Family Tree Friday: The last word on CMSR personal papers.
My last few posts have explored the compiled military service records (CMSRs) at the National Archives, highlighting in particular the extra information found in the records, especially the personal papers relating to individual soldiers such as enlistment and discharge forms, casualty sheets, or final statements of service. One last point to make is that personal papers are also available for other soldiers who do not have compiled service records. These include officers and enlisted soldiers in the U.S. Regular Army. Their papers exist as a separate series in the records of the Adjutant General’s Office and are described in NARA’s Archival Research Catalog (ARC) under the appropriate heading Personal Papers, United States Army (ARC ID 654713). They usually include descriptive lists, orders, reports of physical examinations, certificates of disability, and other medical records. Original records of enlistment are arranged in yet another distinct series, Enlistment Papers, 1798-1912 (ARC ID 300390).
For Confederate soldiers, you may also want to check the Unfiled Papers and Slips (ARC ID 2133276) relating to military and civilian personnel. These are the miscellaneous personal papers the War Department arranged into a “catch-all” series. The War Department intended to file them with the Confederate CMSRs but never did, either because the documents did not correspond to any established service records, or there was not sufficient evidence to justify the creation of new service records. As a result, the individuals represented in the unfiled papers were not indexed along with other Confederate military personnel. So, if you ever have difficulty locating a Confederate soldier through the usual sources, it might be worth the effort to check the unfiled personal papers as well.