Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Sagebrush, Jun 22, 2011.
Is there a technical difference between an Adjutant and an Aide de Camp? Thanks!
The best explaination of "Staff" of the U.S. Army which is identical in the CSA; is well explained in:
The 1862 Army Officer's Pocket Companion - A Manual for Staff Officers in the field - Article 18
Colonel Scott ( General Winfield Scott's military dictionary) remarks, that the staff of an army may be properly distinguished under these three heads:
1. The General Staff - Consisting of adjutant-general and assistant-adjutant-general, aide-de-camp, inspectors-general, and assistant- inspectors-general. The functions of these officers consist not merely in distributing the orders of commanding generals, but also in regulating camps, directing the march of columns, and furnishing to the commanding general all the necessary details for the exercise of his authority. Their duties embrase the whole range of the service of the troops, and they are hence properly styled general staff officers.
2 Staff-corps, of staff departments. These special corps or departments, whos duties are confined to distinct branches of the service. The engineers corps and topographical engineers are such staff-corps. The ordnance, quarter-masters, subsistence, medical and pay departments are such staff departments.
3. The Regimental staff embraces regimental officers and non-commissioned officers charged with functions, within their respective regiments, assimibted to the duties of adjutant-generals, quarter-masters, and commissaries. Each regiment should have a regimental adjutant and a regimental quarter-master.
Article 20 - Duties of Adjutant Generals:
The bureau duties of adjutant generals and assistants are: publishing orders in writing; making up written instructions and transmitting them; reception of reports and returns; disposing of them; forming tables, showing state and position of corps; regulating details of service; corresponding with the administrative departments relative to the wants of the troops; the methodical arrangement and care of the records and papers of the office.
The active duties of adjutant-generals consist in establishing camps; visiting guards and outposts; mustering and inspecting troops; inspecting guards and detachments; forming parades and line of battle; The conduct and control of deserters and prisoners; making reconnoissances; and in general, discharging such other active duties as may be assigned them.
Article 21 - Aide-de-Camp
These are ex-offiicio assistant adjutant generals(Act March 2, 1821). The are confidential officers selected by general officers to assist them in their military duties. A lieutenant-general appoints not exceeding for in time of war, and two in peace, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. A major-general appoints two, and a brigade general one. The act of August 5, 1861 , enacts during the existing insurrection, "the president may appoint aides-de-camp at will, with the rank of captains, majors, lieutenant-colonels, or colonels, upon the recommendation of the lieutenant-general, or of the major-general commanding an army in the field. These appontments to be recalled whenever the president thinks proper."
Aide-de-camp are attached to the person of the general, and receive orders only from him. Their function are difficult and delicate. Often enjoying the full confidence of the general, they are employed in representing him, in writing orders ,in carrying them in person if necessary, in communicating them verbally upon the battlefield and fields of maneuver. It is important that aide-de-camp should know well the position of troops, routes, post, quarters of generals, composition of columns, and orders of corps; facility in the use of the pen should be joined with exactness of expression; upon fields of battle they watch the movements of the enemy; not only grand maneuvers but special tactics should be familiar to them. It is necessary that their knowledge be sufficiently comprehensive to understand the object and purpose of all orders, and also to judge, in the varying circumstances of a battlefield, whether it is not necessary to modify an order when carried in person, or if there be time to return for new instructions.
M. E. Wolf
Thanks, M.E. Wolf! Very detailed and informative. In my perusal of various reenactment organizations, it would appear that Adjutant is most often listed among the staff with Aide de Camp rarely if ever used. Since there is a fair amount of overlap as to functions, I wonder if Adjutant has simply become the "catch all" title these days?
In reenactments, rarely are there any "adjutants" or "aide-de-camps." Lucky to see anybody with tracks let alone birds.
Adjutants were more of the administrative go-fer..err go for (s) -- were as aide-de-camps were personal to the general and more like his extra set of eyes and ears, the 'enforcer' per se when the adjutants couldn't get an officer to be obedient to orders. Aide-de-camps moved with the general assigned to wherever he went, even if he was transferred. Many times, aide-de-camps were family or dear friends. I can only find documentation where "honorary" commissions for aide-de-camp were issued, and that was General JEB Stuart who issued two female relatives, honorary commissions as "aide-de-camp". (These commissions are in the Museum of the Confederacy now days).
Adjutants did everything for the general and aide-de-camps, the Chief of Staff much like a airport control tower. That is why I have to snicker a bit when Rawlins claimed to keep Grant from drinking--he was an assistant-adjutant-general and often away from camp for days. He was never listed as an "aide-de-camp." If Rawlins was an assistant-adjutant-general worth his salt, he would be too busy to hang around Grant's tent pole.
Being staff and having staff --you talk to the administrative staff more than you do with Commanding officers and or officers under your command, as they are there keeping the paperwork moving, reports coming in and in order, doing things so an officer in command can look forward rather than busy with paperwork, keep the map updated with information, e.g. troop movements, enemy movements, camps, headquarters of other generals outside your command and inside. This is where aide-de-camps strain things before the general is bothered. If a aide-de-camp or a adjutant can't handle it--then the general is informed and handles it.
Adjutants are probably the net that catches the bulk of all the responsibilities and duties of staff. That is why they are more pronounced in reports. And, the Sergeants, corporals, privates and civilian clerks also had a role to play in the paper mill per se, as far as administration goes.
And, I did type the post of the two staff positions word for word, right out of the manual. And, it was Americanized from the French Army military system, which the English used then and can see the many foundations in ceremonial behaviors of the British military, even to the hand salutes.
M. E. Wolf
Your follow up reply is better than what you copied out of the official manual, far more understandable and simply makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification!
Weren't aide-de-camps often sons or other relatives of the general? Did they use the position as kind of a way of keeping their relatives close?
As an aide, you were useful or you were the son of someone who carried your water in the political world. Robert Lincoln got to be an aide to Grant. Go figure. What father wouldn't commit his son to be an aide to a Lt. General? He could and he did. Not many of us get to be president and place our sons wherever we'd like them placed.
Aide-de-camp is the commanders "dog robber", the man who get the materials for the General's well being in any way they can be appropriated. In the modern era they tend to be young LT's and West Pointers who are believed to be on their way "Up the Ladder" so this may have been a good position for a young man to gain knowledge of command during the War and to have been able to gain advancement.
My great-great grandfather, William B. Phillips, was the 23 year old Adjutant of the 2nd. Pennsylvania Provisional Heavy Artillery. I have 43 of his letters written during his Civil War service. In the letters, his penmanship, spelling and grammar is impeccable and it is clear that he is very well-read and articulate. Effective writing was vital during the Civil War as it was the primary form of communication on all levels from the battlefield to the White House. Commanders on all levels were constantly required to submit written reports and this responsibility fell upon the Adjutant. I'm sure he had to be skilled at taking dictation too. In the case of my ancestor, he ultimately was given a rifle and performed as an infantryman, participating in the initial charge at the Crater and taken prisoner. So much for being a good writer!
Stuart used some cousins as ADCs.
Meade's son was his aide. Grant's young son is listed as an aide on his staff in a monument at Vicksburg. Meade's son, however, actually acted as a courier under fire to deliver instructions to subordinates, such as Sickles.
For just a moment, put yourself as a Grant or a Lee. There could be 60 or 100 thousand men waiting on whether or not you had a satisfying **** that morning. The aides were the contact. Not just I want two fried eggs. "I want general X to form up and make a demonstration." The aide ran that order over. These were the fax.
Someone is feeling feisty today.
The monument you refrence is the Illinois Monument that lists eveery soldier present for duty at Vicksburg. When the monument was dedicated, Fred Grant was on hand and raised hell about the absence of his name on the monument. Fred was 12 years old during the vicksburg campaigh IIRC.
so, a very poor job of soldering was done and now Fred's name is soldered in place next to his daddy's
i know he became a major general, but he was a 12 year old boy who was accompanying his dad from time to time...not an aide and not a soldier IIRC
Sounds like Facebook.
I'm bumping this thread up because I had an additional questions about aide de camps that weren't mentioned above.
I was curious if in the Confederacy only generals were entitled to an aide de camp or if other officers like colonels would be entitled to one as well. Also, could an aide de camp be a lieutenant or would he have to be a captain or major to hold the post? And one last thing, I noticed Greg Taylor mentioned his ancestor ended up fighting in battle as an adjutant, but would an aide de camp find himself engaged in battle or would he be with his commanding officer off to the side assisting him during the battle? Thanks!
There also were other persons with aides, notably e.g. the Presidents and Governors. Colonels in command of brigades essentially had aides, too, though often acting. When they commanded a regiment they didn´t need any; they had the regimental staff supporting him and if they needed couriers a runner from the ranks normally would do.
Another thing were the Volunteer-Aides. A Vol-ADC, like the acting ADCs, wasn´t officially assigned to a staff but either attached from another unit, therefore ranging in rank from privates to major generals, or even a civilian with no rank at all (for now). A nice example would be, if I remember correctly, Moxley Sorrel who acted on Longstreet's staff during 1st Bull Run before receiving his commission - on recommendation of Longstreet for the services and qualities he showed there. It also was a great place for nepotism and patronage resulting in some people having extremely large staffs (like Jeb Stuart and McClellan) and lots of kinfolk (like e.g. Pickett and tons of others).
Thanks so much for the information, it really clears things up for me! Not surprising either that generals like Stuart and Pickett made their brothers, sons, etc. aides. It's a nice way to ensure your relatives aren't stuck with the regular folks!
Aide-de-Camps, frequently are personal picked by the superior/commanding officer. Aide-de-Camps are more personal and intimate, highly confidential. Yes, military but, they transfer with the general who personally picked them whereas the Adjutant or Additional Adjutant-General stays with the organization, e.g. Regiment, Brigade, Division, Corps, Army of the Potomac/Army of Northern Virginia.
M. E. Wolf
General French's General Order, No. 2, listing his staff -- you'll note the listing is by rank and is his staff officers in his First Brigade, 2nd Division, 18th Army Corps. 1864.
Document owned by M. E. Weyraugh, posted with permission for study and education purposes only.
M. E. Wolf
Separate names with a comma.