The Library of Virginia
800 E. Broad Street
Processed by: Craig S. Moore
Date Completed: 24 October 2001
State Records Collection, Acc# 27684
Extent: 68.19 cu. ft.
Transferred from the Adjutant General's Office, Dept. of Military Affairs, 506 Ninth St. Office Building, Richmond, Va., 4 April 1918.
Virginia. Dept. of Confederate Military Records, 1859-1996 (bulk 1861-1864, 1905-1918). Accession 27684. State Records Collection, The Library of Virginia.
Oversized (except Muster Rolls) from Series II: Unit Records, Artillery, Cavalry, Infantry, Local Defense, Reserves, Virginia State Line, Militia, & Misc. Units placed in Oversized Boxes 1-7 (4/D/37/9/4-6)
Oversized (except Muster Rolls) from Series III: Miscellaneous Records, placed in Oversized Box 8 (4/D/37/9/6)
Oversized Muster Rolls from Series II: Unit Records, Artillery, Cavalry, Infantry, Local Defense, Reserves, Virginia State Line, Militia, & Misc. Units placed in 4th Floor, Cabinet 1, Drawers 1-19 (4/G/01/01-19)
Oversized Muster Rolls from Series III: Miscellaneous Records, Detachments of Unpaid Men placed in 4th Floor, Cabinet 1, Drawer 20 (4/G/01/20)
Oversized Muster Rolls from Series III: Miscellaneous Records, John Brown's Raid Unit Records placed in 4th Floor, Cabinet 2, Drawers 1-3 (4/G/02/01-3)
Interest in memorializing Confederate veterans prompted the General Assembly to pass an act on March 13, 1884, directing the adjutant general to compile a roster of all those who served from Virginia in the Confederate armed forces. The Adjutant General distributed blank roster sheets to former company commanders and other individuals, however, most of the sheets were never returned and the project was left unfinished. On January 25, 1898, another act was passed and later re-enacted on March 6, 1900, to provide a roster of all the ex-Confederate soldiers living in the State of Virginia. The commissioners of revenue throughout the Commonwealth were furnished with blank roster sheets from the auditor of public accounts to record the name, age, rank, company, regiment, date of enlistment, and length of service of all former Confederate soldiers living in the state of Virginia. The result of this endeavor was a two-volume roster of ex-Confederate soldiers and sailors arranged by locality. A more comprehensive inventory of Virginia soldiers, dead or alive, who fought for the Confederacy was still in want. In response to Congress' passage of an act on February 25, 1903, providing for the assembling of muster rolls for all Union and Confederate soldiers, Virginia created the Office of the Secretary of Virginia Military Records on March 7, 1904, to assist the Secretary of War and the U.S. War Department with a complete roster of Confederate soldiers from Virginia.
Major Robert Waterman Hunter, a former soldier in the 179th Regiment Virginia Militia and officer in the 2nd Regiment Virginia Volunteers, was appointed for one year by Governor Andrew Jackson Montague upon the recommendation of the Grand Commander of the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans, as the first Secretary of Virginia Military Records. His duties were to "collect all muster rolls, records, and other materials showing the officers and enlisted men of the several companies, battalions, regiments, and other military organizations from Virginia in the armies, marine or naval service of the Confederate States." These records were to be obtained by the secretary through gift or loan and deposited in the Virginia State Library. The General Assembly passed legislation on February 20, 1906, and again on March 9, 1908, reappointing the Secretary of Virginia Military Records, further expanding the duties of the office, and providing a salary for the position. Hunter submitted a report to Governor Claude A. Swanson in 1909 detailing the accomplishments of the office. Hunter noted in this report the completion of various lists of officers, surgeons, chaplains, battles in Virginia and West Virginia, and the collection of rolls and rosters, both original and secondary, of Virginia companies calendared in books of the office according to branch, regiment or battalion, and company.
Colonel Joseph Virginius Bidgood, former Commander of the Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans, succeeded Hunter in 1910 as Secretary of Virginia Military Records. The Office of the Secretary of Virginia Military Records merged into the Adjutant General's office on February 28, 1911. The Department of Confederate Military Records was formed by an act of the General Assembly on March 12, 1912. This act replaced the Office of the Secretary of Virginia Military Records and appointed the secretary for a term of two years to be paid out of the Military Fund. The Department of Confederate Military Records, under the Office of the Adjutant General, continued the work of the Secretary of Virginia Military Records of assembling muster rolls and other documents related to Virginians in the Civil War. In 1918, the General Assembly passed an act abolishing the Department of Confederate Military Records and transferring the department's records to the Virginia State Library.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
Records, 1859-1996, of the Dept. of Confederate Military Records. The bulk of the collection covers the years 1861 to 1864, 1884, 1900, and 1905 to 1918. Includes correspondence, muster rolls, payrolls, clippings, descriptive rolls of pay & clothing, powers of attorney, rosters, printed material, scrapbooks, letter books, general & special orders, certificates, photographs, and other sundry items.
Series I. Correspondence.
Contains both incoming and outgoing correspondence to/from Major Robert W. Hunter or Colonel Joseph V. Bidgood, both Secretaries of Virginia Military Records. The majority of the correspondence, however, was addressed to Col. Bidgood since he took over the duties in 1910. The correspondence primarily relates to service records of Virginians during the Civil War. Individuals wrote Bidgood for information about soldiers for pensions, genealogical & historical research, and other purposes. There is often a typescript copy of Bidgood's reply attached to the incoming correspondence. Bidgood wrote to veterans, veterans' families, clerks of the county courts, and others seeking information about soldiers and requesting copies of muster rolls. These records are particularly useful because they often contain the personal recollections of veterans and their families. As a result, genealogical information can sometimes be gleaned from the correspondence.
Special correspondence is arranged at the rear of this series. Included are letters from Joseph Reid Anderson, Jr., son of the former owner of the Tredegar Iron Works; General Thomas T. Munford, Grand Commander Grand Camp Confederate Veterans; Generals Francis C. Ainsworth & Robert Shaw Oliver, Secretaries of the War Department; Governors Claude A. Swanson, A.J. Montague, and William Hodges Mann; John Hart, editor of "Our Confederate Column" in the Richmond Times-Dispatch; and Adjutant Generals James McDonald & W.W. Sale. Joseph Reid Anderson corresponded frequently with Bidgood while serving as the compiler and editor of the "VMI Biography." Munford wrote to Major Robert W. Hunter and later Colonel Bidgood requesting names of soldiers, discussing the restoration of the flag & seal of Virginia, and addressing a controversy regarding his commission as general succeeding General Wickham. Ainsworth wrote about transferring records from the War Department to the Secretary of Virginia Military Records to assist in the project of compiling a complete roll of Confederate soldiers from Virginia. The correspondence from the various governors is mostly letters sent directly to the governor's office which is being transferred to the Secretary of Virginia Military Records. The governors simply ask Bidgood if they can respond for them to various inquiries about Civil War soldiers from Virginia citizens.
Series II. Unit Records.
Contains rosters, muster rolls, payrolls, powers of attorney, special orders, descriptive lists of pay & clothing, notes, correspondence, regimental histories, pamphlets, certificates issued by the War Department, roll books, field returns, monthly reports, clippings, and other sundry items. These materials document Confederate veterans from Virginia who served in artillery, cavalry, infantry, local defense, reserves, Virginia state line, militia, and various other units during the Civil War. There are both original materials from the Civil War and secondary materials gathered by the Secretaries of Virginia Military Records or the Adjutant General. For example, there are both original muster rolls and rosters compiled as per the Acts of the General Assembly in 1884 and 1900. There are often hand-written notes and rough drafts of rosters by Hunter or Bidgood with each unit's file. The rough drafts of rosters simply duplicate the information contained in the Confederate rosters compiled by the department. Whenever possible, the name on the unit file corresponds with the name cited in Wallace's "A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations." Note that some materials have been added to the collection since it was deposited at the State Library in 1918.
Series III. Miscellaneous Records.
Contains certificates issued by the Secretary of Virginia Military Records, certificates issued by the U.S. War Dept., detached muster rolls of unpaid men, Harper's Ferry Rifle Factory records, hospital records, individual service records, John Brown's Raid unit records, Lists of Confederate Soldiers who died in Union Prisons, and other sundry items documenting the work of the Secretary of Virginia Military Records and Dept. of Confederate Military Records.
The Certificates Issued by the Secretary of Virginia Military Records consist of typescript copies of correspondence certifying the military service records of Confederate veterans between 1910 & 1917. Each certificate provides the name of the veteran along with a brief description of their service including their unit, whether wounded or captured, and dates of enlistment.
The Certificates Issued by the U.S. War Dept. consist of correspondence from the Secretary of Virginia Military Records between 1912 & 1917 (mostly 1914-1916) to the Adjutant General's Office of the U.S. War Dept. requesting the service records of Confederate veterans for pension applications. On the reverse side of each correspondence are forms issued by the War Dept. summarizing that soldiers' service in the Confederate army (if any information was found). Information included is the name of the soldier, rank, unit, date of enlistment, and the last date found on the company muster roll. Occasionally there is additional information about the soldier's service such as furloughs, discharges, paroles, etc. Each certificate is dated and signed by the Adjutant General.
The Detached Muster Rolls of Unpaid Men include muster rolls from various regiments during the Civil War. These rolls contain lists of soldiers who did not receive pay. The rolls provide the names and rank of the soldier, length of service, date when they became detached from the regiment, and, in a few cases, the circumstances of the detachment. The rolls are arranged by paymaster. Each paymaster was responsible for the detachments for various units.
The Harper's Ferry Rifle Factory records contain consolidated abstracts of provisions, payrolls, and powers of attorney from civilian employees working at the Rifle Factory in Harper's Ferry between April and June 1861. The abstracts enumerate and total the number of provisions such as beef, bread, sugar, soap, etc., and the number of men issued these provisions. The powers of attorney were issued by employees to appoint individuals to draw and receive pay on their behalf. Lastly, the payrolls provide the name of the employees who worked at the Rifle Factory, his occupation, days worked, price, total amount, and signature. The payrolls are signed and certified by the Master Armorer, Philip Burkhart, and approved by Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Col. Thomas J. Jackson.
The Hospital Records consist of a register of wounded from Chimborazo Hospital between August & December 1863, a register of wounded from Winchester Hospital between July & August 1864, vouchers for supplies for Chimborazo Hospital from March 1865, and a published article on "The History of Chimborazo Hospital, Richmond Va., and its Medical Officers during 1861-1865" from "The Virginia Medical Semi-Monthly" published in July 1904.
The Individual Service Records include a small collection of both official and unofficial service records for 70 Confederate veterans gathered by the Adjutant General, the Secretary of Virginia Military Records, and later, the Virginia State Library between 1884 and 1934. Includes correspondence, certificates issued by the U.S. War Dept. and Secretary of Virginia Military Records, affidavits, and personal reminiscences of veterans and their families.
The John Brown's Raid Unit records contain muster rolls & payrolls from various regiments of the Virginia Militia stationed in Harper's Ferry after John Brown's Raid. There are also powers of attorney containing lists of soldiers' signatures authorizing certain officers to draw pay on their behalf.
The Lists of Confederate Soldiers who died in Union Prisons include typed lists of Confederate dead compiled by Maj. Joseph V. Bidgood in 1915 for the Department of Confederate Military Records. These lists contain names of Confederate soldiers, their regiment, and burial place transcribed from monuments and headstones. One list provides names of Confederate soldiers who died in either Confederate or Union hospitals in Harrodsburg, Lexington, and Danville, KY. Another list provides the names of Confederate soldiers who died in a railroad accident near Shohola, Pa. The majority of the lists, however, document the deaths of Confederate soldiers in over thirty Union prisons in twelve states. The lists are arranged by Union prison.
The Miscellaneous (Folders) file includes various lists compiled by the Secretary. These include lists of Confederate veterans at the Gettysburg encampment in 1913, veterans admitted to the Lee Camp Soldiers' Home in 1915, Virginia military organizations mentioned in official war records, and Virginia soldiers mentioned in special orders. There are printed pamphlets containing a roster of the Lee Camp Soldiers' Home in 1913 and also bylaws from 1910. Additional sundry items include acts related to the preservation of Confederate records in Virginia, addresses by Maj. Robert Hunter in 1904 and W. Gordon McCabe in 1908, a draft of Hunter's report to the Governor in 1909, and tabulations (numbers only) of living veterans in 1911.
The Miscellaneous (Volumes) files contain a number of loose volumes arranged alphabetically by title. Included are registers of officers from various branches of service, local designations, unit data, and other assorted volumes compiled by the Secretary of Virginia Military Records.
The Scrapbooks include two volumes of clippings from "Our Confederate Column" between 1904 to 1909 and two volumes of obituaries of Confederate veterans who died between 1910 and 1917.
The Transcripts of General and Special Orders from the Adjutant & Inspector General's Office from 1862 to 1865 were transcribed by the Secretary of Virginia Military Records. The handwritten transcripts of special orders document resignations, appointments, discharges, transfers, leaves of absence, work details, furloughs, and courts of enquiry for Confederate officers and soldiers from Virginia. Special orders No. 1-313 are represented in this collection. These special orders were issued by Jonathan Withers and George Deas, Assistant Adjutant Generals, by the command of the Secretary of War. A few of the orders were also issued directly from Samuel Cooper, Adjutant & Inspector General. The general orders are not as extensive and mostly include resignations and promotions of officers from the Provisional Army of the Confederate States. In addition, general orders numbered 64, 87, and 131 consist of rolls of honor for the battles of Payne's Farm, Chickamauga, Petersburg, and Chancellorsville. Lastly, there are a few miscellaneous transcribed documents including correspondence from John B. Floyd regarding the Battle of Fort Donelson and Jefferson Davis regarding nominations for appointment in the Provisional Army, reports of the Battle of Shiloh by G.T. Beauregard, and other miscellaneous lists of soldiers.
The Unit Lists contain a few miscellaneous lists compiled by the Secretary of Virginia Military Records. There are lists of infantry battalions, local defense units, militia units, the "Stonewall" Brigade, and unassigned companies. These lists are undated, but were created sometime between 1904 and 1918. There are payrolls from April 1862 for thirty-seven Tidewater Virginia & North Carolina units. These payrolls provide the names of the soldiers and to whom paid. Lastly, there is a catalog of muster rolls from the Richmond Circuit Court related to the court case between the Commonwealth and Joseph F. Wren in 1910. Wren was a rare book dealer who was fighting a court battle against the Secretary of Virginia Military Records for the possession of 200 original muster rolls (See "Clippings, 1884-1922" file). The Veterans Lists by County contain miscellaneous lists of veterans and units arranged by county. The lists were collected by the Secretary of Virginia Military Records and compiled by veterans and veteran organizations between 1900 and 1922. Included are newspaper clippings, typescript and handwritten lists, correspondence, and pamphlets. There are two copies of a published "Roster of Warren County Veterans" published by the Warren Memorial Association and Daughters of the Confederacy in 1907. There is another published pamphlet of veterans from Greenbrier County in 1906. The cities of Lynchburg and Portsmouth are also represented in this collection. In addition, there are lists of Virginia veterans from Oklahoma and Kansas City, Missouri, arranged to the rear of the collection.
Series IV. Confederate Rosters.
Consists of 40 volumes (20 original and 20 photostat) compiled by the Secretary of Virginia Military Records documenting Virginia soldiers who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The volumes contain an unofficial roster of soldiers from Virginia who served in the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. The rosters are organized by regiment and the soldiers are listed alphabetically according to rank. The rosters provide the name of the soldier, rank, date of enlistment or commission, and sometimes remarks including killed in battle, captured, etc. Please note that individual entries give minimal to no personal or military service. See the National Archives Compiled Service Records for more detailed service record information.
Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Unit Records
Subseries 1: Artillery
Subseries 2: Cavalry
Subseries 3: Infantry
Subseries 4: Local Defense Troops
Subseries 5: Reserves
Subseries 6: Home Guard
Subseries 7: Virginia State Line
Subseries 8: Militia
Subseries 9: Miscellaneous
Series III: Miscellaneous Records
Series IV: Confederate Rosters
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