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Michigan State University

American Civil War: Resources in the MSU Libraries: "Official Records" collections

Armies: Basic Set

War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, D.C.: Secretary of War, Government Printing Office, 1881-1901, 129 volumes

Print Versions: 1881-1901; 1985 reprint

Online Versions:

CD-ROM Versions:

  • Army Official Records -- "...with maps, tables, illustrations and general index and with enhanced searching capabilities: hyperlink/hypertext, table of contents,keyword, field, proximity, text and images, relevance ranking."
  •  Civil War CD-ROM  : the War of the Rebellion : a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies -- contains:
    • The War of The Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
    • A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer.
    • Regimental Losses in the American Civil War (1861-1865) by William F. Fox
    • User's Guide to the Official Records of the American Civil War by Alan And Barbara Almone
    • Military Operations of the Civil War: A Guide Index to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies by the National Archives.

Armies: Special Features

Organization of the set -- Four separate topical series:

  I.  Military Operations -- includes the battle reports for both Union and Confederate armies, arranged chronologically by campaign and theater of operations. Union reports are followed by Confederate accounts. The intent is to provide a complete history of the event in the same volume.

 II. Prisoner of War Documents  -- includes Union and Confederate correspondence, orders, reports, and returns relating to Prisoners of War, as well as political prisoners.

III. Miscellaneous Records, including Correspondence --  includes  "miscellaneous" Union correspondence, orders, and reports pertaining to the organization and logistics of the Union war effort. Series III also includes calls for troops, correspondence between National and State authorities, and correspondence between Union and Confederate authorities.

IV.Miscellaneous Confederate Records --    includes "miscellaneous" correspondence, orders, and reports of the Confederacy. Also found in Series IV are the General and Special Orders of the Confederate States Army, as well as correspondence relating to conscription and blockage running.

Atlases 

Official atlas of the Civil War (1958 reprint: 1 volume)

Atlas to accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (1891-1895: 3 volumes)

Guides

Mesick, Michael. "Honorable Reports: Battles, Campaigns, and Skirmishes: Civil War Records and Research," Prologue Vol. 27, no. 3 (Fall 1995): 259-277.

User's guide to the official records of the American Civil War    -- This work is essential to understanding the organization and limitations of this collection; it contains an extensive bibliography of supplemental sources.

Military operations of the Civil War; a guide-index to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865 --
Prepared by experts at the National Archives, this is a vastly superior index to the General Index that appears in Series IV, Volume 4.

Navies

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Washington : Government Printing Office, 1894-1922. 30 Volumes.

Print Versions: 1894-1922; 1987 reprint

Online Version:

  • Making of America -- Searching retrieves results from both the Army and Navy records..

CD-ROM Version: Civl War CD-ROM II: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion

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