Civil War Quick Tip: Compiled Military Service Records

Hey Friends! Today’s Civil War Quick Tip was recorded on Periscope and I’ve uploaded it here in case you missed it. The addresses I refer to in the video can be found below.



Complied Military Service Records – Record Group 94 at the National Archives

Civil War CMSR records for both Union and Confederate veterans
are filed by state, then by regiment, then alphabetically by soldier’s name.

1. Records within jacket – Records in the jacket are abstracts made from the original muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, orders, etc. about that particular soldier.

Complied Military Service Record – (form NATF 86) can be ordered online from NARA for $30 or you can download the form and mail it in. You have the choice of receiving hard copies or a cd/dvd of the file.

**scroll to center of page**

2. Records outside the jacket – There are cards and personal papers that were never filed in a soldiers CMSR jacket.

Confederate cards can be found on microfilm M347 Unfiled Papers and Slips Belonging in Confederate Compiled Service Records at National Archives Building, NARA regional sites, libraries with large genealogy departments, Fold3.

Union unfiled cards are usually found at the end of a regiment’s section or maybe filed after every couple regiments in the CMSR. Submit a request to NARA for copies of these records. Write to the:

Old Military and Civil Records Branch, National Archives and Records Administration

700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20408

or send an e-mail to:

Provide the soldier’s name, company, and regiment and specify the Civil War and that you’re looking for “unfiled cards and personal papers” that are outside the CMSR jacket.


Good Luck! Let me know if this helped you in your research or send me questions at: cindy[at]genealogycircle[dot]com I’d love to hear from you!


Will you help me with something new at Genealogy Circle?

Civil War, 4th OVC, Jacob Seib, genealogy research

Civil War Reenactors – Photo Credit: Cindy Freed

Hey friends! Time for another Civil War Saturday! Usually you’ll find a post here about a particular event during the Civil War or the life of a soldier on Civil War Saturday. You’ve learned about men who fought with the 81st Pennsylvania, the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and the 42nd Virginia Infantry.

You know I feel very strongly about that. I think we need to share the lives of veteran Civil War soldiers. As the years creep by and the Civil War becomes “ancient history” our veteran ancestors’ stories get lost. They’re not handed down through the generations like they once were.

Let’s remedy that together! I would like to post the story of your Civil War ancestor here on Genealogy Circle. Every couple of Saturdays I’ll publish the story of Civil War veterans, Confederate or Union. I’ll need you to write up an article about the life of your veteran ancestor. It can be 300, 400, 500 words and if you have photos to include, all the better!

In this way your ancestor will have another chance to be remembered. That’s my ultimate goal to honor their memory but who knows what distant cousin may contact you because they recognize the name of their Civil War ancestor in a post on Civil War Saturday.

We’ll also get the chance, I hope, to read the stories about men who may have served in the same company, regiment or brigade our ancestor served in. I myself would dearly love to connect with the descendent of a soldier who fought with Co. A 81st Pennsylvania. That’s the regiment my great great grandfather served with.

So please send me your Civil War veteran’s story. You can email me at cindy at genealogy circle dot com or look me up on Facebook at Genealogy Circle. I’m also on Twitter @GenealogyCircle and on Google+ just look up Cindy Freed to contact me.

Let’s tell the stories of our Civil War ancestors. Let’s remember them, honor them and maybe learn about some of the men they served with.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you! Please contact me today!

Today on Civil War Saturday: This soldier fought in major battles and experienced war’s greatest tragedies

Today I have a guest family historian, Norman Pugh, sharing the story of his Civil War ancestor. I know you’ll enjoy reading about this Civil War veteran as we remember him on Civil War Saturday.


Charles and Harriet Franklin. Charles fought with Co C 42nd Virginia CSA

Charles and Harriet Franklin. Charles fought with Co C 42nd Virginia CSA

If you would allow me a minute of your time, I would like to tell you about a Civil War hero. My great great grand father Mr. Charles Robert Franklin was born 7-6-1841 into a family of eight. He was the third child of a family of farmers who lived in Lisbon (now Bedford) Virginia.

Charles decided to enlist in the CSA on 5-18-1861 with his older brother Henry Thomas who was 24 years old at the time. Charles was 20. They were in the Buford Grays company, and were members of Company C, 42nd Virginia Infantry. When the CSA organized the 42nd, they took men from the counties of Bedford, Campbell, Floyd, Roanoke, Patrick, and Franklin. The field officers were Colonels Jessie S. Burks, Andrew J. Deyerle, John E. Peen, and R.W. Withers. There were around 1,000 men who enlisted to fight in the war for money to raise there families or just for what they thought was the right thing to do. There were 10 companies and they were in many battles including First Kernstown, Cold Harbor, Seven Days Battle, Appomattox, Second Manassas, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Antietam along with other small battles.

On 1-15-1863 in a small battle on Payne’s farm in Virginia, Charles watched his brother Henry, hit and killed when a shell hit a wooden fence and sent splinters flying everywhere. Charles buried Henry there that day, about 10 months later Henry’s body was exhumed by Charles and other family members and taken back home where he rests today in Bedford.


Henry Thomas Franklin

Pvt Henry Thomas Franklin – Co C 42 Virginia Infantry

I have found records where Charles was wounded three times including the lose of his left thumb that was shot off at Antietam. He was shot in the right shoulder at Gettysburg, and wounded at Chancellorsville. We also found records where he suffered from chronic rheumatism his whole life. He was captured in Spotsylvania by the Union army on 5-12-1864 and sent to Elmira NY as a pow. This pow camp was one of the worst and had the highest death rate (one in four died) from starvation, bad weather, or some other hellish thing. At some point Charles was later liberated, used in a prisoner exchange. He then returned home to Bedford where he was awarded the Southern Cross of Honor.


Charles and Harriet Franklin. Charles wearing his Southern Cross.

Charles and Harriet Franklin. Charles wearing his Southern Cross.

After the war he married a cousin named Harriet Anna Franklin. They lived on the mountain all their long life. They had 10 children, two died at an early age. These two were buried on the mountain. The Franklins owned around 200 acres of timber, of which they cleared 4 or 5 acres and built a home to raise their children, and grow food to live from. This I’m sure was a very laborious feat, with all the rock and tree stumps to be removed by hand. I believe the land was payment for his service in the war. The old home place still stands proud up there today.
When Charles got home he filed for disability and got it, because he could not use an axe properly to chop wood. This says a lot about my great great grandmother because she had to take up what Charles could not do.

He lived on the farm in Bedford until he died on 8-3-1910 from heart dropsy. He is resting beside his wife and brother Henry and other family on top of the mountain. Just two years ago I had new marble head stones placed beside the original stones. To honor my heroes in the Franklin line.


Pvt Charles Franklin final resting place

Pvt Charles Robert Franklin’s final resting place

Even with all that was put on him in the war and after, I look at Charles as a very hard, sturdy man and a giant in my eyes. Even though he was a small man physically, the heart and soul of this man was something that is not found much today. I would like to thank my cousins Rodney Franklin and Teresa Shiflett who helped me a whole lot with researching our family. May God forgive all who have died in wars. THANK YOU NORMAN L. PUGH


Thank you Norman for sharing your Civil War ancestor and his life here on Civil War Saturday. Charles Franklin fought in many of the war’s major battles, buried his brother on the battlefield and endured life in a prison camp. May we always remember these men and their stories.

What Really Happened to the Confederate Treasury?

Civil War, genealogy, research

Photo courtsey of Sammi Babe

Late spring of 1865 saw fast-moving, chaotic events for both the Union and the Confederacy. Even though Robert E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to U.S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, the war was not entirely over. Troops for both sides were still in the field fighting.

Days after Lee’s surrender, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s theater, in Washington DC. plunging a jubilant north into a wary panic. Many were convinced of the Confederate government’s involvement in his shooting.

Meanwhile Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Cabinet had fled the South’s capital, Richmond Virginia, as it fell to Union troops, carrying with them the Confederate government’s treasury. Their original plan was to travel to North Carolina where they would store the treasury in the old U.S. Mint in Charlotte. They soon learned the area was policed by U.S. cavalry so their plan changed. The assembly headed into the heart of the south, some say hoping to continue the Confederate struggle, perhaps setting up a new southern capital and continuing the fight in the western theater. Others say the group planned an escape to Mexico, Cuba or even Britain.

By early May 1865 Jefferson Davis and his staff had made their way from Virginia, through both North and South Carolina to Irwinville, Georgia. Just a couple days earlier Davis had been reunited with his wife Varina and their three children. Their journey was cautious and covert since Davis was sought after by all Union soldiers in the area. Not only was he considered a traitor to the United States and an accomplice to Lincoln’s death, there was also a $75,000 bounty for his capture.

While in camp, early the morning of May 10th, the Confederate President, his family and staff were surrounded by the 4th Michigan cavalry. After their capture, without a Confederate shot fired, the group was transported to a local hotel and then Davis was eventually sent to Fort Monroe Virginia where he was a prisoner for two years.

The 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry was part of the brigade involved in the capture of Jefferson Davis. For their assignment, the 4th OVC had the unusual privilege of searching for and finding the Confederate treasury that accompanied Davis. What they found buried near an apple orchard close to Davis’ capture certainly brought whoops of joy!

Boxes, wrapped in oilcloth, were buried in the ground and contained stacks of Confederate money. Easily recognizable by it’s blue color, the men of the 4th OVC were now in possession of a fortune!

The soldiers took the found loot back to camp. With thousands and thousands of dollars in hand they shared their gain throughout the company. The men, who’s monthly salary averaged about $12, went on a wild spending spree. Buying cigars for $100 a box, a ham for $140 and the luxury of a shave and haircut for $30. The men even went to the theater in the local town spending $50 a ticket. One soldier bought a horse offering the seller $1200 for it. When the seller didn’t have change for the $1500 in cash presented to him, the buyer told him to keep the change. Price was no object! That is until the locals refused to accept the Confederate paper money. It was worthless and local vendors began asking for gold, silver or U.S. money for their merchandise.

But paper money wasn’t the only thing contained in the Confederate treasury. Along with government records there were supposedly crate upon crate of gold and silver coins, bullion, jewelry donated by southern women toward the war and more than $450,000 in gold from the Richmond banks reserves. It’s thought that there was close to $1 million in the hands of the fleeing Confederate administration, taken to keep it from being confiscated by the invading Union military.

This vast amount of gold and silver and the bank reserves were not found when Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet were captured. The 4th OVC only found paper money. So what happened to the Confederate treasury? Is it buried in some secret location and has yet to be found? Was it hidden by Confederate leaders? Was it stolen by Union soldiers?

First there’s the legend that Confederate Secretary of War, John C. Breckenridge who was put in charge of the treasury before the group made their way into Georgia sent a substantial amount of gold ahead to Florida. Possibly the Ocala area. It’s also been said another sum of money was sent to Britain to be held in an account for the Confederacy.

Yet the answer could be as simple as there wasn’t that much money left in the Confederate treasury. Some feel the total amount of gold reported in the treasury was blown out of proportion. Then add to that the last two years of the war drained the Confederate treasury means it may have been broke by May 1865.

Davis and his Cabinet also dispersed some gold as payroll to Confederate troops along their route south. Perhaps the Confederacy was flat broke by the end of the war. But an interesting note is that the Richmond banks reserves were entirely separate from the Confederate treasury and reportedly around $450,000 which adds a twist to the story.

Civil War, research, history, genealogy 4th OVC

Photo credit: elkojote at

Once in Georgia, the Richmond banks gold was put in a Washington Georgia bank vault for safekeeping. After the capture of Jefferson Davis further south in Irwinville, that gold was soon confiscated by Union forces. The gold, once in possession of Union troops, was loaded on a wagon train to be sent north. On the very first night of the journey, as the wagon train set up camp near Danburg Georgia, they were attacked by locals. It’s said everyone from freed slaves, to paroled Confederate soldiers and bushwhackers took part in the melee where hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold was carried away. Men stashed gold in any available container, from socks to coffee sacks to saddle bags and hauled it home. In fact the legend goes since there was so much gold stolen and it was so heavy to cart off, that large quantities of gold coins were hidden across Wilkes County, Georgia where some of it sits undisturbed to this day.

The remaining gold was put in an Augusta, Georgia bank and sat there for years. The U.S. government claimed ownership as well as the Richmond banks where the gold came from originally. After extensive court proceedings the U.S. government was awarded the remaining gold because the Richmond banks aided the rebellion.

We know the 4th OVC found the Confederate treasury’s paper money but what about the gold? Could there be a cache of Confederate gold in Ocala, Florida? Or is there an account in Britain waiting for the Confederacy to claim it? How about the Richmond bank reserves? Is some of it buried across the countryside in Wilkes County, Georgia? Probably after 150 years we’ll never know but I think my summer vacation may be spent with a metal detector in sunny Wilkes County, Georgia this year.

One last note, you may be wondering what happened to the jewelry donated by the southern women toward the war effort. Supposedly President Davis and his Cabinet stopped at a farm in the vicinity of Washington Georgia. They entrusted the widow who lived there to care for a heavy wooden box they couldn’t continue to carry with them on their journey. The widow agreed and the men left. Curiosity got the best of the woman and she peeked inside to find it full of valuable jewelry. Panicked at being in possession of such costly items she buried the box on her farm. A few days later an officer appeared requesting the box and the widow hastily returned it to him. Whether he was actually an officer sent by Jefferson Davis to retrieve the jewelry, an unscrupulous soldier or just a plain thief will never be known. The donated Confederate jewelry was never seen or mentioned by anyone again.