Staff Attached to Generals

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atuttle32

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I am still new at this, so please be gentle! In reading about Joseph Hooker, I came across this photo titled "Union General Joseph Hooker (seated 2nd to right) and his staff, 1863" on wikipedia. It got me to thinking - how many staff members did a General have? Did it depend on what rank the General was at (Major, Brigadier, etc.), and were all of the staff members officers? And what did they all do?
 

Borderruffian

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Here's Sterling Price's General Staff Roster in 1861, while he was commanding the Missouri State Guard.


First Commander: Major General Sterling Price
Second Commander: Brigadier General Mosby Monroe Parsons
Second Commander: Brigadier General James S. Rains

GENERAL STAFF

Assistant Adjutant-General: Colonel Henry Lewis Little
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General: Colonel Thomas Lowndes Snead
Assistant Commissary of Subsistencet: Colonel John Reid
Assistant Inspector-General: Colonel Horace H. Brand.
Army Judge Advocate-General: Colonel George Graham Vest
Assistant Quartermast-General: Colonel Edward Haren, Jr.
Colonel Randolph Henry Dyer
Major George A. Gallaher
Chaplain-General: Lt. Col. Benjamin Taylor Kavanaugh
Medial Director: Colonel William M. Snodgrass, M.D.
Assistant Medial Director: Lt. Col. Henry M. Cross, M.D.
Assistant Surgeon-General: Colonel Montrose A. Pallen, M.D.
Army Wagon-Master: Captain Thomas Hinkle
Chief of Engineers: Captain A. C. Dickerson
Aide-de-Camp: Colonel Edward Carrington Cabell
Colonel Alfred W. Jones
Colonel H. Clay Taylor
Lt. Col. George W. Allen
Lt. Col. Richard T. Morrison
Colonel Lewis M. Applegate
Captain R. M. Morrison
Captain Emmett MacDonald
Lt. Col. James T. Cearnal



That will give you an idea, General's tend to go big or go home when it comes to staff.

Many of the staff were also doing double duty as field commanders. Parson's, Rains, and Little were also Division Commanders.

http://www.missouridivision-scv.org/msg.htm
 

NedBaldwin

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how many staff members did a General have? Did it depend on what rank the General was at (Major, Brigadier, etc.), and were all of the staff members officers? And what did they all do?
It depended on the command position of the General -- Brigade? Division? Corps? Army?
The larger the command, the more staff he had and the more specialized staff.
 
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ole

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It depended on the command position of the General -- Brigade? Division? Corps? Army?
The larger the command, the more staff he had and the more specialized staff.
Depended on the general. Much has been said that Lee didn't have an adequate staff. On the other hand, Grant did have one and used it to the max. Then there were the different styles.

When Grant said, "I want this," he had someone to make sure it happened. It doesn't look like Lee had the same thing going for him.
 
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atuttle32

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Interesting, ole, that you say that ... from what I am learning, it sounds like Lee had an adequate staff early in the CW because of who the opposing army had in place. But then when Grant came on board and was so *persistant*, Lee could have used more reliable people. By then though it sounds like he didn't have too many choices left.

I don't know - I may be completely wrong and I know it's a newbie opinion, but either way I'm beginning to understand why so many people find the CW and its era so fascinating. It's not about the war, it's about the people in the war.
 

Toccoa101506

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I found this on http://howardlanham.tripod.com/plan.htm

Higher levels of organizations included brigades, which were to be commanded by a brigadier general, and include a staff consisting of a aide-de-camp (lieutenant), assistant adjutant general (captain), surgeon, assistant quartermaster (captain) and a commissary of subsistence (captain). A division staff included one major general, two aides-de-camp (captains or lieutenants) one assistant adjutant general (major). An army corps staff was established by General Orders No. 91 of July 29, 1862. It consisted of a major general assisted by three aides-de-camp (a major and two captains), assistant adjutant general (lieutenant colonel), quartermaster (lieutenant colonel), commissary of subsistence (lieutenant colonel), and assistant inspector general (lieutenant colonel).

This plan was a basic outline and there were many alterations and exceptions made during the war. It was not unusual for colonels to command brigades and brigadier generals to command divisions. Aides-de-camp were selected among the company officers and could be returned at the pleasure of the senior officer.


I've seen some generals with larger staffs than what is regulated though.

In my opinion, some reenacting organizations now have too many staff positions and officers than was was actually accounted for during the war for that specific size unit.
 
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1SGDan

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you might also be interested in knowing that on many smaller (division and below) staffs the engineer may not be engineer qualified. Because of a lack of trained engineer officers (there was only about 150 of these available) these poaitions were filled by "acting" officers selected from other disciplines based on some civilian or educational experience.
 

DixieRifles

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Good question. I always thought a general formed his staff as he saw fit. It is not like WW2 where they had the staff of a divisional staff pretty much defined with designations of Exec officer, G-2, G-3, G-4, etc.
For the typical history book on battles and campaigns, these staff will seldom be mentioned. Occasionally, it will mention that a CG will be wounded and his staff will fill in for him.
The only book that covers a general's staff that I am aware of is "Nathan Bedford's Escort and Staff" by Michael Bradley.
 

Toccoa101506

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Good question. I always thought a general formed his staff as he saw fit. It is not like WW2 where they had the staff of a divisional staff pretty much defined with designations of Exec officer, G-2, G-3, G-4, etc.
For the typical history book on battles and campaigns, these staff will seldom be mentioned. Occasionally, it will mention that a CG will be wounded and his staff will fill in for him.
The only book that covers a general's staff that I am aware of is "Nathan Bedford's Escort and Staff" by Michael Bradley.
Yes that's right. Starting in WWII, the staff was organized, unlike Civil War staffs where the more popular and higher rank a general had, the more staff members he had. I might have to find that book. Organizational structure such as general's staffs interest me.
 
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There were regular staff officers that were part of their departments and, by far the larger number, officers acting in a certain capacity. And there were regulated postions for each command, which however had a major loophole: The (volunteer) Aide-de-Camp - being officialy unpaid a general could have a nearly endless number of those, JEB Stuart is a famous example for this practise. To make it more complicated there were staff officers attached to a command and staff officers attached to a commanding officer ...


I know of two books dealing with the topic (both limited to the ANV though):

Buff Facings and Gilt Buttons: Staff and Headquarters Operations in the Army of Northern Virginia, 1861-1865
Staff Officers in Gray: A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia
 

JPWalton

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The answer is there is no fixed answer, but there were fixed job slots. You can see those in the examples cited: commissary, quartermaster, ordnance, artillery, engineering, signals, topography, inspector general, judge advocate, medical, provost marshal, adjutant general (basically, chief of staff's office), etc.

The higher up the chain of command you went, the more of these slots there would be. A regimental colonel, for example, had a small staff consisting of commissary and quartermaster sergeants, a sergeant major, maybe a chaplain, maybe a surgeon, and an aide/courier or two.

Also the higher up the chain one went, the higher the rank of the men holding these posts, and the more likely they would have deputies and assistants. Thus a regimental quartermaster was a sergeant, holding the specific rank of quartermaster sergeant, and was a one-man show. The man doing that job at the corps level might be a major or lieutenant colonel, and have his own mini-staff.

Finally, Union staff establishments tended to be bigger than their Confederate counterparts.

The number of aide-de-camps, gentlemen volunteers, and other such staff assistants could be very variable. It wasn't quite the case that a general could have as many of these people as they wanted -- even an army commander needed the approval of the Adjutant General (Cooper or Halleck) if they wanted to make an aide formal and pay them. Still, such requests were rarely refused.

I am still new at this, so please be gentle! In reading about Joseph Hooker, I came across this photo titled "Union General Joseph Hooker (seated 2nd to right) and his staff, 1863" on wikipedia. It got me to thinking - how many staff members did a General have? Did it depend on what rank the General was at (Major, Brigadier, etc.), and were all of the staff members officers? And what did they all do?
 

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I am still new at this, so please be gentle! In reading about Joseph Hooker, I came across this photo titled "Union General Joseph Hooker (seated 2nd to right) and his staff, 1863" on wikipedia. It got me to thinking - how many staff members did a General have? Did it depend on what rank the General was at (Major, Brigadier, etc.), and were all of the staff members officers? And what did they all do?
Please note that on Borderruffian's excellent and comprehensive example the 1861 Missouri ( and neighboring Kentucky ) State Guard was in addition an important social and political organization as well as a military one. That meant trying to woo important potential supporters and adherents with plum positions that often had nothing to do with military experience, effectiveness, or necessity. Many if not most of these "staff officers" listed could have easily been eliminated, since the MSG was only the size of a brigade or small division. ( It's size fluctuated widely as the war progressed. ) Both Union and Confederate divisions, corps, and even armies sometimes "made do" with smaller staffs, notably both Lee and Jackson, as has been pointed out.
 
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James N.

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I am still new at this, so please be gentle! In reading about Joseph Hooker, I came across this photo titled "Union General Joseph Hooker (seated 2nd to right) and his staff, 1863" on wikipedia. It got me to thinking - how many staff members did a General have? Did it depend on what rank the General was at (Major, Brigadier, etc.), and were all of the staff members officers? And what did they all do?
I'm most familliar with Jackson, and the size and functioning of his staff reflected his own austere and reticent personality. For example, he chose Rev. R. L. Dabney as his Chief-of-Staff with the rank of colonel BECAUSE he was a Methodist minister, and had absolutely NO experience or qualification for the most important post on a staff! The reason was that Jackson with his secretive ways acted as his own chief-of-staff and only wanted someone to pass on orders and NOT to help formulate strategy as a "typical" European ( think Prussian ) chief-of-staff might have. Dabney was mainly a moral and religious "companion" whose civillian position was expected to translate into respect as Jackson's chief.

The real staff duties ( mainly paperwork ) fell on Jackson's younger staff members, particularly Alexander "Sandy" Pendleton, son of Lee's incompetent chief-of-artillery, Brig. Gen. Wm. Nelson Pendleton, another civillian minister, this time an Episcopalian like Lee, Jeff Davis, and Bishop Leonidas Polk in the western army. Sandie was a brilliant Washington ( later Washington and Lee ) College student who served Jackson and his successors Ewell and Early faithfully until he was killed as a lieutenant colonel and Chief-of-Staff at Fisher's Hill in the Shenandoah in Sept., 1864. His transcriptions of orders were considered especially clear and consise.

For Jackson, probably the "perfect" subordinates were mapmaker Jeddiah Hotchkiss, Dr. Hunter McGuire, and stagecoach line operator John Harmon , once again all 3 civillians with NO military background but ranking as majors. Hotchkiss occupied the position of topographical engineer: he made excellent up-to-date maps without asking exactly what they were for ( anathema to Stonewall ); McGuire was Jackson's Medical Director and personal physician who attended him in his last days; and Harmon was a profane ( much to Jackson's displeasure ) mule driver who was able to keep the various trains of wagons moving under often averse conditions.

Trouble naturally occurred when Jackson expected these non-military men to perform duties they hadn't been trained for or were tempermentally unsuited to. A case in point was Dabney's mishandling of what should've been simple communication of orders for movement on the Peninsula: as a minister Dabney failed to understand or observe the proper military chain-of-command, creating a snafu resulting in the delay of combat units moving into position. Harmon was often irate, threatening to resign because he hadn't been given enough information or time to prepare for Jackson's notoriously quick marches.

Dabney and Pendleton were also assisted by a number of young students like James Power Smith and Henry Kyd Douglas who as aides-de-camp with the ranks of lieutenant or captain performed various duties acting as couriers, secretaries, scouts, etc. ( It was said of Napoleon's Aides-de-Camp - who were generals - that they should know everything from how to lead a charge to how to cook a chicken! ) Douglas was an intelligent and especially observant witness who left an outstanding memoir that goes into great detail about Jackson's staff; fortunatly at the time he usually knew to keep his mouth shut around his tight-lipped superior!
 
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IcarusPhoenix

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This book is a listing of Confederate staff officers: http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924030921096

This site lists the staff officers of Robert E. Lee throughout the war: http://www.robert-e-lee.freeservers.com/Lee_Staff.htm

Stonewall Jackson's staff during the Valley Campaign: http://www.civilwarhome.com/jacksonsstaff.htm
There's also Robert Krick's Staff Officers in Gray, a biographical register in the vein of Warner's old Generals books.

As for the original question, I don't think either army had particularly specific regulations for staff; aside from generally recommending an aide-de-camp, engineer, surgeon, quartermaster, and commissary officer for staff of brigades, divisions, corps, and armies, and specifying pay grades, I don't recall that they talked about staff officers too terribly much. I need to scan through the regs again.
 

IcarusPhoenix

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You should also look at Halleck's Elements of Military Art and Science (https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=WLREAAAAIAAJ), which discusses staff departments in a few chapters (it's more of a treatise discussing European armies and how some aspects may be adapted, so it's more abstract), and the best period work is probably August Kautz: Customs of Service for Officers of the Army (https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=KWgWAAAAYAAJ). The section on the general staff isn't large:

GENERAL STAFF. 305. It is not unusual for lieutenants to be as signed to duty in some capacity properly pertaining to the General Staff, either detached or on the staff of some general officer. It is not intended to do more than indicate what these are, at this time.
306. He may be called upon to act in any one of the following capacities, viz. :
Adjutant General.
Inspector General.
Aid-de-Camp.
Quartermaster.
Commissary.
Engineer.
Judge Advocate.
Ordnance Officer.
Mustering Officer.
Provost Marshal.
Sections 307-368 discuss the duties of those various staff positions.
 
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NedBaldwin

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As for the original question, I don't think either army had particularly specific regulations for staff; aside from generally recommending an aide-de-camp, engineer, surgeon, quartermaster, and commissary officer for staff of brigades, divisions, corps, and armies, and specifying pay grades, I don't recall that they talked about staff officers too terribly much. I need to scan through the regs again.
There was legislation and Army regulations specifying how many staff and what roles they would fill for different levels of command.
 

IcarusPhoenix

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There was legislation and Army regulations specifying how many staff and what roles they would fill for different levels of command.
"What roles", yes (though again this is better specified in Kautz than in the actual regulations), but in my (admittedly rapid) scan of the Revised Regulations of 1861 and my (less rapid) scan of Legislative History of the General Staff, I couldn't find anything specifying "how many".
 
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