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.
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.