IN ALL, 425 MEN RECEIVED THE RANK OF GENERAL from the Congress of the Confederate States of America. Originally there was only one general grade rank, that of brigadier-general; bnt quite soon after the Confederate Army's formation full generals were commissioned, while the rank of major-general was created for divisional commanders. When corps were adopted, the rank of lieutenant-general was created for that command.
Most Confederate generals were professional soldiers who had been educated at a military school and had seen active military service. The highest ranks were largely filled by graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, although the Virginia Military Institute also provided the Confederacy with a number of general officers. None had commanded so much as a brigade in the pre-war US Army, so essentially each of them had to learn the practise of senior command "on the job."
The regulation general's uniform included a double-breasted gray frock coat with buff facings — collar, pointed cufl's, and edging. There were two rows of eight front buttons placed in pairs. Four lines of gold lace formed an Austrian knot on each sleeve; collar insignia were in the form of three gold stars within a wreath, the center one larger. Trousers were dark blue with gold parallel stripes down each outside seam; and a buff waist sash was to be worn over the coat. Officially the headgear was a chapeau bras or cocked bicorn hat reminiscent of the Napoleonic era, but a dark blue French-style kepi trimmed with four parallel gold cords was authorized for held use.
In practice very few generals wore strictly regulation uniforms. The gray fabrics used for the coat varied from light or dark ash-gray to blue-gray shades. Facings - where present at all — were often of a buff so light as to appear virtually white. Many had evenly spaced buttons, while major-generals often wore two rows of nine buttons set in threes. Starting with Robert E.Lee, a number of senior generals wore on their collars three stars of the same size — actually a colonel's regulation rank badge; indeed, so many did so that this must have been a generally accepted insignia.
Each general was authorized a staff to assist him in exercising command. These varied in size and scope. Lee's staff was remarkably small to run an entire army, Moxley Sorrel, at first an officer on Longstreet's staff and later a general in his own right, later put down his impressions of Lee's staff:
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