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Department, is a term used, by the U.S. Army, mostly prior to World War I. In 1920, most of the departments were redesignated as corps areas. However, the Hawaiian, Panama Canal, and Philippine Departments retained their old names. In 1939, the Puerto Rican Department was created and in May 1941 the Panama Canal and Puerto Rican Departments were combined as the Caribbean Defense Command, although each was still referred to as a department.

During the American Civil War, a department was a significant command within the Union's military organization, usually reporting directly to the War Department. Many of the Union's departments were named after rivers, such as the Department of the Potomac and the Department of the Tennessee. The geographical boundaries of such departments changed frequently, as did their names. Much information on Civil War departments can be found in Eicher & Eicher, Civil War High Commands.


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