What does AOT mean?


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James N.

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#9
Southern Armies were named after states or regions such as Army of Tennessee or Army of Northern Virginia, while Northern Armies were named after rivers such as Army of the Tennessee, Army of the Ohio, Army of the James and Army of the Potomac.
Oh okay. Good to know!
There are exceptions to this correct general rule, as in the short-lived Union Army of Virginia led by John Pope in the summer of 1862.
 
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#10
There are exceptions to this correct general rule, as in the short-lived Union Army of Virginia led by John Pope in the summer of 1862.
In general these Union exceptions to the mostly adhered to rule appear to be early war. I.e. McDowell commanded the Union Army of Northeastern Virginia at First Bull Run.

(As I type this I note that these two unusually regionally named commands fought their only engagements at First and Second Bull Run...)
 
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#11
Wasn't the forerunner of the Army of Northern Virginia also called, briefly, the Army of the Potomac? If wikipedia is correct, it was the Army of the Potomac from May 1861 to March 1862. Its only major battle was First Manassas/Bull Run. The source in which I remember originally seeing this info has been loaned, so it's in Ohio while I'm in Oregon.

The Union Dept. of Northern Virginia did not become the Army of the Potomac until after that battle. Probably a good thing--the battle was messy enough without being fought between two armies with identical names!
 

diane

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#12
The battles also have Southern and Northern names, just to confuse things! The North tended to name a battle after a geographical feature, the South after the nearest town. For example, Antietam is the Union name, after the creek and Sharpsburg is the Southern name, after the nearest town. Brice's Crossroads is also called Tishomingo Creek or Guntown.
 

Bruce Vail

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#13
The battles also have Southern and Northern names, just to confuse things! The North tended to name a battle after a geographical feature, the South after the nearest town. For example, Antietam is the Union name, after the creek and Sharpsburg is the Southern name, after the nearest town. Brice's Crossroads is also called Tishomingo Creek or Guntown.

Hah!

Some battles (or big skirmishes) have more than two names.

Can you name any?
 

Zack

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#14
Wasn't the forerunner of the Army of Northern Virginia also called, briefly, the Army of the Potomac? If wikipedia is correct, it was the Army of the Potomac from May 1861 to March 1862. Its only major battle was First Manassas/Bull Run. The source in which I remember originally seeing this info has been loaned, so it's in Ohio while I'm in Oregon.

The Union Dept. of Northern Virginia did not become the Army of the Potomac until after that battle. Probably a good thing--the battle was messy enough without being fought between two armies with identical names!
Yes that is correct! The Confederate Army of the Potomac was organized on June 20, 1861. It became the Army of Northern Virginia some time in March or June 1862. There is some debate about when specifically the name change occurred. Some argue it was March 14, others say though the name was changed March 14 Johnston continued to refer to it as the Army of the Potomac so it was not until Lee took over June 1 that the name change was official.

As for the Union, it was the Army of Northeastern Virginia that McDowell led to First Bull Run, although again there is some confusion as some argue that it was the department that was "The Department of Northeastern Virginia" and not necessarily the army itself, though usually in cases such as that an army will take on the name of the department. The Department of Northeastern Virginia was folded into the Military District of the Potomac under the command of George McClellan on July 25, 1861, with the army itself folded into the Army of the Potomac through that August.

In other words, at the outset of the Peninsula campaign both armies may or may not have had the same name (depending on when you date the Confederate name change).
 

Zack

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#17
McPherson in his footnotes for Battle Cry of Freedom writes, "Sometimes called the Army of West Tennessee in 1862. The Army of the Tennessee was formally designated in October 1862 and now by that name for the rest of the war."

Woodsworth writes in Nothing But Victory: “The month of October was also a time of organizational changes. The District of West Tennessee became formally the Department of the Tennessee and the troops in it, officially, the Army of the Tennessee. Grant commanded both.”

I read Grant's army fought at Shiloh as "The Army of the District of Western Tennessee" and then became "The Army of the Tennessee" in October of 1862.
 

Zack

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#18
I did some more digging and it seems really fuzzy.

On February 14, 1862 Grant was placed in command of the District of West Tennessee. His troops are referred to as the Army of the Tennessee or the Army of West Tennessee. It seems the former was more frequent.

In March 1862 the forces that had fought with Grant at Forts Henry and Donelson are first officially referred to as the Army of the Tennessee, though they also go under the name The Army of West Tennessee or The Army of the District of West Tennessee. On March 21 Halleck writes that he is sending reinforcements to the “Army of the Tennessee."

In the Corinth campaign, Halleck variously called it the “Army Corps of the Tennessee” and the “Army of the Tennessee."

October 16, 1862 marks official reorganization. The District of West Tennessee is formally renamed the Department of the Tennessee and the army officially named the Army of the Tennessee. Both the department and the army are commanded by Grant. From then on there is no more confusion; it is the Army of the Tennessee

This confusion was more general than just the Army of the Tennessee, as things didn't start to get really hammered out until 1862. That's when army names were solidified as were corps distinctions.
 

diane

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#19
Hmm...
Manassas - Bull Run
Shiloh - Pittsburgh Landing
Antietam - Sharpsburg
Murfreesboro - Stones River
Elkhorn Tavern - Pea Ridge

Three names for Brice's Crossroads - Tishomingo Creek and Gun Town.

And...some of them had First and Second attached! (Think they lost track of what number Winchester was...)
 

Saphroneth

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#20
Naming armies by their geographical reach in some sense was the done thing at the time - there's Napoleon's armies (the Army of Flanders, for example) with the Grande Armee being essentially a full-on army group composed of multiple distinct armies, while the British army in the Crimea was the Army of the East.

I suspect the switch that took place to numbered armies was probably due to the Prussians. In 1866 at Sadowa/Koniggratz (another dual name battle) they had two numbered armies and the Elbe Army, while the Austrian army was regionally named (North).
In Franco-Prussian (1870-1) the Prussians had numbered armies and the French had geographically named ones.

By WW1, the BEF was originally one large army but quickly adopted numbered armies, and the French used numbered armies as well as the Prussians. Essentially it's the result of copying the Prussians, like the brief fashion for Pickelhaubes and the later roman numbering for army corps which was adopted by the US by the time the ORs were compiled. (Contemporary reports used Arabic numerals or the words - Fourth Army Corps, 4th Army Corps - but the ORs were compiled later and so used the then-current fashion.)
 



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