Civil War Military and Pension Information
Union and Confederate Soldiers
First off, you need to find out which State, Regiment and Company the soldier served in. Without that information, or at least the State & Regiment, you are going to have a difficult time. The more info you have on the soldier, the better off you will be. If you don't have this information, try obtaining it from the sites listed at the bottom of this page or by contacting that particular State Archives. Once you know his Regiment and Company, write to the National Archives in DC or call them at 202-501-5652, or e-mail them and request copies of NATF Form 80. One form is needed for each ancestor's data desired.
Military Service Branch
National Archives and Records Service
8th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20408
Order NATF Form 80
Military files contain information such as enlistment papers and muster rolls. Pension files contain information pertaining to application for pension by the soldier or by a family member. Any soldier serving for more than 90 days was eligible for a pension. Spouses and parents were also eligible to receive the pension if the soldier had died, and they could prove that the soldier was supporting them.
Use a separate form to request Military and Pension files. In the upper left hand corner, you will see boxes for the separate types of files you want to request. The requests will cost $10 each, which includes 1-20 copies, whatever exists in the file. If there are more than that, the price goes up, but it is reasonable. For genealogical research, the pension files are the best, but if you want the complete info on the soldier, I would order both. Write on the Forms this: "Please Send Complete Contents of File". If you don't write that, the researcher will pick out about what they will interest you. However, if you do specify that you want the complete contents and the file contains more than 20 copies, they will let you know how many more pages are left in the file and what the cost will be to receive them.
You may request Medical records using an additional form. Write on it, "Please Send Complete Medical Records". These files will tell if your ancestor was wounded or sick. However, that information is usually found in the Military records themselves. The cost is $10 for one search. If they can't find any Military, Pension or Medical records, there is no charge.
If your ancestor transferred to another regiment, you need to request another search fro that Regiment. If your ancestor was in a Court Martial, you may request those records. If your ancestor was drafted, you might get more information by writing to Navy and Old Army Branch, National Archives (GSA), Washington, DC.
Military files contain any information on file concerning the soldier's military career, such as enlistment papers and muster rolls. Pension files contain information pertaining to application for pension either by the soldier himself or a family member. Eligibility for Confederate pensions varied from state to state.
You can only receive the Military records from the National Archives. The process
is the same as for Union soldiers mentioned above. For Pension records you will
have to contact the State Archives from the state he served from. There are other
resources as well.
Check this page to locate Confederate pension information: Confederate Pension Records
Some State Archives are very helpful. If you visit the Archives in person, you may copy original Pension records. Amnesty oaths were also taken by most Confederate soldiers and some citizens, and for Confederate officials and citizens owning more than $20,000 in property. You can write to the Navy and Old Army Branch, National Archives (GSA), Washington, DC 20408 to request this information.
Prisoner Records: If the soldier was ever a prisoner, you can send inquires to the Reference Services Branch, (NNIR), National Archives (GSA), Washington, DC. File M347 contains Union and Confederate prisoners. File M346 contains records of payments to Confederate citizens for items purchased by the Union.
For all research visit U. S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA 17103-5008; telephone (717) 245-3601. It is located in Carlisle, PA, near Harrisburg. Also, the State Archives is a good place to find info on both Union and Confederate Soldiers which is generally faster than National Archives. Another option is local LDS Family History Centers.
When making requests, other than with NATF Form 80, include a self addressed
American Civil War Research
and Genealogy Database
American Civil War Genealogy link
Private Researcher - National Archives
Civil War Resources
Indian Wars, and Related