Sunday, February 8, 2009

Soldier’s Pay In The War Between the States

White Union privates were paid $13 per month until after the final raise of June 20, 1864, when they received $16. Black Union privates received $10 per month. In the infantry and artillery, officers were as follows at the start of the war:

USA Lieutenant General (Three Star), $758;
USA Major General (Two Star), $457;
USA Brigadier General (One Star), $315;
USA Colonel, $212;
USA Lieutenant Colonel, $181;
USA Major, $169;
USA Captain, $115.50;
USA First Lieutenant, $105.50;
USA Second Lieutenant, $105.50.

Other line and staff officers drew an average of about $15 more per month.
The Confederate pay structure was modeled after that of the US Army. Privates continued to be paid at the prewar rate of $11 per month until June 1864, when the pay of all enlisted men was raised $7 per month. Confederate officer’s pay was a few dollars lower than that of the their Union counterparts.

CSA Brigadier General, $301 instead of $315 per month;
CSA Colonel of the infantry $195, as opposed to $212;
CSA Colonel of artillery, engineers, and cavalry, $210.

While the inflation of Confederate Money reduced the actual value of a Southerner’s military pay, this was somewhat counterbalanced by the fact that promotion policies in the South were more liberal. As for the pay of noncommissioned officers:

CSA Private, $11 per month;
CSA Corporals, $13;
CSA “Buck” Sergeants, $17;
CSA First Sergeants $20;
CSA Engineer Sergeants, $34.

About the same ratio existed in the Northern army between the pay of privates and noncommissioned officers.
Soldiers were supposed to be paid every two months in the field, but they were fortunate if they got their pay at four-month intervals (in the Union Army) and authentic instances are recorded where they went six and eight months. Payment in the Confederate Army was even slower and less regular. However, when payment did come around in the Confederate Army, the blacks and whites were paid equally.

Sources: “The Civil War Dictionary” by Mark M. Boatner
March 2001 issue of America’s Civil War magazine, article by Frank L. Grzyb on the all-black 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, page 16.

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