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"staff on brigade and corps level" Topic

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Osage2017 Inactive Member13 Sep 2017 8:26 a.m. PST

Hello Friends,

I'm new to ACW and looking for the organization of staff on brigade and corps level (North & South). How large was the staff ? How many sections it numbered ?

rmaker13 Sep 2017 9:09 a.m. PST

Corps, division, and brigade staffs in the ACW were not as organized as you seem to believe. Much more similar to the 18th Century than the 20th, or even 19th Century European. There would be the commander and a bunch of aides. The corps staff would have a Quartermaster Department contingent (usually) and probably a Signal Corps detachment. Corps and division would have (normally) an artillery commander and a Medical Department detachment (and maybe a Veterinary officer). The Ordnance Corps and the Corps of Engineers might be represented.

There were probably regulations covering staff composition, but like so much else, those would be honored mostly in the breach.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2017 9:54 a.m. PST

Whatever officers the commander thought he needed at the time. At the corps level I would expect an officer from the cavalry, artillery and engineers to be present in addition to the infantry representation. You might also find a topographical engineer and someone from the Quartermaster. That doesn't include assorted aides and messengers. I just finished reading "Lincoln and his Generals" and the author stated that Confederate staffs were typically composed of members of lower rank than their Union counterparts.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2017 12:41 p.m. PST

The only detailed information I have close at hand is (read mm/dd/yyyy):

Wheeler's Cavalry Corps, Army of Tennessee (04/06/1864) -- 9 on staff

1st Cavalry Brigade (BG Humes), 4th Cavalry Division, Army of Tennessee (03/01/1864) -- 4 on brigade staff; by 03/15/1864 there were 7 on staff

2nd Cavalry Brigade (BG Davidson), 1st Cavalry Division, Army of Tennessee (03/04/1864) -- 10 on Brigade staff

3rd District (BG M.L. Smith, Dept. of South Mississippi and East Louisiana (MG Van Dorn) (07/09/1862) -- 14 officers and 1 enlisted on staff

3rd Subdistrict (BG M.L. Smith), Dept. of the Mississippi (MG Van Dorn) (08/27/1862) -- 9 officers and 1 enlisted on staff

4th Subdepartment of Mississippi (BG Villipique) (Jun 1862) -- 9 on staff

I got this information from a collection of copies of various Confederate Army reports that are in the collection of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The other reports, primarily of portions of the Army of Tennessee in early 1864, had detailed breakdowns of personnel and weapons, some of which I copied. I seem to recall that the corps, division, and brigade staffs were detailed but I didn't copy them at the time.

For generalities, Paddy Griffith's Battle in the Civil War states that a brigade staff might have a quartermaster general, a commissary general, an adjutant general, plus some aides and orderlies. Higher staffs would have more of each sort and might include an inspector general, a provost marshal, judge advocate, topographer, and signals, as well as cavalry, artillery, and engineer staff officers (especially at corps level).

Hope this helps.


Osage2017 Inactive Member14 Sep 2017 7:04 a.m. PST

Thank you rpmaker, 79thPA, and especially Jim ! That's a lot info for me.

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