Confederate Compiled Military Service Records

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Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers who served in organizations from various Southern states, 1861-1865

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  • Original author: fold3_catalog
  • Created Date: 27 Feb 2007
  • Modified Date:
  • Page views: 256,616 total (175 this week)

Description

by Craig R. Scott, CG

The creation of compiled military service records for Confederate soldiers began in 1903 under the direction of Brig Gen Fred C. Ainsworth, head of the Record and Pension Office in the War Department. They are abstracts of original records found in the War Department Collection of Confederate Records and from documents borrowed by the War Department for the purpose of obtaining as full a service record as possible on these soldiers.

The compiled service records are arranged by unit, usually a regiment, and then alphabetically by soldiers’ surname. Preceding the individual soldiers jacket-envelopes are empty envelopes which list the officers of the unit. Following these are jacket-envelopes that contain caption cards for muster-in and muster-out rolls, and record-of-events cards, indicating the activities of the unit during specific periods.

Document types

Jacket envelope

The jacket envelope contains information about the soldier, including name, rank, unit, and the number of abstract cards, the number of personal papers, and the number of medical records in the jacket envelope.

The image shown here is the jacket envelope of Robert E. Withers, Colonel of the 18th Virginia Infantry Regiment, CSA. His jacket envelope shows that he has 23 abstract cards.

Abstract cards

Abstract cards document entries relating to the soldier, as found in muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, Union prisoner of war registers and rolls, parole rolls, and inspection reports. Image 2 shows an abstract card with dates of service and other information about the unit at the bottom of the card. This particular card shows that Col Withers was present at Centerville in October 1861.

Personal papers

Images of any papers relating solely to the soldier are sometimes found in compiled service records. Col Withers’ pay vouchers are included in the jacket envelope displayed in image 3.

Cross-reference cards

There are cross reference cards and jacket envelopes for soldiers whose names appear in the records under more than one spelling.

Officer caption cards

These cards provide information about the officers in the unit. Here, along with Colonel Withers, are the other officers in the Field and Staff Company, 18th Virginia Infantry (image 4). The names of other officers in the other companies in the regiment are found on subsequent abstract cards in this section.

Record-of-events cards

Image 5 is a record-of-events card, which shows what Company A, 18th Virginia Infantry, was doing during the month of October 1861.

Using the collection

If the unit of service is known, locate the service record through the alphabetical state hierarchy in the browse menu, either through All Titles > Confederate Soldiers; or through the Civil War category > Confederate Soldier Service Records. Alternately, locate the title directly within the Original Documents list under Confederate Soldiers and the state listed in the title.

Select the state and then the soldier’s unit. At the front of each unit is an introduction that consists of the target pages of each roll of microfilm that is related to the unit. These can be ignored. Unit information is where the officer lists, caption cards, and records of events will be located. When looking for a specific soldier, select the first letter of the last name, then locate the surname, followed by his given name in the next section of browse titles.

If the unit is not known, type the individual’s name in the search box after selecting the title for the appropriate state’s records.

Related records

The images within this series only deal with those Confederate soldiers who were in units from particular states.

Compiled military service records of soldiers from units raised directly by the Confederate Government are found in National Archives Microfilm publication, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations Raised Directly by the Confederate Government, M258. These include organizations of the Confederate Regular army, those raised from the Indian Territory, and a unit made up of foreigners recruited among Union prisoners of war. It also includes units such as Engineer Troops, Sappers, Miners, Signal Corps, and Bands.

Compiled military service records of Confederate General and Staff Officers and Non-Regimental enlisted men are found on National Archives Microfilm publication, Compiled Military Service Records of Confederate General and Staff Officers, and Non-Regimental Enlisted Men, M331. These included officers and enlisted men who did not belong to any particular regiment, company, or special corps; including general officers, officers and men of the staff departments, members of army corps, division and brigade staffs, aides-de-camp, military judges, chaplains, agents, and drillmasters. Staff departments included Adjutant and Inspector General, Quartermaster General, Commissary General, Medical Department, and the Ordnance Department.

Although every effort was made to compile complete military service records, many papers lacked sufficient detail to identify a specific soldier to a specific unit. Unfiled Papers and Slips Belonging to Confederate Compiled Service Records, M347 is an extensive series of papers that the War Department accumulated, but did not file in the service record series. 

Explore these titles

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama, M311.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the Territory of Arizona, M318.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Arkansas, M317.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations Raised Directly by the Confederate Government, M258.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State Florida, M251.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia, M266.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Kentucky, M319.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Louisiana, M320.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Maryland, M321.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Mississippi, M269.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Missouri, M322.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina, M270.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate General and Staff Officers, and Nonregimental Enlisted Men, M331.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of South Carolina, M267.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee, M268.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, M323.

Search or browse Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Virginia, M324.

Sources

The records shown here are scanned from the National Archives microfilm publications relating to the state of service of the individual soldier. Titles available at Fold3, are listed below. The original records are located in Record Group 109, War Department Collection of Confederate Records in the National Archives.

Descriptive pamphlets, published by NARA, may be viewed or downloaded by clicking the publication number.

Alabama: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama, NARA Publication M311.

Georgia: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia, NARA Publication M266.

Louisiana: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Louisiana, NARA Publication M320.

Mississippi: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Mississippi, NARA Publication M269.

North Carolina: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia, NARA Publication M270.

South Carolina: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of South Carolina, NARA Publication M267.

Tennessee: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee, NARA Publication M268.

Texas: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, NARA Publication M323.

Virginia: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Virginia, NARA Publication M324.

Officers: Compiled Service Records of Confederate General and Staff Officers, and Nonregimental Enlisted Men, NARA Publication M331.

About the contributor

A professional genealogical and historical researcher for more than twenty years, Craig R Scott is a Certified Genealogist who specializes in the records of the National Archives, especially those that relate to the military. He is a member of the Company of Military Historians, on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists, and has served in the past on the boards of the Virginia Genealogical Society and the Maryland Genealogical Society. He is the author of The 'Lost Pensions': Settled Accounts of the Act of 6 April 1838 and Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, Inventory 14 (Revised).

Comments

What is the answer to "sketchdon's" question about Manuscript references/

25 May 2014

I like turtles.

18 Mar 2012

There are supposed to be 114 members whose names begin with "B" in the 2nd TX MTD CAV Rifles that went with Gen Sibley to NM. However, I am looking for an Allen Baker who is on the Soldiers and Sailors web site, but there are no "BA" names listed as well as some other names. Need to find his service record.

03 Aug 2011

Following up on my comment below... If you find a card that references a "manuscript" of some type, here's where it should be: At the National Archives in D.C., ask for Record Group (RG) 109, "War Department Collection of Confederate Records (Miscellaneous Records) Manuscripts 1861-1865", Entry 183, and then whatever number your manuscript is. Mine was 6198 and it was in Box 72... so there's a lot of these records that have not been microfilmed and are not easily located.

22 Feb 2011

I also see "Reference Cards" in this collection that appear to be placeholders or markers that refer you to a "Manuscript No. XXXX, Page XXXX" Does anyone know what those references mean and where I can find the manuscripts? One soldier I'm researching has a card that refers me to Manuscript 5198... and indicates it's a letter dated in February 1863, but I have no idea where to look for it??

21 Jan 2011

These are a great collection of records. This is why I joined FootNote---so I can research family members service records and those of others who served with them. Prior to FootNote, I searched for records of Buckner's Battery (Miss) and its commander Lt. HC Holt. Nothing. There was not Miss artillery unit in the records. With FN, I was able to search 4 names that were mentioned in the Official Records and got some 'hits'. I found out they were members of 56 Alabama Cavalry but on loan to Lt. Holt. So, there was no real battery, just one Lieutenant and volunteers. Thanks, FootNote.

27 Jan 2010

28 Battalion Siege Artillery Name W.A. Riviers is W.A. Rivers

01 Jan 2008

Individual records leave two type of clues concerning a man's history and and where he was in a given month. These same two clues give data about a unit. From the thousands of records and the official unit records, it becomes possible to track a unit at a detailed level and began to tell a story of its men and their war.

16 Jul 2007