Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Armies of the American Civil War

File:Civil war 1861-1865.jpg
Map of territorial control changes during the course of the American Civil War.

A list of a few field armies covers the major combat forces of the Civil War.  The Union, the United States Army, tended to name their forces after rivers, while the Confederacy, the Confederate States Army, more recalled states or regions in their names.

Follow these links for more details and a more complete list of armies, for the Union, http://www.civilwarhome.com/usarmies.htm, and the Confederacy, http://www.civilwarhome.com/confederatearmies.htm.

What follows are my own comments and list:

File:United States Department of the Army Seal.svg
Seal of the United States Army.

The Army of the Potomac was the major field army of the eastern, or Virginia, theatre of the war.  Initially called the Army of Northeast Virginia, it would bear the name of the Army of the Potomac under commanding Generals George McClellan (Peninsula Campaign, Antietam), Ambrose Burnside (Fredericksburg), Joseph Hooker (Chancellorsville), and George Meade (Gettysburg, Overland Campaign, Petersburg, Appomattox).  This would be the great rival army to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

The Army of Virginia was a short-lived field army that saw action at the Second Battle of Manassas and was commanded by General John Pope.  It consisted of the troops of the Department of the Shenandoah (Nathaniel Banks), Dept. of the Rappahannock (Irvin McDowell), and Mountain Dept. (John Fremont, then Franz Sigel), that had all met defeat at the hands of Stonewall Jackson in his 1862 Valley Campaign.  These forces would be merged with the Army of the Potomac after Second Manassas.

The Army of the Shenandoah was formed in 1864 to seize the Shenandoah Valley from the Confederacy, initially commanded by General David Hunter, it would meet its greatest success win the Battle of Cedar Creek under the command of Phil Sheridan.

The Army of  the Ohio -- Army of the Cumberland was the main field army that operated in Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, and Georgia during the Civil War.  It was called the Army of the Ohio under General Don Carlos Buell, and participated in the Battle of Shiloh, the siege of Corinth, and the Battle of Perryville, KY.  Under its next commander, General William Rosecrans, it was known as the Army of the Cumberland and fought at Stones River, Tullahoma, and Chickamauga.  General George Thomas would command it for the rest of the war, including at such operations as those at Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea, and the invasion of the Carolinas.  This army was the long-time foe of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

The Army of the Tennessee was the field army of General U. S. Grant that seized Fort Donelson, fought at Shiloh, at Corinth, successfully captured Vicksburg, MS.  It was later commanded by General William Sherman (Chattanooga), John McPherson (Atlanta), and Oliver Howard (March to the Sea, Carolinas).

The Army of the Ohio was also the name of the force commanded by General Ambrose Burnside during the 1863 Knoxville campaign, and which, under General Schofield, participated in the 1864 Atlanta campaign and the Nashville campaign (Battle of Franklin).

The Army of the Mississippi was the force commanded by General John Pope that captured New Madrid, Island No. 10, and then fought at Corinth under General William Rosecrans.  It was made part of the Army of the Tennessee for the Vicksburg campaign.

The Army of the Southwest was the Union army that won the battle of Pea Ridge and captured Helena, Arkansas, doing a great deal to remove Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma from the war.

File:Seal of the Confederate States of America.svg
Seal of the Confederate States of America.  George Washington is pictured on horseback.

The Army of Northern Virginia, first given that name with the coming of Robert E. Lee to command on 1 June 1862, would be forever associated with that great general, and would be the primary field army in the eastern, or Virginia theatre, of the war.  It would clash with the Union Army of the Potomac on the Peninsula, with parts of it at Second Manassas, and with all of it at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Overland Campaign, Petersburg, and Appomattox.  It would finally surrender at Appomattox in 1865.

The Army of the Valley is sometimes used as a name of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's force that fought in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862, and was the name of the army commanded by Jubal Early for his 1864 campaign in that valley.  It would be defeated by the Army of the Shenandoah commanded by Sheridan.

The Army of [the] Mississippi -- Army of Tennessee was the primary Confederate field army in the Western Theatre.  It was the long-time foe of the Union Army of the Cumberland.  It was commanded by General P. G. T. Beauregard at its inception, on the second day of Shiloh, and at the siege of Corinth.  A. S. Johnston commanded it at the start of the Battle of Shiloh.  General Braxton Bragg would command it at Perryville, KY, rename it the Army of Tennessee in the late autumn of 1862, and then command it at Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga.  General Joseph Johnston commanded the force for the start of the Atlanta campaign, and at the end of the war.  General John Hood led the army at the end of the Atlanta campaign, and during the disastrous Nashville campaign that ended with defeat at the Battle of Franklin.  It would, in the end, surrender at Durham, NC after its defeat at the battle of Bentonville, NC and the surrender of Lee.

The Army of Mississippi was the force assembled in mid-1862 for the defense of Vicksburg, Mississippi and commanded by General John C. Pemberton.  It would be forced to surrender by Grant and his Army of the Tennessee on 4 July 1863.

The Army of the West was the force that met defeat at the Battle of Pea Ridge, costing the Confederacy Missouri, and again at the Battle of Corinth.  Most of its pieces were made a part of the newly formed Army of Mississippi for the defense of Vicksburg.

The Army of the Trans-Mississippi of General Kirby Smith, as the name implies, fought west of the Mississippi River, and was the last major Confederate force to surrender.

Live well!

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