Woodward’s Hospital Steward’s Manual agrees with Kautz regarding the rank equivalence: ordnance sergeant, just superior to company first sergeant. He is further subject to orders by all lawful superiors, which would include the sergeant major, who is the senior enlisted man in a regiment. This makes sense, because as the war goes on you have acting hospital stewards and additional regimental ones, and three grades of stewards. They can't all be equal to the senior enlisted man in the regiment.
One privilege stewards have is to not be subject to regimental court martial and to have any sentence requiring reduction to the ranks cleared by the Secretary of War prior to execution.
Their pay is interesting. In the Federal service they receive initially $22 a month (same as the ordnance sergeant, who gets a $5 bonus atop a sergeant's salary of $17), or $20 if serving at a post of four companies or less. Stewards’ pay is raised to $30 a month by G.O. 43 of April 19, 1862, but apparently this is interpreted not to apply to acting stewards, who remain at $22 and $20 respectively.
Under the act of June 20, 1864, all enlisted pay increases, and first class stewards now receive $33 a month, second class get $25 a month, and third class get $23 a month. This explains the strange anomaly in Kautz in para. 253 of Customs, where he has the lower level stewards getting $25 a month, and those with more than four companies only $22. It’s nice to know that even he could get confused from time to time.
But all this only applies to the Federal service. Under Confederate regulations the pay of stewards stand at $21 and $20 a month until the general increase of $7 a month for all enlisted ranks in 1864. Under the regulations they have the same equivalence to ordnance sergeants and court martial protections as in the Federal service.
M. A. Schaffner
Midstream Regressive Complainer