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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in November 2013. It is an excerpt from their course US Court Records  by C. Ann Staley, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Confederate Courts

When the Confederate States formed a government, the Confederacy adopted many of the laws of the United States for their own purposes. Where U.S. District Courts were in place, the clerks, judges, and other judicial personnel generally remained in their previous position, when it was obvious that the individual supported the cause of the Confederacy. If his alliance was suspect or he was considered loyal to the Union, he was banished from his position. We frequently find that the Confederate clerk used the same bound volumes as his predecessor. The records of the Confederate court, the docket, the minutes, the case files, etc. were similar to those of the United States.

The business of war took priority. The most common court actions of the Confederate District courts related to matters of garnishment[1], sequestration[2], and admiralty. Students are invited to view the following examples of some Confederate Court records on the website:

Sequestration case: The Confederate States of America vs. The Property of Amy Westfeldt, A.E.

Habeas Corpus case: William Moore vs. Capt. Ledyard

Admiralty case: The Confederate States of America vs. The Steam Boat Planter

Many of the textual records of the Confederate States district courts survive and are in the collections of the National Archives regional facilities in Atlanta[3], Fort Worth, and Philadelphia.

The reels of microfilm are listed after the table of textual records.

Confederate Court
(Textual unless otherwise indicated)
Middle Division of the District of Alabama
Garnishment Case files, 1861-63
Southern Division of the District Alabama Minute books, 1861-65; Dockets, 1861-65; Case files, 1861-64; naturalization, 1861-64; records of the clerk of court, 1861-64; and final record books, 1861-65
Northern District of Florida
Minute books and execution dockets of the Middle Division (Marianna), 1861-1864; Case files, minute books, and dockets of the Middle Division (Tallahassee), 1861-65; Minute books of the Western Division (Pensacola), 1864; Minute books and a judgment docket of the Apalachicola Division, 1862-64.
Northern Division of the District of Georgia
Minute book, 1861-64; Docket books, 1861-63; Case files, 1861-63; Lists of witnesses, 1862-63; Records concerning sequestration and garnishment cases, 1861-63.
Southern Division of the District of Georgia
Minute books, 1861-63; Docket books, 1861-64; Case files, 1861-64; Records relating to sequestration and garnishment cases, 1861-67.
District of Louisiana Docket, 1816-62; Case files, 1861-62; Records relating to sequestration, 1861-62.
Fort Worth
Northern Division of the District of Mississippi
District Court volume, 1858-98; and bar docket, August 1861 (in a U.S. District Court volume, 1852-82).
District of North Carolina
Records of the Cape Fear Division (with seat in Wilmington; after February 1862, Salisbury), including general minute books, 1861-63; a docket, 1862-64; case files, 1862-64; and records concerning garnishment and sequestration cases, 1862-64; Records of the Pamlico Division (with seat in New Bern; after early 1862, Goldsboro), including general minute books, 1861-64; dockets, 1861-65; and records relating to garnishment and sequestration cases, 1861-63.
Middle Division of the District of Tennessee
Case files, 1862-65. Atlanta
Southern District of Texas
Minutes and dockets of the Brownsville Division, 1861-65; Docket and other records of the Galveston Division, 1861-65.
Fort Worth
Western District of Texas
Minutes, dockets, case file, and other records of the Austin Division, 1861-64.
Fort Worth
Western District of Virginia
Miscellaneous case files of the Staunton Division, 1861-64; Sequestration case files of the Wytheville Division, 1861-64.

The surviving South Carolina Confederate District Court papers are filed with RG 109-War Department Collection of Confederate Records. Textual records housed at the National Archives facility in Atlanta are the South Carolina District Court sequestration cases and related records, 1861-64 with a docket to miscellaneous records, 1861-64.

Microfilm publications of Confederate Court records:

7RA40 New Orleans Confederate and Provisional Court Dockets.
7RA124 Austin Confederate Court Dockets, 1862-1864.
7RA125 Galveston Confederate Court Dockets, 1861-1865.
P2105 Docket Books from the Confederate States District Court for the District of Louisiana and the U.S. Provisional Court, 1861-1865.1 reel.
P2150 Case Files, 1861-1862 from the Records of the Confederate States District Court for the District of Louisiana. 6 reels.
M436 Confederate Papers of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, 1861-1865. 1 reel.
M1430 Confederate Court Records, Eastern District of North Carolina, 1861-1864. 1 reel.

Below is a representative example of a Confederate naturalization.

Confederate Naturalization of Henry L. Reed[4]

Confederate Naturalization20C.jpg


  1. A garnishment is a proceeding whereby the Confederate States (as plaintiff) filed suit against a citizen of the Confederate States who owed a debt to a person or company in the United States.
  2. Sequestrations were instituted by the Confederate States against tangible property belonging to citizens of the Untied States.
  3. The National Archives at Atlanta (formerly known as National Archives Southeast Region) is located at 5780 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, Georgia 30260
  4. Confederate Naturalization of Henry L. Reed, Naturalization Records of District courts in the Southeast, 1790-1958; NARA micropublication M1547, roll 1.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US Court Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 21 April 2014, at 20:13.
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