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               January, 2012

      Charles Hansen, Editor

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  Union Civil War Records
  — by Charles Hansen

       Well I think everyone knows the South lost the Civil War, but in terms of records the South is way ahead of the North in getting records online. Every Confederate state except South Carolina fielded at least one Northern regiment, and Tennessee fielded more Northern regiments than any other southern state.

       A basic infantry unit was a company of 100 men with a captain in command, first and second lieutenants, sergeants and corporals. Companies were labeled A, B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,K. There was no company J as it was too close in sound to company A. Ten companies of 100 men made up a Regiment with a Colonel in command a lieutenant colonel and major assisting. Several regiments made up a brigade, several brigades made up a division, several divisions made up a corps, and several corps made up an army, all led by a general. The North and South had several armies.

       Records, types and locations, the war has been well documented, volumes of records. Service records; rolls, rosters, lists of wounded, dead, deserter, casualty, missing, hospital, prisoners, burials, exchanges, court martial, and promotions available at the National Archives. Pensions; payments to veterans and widows after the war. These records include applications, payments, death notices and widows application. They may also include information like birthplace and date of veteran, his wife name, marriage place and date, children, affidavits, death date and place, and migrations. All these records are at the National Archives. Regimental histories: these are day by day records of the regiments, details of actions, and some lists of soldiers. These can be found in many genealogical libraries.

       Other sources, state records, county records, county libraries, local newspapers, manuscripts (NUCMC), national military parks, 1860 census and veterans' organizations. The Minnesota State Historical Society blog has been running newspaper clippings from various newspapers around Minnesota and occasionally letters from the soldiers.


    Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System:

  1. Soldiers, enter name, state and Union or Confederate, 6.3 million listings. Since Union only had 1.5 million men and the south 1.1 million men, many are duplicated due to poor handwriting.
  2. Regiments, enter regiment to get a brief regimental history, list of battles, and list of all men in regiment, find the captain and colonel of the regiment.
  3. Prisoners at Andersonville.
  4. National Parks: brief descriptions.
  5. Ancestry and Fold3 Civil War Collections, including Union Pension index, widows pensions, 1890 Veterans Census, Regular Army Enlistments, State Records for most states and Navy pensions.
    Union States' Archive Records (very important):

  1. Listings of Civil War records in the archives, some are online now.
  2. Google the state archives and remember all the southern states except South Carolina had at least one Union regiment.
    Cyndislist has General Listing of Civil War Sites:

  1. African-Americans in the War (US Colored Troops).
  2. Battles, Battlefields and Cemeteries.
  3. General Resource Sites and by states also.
  4. Grand Army of the Republic (GAR).
  5. Libraries, Archives and Museums.
  6. Prisoners and Prisons.
  7. Records, Pensions, Miscellaneous (search by state).

       Some Special Union Resources: Veterans lineage societies, Grand Army of the Republic, Daughters of Union Veterans, Sons of Union Veterans, and Military Order of the Loyal Legion. Warships of the Civil War Navies, by P.H. Silverstone, Medical and Surgical History of the War of Rebellion, and Veterans' Grave Locator

Please Note:  Bill West's Civil War Blog, will also give you some information. click here. There are also links in GHLL for all of the State Archives and many other links, as well as Battles of the American Civil War.

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