List of major generals in the United States Regular Army before 1 July 1920

This is a complete list of major generals in the United States Regular Army before July 1, 1920.

For most of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the rank of major general was the highest possible in the Regular Army. It was also one of the rarest: until 1915, there were at most eight major generals on active duty at any given time. Even when the Army expanded during times of war, the number of Regular Army major generals remained relatively constant because instead of increasing the permanent military establishment to meet transient wartime needs, the Regular Army was used as a cadre for a vast non-permanent establishment of volunteer and conscript forces. Many of the most famous major generals of the American Civil War held that rank only in the volunteer service, and reverted to a much lower permanent grade in the Regular Army when the volunteer force was disbanded after the war.[1]

The number of Regular Army major generals increased dramatically when the Army was reorganized after World War I. The new peacetime establishment maintained a total of 34 active-duty major generals, including 21 major generals of the line and 13 major generals of the staff. The reorganization took effect on July 1, 1920.[2]

. . . List of major generals in the United States Regular Army before 1 July 1920 . . .

Historically, the United States Army included two components: the permanently established Regular Army, which constituted the peacetime force; and, during time of war, a much larger non-permanent establishment comprising various volunteer, conscript, and federalized state forces.[3]

There were three types of major generals in the Regular Army:

  • A major general of the line was an officer who was commissioned in the permanent grade of major general and therefore maintained that rank regardless of assignment.[4]
  • A major general of the staff was an officer who held the temporary rank of major general only while occupying an office designated by statute to carry that rank, and who reverted to a lower permanent grade upon relinquishing that office.[4]
  • An emergency major general was an officer whose Regular Army rank of major general was authorized only during the World War I emergency, which expired on June 30, 1920.[5]

Major generals in the non-permanent or non-federal establishments included the following:

  • A major general of militia was appointed or elected to that rank in one of the state militia forces.
  • A major general of levies was appointed to that rank in the six-month levies raised during the Northwest Indian War.[6]
  • A major general of volunteers was appointed to that rank in the United States Volunteers during the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, or the Spanish–American War.[7]
  • A major general in the Provisional Army was appointed to that rank in the Provisional Army authorized during the Quasi-War.
  • A major general in the National Guard was appointed to that rank in one of the state National Guard forces.
  • A major general in the National Army was appointed to that rank in the National Army during World War I before August 7, 1918, when the Regular Army, the National Army, and the federalized National Guard were unified into a single United States Army.[8]
  • A temporary major general was appointed to that rank in the non-permanent establishment of the unified United States Army after August 7, 1918.[8]

In addition, honorary brevet ranks of major general were conferred in several organizations in recognition of gallant wartime conduct.[9]

  • A brevet major general was awarded that brevet rank in the Regular Army, typically for actions in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, or the Civil War.
  • A brevet major general of volunteers was awarded that brevet rank in the United States Volunteers, typically for actions in the Civil War or the Spanish–American War.
  • A brevet major general of militia was awarded that brevet rank in one of the state militia forces.

. . . List of major generals in the United States Regular Army before 1 July 1920 . . .

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. . . List of major generals in the United States Regular Army before 1 July 1920 . . .