West Virginia in the Civil War
- 1 Introduction
- 2 West Virginia Military Units
- 3 Sources and Resources
- 3.1 General
- 3.2 Union Records
- 3.3 Confederate Records
- 3.4 Presidential Pardons of Former Confederates, 1863–1868
- 3.5 Southern Claims Commission
- 3.6 Other Sources
- 3.7 Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)
- 3.8 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
- 4 References
West Virginia divided from Virginia and became a state June 20, 1863 because of the Civil War. For the Union, West Virginia mustered between 22,000 and 25,000 men in 20 infantry units, 7 cavalry units, 1 artillery unit and 3 other types of units. West Virginia did not organize any confederate regiments. Approximately 9,000 West Virginians chose to fight for the Confederate States of America and generally joined the confederate regiments of Virginia.
West Virginia Military Units
Most units were numbered, however, some were named. See the table below for lists of the regiments, battalions, batteries, and unassigned companies.
The information in the lists of West Virginia Military Units comes from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors website. This website can also be searched by the name of a soldier.
Sources and Resources
For Regimental Histories of the following: Click here
1st Regiment Cavalry, 2nd Regiment Cavalry, 3rd Regiment Cavalry,
4th Regiment Cavalry, 5th Regiment Cavalry, 6th Regiment Cavalry
7th Regiment Cavalry,
For Light Artillery Batteries Histories of the following: Click here
Battery "A" Light Artillery (Daum's), Battery "B" Light Artillery (Keeper's),
Battery "C" Light Artillery, Battery "D" Light Artillery, Battery "E" Light Artillery,
Battery "F" Light Artillery, Battery "G" Light Artillery, and Battery "H" Light Artillery,
For Regiment Infantry Histories of the following: Click here
1st Regiment Infantry (3 months), 1st Regiment Infantry (3 years),
1st Regiment Veteran Infantry, 2nd Regiment Infantry, 2nd Regiment Veteran Infantry,
3rd Regiment Infantry, 4th Regiment Infantry, 5th Regiment Infantry,
6th Regiment Infantry, 7th Regiment Infantry, 8th Regiment Infantry, and
9th Regiment Infantry.
For Regiment Infantry Histories of the following: Click here
10th Regement Infantry, 11th Regiment Infantry, 12th Regiment Infantry,
13th Regiment Infantry, 14th Regiment Infantrty, 15th Regiment Infantry,
16th Regiment Infantry, 17th Regiment Infantry, Independen Battalion Infantry, and 1st Independent Company Loyal Virginians.
- The West Virginia Archives and History has several sources and online databases
- - West Virginia Adjutant Generals' Papers, 1861-1983 with Union Militia, Union regiments, National Guard, etc.
- - A guide, Researching Your Civil War Ancestor, with a great bibliography
- - Timelines, histories of battles, and reunion information
- The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War has the following in its West Virginia Civil War Soldiers Database with biographical information about deceased soldiers including regiments and enlistment, muster-in, and discharge data.
- - West Virginia soldiers buried in the Antietam National Cemetery
1890 Census Veterans Schedules
1890 Census Veterans Schedules - The "Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War" (NARA M123) are available online for the state of West Virginia. The schedules list Union veterans and their widows living in West Virginia in 1890. For more information on the 1890 Veterans Schedules see Union Census Records.
Union Service Records
Indexes to service and pension records of Union volunteers are available at the Family History Library and the National Archives. The library also has 261 microfilms of the
- Index. United States. Adjutant General's Office. Index to compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of West Virginia. National Archives microfilm publications, M507. (Washington [District of Columbia]: The National Archives, 1963), FHL films 881595-881607
- 1861-1865 - West Virginia Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- - The index will give the unit a soldier served in. The name of the unit is needed to find a soldier in the compiled service records described below.
- Compiled Service Records. United States. War Department. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of West Virginia. National Archives microfilm publication, M508. (Washington [District of Columbia] : The National Archives, 1963). on 261 FHL films beginning with 881595
- - Within each unit, the records are arranged alphabetically by the soldiers' names.
- The Compiled Service Records ($) (Fold3.com) of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of West Virginia are available online. In the future, these records will be made available at no charge through the National Archives website. The service records are also available at no charge at National Archives research rooms. The compiled service records consist of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records. Service records may provide rank, unit, date of enlistment, length of service, age, place of birth, and date of death. For more information see Union Service Records.
Union Pension Records
Civil War Pension Index Cards - An Index to Pension Applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861-1917 is available on FamilySearch. Each card gives the soldier’s name, application and certificate numbers, state of enlistment, and might include rank and death information. The majority of the records are of Civil War veterans, but the collection also includes records for veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Indian Wars, and World War I. For more information see Union Pension Records.
- United States. Veterans Administration. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans who Served Between 1861 and 1900- . (Washington, District of Columbia : The National Archives, 1949.. NARA microfilm publications: T0289). on 765 FHL films beginning with 1725491
Union Unit Histories
Confederate Service Records
The approximately 9,000 West Virginians who chose to fight for the Confederate States of America generally joined the confederate regiments of Virginia. Virginia's 22nd Infantry was composed almost entirely of soldiers from West Virginia. The 31st and 46th Infantry also had large numbers from West Virginia. To obtain records for these soldiers see Confederate Service Records.
The Wikipedia article, List of West Virginia Civil War Confederate units, lists infantry, cavalry, artillery, guerrilla units, and other Virginia units with a heavy concentration of men from the West Virginia area.
See the Virginia in the Civil War article for more information about these Virginia units.
Confederate Pension Records
West Virginia did not grant pensions to confederate veterans. Some confederate veterans may have received pensions from Virginia.
- Virginia. Office of the Comptroller, Virginia State Library and Archives (Richmond, Virginia). Confederate Pension Applications, Virginia, Acts of 1888, 1900, 1902 ; Index, 1888-1934 Records, with an Index, are on 220 Family History Library films beginning with 1439763. Microreproduction of original records at the Virginia State Library and Archives in Richmond, Virginia.
- The Library of Virginia has many Civil War guides and records online for both Virginia and West Virginia Confederate soldiers.
Presidential Pardons of Former Confederates, 1863–1868
From 1863 to 1868, former Confederates could apply for pardon from the federal government. The voting rights and citizenship of former Confederates were restored when they applied for pardon and signed an Amnesty Oath.
A published list of pardons is available online:
- Pardons by the President: Final Report of the Names of Persons Who Lived in Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia, or Georgia, were Engaged in Rebellion and Pardoned by the President, Andrew Johnson. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, Inc., 1986. Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online - free.
Southern Claims Commission
If a Union sympathizer in West Virginia claimed a loss during the Civil War due to Union military confiscation, he could apply to the Southern Claims Commission for reimbursement. Only a few applied per county, but their neighbors were called as witnesses and asked dozens of questions. Hundreds of the residents of all kinds in a county may be mentioned in answers to Commission questions, and their wartime activities described. To learn how to find records mentioning these neighbors in West Virginia counties during the Civil War see the Southern Claims Commission.
- Boyd B. Stutler, West Virginia in the Civil War. Charleston, (West Virginia: Educational Foundation, 1963). This has an excellent discussion of West Virginia's part in the Civil War. Family History Library book 975.4 M2s.
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)
Grand Army of the Republic founded in 1866 - 1956, was the largest veteran’s organization in the country after the Civil War. It was a fraternal organization members were veterans of the Union Army, US Navy, Marines and Revenue Cutler Service who served in the American Civil War. The group supported voting rights for black veterans, and lobbied the U.S. Congress to establish veterans' pensions. In 1890 the membership was 490,000.
In 1888 there were 73 posts and 2,992 members in the state of West Virginia
The Family History Library catlog list records of the West Virginia Grand Army of the Republic.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
With the death of the last member of the Grand Army of the Republic the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was formed.
- George Tyler Moore, Center for the Study of the Civil War, West Virginia Civil War Soldiers Database, (accessed 14 April 2011)