When you find your ancestor’s service records on Fold3, don’t forget to look at the Unit information.

If you browse into the Unit:


You will see Introduction and Unit Information. Click on Unit Information to see thumbnails of the record:


You will find summaries of who the leaders of the unit were:



As well as descriptions of when and where different units were during the war.  Note, this isn’t a complete accounting, but it will give you a feel for what a specific unit was doing.


Remember the story about your ancestors is in the details, and the details are not always found in records about your ancestor but sometimes in records surrounding them.

Happy searching!

3 Responses to “Civil War Unit Histories: Finding the Details For the Story”

  1. Lanora k

    It is an extraordinary experience to come across the locations of ancester’s military units when traveling. Knowing the history and movements of their units is key. My daughter built a vacation home within a few miles of where a g-grandfather’s unit fought General Lee in W Virginia. We visited another battleground and saw a monument that he had helped dedicate after the war. I have a copy of his speech. It is an awesome experience. It puts some life in the family tree.
    I remember stories of my grandmother about the encampments that her father took her family to when she was young.

  2. Kathleen Rose

    I did not understand what a gold mine Unit histories could be until several years ago. My husband has a Great Grandfather who served in the Iowa 15th Infantry for 3 years of the war. This became a Veteran Unit and there were enough of them left at the end of the war that they marched down Pennsylvania Ave in the Parade after the end of the war. We knew none of this. He is buried in Farmington UT and not many people from UT served in the CW so I was surprised when after visiting the grave site for several years I finally realized that it was not a regular tombstone but a Government Veteran Tombstone with the Unit information on it.
    I looked in the FHL in Salt Lake to see what information there might be on the 15th Iowa and found a Unit History. Long story short, researching this man became a passion for my husband and son. Over a period of 7 years they visited every battlefield at which he fought. They put together a video presentation for the UT State History Fair and were able to take the presentation to Washington DC to present at nationals. At each battle field there are books specific to that battle. My husband gathered these and over the years wrote a book on the time Warren William Rose spent in the CW. He found that Great Grandfather was a man to be proud of.
    Sgt. Rose & The 15th Iowa and The War of the Rebellion is his contribution to make sure this man and his friends and fellow soldiers are not forgotten.

  3. Connie Eggen "Auntcon" on the garden chat site

    I do not know if my great grandfather Alexander Sayer was in the civil war or not. He died I believe in 1878. His widow was born Sarah M Davis. They married September 16, 1869 Van Buren County, Iowa. I would like to find out more info about the following file and know if possible this is my Alexander and Sarah?

    Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
    about Alexander Sayer
    Name: Alexander
    Widow: Sarah E Sayer
    Roll Number: T288_414
    It was filed Nov 13 1877 and shows she is a widow
    The dates would be right
    Appliction no. 234131
    Certificate no. 281077 (last digit not clear)
    Image 2112