The Civil War Infantryman

Hurrah, the book arrived. I’d been eagerly waiting for a copy of Civil War Infantryman: In Camp, on the March, and in Battle. Fortunately with Amazon you don’t have to wait long.

It looks like it has everything I’d been wanting. There are descriptions and photos of clothing, equipment and weapons of the infantryman plus details about their rations. It’s based on first-hand accounts from diaries and letters both Union and Confederate during the Civil War.

This will help me picture the daily life of my Civil War ancestor as I track the movement of his regiment.

Time for some reading…


What Was Your Ancestor’s Job before and after the War?

If you are able to get the pension record for your Civil War ancestor, read it carefully. The first part of my great-great grandfather, Abraham Bates Tower’s pension record contained a summary of his military career. The summary included where he was born, years in the military, marital status and spouse’s name, his trade, his parents names and where they were born, the date/place/cause of his death, and the cemetery name.

That’s where I found out that my ancestor had been a farmer before the war.

Vintage Plow Engraving. Ceramic Tiles
Vintage Plow Engraving. Ceramic Tiles by historiceaton

After the war, in 1870 he is listed on the census as a farmer in LaClede, Missouri. At this point, he is 32 years old and also in the household are his wife, Nancy, 3 daughters, a son and his 21 year old brother who was listed as a farm laborer.

UPDATE: Found Abraham Bates Tower in the 1860 census and at that time, he was a cooper. He lived near the Ohio River in Southern Indiana, so I imagine there was quite a bit of shipping on the river that required barrels. Possibly he switched to farming before volunteering.

Finding Regimental Histories

If you know what regiment and company your Civil War ancestor was in, then you’ll find a wealth of information searching on that. Usually you can find out the names or roster of people in a company (usually about 100 men). From my great-great grandfather’s pension record, I knew he was in Company G, 93rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

When you search for the regiment, try variations like “93 Indiana Infantry” and “ninty third Indiana Volunteers.” Sometimes you find sources such as an old book on the regiment that has been placed online. Most of these can be searched by name inside the book.

Some information is available through the state archives, so go to those sites once you know what state your ancestor’s regiment was from. The regimental histories give a list of the places, some dates and the battles the regiment was in. This lets you see where your ancestor was during different times of the war.

I found it helpful to map out the movements of the regiment so I could visualize it better. This is my web page Tracking the 93rd Indiana Infantry‘s locations during the Civil War.

Civil War Topics by Virginia Allain

Civil War Topics by Virginia Allain