Organization of Union and Confederate Armies Homepage: Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery

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The Civil War Army of Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery

Union and Confederate Military Organization Homepage

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Both Union and Confederate armies in the Civil War were organized with the intent of establishing smooth command and control in battle. The structures employed changed drastically over the course of the conflict in response to evolving strategic thought and the demands of specific circumstances. The operational deployment of organized armies, as opposed to loosely ordered independent units and commands, has evolved throughout history. While the Civil War army consisted primarily of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, the navy organization included the marines. The Civil War codified several elements of army structure that are still employed today.
An organized military remains a necessary component of national security, because having a superior military is the doctrine known as deterrence theory. An organized military, consisting of trained personnel and superior weaponry, is designed principally to deter rather than engage an enemy in war, but if war ensues, the military is prepared to respond with overwhelming force. Prior to the American Civil War, neither the Union nor the Confederacy held the position of strength, and lacking an organized military of trained personnel and an array of weaponry, served only to fuel rather than deter the bloody war to follow. This page allows access to numerous pages covering all things related to Civil War military.

Civil War Command and Organization
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Sherman, Grant, Lincoln, and Porter pictured discussing plans for the last weeks of the Civil War.

(About) The Peacemakers on the River Queen, March 1865. Sherman, Grant, Lincoln, and Porter pictured discussing plans for the last weeks of the Civil War.

The Civil War caused 620,000 killed, and it forced the United States military to reexamine its stiff, outdated tactics and strategies that had led to the carnage. The U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, and other military schools would adapt, improvise, and overcome to meet the present and future challenges of war. After all, numerous inventions and innovations were a result of the Civil War. The arts of tactics and strategy were revolutionized by the many developments introduced during the 1860s. Thus the Civil War ushered in a new era in warfare with the: FIRST practical machine gun, FIRST repeating rifle used in combat, FIRST use of the railroads as a major means of transporting troops and supplies, FIRST mobile siege artillery mounted on rail cars, FIRST extensive use of trenches and field fortifications, FIRST large-scale use of land mines, known as "subterranean shells", FIRST naval mines or "torpedoes", FIRST ironclad ships engaged in combat, FIRST multi-manned submarine, FIRST organized and systematic care of the wounded on the battlefield, FIRST widespread use of rails for hospital trains, FIRST organized military signal service, FIRST visual signaling by flag and torch during combat, FIRST use of portable telegraph units on the battlefield; FIRST military reconnaissance from a manned balloon, FIRST draft in the United States, FIRST organized use of Negro troops in combat, FIRST voting in the field for a national election by servicemen, FIRST income tax—levied to finance the war, FIRST photograph taken in combat, FIRST Medal of Honor awarded an American soldier. See also Civil War Comparison of North and South, Union and Confederacy.
This page includes innumerous additional pages with unique, rich content, including: Union and Confederate military organizations of army, infantry, cavalry, and artillery and their respective battle tactics, strategies, weapons, and formations; Civil War hospitals; sharpshooters and engineers; Union and Confederate recruitment and quotas; female and minority soldiers; guerrilla warfare and partisans; Union and Confederate navy and marines; Northern and Southern demographics and manufacturing capabilities; Union and Confederate military statistics, charts, tables, data, graphs, percentages, numbers, strengths, losses, and totals for each Civil War organization and unit; Civil War statisticians, explanations, and analysis of the 300 fighting regiments; modern weapons and innovations employed while applying outdated Napoleonic tactics; civilians and Civil War; and much more.

Organization of the Union & Confederate Military
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Total Union and Confederate Soldiers in Military Service during the four year Civil War

During the Civil War (1861-1865), the Union armies raised from 2,500,000 to 2,750,000 men, while the Confederate military strength, known less accurately because of missing records, ranged from 750,000 to 1,250,000. The Northern states (Union) held an insurmountable long-term advantage over the Southern states (Confederacy) in terms of industrial strength and population.
The 1860 United States census indicated a total population of 31,443,321 persons. The Northern states (Union) numbered approximately 22,000,000 (includes 500,000 slaves in the Border States), while the Southern states (Confederacy) totaled slightly more than 5,500,000. (The South also held an additional 3,500,000 slaves.) Since the Union population totaled 22,000,000, while the Confederacy numbered more than 5,500,000, the Union, with nearly a 4-to-1 manpower advantage, could afford attrition, but the Confederacy could not. During the four year Civil War, modern weaponry was employed on the battlefield with outdated Napoleonic tactics. As a result, bloodshed via attrition was a major factor in determining the outcome of the conflict.

Battle of Cold Harbor
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(Kurz and Allison, 1888)

Civil War Military and Army Organization
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Confederate Military Organization of Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery

(Above) Fox, William F. Regimental Losses in the American Civil War (1889). Fox, along with Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (1908), offer extensive statistical data for both Union and Confederate army organizations, commands, and units, including each military army, corps, division, brigade, regiment, battalion, and company. During the Civil War, both the Union and Confederate armies included infantry, cavalry, and artillery (branches that were in the thick of the fight). Fox is considered an authority with his acclaimed Regimental Losses, and his exhaustive work as a statistician offers the student the definitive perspective and analysis for the Civil War units and their casualties and fatalities. Fox is quick to state best estimate when no concrete evidence exists, so his work, for both Union and Confederate armies, is comprehensive, analytical, fair, balanced, and without bias. The works of Fox, Dyer, and Phisterer are all interesting and readable, and include every US state and territory.

Army Organization of Military Forces and Troops
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Total Union infantry, cavalry, and artillery units from each state

(Above) Phisterer, Frederick. Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States (1883). Although Phisterer indicates the total number of cavalry, infantry, and artillery units that each state contributed to the Union military, absent from the totals are each state's contributions to the Union navy and marines, as well as state militia, and state units of cavalry, infantry and artillery, state and home guards, independent commands, junior and senior reserve units, and even miscellaneous units (or units not classified).

Battle of Chancellorsville
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(Kurz and Allison)

Total number of Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery
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Total number of Union infantry, cavalry, and artillery from each state

(Above) Phisterer, Frederick. Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States (1883). An accurate total count of soldiers and sailors from any state is complex, because sailors, marines, blacks, and Native Americans were often not counted, and many soldiers reenlisted and were counted a second time (and sometimes third, etc.) for the state, known as a double count, thus skewing the state's numbers. An accurate total count is also complicated because some states counted its contributions to the U.S. Army (aka U.S. Volunteers), as well as state militia, national guard, independent commands, soldiers who enlisted in units from other states (who were sometimes claimed and counted by two states), reserve units, home guard, and even miscellaneous units (or units not classified).

Total Union army regiments and units
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Army organizations from North and South that served in the Union military

(Above) Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (1908). Dyer indicates the total number of units--infantry, cavalry, artillery, engineers, and sharpshooters--for each state, North and South, that supported the Union, and in the bottom right corner is the grand total. While Dyer indicates the total Northern and Southern units that served in the Union military and concludes with the grand total, he also includes the contributions of African-Americans, Native Americans, and Border States in an easy to read format. Acclaimed statisticians Dyer and Fox possessed decades of combined experience in the statistical data they presented. As leading statisticians in their fields, their respective Civil War works are still considered the standard by seasoned historians and Civil War buffs. Dyer is the foremost authority on Civil War statistics for navy and marines, and his comprehensive work includes from army generals and navy admirals, privates and seamen, sharpshooters and engineers, colored troops and regular army, volunteers and veteran regiments, to band and miscellaneous units. He even includes the Total Union and Confederate Casualties in numbers, percentages, and totals by battle and campaign, year over year attrition rates, and states and military units which suffered the greatest losses. See also Dyer, Fox, and Phisterer: Civil War by the numbers.

Each state's contribution to the Union military
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Total soldiers by states serving the Union military

(Above) Dyer, Frederick H. A compendium of the War of the Rebellion (1908). Dyer and Fox, William F. Regimental Losses in the American Civil War (1889), both have identical totals for each category. While the table includes the total number of white troops, colored troops, and Native American soldiers from each state and territory that served in the Union military of infantry, cavalry, artillery, sharpshooters, engineers, and navy and marines, it also indicates the total deaths for each state and territory. At the bottom of each category are the respective grand totals, while in the lower right corner is the grand total that died while serving in the Union military. While the numbers are the same, Fox, however, expands on some of the categories. For example, both statisticians indicate "Veteran Volunteers, Total Deaths All Causes 106," but Fox adds a notation indicating that the losses were all from Hancock's Corps.

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Recommended Reading: Arms and Equipment of the Civil War. Description: Enhanced with marvelous illustrations, the text describes what materiel was available to the armies and navies of both sides — from ironclad gunboats, submarine torpedoes, and military balloons to pontoon bridges, percussion grenades, and siege artillery — with on-the-scene comments by Union and Confederate soldiers about equipment and camp life. Includes more than 500 black-and-white illustrations. RATED 5 STARS. Continued below...
"This is an almost indispensable book for all Civil War aficionados, covering everything from pistols to ironclads and steamships. The author's own illustrations add to the charm and value of this publication and make its information accessible even to the novice. Many Civil War buffs have known this book for years and will be delighted to find that it is once again readily available. A true classic, this book belongs in every Civil War library!"
"When I first picked this book up in the local library, I expected just another poorly done coffee table book. Boy, was I wrong. As a amateur writer, I soon came to appreciate it's unusual wealth of detailed info on the the equipment and tactics used in the Civil War. The amazing thing is that there are no photos or even color pictures! The author's drawings are clear, numerous, and very helpful. This is a must-have book for any Civil War researcher, re-enactor, or enthusiast!"

Recommended Reading: Warman's Civil War Weapons. Description: The weapons of the Confederate and Union Armies, a commanding presence 140 years ago, are among today's most revered collectibles. Warman's Civil War Weapons offers Civil War enthusiasts a listing of more than 100 weapons and military vehicles, featured in 400 stunning full-color photos, and covers the effectiveness of each weapon in battle. Continued below...

From the early battles that relied on muzzleloaded weapons, to the introduction of submarines, handguns, shoulder arms, edged weapons and more, this book chronicles the history of an innovative age of weaponry. Weapons including the Butterfield Revolver, Sharps Model 1859 and Confederate short sword are shown in detail, with a performance summary. This unmatched reference provides the information needed for a historical study and collecting. 


Recommended Reading: Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia: Arms, Uniforms and Equipment of the Union and Confederacy. Description: This comprehensive and exhaustive reference identifies and describes the use and application of more than 800 items. Arranged alphabetically by topic, subjects range from artillery accouterments and boats to tools and patriotic sheet music. "Everything an interested reader would want to know . . . A must-have book." — Antiques & Auction News. Over 350 rare illustrations. Continued below...

The Civil War buff and even serious collector of Civil War arms, uniforms and equipment should purchase the Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia: Arms, Uniforms And Equipment Of The Union And Confederacy as an indispensable reference and core guide in this specialized area of military antiques and collectibles with noted authority Francis A. Lord covering almost everything to do with Civil War memorabilia--from equipment to Union and Confederate uniforms.


Recommended Reading: An Introduction to Civil War Small Arms. Description: Fifty Union and Confederate muskets, rifles, carbines and pistols are concisely discussed with specifications. Also includes photographs of the ammunition! The overall format is an introduction to each weapon with basic specifications, several paragraphs of text about development use and production, a photograph of the weapon, a period photo of a soldier armed with the same, and a photo of the cartridge. Continued below...

This is repeated for each major weapon. There are also several other general information sections about various aspects of small arms. (Of considerable use to "wargamers" is a section listing known weapons of MANY regiments; looks like at least 1,000.)


Recommended ReadingBrigades of Gettysburg: The Union and Confederate Brigades at the Battle of Gettysburg (Hardcover) (704 Pages). Description: While the battle of Gettysburg is certainly the most-studied battle in American history, a comprehensive treatment of the part played by each unit has been ignored. Brigades of Gettysburg fills this void by presenting a complete account of every brigade unit at Gettysburg and providing a fresh perspective of the battle. Using the words of enlisted men and officers, the author-well-known Civil War historian Bradley Gottfried-weaves a fascinating narrative of the role played by every brigade at the famous three-day battle, as well as a detailed description of each brigade unit. Continued below...

Organized by order of battle, each brigade is covered in complete and exhaustive detail: where it fought, who commanded, what constituted the unit, and how it performed in battle. Innovative in its approach and comprehensive in its coverage, Brigades of Gettysburg is certain to be a classic and indispensable reference for the battle of Gettysburg for years to come.

Recommended Reading: The 1863 U.S. Infantry Tactics: Infantry of the Line, Light Infantry, and Riflemen (Hardcover: 608 pages). Description: Written in 1861 at the direction of the War Department and copiously illustrated, this was the book used to train, lead, and maneuver U.S. Infantry units on Civil War battlefields. It contains the school of the soldier, the company, and battalion or fielded regiment, along with all-important instructions for skirmishers. Continued below...

More than 15 pages of field music, the articles of war in use at the time, and a dictionary of Civil War military terminology complete this extensive work. The work was authorized and adopted by the Secretary of War on May 1, 1861. This is the second edition issued in 1863.


Recommended Reading: Shock Troops of the Confederacy (Hardcover) (432 pages). Description: Fred Ray's Shock Troops of the Confederacy is primarily focused on the "sharpshooter battalions" of the Army of Northern Virginia. In a Civil War context, "sharpshooter" was usually more akin to "skirmisher" than "sniper," although these specialized battalions also used innovative open order assault techniques, especially late in the war. Continued below...

Ray includes, however, a detailed study of Union sharpshooter battalions and Confederate sharpshooters in the West. Remarkably, little has been published about such organizations in the past, so Fred Ray's book offers a unique study of the evolution of Civil War infantry tactics, revealing a more complex, sophisticated approach to the battlefield than is usually understood.

Recommended Reading: The Civil War Battlefield Guide: The Definitive Guide, Completely Revised, with New Maps and More Than 300 Additional Battles (Second Edition) (Hardcover). Description: This new edition of the definitive guide to Civil War battlefields is really a completely new book. While the first edition covered 60 major battlefields, from Fort Sumter to Appomattox, the second covers all of the 384 designated as the "principal battlefields" in the American Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report. Continued below...

As in the first edition, the essays are authoritative and concise, written by such leading Civil War historians as James M. McPherson, Stephen W. Sears, Edwin C. Bearss, James I. Robinson, Jr., and Gary W. Gallager. The second edition also features 83 new four-color maps covering the most important battles. The Civil War Battlefield Guide is an essential reference for anyone interested in the Civil War. "Reading this book is like being at the bloodiest battles of the war..."
Editor's Picks for "Union and Confederate Armies and Navies; Union and Confederate Cavalry, Artillery, and Infantry."

This page discusses the Organization of Union and Confederate Armies, Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Command Structure of the American Civil War, US Navy Ships, Navies, Ironclads and the Wooden Ship, Federal Naval Battles, Army Corps, Divisions, Brigades, Regiments, Companies, and the Soldiers' History.

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