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Civil War

Beginning Your Research

A Note about
Many of the sources given here are found on This site is continually adding new files and indexing existing files. Be sure to keep checking for new information!


In our Catalog do a Keyword search for: United States--History--Civil War or [Name of State]--History--Civil War

  • 369.17 CON NCC. The Confederate Veteran. A magazine published from 1893 to 1932. The Gastonia Main Library has a complete set with an index.
    • The N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans also provides free online downloads to The Confederate Veteran.
      • Go to:
  • 929 NOR NCC. Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors: The Research Resources You Need for Success! by David A. Norris.
  • 929.1 NOR NCC. North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History (2nd ed.) by Helen Leary should be consulted for information on North Carolina records.
  • The Ancestry Library Edition has over 40 specialized databases you can search related to the Civil War, including lists of soldiers, pension indexes and service records.
  • The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System contains 6.3 million soldiers [Union and Confederate] including 18,000 African-American Union sailors.
    Go to:
  • Fold3 includes “Civil War Service Records” (search images by name or browse by state), “Civil War Pensions Index” (Union), “Southern Claims”, “Confederate Amnesty Papers”, “Confederate Casualty Reports”, and more.
    Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card.
  • contains Civil War record collections including service records for both the Confederate and the Union armies, pension records, and more. Filter by collection name with keywords "civil war", "confederate", or "union."
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Carolina Confederates

We recommend that you start with North Carolina Troops when looking for a North Carolina Confederate:



  • 973.7025 MAN NCC. North Carolina Troops, 1861 - 1865: A Roster by the N.C. Dept. of Archives and History. 20 vols + corrections volume. Service record information for soldiers is included.


  • 362.86 WEG NCC. Phantom Pain: North Carolina's Artificial-Limbs Program for Confederate Veterans.
  • 929.375 WYN NCC. North Carolina extant voter registrations of 1867 by Frances Holloway Wynne.
  • 929.3756 NOR NCC. North Carolina Historical Roster, 1897-1997: United Daughters of the Confederacy and their Confederate Ancestors of the War Between the States.
  • 973.7 BRA NCC. North Carolina Militia and Home Guard Records by Dr. Stephen E. Bradley, Jr., abstractor. 2 vols. Confederate militia records and orders. Includes dates of orders, names of commanders and soldiers.
  • 973.7 CIV NCC. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers' and Civilians' Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865 by Christopher M. Watford, ed. 2 vols. Volume 1 includes the Piedmont.
  • 973.7 FOR NCC. Forgotten Confederates: An Anthology about Black Southerners by Charles Kelly Barrow, et al., eds.
  • 973.7 HAR NC. Remembering North Carolina's Confederates by Michael C. Hardy. Includes photographs of veterans and monuments in the Piedmont, including Gaston County.
  • 973.7 PER NCC. Civil War courts-martial of North Carolina troops by Aldo S. Perry.
  • 973.7 POT NCC. General Order Book, 1862-1863, 11th "Bethel" Regiment North Carolina Troops by Ellen Poteet, transcriber. Transcribed military orders; includes names of commanders, soldiers and regiments.
  • 973.7025 H NCC. Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War, 1861-'65. 5 vols. Known as Clark's Regiments. Complete index available.
  • 973.7025 M NCC. Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War Between the States. 4 vols. Also known as "Moore's Roster." While this old set is frequently cited, see the entry above for North Carolina Troops for a more recent and complete set of rosters. There is an index to Moore's compilation on microfilm at Gastonia Main.
  • 973.74 NOR NCC. North Carolina Confederate Militia Officers Roster by Stephen E. Bradley, Jr.
  • 973.7456 MAS NCC. State Troops and Volunteers: A Photographic Record of North Carolina's Civil War Soldiers.
  • 973.78 NOR NCC. North Carolina Petitions for Presidential Pardon: 1865-1868 (an index). Names of former Confederates.
  • 975.6 CAR. Gaston County, North Carolina, in the Civil War, by Robert C. Carpenter. Includes Gaston County Tax List of 1863.

Service Records

Prisoner Records

  • 929.3 CON N.C.C Confederate soldiers, sailors, and civilians who died as prisoners of war at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., 1862-1865
  • 973.7 KIR NCC. Dark hours: South Carolina soldiers, sailors, and citizens who were held in Federal prisons during the war for southern independence, 1861-1865. by Randolph W. Kirkland, Jr.
  • United States Records of Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865 (browse images)
    Go to:
  • U.S., Civil War Prisoner of War Records, 1861-1865 (search by name or browse images) Ancestry Library Edition (available only in the libraries).


  • 929.2 NOR NCC. "Black North Carolina Confederate Pensioners," by Russell Scott Koonts. North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal. Vol. 21, No. 4 (Nov. 1995). Pgs. 343-352.
  • 929.3 HOL NCC. South Carolina's Confederate Pensioners in 1901 by Brent Holcomb.
  • 973.7415 HEL NCC. South Carolina's African American Confederate Pensioners, 1923-1925.
  • 973.7456 DEA NCC. Dead or Disabled: The North Carolina Confederate Pensions, 1885 Series.
  • 973.7456 NOR NCC Confederate Pension Applications, 1885 and 1901 (Microfilm images with index)
  • 1885 and 1901 Confederate Pension Applications for North Carolina. Images searchable by name.
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  • North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885 - 1953 (Browse images for 1885 and 1901 series) *Check both the "1885-1901 Application index, A-Z" and the "1885-1901 Index, A-Z" which has handwritten additions. Check both the 1901+ Application index, A-Z" and the "1901+ Index" which has handwritten additions.
    Go to:
  • Civil War "Widows' Pensions"  (Browse images; Not complete, but includes some N.C. pensions) Approved pension applications of widows and other dependents of Civil War veterans who served between 1861 and 1910.
    Go to: (Log into Fold3 with your library card).
  • Online Records Index South Carolina Archives & History. (Select the Record Group, "Records of Confederate Veterans, 1909-1973" to search index and images for South Carolina Confederate Pension Applications, 1919-1938)
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Obituaries, Burials

Headstones and Markers

Pre-World War I Era Headstones and Markers

According to the National Cemetery Administration, proof of military service prior to World War I requires detailed primary documentation, such as Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR), extracts from official State files, Federal pension documents or land warrants, to be considered for a Government-furnished headstone or marker.

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Carolina Unionists

  • 973.741 ROS v.2 NCC. The Roster of Union Soldiers, 1861 – 1865, Vol. 2. Includes North Carolina.
  • "1890 Veterans Schedules" are a special census of Union veterans and widows; in some areas, Confederate veterans were listed as well. While often used as a partial substitute for the damaged 1890 federal census, nearly all of the census for states alphabetically before Kentucky have not survived. The existing schedules are available in the Ancestry Library Edition.


         Service Records

  • North Carolina, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861 – 1865 (Indexed and searchable; does not include images)
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  • Fold3 has compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers belonging to units organized for service from the State of North Carolina. NARA M401. (Searchable and browsable. Includes images)
    Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card.
    Go to:
  • U.S. Colored Troops Formed in North Carolina includes name, rank, etc.
    Go to:
  • Fold3 has compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers belonging to the 31st through 35th infantry units, organized for service with the United States Colored Troops (USCT). NARA M1992. (Includes 35th US Colored Infantry raised in North Carolina)
    Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card.
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  • Fold3 has “Pension applications for service in the US Army between 1861 and 1900, grouped according to the units in which the veterans served.” Includes North and South Carolina.
    Go to: Log into Fold3 with your library card.


The National Archives and State Repositories

  • The National Archives in Washington, DC remains the main depository for Civil War records. Union and Confederate compiled military service records can be ordered online or through the mail. The National Archives does not have pension files for Confederate soldiers. Check the State Archives for Confederate Pensions or try the Pension sources listed above.
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    • 929.1 NGS NCC 31. "Searching for Confederate Soldier Records at the National Archives" by Marie Varrelman Melchiori. NGS NewsMagazine. Vol. 31, No. 3 (July/August/September 2005). Pgs. 15-18. A history of Confederate soldier records and how to find them.
    • Requesting Copies of Older (pre-WWI) Military Service Records includes the NATF forms that must be submitted for pension and military records. There is a fee.
      Go to:
    • Repositories of Confederate Pension Records is a state-by-state list; includes contact information for each state repository.
      Go to:
  • The North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, NC is a secondary resource for Confederate records. This collection includes petitions for pardon, bounty payrolls, quartermaster department records, regimental and unit records, and more. There is a fee for reproducing records.
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  • The South Carolina Archives in Columbia, SC includes a research library with indexes to state and local records and microfilm of many federal, state, and local documents.
    Go to:
    • PDF download of Confederate Military Records describes microfilm holdings of service records and allows searching for pension records under "Veteran Benefit Records".
      Go to:

More Resources

  • 929.1 NGS NCC 31. "Tracing African Americans during the Civil War," by Christopher A. Nordmann. NGS NewsMagazine. Vol. 31, No. 3 (July/August/September 2005). Pgs. 19-23.
  • 929.1 NGS NCC 34. "Anatomy of a Union Civil War Pension File," by Prechtel-Kluskens Claire. NGS NewsMagazine. Vol. 34, No. 3 (July-November 2008). Pgs. 43-48.
  • 929.373 DOL NCC. Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era: Online and Published Military or Civilian Name Lists, 1861-1869, and Post-War Veteran Lists by William Dollarhide. Describes national and state resources, on the Internet, in print, and repositories.
  • 973 UNI NCC. The War of the Rebellion : A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Prepared under the Direction of the Secretary of War... 127 vols. Based on Union and Confederate records; might contain a mention of your ancestor, especially if he was an officer. Hint: The "Index" is to the volumes only. Once you get to that volume, check the volume index for individual page numbers. Also note that the "Index" is not complete so also try the online search mentioned below.
  • Library Research Guides:
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  • Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet – United States – U. S. Military: Civil War includes genealogy links covering everything from African-American soldiers, Civil War cemeteries, prisons, photographs, etc.
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Author: Gaston County Public Library
Title: Finding Civil War Soldiers
Revised: 4 January 2020

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