Soldier's Pay In The American Civil War
Union privates were paid $13 per month until after the final raise of 20 June '64, when they got $16. In the infantry and artillery, officer was as follows at the start of the war: colonels, $212; lieutenant colonels, $181; majors, $169; captains, $115.50; first lieutenants, $105.50; and second lieutenants, $105.50. Other line and staff officers drew an average of about $15 per month more. Pay for one, two, and three star generals was $315, $457, and $758, respectively.
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 '64, 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. A Southern B.G for example, drew $301 instead of $315 per month; Confederate colonels of the infantry received $195, and those of artillery, engineers, and cavalry go $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, when Southern privates were making $11 per month, corporals were making $13, "buck" sergeants $17, first sergeants $20, and engineer sergeants were drawing $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.
Source: "The Civil War Dictionary" by Mark M. Boatner
This Page last updated 02/10/02