To get a better idea of Private Richard Goodhind’s place in Company G of the 2nd Massachusetts regiment, it’s worth a digression into how the Union army was organized.

It would far exceed the purposes of this website to try to describe the various generals who led the “Army of the Potomac,” as the Union side of the conflict was ultimately known. (Note: the Confederate side was known as the “Army of Northern Virginia.”)  As I cover battles here, however, I will mention who was in overall charge at the time.

President Abraham Lincoln had a continuing problem throughout the Civil War with his military commanders.  Few of them ever managed to press their advantage in battle against the Confederacy during the various campaigns of the war as he wished them to.  For that and other reasons, Lincoln was constantly removing his senior generals and placing others in charge.

Officers of the 2nd Massachusetts infantry at Camp Andrew, West Roxbury, MA

The Army of the Potomac was a hierarchical organization, as are our armies today.  The basic unit was the “COMPANY.”  It consisted of 100 men at the time it was first organized.  It’s important to understand that although 100 would have been considered “full strength” for the unit, companies were RARELY at full strength.  As the war progressed, it was not unusual to have companies at only 50-60 men, or even fewer. Companies were given alphabetical designations, such as “Company A,” “Company B” and so forth. Oddly though, the letter "J" was not used.

Companies were led by a Captain, 1st Lieutenant and a 2nd Lieutenant, known as “commissioned” officers.  Within the companies were 2 “platoons,” each platoon consisting of 2 “sections,” and each section having 2 “squads.”  “Non-commissioned” officers would have included a 1st Sargent, 4 other Sargents and 8 Corporals.  The lieutenants would have been in charge of a platoon; the sargents in charge of a section; and the corporals in charge of their own squad. [By the end of his service to the regiment, Richard Goodhind had been promoted to the rank of Corporal.]

8-10 companies constituted a “REGIMENT,” or roughly 800-1,000 men.  A regiment was commanded by a Colonel, a Lieutenant Colonel and a Major.  There would also have been a Quartermaster and a Commissary officer (both Lieutenants) and at least one Surgeon, who also carried an officer’s rank.  Regiments with only 4-8 companies were known as “BATALLIONS.”

The next largest grouping was a “BRIGADE,” consisting of 3-6 regiments (2,500-6,000 men) and led by a Brigadier General (“brigadier” meaning “leading a brigade”). 

Next would have been a “DIVISION,” consisting of 3-4 brigades (roughly 7,000-24,000 men).  In charge was a Major General.

 Next would have been a “CORPS,” (pronounced CORE) consisting of 2-3 divisions (or 14,000-72,000 men), commanded by a Major General.  Eventually, there were 25 corps during the Civil War.

Finally, there was an “ARMY.” An army would have consisted of 2-3 corps or more depending upon the battle, assembled for a specific purpose or a geographical “theatre” of operation.  For example, at Gettysburg, there were 7 infantry and 1 cavalry corps that fell under the jurisdiction of Union General George Meade.

So, to summarize:

A COMPANY started out with 100 men.
A REGIMENT would have been 1000 men.
A BRIGADE would have been 2,500-6,000 men.
A DIVISION would have been 7,000-24,000 men.
A CORPS would have been 14,000-72,000 men.
An ARMY might be anywhere between 28,000 and 216,000 men or more.

At the time of the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Army of the Potomac consisted of 134,000 Union soldiers. At Gettysburg, the number was about 94,000.

Richard Goodhind in the Civil War
About the 2nd Massachusetts Volunter Infantry
Chronology of service for the 2nd Mass Infantry
Listing of Enlisted Men in 2nd Mass (last name starting with a "G")
Richard Goodhind - Prisoner of War
Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Gettysburg
2nd Massachusetts Infantry at Gettysburg
Gettysburg Photo Gallery
Richard Goodhind's Pension File

More about the 2nd Mass Infantry (off site)

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