Born on March 16, 1861 by an Act of the Confederate Congress, the Confederate States Marine Corps had an authorized strength of 45 officers and 944 enlisted men, increased in 1862 to 1026 enlisted men. The Marines never had more than 600 men at one time during the War. Throughout the War the headquarters and training facilities of the CSMC was at Camp Beal on Drewry’s Bluff and at the Gosport Navy Yard at Norfolk. The Marines were led by Colonel-Commadant Lloyd J. Beall, a former major and paymaster in the United States Army. Much of the records of the CSMC were destroyed by a fire in Beall’s home after the War in 1887, which also killed Beall.
Most of the officers of the Corps had been former officers in the United States Marine Corps. The Marines served primarily in small detachments, afloat and ashore, usually manning batteries of naval guns. The Marines distinguished themselves by their valor as part of a naval brigade that fought at the last major engagement of the War, Sailor’s Creek, on April 6, 1865.