Research


Scope and Content Note

This series consists of bound registers containing printed forms completed by hand by town and city clerks throughout New York State. Entitled "Complete Record Relating to Officers, Soldiers, and Seamen Composing the Quotas of Troops Furnished to the United States...in the War of Rebellion," the registers provide military service data and personal biographical information regarding the men furnished by each town or city during the Civil War.

The registers provide: the individual's full name; residence; date and place of birth (not completed in all instances); present rank, regiment and company; date of enlistment; date of muster and rank; length of enlistment; place of enlistment; race; amount of bounty paid by town or county if disbursed by supervisor; marital status; previous occupation; parents' names (not completed in all instances); and dates of promotions, resignations, discharges, and death (not completed in all instances). This last section often provides general information concerning engagements the individual fought in and, if he was killed, his place of burial.

If the individual did not die during the war, his present address is sometimes listed. For individuals who were in the naval service, the information is identical except that the name of the vessel(s) upon which he served is listed. At the end of each register is a certificate signed and dated by the town clerk attesting to the fact that all information provided is "a full and complete record." Unfortunately, gaps are widespread and unpredictable; the extent to which information is complete varies from page to page within the bound registers.

The register completed by the town clerk of Newtown, Queens County is the single representative register for the New York City region in possession of the New York State Archives. In addition to the usual information, this register occasionally gives names of persons hiring substitutes with the names of their substitutes.

The register for Newtown also contains several documents assigning powers of attorney for soldiers on active duty for purposes of voting by proxy in the 1864 presidential and gubernatorial elections. Also pasted in the volume are several affidavits stating that the absent elector has been a citizen of the United States for ten days; is of the age of twenty-one years; has been an inhabitant of the State of New York for one year preceding the election; has been a resident of Queens County for four months and a resident of Newtown for thirty days; has not made a bet or wager and is not interested in a bet or wager depending upon the result of the election; and is in actual military service (with regiment and place of assignment). A few copies of actual gubernatorial ballots, disallowed on technicalities, are included.

The Newtown register contains a statement (1890) by the town clerk indicating that this volume and the election papers were found in "the cells." The clerk further states that he caused the register to be bound and that he then pasted the historic documents into it.