So in last week’s post Johnny Reb or Billy Yank? we looked at the steps to identify who might have served. Let’s look at how you find a soldier in the records.
Let’s look for James C Donald. We know from the 1860 census, he was living in Lexington, Rockbridge, Virginia and was born about 1835:
You will need to know where he lived in 1860 so that you can match that information on the service records. Most likely your soldier enlisted fairly close to home. James lived in Lexington. While possible, it is doubtful that he enlisted in Nelson County.
Now let’s see if we can find the service records for our soldier. Start on the home page and click through to the Civil War Service records.
Now let’s click through to the Confederate records:
Scroll down the page until you find Virginia:
If you know the unit the soldier served with, you can browse into that unit and find him there. But we don’t know, so we will do a search:
We know James’ middle name was Calvin and that he was about 25 years old. There are at least two good candidates to look at:
First, we look at the James C Donald in the 4th infantry, and we find this is probably a good candidate. From the 1860 census, we know that James was living in Rockbridge County, specifically Lexington
And in the service records for James C Donald we find that he lived in Lexington and that this unit was organized in Rockbridge, Virginia.
Next week, we will look at how to put the service records together to tell the story.