previous next


The armies of the Confederate States

The permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America provided that the President should be commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and of the militia of the several States when called into actual service. Accordingly, in any consideration of the Confederate army, the part played by President Davis must be borne in mind; also the fact that he previously had seen service in the United States army and that he had been Secretary of War of the United States. As Secretaries of War in the Confederate States Government there were associated with President Davis, the following: LeRoy Pope Walker, of Alabama, February 21, 1861, to September 17, 1861; Judah P. Benjamin, of Louisiana, September 17, 1861, to March 17, 1862; George W. Randolph, of Virginia, March 17, 1862, to November 17, 1862: Major-General Gustavus W. Smith, of Kentucky, November 17, 1862, to November 21, 1862; James A. Seddon, of Virginia, from November 21, 1862, to February 6, 1865; and Major-General John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, February 6, 1865, to the close of the war.

Unlike the Union army there were generals, both regular and of the provisional army, as well as lieutenant-generals; it being the intention that every commander of an army should rank as general, and every commander of a corps should rank as lieutenant-general. Such was the case with the generals mentioned in the biographical matter following in connection with the various armies and other organizations. An exception to this statement was General Samuel Cooper, who served at Richmond as adjutant and inspector-general.

General Samuel, Cooper (U. S.M. A. 1815)

was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, June 12, 1798, and served in the army, receiving the brevet of colonel for his services in the Mexican War. He resigned in March, 1861, to enter the service of the Confederacy. He was appointed general on May 16th, but, owing to his age, took no active part in the field. He was adjutant and inspector-general of the Confederate States army throughout the entire war, performing his duties with great thoroughness and ability. He died at Cameron, Virginia, December 3, 1876.

Army of the Shenandoah

Major-General Kenton Harper

of the Virginia State forces, had collected about two thousand Virginia volunteers at Harper's Ferry as early as April 21, 1861. He was relieved on the 28th by Colonel Thomas J. Jackson, and the mustering in of volunteers went rapidly on. On May 24th, Brigadier-General Joseph E. Johnston assumed command of the troops, and on June 30th, there were 10,654 present for duty, in four brigades and cavalry. This was the force that opposed Major-General Patterson in the Valley, and it was known as the Army of the Shenandoah. It took part in the engagement at Falling Waters, July 2d, and the skirmishes near Bunker Hill and Charlestown. Strengthened with eight Southern regiments, this army started for Manassas, on July 18th, and took part in the first battle of Bull Run. After this, it formed a part of the Confederate Army of the Potomac.

General Joseph Eggleston Johnston (U. S. M. A. 1829)

was born in Cherry Grove, near Farmville, Virginia, February 3, 1807. He served in the Black Hawk, Seminole, and Mexican wars, in the last of which he was twice severely wounded. He resigned his rank of brigadier-general to enter the Confederate service on April 20, 1861, and was given the rank of general in August. He was in command at Harper's Ferry after May 24th, and headed the Army of the Shenandoah. He brought his troops to Manassas and superseded Beauregard in the command, at Bull Run, joining his force to the Army of the Potomac. In command of the Army of Northern Virginia, he was severely wounded at Fair Oaks. In November, 1862, he was assigned to the head of the Department of Tennessee, but outside of an attempt to relieve Pemberton at Vicksburg in May, 1863, he saw no active service until he assumed command of the Army of Tennessee in December, 1863. He opposed Sherman during the Atlanta campaign of 1864, being superseded by General Hood on July 18th. His strategy was much criticised at the time, but it is now recognized that he displayed great ability during the campaign. In February, 1865, he was again given command of the Army of Tennessee,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: