Northern Army (United States Army 1861 – 1865)

After the exit of the southern United States to the Confederation, the existing United States Army was divided, with the largest part of the approximately 16.000 serving soldiers joined the Confederate Army. Within a short time, President Abraham Lincoln was able to increase the army of the northern states to several hundred thousand by volunteers and by proclaiming compulsory military service.



On April 15, 1861, a few days after the beginning of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln called on states remaining in the United States to convene around 75.000 troops with a three-month military service and train and equip them until integration into the US Army. On 3 May 1861, the request was made to further increase the soldiers by the states by 42.000 with a 3-year compulsory military service and the increase of the US Army by 23.000 soldiers. On July 22, 1861, the US Congress authorized the President to create a volunteer army of about 1 million soldiers.


Soldaten der Unionsarmee

Soldiers of the Union Army


Soldaten der Unionsarmee

Soldiers of the Union Army


Lager einer Kavallerie Einheit

Camp of a cavalry unit



Crew ranks:

  • Privat
  • Lance Corporal

Noncommissioned officer's ranks:

  • Corporal
  • Sergeant
  • Ordnance-Sergeant
  • First Sergeant
  • Quartermaster-Sergeant
  • Sergeant Major

Officer Ranks:

  • 2. Lieutenant
  • 1. Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major
  • Lieutenant-Colonel
  • Colonel

General ranks:

  • Brigadier General
  • Major General
  • Leutnant General


The Union Army was divided into several field army led by a major general. In this field army, the three branches of infantry, artillery and cavalry were combined, as well as special troops such as pioneer, telecommunications and logistics troops, the medical service and leadership troops such as the field jurisdiction and adjutants.

Further subdivision:
- field army
- - several corps
- - - 3 divisions
- - - - 2 to 3 brigades
- - - - - 3 to 6 regiments


List of US Army regiments:








Armament and fight:

At the beginning of the war, most of the soldiers of the Union were still equipped with outdated muzzle-loading rifles. After numerous acquisitions from Europe and the beginning of their own production, the army was gradually equipped with the significantly more modern rear loader rifles. The most commonly used rifle here was the Springfield Model 1861 U.S. Percussion Rifle Musket.


Model 1861 U.S. Percussion Rifle-Musket

Model 1861 U.S. Percussion Rifle-Musket


In the artillery, the war was most often used the models of the smooth-running 12-pounder cannon howitzer M1857 "Napoleon", the drawn Ordnance in caliber 3 inches and the also drawn Parrott guns, especially 10- and 20-pounders.


M1857 Geschütz

M1857 gun


The attack tactic of the infantry was, as usual at the time, in a series of 2. The first row was kneeling while the second row was standing. After a command the fire was opened on the opponent. During the battle, man to man fights with the bayonets were also common.




Commander-in-Chief over the troops of the Union:

- Winfield Scott, from 5 July 1841 to 1 November 1861
- George B. McClellan, from November 1, 1861 to March 11, 1862
- Henry Wager Halleck, from July 23, 1862 to March 9, 1864
- Ulysses S. Grant, from March 9, 1864 to March 4, 1869




Man strength and losses:

During the civil war, a total of about 2.5 million soldiers served in the army of the Union. 186,000 soldiers were former slaves at the beginning of the war, after the decree of the liberation of Abraham Lincoln about 200,000 soldiers were added.

The losses amounted to about 390,000 soldiers, with illnesses added.






You can find the right literature here:


“The Bloody Fifth”―The 5th Texas Infantry Regiment, Hood’s Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia: Volume 2: Gettysburg to Appomattox

“The Bloody Fifth”―The 5th Texas Infantry Regiment, Hood’s Texas Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia: Volume 2: Gettysburg to Appomattox Hardcover – June 2, 2017

The second installment in a sweeping history of the 5th Texas Infantry—“The Bloody Fifth”—one of only three Texas regiments to fight with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The 5th Texas established an exceptional combat record in an army known for its fighting capabilities. The regiment took part in 38 engagements, including nearly every significant battle in the Eastern Theater, as well as the Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Knoxville campaigns in the Western Theater. “The Bloody Fifth” offers the first full-length study documenting this fabled regimental command.

The first volume, Secession through the Suffolk Campaign, followed the regiment from its inception through the successful foraging campaign in southeastern Virginia in April 1863. Gettysburg to Appomattox continues the regiment’s rich history from its march north into Pennsylvania and the battle of Gettysburg, its transfer west to Georgia and participation in the bloody battle of Chickamauga, operations in East Tennessee, and the regiment’s return to Virginia for the overland battles (Wilderness to Cold Harbor), Petersburg campaign, and the march to Appomattox Court House. The narrative ends by following many of the regiment’s soldiers on their long journey home.

Schmutz’s definitive study is based upon years of archival and battlefield research that uncovered hundreds of primary sources, many never before used. The result is a lively account of not only the regiment’s marches and battles but a personal look into the lives of these Texans as they struggled to survive a vicious war more than 1,000 miles from home.

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Campaigns and Battles of the Army of Northern Virginia

Campaigns and Battles of the Army of Northern Virginia Paperback – May 5, 2017

In addition to presenting the reader with an accurate history of the Army of Northern Virginia, the author pays a fine tribute to the young sons of the South who endured the discomforts of soldier life. He well illustrates how they were from the start determined to share whatever of trial or prosperity was in store for the South, and that spirit endured to the end. The style of the narrative is simple and clear, and the intimate view given makes it of more interest than is usual in a history of army operations.

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Soldiers in the Army of Freedom: The 1st Kansas Colored, the Civil War's First African American Combat Unit (Campaigns and Commanders Series)

Soldiers in the Army of Freedom: The 1st Kansas Colored, the Civil War's First African American Combat Unit (Campaigns and Commanders Series) Hardcover – October 2, 2014

It was 1862, the second year of the Civil War, though Kansans and Missourians had been fighting over slavery for almost a decade. For the 250 Union soldiers facing down rebel irregulars on Enoch Toothman’s farm near Butler, Missouri, this was no battle over abstract principles. These were men of the First Kansas Colored Infantry, and they were fighting for their own freedom and that of their families. They belonged to the first black regiment raised in a northern state, and the first black unit to see combat during the Civil War. Soldiers in the Army of Freedom is the first published account of this largely forgotten regiment and, in particular, its contribution to Union victory in the trans-Mississippi theater of the Civil War. As such, it restores the First Kansas Colored Infantry to its rightful place in American history.

Composed primarily of former slaves, the First Kansas Colored saw major combat in Missouri, Indian Territory, and Arkansas. Ian Michael Spurgeon draws upon a wealth of little-known sources—including soldiers’ pension applications—to chart the intersection of race and military service, and to reveal the regiment’s role in countering white prejudices by defying stereotypes. Despite naysayers’ bigoted predictions—and a merciless slaughter at the Battle of Poison Spring—these black soldiers proved themselves as capable as their white counterparts, and so helped shape the evolving attitudes of leading politicians, such as Kansas senator James Henry Lane and President Abraham Lincoln. A long-overdue reconstruction of the regiment’s remarkable combat record, Spurgeon’s book brings to life the men of the First Kansas Colored Infantry in their doubly desperate battle against the Confederate forces and skepticism within Union ranks.

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The First Republican Army: The Army of Virginia and the Radicalization of the Civil War (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era)

The First Republican Army: The Army of Virginia and the Radicalization of the Civil War (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era) Hardcover – January 4, 2017

Although much is known about the political stance of the military at large during the Civil War, the political party affiliations of individual soldiers have received little attention. Drawing on archival sources from twenty-five generals and 250 volunteer officers and enlisted men, John Matsui offers the first major study to examine the ways in which individual politics were as important as military considerations to battlefield outcomes and how the experience of war could alter soldiers’ political views.

The conservative war aims pursued by Abraham Lincoln’s generals (and to some extent, the president himself) in the first year of the American Civil War focused on the preservation of the Union and the restoration of the antebellum status quo. This approach was particularly evident in the prevailing policies and attitudes toward Confederacy-supporting Southern civilians and slavery. But this changed in Virginia during the summer of 1862 with the formation of the Army of Virginia. If the Army of the Potomac (the major Union force in Virginia) was dominated by generals who concurred with the ideology of the Democratic Party, the Army of Virginia (though likewise a Union force) was its political opposite, from its senior generals to the common soldiers. The majority of officers and soldiers in the Army of Virginia saw slavery and pro-Confederate civilians as crucial components of the rebel war effort and blamed them for prolonging the war. The frustrating occupation experiences of the Army of Virginia radicalized them further, making them a vanguard against Southern rebellion and slavery within the Union army as a whole and paving the way for Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

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