Wisconsin in the Civil War
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
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 library also has the index to the pension files (Family History Library films 540757–1300), but the actual service and pension records are available only at the National Archives.
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.
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
For Civil War veterans another source is:
- 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.
A free Internet index to pension applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861-1917 is available on FamilySearch Record Search. Each card gives the soldier’s name, application and certificate numbers, state of enlistment, and might include rank and death information. Other wars, of that time period, may be included.
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 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
1895: Family History Library films 1032705-16.
1905: 36 Family History Library films beginning with film 1020439.
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.)
When the 1890 census was taken, a listing was made of Civil War soldiers and their widows. This has been 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.)
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.
- National Park Service, The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, (accessed 8 April 2011).