United States, Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
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Record Description
Record Type Compiled Military Service Records
Record Group RG 94: Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917
Collection years 1863-1865
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of compiled military service records of volunteers who served in the United States Colored Troops. The records include abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in original records such as muster rolls, payrolls, hospital and prison records. A file may also include original documents. Many volunteers were former slaves who enlisted after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. This collection is a part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office 1780s - 1917. Colored Troops Division

For each military unit, the service records are arranged alphabetically by the soldier's surname. The Military Unit field may also display the surname range (A-G) as found on the microfilm. The information in this index is quite reliable. However, keep in mind that even though this index is very accurate it still may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings or misinterpretations. Index courtesy of www.fold3.com (Previously called Footnote.com).

Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers serving with the United States Colored Troops have been microfilmed by the National Archives for the following military units.

  • 1st through 5th United States Colored Cavalry; 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored); 6th United States Colored Cavalry, M1817, 107 rolls
  • Artillery Organizations, M1818, 299 rolls
  • 1st U.S. Colored Infantry, 1st South Carolina Volunteers (Colored) Company A, 1st U.S. Colored Infantry, M1819, 19 rolls
  • 2nd through 7th Colored Infantry including 3d Tennessee Volunteers (African Descent), 6th Louisiana Infantry ( African Descent), and 7th Louisiana Infantry (African Descent), M1820, 116 rolls
  • Infantry Organizations, 8th through 13th including the 11(new). M1821, 109 rolls
  • Infantry Organizations, 14th through 19th, M1822, 105 rolls
  • Infantry Organizations, 20th through 25th, M1823, 98 rolls
  • Infantry Organizations, 26th through 30th, Including the 29th Connecticut (Colored), M1824, 108 rolls
  • Infantry Organizations, 31st through 35th, M1922, 86 rolls
  • Infantry Organizations, 36th through 40th, M1993, 116 rolls NARA Microfilm Pamphlet M1993
  • Infantry Organizations, 41st through 46th, M1994, 113 rolls
  • Infantry Organizations, 47th through 55th, M2000, 183 rolls
  • 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment (Colored), M1898, 20 rolls
  • 55th Massachusetts Infantry (Colored), M1801, 16 rolls

National Archives Catalog Images of Muster Rolls

Ancestry ($) Searchable Civil War service records

After the war, many veterans received assistance from the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, in applying for and receiving pensions. Pension claims may be found among the Bureau’s records. Additions to this index will be included as they become available.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Jacket name
  • Soldier’s full name
  • Year
  • Age (often estimated)
  • Military unit served in
  • Type of records in file
  • NARA publication number, title, and roll number

Collection Content

The records are in individual files and usually include the following:

  • A jacket-envelope for each soldier, labeled with his name, rank, and the unit in which he served
  • A card (or cards) with abstracts of entries from original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, parole rolls, and inspection reports
  • The originals of any papers relating only to the particular soldier

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search you need to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The age and birth place of your ancestor
  • The military unit in which your ancestor served

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the estimated age to calculate a birth date
  • Use the age and location of the military unit to find the soldier’s family in census, church, and land records
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor

Research Helps

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.

Related Digital Book FamilySearch Catalog

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"United States Civil War Service Records of Union Colored Troops, 1863-1865." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. From "Civil War Soldiers - Union - Colored Troops." Database. Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : n.d. Citing Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780-1917, RG 94. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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