Civil War Army Organization
Yes, the photo is a bit unwieldy but we are sticking with our theme on the blog and using our own pictures when possible. While reading or studying about the Civil War you have most likely run across the terms Regiment, Brigade, Division, Corps and Army. Each of those units represents a number of men, but even I sometimes get lost in exactly what each represents. So let’s break it down a little.
A REGIMENT usually contains 800 soldiers and is commanded by a Colonel.
A BRIGADE is usually made up of 2 to 5 Regiments and about 2,600 men. They are commanded by a Brigade General.
A DIVISION usually contains 2 to 4 Brigades or about 8,000 men. A Major General is in command.
Next is a CORPS made up of 2 to 3 Divisions, commanded by a Major General and containing around 26,000 men.
Then comes ARMY. Generally 3 Corps to an Army and about 80,000 men commanded by a Major General.
Now there are actually levels below Regiment. The COMPANY is usually 100 men led by a Captain. Then platoon, section, and the squad as the smallest unit.
The numbers above generally would be considered as best case scenarios and especially as the war went on, no unit stayed at full strength for very long. And of course, the estimated strengths above varied between armies and sides. The actual numbers are less important than knowing the relative size of the units.
So if in doubt just remember the mnemonic RBDCA which stands for Regiment, Brigade, Division, Corps, Army. OK, maybe that isn’t much help.