Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Help Understanding Civil War Service Records

Our Richard Toner was born c. 1820 in Ireland. Immigrated to NY c. 1850, and, as far as I know, never left Brooklyn. He was a painter by occupation.

I found, on the NYS Archives Civil War soldier databases, records of a Richard Toner in the 5 NY H. Artillery. (There's also on that site the record of a Richard Toner in the 148 NY Infantry, but he doesn't show up anywhere else - not in NARA's indexes or the NPS Soldiers and Sailors System. I haven't ordered that record yet.) At NARA, I looked up the CMSR (Compiled Military Service Record) of the Richard Toner in the 5 NY H. Artillery, where what I found pretty much matched the minimal information I'd gotten when I ordered the record from the NYS Archives, plus some.

A regimental history I found told me that this regiment was recruited throughout NYS, including large parts of it in NYC. However, Richard Toner was mustered in in Utica. Would he have been mustered in in the place he lived, or in some other place? (Utica is pretty far from South Brooklyn). There's also a section on the enlistment papers that says he was "credited to" a given congressional district; I can't remember the number right now, but I looked it up immediately after seeing the record, and it was an upstate district by Utica, not near Brooklyn. Does that field ("credited to") relate to the district he lived in? Could that be different from the district he was recruited for? (There is paper work saying that a certain man was due $10 for having recruited Richard Toner.)

My Richard Toner should have been in his early 40s. His age is given as 24. But - his occupation is correct, that of a painter. I'm clueless as to whether this is him. Could the digits have gotten switched when recording his age? That's not anything anyone could answer for me, but I'm basically wondering whether there's a possibility that someone who mustered in upstate and was credited to an upstate district could have lived in Brooklyn? If so, I think there's a chance it's him, wrong age notwithstanding. If this Richard Toner must have lived in upstate NY, then I'm sure it's not him.

Where can I find out more about how to read Civil War enlistment records?

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