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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 participated in.

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 medical information.
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.


National Archives & Records Administration website

Civil War Almanac; Justin Segal, Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1997.

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This site is maintained  by Cathy Wentz-Eisenstadt
Copyright 2003-2010.  All Rights Reserved.

This page was last updated on:   02/11/2009

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