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Confederate States Marine Corps

Confederate States Marine Corps

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The Confederate States Marine Corps (CSMC), a branch of the Confederate States Navy, was established by an act of the Congress of the Confederate States
Congress of the Confederate States
The Congress of the Confederate States was the legislative body of the Confederate States of America, existing during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865...

 on March 16, 1861. The CSMC's manpower was initially authorized at 45 officers and 944 enlisted men, and was increased on September 24, 1862 to 1026 enlisted men. The organization of the corps began at Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is the capital of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is the county seat of Montgomery County. It is located on the Alabama River southeast of the center of the state, in the Gulf Coastal Plain. As of the 2010 census, Montgomery had a population of 205,764 making it the second-largest city...

, and was completed at Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, when the capital of the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 was moved to that location. The CSMC headquarters and main training facilities remained in Richmond, Virginia throughout the war, located at Camp Beall on Drewry's Bluff and at the Gosport Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

.

Modeled after USMC



Before the war, the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 had been an "exceptionally fine and well-disciplined" organization, and "from it came the nucleus of the corresponding establishment of the Confederate service", the CSMC. The CSMC was modeled after the United States Marine Corps, but there were some differences: the Confederates organized themselves into permanent companies, replaced the fife
Fife (musical instrument)
A fife is a small, high-pitched, transverse flute that is similar to the piccolo, but louder and shriller due to its narrower bore. The fife originated in medieval Europe and is often used in military and marching bands. Someone who plays the fife is called a fifer...

 with the light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 bugle
Bugle (instrument)
The bugle is one of the simplest brass instruments, having no valves or other pitch-altering devices. All pitch control is done by varying the player's embouchure, since the bugle has no other mechanism for controlling pitch. Consequently, the bugle is limited to notes within the harmonic series...

, and wore uniforms similar to those of British Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

. Like the USMC, when ashore they provided guard detachments for Confederate naval stations at:
  • Richmond, Virginia
    Richmond, Virginia
    Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

  • Camp Beall, located near Fort Darling
    Fort Darling
    Fort Darling was a Confederate military installation during the American Civil War located at Drewry’s Bluff, a high point overlooking a bend in the James River south of Richmond in Chesterfield County, Virginia. It was the site of the 1862 Battle of Drewry's Bluff.It also served as the base of...

     at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
    Wilmington, North Carolina
    Wilmington is a port city in and is the county seat of New Hanover County, North Carolina, United States. The population is 106,476 according to the 2010 Census, making it the eighth most populous city in the state of North Carolina...

     - Fort Fisher
    Fort Fisher
    Fort Fisher was a Confederate fort during the American Civil War. It protected the vital trading routes of the port at Wilmington, North Carolina, from 1861 until its capture by the Union in 1865....

  • Charlotte, North Carolina
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

  • Charleston, South Carolina
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

  • Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
    Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
    Hilton Head Island or Hilton Head is a resort town in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is north of Savannah, Georgia, and south of Charleston. The island gets its name from Captain William Hilton...

  • Savannah, Georgia
    Savannah, Georgia
    Savannah is the largest city and the county seat of Chatham County, in the U.S. state of Georgia. Established in 1733, the city of Savannah was the colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. Today Savannah is an industrial center and an important...

  • Pensacola, Florida
    Pensacola, Florida
    Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

     - (manned naval shore batteries)
  • Mobile, Alabama
    Mobile, Alabama
    Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...



Seagoing detachments served aboard the various warship
Warship
A warship is a ship that is built and primarily intended for combat. Warships are usually built in a completely different way from merchant ships. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more maneuvrable than merchant ships...

s and even on commerce destroyers.

Organization


The CS Marine Corps was formed in the early days of the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 from three sources:
  • Sixteen officers (and 100 enlisted men) resigning or deserting from the US Marine Corps
  • The amalgamation of state organizations such as the Virginia State Marines
  • Active recruitment

Source of men



The Commandant of the CSMC, Colonel-Commandant Beall
Lloyd J. Beall
Lloyd James Beall was a United States Army officer and paymaster. During the American Civil War, he served as a colonel and as Commandant of the Confederate States Marine Corps...

, said the CSMC "was composed of enlisted men, many of whom were old soldiers and commissioned officers, a number of whom had seen service before in the U.S. Marine Corps and elsewhere." The record of US Marine officers who "resigned and tendered their swords to the Confederate Government" were:
US Marine Officers who resigned
Name State
Major Henry B. Tyler (USMC Adjutant) Virginia
Brevet Major George H. Terret Virginia
Captain Robert Tansill Virginia
Captain Algernon S. Taylor Virginia
Captain John D. Simms Virginia
First Lieutenant Israel Greene Virginia
First Lieutenant John K. H. Tatnall Georgia
First Lieutenant Julius E. Meire Maryland
First Lieutenant George P. Turner Virginia
First Lieutenant Thomas S. Wilson Missouri
First Lieutenant Andrew J. Hays Alabama
First Lieutenant Adam N. Baker Pennsylvania
Second Lieutenant George Holmes Florida
Second Lieutenant Calvin L. Sayre Alabama
Second Lieutenant Henry L. Ingraham South Carolina
Second Lieutenant Baker K. Howell Mississippi


These officers assembled with the CSMC as it stood up in Richmond, Virginia, with the exception of Captain Tansill, who had resigned while still onboard the USS Congress at sea. Captain Tansill was arrested by order of Secretary Welles of the U.S. Navy when he arrived in New York on August 23, 1861 and was held without charge, hearing or trial. He was released on Jan 10, 1862 as part of a prisoner exchange, and subsequently joined the CSMC in Virginia. "The gross injustice done him was recognized in an act of the Confederate Congress of April 11, 1863, which provided that 'officers of the navy and Marine Corps who resigned from the navy and Marine Corps of the United States in consequence of secession, and who were arrested and imprisoned in consequence of such resignation, and who subsequently joined the navy and Marine Corps of the Confederate States,' should receive 'leave of absence, pay for and during the term of such imprisonment, and up to the time of their appointment in the navy and marine corps of the Confederate States.' "

Manpower composition


The breakdown of officer manpower composition was:
  • One Colonel-Commandant
  • One Lieutenant Colonel
  • Three Majors (a quartermaster, paymaster, and an adjutant)
  • Ten Captains
  • Ten First Lieutenants
  • Twenty Second Lieutenants


The breakdown of enlisted manpower composition as of Sep 24, 1862 was:
  • One Sergeant Major
  • One Quartermaster Sergeant
  • Sixty Sergeants
  • Sixty Corporals
  • 840 Privates
  • Thirty drummers
  • Thirty fifers
  • Two principal musicians and two musicians


Although the CSMC had an authorized manpower of 1026 men, its enrollment never approached that number; the figures for 30 October 1864 list only 539 officers and enlisted men. Though the officers were mostly former U.S. Marine officers, the head of the corps, Colonel-Commandant Lloyd J. Beall
Lloyd J. Beall
Lloyd James Beall was a United States Army officer and paymaster. During the American Civil War, he served as a colonel and as Commandant of the Confederate States Marine Corps...

, was a former U.S. Army paymaster with no Marine experience. Major Lloyd J. Beall
Lloyd J. Beall
Lloyd James Beall was a United States Army officer and paymaster. During the American Civil War, he served as a colonel and as Commandant of the Confederate States Marine Corps...

, USA graduated from the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

, and had served in the First Infantry and Second Dragoons before becoming a paymaster from 1844 until the outbreak of the war. He resigned his commission on April 22, 1861 and was appointed Colonel-Commandant of the CS Marine Corps on May 23, 1861. Colonel Beall served throughout the war as the only Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Unit organizations


CS Marine Corps units were stationed at Confederate naval bases, as well as helping garrison shore fortifications such as Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher was a Confederate fort during the American Civil War. It protected the vital trading routes of the port at Wilmington, North Carolina, from 1861 until its capture by the Union in 1865....

 in North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

. Marines also served on Confederate warships, such as the CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama
CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead, United Kingdom, in 1862 by John Laird Sons and Company. Alabama served as a commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships over the course of her two-year career, during which she never anchored in...

. In the famous battle between the ironclads USS Monitor
USS Monitor
USS Monitor was the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She is most famous for her participation in the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862, the first-ever battle fought between two ironclads...

 and CSS Virginia
CSS Virginia
CSS Virginia was the first steam-powered ironclad warship of the Confederate States Navy, built during the first year of the American Civil War; she was constructed as a casemate ironclad using the raised and cut down original lower hull and steam engines of the scuttled . Virginia was one of the...

, Company C, Confederate States Marine Corps, served aboard the CSS Virginia, helping to man several of her guns.

In the summer of 1862, the CS Marine Corps was broken into squad-sized units and dispersed throughout the south. Dispersed Marine units were intended to provide training to overcome a shortage of trained naval gunners, with greater overall effect than their service as a single naval artillery battalion. With detachments spread at every major Confederate naval installation, Headquarters for the Confederate States Marines was established at Fort Darling
Fort Darling
Fort Darling was a Confederate military installation during the American Civil War located at Drewry’s Bluff, a high point overlooking a bend in the James River south of Richmond in Chesterfield County, Virginia. It was the site of the 1862 Battle of Drewry's Bluff.It also served as the base of...

 and Camp Beall, located at Drewry's Bluff on the James River
James River (Virginia)
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...

 in Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. Three companies, A, B, and C, were stationed semi-permanently at headquarters. There the Marines helped repulse the attack made on the Bluff by U.S. naval forces including the USS Monitor and the USS Galena
USS Galena (1862)
USS Galena — an ironclad screw steamer — was one of the first three ironclads, each of a different design, built by the Union Navy during the American Civil War....

 in the summer of 1862.

Despite desertions and even near-mutinies, most Marines served well and deserved Navy Secretary Stephen R. Mallory's praise for their "promptness and efficiency." The Corps' weakness was due largely to internal squabbles over rank, shore duty, and administrative assignments. Also, with no funds for bounties, the corps could not easily enlist recruits. Until 1864 the monthly pay of enlisted men was $3 less than that of equivalent Army grades. Only late in the war were the Marines allowed to draw from Army conscripts to augment their ranks.

Service during the war


Confederate Marines saw their first naval action aboard the CSS Virginia
CSS Virginia
CSS Virginia was the first steam-powered ironclad warship of the Confederate States Navy, built during the first year of the American Civil War; she was constructed as a casemate ironclad using the raised and cut down original lower hull and steam engines of the scuttled . Virginia was one of the...

 (USS Merrimack
USS Merrimack (1855)
USS Merrimack was a frigate and sailing vessel of the United States Navy, best known as the hull upon which the ironclad warship, CSS Virginia was constructed during the American Civil War...

) off Hampton Roads, Virginia
Battle of Hampton Roads
The Battle of Hampton Roads, often referred to as either the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack or the Battle of Ironclads, was the most noted and arguably most important naval battle of the American Civil War from the standpoint of the development of navies...

, March 8 to March 9, 1862, and near the end of the war were part of the naval brigade that fought at Sayler's Creek, Virginia
Battle of Sayler's Creek
-External links:* * : Maps, histories, photos, and preservation news...

.

From the Drewry's Bluff and other major posts (Wilmington, Charleston, Pensacola, Norfolk, Galveston, and Savannah), Marine detachments were parsed out to serve on major warships and for special operations, including the captures of the USS Underwriter
USS Underwriter (1852)
USS Underwriter was a 341-ton steamer acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War.Underwriter was outfitted as a gunboat, whose primary task was to prevent ships from penetrating the Union blockade of Southern ports....

 and the USS Water Witch
USS Water Witch (1851)
The third USS Water Witch was a wooden-hulled, sidewheel gunboat in the United States Navy during the American Civil War. She is best known as the ship fired on by Paraguay in 1855...

, and an attack to free Confederate prisoners of war being held at Point Lookout, Maryland
Point Lookout, Maryland
Point Lookout is a Maryland state park at the southern tip of St. Mary's County, Maryland. It is a peninsula formed by the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River....

.

Marine sea-based amphibious operations included the "Old" CSS Savannah
CSS Savannah (gunboat)
CSS Savannah, later called Old Savannah, was a gunboat in the Confederate States Navy during the American Civil War.Savannah was formerly the steamer Everglade, built in 1856 at New York City. She was purchased early in 1861 by the State of Georgia and converted into a gunboat for coast defense...

 shore party at Fort Beauregard, Phillips Island, SC to evacuate the garrison under attack. Marines under the command of Commodore Josiah Tattnall
Josiah Tattnall
Commodore Josiah Tattnall, Jr. was an officer in the United States Navy during the War of 1812, the Second Barbary War, and the Mexican-American War. He later served in the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War....

 were used to construct and man shore batteries which turned back Union gunboats and monitors both at Richmond and at Savannah.

The end of the war found most surviving Confederate States Marines gathered together in Richmond in support of the last desperate defenses of the South. Marines in Virginia were part of the General Richard S. Ewell
Richard S. Ewell
Richard Stoddert Ewell was a career United States Army officer and a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He achieved fame as a senior commander under Stonewall Jackson and Robert E...

's Corps which fought with distinction at the Battle of Sayler's Creek
Battle of Sayler's Creek
-External links:* * : Maps, histories, photos, and preservation news...

, the last major battle before the surrender of Lee's Army
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 at Appomattox
Battle of Appomattox Courthouse
The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought on the morning of April 9, 1865, was the final engagement of Confederate States Army General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia before it surrendered to the Union Army under Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and one of the last battles of the American...

.

Uniform


Their uniform resembled that prescribed for the Confederate Army, but since the CSMC was not as large and many of its records were destroyed in 1865, there is controversy about the exact details of the uniform. It is clear, however, that the Marines were often equipped out of the stores of whichever garrison was nearest their location. One description has the Marines dressed in frock coat
Frock coat
A frock coat is a man's coat characterised by knee-length skirts all around the base, popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The double-breasted style is sometimes called a Prince Albert . The frock coat is a fitted, long-sleeved coat with a centre vent at the back, and some features...

s of a particular (and undetermined) shade of gray and dark blue or black trousers. It appears that Confederate States Marines wore forage cap
Forage cap
Forage cap is the designation given to various types of military undress, fatigue or working headresses. These varied widely in form, according to country or period...

s although it is unclear if there was any ornamentation on the cover. Much of the gear worn by the CSMC was imported from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and its empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, namely Canada
Province of Canada
The Province of Canada, United Province of Canada, or the United Canadas was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of...

, and Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 creating a fairly unique look.

See also

  • Marines
  • Confederate States Army
    Confederate States Army
    The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

  • Battle of Fort Pulaski
    Battle of Fort Pulaski
    The Battle of Fort Pulaski was fought April 10–11, 1862, during the American Civil War. Union forces on Tybee Island and naval operations conducted a 112-day siege, then captured the Confederate-held Fort Pulaski after a 30-hour bombardment. The battle is important for innovative use of rifled guns...

    /Federal blockade and contact

External links