Unfortunately, there are far fewer Confederate military records at the National Archives than there are for their Union counterparts. Many Confederate records were shipped south, destroyed or abandoned when the Confederate Government evacuated Richmond. Some of the records passed into the hands of the Union Army and were sent to the War Department in Washington. In July 1865, the Adjutant General established a bureau for the “collection, safekeeping, and publication of Rebel Archives.” In 1903 the Secretary of War persuaded the Governors of most Southern States to lend the War Department the Confederate military personnel records in their possession for copying.
Some of the original records are still in the custody of the National Archives in Record Group 109, War Department Collection of Confederate Records. Others have been microfilmed, and the original records returned to the appropriate state archives. Keep in mind that Confederate records are often fragmentary due to incomplete muster and descriptive rolls. For some companies such rolls were not even prepared; for many, only a part of the required information was provided and for hundreds of others, records have been lost or destroyed. Also, some soldiers served in State militia units that were not mustered into Confederate service. These Confederate records can often be located at the appropriate state archives.
Military records can often provide valuable information on the veteran’s military career and postwar life. Some records may also contain important information on members of his family,
The best place to begin your search is with the compiled military service records. There are no compiled service records for men who served with the Confederate Navy or Confederate Marine Corps, but other records are available. Confederate pension files often provide a wealth of genealogical information, but these records are not held by the National Archives. Confederate pension files are held by the appropriate State Archives. There are also a number of other records that may provide helpful information on the veteran and his regiment.
To learn more about Confederate Military Records, and to find out how you can access and/or order them, click on the appropriate link.
Army Compiled Service Records
Navy & Marine Personnel Records
Prisoner of War Records
Regimental Records / Histories
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