Documents

The Civil War, like almost every war, left behind an abundance of documents, documents of an enormous variety and importance. The business aspect of war demanded an account of the expenses in manpower and finance to fight the enemy, and paper was the medium used to keep track of it. While the government’s military and civilian clerks worked in the various military offices in the capitals, both on the national, as well as the state level, military staff members were also busy in camp, recording and accounting for every item of concern that the War Department deemed prudent. Muster-rolls, morning reports, commissary accounts, quartermaster reports, officer’s commissions, soldier’s discharges, reports of the dead and the wounded, as well as all of the copies of the orders issued throughout the military hierarchy, were written, signed and preserved for the government. And those were were just a small sample of the printed and hand-written records of war. Many of these documents have been and are still kept at repositories such as the National Archives in Washington D. C. There are still others that are found in various state holdings, university and public libraries, museums, and quite often in the personal collections of men like myself. Some of these documents are unique, one of a kind relics, assigned to an individual soldier. Others are far more common, typically standard forms which were printed in mass for the military.

Like so many of the items on this site, it’s easy to underestimate a document for it’s value, not only historically, but as a collectible prize as well. I will point out some things to consider when determining the rarity of some of the documents here on this site, later, as time permits. But in the mean time, go up to the menu bar and scroll over the link for “Documents” which brought you to this page. As you scroll over it you’ll find the two subcategories of “Wartime Documents” and “Postwar Documents”. Clicking on either one will redirect you to the appropriate collections for you to enjoy.