Posted By : manager

Posted : February 25, 2022

By: Mike Thomas

Each Confederate Brigade, Division, or Corps had an assigned staff formed by appointments from the various offices in the War Department. Generals commanding these units had little to say about who served on the team since it belonged to the unit he commanded, not to him. The lone exception was the Aide-de-Camp {ADC} who was appointed by and served at the pleasure of the general. An ADC received the rank of 1st Lieutenant and served as the most junior officer on staff, knowing there were no provisions for promotion. His duties were whatever the general assigned him. If the general died, resigned, or lost his command, the ADC was immediately off staff and subject to conscription unless another position could be quickly found.

Generals invariably selected a relative or close friend, someone they had complete trust in, as their ADC. South Carolina’s generals followed this pattern. M. C. Butler and Wade Hampton appointed their brothers. Micah Jenkins selected a brother-in-law. Stephen Elliott selected a close friend who served as a sergeant for over two years in his artillery battery.
General P.G.T. Beauregard broke from this pattern by appointing South Carolinian, Beaufort native Alexander R. Chisolm as his ADC. The men first met only in February 1861 at Charleston when Chisolm, a civilian, was selected by Governor Pickens to assist in the erection of emplacements at Cummings Point on Morris Island. However, Beauregard was so im-pressed with Chisolm that he appointed him as his ADC a month later, thus forging a friendship and professional relationship unmatched anywhere in the army.
Lt. Chisolm was present when Fort Sumter was captured in April 1861. Beauregard’s complete trust in him from the earliest days is shown by being selected as one of the three officers sent to Sumter by Beauregard asking for its surrender before it was fired on. Educated and articulate, he often served as Beauregard’s personal emissary and efficiently handled assignments usually reserved for officers of higher rank when necessary. Trustworthy, diligent, and competent in all he was as-signed, Chisolm became Beauregard’s “confidential friend” as well as a valued staff member.
Lt. Chisolm followed Beauregard to his various posts. At 1st Manassas, while acting as a courier, Chisolm found himself deeply involved with the battle. He rallied panicked soldiers and got them reorganized as an effective command at one point. He also, without orders, served as a battlefield guide for arriving forces that day. He was at Shiloh, the siege of Charleston, Petersburg, and the Carolinas campaign. In early 1865, Beauregard asked the War Department to promote Chisolm to Major, an unprecedented request for an ADC. President Jefferson Davis gave a positive endorsement, but the war ended before the promotion was implemented.

Most staff officers served with a particular general just a year or two. Lt. Chisolm served as Beauregard’s ADC from 12 March 1861 to his parole at Greensboro on 1 May 1865, a period of nearly fifty consecutive months. This South Carolinian was the most senior Lieutenant and ADC in the entire army. No other staff officer in the army had such tenure.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Any Questions?
Join our Newsletter

Previous Next
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this