Command

As an Infirmary Corps, not originally planned but seen to be necessary, was organized, so the entire army as the needs arose organized itself. Under the original plan the highest command possible was a division, commanded by a major-general. It was quickly seen that an army of a large number of divisions as the largest bodies of men under a single commander was an army difficult to control. Therefore, Lee set up informal 'commands', one of which was held by Longstreet and one by Jackson, each made up of several divisions. General John Magruder at first held one of the commands, but was transferred west.

On 8 September 1862 the 'commands' were formalized into corps by legislation passed by Congress, and the corps commanders were named lieutenant-generals. Lee became a full general.

These commanders, and mostly Lee, held the army together by pure personal power and abilities when arms and equipment were few, morale and discipline was bad, and future prospects were dim. Lord Wolseley, visiting the army in August 1862, reported: 'The feeling of the soldiers for General Lee resembles that which Wellington's troops entertained for him - namely, a fixed and unshakeable faith in all he did, and a calm confidence of victory when serving under him. But Jackson, like Napoleon, is idolized with that intense fervour which, consisting of mingled personal attachment and devoted loyalty, causes them to meet death for his sake, and bless him when dying.'

The death ofjackson, in many ways, caused this love to be transferred to Lee, the brightest star among a constellation of bright Confederate military stars. And this love continued until, and after, the issuance of the Army of Northern Virginia's General Order Number Nine:

'After four years of arduous service marked by

Mine Creek Battlefield

The ist Virginia Cavalry, an élite regiment, rests during a march in a contemporary print unsurpassed courage and fortitude the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

'I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them.

'But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their country.

'By the terms of the agreement officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and 1 earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection. With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, 1 bid you an affectionate farewell.

RE Lee/Genl

Hd. Qrs. Army Northern Virginia/April ioth 1865'

MAJOR ACTIONS OF THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA *

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