Army of Northern Virginia

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Army of Northern Virginia
Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.svg
The flag of the Army of Northern Virginia during the command of Robert E. Lee or "Robert E. Lee Headquarters Flag"
ActiveOctober 22, 1861 – Most units deactivated January–April 1862; army dissolved April 12, 1865
CountryFlag of the Confederate States of America (1865).svg  Confederate States
BranchBattle flag of the Confederate States of America.svg  Confederate Army
RolePrimary Confederate Army in Eastern Theater
Garrison/HQ Richmond, Virginia
Engagements American Civil War
Commanders
Notable
commanders
P. G. T. Beauregard
Joseph E. Johnston
Gustavus Woodson Smith
Robert E. Lee

The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. It was also the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac.

Confederate States of America (de facto) federal republic in North America from 1861 to 1865

The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.

Eastern Theater of the American Civil War war

The Eastern Theater of the American Civil War consists of the major military and naval operations in the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the coastal fortifications and seaports of North Carolina.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Contents

Origin

Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag, designed by William Porcher Miles North Virginia Third Bunting.svg
Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag, designed by William Porcher Miles

The name Army of Northern Virginia referred to its primary area of operation, as did most Confederate States Army names. The Army originated as the (Confederate) Army of the Potomac, which was organized on June 20, 1861, from all operational forces in northern Virginia. On July 20 and July 21, the Army of the Shenandoah and forces from the District of Harpers Ferry were added. Units from the Army of the Northwest were merged into the Army of the Potomac between March 14 and May 17, 1862. The Army of the Potomac was renamed Army of Northern Virginia on March 14. The Army of the Peninsula was merged into it on April 12, 1862. [1]

Northern Virginia Region in Virginia, United States

Northern Virginia, locally referred to as NOVA or NoVA, comprises several counties and independent cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. It is a widespread region radiating westward and southward from Washington, D.C. With an estimated 3,149,413 residents in 2018, it is the most populous region of Virginia and the Washington metropolitan area.

Confederate States Army Army of the Confederate States

The Confederate States Army (C.S.A.) was the military land force of the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the American Civil War (1861–1865), fighting against the United States forces. On February 28, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress established a provisional volunteer army and gave control over military operations and authority for mustering state forces and volunteers to the newly chosen Confederate president, Jefferson Davis. Davis was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and colonel of a volunteer regiment during the Mexican–American War. He had also been a United States Senator from Mississippi and U.S. Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. On March 1, 1861, on behalf of the Confederate government, Davis assumed control of the military situation at Charleston, South Carolina, where South Carolina state militia besieged Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, held by a small U.S. Army garrison. By March 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress expanded the provisional forces and established a more permanent Confederate States Army.

Confederate Army of the Potomac

The Confederate Army of the Potomac, whose name was short-lived, was the command under Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard in the early days of the American Civil War. Its only major combat action was the First Battle of Bull Run. Afterwards, the Army of the Shenandoah was merged into the Army of the Potomac with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, the commander of the Shenandoah, taking command. The Army of the Potomac was renamed the Army of Northern Virginia on March 14, 1862, with Beauregard's original army eventually becoming the First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.

Robert E. Lee's biographer, Douglas S. Freeman, asserts that the army received its final name from Lee when he issued orders assuming command on June 1, 1862. [2] However, Freeman does admit that Lee corresponded with Joseph E. Johnston, his predecessor in army command, prior to that date and referred to Johnston's command as the Army of Northern Virginia. Part of the confusion results from the fact that Johnston commanded the Department of Northern Virginia (as of October 22, 1861) and the name Army of Northern Virginia can be seen as an informal consequence of its parent department's name. Jefferson Davis and Johnston did not adopt the name, but it is clear that the organization of units as of March 14 was the same organization that Lee received on June 1, and thus it is generally referred to today as the Army of Northern Virginia, even if that is correct only in retrospect.

Robert E. Lee General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States

Robert Edward Lee was an American and Confederate soldier, best known as a commander of the Confederate States Army. He commanded the Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. A son of Revolutionary War officer Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III, Lee was a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and an exceptional officer and military engineer in the United States Army for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican–American War, and served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

Joseph E. Johnston Confederate Army general

Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career United States Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican–American War (1846–1848), and Seminole Wars. After Virginia seceded, he entered the Confederate States Army as one of the most senior general officers.

Jefferson Davis President of the Confederate States of America

Jefferson Finis Davis was an American politician who served as the only President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. As a member of the Democratic Party, he represented Mississippi in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives prior to switching allegiance to the Confederacy. He was appointed as the United States Secretary of War, serving from 1853 to 1857, under President Franklin Pierce.

In addition to Virginians, it included regiments from all over the Confederacy, some from as far away as Georgia, Texas and Arkansas. One of the most well known was the Texas Brigade, made up of the 1st, 4th, and 5th Texas, and the 3rd Arkansas, which distinguished themselves in numerous battles, such as during their fight for the Devil's Den at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Regiment Military unit

A regiment is a military unit. Their role and size varies markedly, depending on the country and the arm of service.

Georgia (U.S. state) State of the United States of America

Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city. Atlanta's metropolitan area contains about 55% of the population of the entire state.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

Command under Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard

Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard Pgt beauregard.jpg
Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard

The first commander of the Army of Northern Virginia was General P.G.T. Beauregard (under its previous name, the Confederate Army of the Potomac) from June 20 to July 20, 1861. His forces consisted of six brigades, with various militia and artillery from the former Department of Alexandria. During his command, Gen. Beauregard is noted for creating the battle flag of the army, which came to be the primary battle flag for all corps and forces under the Army of Northern Virginia. The flag was designed due to confusion during battle between the Confederate "Stars and Bars" flag and the flag of the United States. Beauregard continued commanding these troops as the new First Corps under Gen. J. E. Johnston as it was joined by the Army of the Shenandoah on July 20, 1861, when command was relinquished to General J. E. Johnston. The following day this army fought its first major engagement in the First Battle of Manassas.

Flags of the Confederate States of America national flag representing the Confederate States of America

Three successive designs served as the official national flag of the Confederate States of America during its existence from 1861 to 1865.

Flag of the United States National flag

The flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag, is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars alternate with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the U.S. Nicknames for the flag include the Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and the Star-Spangled Banner.

Command under General J. E. Johnston

Gen. J. E. Johnston Joseph Johnston.jpg
Gen. J. E. Johnston

With the merging of the Army of the Shenandoah, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston took command from July 20, 1861, until May 31, 1862.

Corps organization under Johnston 1861

Wing organization under Johnston 1862

Under the command of Johnston, the Army immediately entered into the First Battle of Manassas. On October 22, 1861, the Department of Northern Virginia was officially created, officially ending the Army of the Potomac. The Department comprised three districts: Aquia District, Potomac District, and the Valley District. In April 1862, the Department was expanded to include the Departments of Norfolk and the Peninsula (of Virginia). Gen. Johnston was eventually forced into maneuvering the Army southward to the defenses of Richmond during the opening of the Peninsula Campaign, where it conducted delay and defend tactics until Johnston was severely wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines.

During the months after the First Battle of Bull Run, Johnston organized his Shenandoah Army and Beauregard's Potomac Army into two divisions under a unified command with Gustavus Smith and James Longstreet as division commanders. Beauregard quarreled with Johnston and was transferred to the Western theater over the winter months. Jackson was sent to the Shenandoah Valley in October 1861, initially with his own old Stonewall Brigade and later with two other brigades from Western Virginia. Several newly arrived brigades were added to Johnston's army in late 1861-early 1862.

When the Peninsula Campaign began, Johnston took his army down to the Richmond environs where it was merged with several smaller Confederate commands, including a division led by D.H. Hill as well as Benjamin Huger's Department of Norfolk, John Magruder's Army of the Peninsula, and miscellaneous brigades and regiments pulled from various Southern states. Richard Ewell was elevated to division command in the spring of 1862 and sent to join Jackson in the Valley.

On May 27, an additional new division was created and led by A.P. Hill consisting of several new brigades from the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia, soon augmented with James Archer's brigade from Smith's division. At Seven Pines, Longstreet and Smith served as temporary wing commanders, and operational control of their divisions went to Brig. Gen William H.C. Whiting and Brig. Gen Richard H. Anderson.

Temporary command under Major General G. W. Smith

Gustavus Woodson Smith Smith, Gustavus Woodson 1.jpg
Gustavus Woodson Smith

Maj. Gen. Gustavus Woodson Smith commanded the ANV on May 31, 1862, following the wounding of Gen. J. E. Johnston during the Battle of Seven Pines. With Smith seemingly having a nervous breakdown, President Jefferson Davis drafted orders to place Gen. Robert E. Lee in command the following day.

Command under General R. E. Lee

General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia Robert E. Lee in camp.jpg
General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia

On June 1, 1862, its most famous and final leader, General Robert E. Lee, took command after Johnston was wounded, and Smith suffered what may have been a nervous breakdown, at the Battle of Seven Pines. William Whiting received permanent command of Smith's division, while Richard Anderson reverted to brigade command. Longstreet served as a wing commander for part of the Seven Days Battles and Anderson had operational command of the division at Glendale.

During the Seven Days Battles, Lee had eleven separate divisions under his command, aside from the original core army that had been led by Joe Johnson, there were assorted other commands from the Richmond area and North Carolina as well as Jackson's Valley Army. The inexperience and poor coordination of the army led to the failure of Lee's plans to destroy the Army of the Potomac. As soon as the Seven Days Battles were over, Lee reorganized his army into two corps commanded by Longstreet and Jackson. He removed several generals who had turned in a less-than-inspiring performance in the Seven Days Battles, including John Magruder and Benjamin Huger.

Jackson had five divisions, the commands of A.P. Hill, Ewell, D.H. Hill, and Winder. Longstreet had six divisions commanded by Richard Anderson (formerly Benjamin Huger's division), Cadmus Wilcox, James Kemper (each commanding half of Longstreet's former division), John Hood (formerly William H.C. Whiting's division), David R. Jones, and Lafayette McLaws. D.H. Hill's and McLaws's divisions were left behind in the Richmond area and did not participate in the Northern Virginia campaign. The army was also joined for the Northern Virginia and Maryland Campaigns by Nathan G. Evans's independent South Carolina brigade and a North Carolina brigade led by Brig. Gen Thomas Drayton.

During the Maryland Campaign, D.H. Hill rejoined the main army along with Lafayette McLaws. Kemper's division was merged with the division of David R. Jones, a more senior, experienced officer, and Kemper reverted to brigade command. In addition, Robert Ransom commanded two brigades from the Department of North Carolina. At Antietam, Longstreet commanded the divisions of Anderson, McLaws, Jones, Hood, and Ransom while Jackson had the divisions of John R. Jones, Alexander Lawton, A.P. Hill, and D.H. Hill.

The Northern Virginia and Maryland Campaigns still showed numerous defects in the organization and leadership of the Army of Northern Virginia, particularly the high rate of straggling and desertion during the invasion of Maryland. Lee had fewer than 40,000 men on the field at Antietam, the smallest his army would be until the Appomattox Campaign, and the battle was largely fought on autopilot with minimal involvement by the senior officers in the army.

During the Fredericksburg Campaign, Longstreet had the divisions of Anderson, Hood, McLaws, Ransom, and George Pickett, who had just returned to action after months of convalescence from a wound sustained during the Seven Days Battles. Jackson had the divisions of D.H. Hill, A.P. Hill, Jubal Early, and Elisha Paxton. Robert Ransom's division returned to North Carolina after Fredericksburg. D.H. Hill also departed after quarreling with Lee.

In the Chancellorsville Campaign, Longstreet was sent with Pickett and Hood to the Richmond area. His other two divisions remained with the main army; they were directly commanded by Lee during this time. Robert Rodes took over D.H. Hill's division. "Stonewall" Jackson was mortally wounded during the Battle of Chancellorsville. Afterwards, Lee divided the army into three corps with three divisions each. Longstreet got the divisions of Pickett, McLaws, and Hood, A.P. Hill got the divisions of Harry Heth, William D. Pender, and Richard Anderson, and Richard Ewell (returning to action after almost a year of recovering from the loss of a leg at Second Bull Run) got the divisions of Robert Rodes, Jubal Early, and Edward "Allegheny" Johnson.

By the time of the Pennsylvania invasion, Lee had fixed the organizational defects that plagued the army during its early campaigns and the straggling problems of the Maryland Campaign did not repeat themselves.

In the first year of his command, Lee had two principal subordinate commanders. The right wing of the army was under the command of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and the left wing under Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. These wings were redesignated as the First Corps (Longstreet) and Second Corps (Jackson) on November 6, 1862. Following Jackson's death after the Battle of Chancellorsville, Lee reorganized the army into three corps on May 30, 1863, under Longstreet, Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, and Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill. A Fourth Corps, under Lt. Gen. Richard H. Anderson, was organized on October 19, 1864; on April 8, 1865, it was merged into the Second Corps. The commanders of the first three corps changed frequently in 1864 and 1865. The cavalry, organized into a division on August 17, 1862, and into a corps on September 9, 1863, was commanded by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart until May 11, 1864 (the day he was mortally wounded). The cavalry corps was then temporarily split into divisions, but was merged again on August 11, 1864 under command of Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton III. The Reserve Artillery was commanded by Brig. Gen. William N. Pendleton for most of the war. [1]

After taking over command in mid-1862, Lee began preparing to lead the Army of Northern Virginia for the first time. However, his aggressiveness to attack the Union led to the loss of many troops especially at the Battle of Antietam, which ended up being a turning point in the war for the Union. After the costly victories during the Seven Days Battles and at Second Manassas in August 1862, Lee had now lost a total of 30,000 of his approximately 92,000 troops within three months of becoming the Confederate's top general. Lee then planned to take his troops north into Maryland to destroy a critical railroad bridge across the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg in a letter written to President Davis. Lee even questioned his own plan, as he wrote, "I am aware that the movement is attended with much risk, yet I do not consider success impossible..." [3] In addition, historians question Lee's aggressiveness to move his army to Maryland. "There can be no sort of doubt that Lee underestimated the exhaustion of his army after Second Manassas. That is, in reality, the major criticism of the Maryland operation: he carried worn-out men across the Potomac." [4] His men were also underarmed and underfed, so the journey to Maryland added to the overall exhaustion. Once Lee arrived in Maryland and was preparing for Antietam, he made another controversial decision. Against the advice from General Longstreet and Jackson, Lee split his troops into four parts to attack the Union from different fronts. Clearly outnumbered and opposed to Lee's plan, Longstreet stated, "General, I wish we could stand still and let the damned Yankees come to us!" [5] As the fighting played out on September 17, 1862, known as the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, the battles at Dunker Church and Burnside's Bridge proved to be too much for Lee and his Confederate army. Luckily for Lee, the arrival of A.P. Hill's troops and the mixture of McClellan's and Burnside's sluggishness, saved Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and allowed them to barely hold off the Union in Maryland. [6]

Corps organization under Lee

Although the Army of Northern Virginia swelled and shrank over time, its units of organization consisted primarily of corps, earlier referred to as "wings" or "commands":

Campaigns and battles

The Army fought in a number of campaigns and battles, including:

CampaignYearArmy strength at the beginning of campaignMajor Battles
Peninsula Campaign 186255,633 Seven Pines (Fair Oaks)
Seven Days Battles 1862approx. 92,000 Gaines' Mill, Malvern Hill
Northern Virginia Campaign 1862approx. 54,000 Second Bull Run (Second Manassas)
Maryland Campaign 1862approx. 60,000 Antietam (Sharpsburg)
Fredericksburg Campaign1862approx. 75,000 Fredericksburg
Chancellorsville Campaign1863approx. 75,000 Chancellorsville
Gettysburg Campaign 186375,054 Gettysburg
Bristoe Campaign 186355,221 
Mine Run Campaign 1863approx. 50,000 
Overland Campaign 186462,230 Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor
Richmond–Petersburg Campaign 1864–186582,633 Siege of Petersburg, including the Battle of the Crater
Appomattox Campaign   White flag icon.svg 1865around 50,000 Five Forks, Battle of Appomattox Court House

On April 9, 1865, the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to the Army of the Potomac at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the Civil War, with General Lee signing the papers of surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant. The day after his surrender, Lee issued his Farewell Address to the Army of Northern Virginia.

Organization of the Army

Department of Northern Virginia, October 22, 1861

Battleflag made out of silk from November 1861 North Virginia Silk.svg
Battleflag made out of silk from November 1861

The Military Department of Northern Virginia was embattled on October 22, 1861. [8] The department initially consisted of three districts under the overall command of General Joseph E. Johnston.

Defence districtDivisionBrigadeCommander/Officers in charge
PotomacGeneral P.G.T. Beauregard
1. DivisionMajor General Earl Van Dorn
2. DivisionMajor General Gustavus W. Smith
3. DivisionMajor General James Longstreet
4. DivisionMajor General Edmund Kirby Smith
AquiaMajor General Theophilus H. Holmes
French's BrigadeBrigadier General Samuel Gibbs French
2. BrigadeBrigadier General John G. Walker
ValleyMajor General Thomas J. Jackson
Garnett's BrigadeBrigadier General Richard B. Garnett
Ashby's CavalryColonel Turner Ashby

On February 28, 1862, there were 47,617 soldiers present for duty to the military district. [9] The Cavalry Brigade was provided from the Potomac's Military District and under direct control from the Defense District. The artillery formed an Artillery Corps with 109 cannons.

Organization April 30, 1862

Battleflag made of wool, 1862 North Virginia First Bunting.svg
Battleflag made of wool, 1862

The Army of Northern Virginia was established on March 14, 1862, again under Johnston. Though the military department stayed existent its role changed into an administrative division for most of the war.

Wing of the ArmyDivisionBrigadeCommander/Officers in charge
Left wingMajor General John B. Magruder
McLaws' DivisionBrigade General Lafayette McLaws
Toombs' DivisionBrigadier General Robert A. Toombs
Ewell's BrigadeColonel B. p. Ewell
CenterMajor General James Longstreet
A.P. Hill's BrigadeBrigadier General Ambrose P. Hill
Anderson's BrigadeBrigadier General Richard H. Anderson
Colston's BrigadeBrigadier General Raleigh E. Colston
Pickett's BrigadeBrigadier General George E. Pickett
Wilcox's BrigadeBrigadier General Cadmus M. Wilcox
Pryor's BrigadeColonel G. A. Winston
Left EmplacementMajor General Daniel H. Hill
Early's DivisionBrigadier General Jubal A. Early
Early's BrigadeBrigadier General Jubal A. Early
Rodes' BrigadeBrigadier General Robert E. Rodes
Rains' DivisionBrigadier General Gabriel J. Rains
Rains' BrigadeBrigadier General Gabriel J. Rains
Featherston's BrigadeBrigadier General Winfield p. Featherston
Gloucester PointColonel Crump
ReserveMajor General Gustavus W. Smith
Whiting's BrigadeBrigadier General W. H. C. Whiting
Hood's BrigadeBrigadier General John B. Hood
Colston's BrigadeBrigadier General Raleigh E. Colston
Hampton's BrigadeColonel Wade Hampton
Anderson's BrigadeBrigadier General Samuel R. Anderson
Pettigrew's BrigadeBrigadier General James J. Pettigrew
Cavalry BrigadeBrigadier General J. E. B. Stuart

At the outset of the Peninsula Campaign the Army of Northern Virginia had more than 55,633 soldiers. The cannon was assigned to the brigades, as well as the Reserve's artillery. Nominally, Jackson's Corps in the Shenandoah Valley, was subordinate to the Army. Since Jackson led his own campaign at the time of the Peninsula Campaign and was not under Lee's direct command this overview does not include his three divisions.

The Army's organization soon proved inept in the course of the Peninsula Campaign. The corps-like structure was rearranged before the Seven Days Battle to converge with the requirements of actual command. In the course of this battle the Army featured two Corps; Jackson's and Magruder's, with four and three divisions respectively, and three actual divisions with five to six brigades. Also the Defense District of North Carolina answered directly to the Army as well as the Reserve Artillery with six battalions and the cavalry with six regiments. [10] The army's complete strength was about 90,000 soldiers. The exact strength cannot be determined, because only a few notes for actual provisionings survived. The estimated strength results, if not explicitly noted, from in-battle dispatches.

Organization at the setout of the Northern Virginia Campaign

The Seven Days Battle showed the Army still suffered from insufficient organization in army command. General Lee subdivided the army again, but this time only with single commands. He introduced a corps-like structure of command, and as an intermediate army management he named the left and right wing. The Army was organized on August 28, 1862 as follows. [11]

Wing of the Army/Army troopsDivisionBrigade/Combat supportCommander/Officers in charge
Right Wing3 Artillery BattalionsMajor General James Longstreet
Anderson's Division3 BrigadesMajor General Richard H. Anderson
Jones's Division3 BrigadesBrigadier General David Rumph Jones
Wilcox's Division3 Brigades / 2 Artillery BatteriesBrigadier General Cadmus M. Wilcox
Hood's Division2 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionBrigadier General John B. Hood
Kemper's Division3 BrigadesBrigadier General James L. Kemper
Evan's Brigade / 1 Artillery BatteryBrigadier General Nathan George Evans
Left WingMajor General Thomas J. Jackson
Jackson's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery RegimentBrigadier General William B. Taliaferro
Hill's Light Division6 Brigades / 1 Artillery RegimentMajor General Ambrose P. Hill
Ewell's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery RegimentMajor General Richard p. Ewell
Cavalry Division3 Brigades / 1 Artillery BatteryMajor General J. E. B. Stuart

The Army's Reserve Artillery consisted of one regiment and two battalions. They stayed in the area of Richmond in the course of the whole Northern Virginia Campaign and only returned on September 3, 1862 to the Army. Major General Hill's Division also remained in the eastern parts of Richmond with the order to bind McClellan's attention as long as possible. [12] As it became predictable that the Army of the Potomac would soon be transferred to support Pope, Lee ordered the Division north. [13] Hill never entered battle in the campaign. A total of about 54,000 soldiers saw action throughout the campaign.

Organization at the beginning of the Maryland Campaign

The Army's losses before and following the Battle of Second Manassas needed to be replaced before the Maryland Campaign could commence. While fundamental changes in the Army's command structure were not necessary, General Lee exchanged divisions and brigades or added additional strength to some. The wings of the Army were now officially called 'Corps'. In the Maryland Campaign the Army was subdivided as follows. [14]

Corps / Army groupDivisionBrigade/Combat supportCommander/Officers in charge
Longstreet's Corps2 Artillery BattalionsMajor General James Longstreet
Anderson's Division6 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Richard H. Anderson
Jones's Division6 Brigades / 4 Artillery BatteriesBrigadier General David Rumph Jones
McLaws's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Lafayette McLaws
Hood's Division2 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionBrigadier General John B. Hood
Walker's Division2 Brigades / 2 BatteriesBrigadier General John G. Walker
Evans's Brigade / 1 Artillery BatteryBrigadier General Nathan George Evans
Jackson's CorpsMajor General Thomas J. Jackson
Jackson's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery RegimentBrigadier General John R. Jones
Hill's Light Division6 Brigades / 1 Artillery RegimentMajor General Ambrose P. Hill
Hill's Division5 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Daniel H. Hill
Ewell's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery RegimentBrigadier General Alexander R. Lawton
Cavalry Division3 Brigades / 3 Artillery BatteriesMajor General J. E. B. Stuart
Reserve Artillery4 Battalions / 5 BatteriesBrigadier General William N. Pendleton
Organization of the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862) Army of Northern Virginia Fredericksburg.svg
Organization of the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862)

While organization of the corps was found to be generally reliable, the corps' subdivision into four or five divisions hampered overall ease of command. General Lee had already considered before the Battle of Antietam to slim down the overall structure, but intended there be no changes in leadership. The Confederate Congress authorized the establishment of the Corps, and President Davis affirmed the assignment of the commanders and promoted Major Generals Longstreet and Jackson to Lieutenant Generals. General Lee announced this in Special Order 234 on November 6, 1862. [15] About 60,000 soldiers served at the Maryland Campaign.

Battleflag made from wool, 1863 North Virginia Third Bunting.svg
Battleflag made from wool, 1863

Organization from May 30, 1863 until April 9, 1865

Lee took Jackson's death as an opportunity to subdivide the North Virginia Corps again. President Jefferson Davis agreed to the subdivision and ordered Lee in his Special Order Nr. 146 to reorganize the Army. [16]

Corps/Army groupDivisionBrigade/Combat supportCommander/Officers in charge
I CorpsLieutenant General James Longstreet
Pickett's Division3 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General George E. Pickett
McLaws's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Lafayette McLaws
Hood's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General John B. Hood
II CorpsLieutenant General Richard p. Ewell
Early's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Jubal A. Early
Johnson's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Edward Johnson
Rodes's Division5 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Robert E. Rodes
III CorpsLieutenant General A.P. Hill
Anderson's Division5 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Richard H. Anderson
Heth's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General Henry Heth
Pender's Division4 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General W. Dorsey Pender
Cavalry Division6 Brigades / 1 Artillery BattalionMajor General J. E. B. Stuart
Reserve Artillery6 BattalionsBrig. General William N. Pendleton
Imboden's Commandgem. Brigade / 1 Artillery BatteryBrigadier General John D. Imboden

Lee ordered the artillery battalions of the Reserve Artillery to serve directly with the Corps for the duration of the Gettysburg Campaign. The Army of Northern Virginia now comprised a total of 75,054 soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg. [17]

The army fielded more than 241 cannons following the Battle of Gettysburg. [18] The artillery battalions were merged into the Artillery Reserve again following the end of the campaign.

On September 9, General Lee had to dispatch the First Corps to Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. Following this the army was resubordinated again. Changes were not significant; only the cavalry saw important reorganization. [19]

Corps / Army groupDivisionBrigade/Combat supportCommander/Officers in charge
II Corps5 Artillery BattalionsLieutenant General Richard p. Ewell
Early's Division4 BrigadesMajor General Jubal A. Early
Johnson's Division4 BrigadesMajor General Edward Johnson
Rodes's Division5 BrigadesMajor General Robert E. Rodes
III Corps5 Artillery BattalionsLieutenant General A.P. Hill
Anderson's Division5 BrigadesMajor General Richard H. Anderson
Heth's Division4 BrigadesMajor General Henry Heth
Wilcox's Division4 BrigadesMajor General Cadmus M. Wilcox
Cavalry Corps1 Artillery BattalionMajor General J. E. B. Stuart
Hampton's Division2 BrigadesMajor General Wade Hampton
Lee's Division3 BrigadesMajor General Fitzhugh Lee
Reserve Artillery2 BattalionsMajor General William N. Pendleton
Defense District of Shenandoah Valleygem. Brigade / 1 Artillery BatteryBrigadier General John D. Imboden
Cooke's BrigadeBrigadier General John R. Cooke

The Army's strength was then 55,221 soldiers. The changes in command until December 31, 1863 were only minor. Cooke's Brigade was assigned to serve with Heth's Division, Hampton's Division grew by a cavalry brigade and the Third Corps gained an additional artillery battalion. Imboden's Command remained at Shenandoah Valley and was taken over by Major General Early as the Defense District of Shenandoah Valley. The strength of the army was 54,715 men on December 31.

The organization of the Army of Northern Virginia did not change until the end of the war. The Army featured several corps, the corps featured several divisions, and the artillery was divided between the corps. The strength of the Army grew in the first six months from about 46,380 to 62,230 soldiers. The army was assigned in July to the Defense District of North Carolina and Richmond. In the course of the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign the number of soldiers temporarily grew to 82,633 while parts of the Army were under the command by Lieutenant General Early in Shenandoah Valley.

Organization of the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864) Army of Northern Virginia Wilderness.svg
Organization of the Army of Northern Virginia at the time of the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5–7, 1864)

In 1864 the Army of Northern Virginia fought against the more than twice as strong Potomac-, James- and Shenandoah Army in Grant's Overland Campaign, Early's Raid against the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, and Shenandoah Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. The Army's organization for January 31, 1865 [20] because 69,659 soldiers were fit for battle, but a minimum of 4,500 had no rifles. [21]

Corps / Army groupDivisionBrigade/Combat supportCommander/Officers in charge
I Corps6 Artillery BattalionsLieutenant General James Longstreet
Pickett's Division4 BrigadesMajor General George E. Pickett
Field's Division5 BrigadesMajor General Charles W. Field
Kershaw's Division4 BrigadesMajor General Joseph B. Kershaw
II Corps4 Artillery BattalionsMajor General John B. Gordon
Early's Division3 BrigadesBrigadier General John Pegram
Gordon's Division3 BrigadesBrigadier General Clement A. Evans
Rodes's Division4 BrigadesBrigadier General Bryan Grimes
III Corps7 Artillery BattalionsLieutenant General A.P. Hill
Mahone's Division5 BrigadesMajor General William Mahone
Heth's Division4 BrigadesMajor General Henry Heth
Wilcox's Division4 BrigadesMajor General Cadmus M. Wilcox
Anderson's Corps4 Artillery BattalionsLieutenant General Richard H. Anderson
Johnson's Division4 BrigadesMajor General Bushrod Rust Johnson
Defense District of Shenandoah Valley6 Artillery BattalionsLieutenant General Jubal A. Early
Wharton's Division3 Infantry / 1 Cavalry BrigadesBrigadier General John A. Wharton
Cavalry Corps3 Artillery BattalionsMajor General Wade Hampton
Lee's Division3 BrigMajor general William H. F. Lee

Following Lieutenant General A.P. Hill's death on April 2, 1865 the Third Corps was dissolved and assigned to the First Corps. On April 9, 1865, General Lee surrendered. One day later he thanked his men and his officers for their bravery and sturdiness and announced the dismissal of all troops on their word of honor in General Order No. 9. [22] The listings of the Army of Northern Virginia say that 28,231 soldiers were dismissed on their word of honor on April 10, 1865. [23]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 Eicher, pp. 889–90.
  2. Freeman, Vol. II, p. 78 and footnote 6.
  3. Lee to Jefferson Davis, September 3, 1862, Dowdey and Manarin, Papers.
  4. Freeman, Douglas p. (1934). R. E. Lee, A Biography. Charles Scribner's Sons.
  5. Wert, Jeffery D. General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier—A Biography. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.
  6. Bonekemper, Edward H. How Robert E. Lee Lost the Civil War. Fredericksburg, VA: Sergeant Kirkland's Press, 1997.
  7. starting at left center going up-left to right:1) Lt.Col. W.H. Taylor 2)Lt.Col. R.G. Cole;3) Lt.Col.C.S. Venable;4)Brig Gen W.H. Stevens;5) Lt.Col. Charles Marshall; 6) Lt.Col. J.L. Conley; 7)Lt.Col. B.G. Baldwin; 8)Surgeon Lafayette Guild; 9) Maj H. Young; 10} Brig Gen W.H. Pendelton; 11} Lt.Col. W. E. Peyton; 12)Major Giles B. Coke.
  8. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. V, p. 913f: General Orders No. 15
  9. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. V, p. 1086: Army's day-service strength
  10. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XI, Part II, p. 483ff: Disposition at the beginning of the Seven Days Battle
  11. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XII, Part II, p. 546ff: Disposition on the setout of the Northern Virginia Campaign
  12. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XII, Part II, p. 176: Hill's order
  13. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XII, Part II, p. 553: Hill's stay
  14. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XIX, Part I, p. 803ff: Disposition on the setout of the Maryland Campaign
  15. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XIX, Part II, p. 698f: Nomination of Commanding Generals
  16. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XXV, Part II, p. 840: Special Orders No. 146
  17. National Park Service: Army's day-service strength
  18. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XXV, Part II, p. 355ff: Artillery in the armory following the Battle of Gettysburg
  19. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XXIX, Part I, p. 398ff: Disposition on September,30 1863
  20. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XLVI, Part II, p. 1170ff: Disposition on January,31 1865
  21. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XLVI, Part I, p. 384ff: Army's strength on January 31, 1865
  22. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XLVI, Part I, p. 1267: Dismissal
  23. The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XLVI, Part I, p. 1277ff: Discharge on word of honor

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References

Further reading