Civil War Records at the Pennsylvania State Archives

The Pennsylvania State Archives holds many records relating to the American Civil War, 1861-1865. These materials document the commonwealth's activities during the war. Detailed information about these records and the data they contain can be perused in the following online resources:

A good starting point in your Civil War research is the five-volume series History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865 by Samuel P. Bates. These books contain a wealth of information about Pennsylvania Civil War soldiers and units, including short regimental histories and lists of soldiers' names. The volumes are arranged by military unit, and are name-indexed by the PA State Archives' Civil War Veterans' Card File,1861-1866. Another index of basic information about each soldier, arranged by regiment and company, is the Register of Civil War Volunteers, 1861-1865.  All of these sources can be viewed online by clicking on their respective links. ** Please note: the information in the Bates series is incomplete, having been taken from our muster-out rolls but not necessarily the muster-in rolls or other related documents. If you do not find a soldier's name here, you should continue your research in other secondary sources, as well as the original records held by the State Archives.

These other websites may be helpful to consult before visiting the State Archives:

Generally, only Pennsylvania veterans are referenced in the original Civil War records held by the Pennsylvania State Archives. Even though the momentous battle of Gettysburg was fought on Pennsylvania soil, the State Archives does not have the records of non-Pennsylvanians who saw action in that battle. The State Archives does not compile individual service files or unit histories.

Civil War Pension files for soldiers from all states, including Pennsylvania, are located at the National Archives.

I. Searching for an Individual Pennsylvania Veteran:

What you should know first ...

  • Veteran's full Name
  • Veteran's exact or approximate BIRTHDATE
  • Veteran's COUNTY or residence or enlistment
  • (Optional) Veteran's UNIT of service

Records to Search for Individual Veterans

  • Civil War Veteran's Card File, 1861-1866 (Record Group 19, microfilm rolls #3176-3251)
    • Scanned images of these cards can be viewed right now through: ARIAS Pennsylvania's Digital State Archives
  • Civil War Pension File, 1861-1864 (part of Civil War Service and Pension Accounts, 1861-1873. {#2.47}
    • View a list of names now by clicking on the "Civil War Pension File" link
  • Register of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1864. {#19.65}
    • View a list of names now by clicking on the "Register of Pennsylvania Volunteers" link
  • List of Sick and Wounded Soldiers, Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1864 (Record Group 19)
  • Civil War Muster Rolls (Record Group 19)
  • Military Claims File (Record Group 2, microfilm rolls #63-130)
  • Records of the Pennsylvania Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, 1864-1893 (RG 19) (microfilm rolls #492, 6143-6151, 6153-6154)
  • Alphabetical List of Names on Pennsylvania Monuments (RG 19) 3870
    Conscientious Objector Depositions, 1862 (see also Roll 4187
    for 1862 Register of C.O.s at the National Archives) (RG 19) (microfilm rolls #505-507)
  • Register of Aliens and Persons Having Conscientious Scruples Against Bearing Arms (National Archives) (microfilm roll #4187)
  • Lists of Deserters and Substitutes, 1861-1866 (RG 19) (microfilm roll #493)
  • List of Sick and Wounded Soldiers, Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1864 (RG 19) (microfilm rolls #493-494)
  • Miscellaneous Discharge Certificates, 1861-66 (RG 19) (microfilm roll #493)
  • Negroes in Military Service in the United States (National
    Archives) (microfilm roll #2040)
  • Record Books of Claims for Arrears of Pay and Bounty, 1864-1869
    (RG 19) (microfilm rolls #494-495)
  • Records of Drafted Men and Substitutes, 1862, 1864-1865 (RG 19) (microfilm rolls #498-501)
  • Register of Sick and Wounded Soldiers, Pennsylvania Volunteers,
    1861-65 (RG 19) (microfilm rolls #493-494)
  • Registers of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865 (RG 19) (microfilm rolls #508-522)
  • Substitutes' Depositions, 1862 (RG 19) (microfilm rolls #502-504)

II. Searching the Records of a Civil War Unit

The State Archives holds Civil War regimental records only for Pennsylvania units, including those regiments of U.S. Colored Troops formed in the Commonwealth. Muster rolls, descriptive rolls, deserter lists, orders and correspondence are available for most units.

III. Searching for Civil War Draft Records

The Pennsylvania State Archives has Civil War draft records only for 1862. Beginning in May 1863, the Provost Marshal's General Bureau administered the draft from Washington, DC, and pertinent records will be found in Record Group 110 at the National Archives. The following records are available at the State Archives:

VI. Other Civil War Records

  • Minutes of the Board of Appraisers to Examine Damage to Property on the Southern Border, 1863-1864 (RG-2) (microfilm roll #4433)
  • Minutes of the Board of Appraisers of Chambersburg War Damages, 1866 (RG 2) (microfilm roll #4433)
  • Chambersburg War Damage Claim Applications, 1866-1868 (RG 2) (microfilm rolls #4434-4439)
  • Record of Chambersburg War Damage Claim Final Awards Issued Under Act of Feb. 15, 1866 (RG 2) (microfilm roll #4439)
  • Damage Claim Applications, 1871-1879 (RG 2) (microfilm rolls #131-141)
  • Index to Damage Claim Applications, [ca. 1871-1879] (RG 2) 131 Civil War Diary, March 23, 1864 to August 8, 1865 (microfilm roll #1144)
  • William Henry Egle Civil War Journal, July 14, 1863 to July 15, 1865 (MG 6) (microfilm roll #2231)
  • General John F. Hartranft, April 30, 1865 to July 31, 1865 - Trial and Execution of the Assassins of President Lincoln (National Archives) (microfilm roll #4429)
  • Colonel Daniel Leasure, M.D., Organizer of 100th Regiment P.V., Letters, 1861-1864 (microfilm roll #4547)
  • Barnhart Metzger, 1895, n.d. (Diaries, Civil War) (microfilm roll #1429)
    Samuel Murray Civil War Diary, 1861-1862 (MG 6) (microfilm roll #2231)
  • D.P.R. Neely, Captain, 149th Regiment P.V.,Co. I, Diary, 1864 (MG 7) (microfilm roll #3879)
  • William Jackson Palmer, 1822-1948 (Civil War) (microfilm rolls #1555-1575)
  • G.L. Preston, Co. B, 100th Regiment, P.V., Diary, 1864 (microfilm roll #4552)
  • Stephen A. Wallace Civil War Diary, Sept. 18, 1862 to July 13, 1863 (MG 6) (microfilm roll #4028)
  • Wheler Family Papers, 1862-1865, undated. (microfilm roll #2231)
  • Grand Army of the Republic Collection, 1865-1936 (MG 60) (microfilm rolls #4411-4420
  • G.A.R. Post #134, 1879-1921 (microfilm roll #1404)
  • Military Order of the Loyal Legion, 1865-1935 (microfilm rolls #1437-1789)

For more records relating to the Civil War (Commissary General, Quarter Master General, Surgeon General, and Transportation and Telegraph,) click here.

If you need further assistance, you may contact an archivist at ra-statearchives@pa.gov