About U.S., Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865
This database contains an index of compiled military service records for volunteer Union soldiers who served with units organized in more than 20 states and territories, including states in the Confederacy. This index also includes Confederate soldiers who later served with the Union Army.
Compiled service records (CSRs) consist of cards that record information about a soldier extracted by clerks in the War Department from muster rolls, regimental returns, hospital rolls, and other records, with a new card being created each time a soldier’s name appeared on a new document. The CSRs may also contain original documents pertaining to the soldier, such as enlistment papers, casualty sheets, and correspondence. A typical CSR will include an envelope that lists a soldier’s name, rank, unit, and card numbers, followed by the cards and documents.
The task of compiling these records for Union soldiers began in 1890. NARA describes this effort:
The compilation of service records of Union soldiers was begun in 1890 under the direction of Capt. Fred C. Ainsworth, head of the Record and Pension Division of the War Department. Abstracts were made from documents in the custody of the War Department and from muster, pay, and other rolls borrowed from the Second Auditor of the Treasury. The abstracts made from the original records were verified by a separate operation of comparison, and great care was taken to ensure that the abstracts were accurate.
Some cards not associated with an individual soldier or packet are also included. Insufficient or contradictory information made it difficult to link these records to a particular soldier or they did not provide enough information to warrant starting a new packet.
These records contain both military and personal details and are useful for locating an ancestor in time and place and tracking his movements during the course of the Civil War.