Was your Civil War ancestor wounded, a POW, and/or one of the many brave soldiers who did not make it home at all? When a family historian learns of a new Civil War ancestor, we become giddy with the possibly of ordering a pension that could knock down one or several brick walls with the personal statements, vital records, and other goodies tucked away in manila envelopes at NARA – Archives I in Washington D.C..
Since Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches started offering discount military record retrieval services with a quick turnaround time, we have had many inquiries on what military records are available for Civil War veterans who do not have family or heirs to claim their pension. Your first step should be to order their compiled service record, which possibly could be a gold mine of personal information.
Compiled Service Records
Compiled service records are wonderful resources for researchers who have veterans that died during the war without being married or having children, was wounded but denied a claim, or died before being able to claim a pension (most likely by disability or reaching a specific age to apply). Service records are mostly card abstracts of muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records but many service records have a slip called “Enclosures”. This card indexes the possible additional records that may be contained in your ancestor’s service record. If the soldier went on furlough, became sick or injured, changed rank, died during their service, there may be a record about it.
A few examples of records found in compiled service records are found below:
(larger photos of below can be seen at this HERE)
When it comes to an exhaustive search, checking compiled service records of your ancestors is a must.