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 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies HTML Preface




By an act approved June 23, 1874, Congress made an appropriation “to enable the Secretary of War to begin the publication of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, both of the Union and Confederate Armies,” and directed him “to have copied for the Public Printer all reports, letters, telegrams, and general orders not heretofore copied or printed, and properly arranged in chronological order.”

Appropriations for continuing such preparation have been made from time to time, and the act approved June 16, 1880, has provided “for the printing and binding, under direction of the Secretary of War, of 10,000 copies of a compilation of the Official Records (Union and Confederate) of the War of the Rebellion, so far as the same may be ready for publication, during the fiscal year”; and that “of said number, 7,000 copies shall be for the use of the House of Representatives, 2,000 copies for the use of the Senate, and 1,000 copies for the use of the Executive Departments.” *

This compilation will be the first genera] publication of the military records of the war, and will embrace all official documents that can be obtained by the compiler, and that appear to be of any historical value. {p.IV} The publication will present the records in the following order of arrangement:

The 1st Series will embrace the formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of the first seizures of United States property in the Southern States, and of all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, orders, and returns relating specially thereto, and, as proposed, is to be accompanied by an Atlas.

In this series the reports will be arranged according to the campaigns and several theaters of operations (in the chronological order of the events), and the Union reports of any event will, as a rule, be immediately followed by the Confederate accounts. The correspondence, &c., not embraced in the “reports” proper will follow (first Union and next Confederate) in chronological order.

The 2d Series will contain the correspondence, orders, reports, and returns, Union and Confederate, relating to prisoners of war, and (so far as the military authorities were concerned) to State or political prisoners.

The 3d Series will contain the correspondence, orders, reports, and returns of the Union authorities (embracing their correspondence with the Confederate officials) not relating specially to the subjects of the first and second series. It will set forth the annual and special reports of the Secretary of War, of the General-in-Chief, and of the chiefs of the several staff corps and departments; the calls for troops, and the correspondence between the National and the several State authorities.

The 4th Series will exhibit the correspondence, orders, reports, and returns of the Confederate authorities, similar to that indicated for the Union officials, as of the third series, but excluding the correspondence between the Union and Confederate authorities given in that series.

ROBERT N. SCOTT, Major, Third Art., and Bvt. Lieut. Col.

WAR DEPARTMENT, August 23,1880.


ALEX. RAMSEY, Secretary of War.

*Volume I to V distributed under act approved June 16, 1880. The act approved August 7, 1882, provides that-

“The volumes of the official records of the war of the rebellion shall be distributed as follows: One thousand copies to the executive departments, as now provided by law. One thousand copies for distribution by the Secretary of War among officers of the Army and contributors to the work. Eight thousand three hundred copies shall be sent by the Secretary of War to such libraries, organizations, and individuals as may be designated by the Senators, Representatives, and Delegates of the Forty-seventh Congress. Each Senator shall designate not exceeding twenty-six, and each Representative and Delegate not exceeding twenty-one of such addresses, and the volumes shall be sent thereto from time to time as they are published, until the publication is completed. Senators, Representatives, and Delegates shall inform the Secretary of War in each case how many volumes of those heretofore published they have forwarded to such addresses. The remaining copies of the eleven thousand to be published, and all sets that may not be ordered to be distributed as provided herein, shall be sold by the Secretary of War for cost of publication with ten per cent. added thereto, and the proceeds of such sale shall be covered into the Treasury. If two or more sets of said volumes are ordered to the same address the Secretary of War shall inform the Senators, Representatives or Delegates, who have designated the same, who thereupon may designate other libraries, organizations, or individuals. The Secretary of War shall report to the first session of the Forty-eighth Congress what volumes of the series heretofore published have not been furnished to such libraries, organizations, and individuals. He shall also inform distributees at whose instance the volumes are sent.”

Library Reference Information

Type of Material: Book (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Corporate Name: United States. War Dept.
Main Title: The War of the Rebellion:
a compilation of the official records of the
Union and Confederate armies.
Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of War
by Robert N. Scott.
Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1880-1900.
Published/Created: Washington : Government Pub. Off., 1880-1901 (70 v. in 128).
Description: 70 v. in 128. 24 cm.
Subjects: United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
Confederate States of America. Army--History--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories.
LC Classification: E464 .U6