My second great-grandfather Isaac Turner is my only ancestor (so far) to have fought on the Union side during the Civil War. My family is filled with Southerners, so it came as quite a shock when I found his index card in Ancestry’s Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 a couple of years ago.
I eventually got his entire pension file from NARA and it told quite a story, not so much about Isaac and his military career, but about his family and the hardships they endured after his death.
But this was his pension file, not his active military file. I have yet to find that file, as it is not available at Ancestry, Footnote or FamilySearch Record Search. But I think it will appear in the not-too-distant future.
Why do I think it will soon be available? Because early this morning I found several original (compilation 1890) documents concerning Company E of the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment, Isaac’s old unit, at the Internet Archive’s Allan County Public Library collection!
I had previously set up an RSS feed for this site, and this is the title that appeared yesterday and that I found when I got home from work at 2AM:
Compiled records showing service of military units in volunteer Union organizations [microform] (Volume Reel 0190 – Compiled records showing service of military units in volunteer Union organizations – TENNESSEE Fourth Infantry, Fourth Mounted Infantry, Fifth Infantry, Fifth Mounted Infantry, Sixth Infantry, Sixth Mounted Infantry, Seventh Infantry, Seventh Mounted Infantry, Eighth Infantry, Eighth Mounted Infantry, Tenth Infantry Co. A, East Tennessee National Guard Capt. Beaty’s Independent Scouts (Mounted) TEXAS First Cavalry Second Cavalry Second Cavalry (1 Year, 1865) Gen. Hamilton’s Body Guard, Cavalry Vidal’s Co., Independent Co., Partizan Rangers, Cavalry)
Wait a minute! Did I just see Tennessee Fourth Mounted Infantry???
And this is one of the images that I found when I clicked on the title:
This file has over 1300 pages. There is a search box but it really doesn’t work too well. So I’ll have to browse each page to find any actual mention of Isaac, although I think this file only deals with the individual military units, not the individual soldiers. My initial find of 6 pages shows places and dates of service for the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiment. What a wonderful find!
For the past couple of weeks, this RSS feed has been showing various 1850 Federal Census state files. I haven’t been too excited about this data, since it’s already available at Ancestry ($$$) and FamilySearch Record Search (free). But Civil War documents that I haven’t seen anywhere else… now that is exciting!
In fact, I just checked the feed again this morning (sleep, what is sleep?) and now it is showing Index to War of 1812 Pension Application files!
Pardon me, I’m drooling again…
(By the way, to set up an RSS feed for the ACPL Collection at the Internet Archive, go to this page and click on the RSS icon that’s just a little way down the page. DO IT NOW!)