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The Confederate States Army was the branch of the Confederate States Armed Forces which had primary responsibility for land-based military operations.
A picture of some Confederate soldiers.
The Confederate States Army was formed in 1861 to defend the Confederate States of America, which had itself been formed that same year when 11 southern states seceded from the United States. The army was formed around a core of 313 officers who left the United States Army, and had an initial enlistment of 82,000 volunteers. In August of 1861, the Congress of the Confederacy authorized the recruitment of 400,000 men. In April of 1862, The Confederate Congress passed the Conscription Act, which drafted all white men aged 18 to 35. In total, 1,406,180 men enlisted in the Confederate States Army.
The Confederate States Army was initially a defensive army, and many troops resented it when Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia into offensive operations against the North (many deserted at that point, claiming that their enrollments were for defense, not invasion). During this time, an estimated 50,000 soldiers deserted. After the losses at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, the number rose to 100,000.
Some Conderate leaders included Jubal Early, Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, A.P. Hill, Braxton Bragg and many others.
The Confederate States Army was unusual in that all officers under the rank of Brigadier General were elected by the troops. In addition, no medals were awarded, due to the belief that all soldiers were heroes. The only reward was to be mentioned in dispatches.
The Army of Northern Virginia was disbanded on April 9, 1865, when General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
The other Confederate armies slowly resigned until the war ended near 2 and a half months after Lee resigned.