New database: On the Battlefield: Records of Soldiers, Veterans and Refugees

Unidentified African American Union soldier pictured with his wife and two daughters, c. 1865. Note: this ambrotype was discovered in Cecil County, Maryland, making it possible that he served with one of the seven U.S.C.T. Regiments raised in Maryland during the Civil War. (This image is freely available through the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, digital id ppmsca 36454).

We are very excited to announce a new database: On the Battlefield: Records of Soldiers, Veterans and Refugees.

This database provides lists of soldiers of color and accompanying genealogical information. This database is presented as a part of the 10 Million Names project. For more information about the 10 Million Names project see the full website here.

This database is organized into volumes, with each volume currently representing a list of names for regiments that served in the Civil War. Each record includes regimental information, noted service records (including enlistment date, company, rank at enlistment, separation date and reason, as well as any casualty information). Residence, occupation, age and physical descriptions at the time of enlistment are also included. Pension information may be available as well, including soldier, widow, and minor/child pension application and certificate numbers.

In the future, new volumes will be released to reflect individuals who served in colonial wars (1609-1720), the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), and the War of 1812 (1812–1815). Later, free Black soldiers—most of whom were descended from enslaved people—participated in the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899–1902). This project will rely not just on the rich records created for soldiers, but also for veterans and wartime refugees. This project is planned to expand well beyond Massachusetts and New England.

This database currently contains the following volumes:

The data for this database was compiled by NEHGS researcher Jonathan Hill, using Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served with the United States Colored Troops (available through the National Archives), and Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War, volumes 1-9.

Currently, the Black Loyalist Directory, 1783-1788 is it’s own database. This includes lists of formerly enslaved soldiers and refugees who served with the British during the American Revolution. This database can be accessed here.

Please note: This database is available to all NEHGS members, including Guest Members, at no cost, as part of 10 Million Names