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General officers in the Confederate States Army

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The general officers of the Confederate States Army (CSA) - the army of the Confederate States of America - were the senior military leaders of the Confederacy and served during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. They were often former officers from the United States Army (the regular 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.

Like all of the Confederacy's military forces, these generals answered to their civilian leadership, in particular Jefferson Davis, the South's president and therefore "commander-in-chief" of the Army, Navy, and Marines in the Confederate States.

HistoryEdit

File:CSAGeneral.png

Much of the design of the Confederate States Army was based on the structure and customs of the U.S. Army[1] when the Confederate Congress established their War Department on February 21, 1861.[2] The Confederate Army was composed of three parts; the Army of the Confederate States of America (ACSA, intended to be the permanent, regular army), the Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS, or "volunteer" Army, to be disbanded after hostilities), and the various Southern state militias.

Graduates from West Point and Mexican War veterans were highly sought after by Jefferson Davis for military service, especially as general officers. Like their Federal counterparts, the Confederate Army had both professional and political generals within it. Ranks throughout the CSA were roughly based on the U.S. Army in design and seniority.[3] On February 27, 1861, a general staff for the army was authorized, consisting of four positions: an adjutant general, a quartermaster general, a commissary general, and a surgeon general. Initially the last of these was to be a staff officer only.[2] The post of adjutant general was filled by Samuel Cooper (the position he had held as a colonel in the U.S. Army from 1852 until resigning) and he held it throughout the Civil War, as well as the army's inspector general.[4]

Initially the Confederate Army commissioned only brigadier generals in both the volunteer and regular services;[2] however, the Confederate Congress quickly passed legislation allowing for the appointment of major generals as well as generals, thus providing clear and distinct seniority over the existing major generals in the various state militias.[5] On May 16, 1861, when there were only five officers at the grade of brigadier general, this legislation was passed, which stated in part:

That the five general officers provided by existing laws for the Confederate States shall have the rank and denomination of 'general', instead of 'brigadier-general', which shall be the highest military grade known to the Confederate States...[6]

As of September 18, 1862, when lieutenant generals were authorized, the Confederate Army had four grades of general officers; they were (in order of increasing rank) brigadier general, major general, lieutenant general, and general.[7] As officers were appointed to the various grades of general by Jefferson Davis (and were confirmed), he would create the promotion lists himself. The dates of rank, as well as seniority of officers appointed to the same grade on the same day, were determined by Davis "usually following the guidelines established for the prewar U.S. Army."[8]

Brigadier generalEdit

File:P G T Beauregard CSA ACW.jpeg

These generals were most often infantry or artillery brigade commanders, aides to other higher ranking generals, and War Department staff officers. By war's end the Confederacy had at least 383 different men who held this rank in the PACS, and three in the ACSA: Samuel Cooper, Robert E. Lee, and Joseph E. Johnston.[9] The organization of regiments into brigades was authorized by the Congress on March 6, 1861. Brigadier generals would command them, and these generals were to be nominated by Davis and confirmed by the Confederate Senate.[2]

Though close to the Union Army in assignments, Confederate brigadiers mainly commanded brigades while Federal brigadiers sometimes led divisions as well as brigades, particularly in the first year of the war. These generals also often led sub-districts within military departments, with command over soldiers in their sub-district. These generals outranked Confederate Army colonels, who commonly led infantry regiments.

This rank is equivalent to brigadier general in the modern U.S. Army.

Major generalEdit

File:Benjamin Huger.jpg

These generals were most commonly infantry division commanders, aides to other higher ranking generals, and War Department staff officers. They also led the districts that made up military departments, and had command over the troops in their districts. By war's end the Confederacy had at least 88 different men who had held this rank, all in the PACS.[10]

Divisions were authorized by the Congress on March 6, 1861, and major generals would command them. These generals were to be nominated by Davis and confirmed by the Senate.[2] Major generals outranked brigadiers and all other lesser officers.

This rank was not synonymous with the Union's use of it, as Northern major generals led divisions, corps, and entire armies. This rank is equivalent in most respects to major general in the modern U.S. Army.

Major general line command listEdit

Not further promoted; top 20

Name Date of Rank[8] Rank Terminated[8] Reason
David E. Twiggs May 22, 1861 July 15, 1862 died/NC, Augusta
Earl Van Dorn September 19, 1861 May 8, 1863 murdered/TN, Spring Hill
Gustavus W. Smith September 19, 1861 February 17, 1863 resigned
Benjamin Huger October 7, 1861 June 12, 1865 paroled
John B. Magruder October 7, 1861 no record no record
George B. Crittenden November 9, 1861 October 23, 1862 resigned
William W. Loring February 15, 1862 May 1, 1865 paroled
Sterling Price March 6, 1862 no record no record
Benjamin F. Cheatham March 10, 1862 May 1, 1865 paroled
Samuel Jones March 10, 1862 May 12, 1865 paroled
John P. McCown March 10, 1862 May 12, 1865 paroled
D.H. Hill March 26, 1862 May 1, 1865 paroled
Jones M. Withers April 6, 1862 May 11, 1865 paroled
Thomas C. Hindman April 14, 1862 no record no record
John C. Breckinridge April 14, 1862 no record no record
Lafayette McLaws May 23, 1862 no record no record
J.E.B. Stuart July 25, 1862 May 12, 1864 MW, Yellow Tavern
Samuel G. French August 31, 1862 no record no record
George E. Pickett October 10, 1862 April 9, 1865 paroled
Carter L. Stevenson October 10, 1862 May 1, 1865 paroled[11]

Lieutenant generalEdit

James Longstreet

Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, CSA

There were 18 lieutenant generals in the Confederate Army, and these general officers were often corps commanders within armies or military department heads, in charge of geographic sections and all soldiers in those boundaries. All of the Confederacy's lieutenant generals were in the PACS.[10] The Congress legalized the creation of army corps on September 18, 1862, and directed that lieutenant generals lead them. These generals were to be nominated by Davis and confirmed by the Senate.[7] Lieutenant generals outranked major generals and all other lesser officers.

This rank was not synonymous with the Federal use of it; Ulysses S. Grant was the only Federal lieutenant general during the war, and he led the entire Union Army with this rank starting in 1864. The CSA Lieutenant General rank is roughly equivalent to lieutenant general in the modern U.S. Army.

The Confederate Congress passed legislation in May 1864 to allow for "temporary" general officers in the PACS, to be appointed by Jefferson Davis and confirmed by the Senate, and given a non-permanent command by Davis.[12] Under this law Davis appointed several officers to fill open positions. Richard H. Anderson was appointed a "temporary" lieutenant general on May 31, 1864, and given command of the First Corps (following the wounding of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet on May 6 in the Wilderness.) With Longstreet's return that October, Anderson reverted to a major general. Jubal Early was appointed a "temporary" lieutenant general on May 31, 1864, and given command of the Second Corps (following the re-assignment of Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell to other duties) and led it until December 1864, when he too reverted to a major general. Likewise both Stephen D. Lee and Alexander P. Stewart were appointed fill to vacancies in the Western Theater as "temporary" lieutenant generals, and also reverted to their prior grades as major generals as those assignments ended. However, Lee was nominated a second time for lieutenant general on March 11, 1865, and was confirmed as such five days later.[13]

Lieutenant general line command listEdit

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