United States Army Ranks

~ The Rank Structure Of The United States Army ~

The basic rank structure of the United States Army during the War of 1861-1865 remains the rank structure that exists from the pre-war Army.

Color coding is also continued from pre-war standards; however, the United States Army's color coding system is far more expansive than the Confederate States Armies.  As the War of 1861-1865 moves away from its initial belief that the war will be won in one land battle into what's to come ~ a growing number of nightmarish bloody battles in nearly rapid fire succession ... the United States Army develops specialized Combat Arms Corps to focus on wartime army requirements.

Drawing attention to the evolving wartime U. S. Army, there are two examples presented here illustrating the expanding and shrinking color coding system (below).  The first example becomes, by war's end, the most despised and feared specialized combat arms corps for both armies.  It's here in the American War of 1861-1865 the world witnesses the formalization of the position of "sharpshooter" on the battlefield.

The United States Government formalizes the world's first "Sharpshooters Corps" to counter the Confederate Army's skilled sharpshooters sent out to target battlefield officers and non-commissioned officers deliberately makes war on civilian population centers with specific goals of destroying what the U. S. classifies as "contraband".  Contraband is quickly expanded by some officers to include looting the personal effects of local civilian families, including food stocks stored in personal home storage rooms to feed families.  Confederate sharpshooters seek out those officers and NCOs who order and enact this kind of war.  The U. S. Army commissions its own Sharpshooters Corps to hunt down their Confederate nemesis.  As the war reaches the "Summer of 1864" and Sherman begins his "March To The Sea" Campaign, Sharpshooters on both sides target any officer or NCO they can obtain a solid sight alignment / sight picture on. 

Confederate officers quickly realize that their own gold bullion sleeve braid rank makes them instant targets and remove their ranks in the hope of lessening their deaths ... and in many letters home to loved ones, some officers describe their sleeve bullion as "chicken guts" and are grateful to remove a certain sharpshooter's target mechanism against them.

Dragoons are a remnant Corps for the U. S. Army ~ a remnant of United States History dating back to the Revolutionary War ... their numbers are few at the outset of the war, and by war's end the Dragoons Corps is rolled into the US Cavalry Corps.

~ Color Coding & The Branches Of Service ~

Color Coding Branch of Service
Dark Blue General Officers' Corps
Buff White Trim Adjutants
Buff Trim Aides de Camp
Black Trim Corps of Engineers
Scarlet Trim Inspector Generals corps
Sky Blue Trim Quartermaster Corps
Sky Blue Infantry
Dark Green Sharpshooters Corps
Orange Dragoons
Yellow Cavalry
White Judge Advocates (Military Lawyers)
Scarlet Artillery
Crimson ordinance
Emerald Green Medical Corps

~ Officers' Kepi Insignia & The Branches Of Service ~

General Officer Staff Officer Infantry Officer Artillery Officer Cavalry Officer
Sharpshooter Officer Engineer Officer Topographical
Engineer Officer
Ordinance Officer Signals Officer

~ United States Army Officer Ranks ~

~ General Officer Ranks ~

Uniform Sketch Artillery Cavalry Engineer Infantry Grade

Lieutenant General

(Lt Gen)

Major General
(Maj Gen)

Brigadier General
(Brig Gen)

~ Field Grade Officer Ranks ~

Uniform Sketch Artillery Cavalry Engineer Infantry Sharpshooters Grade



Lieutenant Colonel

(Lt Col)



~ Company Grade Officer Ranks ~

Uniform Sketch Artillery Cavalry Engineer Infantry Sharpshooters Grade



First Lieutenant

(1st Lt)

Second Lieutenant
(2nd Lt)

~ Enlisted Kepi Insignia & The Branches Of Service ~

Artillery Cavalry Engineer Infantry
Ordinance Sharpshooter Signals

~ United States Army Enlisted Ranks ~

Uniform Sketch Artillery Cavalry Infantry Sharpshooters Grade

Sergeant Major
(Sgt Maj)

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant
(Reg QM Sgt)

First Sergeant
(1st Sgt)

Battery or Company
Quartermaster Sergeant

(Btry QM Sgt)
N / A N / A 4






N / A 2





~ U. S. Army Branch-Unique Specialists ~

Engineer     Ordinance      Signal Corps
Kepi Insignia

~ Enlisted Ranks ~

While some of the following chevrons would reflect basic ranks, soldiers are trained to pay attention to both kepi / hat insignia and chevrons to recognize 'specialists' when they appear during any given circumstance during the war.

A "Hospital Steward" is the Sergeant Major of a field or garrison United States Army Hospital throughout the war. 

"Ordinance" enlisted ranks appear only in Artillery commands on the battlefield and at Ordinance Depot garrisons that supply Artillery commands.

Rank Chevrons Grade
Hospital Steward 7
Ordinance Sergeant
(Ord Sgt)
Engineer Sergeant
(Eng Sgt)
Signal Corps Sergeant
(Sig Sgt)
Ordinance Sergeant
(Ord Sgt)
Engineer Corporal
(Eng Cpl)
Ordinance Corporal
(Ord Cpl)
Ambulance Corps Private

~ The Other United States Military Services ~

United States Marine Corps United States Navy

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