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…

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

Online Sites to Search

I gave a talk at the genealogy club I belong to. My topic included online sites for searching for a Civil War ancestor.

You’ll want to go first to the Soldiers and Sailors Database at the National Park Service. It includes a database of Civil War prisoner information for sites like Andersonville and others. I recommend printing out any information that you find online. Sometimes sites or databases disappear.

To order Civil War pension records, try this site.

As you know much genealogy information is only available online through subscription sites. For military records, I hear many recommendations for fold3. I haven’t tried it yet, but probably need to quit stalling and give it a whirl.