johnston 4 Jul 1861 Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard 21 Jul 1861 Prior to 16 May 1861, the highest rank in the CS Regular Army was Brigadier General (5 were authorized): Samuel Cooper 16 Mar 1861 (Adjt & Insp. Gen) Robert Edward Lee 14 May 1861 Joseph Eggleston Johnston 14 May 1861 In addition to the CS Regular Army, there was the Provisional Army (PACS). Which had the ranks of Brigadier and Major General. Major Generals (PACS): David Emanuel Twiggs 22 May 1861 Leonidas Polk 25 Jun 1861 The first Brigadier General (PACS) was Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard 1 Mar 1861 at least 35 others appointed between Mar and Aug 1861 The rank of Lieutenant General was authorized for the PACS on 18 Sep 1862. ---------------------------------- Q2.4: What were the naval ranks during the Civil War? [Information from Richard Staley with amendments from Justin T. Broderick] Admiral (grade created for David Farragut 25 Jul 1866) Vice Admiral (grade created 21 Dec 1864, Farragut being the first to hold this rank) Rear Admiral (created 16 July 1862, the only flag rank that has been maintained continuously to this day) Flag Officer (title created 16 Jan 1857, replaced by Commodore on 16 Jun 1862) Commodore (courtesy title until 16 Jul 1862 when the grade was formally adopted to replace Flag Officer) Captain Commander Lieut. Commander (grade created 16 Jul 1862) Lieutenant Master (originally "sailing master"; after the period was changed to Lieutenant Junior Grade.) Ensign (title for a passed Midshipman after 16 Jul 1862) Passed Midshipman (Midshipman who had passed his examination for promotion to Lieutenant; called Ensign after 1862 although the term continued in use.) Midshipman (grade given undergraduates of the U.S. Naval Academy; not strictly in the line of the Navy in the latter part of the century). Master's Mate Shipped or Rated Master's Mate (usually a warrant officer). References: _Todd's American Military Equippage: 1851-1870_ W.B. Cogan, _Dictionary of American Admirals_, US Naval Institute Press, 1989 C.G. Reynolds, _Famous American Admirals_, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1978 C.O. Paullin, "Naval Administration, 1842-1861", _USNI Proceedings_, vol. 33 J.C. Tily, _The Uniforms of the United States Navy_, Thomas Yoseloff, 1964 ------------------------------- Q2.5: What were the organization and strengths of various units in the armies? [Compiled with the assistance of Stephen Schmidt <schmidsj@unvax.union.edu> and Dominic J. Dal Bello <tecump@fido.ucsb.edu>] (A good source of information is Richard Zimmermann, _Unit Organizations of the Civil War_.) First, always remember that most Civil War units in the field were only at anywhere between 20% to 40% of their full strength. Thus, while in theory a company contained 100 men, and would be recruited at that size, by the time they reached the army they'd be down to 60 or so and after the first battle down to 40 or so. The full-strength sizes are given below, so remember to knock them down by 50% or more when reading about units engaged in battles. Second, due to casualties among the officers, frequently units would find themselves commanded by an officer one or two grades below the rank he should have for the job (e.g., a regiment commanded by a lieutenant colonel or major). Third, keep in mind that in the early stages of the war and in the more remote areas (such as the Trans-Mississippi), unit organizations tended to deviate more from the norm. What follows will be the ideal, your mileage may vary. I. Infantry. COMPANY. The basic unit is the company, commanded by a captain 100 men = 2 platoons = 4 sections = 8 squads A company has the following officers (commissioned and non-coms): Captain (1), 1st. Lieut. (1), 2nd. Lieut. (1) 1st Sgt. (1), Sgts. (4) and Corporals (8). When the company was divided into platoons, the captain commanded one and the 1st Lt. the other. There was a sergeant for each section, and a corporal for each squad. The 1st Sgt. "ran" the whole company. BATTALION and REGIMENT. Battalions and regiments were formed by organizing companies together. In the volunteers (Union and Confederate), 10 companies would be organized together into a regiment. The regiment was commanded by a colonel. A regiment has the following staff (one of each): Col.; Lt. Col.; Major; Adjutant (1st Lt); Surgeon (maj.); Asst Surgeon (capt.); Quartermaster (lieut); Commissary (lieut); Sgt-Major; Quartermaster Sgt. There were also volunteer organizations containing less than 10 companies: if they contained from 4-8 companies, they were called battalions, and usually were commanded by a major or lieutenant colonel. The (Union) Regular regts organized before the war (1st-10th) were 10 company regiments like the volunteers. When the NEW Regular regts. were authorized, a different organization was used. The new Regular regts were organized 8 companies to a battalion and 2 battalions to the regiment. Thus new Regular regts contained 16 companies. These regiments frequently fought as battalions rather than as single regiments. However, often the 2nd battalion could not be recruited up to strength, in which case they fought as a single regiment. BRIGADE. A brigade is formed from 3 to 6 regiments and commanded by a brigadier general. The South tended to use more regiments than the North, thus having bigger brigades. At some times in the war, some artillery would be attached to the infantry brigade: see the Artillery section below. Each brigade would also have a varying number of staff officers. DIVISION. A division is commanded by a major general and is composed of from 2 to 6 brigades. In the North usually 3 or 4, but in the South normally 4 to 6. Thus, a Southern division tended to be almost twice as large as its Northern counterpart, if the regiments are about the same size. At some times in the war, some artillery or, less often, cavalry might be attached: see the Cavalry and Artillery sections below. Each division would also have a varying number of staff officers. CORPS. A corps is commanded by a major general (Union) or a lieutenant general (Confederate) and is composed of from 2 to 4 divisions. Again the North tended to have 2 or 3, while the South had 3 or 4. Each corps would also have a varying number of staff officers. ARMIES. Corps within a geographic department were aggregated into armies. The number of corps in an army could vary considerably: sometimes an army would contain only 1 corps and other times as many as 8. Armies were commanded by major generals in the North, and usually by full generals in the South. Corps and armies usually had some artillery and cavalry attached: again, see below. Each army would also have a varying number of staff officers. To summarize, the nominal strengths and commanding officers were: UNIT MEN Commander Example NAME Company 100 Captain Co. A (but not J, looks like I) Regiment 1000 Colonel 5th N.Y. Infantry Brigade 4000 Brig Genl 3rd Brigade (US) ** Division 12000 Maj. Genl Cleburne's Division (CS) ** Corps 36000 Maj. Genl* IIIrd Corps (US) ** Army Maj. Genl+ Army of Tennessee (CS) ++ * or Lt. Gen. in the South + or Gen. in the South ** Numerical designation was used in the North, the Commander's name was typically used in the South, e.g. Forrest's Corps. ++ The South mainly used the name of the area or state where the army operated. Rivers were used primarily as names in the North, e.g. Army of the Cumberland. II. Cavalry. COMPANY or TROOP. The basic unit is the troop or company, organized pretty much the same way as an infantry company. The nominal strength was 100. If the troop dismounted for battle, 1 man in 4 would stay behind to guard the horses. BATTALION and REGIMENT. In the Union volunteers, 12 cavalry troops form a regiment commanded by a colonel. The Confederate Cavalry used a 10 company regiment. Again, the (Union) Regulars had a different organization: in the Regular units 2 troops form a squadron, 2 squadrons form a battalion, and 3 battalions form a regiment. And again, there were groups of 4-8 companies of volunteer cavalry which are called battalions. BRIGADE, DIVISION, and CORPS. Initially, each Union cavalry regiment was assigned to an infantry division. The Confederates brigaded their cavalry together. The Union eventually adopted this organization as well. As the war progressed, both sides formed cavalry divisions (again the South took the lead). The North also formed cavalry corps, and the South later also adopted this innovation. III. Artillery. BATTERY. The basic unit of artillery is the battery, which has 4 to 6 guns, is commanded by a captain, and has 4 lieutenants, 12 or so noncoms, and 120 or so privates. It typically had 4 guns in the South and 6 guns in the North. Batteries were a subdivided into gun crews of 20 or so, and into sections of 2 gun crews, 2 or 3 sections per battery. A gun crew was commanded by a sergeant and a section by a lieutenant. BATTALION or BRIGADE. At the start of the war, each side assigned one battery attached to each infantry brigade, plus an artillery reserve under the army commander. By mid-1862, larger organizations were used. The basic unit contained 3 or 4 batteries of artillery; it was called a battalion in the South and a brigade in the North (same unit, just a different name) and it was commanded by a colonel, lieutenant colonel, or major. ARTILLERY RESERVE. After 1862, it was typical for each infantry division to have an artillery battalion attached, and each corps or army to have a reserve of two to five battalions. Each division's artillery usually fought along side the infantry, while the corps/army reserves were used to form the massed batteries. The artillery reserve was commanded by a brigadier general or colonel. IV. Other Units. LEGION. The Confederacy organized a number of units known as legions. They were mixed-arms units, usually containing 6-8 companies of infantry, 2-3 companies of cavalry, and a couple artillery pieces. Generally as soon as they reached the battlefield they were broken apart, the infantry forming a battalion, the cavalry being reassigned to some other unit, and the artillery joining the reserve. Sometimes the infantry retained the name legion, more frequently it got renamed to battalion. MARINES. Both sides had a rudimentary Marine Corps which fought along the Atlantic coast. The US Marines contained about 3,000 men and were organized into companies. There doesn't seem to have been any organization higher than that: they rarely operated in larger units than a few companies anyway. The Confederate Marines had a strength of about 300 men organized in four companies and was nominally commanded by a colonel. HEAVY ARTILLERY. The Union organized some "heavy artillery" units, regiments containing 10 artillery batteries (about 1800 men) which had training both as infantry and as artillerists. They were organized in much the same way as infantry units, but were quite a bit larger to provide enough men to run the guns. Originally raised to man the defenses of Washington, in 1864 they joined the Grant's army, and then served more as infantry. ENGINEERS. Both sides raised special regiments of engineers. They were organized similarly to the infantry regiments and were expert in building forts, entrenchments, bridges, and similar military construction. They were combatants but usually didn't do any fighting, instead continued to work on construction even when under fire. SHARPSHOOTERS. Both sides raised special sharpshooter units. The Confederate units tended to be independent companies, but the Union raised two sharpshooter regiments (Berdan's 1st and 2nd US Sharpshooters). These regiments were organized as infantry. Usually they were assigned to skirmish duty, or they would be allowed to roam around the battlefield to find good positions from which to shoot at enemy officers in the rear. ------------------------------ Q2.6: What is the difference between grapeshot and canister? Here is a list of the various ammunitions used in the war. The main division is between shot (did not carry its own explosive charge) and shell (carried an explosive charge). For shot: 1. solid shot-- the standard cannon ball (or bullet shape in the in case of a rifled gun) 2. canister-- smaller shot placed in a sheet iron cylinder. The cylinder disintegrated when the gun was fired. 3. grape-- smaller shot layered between iron plates and held together by a central bolt. Presumably the bolt broke when the gun fired allowing the shot to scatter. Examples of grape shot can be seen in [2] pp. 76, 76, and 191. 4. quilted grapeshot-- small shot covered in canvass and tied up with rope which a gave it a quilted look. An example of quilted shot can be seen in [2], p. 177. 5. chain shot-- two shot joined by a chain. Used to destroy rigging of sailing ships. 6. bar shot-- two shot joined by a solid bar (like a dumbbell). Used to destroy rigging to sailing ships. 7. red hot shot-- shot heated before firing. Used to start fires on ships. For shell: 1. standard shell-- hollow iron projectile filled with explosive 2. shrapnel shell-- hollow iron projectile filled with explosive and with small solid shot which scattered upon explosion. The spherical version of this was called "spherical case" or simply "case." The term "case" was also used for the name of the class of rounds which scattered small shot, thus canister, grape, and spherical case were all classified together as "case shot." (confusing, isn't it?) Shell was fitted with either a timed fuse (which ignited the charge after some fixed delay) or a percussion fuse (which ignited the charge upon impact). Standard solid shot and standard shell were primarily for destruction of materiel (viz. fortifications or ships). Canister, grape, quilted shot and shrapnel were used against personnel. However, there were also varieties of (non-shrapnel) shell designed for use against personnel (the hollow was shaped so the shell would split into a relatively few large pieces about the size of small shot). References: [1] "Ammunition", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed (1911). [2] F.T. Miller, ed., "Photographic History of the Civil War," vol. 5, "Forts and Artillery" (1957 edition). [3] "Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War" ------------------------------ Q2.7: How did prisoner exchanges and paroles work? Prisoner exchanges were a way for captors to avoid the responsibility and burden of guarding, housing, feeding, clothing, and providing medical care for POW's. Exchange of prisoners began with informal agreements between the commanders of the armies after particular battles, but the practice was codified by a cartel between the USA and CSA in July 1862. The cartel was suspended by the US in May 1863, but individual commanders again arranged exchanges and paroles until the US called a halt to all exchanges in early 1864. When the CSA agreed to correct some irregularities in its earlier exchanges, and when it agreed to treat captured black troops equally with whites, the 1862 cartel was again put into operation in early 1865. Commissioners of exchange were appointed by each government, and they exchanged and compared lists and computed how many on each side were to be exchanged. There were official points where prisoners were to be taken for exchange: City Point, VA in the East and Vicksburg in the West. Equal ranks were exchanged equally, and higher ranks could be exchanged for some number of lower ranks according to an agreed upon list of equivalents (e.g. 1 colonel equaled 15 privates). If one side still had prisoners left, after the other side had exhausted its supply of prisoners by exchange, those excess prisoners would be released on parole. Paroled prisoners were returned to their side, but were prohibited by an oath of honor from taking up arms or performing any duty that soldiers normally performed (like garrison or guard duty) until they were properly exchanged. Generally each side maintained parole camps where their paroled soldiers were kept while they awaited exchange, but in other cases the parolee was allowed to return home until exchanged. [Sources: Boatner, Civil War Dictionary; Miller, ed, "Prisons and Hospitals", vol 8, Photographic History of the Civil War] ------------------------------ Q2.8: What did a brevet promotion indicate, and what did an officer gain by being given a brevet? [By Stephen Schmidt (schmidsj@unvax.union.edu) with assistance from Jim Epperson and J.M. Sanders] A brevet rank was an honorary promotion given to an officer (or occasionally, an enlisted man) in recognition of gallant conduct or other meritorious service. They served much the same purpose that medals play today (our modern system of medals did not exist at the time of the Civil War). A brevet rank was almost meaningless in terms of real authority. For example, a major who was a brevet colonel collected the pay of a major, wore the uniform of a major, could not give orders to lieutenant colonels, and was only eligible for commands that normally fell to majors. But he was allowed to use the title of colonel in his correspondence. In addition, there were some unusual circumstances where brevet rank carried authority. For instance, when a force consisted partly of Regular troops and partly of state militia, command would go to the officer with the highest brevet rank (who might neither the highest ranking regular officer nor the highest ranking volunteer!). This came up during the Mexican War on some occasions, and seems to have been designed to allow Regular officers with brevets (implying experience) to assume command over higher-ranking militia officers who had neither experience nor brevets. An officer could also claim his brevet rank when serving on court-martial duty. Since an officer cannot be tried by officers ranking lower than himself, using brevet ranks allowed more people to qualify as possible court members. During the war itself, brevets were very difficult to get and were a sign of valor, but on March 13, 1865, the War Department gave one brevet and sometimes two to nearly every officer on duty with the army. This angered many officers and men, who saw it as trivializing the efforts of men who won brevets in combat. (J.L. Chamberlain mentions this in his memoirs, for instance.) Like regular ranks, brevets were kept separately for the U.S. Volunteers and the U.S. Army. Thus one man could have four ranks: an actual Volunteer rank, a brevet Volunteer rank, an actual Regular rank, and a brevet Regular rank. Brevets in the Regular army were sometimes used to honor men who had already been brevetted Major General in the Volunteers and could not be brevetted again (in the Volunteers), as no brevet Lieutenant Generals were created during the war (Winfield Scott had been made Brevet Lieutenant General [of Regulars] during the Mexican War). Brevet ranks were authorized for the Regular Army in the Articles of War of 1806; they were authorized for the US Volunteers on March 3, 1863. Partly as a result of dissatisfaction with the end-of-war brevet giveaway, brevet promotions were discontinued in 1869; although officers who had been given brevets before that date continued to use them. They were reinstated for the Spanish-American war and continued in use until after World War I. The Confederate army did not award brevet promotions. Sources: Boatner's *Civil War Dictionary*, the *Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War*, the 1806 Articles of War, and a very helpful discussion of several Mexican War situations involving brevet ranks in *The Mexican War 1846-1848* by K. Jack Bauer. *** End of Part 1 of U.S. Civil War FAQ *** Justin M. Sanders "I shot an arrow into the air. It fell Dept. of Physics to earth I know not where." --Henry Univ. of South Alabama Wadsworth Longfellow confessing jsanders@jaguar1.usouthal.edu to a sad ignorance of ballistics.