U.S. Civil War Research Guide

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Year range
1860 - 1865

This page seeks to help family historians who are researching their ancestors' involvement in the U.S. Civil War (also known as the War of the Rebellion).

Map of the United States in 1864, showing the division during the Civil War.


Civil War-related Census Information

NY was one of only a handful of states that recorded Civil War information in their own census returns. NY had a census in between the federal census for a number of years, so 1865 is a perfect place to start your search for NY Civil War veterans. It's especially useful for putting veterans with their families, and for separating two men with the same name. It's also a great resource for tracking down naval service, which is usually more difficult to find. See Sections III & IV about every 4 pages throughout the returns. Detailed information often includes where and when someone was injured (shot in hip at Spotsylvania, for example).

Other states that asked about Civil War service in their non-federal census returns include: Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. If you're searching for veterans who may have lived in one of those states, be sure to check the state census records.


The following American Civil War unit histories and research guides (listed by state) are linked below.










Pension Records

  • NARA publication T289, Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900)
  • NARA publication A1158, Numerical Index to Pension Files

Prisons, Paroles & Prisoner Exchanges

  • War of the Rebellion, Making of America, Cornell University.
  • The Civil War Dictionary, by Mark M. Boatner III, Lieut. Col., US Army (David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1959)
  • The Dix-Hill Cartel was an agreement concluded on July 22, 1862 between the Confederate and Union governments to handle the general exchange of prisoners of war.


  • The U.S. Library of Congress has an excellent compilation of Civil War Maps compiled from three premier collections: the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Library of Virginia. Among the reconnaissance, sketch, and theater-of-war maps are the detailed battle maps made by Major Jedediah Hotchkiss for Generals Lee and Jackson, General Sherman’s Southern military campaigns, and maps taken from diaries, scrapbooks, and manuscripts—all available for the first time in one place. Most of the items presented here are documented in Civil War Maps: An Annotated List of Maps and Atlases in the Library of Congress, compiled by Richard W. Stephenson in 1989. New selections from 2,240 maps and 76 atlases held by the Library will be added monthly.