Wisconsin in the Civil War
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Wisconsin Military Units
- 3 Service Records
- 4 Regimental Muster and Descriptive Rolls
- 5 Pension Indexes
- 6 Censuses
- 7 Biographical Sketches of Soldiers
- 8 Soldiers Home
- 9 Guide for Tracing Civil War Ancestors
Wisconsin raised 91,379 soldiers for the Union Army. They were organized into 53 infantry regiments, 4 cavalry regiments, a company of Berdan’s sharpshooters, 13 light artillery batteries and 1 unit of heavy artillery. Most served in the Western section, though some served in the East.
Wisconsin Military Units
Love, William DeLoss. Wisconsin in the war of the rebellion : a history of all regiments and batteries the state has sent to the field, and deeds of her citizens, governors and other military officers, and state and national legislators to suppress the rebellion. (Bethesda, Maryland : University Publications of America, c1993) FHL Fiche 6118294
Most units were numbered, however, some were named. See the table below for lists of the regiments, battalions, batteries, and other units.
The information in the lists of Wisconsin Military Units comes from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors web site. That web site also can be searched by the name of a soldier.
The Family History Library and the National Archives have an index to service records of Union army volunteers:
- Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Wisconsin (Family History Library films 882486–518).
The actual service records are available only at the National Archives. For more information see Union Service Records.
Regimental Muster and Descriptive Rolls
The following regimental muster and descriptive rolls made by the Adjutant General's Office are at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Family History Library:
- Wisconsin Adjutant General's Office. Military Records, 1861–1865. (Family History Library films 1311667-98.) These include such information as the soldier's name, rank, birthplace, age, and occupation. They are arranged by regiment, then company.
- Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865 is available online at the Wisconsin Historical Society website.
The Wisconsin Veteran's Museum has a computerized index to Wisconsin Civil War soldiers' enlistments. This is for soldiers who served in Wisconsin regiments only. Please send a self-addressed stamped envelope with your request for a search.
Wisconsin Veteran's Museum
30 West Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703
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.
- An important index available on microfilm is:
- United States Veterans Administration. Pension Index File, Alphabetical; of the Veterans Administration. Washington, D.C.: Veterans Administration, Publications Service, 1953. (On 544 Family History Library films beginning with film 0540757.) To obtain copies of the actual pension files, you will want to write to the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
The actual pension records are available only at the National Archives. For more information see Union Pension Records.
The censuses taken by the state in 1885, 1895, and 1905 included separate enumerations of soldiers residing in the state. The lists of soldiers were published in alphabetical order at the end of the statistical reports.
- 1885: Family History Library films 1032703-04
- Names of Ex-soldiers and Sailors Residing in Wisconsin, 1885
- The 1885 lists were published in alphabetical order, at the end of Tabular Statements of the Census Enumeration. Madison, Wisconsin: Democrat Printing Co., 1886. (Family History Library book 977.5 X2w; film 962237.)
- 1895: Family History Library films 1032705-16.
- Names of Ex-soldiers and Sailors Residing in Wisconsin, 1895
- 1905: 36 Family History Library films beginning with film 1020439.
- Names of Ex-soldiers and Sailors Residing in Wisconsin, 1905
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 Wisconsin. The schedules list Union veterans and their widows living in Wisconsin in 1890. For more information on the 1890 Veterans Schedules see Union Census Records.
The 1890 veterans schedules are indexed in:
- Jackson, Ronald Vern. 1890 Wisconsin Veterans Census Index. Salt Lake City, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, Inc., 1988. (Family History Library book 977.5 X22w 1890.)
Biographical Sketches of Soldiers
- Soldiers' and Citizens' Album of Biographical Record, 2 vols. Chicago: Grand Army Pub., 1888, 1890. Digital book on Internet Archive. (Family History Library films: vol. 1 is on 928504 item 2; vol. 2 is on 928508; vol. 2 also on fiche 6051213.)
- Miljat, Leslie Elizabeth. Admission Applications, 1867–1872, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Northwestern Branch, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wauwatosa, Wisconsin L. E. Miljat, 1991. (Family History Library book 977.595 M28m.) This lists Civil War soldiers from many parts of the country.
- The applications contain family history information about each veteran, such as name of spouse, father, siblings, or children; Civil War unit; discharge or death date; and burial place. The Family History Library has the original applications and records of this home for the years, 1867–1934 (Family History Library films beginning with film 1561060.)
For records of national old soldier homes including the home in Waupaca, Wisconsin, see:
- United States. Veterans Administration. Registers of Veterans at National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866–1937. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988. (Family History Library films beginning on 1561060.)
- Includes general indexes for each of the twelve homes, but some volumes are indexed separately. These Historical Registers may list the soldier's name, date and place of enlistment, rank, military unit, length of service, date and place of discharge, place of birth, age, physical description, religion, occupation, previous residence, marital status, nearest relative, pension, soldier home admission and discharge dates, disability, death date, or cause of death.
Guide for Tracing Civil War Ancestors
Moore, Dennis R. Researching Your Civil War Ancestors in Wisconsin. Manitowoc, Wisconsin: Bivouac Publications, 1994. (Family History Library book 977.5 M28e.) This gives detailed listings of Civil War records available at the State Archives and explains what is included in each type of record.
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 234 posts and 11,083 members in the state of Wisconsin
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.
- National Park Service, The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, (accessed 8 April 2011).