CONFEDERATE RESEARCH SUGGESTIONS
compiled by Jim Huffman,
Gainesville Vols, SCV Camp 373,
Pearl River County, MS
Use H. Grady Howell’s "For Dixie Land, I’ll Take My Stand," the best-ever index to MS Confederate Patriots (3 volumes, 3600 pages, 149,000 names, & published in 1999 & 2000, plus a 300-page volume of MS Confederate Patriot Portraits), to find your MS Confederate ancestors, OR post to Jim Martin’s fabulous “MS in the Civil War Message Board” at http://www.history-sites.com/mb/cw/mscwmb/.
Another incredible index for both MS and all other War of Northern Aggression soldiers can be found at the National Parks Service Soldiers and Sailors System search engine at:
http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.htm. Just fill in the blanks and search away for any soldier you can name! However, like Mr. Howell’s remarkable index, the NPS site will only tell you a little about a soldier -- name, rank, company, and unit. For complete info, you’ll have to locate or order his Compiled Service Record (see below). Another nice feature of this site is it’s capsule histories of most units. Just click on the unit name of your soldier when your search results come up and you’ll (usually) be taken to a short history of the unit.
COUNTIES OF COMPANY FORMATION:
Information on counties of company formation may be found at the MS Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, website by clicking on the “History of MS Units“ tab and then selecting the unit of interest. Each unit history shows the counties of formation for the companies of that unit.
Please be aware that many soldiers traveled to neighboring or even more distant counties (and states!) to join companies then forming when these individual soldiers decided to enlist. (Companies weren’t always forming in the neighborhood when a man made up his mind to join the patriotic struggle to repel the foreign invaders. Accordingly, your ancestor may have joined the war effort far away from his home; check all possibilities before concluding he did not serve simply because all the candidates joined companies from other counties or states.
Please note that Mr. Howell himself says that perhaps 20% of all Confederate Veterans’ service was either never documented or the documentation for their service has been lost over time. Accordingly, sources secondary to Compiled Service Records (see below) should be consulted when looking for Confederate service for an ancestor. These secondary sources include county Confederate service rolls, private letters & diaries, church records, newspaper accounts, United Confederate Veteran Camp records, Confederate Graves Registrations, Confederate Pension Applications, etc.
INDIVIDUAL SOLDIER INFORMATION:
Information on individual soldiers is found in each soldier’s Compiled Service Record (CSR). Additionally, if a soldier served in more than one unit, he may have a CSR for each unit. I would suggest that you order this soldier’s/these soldiers’ CSR(s) from the MS Dept. of Archives & History (faster and about the same price as ordering through the National Archives; slower but much cheaper than ordering through Broadfoot).
The MDAH is on-line at www.mdah.state.ms.us/.
Broadfoot Publishing is online at: http://www.soldiersearch.com/index.html. They offer one-day turnaround on Confederate records!
The National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) is online at: http://www.archives.gov/research_room/genealogy/military/civil_war_records.html. (This is a great site with much useful info. To order your ancestor’s records, you’ll have to request NATF Form 86.)
I do not have information on individual soldiers, unless they are from the 43rd MS Infantry. Additionally, MS’s larger universities have copies of MS Confederate CSR’s on microfilm. You can view these and usually make copies for yourself pretty cheaply. Call the main campus library ahead of time to make sure of availability. (I live an hour from Hattiesburg and often use the MS Confederate CSR’s at USM’s Cook Library. Great staff!)
Jim Martin’s unparalleled Mississippi in the Civil War Message Board at http://www.history-sites.com/mb/cw/mscwmb/ continues to be the very best site on the web for posting queries about your Mississippi Confederate ancestors and their units. This site is routinely monitored by about a dozen of the most knowledgeable Mississippi Confederate historians in the nation. Post your queries and see if you can learn more about your proud Mississippi Confederate "Heritage of Honor"!
CONFEDERATE PENSION APPLICATIONS:
Confederate Pension Applications for Southern Patriots living in MS at the time of their filing for same are also available from the MDAH. The applications often (but not always) contain good info on a soldier’s service. Sometimes, these applications are the only proof of a soldier’s service, since so many actual service records have been lost over time. Ms. Betty Wiltshire has a fine, three-volume index to these MS applications, entitled “MS Confederate Pension Applications,” but it is not available for use on-line. However, the set of books is occasionally available for purchase at Ms. Wiltshire’s website at www.pioneersoutheast.com, along with many other books authored by her and others. Some of the historians who monitor Jim Martin’s MS in the Civil War Message Board at http://www.history-sites.com/mb/cw/mscwmb/ own these volumes and will look for pension applications if you so request (their time-permitting). Remember that these indices contain only basic info: Name, military unit, year of pension application filing, and county filed. To obtain a copy of the actual pension application itself, you must order same from the MDAH! MDAH is online at: at www.mdah.state.ms.us/. The full pension application often (but not always) contains the veteran’s name, post office, unit, date of enlistment, wounds, battles fought in, date of discharge, name of officers, and name of spouse. They sometimes include a very brief testimonial from fellow soldiers verifying that the applicant was, indeed, a Confederate veteran.
MISSISSIPPI CONFEDERATE GRAVES REGISTRATIONS:
Ms. Wiltshire has also published a three-volume set of “Mississippi Confederate Grave Registrations," which lists most registered Confederate burials after about 1905 in the state and might include a listing your ancestor(s). Note that the book is only an index and that you would then have to either consult or ask the MDAH to consult the original Confederate Graves Registrations to provide you with specific info regarding the actual burial site of the deceased (location of cemetery, etc.). The MDAH is on-line at www.mdah.state.ms.us/ Please note that the original Confederate Grave Registration forms contain only scant information, typically the name of the veteran, his unit, his dates of birth and death, and his place of birth and death. The full registration at MDAH contains just a little bit more info, including the name and location of the cemetery and the source of the info on the registration card (usually a relative or a newspaper article). Note that Ms. Wiltshire’s entire 3-volume work is also available on CD from Heritage Books, online at: http://heritagebooks.com/. Be sure you request the CD “Early Mississippi Records, Volume 2,” by Betty Couch Wiltshire, as it is this Volume 2 that contains the MS Confederate Graves Registrations. Also, you can post a query at Jim Martin’s fabled MS in the Civil War Message Board at: http://www.history-sites.com/mb/cw/mscwmb/ to ask one of the site monitors to look your ancestor up.
CAPSULE HISTORIES OF MISSISSIPPI UNITS:
Brief, capsule histories of nearly every MS Confederate unit can be found on the MS Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, website at www.mississippiscv.org. Click on "History of MS Units," then scroll down to the unit of choice. If you visit the MS Division, SCV, site, please leave a note for our incredible Webmaster, Hon. William Lee, letting him know how much you appreciate all his hard, volunteer work in putting this fine site together! Thanks, William! As mentioned above, for shorter capsule histories (usually just a couple of paragraphs), see the NPS site at: http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.htm.
HISTORIANS WILLING TO SHARE INFO:
The Civil War Units Researchers’ page at http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/unit4.html contains links to researchers willing to share information about various Confederate units, from Mississippi as well as other Confederate States. Check this and associated pages out if you’re interested in a particular Confederate regiment. If you have a lot of info to share about a particular regiment, contact the webmaster and offer yourself as a point of contact for others interested in the same unit! Share the honor of having Confederate ancestors! Also, don’t forget Jim Martin’s MS in the Civil War Message Board at: http://www.history-sites.com/mb/cw/mscwmb/ where numerous MS historians lay in wait willing to help you!
THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE WAR OF THE REBELLION:
The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion (i.e., the War of Northern Aggression) remains the single most important source for primary information on Civil War units, personalities, and actions. A searchable online version of the OR (as it is fondly known) can be found at:
THE SUPPLEMENT TO THE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF THE WAR OF THE REBELLION:
Broadfoot Publishing spend a huge amount of money and about ten years collecting everything they could to augment and complete the original OR. The result is a 100-volume set entitled “The Supplement to the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion.” This work is available only as a complete, printed set from Broadfoot (see link above). Broadfoot (understandably after such a huge investment) says that it will not sell individual volumes and, thereby, break up sets, nor will it ever put the set on CD. However, the MDAH (see link above) does have the set in their Reading Room. I can tell you from personal experience with this set that you will almost certainly find info on any unit that you’re researching; it is well worth a trip to Jackson to spend a few hours among these books!
SURVIVING MS CONFEDERATE FLAGS:
To locate surviving MS Confederate flags, go to www.mississippiscv.org and click on the Surviving Mississippi Confederate Flags tab. (Thank you, Webmaster/Comdr. William Lee!) If you have any info about additional surviving Confederate flags, please email me at email@example.com and also email the Hon. Larry Hawkins at firstname.lastname@example.org because Larry is working on a book about all surviving non-Old Capitol Collection (MDAH) MS CS Flags! Thanks, Larry!
To contribute to the MS Division’s on-going effort to restore all of the MS CS flags in the Old Capitol Collection at the MDAH in Jackson, MS, please consider either making a direct cash contribution to the Division’s “Save the Battle flags Program” or purchasing a commemorative MS CS Flag mug by clicking on the mug at www.mississippiscv.org, by emailing STBF Committee Chair Hon. Ron Stowers at ERStowers@aol.com, or by contacting other STBF Committee members: Hon. Eddy Cresup (email@example.com), Hon. Ward Calhoun (WCalho@aol.com), Hon. Cliff Valentine (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Hon. Jim Huffman (me!) (email@example.com). (STBF Committee Member Hon. John Flippin does not have an email address.)
FREE MILITARY GRAVESTONES FOR YOUR CONFEDERATE ANCESTOR:
For information concerning obtaining a free, Government headstone/marker to commemorate the valor of your noble Confederate Patriot sires, please go to the Department of Veterans Affairs marker program web page at www.cem.va.gov/hm.htm. Click on the “Pre-WWI Era Headstones and Markers” tab at the bottom of the page for info on Confederate stones. Please help mark every Confederate grave you can for the benefit of future generations, so that every person who visits a Southern cemetery will see at least one reminder of the valor and patriotism of our ancestors -- and maybe become interested in researching their own roots, hopefully eventually discovering their own noble Southern Patriots! Remember that you have to show proof of service to obtain a marker.
CONFEDERATE HERITAGE ORGANIZATIONS:
Gentlemen -- Please considering joining the SCV. Information about membership in the SCV may be found on our national website at www.scv.org. Prospective members may also call 1-800-MYSOUTH. Ladies -- Please encourage your female relations to join one of two outstanding Confederate Heritage organizations for women. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) is the oldest Confederate Heritage organization for ladies only. Information about the UDC may be found at www.hqudc.org. A newer Confederate Heritage organization for ladies, children, and even men without Confederate ancestors (but who are interested in helping to preserve our Confederate Heritage of Honor!) is the Order of the Confederate Rose, which functions both independently and as a support to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Information about the Order of the Confederate Rose may be obtained at www.confederate-rose.org/. The MS Society, OCR, is on-line at mississippiscv.org/ms_ocr.htm.
PHOTOS OF MS CONFEDERATE PATRIOTS IN UNIFORM:
If you have any photos of your ancestor(s) or other MS Confederates in uniform, please contact H. Grady Howell, Jr., 103 Trace Harbor Road, Madison, MS 39110, and send him a copy of your picture(s). Grady is collecting MS Confederate portraits for a second volume of MS Patriots in uniform. (The first volume was also the fourth volume of his great MS Confederate Patriot index, "For Dixie Land, I’ll Take My Stand.") Be sure to send him a copy of your MS Confederate(s) in order to insure the survival of these precious images! Many libraries and archives purchase Grady’s books, so your ancestor’s photo will, in this manner, be transmitted unto future generations of descendants! Also, you will be thanked by many other descendants or researchers who may not know you and may not know you have such pictures! Grady’s first volume of Confederate Patriot portraits was phenomenal! It is a real treat to see a book of nothing but proud Mississippians ready to sacrifice their all to repel the foreign invasion of their homeland! Please send Grady a short note along with your picture(s), telling him what you know about the soldier(s), their full names (if known), their units, wounds, etc., so that he can provide a suitable caption in the book. Grady also welcomes portraits of unidentified MS Confederates in uniform. Again, include as much info as possible about these unknowns when you write him. (Info such as where you acquired the photo, whom it might possibly be, etc.,) Grady can also be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
43RD MISSISSIPPI INFANTRY:
Finally, and on a personal note, in the off chance that you had ancestors in the 43rd MS Infantry, please see our small website at www.43rdms.homestead.com/index.html -- then contact me (email@example.com) immediately with any info you may have! Hon. Scott Bell (firstname.lastname@example.org ) of Tyler, TX, and I have been researching this remarkable regiment (and its famous camel!) since 1992, with an eye toward an eventual, non-profit book! Thanks!
I hope all of the above information has been of both use and interest to you! -- Jim Huffman, Gainesville Vols