Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR):
A Compiled Military Service Record is
compiled from original Muster Rolls, Regimental Returns, Hospital Rolls and
descriptive books by the War Department.
Every volunteer soldier had one CMSR for each regiment in which he served.
The CMSR is an envelope that contains at least 1 card. It is
essentially a chronology of the soldier's military service/career.
Types of information that may be found in the CMSR: date of enlistment
& discharge; injuries received during while in service;
hospitalizations; roll-call information, whether present or absent;
soldier's date-of-birth. It may also contain personal papers such
as: enlistment papers; documents relating to a soldiers capture &
release as a POW."
A CMSR rarely reports the battles or engagements that a soldier actually
Pension Application Files:
These files may contain more information
about what the soldier/veteran did during the war than the CMSR. If
the soldier/veteran lived for a time after the war, they may also contain
Pensions could be granted to the veteran, his widow and/or minor children
and even, in rare cases, a dependent parent.
In order for a widow to obtain a pension, she had to show proof of her
marriage to the soldier, ie.. a copy of the county marriage record; an
affadavit from the minister who performed the marriage or a witness to the
marriage. Applications made for the minor children of a soldier had to
show proof of the soldier's marriage and proof of the children's birth.
The above mentioned records/files if available,
can be obtained at NARA. For more detailed information on these items
and for further instruction on how to obtain copies of these documents, please
visit the NARA website.
Archives & Records Administration website
Civil War Almanac; Justin Segal, Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1997.