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:
"Guide to Civil War Records" by Douglas L. Royer (PDF, 531 K). This guide presents its information according to topic--regiments, pensions, border damage claims, hospitals, maps, photographs, prisons, monuments, etc.
"Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Guide to Civil War Holdings" by Dr. James P. Weekes and Linda A. Ries (PDF, 798 K). This guide presents its information collection by collection rather than by topic. It covers a wider variety of collections, though, including those of the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Bureau for Historic Preservation and various historic sites in addition to the State Archives holdings.
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.
Two other websites that you may find it convenient and helpful to consult before visiting the State Archives are:
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:
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)
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.
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: