Union Army

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Union Army
U.S. flag (35 stars).svg
Flag of the United States from 1863 until 1865 (35 states/stars)
ActiveFebruary 28, 1861 – May 26, 1865
(4 years, 2 months and 4 weeks)
CountryUnited States
Size2,128,948 total who served
Part of U.S. Department of War
Colors Dark Blue  
March"Battle Hymn of the Republic"
See battles
Commander-in-Chief President Abraham Lincoln (1861–1865)
President Andrew Johnson (1865)
Commanding General MG Winfield Scott (1841–1861)
MG George B. McClellan (1861–1862)
MG Henry W. Halleck (1862–1864)
GA Ulysses S. Grant (1864–1869)
Washington, District of Columbia. Officers of 3d Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery (1865) Washington, District of Columbia. Officers of 3d Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery.jpg
Washington, District of Columbia. Officers of 3d Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery (1865)
The 21st Michigan Infantry, a regiment serving in the Western Theater. Michigan infantry.jpg
The 21st Michigan Infantry, a regiment serving in the Western Theater.
General George B. McClellan with staff and dignitaries (from left to right): Gen. George W. Morell, Lt. Col. A.V. Colburn, Gen. McClellan, Lt. Col. N.B. Sweitzer, Prince de Joinville (son of King Louis Philippe of France), and on the very right - the prince's nephew, Count de Paris GeorgeMcClellan1861a.jpg
General George B. McClellan with staff and dignitaries (from left to right): Gen. George W. Morell, Lt. Col. A.V. Colburn, Gen. McClellan, Lt. Col. N.B. Sweitzer, Prince de Joinville (son of King Louis Philippe of France), and on the very right – the prince's nephew, Count de Paris

During the American Civil War, the Union Army, also called the Northern Army, referred to the United States Army, the land force that fought to preserve the Union of the collective states. Also known as the Federal Army, it proved essential to the preservation of the United States as a working, viable republic.


Union private infantry uniform Union Private infantry uniform.png
Union private infantry uniform

The Union Army was made up of the permanent regular army of the United States, but further fortified, augmented, and strengthened by the many temporary units of dedicated volunteers as well as including those who were drafted in to service as conscripts. To this end, the Union Army fought and ultimately triumphed over the efforts of the Confederate States Army in the American Civil War.

Over the course of the war, 2,128,948 men enlisted in the Union Army, [1] including 178,895 colored troops; 25% of the white men who served were foreign-born. [2] Of these soldiers, 596,670 were killed, wounded or went missing. [3] The initial call-up was for just three months, after which many of these men chose to reenlist for an additional three years.


Recruiting poster for the 1st Battalion New York Mounted Rifles Recruiting poster New York Mounted Rifles.jpg
Recruiting poster for the 1st Battalion New York Mounted Rifles

When the American Civil War began in April 1861, the U.S. Army consisted of ten regiments of infantry, four of artillery, two of cavalry, two of dragoons, and three of mounted infantry. The regiments were scattered widely. Of the 197 companies in the army, 179 occupied 79 isolated posts in the West, and the remaining 18 manned garrisons east of the Mississippi River, mostly along the Canada–United States border and on the Atlantic coast. There were only 16,367 men in the U.S. Army, including 1,108 commissioned officers. Approximately 20% of these officers — most of them Southerners — resigned, choosing to tie their lives and fortunes to the Army of the Confederacy. [4]

In addition, almost 200 West Point graduates who had previously left the Army, including Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Braxton Bragg, returned to service at the outbreak of the war. This group's loyalties were far more evenly divided, with 92 donning Confederate gray and 102 putting on the blue of the United States Army.

With the Southern slave states declaring secession from the United States, and with this drastic shortage of men in the army, President Abraham Lincoln called on the states to raise a force of 75,000 men for three months to put down this subversive insurrection. Lincoln's call forced the border states to choose sides, and four seceded, making the Confederacy eleven states strong. It turned out that the war itself proved to be much longer and far more extensive in scope and scale than anyone on either side, Union North or Confederate South, expected or even imagined at the outset on the date of July 22, 1861. That was the day that Congress initially approved and authorized subsidy to allow and support a volunteer army of up to 500,000 men to the cause.

The call for volunteers initially was easily met by patriotic Northerners, abolitionists, and even immigrants who enlisted for a steady income and meals. Over 10,000 German Americans in New York and Pennsylvania immediately responded to Lincoln's call, along with Northern French Americans, who were also quick to volunteer. As more men were needed, however, the number of volunteers fell and both money bounties and forced conscription had to be turned to. Many Southern Unionists would also fight for the Union Army. An estimated 100,000 white soldiers from states within the Confederacy served in Union Army units. [5] Between April 1861 and April 1865, at least 2,128,948 men served in the United States Army, of whom the majority were volunteers.

It is a misconception that the South held an advantage because of the large percentage of professional officers who resigned to join the Confederate army. At the start of the war, there were 824 graduates of the U.S. Military Academy on the active list; of these, 296 resigned or were dismissed, and 184 of those became Confederate officers. Of the approximately 900 West Point graduates who were then civilians, 400 returned to the United States Army and 99 to the Confederate. Therefore, the ratio of U.S. Army to Confederate professional officers was 642 to 283. [6] (One of the resigning officers was Robert E. Lee, who had initially been offered the assignment as commander of a field army to suppress the rebellion. Lee disapproved of secession, but refused to bear arms against his native state, Virginia, and resigned to accept the position as commander of Virginian C.S. forces. He eventually became the commander of the Confederate army.) The South did have the advantage of other military colleges, such as The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute, but they produced fewer officers. Though officers were able to resign, enlisted soldiers did not have this right. As they usually had to either desert or wait until their enlistment term was over in order to join the Confederate States Army; their total number is unknown.

Major organizations

The Union Army was composed of numerous organizations, which were generally organized geographically.

Military division
A collection of Departments reporting to one commander (e.g., Military Division of the Mississippi, Middle Military Division, Military Division of the James). Military Divisions were similar to the more modern term Theater; and were modeled close to, though not synonymous with, the existing theaters of war.
An organization that covered a defined region, including responsibilities for the Federal installations therein and for the field armies within their borders. Those named for states usually referred to Southern states that had been occupied. It was more common to name departments for rivers (such as Department of the Tennessee, Department of the Cumberland) or regions (Department of the Pacific, Department of New England, Department of the East, Department of the West, Middle Department).
A territorial subdivision of a Department (e.g., District of Cairo, District of East Tennessee). There were also Subdistricts for smaller regions.
The fighting force that was usually, but not always, assigned to a District or Department but could operate over wider areas. Some of the most prominent armies were:

Each of these armies was usually commanded by a major general. Typically, the Department or District commander also had field command of the army of the same name, but some conflicts within the ranks occurred when this was not true, particularly when an army crossed a geographic boundary.

The regular army, the permanent United States Army, was intermixed into various formations of the Union Army, forming a cadre of experienced and skilled troops. They were regarded by many as elite troops and often held in reserve during battles in case of emergencies.[ citation needed ] This force was quite small compared to the massive state-raised volunteer forces that comprised the bulk of the Union Army.

Personnel organization

Rough unit sizes for Union combat units during the war: [7]

Soldiers were organized by military specialty. The combat arms included infantry, cavalry, artillery, and other such smaller organizations such as the United States Marine Corps, which, at some times, was detached from its navy counterpart for land-based operations. The Signal Corps was created and deployed for the first time, through the leadership of Albert J. Myer.

Below major units like armies, soldiers were organized mainly into regiments, the main fighting unit with which a soldier would march and be deployed, commanded by a colonel, lieutenant colonel, or possibly a major. According to William J. Hardee's "Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics" (1855), the primary tactics for riflemen and light infantry in use immediately prior and during the war, there would typically be, in each regiment, ten companies, each commanded by a captain, and deployed according to the ranks of captains. Some units only had between four and eight companies and were generally known as battalions. [8] Regiments were almost always raised within a single state, and were generally referred by number and state, e.g. 54th Massachusetts, 20th Maine, etc.

Regiments were usually grouped into brigades under the command of a brigadier general. However, brigades were changed easily as the situation demanded; under the regimental system the regiment was the main permanent grouping. Brigades were usually formed once regiments reached the battlefield, according to where the regiment might be deployed, and alongside which other regiments.


Noncommissioned officers of the 93rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment UnionOfficers.jpg
Noncommissioned officers of the 93rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Several men served as generals-in-chief of the Union Army throughout its existence:

The gap from March 11 to July 23, 1862, was filled with direct control of the army by President Lincoln and United States Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, with the help of an unofficial "War Board" that was established on March 17, 1862. The board consisted of Ethan A. Hitchcock, the chairman, with Department of War bureau chiefs Lorenzo Thomas, Montgomery C. Meigs, Joseph G. Totten, James W. Ripley, and Joseph P. Taylor. [9]

Scott was an elderly veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican–American War and could not perform his duties effectively. His successor, Maj. Gen. McClellan, built and trained the massive Union Army of the Potomac, the primary fighting force in the Eastern Theater. Although he was popular among the soldiers, McClellan was relieved from his position as general-in-chief because of his overcautious strategy and his contentious relationship with his commander-in-chief, President Lincoln. (He remained commander of the Army of the Potomac through the Peninsula Campaign and the Battle of Antietam.) His replacement, Major General Henry W. Halleck, had a successful record in the Western Theater but was more of an administrator than a strategic planner and commander.

The champions of the Union - 1861 lithograph by Currier & Ives Currier & Ives - The champions of the Union 1861.jpg
The champions of the Union – 1861 lithograph by Currier & Ives

Ulysses S. Grant was the final commander of the Union Army. He was famous for his victories in the West when he was appointed lieutenant general and general-in-chief of the Union Army in March 1864. Grant supervised the Army of the Potomac (which was formally led by his subordinate, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade) in delivering the final blows to the Confederacy by engaging Confederate forces in many fierce battles in Virginia, the Overland Campaign, conducting a war of attrition that the larger Union Army was able to survive better than its opponent. Grant laid siege to Lee's army at Petersburg, Virginia, and eventually captured Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. He developed the strategy of coordinated simultaneous thrusts against wide portions of the Confederacy, most importantly the Georgia and Carolinas Campaigns of William Tecumseh Sherman and the Shenandoah Valley campaign of Philip Sheridan. These campaigns were characterized by another strategic notion of Grant's-better known as total war —denying the enemy access to resources needed to continue the war by widespread destruction of its factories and farms along the paths of the invading Union armies.

Grant had critics who complained about the high numbers of casualties that the Union Army suffered while he was in charge, but Lincoln would not replace Grant, because, in Lincoln's words: "I cannot spare this man. He fights."

Among memorable field leaders of the army were Nathaniel Lyon (first Union general to be killed in battle during the war), William Rosecrans, George Henry Thomas and William Tecumseh Sherman. Others, of lesser competence, included Benjamin F. Butler.

Union victory

The decisive victories by Grant and Sherman resulted in the surrender of the major Confederate armies. The first and most significant was on April 9, 1865, when Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at Appomattox Court House. Although there were other Confederate armies that surrendered in the following weeks, such as Joseph E. Johnston's in North Carolina, this date was nevertheless symbolic of the end of the bloodiest war in American history, the end of the Confederate States of America, and the beginning of the slow process of Reconstruction.


Anti-slavery sentiment

In his 1997 book examining the motivations of the American Civil War's soldiers, For Cause and Comrades, historian James M. McPherson states that Union soldiers fought to preserve the United States, as well as to end slavery, stating that:

While restoration of the Union was the main goal for which they fought, they became convinced that this goal was unattainable without striking against slavery.

James M. McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War , (1997), p. 118, emphasis added. [10]

McPherson states that witnessing the slave system of the Confederacy first-hand also strengthened the anti-slavery views of Union soldiers, [10] who were appalled by its brutality. [10] He stated that "Experience in the South reinforced the antislavery sentiments of many soldiers." [10] One Pennsylvanian Union soldier spoke to a slave woman whose husband was whipped, and was appalled by what she had to tell him of slavery. He stated that "I thought I had hated slavery as much as possible before I came here, but here, where I can see some of its workings, I am more than ever convinced of the cruelty and inhumanity of the system." [10]

Ethnic composition

The 26th U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry on parade, Camp William Penn, Pennsylvania, 1865 Us colored volunteer infantry.jpg
The 26th U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry on parade, Camp William Penn, Pennsylvania, 1865

The Union Army was composed of many different ethnic groups, including large numbers of immigrants. About 25% of the white men who served in the Union Army were foreign-born. [2] This means that about 1,600,000 enlistments were made by men who were born in the United States, including about 200,000 African Americans. About 200,000 enlistments were by men born in one of the German states (although this is somewhat speculative since anyone serving from a German family tended to be identified as German regardless of where they were actually born)[ citation needed ]. [11] About 200,000 soldiers and sailors were born in Ireland. Although some soldiers came from as far away as Malta, Italy, India, and Russia, most of the remaining foreign-born soldiers came from Great Britain and Canada.

Twenty-year-old German immigrant John Haag of Company B, 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment (August 1862) John Haag, Co. B, 26th Wis. Volunteer Infantry.jpg
Twenty-year-old German immigrant John Haag of Company B, 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment (August 1862)
Breakdown of the approximately 2.2 million Union Enlistments signed:
1,000,00045.4Native-born white Americans.
216,0009.7 German-born
210,0009.5African-American. Half were freedmen who lived in the North, and half were ex-slaves from the South. They served under mainly white officers in more than 160 "colored" regiments and in Federal U.S. regiments organized as the United States Colored Troops (USCT). [13] [14] [15] [16]
200,0009.1 Irish-born
50,0002.3Canadian. [17]
50,0002.3Born in England.
40,0001.8French or French Canadian. About half were born in the United States of America, the other half in Quebec. [17]
20,0000.9 Nordic, including Norwegian, Swedish (numbering roughly 3000), [18] [19] Finnish, and Danish.
7,0000.3 Italian
7,0000.3 Jewish
6,0000.2 Mexican
5,0000.2 Polish (many of whom served in the Polish Legion of Brig. Gen. Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski)
4,0000.1 Native Americans, mostly Lenape, Pamunkey, Lumbee, Seneca and Muscogee
295,0006.4Several hundred of other various nationalities

Many immigrant soldiers formed their own regiments, such as the Irish Brigade (69th New York, 63rd New York, 88th New York, 28th Massachusetts, 116th Pennsylvania); the Swiss Rifles (15th Missouri); the Gardes de Lafayette (55th New York); the Garibaldi Guard (39th New York); the Martinez Militia (1st New Mexico); the Polish Legion (58th New York); the German Rangers; Sigel Rifles (52nd New York, inheriting the 7th); the Cameron Highlanders (79th New York Volunteer Infantry); and the Scandinavian Regiment (15th Wisconsin). But for the most part, the foreign-born soldiers were scattered as individuals throughout units. [20]

For comparison, the Confederate Army was not very diverse: 91% of Confederate soldiers were native-born white men and only 9% were foreign-born white men, Irish being the largest group with others including Germans, French, Mexicans (though most of them simply happened to have been born when the Southwest was still part of Mexico), and British. Some Confederate propaganda condemned foreign-born soldiers in the Union Army, likening them to the hated Hessians of the American Revolution. Also, a relatively small number of Native Americans (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek) fought for the Confederacy.

Army administration and issues

Various organizational and administrative issues arose during the war, which had a major effect on subsequent military procedures.

Portrait of an African American Union soldier at Benton Barracks Unidentified African American Union soldier with a rifle and revolver in front of painted backdrop showing weapons and American flag at Benton Barracks, Saint Louis, Missouri LOC 5229147154 (cropped).jpg
Portrait of an African American Union soldier at Benton Barracks

Black people in the army

The inclusion of black people as combat soldiers became a major issue. Eventually, it was realized, especially after the valiant effort of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Battle of Fort Wagner, that black people were fully able to serve as competent and reliable soldiers. This was partly due to the efforts of Robert Smalls, who, while still a slave, won fame by defecting from the Confederacy and bringing a Confederate transport ship which he was piloting. He later met with Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War, to argue for including blacks in combat units. This led to the formation of the first combat unit for black soldiers, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers. Regiments for black soldiers were eventually referred to as United States Colored Troops. Black Soldiers were paid less than white Soldiers until late in the war and were, in general, treated harshly.

Unit supplies

Battlefield supplies were a major problem. They were greatly improved by new techniques in preserving food and other perishables, and in transport by railroad. General Montgomery C. Meigs was one of the most important Union Army leaders in this field. Owing to a poorly developed regular Quartermaster supply system, a great deal of supplies and materials were locally purchased by units and commands. Units on active field service augmented their supplies by local foraging, which sometimes included outright theft from farmers and communities.

Military tactics

The Civil War drove many innovations in military tactics. [21] W. J. Hardee published the first revised infantry tactics for use with modern rifles in 1855. However, even these tactics proved ineffective in combat, as it involved massed volley fire, in which entire units (primarily regiments) would fire simultaneously. These tactics had not been tested before in actual combat, and the commanders of these units would post their soldiers at incredibly close range, compared to the range of the rifled musket, which led to very high mortality rates. In a sense, the weapons had evolved beyond the tactics, which would soon change as the war drew to a close. [22] Military railways, occasionally used in earlier wars, provided mass movement of troops. The electric telegraph was used by both sides, which enabled political and senior military leaders to pass orders to and receive reports from commanders in the field. [23]

There were many other innovations brought by necessity. Generals were forced to reexamine the offensive-minded tactics developed during the Mexican–American War where attackers could mass to within 100 yards of the defensive lines, the maximum effective range of smoothbore muskets. Attackers would have to endure one volley of inaccurate smoothbore musket fire before they could close with the defenders. But by the Civil War, the smoothbores had been replaced with rifled muskets, using the quick loadable minié ball, with accurate ranges up to 900 yards. Defense now dominated the battlefield. Now attackers, whether advancing in ordered lines or by rushes, were subjected to three or four aimed volleys before they could get among the defenders. This made offensive tactics that were successful only 20 years before nearly obsolete. [24]

Desertions and draft riots

Desertion was a major problem for both sides. The daily hardships of war, forced marches, thirst, suffocating heat, disease, delay in pay, solicitude for family, impatience at the monotony and futility of inactive service, panic on the eve of battle, the sense of war-weariness, the lack of confidence in commanders, and the discouragement of defeat (especially early on for the Union Army), all tended to lower the morale of the Union Army and to increase desertion. [25] [26]

In 1861 and 1862, the war was going badly for the Union Army and there were, by some counts, 180,000 desertions. In 1863 and 1864, the bitterest two years of the war, the Union Army suffered over 200 desertions every day, for a total of 150,000 desertions during those two years. This puts the total number of desertions from the Union Army during the four years of the war at nearly 350,000. Using these numbers, 15% of Union soldiers deserted during the war. Official numbers put the number of deserters from the Union Army at 200,000 for the entire war, or about 8% of Union Army soldiers. Since desertion is defined as being AWOL for 30 or more days and some soldiers returned within that time period, as well as some deserters being labeled missing-in-action or vice versa, accurate counts are difficult to determine. Many historians estimate the "real" desertion rate in the Union Army as between 9–12%. [27] About 1 out of 3 deserters returned to their regiments, either voluntarily or after being arrested and being sent back. Many deserters were professional "bounty jumpers" who would enlist to collect the cash bonus and then desert to do the same elsewhere. If not caught and executed, this crime could pay well. [28] [29]

Rioters attacking a building during the New York anti-draft riots of 1863 NYRiot.jpg
Rioters attacking a building during the New York anti-draft riots of 1863

Irish immigrants were the main participants in the famous "New York Draft riots" of 1863. [30] Stirred up by the instigating rhetoric of Democratic politicians, [31] the Irish had shown the strongest support for Southern aims prior to the start of the war and had long opposed abolitionism and the free black population, regarding them as competition for jobs and blaming them for driving down wages. Alleging that the war was merely an upper-class abolitionist war to free slaves who might move north and compete for jobs and housing, the poorer classes did not welcome a draft, especially one from which a richer man could buy an exemption. The poor formed clubs that would buy exemptions for their unlucky members. As a result of the Enrollment Act, rioting began in several Northern cities, the most heavily hit being New York City. A mob reported as consisting principally of Irish immigrants rioted in the summer of 1863, with the worst violence occurring in July during the Battle of Gettysburg. The mob set fire to African American churches and the Colored Orphan Asylum as well as the homes of prominent Protestant abolitionists. A mob was reportedly repulsed from the offices of the staunchly pro-Union New York Tribune by workers firing two Gatling guns. The principal victims of the rioting were African Americans and activists in the anti-slavery movement. Not until victory was achieved at Gettysburg could the Union Army be sent in; some units had to open fire to quell the violence and stop the rioters. Casualties were estimated as up to 1,000 killed or wounded. [32] There were a few small scale draft riots in rural areas of the Midwest and in the coal regions of Pennsylvania. [33] [34]

See also


  1. "Civil War Facts". American Battlefield Trust. August 16, 2011.
  2. 1 2 McPherson, pp.36–37.
  3. Civil War Casualties
  4. Newell, Clayton R. The Regular Army before the Civil War, 1845–1860 (PDF). US Army Campaigns of the Civil War. US Army, Center of Military History. pp. 50, 52.
  5. Crofts, Daniel W. CIVIL WAR SESQUICENTENNIAL: Unionism. digitalcommons.lsu.edu. Retrieved January 29, 2021
  6. Hattaway & Jones, pp. 9–10.
  7. The Civil War Book of Lists, p. 56
  8. "Civil War Army Organization and Rank". North Carolina Museum of History. Archived from the original on June 27, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  9. Eicher, pp. 37–38.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 McPherson, James M. (1997). For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War . New York City: Oxford University Press, Inc. p.  118. ISBN   0-19-509-023-3. OCLC   34912692 . Retrieved March 10, 2016. While restoration of the Union was the main goal for which they fought, they became convinced that this goal was unattainable without striking against slavery.
  11. Sanitary Commission Report, 1869[ clarification needed ]
  12. Chippewa County, Wisconsin Past and Present, Volume II. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913. p. 258.
  13. Joseph T. Glatthaar, Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers (2000)
  14. McPherson, James M.; Lamb, Brian (May 22, 1994). "James McPherson: What They Fought For, 1861–1865". Booknotes. National Cable Satellite Corporation. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved March 9, 2016. About 180,000 black soldiers and an estimated 10,000 black sailors fought in the Union Army and Navy, all of them in late 1862 or later, except for some blacks who enrolled in the Navy earlier.
  15. "General Orders No. 14". Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1855–1865. Kansas City: The Kansas City Public Library. Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014. [V]ery few blacks serve in the Confederate armed forces, as compared to hundreds of thousands who serve for the Union.
  16. Foner, Eric (October 27, 2010). "Book Discussion on The Fiery Trial". C-SPAN. Washington, D.C. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  17. 1 2 Loewen, James W. (2007). Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: The New Press. ISBN   9781595586537 . Retrieved March 8, 2016. Forty thousand Canadians alone, some of them black, came south to volunteer for the Union cause.
  18. Nels., Hokanson (1979). Swedish immigrants in Lincoln's time. Arno Press. p. 79. ISBN   0-405-11640-3. OCLC   499809002.
  19. Sundvall, Samuel (2019). "The Swedish and Swedish-American Press During the United States Civil War". The Swedish-American Historical Quarterly. 70: 35–54.
  20. The 52nd New York State Volunteers
  21. Perry D. Jamieson, Crossing the Deadly Ground: United States Army Tactics, 1865–1899 (2004)
  22. John K. Mahon, "Civil War Infantry Assault Tactics." Military Affairs (1961): 57–68.
  23. Paddy Griffith, Battle tactics of the civil war (Yale University Press, 1989)
  24. Earl J. Hess (2015). Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness. LSU Press. p. 1. ISBN   9780807159385.
  25. Ella Lonn, Desertion During the Civil War (U of Nebraska Press, 1928)
  26. Chris Walsh, "'Cowardice Weakness or Infirmity, Whichever It May Be Termed': A Shadow History of the Civil War." Civil War History (2013) 59#4 pp: 492–526.Online
  27. "Desertion (Confederate) during the Civil War". encyclopediavirginia.org. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  28. Shannon Smith Bennett, "Draft Resistance and Rioting." in Maggi M. Morehouse and Zoe Trodd, eds., Civil War America: A Social and Cultural History with Primary Sources (2013) ch 1
  29. Peter Levine, "Draft evasion in the North during the Civil War, 1863–1865." Journal of American History (1981): 816–834. online Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  30. Adrian Cook, The armies of the streets: the New York City draft riots of 1863 (1974).
  31. McPherson, James M. (1996). Drawn with the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War . New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. pp.  91–92. ISBN   978-0-19-509679-8. Rioters were mostly Irish Catholic immigrants and their children. They mainly attacked the members of New York's small black population. For a year, Democratic leaders had been telling their Irish-American constituents that the wicked 'Black Republicans' were waging the war to free the slaves who would come north and take away the jobs of Irish workers. The use of black stevedores as scabs in a recent strike by Irish dockworkers made this charge seem plausible. The prospect of being drafted to fight to free the slaves made the Irish even more receptive to demogogic rhetoric.
  32. Iver Bernstein, The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War (1990)
  33. Shannon M. Smith, "Teaching Civil War Union Politics: Draft Riots in the Midwest." OAH Magazine of History (2013) 27#2 pp: 33–36. online
  34. Kenneth H. Wheeler, "Local Autonomy and Civil War Draft Resistance: Holmes County, Ohio." Civil War History. v.45#2 1999. pp 147+ online edition

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The Confederate States Army, also called the Confederate Army or simply the Southern Army, was the military land force of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War (1861–1865), fighting against the United States forces in order to uphold the institution of slavery in the Southern states. 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.

United States Colored Troops American Civil War military unit

The United States Colored Troops (USCT) were regiments in the United States Army composed primarily of African-American (colored) soldiers, although members of other minority groups also served within the units. They were first recruited during the American Civil War, and by the end of the war in 1865, the 175 USCT regiments constituted about one-tenth of the manpower of the Union Army. About 20% of USCT soldiers died, a rate about 35% higher than that of white Union troops. Despite heavy casualties, many fought with distinction, 16 USCT soldiers receiving the Medal of Honor and numerous others receiving other honors.

Union (American Civil War) United States national government during the American Civil War (1861-65)

During the American Civil War, the Union, also known as the North, referred to the United States, governed by the U.S. federal government led by President Abraham Lincoln. It was opposed by the secessionist Confederate States of America (CSA), informally called "the Confederacy" or "the South". The Union is named after its declared goal of preserving the United States as a constitutional union. "Union" is used in the U.S. Constitution to refer to the founding formation of the people, and to the states in union. In the context of the Civil War, it has also often been used as a synonym for "the northern states loyal to the United States government;" in this meaning, the Union consisted of 20 free states and five border states.

Cavalry in the American Civil War

The American Civil War saw cavalry tactics move largely away from the offensive towards the defensive, with the emphasis on screening, raiding, and reconnaissance. Development of the rifled musket had also rendered the cavalry charge both impractical and detrimental.

California in the American Civil War

California's involvement in the American Civil War included sending gold east to support the war effort, recruiting volunteer combat units to replace regular U.S. Army units sent east, in the area west of the Rocky Mountains, maintaining and building numerous camps and fortifications, suppressing secessionist activity and securing the New Mexico Territory against the Confederacy. The State of California did not send its units east, but many citizens traveled east and joined the Union Army there, some of whom became famous.

Military leadership in the American Civil War was influenced by professional military education and the hard-earned pragmatism of command experience. While not all leaders had formal military training, the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis created dedicated cadres of professional officers whose understanding of military science had profound effect on the conduct of the American Civil War and whose lasting legacy helped forge the traditions of the modern U.S. officer corps of all service branches.

The city of St. Louis was a strategic location during the American Civil War, holding significant value for both Union and Confederate forces. As the largest city in the fiercely divided border state of Missouri and the most important economic hub on the upper Mississippi River, St. Louis was a major launching point and supply depot for campaigns in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters.

North Carolina in the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, North Carolina joined the Confederacy with some reluctance, mainly due to the presence of Unionist sentiment within the state. Throughout the war, North Carolina remained a divided state. The population within the Appalachian Mountains in the western part of the state contained large pockets of Unionism. Even so, North Carolina would help contribute a significant amount of troops to the Confederacy, and channel many vital supplies through the major port of Wilmington, in defiance of the Union blockade.

Arkansas in the American Civil War State of the Confederate States of America

During the American Civil War, Arkansas was a Confederate state, though it had initially voted to remain in the Union. Following the capture of Fort Sumter in April 1861, Abraham Lincoln called for troops from every Union state to put down the rebellion, and Arkansas and several other states seceded. For the rest of the civil war, Arkansas played a major role in controlling the Mississippi River, a major waterway.

1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles

The 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles was a Confederate States Army regiment which fought in the Indian Territory during the American Civil War. It was formed from the merger of two predecessor units the First Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Rifles, and the Second Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Rifles. The first commander was Col. John Drew, while the second was Stand Watie.

Galvanized Yankees was a term from the American Civil War denoting former Confederate prisoners of war who swore allegiance to the United States and joined the Union Army. Approximately 5,600 former Confederate soldiers enlisted in the "United States Volunteers", organized into six regiments of infantry between January 1864 and November 1866. Of those, more than 250 had begun their service as Union soldiers, were captured in battle, then enlisted in prison to join a regiment of the Confederate States Army. They surrendered to Union forces in December 1864 and were held by the United States as deserters, but were saved from prosecution by being enlisted in the 5th and 6th U.S. Volunteers. An additional 800 former Confederates served in volunteer regiments raised by the states, forming ten companies. Four of those companies saw combat in the Western Theater against the Confederate Army, two served on the western frontier, and one became an independent company of U.S. Volunteers, serving in Minnesota.

1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment Confederate Army infantry regiment of the American Civil War

The 1st Arkansas Infantry (1861–1865) was a Confederate Army infantry regiment during the American Civil War. The regiment was raised in April 1861 by Colonel Thompson B. Flournoy. It moved first to Virginia, but transferred back to Tennessee and served the rest of the war in the western theater, seeing action in the Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia campaigns. Following its depletion in numbers, the regiment was consolidated several times with other Arkansas regiments, finally merging in 1865 into the 1st Arkansas Consolidated Infantry Regiment. There were three regiments known as "1st Arkansas" during the war. The second unit with the designation of "1st Arkansas" was the 1st Infantry, Arkansas State Troops, which was mustered into Confederate service at Pitman's Ferry, Arkansas, on 23 July 1861, under the command of Colonel Patrick Cleburne; this unit was eventually redesignated as the 15th Arkansas Volunteer Infantry. The third unit bearing the title "1st Arkansas" was the 1st Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, which served with the Union Army.

A large contingent of African Americans served in the American Civil War. 186,097 black men joined the Union Army: 7,122 officers, and 178,975 enlisted soldiers. Approximately 20,000 black sailors served in the Union Navy and formed a large percentage of many ships' crews. Later in the War, many regiments were recruited and organized as the United States Colored Troops, which reinforced the Northern side substantially in the last two years. Both Northern Free Negro and Southern runaway slaves joined the fight. Throughout the course of the war, black soldiers served in forty major battles and hundreds of more minor skirmishes; sixteen African Americans received the Medal of Honor.

General officers in the Confederate States Army Senior military leaders of the Confederate States of America

The general officers of the Confederate States Army (CSA) were the senior military leaders of the Confederacy during the American Civil War of 1861–1865. They were often former officers from the United States Army prior to the Civil War, while others were given the rank based on merit or when necessity demanded. Most Confederate generals needed confirmation from the Confederate Congress, much like prospective generals in the modern U.S. armed forces.

Military forces of the Confederate States

The military forces of the Confederate States, also known as Confederate forces, were the military services responsible for the defense of the Confederate States during its brief existence (1861–1865).

Maryland Line (CSA)

The Maryland Line in the Army of the Confederate States of America was made up of volunteers from Maryland who, despite their home state remaining in the Union, fought for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Of approximately 25,000 Marylanders who volunteered, most fought in the Army of Northern Virginia, and it was not until late in 1863 that a Maryland Line in the CSA was formally created. However, by this late stage in the war, few men wished to leave the units they had fought alongside for more than two years, and the exiles' dream of an independent Maryland Line in the Confederate army would never be fully realized.


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