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Military Terminology Conventions

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:05 am
by D.S. Walter
A few comments on acceptable terms used in the Union Army to properly designate units, grades & offices. If possible, adhere to these and adjust your websites & signatures accordingly.

1. Order of Battle

From top to bottom:
- Union Army (UA)
- Theater (of Operations)
- Army, or Field Army, to distinguish between these and the Union Army. Note that the field armies of the Union are all named after rivers, so they all need the definite article:
Army of the Cumberland
Army of the Tennessee
Army of the Potomac
Army of the Shenandoah
- Corps. Note that this is a french word for "body" (yes, it's the same root as "corpse" I am afraid) and it needs the closing "s", whether singular or plural. There is no such word as "corp" in the military terminology.
- Division
- Brigade

2. Grades

The UA uses the "long" abbreviations like this:

Gen.
Lt. Gen.
Maj. Gen.
Brig. Gen.
Col.
Lt. Col.
Maj.
Capt.
Lt.

The "modern" style abbrevations (GEN, LTG, MG, BG, COL, LTC, MAJ, CPT, LT &c.) are rather anachronistic for the Civil War.

3. Offices

- The commanding officer of the Union Army is officially styled the General-in-Chief, in conformance with historical usage.
- Any commanding officer below that who has subordinates, i.e. everyone from Theater Commander to Division Commander, is either a General Commanding (if he actually holds general officer rank) or a Commander.
- There is no Commander-in-Chief anywhere in the UA military hierarchy. Our C-in-C is the president of the United States.

4. Signatures

Acceptable styles of signature for an army commander (hypothetical example):

Lt. Gen. A. Brown
Army of the James (or: AotJ)

Lt. Gen. A. Brown
Army of the James, Commanding

Lt. Gen. A. Brown
General Commanding, Army of the James

Lt. Gen. A. Brown
Commander, Army of the James

A. Brown
Lt. General Commanding the Army of the James

The same of course goes for corps ....

Maj. Gen. C. Black
XII Corps, Army of the James

Maj. Gen. C. Black
XII/AotJ, Commanding

Maj. Gen. C. Black
Commander, XII Corps, Army of the James

C. Black
Major General Commanding XII Corps, Army of the James

&c. (I am sure you get the idea).