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Confederate army structure

by Josh Howard
Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History

See also: Civil War; Confederate Party; Civil War Rosters; Civil War;

Here is an example of the structure of the Confederate army at the onset of the Civil War. The actual figures or numbers of individuals vary wildly at different times and places during the Civil War.


General : Army Commander (60,000-90,000 individuals per army)


Lieutenant-General : Corps Commander (3 - 4 corps per army with 20,000 - 30,000 individuals per corps)


Major General : Division Commander (3 - 4 divisions per corps with 9,000 - 12,000 individuals per division)


Brigadier General : Brigade Commander (3 - 4 brigades per division with 1500 - 3000 individuals per brigade)


Colonel : Regimental Commander (4 - 5 regiments per brigade with 350 - 1000 per regiment)


Regimental Command structure


Colonel : 1st in command


Lieutenant Colonel : 2nd in command


Major : 3rd in command


Captain (Captains commanded a company. There were 10 companies to a regiment.)


1st Lieutenant

2nd Lieutenant

(sometimes a 3rd Lieutenant)

Sergeant (5 to a company)

Corporal (5 to a company)

Musician (2 - 4 to a company, drummers, fifers)

Private (90 to a company)


The ten companies in a regiment were each assigned a letter. The letters were A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K. The letter J was skipped to avoid confusion with I.

Other ranks

Quartermaster : held the same rank as a Captain but was in charge of regimental supply. There was one quartermaster per regiment.

Sergeant major : Senior sergant in the entire regiment. There was one per regiment. Acted as the disciplinarian of the unit.


Assistant Surgeon

Adjutant : Head clerk of the unit. The Colonel's aide.




In the enlisted ranks.. was their a rank of 5th Sergeant ... I have had someone question me on the issue and would like your input... I have many who fought for Southern Indepencence and a few held the rank of 5th Sergeant ... I would like to show the doubters an official answer on the matter.

Phillip Thomas USAF Retired

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