This collection of documents is scanned from 61 rolls of microfilm comprising the Subject File of the Confederate States Navy, 1861-65. According to the descriptive pamphlet for M1091, the documents were earlier interspersed in a larger collection of naval documents known as the Subject File of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1910, which was brought together by the Office of Naval Records and Library. In 1963, to facilitate research on the Confederate States Navy, the National Archives removed the documents reproduced in this publication from the original Subject File and consolidated them in a new series.
In addition to records of the Confederate States Navy, some official records of the Union Navy, particularly those concerning Confederate prisoners of war and Confederate vessels, were removed from the original Subject File and placed with the Confederate records. The majority of documents reproduced in this publication are dated between 1861 and 1865. A few documents, mostly correspondence of the Office of Naval Records and Library (in answer to requests for information about the Confederate Navy), are dated as late as 1942. The Subject File of the Confederate States Navy is a part of a body of records in the custody of NARA that are designated as Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, Record Group (RG) 45.
The desciptive pamphlet for this publication, from which much of this description is taken, was prepared by Rebecca A. Livingston and edited by Thomas Whitfield, and published in 1983. It can be downloaded here.