Civil War Era Union Army Rank

Reenactors are expected to know both office and enlisted rank structure. Understaning what action to take when encountering someone of a higher rank is a military requirement.


Civil War Enlisted Rank


First Sergeant
Quartermaster Sergeant
Sergeant Major
Service Stripes - One strip for 5 years of service. Red strip for wartime service.

Civil War Officer Rank



The below Shoulder Straps are shown with the Blue background representing the Infantry Branch. Other branch colors are:

Yellow - Cavalry  
Red - Artillery  
Black - Staff  
Second Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
Lieutenant Colonel
Brigadier General
Major General
Lieutenant General
Only General Grant (March 1864) was appointed to this grade

Historical Note


"March 29 - A good day for spring fever and it took hold of a good many. Have been busy all day preparing to leave for the south. This eve the 15th Mich came in tired, dirty and used up. The regt. Numbers about 900 and are armed with Austrian muskets, a very clumsy looking gun."

From The Civil War Diary of Cyrus F. Boyd, Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, 1861-1863


More Information