Organisation

The total strength of the Confederate Army was never more than just over half that of the North — most of the time it was below that figure—and at the outbreak of war it consisted entirely of inexperienced volunteers and poorly trained States' militia. The Union Army had also to rely almost entirely on militia and volunteer companies because nearly all its 16,000 regulars were tied up in frontier posts and sea coast forts: at Bull Run only 2,000 of McDowell's 38,000 troops were regulars. These facts are important when organising Civil War armies, for the CSA should have a smaller army than the North and a distinction must be made between experienced troops and recruits.

The two sides also set about organising these inexperienced armies in different ways, yet with the formations almost identical because the

A Wisconsin regiment of 20 figures, with two companies advanced as skirmishers and another two companies in reserve.

A Wisconsin regiment of 20 figures, with two companies advanced as skirmishers and another two companies in reserve.

senior officers had all trained at West Point. In the CSA ex-regular officers were used to train new regiments and of 304 officers who had been on active service in the Federal Army before the war, 148 reached general officer rank. This gave the Confederate Army good generals and had a marked effect on their troops' fighting value —reflected in better morale factors for CSA generals in the rules. In the Union Army the 780 regular officers remaining loyal were mostly kept in their regiments. The result was poor leadership for the first two years, with new regiments led into battle by inexperienced officers and suffering the inevitable initial heavy losses. So it may be seen that while the Confederate Army should be smaller, its fighting value may be kept on a par with that of the Union Army.

Both armies were divided into the three main arms of infantry, cavalry and artillery, and we will now deal with the organisation of each arm in detail.

Union and Confederate infantry

The official strength of a Union infantry regiment was between 869 minimum and 1,049 maximum, divided into ten compa nies and with 35 officers. Confederate regiments followed the same organisation but for a brief period at the start of the war also had some legions, ie a mixed force of infantry, cavalry and artillery, acting as a single unit.

These were theoretical strengths and even in the early days of the war, when enthusiasm was at its height, even volunteer companies could not get all the men they needed. Often there were between 700-800 men to a regiment when it reached the front line and sickness, non-combatant duties and the first action usually brought the number down to an average of perhaps 500—our 20-figure wargames unit at 1 figure = 25 men.

The two sides adopted different methods for dealing with recruits. In the CSA recruits were fed into existing regiments: this helped to keep alive an esprit de corps and had a good effect on i

A Confederate regiment of 20 men and two officers 'defending the rum ration!'

morale. In the US Army regiments were allowed to fall to between 150-200 men, when they were disbanded and the survivors distributed amongst new regiments. This meant loss of regimental pride and of experienced units. It also meant that on average the CSA regiments tended to be stronger than many Union ones and, having a hard core of experienced men were, at least until mid-1863, more effective as a fighting force.

In 1863 the War Department tried to adopt a programme of sending recruits to existing regiments but by then there were more than 1,000 regiments and to have filled them all up would have created an army far beyond the needs of the Union. Therefore, even late in the war, new Union regiments continued to go into battle under inexperienced officers and were allowed to become smaller through losses, their lack of numbers being compensated by the experience so expensively gained.

To reflect these differences in war-games the US Army regiment is averaged at 375 men (15 figures with 1 to a company), the CSA regiment at 500, or 20 figures with two per company.

There was a single exception in the Union Army to this practice—the Wisconsin regiments, where old regiments were 'topped up' as in the CSA. Sherman wrote in his memoirs 'we estimate a Wisconsin regiment equal to a normal brigade. I believe that 500 new men added to an old and experienced regiment were more valuable than 1,000 men in the form of a new regiment.' Wisconsin regiments should therefore be based on the CSA unit of 20 figures.

In May 1861 the US Government called for nine new regular regiments, to be two or more battalions with eight companies to each battalion. These were the 11-19th Regiments. Full strength was never achieved and of those regular regiments at Gettysburg none had more than eight companies present. These regular regiments can be 16 figures in eight companies on the wargames table, equal to a strength of 400 men.

A few regiments were raised for special duties, or may be classed separately. One such type was the Zouave regiment which, even after the fancy uniforms had disappeared from other regiments, clung to its baggy

A reconstruction of the battle of Cedar Run with the CSA forces in retreat after the arrival of Ftickett's 2nd Division halfway through the game. Note skirmishers covering a withdrawal on the left flank and a line of retreating skirmishers in the centre who have been covering re-alignment of CSA forces there.

A reconstruction of the battle of Cedar Run with the CSA forces in retreat after the arrival of Ftickett's 2nd Division halfway through the game. Note skirmishers covering a withdrawal on the left flank and a line of retreating skirmishers in the centre who have been covering re-alignment of CSA forces there.

trousers and distinctive cap—at least until mid-1863. There was a certain esprit de corps in these regiments, a feeling of being an élite, and this was

Confused mêlée between surprised Union cavalry and mounted and dismounted CSA Indians in the western theatre.

furthered by the issue of the M1862 Remington or Zouave rifle musket to those Zouave regiments which survived the first year of the war. (The musket had a faster rate of fire and longer effective range than the weapons of most other regiments.)

Another special corps was the Sharpshooters, raised by the Union in the summer of 1861. Eight companies formed the 1st and 2nd Regiments but the men fought mainly in small groups, sniping at officers and guns' crews. The two regiments served with the Army of the Potomac and were eventually grouped as a single regiment in 1864.

The CSA also had snipers, though not on any organised lines, and there were probably no more than about 100 at any one time.

Negro troops were recruited by the North as early as April 1862 and the first regiment was organised in July that year as the 1st South Carolina Volunteers. The 54th and 55th Massachusetts Regiments followed and finally there were 120 Negro regiments.

There were three million slaves in the South (a third of the population) but this vast resource remained untapped, and the organising of slaves as soldiers was not authorised until after February 1865, by which time it was too late. One unit of some 125 Negroes serving the Confederacy was reported at Petersburg.

Similarly, in the autumn and winter of 1861 the CSA organised three regiments of Indians from the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Cree and Seminole tribes for service in the Indian Territory (modern Oklahoma and part of northern Texas.) They first saw action in Arkansas at Pea Ridge, March 1862. Parts of four regiments and a battalion were subsequently raised in the same tribes but the total number of men does not seem to have been above 3,500 at any time. A small wargames unit of about ten figures could be used in the western theatre.

The North raised three regiments of Cherokee, Cree and Seminole Indians in July 1862, again for the Indian Territory. These regiments are believed to have been each 1,000 strong. The 53rd New York had a company of Tuscarora Indians, and another New York regiment had a company of Senecas. The Indian regiments of both sides were divided into companies as usual and were commanded by white officers but with Indian company commanders and below.

From the above it can be seen that varied and colourful armies may be organised for the pre-Gettysburg era. A Federal army could have one each Negro, Zouave, Wisconsin and Regular regiments, a maximum of eight Sharpshooter companies (two figures per company) if the Army of the Potomac, Indians if in the west, and a variety of volunteer and militia regiments. The CSA forces could have a Zouave regiment, plus Indians if in the west; other regiments would be militia or volunteers.

Higher organisation

Regiments were grouped in brigades of four (often from the same state in the CSA Army), but the number could vary from three to six and to be precise there was really no permanent formation higher than the regiment; brigades and above being more akin to the modern battle group, assembled from the units

A brigade of Confederate infantry advances in column, supported by artillery and cavalry, with skirmishers protecting one flank and the fourth regiment of the brigade well in advance with half its strength deployed in extended order.

A brigade of Confederate infantry advances in column, supported by artillery and cavalry, with skirmishers protecting one flank and the fourth regiment of the brigade well in advance with half its strength deployed in extended order.

Lincoln with the Federal staff after their victory at Antietam.

available to the best combination of arms for the task ahead.

A division could be from two to five brigades, a corps from two to four divisions. Armies were made up of any number of corps. The brigades and divisions of the Confederate Army tended to have more regiments than the corresponding US Army formations.

Union cavalry

Soon after the outbreak of war the US regular cavalry regiments were increased from five to six and numbered 1-6, each with six squadrons of two companies each. At first each company was 100 men, a captain and three lieutenants, but in 1863 the regulation strength was changed to 82-100 men, a captain and two lieutenants. At the same time the squadron was dropped and the battalion of four companies introduced, mainly for detachments from the main body. In practice strengths were usually at the bottom of this scale so we take 75 men for our wargame company, or three figures, with 12 figures for a battalion. 36 figures could be used for a regiment, but I prefer to have a greater variety of battalions than a few large regiments.

In the first two years of the war the cavalry was sometimes attached to infantry divisions but early in 1863 the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac was organised as a separate entity right up to corps level and the other armies subsequently followed suit. A brigade was f ou r to six regiments, a divison two to three brigades, and a corps two to three divisions.

There were seven Negro cavalry regiments out of a total of 272 cavalry regiments raised, so a Negro battalion could be included in your Union Army.

Confederate cavalry

The Confederate squadron had a theoretical strength of 60-80 men, a captain and three lieutenants per squadron, and ten squadrons to a regiment. In fact regiments rarely reached these strengths and a realistic figure would be 50 men per squadron, giving a wargames squadron of two figures and a regiment of 20 figures.

A brigade could be two to six regiments, a division any number up to six brigades. The CSA does not appear to have organised corps of cavalry as such.

A large number of Indian regiments served the CSA from early 1862 and in 1864 were organised into the Indian Cavalry Divison of two brigades, supported by Texan artillery and cavalry. They were restricted to the western theatre.

Two other aspects of the cavalry which should be taken into consideration are skill and horse supply. In the first half of the war the Confederacy had born cavalrymen and a good supply of horses: the Union had neither. In the second half of the war the Union had both, but the Confederacy was short on horses and many veteran cavalrymen were forced to become infantry. To allow for this in wargaming it is best to give the Union Army a lower proportion of cavalry until 1863, the CSA a lower proportion in 1864-5. The proportion of cavalry to infantry should never exceed 1:6 for either side.

Artillery

Union artillery batteries normally had six guns, but four or eight were used occasionally. We take six as the average and place the model gun on a triangular base, as shown in chapter one, with each side measuring 82 mm. 12pdr batteries usually had four 12pdrs and two 24pdr howitzers: 6pdr batteries had four 6pdrs and two 12pdr howitzers. Later in the war batteries usually had all one type and calibre guns.

Crews were about ten men per gun maximum. As there were spare crews and other personnel, six figures per model gun is a reasonable balance.

Most wargamers do not bother with limbers, certainly not caissons and baggage wagons, but it should be pointed out that each gun had a limber, a caisson with ammunition, and the battery as a whole had extra caissons, a baggage wagon to each gun, and a field forge. This clutter of vehicles often

Cavalry mêlée in the reconstruction of Murfreesboro. In the background Beckenridge is about to make his fatal charge. Federal troops are hurrying across the river to reinforce that flank.

Cavalry mêlée in the reconstruction of Murfreesboro. In the background Beckenridge is about to make his fatal charge. Federal troops are hurrying across the river to reinforce that flank.

Two Union batteries in action, supported by infantry, showing the battery front represented by the artillery templates and the permitted angle of fire.

caused problems on a battlefield .where the gun and caisson horse teams were drawn up behind the guns to a depth of 47 yards. They should therefore be represented by at least a two-horse limber and if possible a four-horse caisson as well. Such models will cause loss of manoeuvre—as indeed they did on the battlefield—but they should not be aligned deliberately as 'defences' nor should cavalry attempt to vault over them I

Fierce fighting on a flank during a wargame. Two brigades of CSA infantry are advancing in column from the centre of the table. Note particularly the duster of Umbers behind the massed guns at top left; quite a barrier to movement if those columns should later have to move rearwards and to the left.

Fierce fighting on a flank during a wargame. Two brigades of CSA infantry are advancing in column from the centre of the table. Note particularly the duster of Umbers behind the massed guns at top left; quite a barrier to movement if those columns should later have to move rearwards and to the left.

Murfreesboro as a wargame at about 10 am on the second day as the Confederate cavalry cut the railroad at the rear of the Union forces. In the real battle many Federal troops had begun to retreat by 11 am because they were out of ammunition as a result of this manoeuvre.

Whilst on the subject of wagons, etc, it is worthwhile mentioning that armies were dependent on their supply trains: such trains should always be represented at the rear of your army on the wargames table. This will force you to tie up a proportion of your army to defend the train, and provides a secondary objective in a game, particularly for roaming cavalry. This is as it should be: armies did not march on empty stomachs, nor could they fire their weapons forever without replenishment.

Confederate batteries advancing at top speed on a flank.

Confederate batteries advancing at top speed on a flank.

Union artillery was normally allotted at the rate of four batteries per infantry division, with often half this force withdrawn to form a corps reserve. Each army also had a reserve of light and heavy batteries. From Gettysburg on, however, the Army of the Potomac usually concentrated its artillery at corps level, with nine batteries per corps.

There were 12 heavy artillery and one light (horse) artillery regiments of Negro troops in the Union Army, so a battery of Negro artillery could be included in your army. However, Union heavy artillery regiments (both Negro and white) were often used as infantry in 1862-3, when the heavy guns were not needed so badly as the men. These regiments were often full strength and had 12 companies; a tempting unit for a wargamer! There were also Regular

Army artillery regiments as opposed to volunteers, though the volunteers seem to have been equal to the regulars after the first few battles.

Confederate batteries were most often of four guns, sometimes six and occasionally eight. In this case we take four as the average and place our model gun on a triangle of card with 55 mm sides. A crew of four is used, and these two factors reflect the Confederacy's weakness in artillery.

Four CSA batteries made a battalion and there was normally a battalion to an infantry division, with further battalions as corps reserve.

The proportion of guns in a model army should be no more than one model gun per 60 figures for the Union; one model gun per 70 figures for the Confederacy.

three table, their formations, and methods of attack and defence.

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