Department (United States Army)

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Department is an organizational term used by the U.S. Army, mostly prior to World War I, to describe named geographical districts created for control and administration of installations and units. In 1920, most of the named departments were redesignated as numbered Corps Areas. However, the Hawaiian, Panama Canal, and Philippine Departments retained their old names. In 1939, the Puerto Rican Department was created and in May 1941 the Panama Canal and Puerto Rican Departments were combined as the Caribbean Defense Command, although each was still referred to as a department.

1800s[edit]

War of 1812[edit]

The United States Army was divided into nine military districts by the War Department General Order, of March 19, 1813. They were increased to ten on July 2, 1814 but reduced to nine by consolidation of the 4th and 10th Military Districts in January 1815. Military districts were abolished, May 17, 1815.

1815–21[edit]

At the end of the War of 1812, Military districts were superseded by ten Military Departments, divided equally between Divisions of the North and South, May 17, 1815.

1821–1837[edit]

Reorganization of the Army into Eastern and Western Departments, May 1821.

  • Eastern Department, 1821–37
  • Western Department, 1821–37
    • Right Wing, Western Department, 1832–37
    • Army of the Frontier, 1832
    • 1st Army Corps, North West Army, 1832
    • Army of the Southwestern Frontier, 1834–37

1837–1844[edit]

From 1837 to 1842, some of the Departments were subordinated to the Eastern and Western Divisions.

  • Eastern Division, 1837–42
    • 7th Military Department, 1837–41
  • Western Division, 1837–42
    • 1st Military Department, 1837–42
    • 2nd Military Department, 1837–42
    • 7th Military Department, 1841–42
  • 1st Military Department, 1843
  • 2nd Military Department, 1843–51
  • 3rd Military Department, 1842–48
  • 4th Military Department, 1842–53
  • 5th Military Department, 1842–52
  • 8th Military Department, 1842–46
  • 9th Military Department, 1842–45 (Florida)

1844–1848[edit]

The Eastern and Western Divisions were restored, until 1853.

  • Eastern Division, 1844–48
    • 5th Military Department, 1844–48
    • 8th Military Department, 1844–46
  • Western Division, 1844–48
    • 2nd Military Department, 1844–48
    • 3rd Military Departments, 1844–48
  • 4th Military Department, 1842–53
  • 9th Military Department, 1845
  • 10th Military Department, 1846–1853 (California and Oregon to 1848)

1848–1853[edit]

All departments were subordinated under one of three Divisions.

  • Eastern Division, 1848–53
    • 1st Military Department, 1848–53; consolidated 1st and 3d Military Departments, 1849–50
    • 2nd Military Department, 1848–51; consolidated 1st and 2d Military Departments, 1848–49
    • 3rd Military Departments, 1848, 1850–53
    • 4th Military Departments, 1848–53; consolidated 3d and 4th Military Departments, 1848
  • Western Division, 1848–53
    • consolidated 5th and 6th Military Departments, 1848
    • 5th Military Department, 1848–52
    • 6th Military Department, 1848–53
    • 7th Military Department, 1848–53
    • 8th Military Department, 1848–49, 1851–53
    • 9th Military Department, 1849–53 (New Mexico)
  • Pacific Division, 1848–53,(California and Oregon)

1853–1861[edit]

After October 31, 1853 the division echelon was eliminated and the six western departments consolidated into four (Departments of Texas, New Mexico, the West, and the Pacific), whose department commanders employed their troops as they saw fit. The system returned to six departments in 1858 when the Department of Utah was created in January, and the Department of the Pacific split into the Departments of California and Oregon in September.

1861–1865 Civil War[edit]

During the American Civil War, a department was a geographical command within the Union's military organization, usually reporting directly to the War Department. Many of the Union's departments were named after rivers, such as the Department of the Potomac and the Department of the Tennessee. The geographical boundaries of such departments changed frequently, as did their names. As the armies became larger Departments began to be subordinated to Military Divisions, and the Departments were often sub divided into Districts and from 1862, Subdistricts. Much information on Civil War departments can be found in Eicher & Eicher, Civil War High Commands.

1865–67[edit]

Military Reconstruction from Mar. 22, 1867[edit]

1868–1904[edit]

  • Division of the Atlantic, 1868–91
    • Department of the East, 1868–73
    • Department of the Lakes, 1868–73
    • Department of Washington, 1868–69
    • 1st Military District, 1869–70 (Virginia)
    • Department of Virginia, 1870
    • Department of the South, 1876–83
    • Department of the Gulf, 1877–78
    • Department of the East, 1877–91
  • Division of the South, 1869–76
    • Department of the Cumberland, 1869–70
    • Department of the Gulf, 1871–75
    • Department of Louisiana, 1869–70
    • Department of the South, 1869–76
    • Department of Texas, 1870–71
    • 4th Military District, 1869–70 (Arkansas and Mississippi)
    • District of Baton Rouge, 1876
    • 1st Subdistrict of Georgia, 1870–71
  • Division of the Pacific, 1869–91
    • Department of Alaska, 1869–70
    • District of Arizona, 1869–70
    • District of the Humboldt, 1869
    • Sub-district of Southern Arizona, 1869–70
    • Department of Arizona, 1870–91
    • Department of California, 1870–91
    • Department of the Columbia, 1870–91
  • Department of the South, 1876–83
  • Military Division of the Gulf, 1881
  • Department of Texas, 1882–1904
  • Department of the East, 1891–1904
  • Department of the Platte, 1891–98
  • Department of the Missouri, 1891–1904
  • Department of Dakota, 1891–1904
  • Department of Arizona, 1891–1893
  • Department of California, 1891–1904
  • Department of the Columbia, 1891–1904
  • Department of Colorado, 1893–1904
  • Department of Alaska, 1900–01

1898–99 Spanish–American War, Philippine Insurrection, Moro Rebellion[edit]

1900s[edit]

1904–1911[edit]

The Army Departments were reorganized under new Divisions until 1907, when the Division echelon was disbanded.

Western Division (United States Army) 1911–1913[edit]

The Departments where again organized under new Divisions.

  • Eastern Division, 1911–13
    • Department of the East, 1911–13
    • Department of the Gulf, 1911–13
  • Central Division, 1911–13
    • Department of the Lakes, 1911–13
    • Department of the Missouri, 1911–13
    • Department of Texas, 1911–13
  • Western Division, 1911–13
    • Department of California, 1911–13
    • Department of the Columbia, 1911–13
    • District of Hawaii, 1911–13
  • Philippines Division, 1911–1913
    • Department of Mindanao and Jolo, 1911–14
    • Department of Luzon, 1911–14

"Stimson Plan" 1913 – May 1, 1917[edit]

May 1, 1917 – 1920[edit]

  • Northeastern Department
    • Northeastern Coast Artillery District
  • Eastern Department
    • Eastern Coast Artillery District
  • Southeastern Department
    • Southeastern Coast Artillery District
  • Southern Department
    • Southern Coast Artillery District
  • Central Department
  • Western Department
    • Western Coast Artillery District
  • Hawaiian Department
  • Philippine Department
  • Panama Canal Department, June 26, 1917 – 1920
    • Panama Coast Artillery District, June 26, 1917 – 1920

See also[edit]

References[edit]