A note to researchers

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A note to researchers:

This website, Civil War Richmond, is designed to detail sites and events in Richmond during the Civil War. It is NOT a genealogical website in purpose. My site will tell you about the hospital or prison your ancestor was in, not whether he was there or not. As a genealogist, that is your job. There are thousands of surnames on my website which research will reveal. However, it is outside my interest to transcribe lists of names from Archives records. This would be an admirable project (and a necessary one) for a team of transcriptionists to undertake. However, I have no such team, and no plans are in the works to form one in the immediate future.

To combat this problem, I have included citations to records that exist in the National Archives where applicable (in the case of hospitals, at the bottom of each page). This enables someone who wants to do more research on a particular name to have ready access to a soldier's records. This will still necessitate a visit to, or correspondence with, the National Archives.

HOWEVER, any research into a patient's or prisoner's stay in Richmond should begin (and will sometimes end) with that soldiers individual service records, which can be had from the National Archives. This will tell you which hospital or prison(*) the soldier was in, and will give you dates of stay and disease, if applicable. The service records themselves are not generally historical documents - they are of the War Department's' creation (who had possession of military records until the creation of the National Archives during the Great Depression). In other words, clerks in the War Department were detailed to methodically plow through hospital registries and other records, indexing each name on slips of paper. These slips were then placed in folders, and are now referred to as "compiled military service records" (or CMSRs). These will tell you most everything you want to know regarding that soldiers' service, including where he enlisted, which hospital he was placed in, etc, etc.

In short, there will always be a need for physical archives, because any digitization effort (such as mine) is necessarily limited in scope. Any "lists of prisoners/patients" will be found in those archives, and generally not on my site.

I hope you will enjoy my web site for what it is.

Mike Gorman
webmaster, Civil War Richmond


* note - almost ALL service records will indicate that a prisoner was confined in "Libby Prison," though this is not the case. Libby was used as a depot - that is to say, every single prisoner, regardless of rank (officer or enlisted) came through there, had his name listed, but only the officers stayed there. Enlisted men were taken to another prison (Belle Isle, Crew & Pemberton's, General Hospital #21, etc), but, because records do not survive from these prisons, you will be led to believe that the whole of their captivity was spent in Libby Prison. This is simply not so. Your search will have to end, unfortunately, with the knowledge that they were a POW in Richmond. 90% of the time, this means that they were confined at Belle Isle. See if my site has any lists from there.

Page last updated on 07/07/2008