During the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War there is so much data online to assist the family history researcher. If you had ancestors who lived or served with any of the Pennsylvania units, the online site “Pennsylvania Volunteers of the Civil War” might be able to provide some answers in your search.
It contains the state’s infantry, cavalry and artillery rosters, histories, biographies, draft documents, journals, letters, medal of honor recipients, prisoners of war (POWs), and pensions. This free Pennsylvania database is available to help with your genealogy search for a relative who lived between 1820s and 1860s.
You can select any of the tab at the top which covers a specific topic such as ‘Pensions’ or ‘POWS’ and begin a search. Each of the topics are explained as you scroll down on the main page and you can click on that link to also begin a search.
One of the newer topics is titled ‘PA Civil War Era Newspaper Article Transcriptions’. Not every newspaper is represented with every article written during the war 1860-1865, but there is a good beginning of articles. There is also a link for the Penn State Newspaper Archives which do have other newspapers. One from Gettysburg, dated Nov. 17, 1862 tells the death of two Pennsylvania soldiers. They were William J. Walker, of Bendersville, and David Stone of the 138th Regiment, who died of Typhoid Fever, a very common cause of death during the war.
Another good resource is the Civil War Veteran’s Card File 1860-1865, arranged alphabetical, with some basic information on each soldier, even if he did not survive.
The Biographical collection on the site is good to check, never know what name you might find. You can also add any ancestors from Pennsylvania if they served – even if they were a nurse in the field hospitals.
Photos: Poster for PA Volunteers and Civil War Veteran’s Card File on Pvt. Wesley Wagner, my own ancestor, who died in a prison camp of Belle Isle in Nov. 1863.
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