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The "Citizens File" of Confederate Papers
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by Craig R. Scott, CG
The images in this series are from National Archives Microfilm Publication M346, Confederate Papers Relating to Citizen or Business Firms. They are taken from Record Group 109, War Department Collection of Confederate Records. They reproduce a series of more than 650,000 vouchers and other related documents most of which date from 186 to 1865.
These documents relate to goods furnished or services rendered the Confederate government by private individuals or business firms. Most of these documents were created or received by the Confederate War and Treasury Departments. After the Civil War they were in the custody of the US War Department. These were later assembled by the Confederate Archives Division of the Adjutant General’s Office and used to establish the disloyalty of claimants seeking restitution after the war. The series of records is also known as the “Citizens File.” A descriptive pamphlet for this series of records can be found here.
There are two types of records found in this series; vouchers between a citizen and the Confederate government, and vouchers between a business and the Confederate government. The vouchers may be letters or on preprinted forms.
During the end of May and beginning of June 1863, Stonewall Jackson successfully extricated his men from a trap being set by Fremont’s and McDowell’s forces. With the help of wagons and teamsters provided by men like John H. Rolston, Jackson was able to save his army of 15,000 men. By June 2, Jackson was in Harrisonburg and safely away from the Federal forces.
In mid-July 1863, the Federal advance units were attempting to gain control of the passes into the Shenandoah. Confederate cavalry was constantly on the move and played an important part in screening the Confederate army. This document is for one day’s pasture for a herd of 286 horses at 20¢ a head to be provided by J.H. and J.P. Rolston. J.H. Rolston is probably the John H. Rolston above. Captain Robert J. Tilden was Assistant Quartermaster of the 62nd Virginia Mounted Infantry (also known as the 62nd Regiment of Partisan Rangers). Hopkins Gap is located northwest of the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Using the collection
Locate specific businesses and citizens through the menu. Select either category. Since many businesses had names similar to citizens look in both categories. The example of J.H. Rolston demonstrates that citizens may be found in both the citizen and the business files. The arrangement is roughly alphabetical so care must be taken to fully examine the listings. Where the title consists of more than one name, it is usually filed under the first name. Within files there is no consistent arrangement. The filing method is somewhat confusing in some instances and you may have to be creative in locating what you are looking for.
The search function is useful. Use Advanced Search to narrow your results most effectively.
This series of records is one of many that deals with Confederate citizens. Union Provost Marshals’ File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians (M345) and Union Provost Marshals’ File of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians (M416) offer records for those who had contact with the U.S. Army. Papers relating to Confederate citizens who furnished ships to the Confederate government and Confederate shipping companies are found in M909, Papers Pertaining to Vessels of or Involved with the Confederate States of America, “Vessel File.” Additional information on records that relate to Confederate citizens and businesses can be found in the descriptive pamphlet here.
More titles relating to the Confederacy during and after the Civil War are available at Fold3, including:
- Confederate Amnesty Papers
- Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers (AL, GA, NC, TX, VA)
- Southern Claims Commission
Explore this title
Search or browse the Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-65 here.