Source Information

Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2009.
Original data: Data compiled by Historical Data Systems of Kingston, MA from the following list of works.

Copyright 1997-2009
Historical Data Systems, Inc.
PO Box 35
Duxbury, MA 02331

About U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865

General collection information

This collection contains military records for soldiers who served during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. This is an index only collection. The types of records in this index may include:

  • State rosters
  • Muster rolls
  • Pension records
  • Enlistment records
  • Journals
  • State Adjutant Generals' reports
  • Regimental histories
  • Family genealogies
  • Cemetery records
  • Using the collection

    Records in this collection are unique and the available information will vary by record. The following information may be available:

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Enlistment date and place
  • Discharge date and place
  • Date and place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Medical history
  • Names of family members
  • Residence
  • Company, regiment, rank, and pay
  • Military history
  • Physical description
  • Occupation
  • Photographs
  • This collection contains a wealth of information on Black soldiers that may not be available from other sources. Information may include:

  • Names of family members
  • Birthplace
  • Place of death
  • History of enslavement
  • Name of enslaver
  • Place of enslavement
  • Compensation claim of enslaver
  • The information in this collection can provide support to continue your family history research outside of your ancestor's military service. Some records include additional notes, which mention things like whether the person was born enslaved, where the individual was buried, and information about their marriage. This information may lead you to birth records, marriage records, census records, etc.

    If you can't find a record, you may want to browse by enlistment location. You may also wish to search states near your family member's residence as they may have traveled to enlist or try looking in other collections. The United States Colored Troops (USCT) Military Service Records collection is an excellent place to start.

    Collection in context

    The American Civil War officially began on April 12, 1861, when the Confederate army fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Perhaps the most defining point in the war came when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, which freed the people who were enslaved in places in rebellion against the United States at the time of its signing.

    Despite discriminatory laws against free and enslaved Black people, both served during the American Civil War. Many of the enslaved sought enlistment as a way to gain emancipation. Others were forced to enlist by their enslavers. Congress passed two acts (passed February 24, 1864, and July 28, 1866) allowing enslavers to claim compensation for enslaved people who were forced to join the United States military.

    Although the American Civil War ended with the Confederacy's surrender at the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, it would take several more weeks for all of the Confederate armies to surrender. An estimated 625,000 casualties occurred during the course of the war, the deadliest conflict within the United States, to present day.

    The original records in this collection were compiled by Historical Data Systems. A list of the original data sources may be found here:


    Kansas City Public Library. "Compensation for a Slave's Service." Last Modified February 2014.

    McPherson, James. "A Brief Overview of the American Civil War." Last Modified 29 November, 2023.

    National Archives. "Slave Compensation Records, November 3, 1866 - February 21, 1867." Last Modified January 9, 2017.

    National Archives. "Black Soldiers in the U.S. Military During the Civil War." Last Modified 4 October, 2023.

    National Park Service. "Overview - The Civil War." Last Modified 5 August 2013.

    National Park Service. "Civil War Timeline." Last Modified 6 October 2022.

    National Park Service. "War Declared! States Secede From the Union!" Last Modified 19 September, 2023.