Template talk:Union Army Formations

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The new template[edit]

Here is a list of the data I've compiled:

Independent Departments
Department of Virginia and North Carolina (District of Eastern Virginia, District of North Carolina)
Department of the South (District of Savannah, District of North Carolina, Northern District (Charleston), District of Hilton Head, District of Florida)
Department of the Pacific (District of Oregon, District of Humboldt, District of Arizona)
Military Division of West Mississippi 1864*-1865
Department of the Gulf (District of Carrollton, District of La Fourche, District of Baton Rouge and Port Hudson, District of West Florida and South Alabama, District of Key West and Tortugas)
Department of New Mexico (District of Arizona)
Department of the Northwest (District of Iowa, District of Minnesota, District of Wisconsin)
Military Division of Missouri (1865) (prior to 1865, these units were in the Div. of West. Miss. above)
Department of Missouri (District of Saint Louis, District of Rolla, District of Central Missouri, District of North Missouri, District of Southwest Missouri)
Department of Arkansas (District of Little Rock, District of Eastern Arkansas, District of the Frontier)
Department of Kansas (District of Colorado, District of Nebraska, District of North Kansas, District of South Kansas, District of Upper Arkansas)
Military Division of Mississippi 1864*-1865
Cavalry Corps
Department of the Cumberland (District of Middle Tennessee, District of Northern Alabama, District of East Tennessee, District of West Tennessee, District of the Etowah)
Department of Kentucky (District of Western Kentucky, District of Cairo)
Northern Department (District of Indiana, District of Illinois, District of Michigan)
Department of the Ohio
Middle Military Division 1864*
Department of Washington (District of Washington, District of Alexandria, District of Saint Mary's,
Department of West Virginia
Middle Department
Department of Pennsylvania (Department of the Susquehanna, Department of the Monongahela) (**these were Department level commands, but were consolidated after a year so I listed them at the district level, since there are already good articles on these two Departments which would explain the discrepancy I think thats an amiable way to list them)
Department of the East

Prior to 1864, all of the Departments reported independently to the Chief of Staff, although sometimes they were grouped under a subordinate commander. A few of the districts were created, recreated, renamed, and transferred, but all of the ones I've listed here appear on the Abstract of the Returns in "The War of the Rebellion" in at least two distinct years. Also, all of them were in existance at the end of the war, and most of them (except in the Southern states) were in place as early as 1862.

I'll need help with the layout. Below this information comes a list of the Armies/Corps of the Union Army. I think it would be a valuable addition to any existing article on Armies/Corps, plus it will lead to the creation of more articles on the Departments themselves. Mrprada911 (talk) 23:46, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


What were the criteria used to select entries for this list? There were 342 Union departments and districts and 25-27 armies (number varies depending on how you count name changes), considerably more than you have here. Rather than having an enormous sea of red pixels accompanying all these articles, wouldn't it make more sense to have a List article that contained a comprehensive list and then just put a link to that article in the See Also? In the other templates that we have created for the American Civil War, we generally eschew lots of unlinked articles. Hal Jespersen (talk) 17:28, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Hal, I used the tabular returns from "The War of the Rebellion", "Dyer's Compendium", and QM Gen. McKeever's "Tabular Statements". From what I can tell, I've listed most of the districts/departments, including ones that were subordinated for a period of time(e.g. the Dept. of Kentucky, originally a district in both the Ohio and Cumberland Departments, which eventually became its own department with four sub-districts, was never really larger then any other district). I tried to go for consistency in returns from year to year.
Also, where di dyou get the number 357? I haven't seen that figure. There are very few more "Districts" beyond what was there. You might be referring to posts, (e.g., Post of Yorktown, VA, Post of Suffolk, VA, Post of Ft. Monroe, VA, Post of Norfolk VA in the Department of Virginia) but any references to these as districts were colloquial. I had thought about incorporating these somehow but I figured it would make the list way too long so I stuck to anything that was officially created by an order of the A.G. Hope that helps. Mrprada911 (talk) 23:23, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

My source is

  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.

I counted them quickly on my fingers and I will admit that there are a few subdistricts in the list, although no posts. Some of the number will look like overlap because there are separate entries for organizations of the same name that had different time frames or boundaries, but there still are substantially more than you list. As an example, here are the ones starting with A:

  • Department of Alabama
  • District of Alabama
  • Department of Alaska (well, that one was actually postbellum, sorry)
  • District of Albemarle (Department of North Carolina)
  • District of Albemarle (Department of Virginia and North Carolina)
  • Subdistrict of Albemarle
  • District of Alexandria
  • Department of Annapolis
  • District of Annapolis
  • Subdistrict of the Appomattox
  • District of Arizona (Department of New Mexico)
  • District of Arizona (Apartment of the Pacific)
  • Department of Arkansas
  • Military Division of the Atlantic

Hal Jespersen (talk) 01:18, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

OK, I have that book. Some of the Departments, etc., that are listed appear after the end of the war (E.g. the Department of the Lakes) but it does have many districts that I haven't included or included under other names. Therefor I agree it should go into a list. However, perhaps we should keep the template and list the more active Departments, etc, that are likely to have articles written on them? Mrprada911 (talk) 01:29, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
One more thing to add, the Department of Washington was created, discontinued, and re-created, and it encompassed much of the same area. Washington D.C. alone came under the command of more than 8 Armies, Departments, Districts, and Military Districts. Even New York City came under over 5 of these.
Now, I'm working on the article for XXII Corps. And I've listed most of them (I'm still missing 1 I think, but I can't confirm that it encompassed Washington, D.C., film at 11). The XXII Corps article started out as a little over a paragraph and a short list of commanders, and in a little over a week has come really far. This isn't the only Corps like this, not to mention that articles don't exist for most of the Departments, Districts, and Military Districts. Like Hal mentioned, this could lead to a useless box mostly in red. And I don't think you'll get much out of the articles, because there are a couple articles that have almost nothing written about them, without digging into obscure texts.
Not saying this was a bad idea, I just think that it was a little premature. Perhaps limiting the box to just Armies and Corps (or one for each) would be better until some of these articles get written. Leobold1 (talk) 01:52, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Mrprada911, my answer to your question/proposal is in the next section...

Leobold1, perhaps a better way to handle issues such as the XXII Corps and all of its DC baggage is to focus on the geographic article, Washington, D.C. in the American Civil War, rather than creating a unit article. The Corps was one of a number of overlapping organizations defending DC. It never really operated in the field as a true corps, did it? All the context you need to cover about departments and districts would be better placed in a geographic article. The Kentucky in the American Civil War article we've been discussing is a good example of mixing geography, departments, military units, and history. (I claim no credit for work on any of the many geo articles.) Hal Jespersen (talk) 15:53, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

It did. Detachments were at the Battle of Monocacy (not fighting, but was there) and Battle of Fort Stevens, and patrolling and skirmishing with Stuart and Mosby. Fort Stevens was part of the DC defenses. Some of the patrolling and skirmishing was well outside of DC but in most cases was considered as part of the area controlled by XXII Corps. But not all. Some patrols went as far as the Bull Run battlefields, and some skirmishes were on the Rappahannock during patrols.
So they did leave the DC area to fight (and those parts of the articles are coming, a little more references are needed), but most of their time was in DC. It didn't operate as a corps, just detachments, some division size.
I have no problem with the parts about the different departments and districts being taken from the XXII Corps article and put in the Washington DC in the Civil War article. That's probably where it belongs better. Its in XXII Corps because I was looking at where the article was going and put it in there just in case.
By the way, I go by Leo, if you want to shorten it. If not, no bother. :) Leobold1 (talk) 22:07, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Leo, when I said "really operated in the field as a true corps" I meant that the corps HQ and most of its constituent units deployed to the field as a unit, under the command of the corps commander. I think your second paragraph just above says No. Therefore, I'll renew my recommendation that this geographically assembled group of units be described primarily in the geo article and that the XXII Corps article be relatively brief and point to the geo article. There are a number of instances in the Civil War when multiple names were given to a single entity (the Army of the Cumberland and the XIV Corps spring to mind) and although it can make sense to have multiple articles for these different names, one should be the primary article and contain most of the detail, the other being essentially a pointer and explanation. Or even a redirect. Hal Jespersen (talk) 23:47, 22 February 2008 (UTC)


And, by the way, is probably not a good idea to associate districts with a single department because some of them moved around. To select an example at random, the District of Western Kentucky belonged to five different departments in its lifetime: Kentucky, Missouri, the Ohio (1862 and again in 1864), the Tennessee, and the Western. That sort of variability could be explained more easily in a list article than in this template. Hal Jespersen (talk) 17:33, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Hal, I know exactly what you mean. It was also for a time known as the District of Columbus, KY. I agree that all of this should be in a list article, however, do you see any way that it could be fit into at template as well? Mrprada911 (talk) 23:25, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't think there is any justification for having a fully comprehensive list appear in a list article and in a template. I don't intend to call for the deletion of the template, but would recommend that you refocus it as "Major Union Army formations" or "Notable Union Army formations" (and I would actually prefer that you said 'organizations' because the term 'formation' doesn't really apply to a geographic administrative area such as a department or district--only groups of soldiers who march in formation should be called formations). My primary reason for preferring a list article is that you can explain all of the intricacies of relationships in a way that is infeasible in a template. There are other large templates in the ACW space, for sure, but they are usually pretty unambiguous about their entries and they contain very few red links. If you changed over to Notable organizations, you could automatically delete all the red links because they are not notable if no one has written an article about them. Hal Jespersen (talk) 01:28, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

If you do plan on doing it as written, it might be better to put down a list of departments separate from the lists of districts. Maybe head them by division, such as "Independent Departments" and "Independent Department Districts" or something along those lines.

Leobold1 (talk) 01:56, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

How to fix[edit]

All the working wikilinks in this template links to Category:United States Civil War navigational boxes and I do mean ALL of them. Every Department, Division, Army, and Corps are listed in the category, not as a Template but as just the article. Is there a way to fix this? I've been working on it for about an hour and I'm at the end of my knowledge. Leobold1 (talk) 14:36, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, I am not experiencing that. I just tried two of them and it worked. Have you tried refreshing your browser? Mrprada911 (talk) 06:43, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
I figured out what it was. I had an article in edit open which had the navbox in it. Once I saved the edit, after I fixed the navbox, it went away. I learn something new every day.  :) Leobold1 (talk) 23:48, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Is there a Confederate States Army equivalent to this template?[edit]

I'm thinking about a new subpage for the portal, and I was wanting to find something exhaustive like this space as a standard reference. BusterD (talk) 12:44, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Department of the Tennessee[edit]

I think the Dpt of the Tennessee is missing (should belong to the Military Division of the Mississippi). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:54, 21 January 2010 (UTC)