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CONFEDERATE RESEARCH PROJECT

THE TEXAS STATE CEMETERY NEEDS YOUR HELP

There are more than 2,200 Confederate veterans and their spouses buried at the Texas State Cemetery. Researching an ancestor who fought for the Confederacy can be a tedious and difficult endeavor. However, the rewards can be refreshing and enlightening once the story is developed and completed for future generations to enjoy and be proud.

It is the goal of the Texas State Cemetery Confederate Research Project to be able to tell the story of each Confederate veteran and their spouse for genealogical research. Each individual buried at the Cemetery has an individual webpage that includes name, date of birth, date of death, date of burial, short biographical sketch, individual photograph, and headstone photograph. Therefore it is our goal to be able to gather as much information as possible on each individual. Many of these men and women do not have any records and Cemetery researchers are forced to rely on family members to help fill the gaps or provide a photograph of the individual. If you have any information regarding an individual buried at the Cemetery, please call  Jason Walker, Director of Research, at (512) 463-8304, or e-mail them by striking the contact button at the bottom of this page.

RESEARCHING A CONFEDERATE VETERAN

There are several steps in searching for a Confederate veteran that can be expensive and time consuming.

ORAL HISTORY

The beginning search for a Confederate begins with an oral history that has been passed down generation to generation. Besides giving a starting point, an oral history will provide basic research information that is essential when trying to locate information on a Confederate. It will make research efforts more convenient and less frustrating if one is able to begin with a name, rank, and unit for which they fought with during the Civil War.

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MILITARY RECORDS

Once background information has been established. The next step is to contact the National Archives in Washington D. C. to obtain a copy of the veteranís Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR). The CMSR will give pertinent information such as when and where the veteran enlisted and mustered into service. In addition, the CMSR will provide the researcher with dates he was present or absent for duty, place of birth, pay slips, and hospital and prison records if they were available.

The CMSRís will not indicate the battles fought, however, the "record of events" will give day to day accounts of a companyís whereabouts and activities. Using the CMSR, a researcher will be able to compare the dates their ancestor was present with his company to where the company was on a certain day. By comparing a Confederateís CMSR with the "record of events" a researcher will be able to determine the war experience of that particular soldier.

PENSION RECORDS

Military records will only provide information that is relative to military service. Other sources will need to be looked at to gain a greater perspective of a veteranís whole life. The pension applications can be obtained from their respective state repositories. The applications will vary depending on the state, however they will provide basic biographical information. The Texas application will provide a researcher with name, date of birth, birthplace, occupation, unit, date they entered service and sworn affidavits swearing service in the Confederacy.

Following the Civil War, the Federal Government made a decision not to provide a pension for soldiers who fought in the Confederacy. The Federal Government left the decision to the southern states to provide Confederate veterans with a pension. Texas passed the Confederate Pension Law in 1899. The law stated that a Confederate soldier or sailor was eligible if they were a native Texan or a resident of Texas prior to 1880, and who was either over sixty and whose disability was direct result of service during the Civil War. In addition to soldier and sailors, widows were eligible to receive a pension if they never remarried and were residents of Texas since 1880. The pension law was later amended to ease many of these restrictions, particularly to widows.

OTHER RESEARCH MATERIALS

the major sources are the military records and the pension applications. however, those are not the only sources that will help in your search. most state archives will provide muster rolls of units from their particular state and state census records. these records will be able to verify whether or not a person is your confederate veteran. other sources will be the obituary and death certificate for that person; once again these will provide valuable biographical information as well as names of surviving family members.

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BOOKS

The Civil War is one of the most popular subjects studied in American history. Therefore, countless numbers of books have been published on virtually every subject pertaining to the Civil War. Perhaps the most important set of books available for a researcher is the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. The OR (as they are referred to) contains 128 volumes of official orders, maps correspondence between officers and generals, and other various records that came out of the Civil War. In addition to the OR, there are the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, which contain 31 volumes of the same information as the OR.

Any search for a Confederate veteran will be time consuming and difficult, but in the end will be a rewarding experience.

TEXAS INVOLVEMENT IN THE CIVIL WAR

The Civil War was arguably one of the worst events in the history of the United States. It pitted the northern industrial states versus the southern agrarian states over the issue of statesí rights with the underlying issue, of course, being whether or not a new state or territory had the right to determine if it would be free or slave. The result was the Civil War, which would end up being the most costly American war in history. There were more casualties during the Civil War than in all the wars the country has fought combined.

The majority of the fighting took place east of the Mississippi River; however, Texas played a vital role in the Confederate cause. Texas lay on the far western side of the Confederacy bordering Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico, thus geographically making it a strategic stronghold for the South. In addition to the geographic importance, Texas was the largest cotton-producer in the South, thus enabling it to trade with Mexico for military supplies and other necessities.

More than 75,000 Texans fought for the Confederacy, making major contributions throughout the War effort. The majority of the men would stay in Texas to defend the frontier against Indian and Union attacks, but many Texans would fight and even play prominent roles in many battles like Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, and the ill-fated Atlanta Campaign. Finally, after much hardship on both the North and the South, Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnson surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, and at Smithfield, North Carolina, in April 1865 respectively. However, the news was slow to reach Texas and the last battle of the Civil War was fought May 13, 1865 at Palmito Ranch near Brownsville with the determined Confederate forces defeating the Union. On May 26, 1865, General E. Kirby Smith surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department.

CONFEDERATES AT THE TEXAS STATE CEMETERY

Following the Civil War, tensions between the North and the South were still high among politicians, soldiers, and citizens alike. The Federal Government provided Union soldiers with a pension, but offered no assistance to Confederate soldiers. As a result, the John B. Hood Camp of Confederate Veterans, with the help of the Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, raised private funds to purchase land and erect buildings to be used as a convalescent home for many of the Confederate soldiers who were disabled, indigent, and unable to provide for themselves. In 1891, the responsibility of the Confederate Menís home was transferred from the John B. Hood Camp of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy to the State of Texas.

Upon receiving the Confederate Menís Home the State set forth guidelines for admittance into the Home. To be eligible, the Confederate veteran had to be disabled and indigent, a citizen of Texas on January 1, 1891, and to have served the cause of the South in an honorable manner. The application for admittance had to prove honorable service with a sworn affidavit of two "reputable persons." In addition, a physicianís certificate had to show the nature of the disability, that the Confederate was unable to provide for himself, and that the applicant was not suffering from any contagious diseases.

Throughout the years, more than 2,000 Confederates lived at the Home, with the last veteran passing away in 1954 at 108. The Confederate Menís Home was expanded to include veterans from the Spanish-American War and World War I in 1939. Since there were no longer any Confederates alive, the other war veterans were transferred to the Kerrville State Hospital in 1963 to make room for University of Texas student housing.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy opened the Confederate Womenís Home in December 1907, to provide care for spouses and widows of Confederate veterans and for women who played a role in the Confederacy. The State took control of the Womenís home in 1911 and operated it until 1964. The remaining residents of the Home were moved to other health care facilities or family homes and the Womenís Home was closed so that nurses from the Austin State Hospital could live at the facilities.

The majority of the individuals who stayed at the Menís Home were indigent farmers who were so badly injured during the war they were unable to care for themselves as they got older. The Home was a place for these men and women to live out the rest of their lives in peace. The Confederate Menís and Womenís Homes were not limited to farmers, as men and women from all occupations and educational backgrounds comprised these two sanctuaries.

General Albert Sidney Johnston, the highest-ranking Confederate general, was killed on April 6, 1862, at the battle of Shiloh. In 1867, Johnstonís body was moved from New Orleans, Louisiana, to his final resting-place at the Texas State Cemetery. Johnston joined Confederate generals August Buchel, William R. Scurry, and Benjamin McCulloch at the State Cemetery. Later, Generals Xavier B. Debray, William P. Hardeman, John Wharton, A. W. Terrell, and Adam R. Johnson joined the other honored generals who were buried in the Cemetery. As a result of the popularity of Johnston and the other generals, it was recognized that common Confederate soldiers would be allowed burial in the Cemetery upon their death. Although there was never any formal decree stating eligibility status for the Confederates until the 1950s, the Cemetery became the most appropriate final resting-place for these fallen southern heroes who fought during the Civil War.