Monday, October 08, 2018

1,466 Confederate regiments....

Company K, 4th Georgia Infantry. 

   Last night, during my facebook live Sunday Night History discussion, I mentioned about how we really don't know how many Confederate regiments or separate organizations there were during the war. In William Fox's Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, published in 1889, he advances the number of 1,069 regiments, battalions, or batteries of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Fox writes that there "were all troops of the line, and they served during the whole, or greater part of the war. The number does not include regiments which served a short time only; neither does it include disbanded or consolidated regiments, nor the State militia, Junior Reserves, Senior Reserves, Home Guards, Local Defense regiments, and separate companies."

   Looking at Joseph H. Crute, Jr.'s Units of the Confederate Army, I find 1,324 Confederate regiments, battalions, or batteries of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Crute does include, at least in North Carolina, the junior reserves, but not the senior reserve companies.

   Going a step further, Stewart Sifakis's Compendium of the Confederate Armies: North Carolina (the only volume I have), lists 233 Confederate organizations from North Carolina. That differs somewhat from Crute. He only listed 91 separate organizations from North Carolina (compared with 240 for Virginia). Crute lumped all of North Carolina's  artillery batteries into their respective regiments - i.e., ten batteries in the 1st North Carolina Artillery. The 1st North Carolina Artillery never functioned as a regiment. If we subtract 91 from Crute's 1,324, and add 233, we have 1,466 regiments, battalions, etc. I wonder if, after going through Sifakis's other volumes, what number we might come up with?

   None of these numbers includes the militia and home guard battalions. Should they be included? Both the militia and home guard were used to enforce Confederate Conscription law. And at times, they battled regular Federal forces, such as the skirmish in Boone, North Carolina, on March 28, 1865.

Will we ever know how many Confederate regiments, battalions, or batteries of infantry, cavalry, and artillery there were during the 1860s? Probably not, but I'd like to come close.

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