FACTOID # 21: 15% of Army recruits from South Dakota are Native American, which is roughly the same percentage for female Army recruits in the state.
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Encyclopedia > Official Records of the American Civil War

The Official Records of the American Civil War or often more simply the Official Records or ORs, constitute a unique, authentic, and comprehensive collection of first-hand accounts, orders, reports, and correspondence drawn from War and Navy Department records of both Confederate and Union governments during the American Civil War. The United States Department of War was the military department of the United States governments executive branch from 1789 until 1949, when it became part of the United States Department of Defense. ... Seal The United States Department of the Navy was established by an Act of Congress on April 30, 1798, to provide administrative and technical support, and civilian leadership to the United States Navy. ... Motto: Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God our Vindicator) Anthem: God Save the South (unofficial) Dixie (popular) Capital Montgomery, Alabama February 4, 1861–May 29, 1861 Richmond, Virginia May 29, 1861–April 9, 1865 Danville, Virginia April 3–April 10, 1865 Largest city New Orleans February 4, 1861 until captured May... Map of the division of the states during the Civil War. ... The American Civil War was fought in North America from 1861 until 1865 between the United States of America – forces coming mostly from the 23 northern states of the Union – and the newly-formed Confederate States of America, which consisted of 11 southern states that had declared their secession. ...


Union and Confederate Armies

Collection of the records began in 1864; no special attention was paid to Confederate records until just after the capture of Richmond, Virginia, in 1865, when with the help of Confederate Gen. Samuel Cooper, Union Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck began the task of collecting and preserving the archives of the Confederacy. In 1866 a joint resolution of Congress authorized the compilation and publication under auspices of the War Department. Eventually, seventeen Secretaries of War were involved in the process. Their original title was The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion and they were later renamed The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, which has led to some lasting controversy over the official name for the war. As finally published, the records consist of 138,579 pages with 1,006 maps and diagrams assembled in 130 books, organized as 70 volumes grouped in four series, published between 1881 and 1901. 1864 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... This article is about the city in Virginia. ... 1865 is a common year starting on Sunday. ... General is a military rank used by nearly every country in the world. ... Unfinished portrait miniature of Oliver Cromwell, 1657. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... Henry Wager Halleck (1815 - 1872) was an American soldier and politician. ... 1866 is a common year starting on Monday. ... A joint resolution is a legislative measure of the United States of America, designated as S.J.Res (for the Senate version) and H.J.Res (for the House version), which requires the approval of both chambers of the United States Congress. ... The Congress of the United States is the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States of America. ... To publish is to make publicly known, and in reference to text and images, it can mean distributing paper copies to the public, or putting the content on a website. ... The Secretary of War was a member of the Presidents Cabinet, beginning with George Washingtons administration. ... The American Civil War has been known by numerous alternative names that reflect the historical, political, and cultural sensitivities of different groups and regions. ... MAPS could refer to: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Mail Abuse Prevention System Multi-jurisdictional Automated Preclearance System This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... 1881 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... 1901 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...

Series I
Records of all military actions and seizure of property
Series II
Records relating to prisoners of war, state prisoners, and political prisoners
Series III
All official records not relating to the subjects of the first two series.
Series VI
All records that were for whatever reason not published in the first three series

A final comprehensive index was published in 1901 with remaining additions and corrections. For other uses of War, see War (disambiguation). ... Search and seizure is a legal tool of US law whereby police who suspect that a crime has been committed may do a search of the property. ... // Use of the term The concept of property or ownership has no single or universally accepted definition. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... A political prisoner is anyone held in prison or otherwise detained, perhaps under house arrest, because their ideas or image either challenge or pose a real or potential threat to the state. ... 1901 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...

Because of the enormous volume of material, the lengthy time period of collection and publication, and the constant and continuing process of correction by veterans of both sides still living contemporarily, the records are perhaps the most intensely peer-reviewed documents in historical publication. Historians have argued that some of the modifications made years after the events have decreased the accuracy of the records and were made simply to enhance personal reputations (or to denigrate the reputations of rivals). A veteran refers to a person who is experienced in a particular area, particularly referring to people in the armed forces. ... Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a scholarly process used in the publication of manuscripts and in the awarding of funding for research. ... History is often used as a generic term for information about the past, such as in geologic history of the Earth. When used as the name of a field of study, history refers to the study and interpretation of the record of human societies. ...

Union and Confederate Navies

Unfortunately, most of the Confederate Navy Department records were lost during the burning of Richmond. Union Navy Department records were preserved, but not until 1884 was work begun by Navy Department librarian, later Assistant Secretary of the Navy, James R. Soley to collect and publish. Intending to partially replace missing reports, many personal narratives were collected and included, often gaining Navy researchers incidental access to draft copies of original reports once thought lost. The official title of publication is Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. 1884 is a leap year starting on Tuesday (click on link to calendar). ... Assistant Secretary of the Navy (abbrev. ...

Series I
Records of all naval operations including all inland waterways
Series II
Records relating to statistics and condition of both forces at the outset of conflict, returns of captured materials, and records of naval prisoners of war

A proposed third series was deemed unnecessary; the final volume of series two was published in 1922. The Navy Department did not publish a comprehensive index to these volumes. 1922 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...

Other historical sources

While the Official Records are probably the most-used of all sources for historical research on the Civil War, there are other contemporary and reliably accurate published works that provide well-sourced insights not constrained by the types of sources compiled by government:

Southern Historical Society Papers
Published in 52 volumes from 1869 to the 1950s, includes reminiscences and analyses of war experiences by Confederate veterans.
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War
A series of articles published between 1884 and 1887 in The Century Magazine and then assembled into a four-volume set of books, includes battle studies by Union and Confederate commanders of all ranks, from Ulysses S. Grant down to company officers. (In the 1990s, additional related material was compiled into two more volumes.) Accounts are usually first-hand and often written by an officer actually in command in a subject engagement or campaign.

1869 is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... // Events and trends The 1950s in Western society was marked with a sharp rise in the economy for the first time in almost 30 years and return to the 1920s-type consumer society built on credit and boom-times, as well as the height of the baby-boom from returning... 1887 is a common year starting on Saturday (click on link for calendar). ... The Century Magazine was first published in the United States in 1881 by The Century Company of New York City as a successor to Scribners Monthly Magazine. ... Ulysses S. Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was a Union general in the American Civil War and the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877). ... // Events and trends The 1990s are generally classified as having moved slightly away from the more conservative 1980s, but otherwise retaining the same mindset. ...


  • Aimone, Alan C., and Aimone, Barbara A., A User's Guide to the Official Records of the American Civil War, White Mane Publishing Company, 1992, ISBN 0942597389.

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