Brevet Generals Of The American Civil War

0hawkins.jpg (9658 bytes) Nearly 1,400 Federal officers were appointed to the rank of brevet general , brigadier or major, during the American Civil War.A brevet has been defined as “a commission conferring upon an officer a grade in the army additional to and higher than that which, at the time it is bestowed, he holds by virtue of his commission in a particular corps of the legally established military organization”. It makes him eligible for assignment to duty at the rank it confers, but without such assigment by the President it has no effect on the officers status with respect to pay, emoluments and seniority.



The brevet system was totally overwhelmed and effectively destroyed by the avalanche of brevet promotions resulting from the Civil War. With the formation of a huge volunteer army to fight the war, many regular army officers took leave from their regiments to seek promotion in the volunteer regiments. Thus it became possible for these officers to have four separate and distinct ranks at the same time. They could hold a lineal rank in both the regular and volunteer armies and also earn a brevet rank in both armies.

(Extracted from the book “Brevet Generals in Blue”)

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