The Official Records of the Rebellion

Ole Miss

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The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

"Series I:
Contains the formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of the first seizures of United States property in the Southern States, and of all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, orders, and returns relating specially thereto, and, as proposed is to be accompanied by an Atlas. In this series the reports will be arranged according to the campaigns and several theaters of operations (in the chronological order of the events), and the Union reports of any event will, as a rule, be immediately followed by the Confederate accounts. The correspondence, etc., not embraced in the "reports" proper will follow (first Union and next Confederate) in chronological order."

I have been reading and studying about the American Civil War for over 50 years and am still a neophyte. The advent of the internet and the digitization of historic documents and records has advanced research of this seminal American event.

In my youth I had to schedule a time and then trudge off to the University of Mississippi Library and search through their collection of the volumes of The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Having to search through various volumes was time consuming and must be done in the library. Copious notes were taken as it was expensive to get photocopies.

But with a computer I have unlimited access to the very documents that contain the actual words of those who were there at the battles and how the battle was conducted and fought.

I am going to list the links and explain how easy it is to access these valuable documents.
Regards
David
 
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Ole Miss

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An invaluable source for all students of the Civil War, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies is easily accessed. The source I use is through the Cornell University Library system* site listed below.

To use this site is easy and quick. One need only look for the sector and date of a battle to access the Official Records and then search the document. I personally go to the index and search for either the person or unit I am looking for and her lies a problem. Each volume is of different length so I have to insert various numbers to find the Index. For example with the Shiloh volume the Index begins on 929 page where as the Index for the Antietam begins on page 1109.

I have listed a few Official Record battle sources below to show how easy it is to search for information.
Regards
David
*Cornell University Library
http://collections.library.cornell.edu/moa_new/waro.html

Here are a few sites of Battles that might be of interest to memembers

1st​ Battle of Manassas/Bull Run

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730152&view=1up&seq=570

Antietam/Sharpsburg
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924079609610&view=1up&seq=7

Shiloh
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730160&view=1up&seq=3

Gettysburg
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699761&view=1up&seq=7

Pea Ridge/Elkhorn Tavern
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924079893719&view=1up&seq=7

The Peninsular Campaign, Virginia. March 17-September 2, 1862
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924079609560&view=1up&seq=7
 

Ole Miss

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Here is a hidden gem that really is a valuable tool in identifying a particular unit that may have many various names. I will warn you that the pages need to be rotated but it is a small price to pay for the information.
Regards
David

List of Synonyms of Organizations in the Volunteer Service of the United States.
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044004577086&view=1up&seq=5&size=125

"The List of Synonyms, compiled with the view of furnishing needed information concerning the names borne by a number of the organizations in the volunteer service of the United States during the late war in addition to their regular or final designations, has been prepared after careful search of the records of the Adjutant General's Office.. Under the general title of “Synonyms” is herein comprised, as a rule, “local names” proper, prior official designations, and, in cases of bat teries of light artillery, independent companies and battalions, and in a few other instances, designations of organizations by the names of their commanding officers. It will be observed that the exceptional designations entered not coming strictly within these classes (some of which are given as merged into others), relate mainly to organizations with unusual, though regular, names, and are accordingly included. A few of the synonyms given refer to organizations which, though not mustered into the service of the United States, served for short terms under orders of United States officers, and were recognized and indirectly paid by the United States; i. e., paid by their respective States, which were subsequently reimbursed by the United States, and for which organizations there are rolls on file in this office.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT GENERAL's OFFICE, June 26, 1885."
 

A. Roy

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Raleigh, North Carolina
Here is a hidden gem that really is a valuable tool in identifying a particular unit that may have many various names. I will warn you that the pages need to be rotated but it is a small price to pay for the information.
List of Synonyms of Organizations in the Volunteer Service of the United States.

This looks like a great resource -- thanks for pointing to it. I hope I can remember that this exists, because I know one day I'm going to need it!

Roy B.
 

lupaglupa

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Apr 18, 2019
Great thread @Ole Miss! There are greats records in this series. Getting into it through the Cornell index makes it a lot easier to access. Thanks for posting
 

A. Roy

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An invaluable source for all students of the Civil War, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies is easily accessed. The source I use is through the Cornell University Library system* site listed below.

I've been using the Cornell digital ORs as well -- a fantastic resource. The indexes are crucial to the research I'm doing, but they're not digitized, which complicates things a bit. My solution has been to open two instances of whatever volume I'm using at the time. One instance I use to look up names in the index, to find the page number for the report I need. I use the other instance to find the relevant report at that page number. It means jumping back and forth between the two instances of that volume, but it's much quicker than jumping back and forth within the same electronic book. (Hope that all makes sense.)

Roy B.
 

MWood1841

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Nov 26, 2019
Location
Virginia
Thank you for sharing the babel links. I’ve always been intrigued with the ORs and have for some time imagined owning a personal set. Although I believe my wife would scream due to the sizable library I already have in my den. Much appreciated.
 

danny

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Hattiesburg
I've been using the Cornell digital ORs as well -- a fantastic resource. The indexes are crucial to the research I'm doing, but they're not digitized, which complicates things a bit. My solution has been to open two instances of whatever volume I'm using at the time. One instance I use to look up names in the index, to find the page number for the report I need. I use the other instance to find the relevant report at that page number. It means jumping back and forth between the two instances of that volume, but it's much quicker than jumping back and forth within the same electronic book. (Hope that all makes sense.)

Roy B.

I know what you mean Roy. I have used all sorts of manipulations to make the system work in my behalf. I use Cornell paired with EHistory at Ohio State. The latter makes much better copies for cut and paste---IMO.
 

TomP

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Location
Corinth, MS
David,

Great posts.

My first experience with the OR was at the New Orleans Public Library in 1984. Up to then I had settled for the references given by whichever author chose to use them. They were kept in the basement, which as you can imagine in New Orleans, made for a terribly humid environment and they had the original 1884 volumes. Everything had to be copied in notes as the brittle pages would not have survived a copy machine. I later found a new set in the Virginia Beach Public Library. When I got my first computer I bought two different CD versions which we were not the easiest thing to use, but they worked.

Today I am truly blessed with access to the OR. Here in the library of the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center we have the entire 128 volume OR plus the 100 volume supplement. If I am too lazy to walk around the corner (or I must have an immediate answer) I keep personal copies of volumes 10 and 17 (parts 1 and 2 of both) here at my desk. These are the volumes which deal with Shiloh, the siege of Corinth and the battle of Corinth. At home I have the same four books where I can easily grab them as well as the first 40 volumes on the top shelf where I need a step ladder. Oh and volumes 32 and 39 are close to hand as well; both deal with activities in Mississippi in 1864.

I get jittery if I am too far away from the OR.

I do use the Cornell and babel hathitrust sites as well for searches. I am in awe of those authors who researched prior to the computer age.

Tom
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Location
Columbus, OH
I have a full set of the books, which I use regularly. If there's some passage that I need to copy/paste, I go online to do so. But there's nothing like flipping the pages of the books.

@MWood1841--You are correct about them taking up a lot of space. All of those black books you see on the left side of the photo are my OR set plus the first 15 volumes or so of the OR Supplement published by Broadfoot. I terminated my subscription to the Supplements once I got those because the rest of the set wasn't that useful to me and not, IMHO, worth the money that it costs.

298860_10150755125780413_1731112_n.jpg
 

John Hartwell

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Central Massachusetts
Here is a hidden gem that really is a valuable tool in identifying a particular unit that may have many various names. I will warn you that the pages need to be rotated but it is a small price to pay for the information.
Regards
David

List of Synonyms of Organizations in the Volunteer Service of the United States.
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044004577086&view=1up&seq=5&size=125

"The List of Synonyms, compiled with the view of furnishing needed information concerning the names borne by a number of the organizations in the volunteer service of the United States during the late war in addition to their regular or final designations, has been prepared after careful search of the records of the Adjutant General's Office.. Under the general title of “Synonyms” is herein comprised, as a rule, “local names” proper, prior official designations, and, in cases of batteries of light artillery, independent companies and battalions, and in a few other instances, designations of organizations by the names of their commanding officers. It will be observed that the exceptional designations entered not coming strictly within these classes (some of which are given as merged into others), relate mainly to organizations with unusual, though regular, names, and are accordingly included. A few of the synonyms given refer to organizations which, though not mustered into the service of the United States, served for short terms under orders of United States officers, and were recognized and indirectly paid by the United States; i. e., paid by their respective States, which were subsequently reimbursed by the United States, and for which organizations there are rolls on file in this office.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT GENERAL's OFFICE, June 26, 1885."
This is, indeed, a very useful source and an interesting title just to browse. You can, btw, get a paperback reprint for about $10 ... Amazon has some.The hard-cover's closer to $30, iirc. You still have to rotate the pages.:smile:.
 

Pat Young

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Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
An invaluable source for all students of the Civil War, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies is easily accessed. The source I use is through the Cornell University Library system* site listed below.

To use this site is easy and quick. One need only look for the sector and date of a battle to access the Official Records and then search the document. I personally go to the index and search for either the person or unit I am looking for and her lies a problem. Each volume is of different length so I have to insert various numbers to find the Index. For example with the Shiloh volume the Index begins on 929 page where as the Index for the Antietam begins on page 1109.

I have listed a few Official Record battle sources below to show how easy it is to search for information.
Regards
David
*Cornell University Library
http://collections.library.cornell.edu/moa_new/waro.html

Here are a few sites of Battles that might be of interest to memembers

1st​ Battle of Manassas/Bull Run

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730152&view=1up&seq=570

Antietam/Sharpsburg
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924079609610&view=1up&seq=7

Shiloh
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730160&view=1up&seq=3

Gettysburg
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699761&view=1up&seq=7

Pea Ridge/Elkhorn Tavern
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924079893719&view=1up&seq=7

The Peninsular Campaign, Virginia. March 17-September 2, 1862
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924079609560&view=1up&seq=7
great list
 

James N.

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Personally, I still like having the volumes themselves in hand, and am fortunate that our local genealogy library (which occupies space in the same building as the town library where I do all my "computing") has a copy of the NHS reprint. I've found at least a couple of occasions to use them there in preparation for talks, etc.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Coffeeville, TX
The OR's are just about the most valuable resource to have when researching. I wish I had all of them personally. But considering how little I care for libraries, this is what I've come to use when looking stuff up:

http://simmonsgames.com/research/authors/USWarDept/ORA/Volumes.html
I've been spending today rummaging around in Series IV, Volumes II and III tracking arms and equipment issues. Not much luck so far in what I'm specifically looking for, Ordnance Returns for the Army of the Trans-Mississippi and on Forrest's Cavalry.

Thank God they have indexes in those books...
 

Ole Miss

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North Mississippi
I agree that holding the paper documents is far more rewarding but not everyone is as fortunate as I am to live 5 miles from a major University Library. The web sites with copies of the Official Records are excellent sources for information about military units and participants in the battles.

If anyone is experiencing difficulties in accessing the Records ask someone or contact me and I will do my best to assist.
Regards
David
 

Fairfield

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
This looks like a great resource -- thanks for pointing to it. I hope I can remember that this exists, because I know one day I'm going to need it!

Roy B.
If you click on that little box (with parallel lines) in the right hand column--not at the top, the page will be shown in ordinary, "plain text". The indentations will be off but that's not the end of the world. Furthermore, you can copy-and-paste in plain text (so you can save the pages that interest you). To return to original format text, just re-click that box.
 
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