Tennessee Civil War Research Sources

Service Records 

Pension Records

Biographical Sources

Unit Histories




Literally hundreds of sources are available for research on Civil War soldiers and related topics. The sources listed below are the most frequently used to locate information about Tennesseans.  Please go to Order Materials  >  Military Records for instructions on ordering copies of Civil War military records.



  • Tennesseans in the Civil War

(Nashville: Civil War Centennial Commission, 1964) 2 volumes

Volume 1.   Brief histories of each Tennessee unit in the Civil War. The information about the place of residence of most soldiers in each company is often useful. This information can help you distinguish between two soldiers of the same name who served in different units. This volume also includes a list of the units from each county.   The Tennessee State Library and Archives will, for a fee, photocopy the listing for one specified unit from this volume.

Volume 2.   Two alphabetical lists of soldiers -- Confederate and Union. Compiled from service records, muster rolls, newspapers published during the war, and other sources. This volume is arranged by surname, and gives the name, rank, and unit of the soldier.  Once a name and unit are identified, copies of an individual's service record can be located. The Library and Archives will, for a fee, photocopy the listing for one specified surname from this volume.


  • Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee (National Archives microfilm publication M268, 359 reels) and Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee (National Archives microfilm publication M395, 220 reels)

The Library and Archives holds microfilm copies of service records for men in the state's Confederate and Union units. These records generally give date and place of enlistment, dates when the soldier was present at muster, promoted, captured, hospitalized or killed. Union records usually give the soldier's age. Sometimes further information is also in the file.

Copies of the compiled service records are provided by mail to residents and non-residents of Tennessee; please see our page on ordering Civil War military records from the Library and Archives for details. Civil War service records are also available through the National Archives and Records Administration. You can view the page Access to Military Service and Pension Records on the National Archives web site.



  • Index to Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications by Samuel Sistler (Nashville: Sistler & Assoc., 1994) and Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications (Tennessee State Library and Archives microfilm publication, 114 reels)

Beginning in 1891, Tennessee residents who could prove Confederate service were eligible for pension payments from the state, even if their service was from another state. Pensions for soldiers' widows were first issued in 1905. This volume has separate lists of soldiers, widows, and black soldiers who received pensions.  The applications often provide personal information about the soldiers and their families.

The Index to Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications is available on the Library and Archives web site.


  • List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1883) reprinted 1970, 5 volumes

Union Pensions are not available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Union soldiers and widows received their pensions from the federal government. The pension files have not been microfilmed and are only available in Washington, D.C. For copies of individual pension files, write to the National Archives.

This published list of pensioners on the roll in 1883 is available in this library. It is arranged by county and provides the pension file number for access to the file at the National Archives.

Patrons wishing to order copies of Union pension files should view the National Archives page  Access to Military Service and Pension Records .



  • Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires (Easley SC: Southern Historical Press, 1985).

Detailed answers given by 1,600 Tennessee veterans (mostly Confederate) from 1915 to 1922. Published in 5 volumes with a full-name index. Questions address social conditions and family life before the war, as well as wartime experiences. This is a published transcription; the originals are available on microfilm.

The name index to the Tennessee Civil War Veterans Questionnaires is available on the Library and Archives web site.

  • 1860 Census - Tennessee by Byron & Barbara Sistler (Nashville: Sistler & Assoc., 1892) 5 volumes

Sistler's index is actually an abstract of each family's census entry. In alphabetical order by surname, households for the entire state are in one list. Entries show the names and ages of each person in the household.

  • Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (published in six parts) U.S. Surgeon General, (Washington: Govt. Printing Office 1870-1888.) Index published 1992.

Case studies written by military surgeons detailing treatment of wounds and sickness. The majority are for Union soldiers, with a fair complement of Confederates. The three-volume index is a recent publication and can be searched by soldier's name or unit.

  • Confederate Veteran Magazine, 1893-1932 and Cumulative Index (edited by Louis Manarin, 1986) in three volumes

Includes many reminiscences written by veterans, obituaries and tributes, and accounts of battles and reunions. The index can be searched by name, place or unit.

  • Confederate Patriot Index 1894-1924 (vol. 1) and 1924-1978 (vol. 2) Tenn. Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy (no pub. info.)

List of soldiers whose descendants have joined the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Tennessee, giving some genealogical information about each soldier.

  • 1890 Civil War Veterans Census - Tennessee (Evanston: Sistler & Assoc., 1978)

List of Union veterans living in Tenn. in 1890 with age, service history, and place of residence. A few Confederates are also included. This is a published abstract; the original records are available on microfilm.



  • Military Annals of Tennessee - Confederate. by John B. Lindsley (Nashville: Lindsley & Co., 1866) reprinted 1974

History of each Tennessee unit in the Civil War, often written by a member of the unit. Some are more detailed than others, but most tell which battles the unit participated in and list unit members who died in service.

  • The War of the Rebellion: A compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901) 100+ volumes, reprinted 1985

The official reports and correspondence of military leaders during the war. This huge set provides detailed reports of battles, troop movements and military activity all through the war. Many officers are named, but few private soldiers. The index includes names, places and units.

  • Military Bibliography of the Civil War by C.E. Dornbusch (New York: NY Public Library, 1967)

Lists books and articles on Civil War topics. Sections on each state include references to unit histories. Although this is out-of-date, it does cover many useful publications.

A list of published books and articles held by the Library and Archives on specific Confederate and Union military units formed in Tennessee.



Includes diaries, muster rolls, reminiscences and other related papers. Very few individual names are listed in the register, but useful for locating material on a specific unit.

  • Records of the Adjutant General of the State of Tennessee

33 microfilm reels of official state records dating 1796-1950, listed in a 35-page inventory.