Regular army/USCT question

Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Does anyone know the size of the regular army from 1861-1863 and how much it grew?

Its always struck me a little curious after the USCT creation, it seems they raised large numbers of USCT units as regular army, bypassing the system of federalizing state militia units.......if it was done with USCT, why hadn't they simply recruited troops into regular army units all along?
 

Don Dixon

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Location
Fairfax, VA, USA
On 31 December 1860 the United States Army consisted on paper of 18,093 officers and men, but only 16,367 were present for duty: 1,108 regular officers and 15,259 enlisted men, organized into 198 companies which were scattered across the country at 79 different posts.

On 15 April 1861, in response to the firing on Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 men from the states’ militias for 90 day’s service. This was the longest period for which he could call them under the 1st​ Militia Act of 1792, and probably represented Lincoln’s initial estimate of how many troops would be needed to quell the rebellion quickly. On 3 May Lincoln issued a second proclamation calling for 42,034 volunteers for three years’ service; expanding the regular Army by eight infantry, one cavalry, and one artillery regiments; and expanding the Navy by 18,000 sailors. Within four months of the attack on Fort Sumter, the Federal Army grew from 16,000 men to 500,000. Neglected by the War Department, the 19 infantry regiments of the Regular Army never attained their full authorized strength during the war. Instead, the creation of state volunteer regiments afforded state governors opportunities for political patronage in the appointment of regimental officers.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

Kyle Kalasnik

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 3, 2014
Location
Potter County, PA
Did people enlist into the US Regular Army? Was it few and far between and the majority of enlistments were into the US Volunteers?

Respectfully,
Kyle Kalasnik
 
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jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Many, if not most, regular US Army officers, took commissions in the US Volunteers, as this pathway opened up an avenue for quick promotion. So my question is, what happened to those officers who remained in command of regular US Army units, and did not accept Volunteer assignments? Did they suffer from a lack of promotional opportunities or did it not matter?
 

Don Dixon

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Location
Fairfax, VA, USA
Many, if not most, regular US Army officers, took commissions in the US Volunteers, as this pathway opened up an avenue for quick promotion. So my question is, what happened to those officers who remained in command of regular US Army units, and did not accept Volunteer assignments? Did they suffer from a lack of promotional opportunities or did it not matter?

Yes and no. Those who didn't take volunteer commissions continued in the active Army's glacial promotion system, although some were made somewhat more whole through brevet promotions for service in the war. The two commanders of the New York Ordnance Agency, which purchased most of the foreign manufactured arms and materiel used to equip the Federal Army, are examples:

Major Peter V. Hagner was born in Washington, DC. He graduated 25th in the U.S. Military Academy class of 1836; and took his commission in field artillery. After service in Florida during the 1836-7 Seminole War, he transferred to ordnance. He went to the field during the Mexican War, fighting at the Battles of Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec, and the assault on Mexico City, where he was wounded. After Cerro Gordo, he was brevetted a captain, and after Chapultepec, he was brevetted a major. Prior to the Civil War he had held a series of responsible ordnance assignments. He supervised the grading of the Army’s inventory of flintlock muskets in the 1840s, determining which could be transformed to percussion and which should be condemned and sold, and he sat on the ordnance board which recommended adoption of the Model 1855 family of Springfield arms. The beginning of the war found him in command of St. Louis Arsenal. Relieved of that command due to a conflict with Captain Nathaniel Lyon over his refusal to release weapons to arm pro-Unionist Missouri militia, Hagner was placed in charge of the New York Ordnance Agency, where he served until he was reassigned to command Watervliet Arsenal in 1863. Hagner retired in 1881 as a brevet brigadier general and died in Washington in 1893.

Captain Silas Crispin graduated third in the U.S. Military Academy class of 1850. Prior to his assignment in New York, he served at Watervliet, Washington, Allegheny, and St. Louis Arsenals; commanded the Leavenworth Ordnance Depot; and had been the assistant inspector of arsenals. Breveted colonel for meritorious service during the Civil War, Crispin served in a series of responsible ordnance assignments after the war. He was promoted to colonel on the active Army list on 23 August 1881 and died in New York City on 28 February 1889.

Those who took volunteer commissions and/or received brevets reverted to their permanent Army ranks following the war. Custer, for example went from major general of volunteers back to his permanent rank of lieutenant colonel, regular Army. It would be possible for an officer to have four ranks during the war. For example: captain, regular Army; brevet lieutenant colonel, regular Army; brigadier general of volunteers; and brevet major general of volunteers. After the war, the brevet ranks only mattered if you sat on a courts martial panel and when you retired. In the meantime, you served and were paid at your regular Army rank.

But, this was not unique to the Civil War. During the Vietnam War I had two ranks: one in the Army Reserve and one in the Army of the United States, which was higher. When I left active duty, I reverted to my reserve date of rank. A friend served in the pre-Vietnam War army with a sergeant major who had been a brigadier during World War II and reverted to his permanent rank after the war. But, he retired as a brigadier.

Regards,
Don Dixon
 

MackCW

Private
Joined
Aug 30, 2020
My ancestor was recruited into the regular army by a Sergeant who visited their farm. He then had to cross state lines to enlist. They used many of the same tactics that volunteer regiments did... bounty system, posters, recruitment meetings.
 

TomP

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Location
Corinth, MS
Did people enlist into the US Regular Army? Was it few and far between and the majority of enlistments were into the US Volunteers?

Respectfully,
Kyle Kalasnik
Men continued to enlist into the US Regular Army during the war. Ancestry.com provides access to the U.S. Returns from Regular Army Infantry Regiments, 1821-1916, (as well as cavalry and artillery.) The documents are very detailed and list the names of men brought into individual companies as well as losses from various reasons. I have studied the records of the 1st Infantry in great detail and the information has proven invaluable in my park research of Corinth during the war. This attached document, from the 1st Infantry, is one of four pages filed on a monthly basis for each regiment. Frequently there are other important documents included.

31637_218242-00229.jpg
 
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