I've been studying the American Civil War, and my family's participation in it, since 1989. My father's relatives were Unionists, from Maine and Massachusetts. My mother's relatives fought on both sides from Tennessee, for the Union from Indiana and Kentucky, and for the Confederacy from North Carolina. I hope some of what I've learned, and made accessible here, will be of use to you.
Some of what you'll find here may have been gleaned from published sources. I think it's fair use to provide small amounts of published material for personal research. And after all, not everyone can afford to buy some of these sets for hundreds of dollars. In respect of the copyright holders, however, you must solemnly promise to nag your local library to buy these books. After all, how will they know what their patrons want if you don't tell them.
If you're just starting to look into the adventures of someone in the Civil War, chances are you may think it's harder than it really is.
There are basically two steps. You need to find out what unit he served in, and then you can find out what he did and what that unit did.
To help you with the first step, I've written Ralph's Tips to Easily Find Your Civil War Soldier. Here's an outline of what's on that page:
Once you know your soldier's name and unit, you can get his service record, or the record of applications for pension, by mail from the National Archives in Washington, DC, for $10 each. You'll need to submit your request on Form NATF-80. You can request 1 to 6 copies of the necessary form by sending email with your postal address (so they can send you the paper) to email@example.com - they'll reply by email that they're sending the forms.
To help you get started reading about grandpa's adventures, I've written Ralph's Easy Guide to Civil War History. Here's an outline of what's on that page:
I've listed the units I'm studying, and my relatives who served in them. If there's a link for the unit name, you'll find some information there. If there's a link for the soldier's name, you'll find mention of his service, and genealogical information which might be helpful to you in regard to his residence before or after the war. If there are dates given, I probably haven't studied the unit before or after the time my relative served. If there's no link, please send me everything you know.
There are many published regimental histories and soldier's diaries. Some of them are included in the LDS locality catalog under (State) - Military History - Civil War, 1861-1865 - Regimental Histories.
visitors have come to my Civil War page since July 12, 1999.