Glossary Of American Civil War Terms And Acronyms

Often, when researching civil war militaria, you’ll run across acronyms that are extremely cryptic. One of our viewers has compiled this list of common civil war acronyms for your use.


ACW -American Civil War
Adj. or Adjt. -Adjutant
AIG – Adjutant and Inspector General
AMM – Acting Master’s Mate
AoC -Army of the Cumberland (US)
AoP -Army of the Potomac(US)
AoT -Army of Tennessee
AotT -Army of THE Tennessee (US) (seldom used)
AoO -Army of the Ohio
AoV -Army of Virginia (US-short lived)
AAG -Assistant Adjutant General
ADC -Aide de camp
ANV -Army of Northern Virginia
AWOL -Absent Without Leave, a serious offense.


B&G -Blue & Gray (magazine)
B&O -Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
BCoF -“Battle Cry of Freedom” (Book)
BDE.or BRIG. -Brigade
BGen. or Br.Gen. –Brigadier General
BRT -Big Round Top (Gettysburg)
B&L -Battles & Leaders, compilation of battle reports by participants
BRVT.- Brevet – as in rank.


(c) -captured. Seen on casualty reports
Capt. -Captain
CAV. -Cavalry
CC -Christian Commission, private organization to benefit soldiers. Union.
CCG -Camp Chase Gazette
CDV -Carte de visite, a small photograph of a person or family
CitA -Confederates in the Attic (popular book by Tony Horwitz)
Cmdr. -Commander, a naval rank
Co. – Company
Col. -Colonel
CoS -Chief of Staff (fairly rare)
Cpl. -Corporal
CS -Captain of Subsistence, a supply officer. Rare but documented
CSA -Confederate States of America or Confederate States Army
CSN -Confederate States Navy
CSS -Confederate States Ship
CWH -Confederate White House


Div .-Division
DUV -Daughters of Union Veterans
Dyer’s – short for Dyer’s Compendium, a 3 volume listing of civil war regiments


ECF -East Cavalry Field (Gettysburg)
EP -Emancipation Proclamation


FFV -First Families of Virginia.
FNP – Friends of the National Parks. Usually followed by park abbreviations ( such as FNPG = Friends of the National Parks at Gettysburg)
Fox’s – Short for Fox’s regimental losses
Fr. -Father, title for a Catholic or Episcopal priest


GAR. -Grand Army of the Republic
GB -Gettysburg
GEN. -General
GO -General Order (large numbers issued by commanders of both sides)
GSW – Gunshot Wound


HQ or H’d-Qrts – Headquarters
HUG -Hiram Ulysses Grant (his name at birth)


Inf. -Infantry


JEB -James Ewell Brown (Stuart), initials of Confederate cavalry commander, commonly used as his first name.
Jno. -an abbreviation for the name John, as for example “Jno. Buford”.
JO – Joseph Orville (Shelby)


(k) -killed. Seen on casualty reports and monuments.
KGC -Knights of the Golden Circle, semi-secret organization of pro-slavery/anti-war Northerners


LoC – Library of Congress
LRT -Little Round Top (Gettysburg)
Lt. – Lieutenant
Lt. Col. -Lieutenant Colonel
LtGen -Lieutenant General


M. Meridian, or noon. Means the time the sun is directly overhead, useful in days before accurate wristwatches.
Mac -Nickname for US Gen. George McClellan. Also seen as “Little Mac”
Maj. -Major, army rank between captain and colonel
Maj.Gen or M.Gen -Major General
MM – Master’s Mate
M.O. -Mustered Out, or date soldier was discharged from the service.
MoC -Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond
MOLLUS – Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
MOSB -Military Order of the Stars and Bars, Confederate descendants & heritage group
M.R. -Mounted Rifles
MS (or m.s.) -Medical Staff
MSG -Missouri State Guard
MVI – Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry


N&S -North & South (magazine)
NARA – National Archives and Records Administration
NBF – Nathan Bedford Forrest
NPS – National Park Service
NYSM -New York State Militia
NYSM -New York State Volunteers


Obdt. Srvt. – Obedient Servant. Polite way to sign a letter, see “YOS”
OD -Officer of the Day
OG -Officer of the Guard
OS -Officer of the Sword
OR -the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
OVI -Ohio Volunteer Infantry (US Federal troops)
OVM -Ohio Volunteer Militia (Ohio state militia troops)
OVVI -Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, regiments made up of re-enlistees, frequently those disabled from earlier service.


P.A.C.S. -Provisional Army of the Confederate States. Very early war term.
Pdr. – Pound or Pounder, a classification of size of artillery (indicating the weight of the projectile thrown, as in “12-pdr Napoleon”)
P.R.MD.H. B. – Potomac River Maryland Home Brigrade
Pte. -Private (variation of the usual Pvt.)
PVI -Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
Pvt. -Private. Lowest Army rank.


QM -quartermaster officer or department


RC -Roman Catholic
Reg. -Regiment
REL -Robert E. Lee
RF&P – Richmond,Fredricksburg and Potomac
RRC -Red River Campaign (see RRE)
RRE -Red River Expedition. Same as RRC
RT – Round Table (same as CWRT)
R.V.C -Reserve Veteran Corps
Rt. Rev. -Right Reverend, an ecclesiastical title


SC -Sanitary Commission, private group providing medical and other supplies to Union troops
Sch. -Schooner. A type of naval vessel.
Sgt. -Sergeant, Army rank between corporal and lieutenant
S.O. – Special Orders
SoL -Sons of Liberty, a later name for Knights of the Golden Circle
SSgt. – Staff sergeant
Str. -Steamer. A steam-powered propeller-driven ship.
SUV -Sons of Union Veterans
SCV -Sons of Confederate Veterans
SC -Signal Corps (both sides had one)
Sc. -Screw, the propeller of a ship, or referring to a steam rather than sail-powered vessel
SW -Side wheeler, a paddle-driven ship. Think of the movie “Show Boat”.


TMT – Trans-Mississippi Theater


UDC -United Daughters of the Confederacy, Confederate veterans descendants group
USA -United States of America OR United States Army
U.S.C.H.A. – United States Colored Troops Heavy Artillery
USCC -United States Colored Cavalry
USCT – United States Colored Troops
USG -Ulysses S. Grant
USN -United States Navy
USS -United States Ship
USSS -United States Sharpshooters


VI -Volunteer Infantry – usually preceded by state initial (ex. PVI, NYVI)
VMI -Virginia Military Institute


(w) -wounded. Seen on casualty reports
WIB -Wounded in battle.
WBTS -War Between the States
WFSI -War for Southern Independence
WP -West Point, US military academy
WTS – William Tecumseh Sherman


YOS -Your Obedient Servant (closing of a letter or post)
ZU-ZU -a soldier in a Zouave regiment, noted for flashy red-trousered uniforms.