Utah in the Civil War
Utah's participation in the Civil War was minimal. When the Civil War began, the Army left the Utah Territory. Several Indian tribes started raiding the mail trails in the territory. Brigham Young offered to provide soldiers, and Lincoln agreed to the creation of a thirty man cavalry company for ninety days. This was later became a 106-man company. The company made several efforts to stop the raiders, but it never saw military action. Two small units of Utah Militia were called to guard the stage coach routes, telegraph lines, and the mail. A few men enlisted and went east to fight in the war. Their records are located with the federal records.
- Smith's Company, Utah Cavalry (3 months, 1862) (Union)
"Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" by Frederick H. Dyer contains no history for this unit.
Soldiers at Fort Douglas
The most dramatic event of the Civil War for Utah was the arrival of Colonel Patrick E. Connor and 750 volunteer soldiers from California and Nevada. They founded Fort Douglas in 1862. Information about these soldiers can be found in:
- Utah State Archives (Salt Lake City, Utah). Military Records of the Civil War. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966. (Family History Library film 536239.) This is the official record of the veterans of the 3rd California infantry and the 2nd California cavalry.
- Orton, Richard H. Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1867. Sacramento, California: State Office, 1890. (Family History Library book 979.4 M2a; film 1000133 item 4; fiche 6051180.) This has a roster of the California troops. It lists names, rank, place of enrollment, date of enlistment and muster, and remarks. This book is indexed in:
- Parker, J. Carlyle. A Personal Name Index to Orton's Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861 to 1867. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1978. (Family History Library book 979.4 M2aindex.)
Sources and Resources
The Family History Library and the National Archives have the service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in the Lot Smith Company from the Territory of Utah. See:
- United States. Adjutant General's Office. Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the Territory of Utah. National Archive Microfilm Publications, M0692. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1967. (Family History Library film 821588.) This includes data about Lot Smith's Company in the Utah Calvary. The alphabetical index to these service records is found separately in:
- United States. Adjutant General's Office. Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the Territory of Utah. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0556. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1964. (Family History Library film 1292645.) For more information see Union Service Records.
The Compiled Service Records ($) (Footnote.com) of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the Territory of Utah are now available online. In the future, these records will be made available at no charge through the National Archives web site. Service records may provide rank, unit, date of enlistment, length of service, age, residence, and death date. The service records are also available at no charge at National Archives research rooms. For more information see Union Service Records.
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.
A small number of Utah veterans applied for Civil War pensions. These records are at the National Archives. The Family History Library has a microfilmed index to the pension records. The information on these pension applications is found in United States Military Records.
1890 census of Union Veterans
The Family History Library has an 1890 census of Union Veterans. It includes union veterans and their widows living in Utah in 1890. See Utah Census for more information.
GAR Descriptive Books
By 1890, about 40 percent of the Civil War Union veterans were members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The descriptive books of each GAR post usually show each member's name, age, rank, birthplace, residence, occupation, and enlistment and discharge information. The Family History Library has membership records for some posts. Some are found in:
- Grand Army of the Republic. Department of Utah. Grand Army of the Republic Utah Membership. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Archives, 1981. (On three Family History Library films beginning with 1666083.) This film contains membership information for posts 1–5, 7, and 22.
The GAR organization has published Civil War history books. A history about the Civil War and veteran organizations in Utah is:
- Fisher, Margaret M. Utah and the Civil War. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1929. (Family History Library book 979.2 H2f) This contains the rosters of the Lot Smith expedition and the Robert T. Burton expedition. The J. Q. Knowlton GAR post directed the writing of this history.
- Wikipedia contributors. Utah in the American Civil War, (accessed 28 July 2011),