Monday Tip: Army Units

Almost every genealogist has ancestors who served in the military. At times it can be confusing to understand how the Army is organized and how large each unit would be. Read on.

Tips on understanding Army Units when researching genealogy

Unit size and type may vary  slightly from early conflicts. This table will make it easy to understand more about Army organization and your ancestor’s role. The chart below is typical of a more modern-era Army.

UNITNUMBER OF MENCOMMANDED BY
Army
2-5 Corps
300,000General
Corps
2-5 Divisions
75,000Lt. General
Division
3 Brigades
15,000Major General
Brigade
3 or more Batallions
3,200Colonel
Batallion
3-5 Companies
900Lt. Colonel
Company
3-4 Platoons
184Captain
Platoon
3-4 Squads
50Lieutenant
Squad12Sergeant

The next chart shows the organization of the Army during the Civil War.

NameNumberLeader
Company100Captain
Regiment
10 Companies
800 soldiersColonel
Brigade
2-5 Regiments
2,600Brigadier General
Division
2-4 Brigades
8,000Major General
Corps
2-3 Divisions
26,000Major General
Army
3 Corps
80,000Major General

Both Union and Confederate sides had more than one Army. For example,  Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia; however the Confederates also had the Army of Tennessee. On the Union side, there was the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of Ohio.

While the branches were combined very early in the war, over the next year or so the artillery and cavalry were split into their own branches. By 1863, it would have been unusual for different branches to be combined within a brigade (infantry, cavalry, and artillery).

 

Historic Voices: A Virginia Girl in the Civil War

Historic Voices - excerpts from period diaries and journals

Historic Voices is an audio series in which I read a brief excerpt from a period diary or journal. It’s my hope that the audios will give you a sense of how your ancestor living in the same period might have thought, felt, or experienced everyday life.

Today’s audio: An excerpt from A Virginia Girl in the Civil War, 1861-1865, by Myrta Avary. Click the play button below.

Would you like your own copy of the book? Fill out the form below and you’ll immediately be taken to a page to download the EPUB file.

(Note, you can also get a copy of this book at Project Gutenberg if you don’t want to access it through my form)

Don’t know how to read EPUB?  It’s easy. Get the free Google EPUB Reader. Then drag and drop your EPUB file into the Reader and you can start reading. Plus, it will create a library of EPUB files for you automatically.