Thursday, May 18, 2023

CIVIL WAR PENSION FILES ~ How many do I have? How many do you have?

Sometimes we have to spend our days doing organization work, rather than research.  

That's what I did today.  I desperately needed to get my Civil War Pension files (what I've ordered and received) in order. These are all Union pension files.  I do have one Confederate soldier who was killed in action and I plan to try and locate a file for him.  But, the confederate files are hard to come by.

These are digital files in PDF format, so thankfully not a bunch of paper.

Since 2016 when I ordered my very first Civil War Pension file, to last month when I ordered my most recent - I have been captivated by them.  

They can contain copious quantities of information or hardly anything at all.  Most of the time, though, they are filled with information about that military ancestor, his family, his friends, his time in service, his health and so much more.

I've found Birth, Marriage and Death records/information and also letters. If you're really lucky there might be a photo of the soldier.  I'm told that only about 5% contain photos.  None of mine have, so far.

The smallest one I've received is 21 pages and the largest is 258 

That's quite a disparity.  Just for fun I totaled all the pages from all  pension files I have,  and they came to a whopping 2118 pages. 



The big question - how many have I blogged about?


That's just under half of the files I’ve received. Thus, my desire to create a spreadsheet and enter every file I have, when I ordered them, when I received them, how many pages they contain and whether or not I have written a blog post ..... yet.

My goal is to review and write about them over the next couple of years.  Don't worry, I've perused all of them.  Now I just need to really dig in and write.

There are many ways to order these records.  They are housed at the National Archives, mostly in Washington, D.C., but some are housed at other locations, like St. Louis.

Ordering directly from the Archives is not only expensive but can also take a very long time from order to receipt.

I've used 2 sources for my pension files.

Twisted Twigs and most recently, Gopher Records.

Both services got me what I'd asked for in a timely manner. 

I’d love to hear about your discoveries if you’ve ordered Civil War pension files.

If you’d like to see what a pension file looks like and read about the 10 pension files I’ve written about and the things I found inside them, click hereCIVIL WAR PENSION FILES  

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2022   Diane Gould Hall



  1. I have several Civil War pension files. Probably the most interesting thing I've found is that my great grandfather was hospitalized several times for diarrhea. This plagued him for the rest of his life which was lengthy. He was 18 when he enlisted and died at age 75.

    1. Some of those soldiers sure suffered after their service. Course there wasn't the medical treatments we have available today. Thanks for leaving a comment Cecily :)


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.