Officers of the 80th New York Infantry, Provost Guard in Culpeper. / Library of Congress
The Union had formed the largest army to walk the North American continent up to this point in United States history.
It had been led by several commanders through the years of the Civil War and grew in number as the war continued. In May of 1863, at its greatest size, the Army of the Potomac enlisted 130,000 men.
The soldiers who made up the Union army came from the Northern states of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc.
The Union army was a mixed group of men with various backgrounds, occupations, and lifestyles.
The troops were well-equipped and well-fed mostly because of the large number of factories and farms in the North. The supply lines, needed by an army, were also easy to use as the North had invested heavily in roads, railroads, and canals to link the region before the war.
Officers in the army were typically graduates of West Point, the most prestigious war college of the time, or men with strong political ties. The Union army lost several battles early in the war, but was able to win some important victories, and eventually defeated the Confederate army.
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