Civil War Regimental Information Available Online from “A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion” by Frederick H. Dyer

Hi Everyone,

Larry B. who is a participant at our monthly genealogy programs made me aware that he has a print volume of Frederick  H. Dyer’s “A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion”.  This is a great source to discover information about the regimental unit activities of any of your Union Civil War ancestors.  This is a great print source although it is huge in size.

Larry’s information made me do some further looking online to see what can be found online that is a much easier alternative to the print source.

I was able to discover a great web site that fits the bill of easily providing this regimental information.

I would like to direct readers to the following site:

You will find information categorized by state, Union first, then Confederate.  You will only find a list of the regiments by state for the Confederacy but no information about the regiment simply because it was not contained in the Compendium because it was a Union document.  Within each state you will find an identification of the number of organizations within the state.  Organizations just refers to the various regiments that may be found within the state.  Click on the link to the state of interest.

As an example for Illinois, you will see that there are 239 organizations indicated for the state.  When you click on the state link, you will then see that you can select by category of military unit e.g. Cavalry, Artillery, Infantry and any other categories that may be identified for a state.

If you click on “cavalry” you will be directed to another listing of all of the various regimental cavalry units from Illinois that fought in the Civil War.  If you know the regiment of your ancestor, you can then click on the regiment.

Once you have selected a regiment, you will then see a great summary of the regimental activities in a timeline order that occurred during the Civil War for the regiment.  You will see what brigades, divisions etc. the regiment was part of during the timeline indicated.

You will also then see a “Service” history for the campaigns/battles the Union regiment participated in also in chronological order.  So you will now know in what engagements your ancestor participated in during their Civil War service with their regiment.

At the very end of the “Service” information you will also see a very short summary that provides statistics both on officers and enlisted men that were killed in battle or died from their wounds as well as seeing numbers on officers and enlisted men that died from disease.  A grand total of the combined killed in action and died from disease is then provided.

You can really picture the activity level your Union ancestor endured during their regimental involvement over a span of time.  How wonderful a feeling this can be to realize you can track your Union Civil War ancestor through such a timeline of events and geographical dispersion of their regimental movements.

I want to thank Larry B. for making me aware of a resource he had in print form that led me to do some further online searching to find a better alternative available to all online.

The link above looks like it does the job in fine form!

All of the above is predicated on the fact you know the regiment of your Union Civil War ancestor.  If you don’t know that you will need to research further, possibly with the help of the National Archives and Civil War material they have or material that exists within an individual state archives often contained within “report of the adjutant general” material issued by a state that contains names of individuals that served during the Civil War within various regiments for the state.

Hopefully the Union name you search for within these resources to find the regiment is a name that is not too common!  Knowing the geographical area your ancestor lived may give a hint as to what regiment they may have been in because enlistees often joined regiments that were close to the area where they lived.  (Please note that this may not always be the case because an ancestor may have enlisted 100 miles away from where they lived because he received MONEY from that recruitment effort farther away from home than for enlisting for nothing closer to home!)

For those of you with Union Civil War ancestors that already know the regimental information then take a look at the above link if you have not already investigated the regimental movements of your ancestor during the Civil War.

For Confederate research, the above web site will at least provide you with a listing of the regiments identified for each Confederate state.  This will at least give you some resource to refer to as your Confederate regimental identification process proceeds.

You will obtain a far more insightful view of where your Union ancestor was and in what battles they may have fought.  This can lead you to even further research at a much more specific level of time and geography.

I hope this all helps you.

Thanks again to Larry B for making me aware of a resource he had that led to me doing some other research to find a better alternative to the print source.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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