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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.




I have found a record of my great grandfather, who served with the 39th Mounted Infantry (Col. William Bradford's Regiment & Volunteers) 31st Infantry. According to the Military record posted on, he held the rank of Private Sergeant. I am not familiar, nor have I found any reference to the rank of Private Sergeant. Any information on what the rank of Pvt Sgt is would be appreciated.


Is it true the confederates had the ranks of specialist and color sergeant?


Have been looking for a color illustration of a Confederate Army Colonel's sleeve braid to use as an illustration in a story I am writing. I would prefer it to be a Medical Corps Colonel's sleeve braid, in Jpeg format. Can you be of help? Artist and source will be noted in the story as a reference footnote or in a bibliography at the end, giving the source complete credit for the work.
Thank You,
Shelly Ann, LPN (ret)


You forgot the Orderly or First Sergeant.

So, a distant cousin of mine was assigned to the regimental quartermaster after being wounded. Does that mean he was an NCO and if so, what level?


Dear Jody,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia. I asked a Confederate army expert and he told me that your distant cousin would have been a commissioned officer since he was a quartermaster.

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library


This is very plain and understandable, thank you.
I am looking for the same type of structure for the CS artillery. Can you help me? or direct me where to look?
Thank you.


Because the confederate army was smaller
Did they have two line of infantry
I saw something about this on a web site and it looked
like something a smaller force might employ


Hi Charles,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share this question. I am replying to the email address you included with your question.

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


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


1st Sergeant is Logistics Officer for the Company.
2nd Sergeant commands the 4th Section (Right Most) of the Company.
3rd Sergeant commands the 1st Section (Left Most) of the Company.
4th Sergeant commands the 3rd Section (Right Inner) of the Company.
5th Sergeant commands the 2nd Section (Left Inner) of the Company.

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