Confederate States Army

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Confederate States Army
Battle flag of the US Confederacy.svg

Battle flag of the Confederate States Army
Active 1861–1865
Country Confederate States
Type Army
Size 500,000–1,500,000
Part of War Department
Colors Cadet gray[1]
March Dixie
Engagements

Civil War

Decorations Southern Cross of Honor
Disbanded May 26, 1865
Commanders
President and Commander-in-Chief Jefferson Davis
Secretary of War John Breckinridge
General-in-Chief Robert Lee

The Confederate States Army was the military ground force of the Confederate States of America, also known as the "Confederacy", while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War.[2] 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 President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, a graduate of the United States Military Academy and colonel of a volunteer regiment during the Mexican-American War.[3] On March 6 and 9, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress passed additional military legislation and established a more permanent Confederate States Army.

An accurate count of the number of individuals who served in the Confederate Army is impossible due to incomplete and destroyed Confederate records.[4] The better estimates of the number of individual Confederate soldiers are between 750,000 and 1,000,000 men. This does not include an unknown number of slaves who were impressed into performing various tasks for the army, such as construction of fortifications and defenses or driving wagons.[5] Since these figures include estimates of the total number of individual soldiers who served at any time during the war, they do not represent the size of the army at any given date. These numbers do not include men who served in Confederate naval forces.

Although most Civil War soldiers were volunteers, both sides ultimately resorted to conscription. In the absence of exact records, estimates of the percentage of Confederate soldiers who were draftees are about double the 6 per cent of Union soldiers who were conscripts. Some historians have suggested that the threat of conscription may have had a greater effect on raising volunteers than it did in providing large numbers of reliable soldiers.

Confederate casualty figures also are incomplete and unreliable. The best estimates of the number of deaths of Confederate soldiers are about 94,000 killed or mortally wounded in battle, 164,000 deaths from disease and between 26,000 and 31,000 deaths in Union prison camps. One estimate of Confederate wounded, which is considered incomplete, is 194,026. These numbers do not include men who died from other causes such as accident, which would add several thousand to the death toll.[6]

The main Confederate armies, the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee and the remnants of the Army of Tennessee and various other units under General Joseph E. Johnston, surrendered on April 9, 1865 (officially April 12), and April 18, 1865 (officially April 26). Other Confederate forces surrendered between April 16, 1865 and June 28, 1865.[7] The Confederacy's government was effectively dissolved with the last meeting of the Confederate cabinet on May 5, 1865, and with the capture of President Jefferson Davis by Union forces on May 10, 1865.

Prelude[edit]

By the time Lincoln took office as President on March 4, 1861, the seven seceding states had formed the Confederate States of America. These states seized federal property, including nearly all federal forts, within their borders. Lincoln was determined to hold the forts remaining under federal control when he took office, especially Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. By the time Lincoln was sworn in as President, the incompatible positions of the parties were fixed and irreconcilable and the Provisional Confederate Congress had authorized the organization of a large Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS). Civil war had become inevitable.

Under orders from Confederate States President Jefferson Davis, troops controlled by the Confederate government under the command of General P. G. T. Beauregard bombarded Fort Sumter on April 12–13, 1861, forcing its capitulation on April 14, 1861. The North was outraged and demanded war. It rallied behind Lincoln's call on April 15, 1861, for all the states to send troops to recapture the forts from the secessionists, to put down the rebellion and to preserve the Union intact. Four more slave states joined the Confederacy. Both the United States and the Confederate States began in earnest to raise large, mostly volunteer, armies with the objectives of putting down the rebellion and preserving the union, on the one hand, or of establishing independence from the United States, on the other hand.

Establishment, control, conscription[edit]

Private Edwin Francis Jemison, whose image became one of the most famous portraits of the young soldiers of both the Confederate and Union Armies.

The Confederate Congress provided for a Confederate Army patterned after the United States Army. It was to consist of a large provisional force to exist only in time of war and a small permanent regular army. The provisional, volunteer army was established by an act of the Confederate Congress passed February 28, 1861, one week before the act which established the permanent regular army organization, passed March 6, 1861. Although the two forces were to exist concurrently, very little was done to organize the Confederate regular army.

  • The Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS) was authorized by the Provisional Confederate Congress on February 28, 1861, and began organizing on April 27. Virtually all regular, volunteer, and conscripted men preferred to enter this organization since officers could achieve a higher rank in the Provisional Army than they could in the Regular Army. If the war had ended successfully for them, the Confederates intended that the PACS would be disbanded, leaving only the ACSA.[8]
  • The Army of the Confederate States of America (ACSA) was the regular army, provided for by Act of Confederate Congress on March 6, 1861. It was authorized to include 15,015 men, including 744 officers, but this level was never achieved. The men serving in the highest rank as Confederate States Generals, such as Samuel Cooper and Robert E. Lee, were enrolled in the ACSA to ensure that they outranked all militia officers.[8] ACSA ultimately existed only on paper. The organization of the ACSA did not proceed beyond the appointment and confirmation of some officers. Three state regiments were later denominated "Confederate" regiments but this appears to have had no practical effect on the organization of a regular Confederate Army and no real effect on the regiments themselves.

Members of all the Confederate States military forces, to include the army, the navy and the marine corps were often referred to as "Confederates", and members of the Confederate States Army were referred to as "Confederate soldiers". Supplementing the Confederate States Army were the various state militias of the Confederate States:

  • Confederate States State Militias were organized and commanded by the state governments, similar to those authorized by the United States Militia Act of 1792.

Control and operation of the Confederate States Army was administered by the Confederate States War Department, which was established by the Confederate Provisional Congress in an act on February 21, 1861. The Confederate Congress gave control over military operations, and authority for mustering state forces and volunteers to the President of the Confederate States of America on February 28, 1861, and March 6, 1861. On March 8 the Confederate Congress passed a law that authorized Davis to issue proclamations to call up no more than 100,000 men.[9] The War Department asked for 8,000 volunteers on March 9, 20,000 on April 8, and 49,000 on and after April 16. Davis proposed an army of 100,000 men in his message to Congress on April 29.[10]

On August 8, 1861, the Confederacy called for 400,000 volunteers to serve for one or three years. By April 1862, the Confederacy passed a conscription act, which drafted men into PACS. The Confederate Congress' successive Conscription Acts broadened the ages of those subject to conscription and even swept in people who had already provided substitutes for service. Challenges to the subsequent acts came before five state supreme courts; all five upheld them.[11]

Morale[edit]

Perman (2010) says historians are of two minds on why millions of men seemed so eager to fight, suffer and die over four years:

”Some historians emphasize that Civil War soldiers were driven by political ideology, holding firm beliefs about the importance of liberty, Union, or state rights, or about the need to protect or to destroy slavery. Others point to less overtly political reasons to fight, such as the defense of one's home and family, or the honor and brotherhood to be preserved when fighting alongside other men. Most historians agree that, no matter what he thought about when he went into the war, the experience of combat affected him profoundly and sometimes affected his reasons for continuing to fight.”[12]

In 1863, there was a wave of religious conversions in the Confederate Army.[13][14]

Organization[edit]

CSA M1857 Napoleon Artillery Piece

Because of the destruction of any central repository of records in Richmond in 1865 and the comparatively poor record-keeping of the time, there can be no definitive number that represents the strength of the Confederate States Army. Estimates range from 500,000 to 2,000,000 men who were involved at any time during the war. Reports from the War Department began at the end of 1861 (326,768 men), 1862 (449,439), 1863 (464,646), 1864 (400,787), and "last reports" (358,692). Estimates of enlistments throughout the war were 1,227,890 to 1,406,180.[15]

The following calls for men were issued:

  • March 6, 1861: 100,000 volunteers and militia
  • January 23, 1862: 400,000 volunteers and militia
  • April 16, 1862, the First Conscription Act: conscripted white men ages 18 to 35 for the duration of hostilities[16]
  • September 27, 1862, the Second Conscription Act: expanded the age range to 18 to 45,[17] with implementation beginning on July 15, 1863
  • February 17, 1864, the Third Conscription Act: ages 17 to 50[18]
  • March 13, 1865, authorized up to 300,000 African American troops but was never fully implemented.[19]

The CSA was initially a (strategically) defensive army, and many soldiers were resentful when Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia in an invasion of the North in the Antietam Campaign.

Command[edit]

General Robert Edward Lee, famous Southern General

The army did not have a formal overall military commander, or general-in-chief, until late in the war. The Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, himself a former U.S. Army officer and U.S. Secretary of War, served as commander-in-chief and provided the strategic direction for Confederate land and naval forces. The following men had varying degrees of control:

  • Robert E. Lee was "charged with the conduct of military operations in the armies of the Confederacy" from March 13 to May 31, 1862. He was referred to as Davis' military adviser but exercised broad control over the strategic and logistical aspects of the Army, a role similar in nature to the current Chief of Staff of the United States Army. On June 1, he assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia, which was considered the most important of all the Confederate field armies.
  • Braxton Bragg was similarly "charged with the conduct of military operations in the armies of the Confederacy" from February 24, 1864 (after he was relieved of field command following the Battle of Chattanooga) to January 31, 1865. This role was a military advisory position under Davis.
  • Lee was formally designated general-in-chief by an act of Congress (January 23, 1865) and served in this capacity from January 31 to April 9, 1865.

The lack of centralized control was a strategic weakness for the Confederacy, and there are few instances of multiple armies acting in concert across multiple theaters to achieve a common objective. (An exception to this was in late 1862 when Lee's invasion of Maryland was coincident with two other actions: Bragg's invasion of Kentucky and Earl Van Dorn's advance against Corinth, Mississippi. All three initiatives were unsuccessful, however.) Likewise an extreme example of "States Rights" control of CSA soldiers was Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown, who not only reportedly tried to keep Georgia troops from leaving the State of Georgia in 1861 but also tried to keep them from CS Government control when Georgia was invaded in 1864.[citation needed]

Many of the Confederacy's senior military leaders (including Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, James Longstreet) and even President Jefferson Davis were former U.S. Army and, in smaller numbers, U.S. Navy officers who had been opposed to, disapproved of, or were at least unenthusiastic about secession but resigned their U.S. commissions upon hearing that their states had left the Union. They felt that they had no choice but to help defend their homes. President Abraham Lincoln was exasperated to hear of such men who professed to love their country but were willing to fight against it.

Personnel organization[edit]

As in the Union Army, Confederate soldiers were organized by military specialty. The combat arms included infantry, cavalry and artillery.

The Confederate States Army consisted of several armies. Although fewer soldiers might comprise a squad or platoon, the smallest unit in the Army was a company of 100 soldiers. Ten companies were organized into a regiment, which theoretically had 1,000 men. In reality, as disease and casualties took their toll, most regiments were greatly reduced in strength. Replacements usually went to form new regiments and not often to existing ones.

Regiments, which were the basic units of army organization through which soldiers were supplied and deployed, were raised by individual states. They were generally referred by number and state, for example 1st Texas, 12th Virginia. To the extent the word "battalion" was used to described a military unit, it referred to a regiment or a near regimental size unit.

Four regiments usually formed a brigade, although as the number of men in many regiments became greatly reduced, especially later in the war, more than four were often assigned to a brigade. Occasionally, regiments would be transferred between brigades. Two to four brigades usually formed a division. Two to four divisions usually formed a corps. Two to four corps usually formed an army. Occasionally, a single corps might operate independently as if it were a small army.

Companies were commanded by captains and had two or more lieutenants. Regiments were commanded by colonels. Lieutenant colonels were second in command. At least one major was next in command. Brigades were commanded by brigadier generals although casualties or other attrition sometimes meant that brigades would be commanded by senior colonels or even a lower grade officer. Barring the same type of circumstances which might leave a lower grade officer in temporary command, divisions were commanded by major generals and corps were commanded by lieutenant generals. A few corps commanders never were confirmed as lieutenant generals and exercised corps command for varying periods of time as major generals. Armies of more than one corps were commanded by (full) generals.

Ranks and insignia[edit]

Officer rank structure of the Confederate Army
General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant
Confederate States of America General-collar.svg Confederate States of America Colonel.png Confederate States of America Lieutenant Colonel.png Confederate States of America Major.png Confederate States of America Captain.png Confederate States of America First Lieutenant.png Confederate States of America Second Lieutenant.png

There were four (4) grades of general officer (general, lieutenant general, major general, and brigadier general), but all wore the same insignia regardless of grade. This was a decision made early in the conflict. The Confederate Congress initially made the rank of brigadier general the highest rank. As the war progressed, the other general-officer ranks were quickly added, but no insignia for them was created. (Robert E. Lee was a notable exception to this. He chose to wear the rank insignia of a colonel.) Only seven men achieved the rank of (full) general;[20] the highest ranking (earliest date of rank) was Samuel Cooper, Adjutant General and Inspector General of the Confederate States Army.

Officers' uniforms bore a braid design on the sleeves and kepi, the number of adjacent strips (and therefore the width of the lines of the design) denoting rank. The color of the piping and kepi denoted the military branch. The braid was sometimes left off by officers since it made them conspicuous targets. The kepi was rarely used, the common slouch hat being preferred for its practicality in the Southern climate.

Enlisted rank structure
Sergeant Major Quartermaster Sergeant Ordnance Sergeant First Sergeant
Confederate States of America Sergeant Major-Infantry.jpg Confederate States of America Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant.jpg Confederate States of America Ordnance Sergeant-Artillery.jpg Confederate States of America First Sergeant.jpg
Sergeant Corporal Musician Private
Confederate States of America Sergeant-Artillery.svg Confederate States of America Corporal-Cavalry.jpg no insignia no insignia

Branch colors were used for color of chevrons. Blue for infantry, yellow for cavalry, and red for artillery. This could differ with some units, however, depending on available resources or the unit commander's desire. Cavalry regiments from Texas, for example, often used red insignia and at least one Texas infantry regiment used black.

The CSA differed from many contemporaneous armies in that all officers under the rank of brigadier general were elected by the soldiers under their command. The Confederate Congress authorized the awarding of medals for courage and good conduct on October 13, 1862, but war time difficulties prevented the procurement of the needed medals. To avoid postponing recognition for their valor, those nominated for the awards had their names placed on a Roll of Honor, which would be read at the first dress parade after its receipt and be published in at least one newspaper in each state.

Armies and prominent leaders[edit]

The CSA was composed of independent armies and military departments that were constituted, renamed, and disbanded as needs arose, particularly in reaction to offensives launched by the Union. These major units were generally named after states or geographic regions (in comparison to the Union's custom of naming armies after rivers). Armies were usually commanded by full generals (there were seven in the CSA) or lieutenant generals. Some of the more important armies and their commanders were:

Some other prominent Confederate generals who led significant units operating sometimes independently in the CSA included Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, James Longstreet, J. E. B. Stuart, Gideon Pillow, and A. P. Hill.

Supply and logistics[edit]

A group of Confederate soldiers-possibly an artillery unit captured at Island No. 10 and taken at POW Camp Douglas (Chicago); photograph possibly by D. F. Brandon.[21]

The supply situation for most Confederate Armies was dismal, even when they were victorious on the battlefield. Much like the Continental Army in the American Revolution, individual state governments were expected to supply their soldiers, rather than the central government. The lack of central authority and effective railroads, combined with the frequent unwillingness or inability of Southern state governments to provide adequate funding, were key factors in the Confederate Army's demise. The Confederacy early on lost control of most of its major river and ocean ports to capture or blockade. The road system was poor, and it relied more and more on a heavily overburdened railroad system. Union forces destroyed track, engines, cars, bridges and telegraph lines as often as possible, knowing that new equipment was unavailable to the Confederacy.[22]

As a result of these supply problems, as well as the lack of textile factories in the Confederacy and the successful Union naval blockade of Southern ports, the typical Confederate soldier was rarely able to wear the standard regulation uniform, particularly as the war progressed. While on the march or in parade formation, Confederate Armies often displayed a wide array of dress, ranging from faded, patched-together regulation uniforms; rough, homespun uniforms colored with homemade dyes such as butternut (a yellow-brown color), and even soldiers in a hodgepodge of civilian clothing. After a successful battle, it was not unusual for victorious Confederate troops to procure Union Army uniform parts from captured supplies and dead Union soldiers; this would occasionally cause confusion in later battles and skirmishes.[23]

Individual states were expected to supply their soldiers and led to lack of uniformity. Some states (such as North Carolina) were able to better supply their soldiers, while other states (such as Texas) were unable for various reasons to adequately supply their troops as the war continued.

Furthermore, each state often had its own uniform regulations and insignia, which meant that the "standard" Confederate uniform often featured a variety of differences based on the state the soldier came from. For example, uniforms for North Carolina regiments often featured a colored strip of cloth on their shoulders to designate what part of the service the soldier was in. Confederate soldiers also frequently suffered from inadequate supplies of shoes, tents, and other gear, and would be forced to innovate and make do with whatever they could scrounge from the local countryside. While Confederate officers were generally better-supplied and were normally able to wear a regulation officer's uniform, they often chose to share other hardships – such as the lack of adequate food – with their troops.

Confederate troops marching west on East Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland, September 12, 1862.

Confederate soldiers were also faced with inadequate food rations, especially as the war progressed. There was plenty of meat in the Confederacy. The unsolvable problem was shipping it to the armies, especially when Lee's army in Virginia was at the end of a long, tenuous supply line. Union victory at Vicksburg in 1863 shut off supplies from Texas and the west.[24]

By 1863 Confederate generals such as Robert E. Lee often spent as much time and effort searching for food for their men as they did in planning strategy and tactics. Individual commanders often had to "beg, borrow or steal" food and ammunition from whatever sources were available, including captured Union depots and encampments, and private citizens regardless of their loyalties. Lee's campaign against Gettysburg and southern Pennsylvania (a rich agricultural region) was driven in part by his desperate need of supplies, especially food.[25]

Not surprisingly, in addition to slowing the Confederate advance, such foraging aroused anger in the North and led many Northerners to support General Sherman's total warfare tactics as retaliation. Scorched earth policies by the Union Army, especially in Georgia, South Carolina and the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia in 1864, further reduced the capacity of the closely blockaded Confederacy to feed even its civilian population, let alone its Army. At many points during the war, and especially near the end, Confederate Armies were described as starving and, indeed, many died from lack of food and related illnesses and this became a principal driving force for desertion.

Native Americans in the Confederate Army[edit]

Native Americans served in both the Union and Confederate military during the American Civil War.[26][27] They fought knowing they might jeopardize their freedom, unique cultures, and ancestral lands if they ended up on the losing side of the Civil War.[26][28] 28,693 Native Americans served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War, participating in battles such as Pea Ridge, Second Manassas, Antietam, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and in Federal assaults on Petersburg.[26][27] Many Native American tribes, such as the Creek and the Choctaw, were slaveholders and found a political and economic commonality with the Confederacy.[29]

Sir: To enable the Secretary of War most advantageously to perform the duties devolved upon him in relation to the Indian tribes by the second section of the Act to establish the War Department of February 21, 1861, it is deemed desirable that there should be established a Bureau of Indian Affairs, and, if the Congress concur in this view, I have the honor respectfully to recommend that provision be made for the appointment of a Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and for one clerk to aid him in the discharge of his official duties.

—Jefferson Davis to Howell Cobb, Confederate States of America – Message to Congress, March 1861[30]

At the beginning of the war, Albert Pike was appointed as Confederate envoy to Native Americans. In this capacity he negotiated several treaties, one such treaty was the Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws conducted in July 1861. The treaty covered sixty-four terms covering many subjects like Choctaw and Chickasaw nation sovereignty, Confederate States of America citizenship possibilities, and an entitled delegate in the House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America. The Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Catawba, and Creek tribes were the only tribes to fight on the Confederate side. The Confederacy wanted to recruit Indians east of the Mississippi River in 1862, so they opened up a recruiting camp in Mobile, Alabama "at the foot of Stone Street."[31] The Mobile Advertiser and Register would advertise for a chance at military service.

A Chance for Active Service. The Secretary of War has authorized me to enlist all the Indians east of the Mississippi River into the service of the Confederate States, as Scouts. In addition to the Indians, I will receive all white male citizens, who are good marksmen. To each member, Fifty Dollars Bounty, clothes, arms, camp equipage &c: furnished. The weapons shall be Enfield Rifles. For further information address me at Mobile, Ala. (Signed) S. G. Spann, Comm'ing Choctaw Forces.

—Jacqueline Anderson Matte, They Say the Wind is Red[31]

Cherokee[edit]

Cherokee confederates reunion in New Orleans, 1903.

Stand Watie, along with a few Cherokee, sided with the Confederate Army, in which he was made colonel and commanded a battalion of Cherokee.[26] Reluctantly, on October 7, 1861, Chief Ross signed a treaty transferring all obligations due to the Cherokee from the U.S. Government to the Confederate States.[26] In the treaty, the Cherokee were guaranteed protection, rations of food, livestock, tools and other goods, as well as a delegate to the Confederate Congress at Richmond.[26]

In exchange, the Cherokee would furnish ten companies of mounted men, and allow the construction of military posts and roads within the Cherokee Nation. However, no Indian regiment was to be called on to fight outside Indian Territory.[26] As a result of the Treaty, the 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles, led by Col. John Drew, was formed. Following the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, March 7–8, 1862, Drew's Mounted Rifles defected to the Union forces in Kansas, where they joined the Indian Home Guard. In the summer of 1862, Federal troops captured Chief Ross, who was paroled and spent the remainder of the war in Washington and Philadelphia proclaiming Cherokee loyalty to the Union army.[26]

William Holland Thomas, the only white chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, recruited hundreds of Cherokees, particularly for Thomas' Legion. The Legion, raised in September 1862, fought until the end of the war.

Choctaw[edit]

Jackson McCurtain, Lieutenant Colonel of the First Choctaw Battalion in Oklahoma, CSA.

Choctaw Confederate battalions were formed in Indian Territory and later in Mississippi in support of the southern cause. The Choctaws, who were expecting support from the Confederates, got little. Webb Garrison, a Civil War historian, describes their response: when Confederate Brigadier General Albert Pike authorized the raising of regiments during the fall of 1860, Creeks, Choctaws, and Cherokees responded with considerable enthusiasm. Their zeal for the Confederate cause, however, began to evaporate when they found that neither arms nor pay had been arranged for them. A disgusted officer later acknowledged that "with the exception of a partial supply for the Choctaw regiment, no tents, clothing, or camp and garrison equippage was furnished to any of them."[32]

Mississippi Choctaws were captured in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, and several died in a Union prison in New York.[33] Spann describes the incident, "[Maj. J.W. Pearce] established two camps—a recruiting camp in Newton County and a drill camp at Tangipahoa—just beyond the State boundary line in Louisiana in the fall of 1862. New Orleans at that time was in the hands of the Federal Gen. B.F. Butler. Without notice a reconnoitering party of the enemy raided the camp, and captured over two dozen Indians and several noncommissioned white officers and carried them to New Orleans. All the officers and several of the Indians escaped and returned to the Newton County camp; but all the balance of the captured Indians were carried to New York, and were daily paraded in the public parks as curiosities for the sport of sight-seers.[34]

In Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory, Jackson McCurtain, who would later become a district chief, was elected as representative from Sugar Loaf County to the National Council in October 1859. On June 22, 1861, he enlisted in the First Regiment of Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles. He was commissioned Captain of Company G under the command of Colonel Douglas H. Cooper of the Confederate Army. In 1862 he became a Lieutenant Colonel of the First Choctaw Battalion.[35]

African Americans in the Confederate Army[edit]

"Marlboro" African-American bodyservant to white Confederate soldier

With so many white males conscripted and roughly 40% of its population unfree, the work required to maintain a functioning society in the CSA ended up largely on the backs of slaves.[36] Even Georgia's Governor Joseph E. Brown noted that "the country and the army are mainly dependent upon slave labor for support."[37] Slave labor was used in a wide variety of support roles, from infrastructure and mining, to teamster and medical roles such as hospital attendants and nurses.[38]

The idea of arming slaves for use as soldiers was speculated on from the onset of the war, but not seriously considered by Davis or others in his administration.[39] Though an acrimonious and controversial debate was raised by a letter from Patrick Cleburne[40] urging the Confederacy to raise black soldiers by offering emancipation, it would not be until Robert E. Lee wrote the Confederate Congress urging them that the idea would take serious traction.

On March 13, 1865, the Confederate Congress passed General Order 14,[41] and President Davis signed the order into law. The order was issued March 23, but only a few African American companies were raised.[42] A company or two of black hospital workers was attached to a unit in Richmond, Virginia, shortly before the besieged southern capital fell.[42] A Confederate major later affirmed that the small number of soldiers mustered in Richmond in 1865 were "the first and only black troops used on our side."[42]

There were varying accounts of black rebel troops. For instance on July 11, 1863, the New York Herald reported: "...And after the battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, ...reported among the rebel prisoners were seven blacks in Confederate uniforms fully armed as soldiers..." While determining an accurate number of African Americans who served in the Confederate armed forces may never be known, the United States Census of 1890 lists 3,273 African Americans who claimed to be Confederate veterans.[43]

Statistics and size[edit]

Julian Scott's "Surrender of a Confederate Soldier", 1873.

Incomplete and destroyed records make an accurate count of the number of individuals who served in the Confederate Army impossible. All but extremely improbable estimates of this number range between 600,000 and 1,500,000 men.[15] The better estimates of the actual number of individual Confederates soldiers seem to be between 750,000 and 1,000,000 men.[44]

The exact number is unknown. Since these figures include estimates of the total number of individual soldiers who served in each army at any time during the war, they do not represent the size of the armies at any given date. Confederate casualty figures are as incomplete and unreliable as the figures on the number of Confederate soldiers. The best estimates of the number of deaths of Confederate soldiers appear to be about 94,000 killed or mortally wounded in battle, 164,000 deaths from disease and between 26,000 and 31,000 deaths in Union prison camps. About 25,000 Union soldiers died as a result of accidents, drowning, murder, killed after capture, suicide, execution for various crimes, execution by the Confederates (64), sunstroke, other and not stated. Confederate casualties for all these reasons are unavailable. Since some Confederate soldiers would have died for these reasons, more total deaths and total casualties for the Confederacy must have occurred. One estimate of Confederate wounded, which is considered incomplete, is 194,026; another is 226,000. At the end of the war 174,223 men of the Confederate forces surrendered to the Union Army.[45][46]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ C.S. War Dept., pp. 402-03.
  2. ^ On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States of America.
  3. ^ On March 1, 1861, Davis assumed control of the military situation at Charleston, South Carolina on behalf of the Confederate States government, where state militia threatened to seize Fort Sumter from the small United States Army garrison.
  4. ^ All but extremely improbable estimates of the number of Confederate soldiers range between 600,000 and 1,500,000 men.
  5. ^ Records of the number of individuals who served in the Union Army are more extensive, but still are not entirely reliable. Estimates of the number of individual Union soldiers range between 1,550,000 and 2,400,000, with a number between 2,000,000 and 2,200,000 most likely. Union Army records show slightly more than 2,677,000 enlistments but this number apparently includes many re-enlistments. These numbers do not include men who served in Union naval forces. These figures represent the total number of individual soldiers who served at any time during the war, not the size of the army at any given date.
  6. ^ In comparison, the best estimates of the number of deaths of Union soldiers are 110,100 killed or mortally wounded in battle, 224,580 deaths from disease and 30,192 deaths in Confederate prison camps, although some historians also dispute these figures. The best conjecture for Union Army wounded is 275,175.
  7. ^ Confederate forces at Mobile, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia, also had already surrendered on April 14, 1865, and April 16, 1865, respectively. Union and Confederate units fought a battle at Columbus, Georgia, before surrender on April 16, 1865, and a small final battle at Palmito Ranch, Texas, on May 12, 1865. In areas more distant from the main theaters of operations, Confederate forces in Alabama and Mississippi under Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, in Arkansas under Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson, in Louisiana and Texas under General E. Kirby Smith and in Indian Territory under Brigadier General Stand Watie surrendered on May 4, 1865, May 12, 1865, May 26, 1865 (officially June 2, 1865), and June 28, 1865, respectively.
  8. ^ a b Eicher, pp. 70, 66.
  9. ^ United States. War Dept (1900). Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. p. 134. 
  10. ^ John George Nicolay; John Hay (1890). Abraham Lincoln: A History. The Century Co. p. 264. 
  11. ^ "'Necessity Knows No Law": Vested Rights and Styles of Reasoning in the Confederate Conscription Cases, Mississippi Law Journal (2000).
  12. ^ Michael Perman and Amy Murrell Taylor, eds. (2010). Major Problems in the Civil War and Reconstruction. Cengage. p. 178. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ a b Eicher, p. 71.
  16. ^ Eicher, p. 25.
  17. ^ Eicher, p. 26.
  18. ^ Eicher, p. 29.
  19. ^ Official Records, Series IV, Vol. III, pp. 1161–62.
  20. ^ Eicher, p. 807. There were seven full generals in the CSA; John Bell Hood held "temporary full general" rank, which was withdrawn by the Confederate Congress.
  21. ^ http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/nvcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?read=58612 Archived July 20, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ George Edgar Turner, Victory rode the rails: the strategic place of the railroads in the Civil War (1972)
  23. ^ Steven G. Collins, "System in the South: John W. Mallet, Josiah Gorgas, and uniform production at the confederate ordnance department." Technology and culture (1999) 40#3 pp: 517-544 in Project MUSE.
  24. ^ Frank E. Vandiver, "Texas and the Confederate Army's Meat Problem," Southwestern Historical Quarterly (1944) 47#3 pp. 225-233 in JSTOR
  25. ^ Larry J. Daniel, Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee: A Portrait of Life in a Confederate Army (2003) ch 4 on inadequate rations
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h W. David Baird et al. (January 5, 2009). ""We are all Americans", Native Americans in the Civil War". Native Americans.com. Retrieved January 5, 2009. 
  27. ^ a b Rodman, Leslie. The Five Civilized Tribes and the American Civil War. p. 2. 
  28. ^ "Native Americans in the Civil War". Ethic Composition of Civil War Forces (C.S & U.S.A.). January 5, 2009. Retrieved January 5, 2009. 
  29. ^ Rodman, Leslie. The Five Civilized Tribes and the American Civil War. p. 5. 
  30. ^ "Confederate States of America – Message to Congress March 12, 1861 (Indian Affairs)". Yale Law School. 1861. Retrieved August 11, 2010. 
  31. ^ a b Matte, Jacqueline (2002). "Refugees- Six Towns Choctaw, 1830–1890". They Say the Wind is Red. New South Books. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-58838-079-1. 
  32. ^ Garrison, Webb (1995). "Padday Some Day". More Civil War Curiosities. Rutledge Hill Press. ISBN 978-1-55853-366-0. 
  33. ^ Kidwell, Clara (1995). "The Choctaws in Mississippi after 1830". Choctaws and Missionaries in Mississippi, 1818–1918. University of Oklahoma. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8061-2691-3. 
  34. ^ Spann, S. G.; Confederate Veteran Magazine Volume XIII, Number 12, pages 560 and 561 (December 1905). "Choctaw Indians As Confederate Soldiers". Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2008. 
  35. ^ "Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma: 1880 – Jackson F. McCurtain". 1880. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved February 8, 2008. 
  36. ^ Levine, p. 62.
  37. ^ Journal of the Senate at an Extra Session of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, Convened under the Proclamation of the Governor, March 25, 1863, p. 6.
  38. ^ Levine, pp. 62–63.
  39. ^ Levine, pp. 17–18.
  40. ^ Official Records, Series I, Vol. LII, Part 2, pp. 586–92.
  41. ^ Confederate Law authorizing the enlistment of black soldiers, March 13, 1865, as promulgated in a military order
  42. ^ a b c Levine, Bruce. The myth of the black Confederates, The Washington Post, October 30, 2010.
  43. ^ 1890 U.S. Census, pg. 3
  44. ^ Long, E. B. The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac, 1861–1865. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971. OCLC 68283123. p. 705
  45. ^ http://www1.va.gov/opa/fact/amwars.asp
  46. ^ Long, 1971, p. 711

References[edit]

  • Adams, George Worthington. "Confederate Medicine," Journal of Southern History (1940) 6#2 pp. 151–166 in JSTOR
  • Allardice, Bruce. "West Points of the Confederacy: Southern Military Schools and the Confederate Army." Civil War History (1997) 43#4 pp: 310-331. in Project MUSE
  • Crute, Joseph H. Jr. (1987). Units of the Confederate States Army. 2nd ed. Gaithersburg: Olde Soldier Books. ISBN 0-942211-53-7.
  • Daniel, Larry J. Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee: A Portrait of Life in a Confederate Army (2003)
  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1.
  • Freemon, Frank R. "Administration of the Medical Department of the Confederate States Army, 1861 to 1865." Southern medical journal (1987) 80#5 pp: 630-637.
  • Faust, Drew. Christian Soldiers: The Meaning of Revivalism in the Confederate Army (1987).
  • Haughton, Andrew. Training, Tactics and Leadership in the Confederate Army of Tennessee: Seeds of Failure (2000)
  • Johnston, David E., The Story of a Confederate Boy in the Civil War (Serving in the 7th Virginia Infantry Regiment). ISBN 978-1-84685-666-2
  • Levine, Bruce. Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War (2005)
  • Logue, Larry M. "Who Joined the Confederate Army? Soldiers, Civilians, and Communities in Mississippi," Journal of Social History (1993) 26#3 pp 611–623 in JSTOR
  • Weitz, Mark A. More Damning than Slaughter: Desertion in the Confederate Army (U of Nebraska Press, 2005)

Primary sources[edit]

  • Confederate States. War Dept (1863). Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States. Richmond: J.W. Randolph.
  • Robson, John S., How A One-Legged Rebel Lives: Reminiscences of the Civil War; The Story of the Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson, Kessinger Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84685-665-5.
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880–1901.

See also[edit]