Research Official Rank of Staff Officers


Nov 22, 2013
This is a question for someone out there that understands rank in the US Army (both regular and volunteer) during the Civil War. I am researching an officer in the regular army (a Major in the 10th​ Infantry: Julius Hayden) who is appointed as the Inspector General in Sickle’s staff of the Third Corps in 1863. What is confusing to me is that he is referred to as a Lieutenant Colonel by Sickles and others while he is in that position (for example, in Sickles’ official report of the battle of Chancellorsville), although there is no evidence of a promotion. He eventually resigns from being Inspector General, and referred to as Major after. I’m wondering: did the specific titles in Staff positions carry with them some kind of rank as well? That is, would someone assigned as Inspector General or Judge Advocate General or other similar staff titles, also be temporarily given a rank such as Lieutenant Colonel?

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Nov 10, 2006
The answer is yes; staff roles carried rank "on the staff".

The law that authorised army corps also specified that the Inspector General of an army corps was to hold the rank of Lt Col. However, rank "in the line" and "on the staff" were separate. Thus he could carry the rank of Staff Lt Col, but still rank in the line as a Maj.


Forum Host
Nov 27, 2018
Chattanooga, Tennessee
You will notice in many General Orders announcing the position and selection, the commanding general's adjutant at the end of the order will proclaim something such as, 'So and so will be obeyed and respected while in this capacity'. When Lincoln sent his Secretary John Hays south before the Olustee fiasco, he was also given an army command rank as Major, in case certain officers were unwilling to obey his requests.