The Confederate States Army (C.S.A.) was the military land force of the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the American Civil War (1861–1865). On February 28, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress established a provisional volunteer army and gave control over military operations and authority for mustering state forces and volunteers to the newly chosen Confederate president, Jefferson Davis. Davis was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and colonel of a volunteer regiment during the Mexican–American War. He had also been a United States Senator from Mississippi and U.S. Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. On March 1, 1861, on behalf of the Confederate government, Davis assumed control of the military situation at Charleston, South Carolina, where South Carolina state militia besieged Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, held by a small U.S. Army garrison. By March 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress expanded the provisional forces and established a more permanent Confederate States Army.
An accurate count of the total number of individuals who served in the Confederate Army is not possible due to incomplete and destroyed Confederate records; estimates of the number of individual Confederate soldiers are between 750,000 and 1,000,000 men. This does not include an unknown number of slaves who were pressed into performing various tasks for the army, such as construction of fortifications and defenses or driving wagons. Since these figures include estimates of the total number of individual soldiers who served at any time during the war, they do not represent the size of the army at any given date. These numbers do not include men who served in Confederate States Navy.
Although most of the soldiers who fought in the American Civil War were volunteers, both sides by 1862 resorted to conscription, primarily as a means to force men to register and to volunteer. In the absence of exact records, estimates of the percentage of Confederate soldiers who were draftees are about double the 6 percent of United States soldiers who were conscripts.
Confederate casualty figures also are incomplete and unreliable. The best estimates of the number of deaths of Confederate soldiers are about 94,000 killed or mortally wounded in battle, 164,000 deaths from disease and between 26,000 and 31,000 deaths in United States prison camps. One estimate of Confederate wounded, which is considered incomplete, is 194,026. These numbers do not include men who died from other causes such as accidents, which would add several thousand to the death toll.
The main Confederate armies, the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee and the remnants of the Army of Tennessee and various other units under General Joseph E. Johnston, surrendered to the U.S. on April 9, 1865 (officially April 12), and April 18, 1865 (officially April 26). Other Confederate forces surrendered between April 16, 1865 and June 28, 1865. By the end of the war, more than 100,000 Confederate soldiers had deserted. The Confederacy's government effectively dissolved when it fled Richmond in April and exerted no control of the remaining armies.