Fold3.com: A Great Resource for Civil War Research
I have been using the incredible resources at Fold3.com for just over a year now. I decided to join after reading a newspaper article describing how a South Carolina soldier helped comfort a mortally wounded Northern officer. I immediately had questions. I knew the name of the doomed Union officer’s father, Halsey R. Wing. I knew the name of the South Carolinian who had comforted him in his last hours, George S. Baker of the 25th South Carolina. I decided to research this story and see what I could find. Most paths continued to be blocked until I kept coming back to Fold3.com. I joined up and was able to identify the Union officer as Lieutenant Edgar M. Wing of the 118th New York. I am still working slowly on that story for an article at The Siege of Petersburg Online, and it will appear at some point in the future.
Once I joined, I immediately found many more items which would prove useful at TOCWOC at my Siege of Petersburg site. Here are just a few of the Civil War collections available at Fold3.com:
- The Confederate Compiled Service Records (CSRs for short): These records contain card abstracts of entries relating to each soldier as found in original muster rolls, returns, rosters, payrolls, appointment books, hospital registers, Union prison registers and rolls, parole rolls, and inspection reports. They may also contain the originals of any papers relating solely to a particular soldier. Browse by military unit, then name of soldier, or use the search box related to this title.
- Civil War Maps: Civil War maps from the collections of the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Library of Virginia. Among the reconnaissance, sketch, and theater-of-war maps are the detailed battle maps made by Major Jedediah Hotchkiss for Generals Lee and Jackson, General Sherman’s Southern military campaigns, and maps taken from diaries, scrapbooks, and manuscripts. Explore over 2,000 images to gain insights into the histories of battles, campaigns, and regions.
- 1860 United States Census: Browse the 1860 US census by state, county, and civil division. This particular census is especially helpful in researching the Civil War era and the soldiers who fought in the imminent conflict. Information about each member of a household as of June 1, 1860, includes age, race, occupation, real and personal estate values, birth place, if married within the year, and if a person was deaf, dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict. Relationships are not detailed until the 1880 census.
There are many more items which I haven’t used yet which will eventually prove useful to me as well. If you blog about the Civil War or run a Civil War site, Fold3.com is an extremely useful resource.
I am currently working my way through the First Offensive Order of Battle (June 15-18, 1864) and Second Offensive Order of Battle (June 21-24, 1864) for the Siege of Petersburg. One of the items which has come up again and again is who exactly commanded various Confederate regiments, batteries, and even brigades in June and July 1864. A future post at TOCWOC will cover in detail how I’m trying to answer this question using the Confederate Compiled Service Records at Fold3.com. Look for that in the near future.
Note: At the time of this article I am not a Fold3.com affiliate. I am merely a subscriber to the site and have found it to be extremely useful to me in my Civil War research. No perks or benefits were offered for writing this article and my opinions are offered freely and honestly.
***Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!
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