Discussion Browsing through Company and Regimental Pension Records to get more detailed information about your Ancestors service during the ACW.

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I am always in search of more information regarding my ancestors service during the American Civil War. One of the ways that I found to get a plethora of very detailed information on a collective level was from pension application records, for those who made applications, not only the individual pension applications but records for the other men of the same company and regiment also. By doing this I have found that collectively I can see better the moves made during the war, as well as specific campaigns, battles, skirmishes, fights and actions in which my ancestor, or at least his company and regiment, was involved in.

In quite a few of the pension applications the veteran is asked in which campaigns and battles that he took part in, as well as if they were ever wounded or taken prisoner, and if so they are asked specific information about the event and often times go into great detail regarding their response. I find this information invaluable as with it on a collective basis I can verify other records which I have that the company and regiment was at a specific place on a specific date which completes the picture, or at least gives a different vantage point. The research is much more tedious and labor intensive as you are possibly researching one hundred men of the company other than your ancestor, or more than a thousand or so regarding his regiment, but by doing so you get a lot more detailed information about what you ancestor most likely was involved with during the war. In my research the closer that I can get to my actual ancestor the more complete my information will be, but in the absence of that individual information collective information of the company and then regiment is a great source.

Over the past two decades, I have found great information in daily journals, letters home, information recorded in individual, company and regiment service records in the "OR", daily activity reports and campaign summaries by the field commanders, the pension application records just added or verified the information that I was able to glean from those sources. I am just curious if many of you do the same thing?
 
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I am always in search of more information regarding my ancestors service during the American Civil War. One of the ways that I found to get a plethora of very detailed information on a collective level was from pension application records, for those who made applications, not only the individual pension applications but records for the other men of the same company and regiment also. By doing this I have found that collectively I can see better the moves made during the war, as well as specific campaigns, battles, skirmishes, fights and actions in which my ancestor, or at least his company and regiment, was involved in.

In quite a few of the pension applications the veteran is asked in which campaigns and battles that he took part in, as well as if they were ever wounded or taken prisoner, and if so they are asked specific information about the event and often times go into great detail regarding their response. I find this information invaluable as with it on a collective basis I can verify other records which I have that the company and regiment was at a specific place on a specific date which completes the picture, or at least gives a different vantage point. The research is much more tedious and labor intensive as you are possibly researching one hundred men of the company other than your ancestor, or more than a thousand or so regarding his regiment, but by doing so you get a lot more detailed information about what you ancestor most likely was involved with during the war. In my research the closer that I can get to my actual ancestor the more complete my information will be, but in the absence of that individual information collective information of the company and then regiment is a great source.

Over the past two decades, I have found great information in daily journals, letters home, information recorded in individual, company and regiment service records in the "OR", daily activity reports and campaign summaries by the field commanders, the pension application records just added or verified the information that I was able to glean from those sources. I am just curious if many of you do the same thing?
If one's ancestor was Confederate and applied for a pension, His application is probably online. With the exception of Alabama, and Texas, (Ancestry.com), they're free! Oklahoma even paid Confederate pensions. Wealth of information!
 
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If one's ancestor was Confederate and applied for a pension, His application is probably online. With the exception of Alabama, and Texas, (Ancestry.com), they're free! Oklahoma even paid Confederate pensions. Wealth of information!
The Confederate soldier (or widow) had to meet certain financial threshholds (at or below the poverty line) to quality for a Confederate soldiers pension, my 3rd Great Grandfather with the 2nd Alabama Cavalry did not qualify for his pension, he owned too much land and had quite a bit in savings and investments, so he did not make out a pension application. I wish he would have as other ancestors that I had that also fought in the war did and there was a wealth of information on their pension applications.

Even without his pension application I still consider myself fortunate as I have read his daily journal and some of his letters home from the war, as well as information that was passed down through the family over the generations. But regarding the 2nd Alabama Cavalry, I downloaded all of the service records of the men in his company, in addition to their pension applications regarding both company and regiment (the ones who filed them) as well as the company and regiment service records. In that I found a plethora of information regarding moves, campaigns, battles, fights and actions in which they were engaged.. Then several journals and letters from some of the men in his company and regiment filled in a lot of weak areas in my research. Now I have pretty much a day to day account of his actions during the war, and a very detailed day to day account of the last 150 days of the war. Then I verified and added to all of that information with the OR in the War of the Rebellion (Archived records).
 
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The Confederate soldier (or widow) had to meet certain financial restrictions and limitations (at or below the poverty line) to quality for a Confederate soldiers pension, my 3rd Great Grandfather with the 2nd Alabama Cavalry did not qualify for his pension, he owned too much land and had quite a bit in savings and investments, so he did not make out a pension application. I wish he would have as other ancestors that I had that also fought in the war did and there was a wealth of information on their pension applications.

Even without his pension application I still consider myself fortunate as I have read his daily journal and some of his letters home from the war as well as information that was passed down through the family over the generations. But regarding the 2nd Alabama Cavalry I downloaded all of the records of the men in his company, as well as their pension applications regarding both company and regiment (the ones who filed them) as well as the company and regiment records. In that I found a plethora of information regarding moves, campaigns, battle, fights and actions fought. Then several journals and letters from some of the men in his company and regiment filled in a lot of weak areas in my research. Now I have pretty much a day to day account of his actions during the war, and a very detailed day to day account of the last 150 days of the war. Then I verified and added to all of that information with the OR in the War of the Rebellion.
Very commendable, your thorough research certainly paid off!
 
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There is always more out there to find, and eventually I will find that too. I even looked at journals and letters written home from some of the other men in the same brigade and a couple of old books regarding their participation in the war and was able to verify that the 2nd Alabama Cavalry was with other regiments during certain fights, where they were mentioned by name. As well what they wrote opened up the engagement much more allowing me to ascertain with more clarity how they were used be it in support, reinforcement, as skirmishers or as the advance... I find that it matters a great deal how you pose the questioning in your search online, I play with the order of the words and get different results.
 

Lubliner

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There is always more out there to find, and eventually I will find that too. I even looked at journals and letters written home from some of the other men in the same brigade and a couple of old books regarding their participation in the war and was able to verify that the 2nd Alabama Cavalry was with other regiments during certain fights, where they were mentioned by name. As well what they wrote opened up the engagement much more allowing me to ascertain with more clarity how they were used be it in support, reinforcement, as skirmishers or as the advance... I find that it matters a great deal how you pose the questioning in your search online, I play with the order of the words and get different results.
Possibly to also look up the field action reports from the opposing force to understand the different perspective of particular engagements can fill in some blank points or clarify some fuzzy details. I have seen this done before.
Lubliner.
 
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Lubliner, I do that as well... By doing so I get different perspectives of first hand accounts giving me several vantage points of any particular battle, fight or action which can only better inform me of what actually happened. When I attempt to vet or verify any information that I have in the OR (War of the Rebellion) I always read accounts as given from those involved from both armies, specifically regarding daily activity reports and battle summaries from the field commanders involved on both sides.
 

Peter Stines

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I've found a few goodies at the Harold B. Simpson CW Research Center. (CSR) They were once called the "Confederate" Research center but changed it fairly recently. Political correctness ? Look them up and see what you can find. If you have Texas relations, I've found copies of a pension and widow's benefits for one kinsman at the Texas State Library in Austin.
 
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I've found a few goodies at the Harold B. Simpson CW Research Center. (CSR) They were once called the "Confederate" Research center but changed it fairly recently. Political correctness ? Look them up and see what you can find. If you have Texas relations, I've found copies of a pension and widow's benefits for one kinsman at the Texas State Library in Austin.
Thanks for sharing. I will give it a go and maybe I will come across something that will be helpful. In my opinion you can never have enough reliable sources with which to vet, verify and validate information that you already have or add new information or lend a new perspective or different vantage point.
 
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Peter Stines

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I've found some veteran kinsman through the site Find A Grave. A little morbid, but you can search cemeteries all over the world. Some cemeteries are not completely recorded and some grave markers have yet to be photographed but it's still worth a look. I made contact through the site with a number of distant kin and we exchanged info. Its free!
 
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I am a long time member and contributor to Find-a-grave, I have made numerous memorials for quite a few Confederate soldiers, those related to me and many others who are not.
 
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Cavalier

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2nd Alabama Cavalry. Over the last five decades I have found out quite a lot about my ancestor. With the help of some posters here I hope to find out more. My family had no knowledge of my ancestor's war experiences except that he died a prisoner of war. Now we have a pretty good idea of what he experianced. The sad part about it is everybody in the family who would have been interested, except me, is now dead. Can't win em all I guess.
 

Lubliner

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Wow, just earlier today I was searching the map of Georgia, wanted to know the history of Columbus which is a sister city to Phenix City Alabama, and used our supposedly doubtful research tool, Wikipedia. It shares information that claims the origin of Memorial Day was first presented to that city by John Gordon. There is a date given and a society mentioned. But you need to weigh the 'facts' as stated for your own judgement.
Lubliner.
 

Peter Stines

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Family stories can drive you nuts! More often than not, facts get garbled or twisted and can make finding the truth an "adventure" to say the least. My grandmother was born in Mikado Saskatchewan and she claimed there was no surviving birth record for her because the courthouse burned up. I did some checking and the town wasn't big enough to have a courthouse. I'm checking the surrounding areas and maybe I can hit pay-dirt :bounce:
 
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Family stories can drive you nuts! More often than not, facts get garbled or twisted and can make finding the truth an "adventure" to say the least.
Sometimes you get lucky with family stories. I was able to confirm several things that my Great Grandmother told me about her father (my Great Great Grandfather) who served and fought with the 36th Regiment Mississippi Infantry during the Civil War. I was able to find records in the "OR" to substantiate what she had told me. I am still trying to substantiate a couple of other things that she told me with actual records.
 
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