The pension file also includes the dates of William's marriage to Ulisa Daniels, her subsequent marriage to Patrick Curn, and the birth of William's daughter, Rosena. The "record of events" cards in M, roll , provide additional detail about William's service. Company D's movements from enlistment to April 27, , were identical to those for Company G, except that they were reported to have had a skirmish with the enemy at Philippi on April They returned to Grafton on April The next day they were attacked by Confederates whom they fought from a.
The men who were captured were "out of action" for 6 months until they were formally exchanged; the remainder of the company continued fighting the war. Eventually, William and the other men returned to duty:. Company D saw little activity during its winter quarters at Brandy Station, Virginia. On February 6, , it received orders to reconnaissance to the Rapidan River, but then returned to camp the next day and did "nothing but heavy picket duty since. Company D remained in Camp near Brandy Station until May 4, , "and have since participated in all the movements and Battles of said Division and Corps.
By then, of course, William had already been sent to the hospital on July 3, never to return to duty again.
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As illustrated by these examples, one soldier's experience may be different from others in the same regiment. William Western was absent from April 29 to October 31, , while his brother Frederick Weston [sic] remained in the thick of military activity from April 29 until he died July 3, The researcher can build a detailed description of a soldier's contribution to the Union or Confederate cause using the soldier's military service and pension records, and the "record of events" for the soldier's company, regiment, and field and staff officers.
Do not assume that a particular individual participated in a battle if 1 his unit was at the battle and 2 the person appears likely to have been with that unit. In the War Department's view, and from a strict adherence to objective information in existing evidence, such an assumption cannot ordinarily be made. Thus, the descriptions of William P. Western's and Frederick Weston's military careers are crafted both upon evidence and upon assumptions, with no guarantee that the assumptions are correct.
No roll call was recorded just before a unit entered battle. As noted above, there are a variety of reasons why a particular individual may not have been present at that time: different companies in the regiment may have had different assignments, or an individual soldier may have been absent due to sickness, desertion, temporary assignment to other duties, or other causes. Muster rolls--which were ordinarily compiled to cover a 2-month period--are generally accurate for the day on which the roll was filled out, but often not for all of the period covered.
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If a person left the ranks some time during those 2 months and then returned, that absence may not show on the roll. This is especially true for Confederate rolls. Some records provide very strong evidence that someone was at a battle, but a muster roll with the word "present" is not among them. The strong evidence includes:. It is very tempting to list persons present at a battle, but the available evidence will ordinarily not make that possible. Nevertheless, attempts have been made. A good example is the Pennsylvania monument at Gettysburg, PA. There, the State wished to record all Pennsylvanians present at the Battle of Gettysburg, July , The State decided to use the May-June muster rolls as evidence, since they list men present on June This is a fortuitous date.
Since the battle began the next day and the men were under order on pain of death to remain with their assigned units, one can reasonably assume that most men recorded as present June 30 were at the battle. Nevertheless, the U.
War Department did not recognize that assumption. In fact, controversies over the inclusion of specific names on the Pennsylvania memorial continue to this day. Begin your research in the Microfilm Reading Room. Staff is available there to answer your questions. All microfilmed records may be examined during regular research room hours; no prior arrangement is necessary. Requests for records that have not been microfilmed , such as the pension files and most Union CMSRs, must be submitted on appropriate forms between a. The request forms and the microfilmed indexes are all available in the Microfilm Reading Room.
Pension files and other original records are not "pulled" from the stacks after p. Please be aware that these are very popular records. NARA strives to make the records readily available to all researchers on an equal basis.
In order to provide timely, equal access, NARA limits the number of original records which you may request for any scheduled records pull. The limit is four original files for each researcher for each pull during a business day up to 24 files in a given day. Because of the number of requests for original records, we are unable to provide advance service on these records. Please do not ask us to verify if we have a file in advance of your arrival or ask us for expedited service.
Researchers coming from a distance may wish to call in advance of their visit 1 to verify research room hours and 2 to have any additional questions answered. The Consultant's Office can be reached at Some National Archives and Records Administration NARA regional facilities have selected microfilmed Civil War compiled military service records and other microfilmed military records; call to verify their availability. As many as several hundred men per night fled the army even before Richmond fell. On the march toward Appomattox , thousands more also deserted—mostly Virginians and North Carolinians, whose homes were already temptingly close.
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Thank you! Thanks to your advocacy efforts on our behalf, we're happy to report that the recently passed Omnibus Spending Bill includes a very small increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities! While our work is not over with regards to the upcoming budget to be passed in the fall, the Omnibus Spending Bill represents an endorsement of the important work that the humanities do for our communities. These funds will continue to support our work of providing free access to authoritative content about Virginia's history and culture. Punishment for Desertion Desertion Confederate during the Civil War Contributed by Aaron Sheehan-Dean Desertion occurs when soldiers deliberately and permanently leave military service before their term of service has expired.
Categories Civil War, American — Carmichael, Peter S. Cashin, Joan E. Dotson, Rand. Lonn, Ella. Desertion During the Civil War. Ruffner, Kevin C. Ayers and John C. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Sheehan-Dean, Aaron.
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Weitz, Mark. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Desertion Confederate during the Civil War. In Encyclopedia Virginia. Sheehan-Dean, A. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 27 Oct. This was a complex question at the time, with able legal minds to be found arguing both sides, but the United States Supreme Court, in Texas v.
White , 74 U. Chief Justice Salmon Chase wrote in his majority opinion that, "The ordinance of secession They were utterly without operation in law. While many still debate the ultimate causes of the Civil War , Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McPherson writes that, "The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. When Abraham Lincoln won election in as the first Republican president on a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America.
The incoming Lincoln administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession. They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries. Learn more about the Trigger Events of the Civil War.
Gettysburg , casualties Chickamauga , casualties Spotsylvania , casualties The Wilderness , casualties Chancellorsville , casualties Shiloh , casualties Stones River , casualties Antietam , casualties Second Manassas , casualties Vicksburg , casualties. Too often, people take 'casualty' and 'fatality' to be interchangeable terms. In fact, a casualty is "a military person lost through death, wounds, injury, sickness, internment, or capture or through being missing in action.
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Many soldiers, especially in the Confederate ranks, became casualties several times: some soldiers were captured multiple times; some were wounded in non-consecutive engagements. Typically, soldiers were buried where they fell on the battlefield. Others were buried near the hospitals where they died. At most battlefields the dead were exhumed and moved to National or Confederate cemeteries, but because there were so many bodies, and because of the time and effort it took to disinter them, there are undoubtedly thousands if not tens of thousands of Civil War soldiers in unknown battlefield graves.
More than , soldiers were captured over the course of the Civil War. In the first years of the conflict, equal numbers of captured troops were regularly exchanged for one another, helping to keep the total number of prisoners manageable for both sides. Over the course of the war, however, that practice faded from use. By the end of the war, the plight of prisoners of war on both sides had become bleak indeed.
Thousands of Southerners died in the freezing camp at Elmira, New York, and the camp at Andersonville, Georgia, which held Union prisoners, has become one of the most infamous in the history of war. Nearly as many men died in captivity during the Civil War as died fighting in Vietnam. Two thirds of those killed in the Civil War died of disease. Germ theory had not been widely accepted in the medical world at the time of the Civil War and modern antiseptics, which could have greatly reduced the spread of bacteria and the outbreak of disease, did not exist. Still, many survived their wounds and had only the dedicated doctors and nurses and their selfless efforts to thank.
Medicine is an ever-evolving science. Unfortunately for those who fought in the Civil War, the technology of warfare had surpassed the technology of health care. The largest military unit is the army, which is sub-divided into smaller commands. Although organization varied between the armies, the largest sub-section of a given army was the corps, which was typically divided into two or more divisions, each composed of two or more brigades, which were each made up of two or more regiments, with each regiment containing roughly ten companies of ideally men but more typically near Companies themselves were subdivided into platoons and squads before the army finally reached the level of the individual soldier.
Armies were sometimes grouped together in "departments" that were defined by geography and operational objective. A white Union private made thirteen dollars a month ; his black counterpart made seven dollars until Congress rectified the discrepancy in A Confederate private ostensibly made eleven dollars a month, but often went long stretches with no pay at all.
With the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in September , African-Americans - both free and runaway slaves - came forward to volunteer for the Union cause in substantial numbers. Beginning in October, approximately , African-Americans, comprising units, served in the U. Army, and 18, in the Navy.
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Men of the U. When they were not drilling, which made up a considerable portion of their time in camp, soldiers passed the time writing letters, playing games like checkers, dominoes and poker, drinking, smoking, whittling, making music and praying. Learn more about Civil War Winter Encampments.
Civil War soldiers' fare varied substantially from army to army and throughout the course of the war for both sides. For the most part, neither side ate particularly well. Hardtack and coffee were the staples, in addition to salt pork, corn meal and whatever fruits, vegetables and berries could be collected on the march. Many Confederate soldiers were in a state of near-starvation by the war's end.