Rhode Island in the Civil War

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Major General Ambrose Burnside of Rhode Island

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Rhode Island's quota was 23,778 men in 8 regiments of infantry, 3 regiments and a squadron of cavalry, 3 regiments of heavy artillery and one regiment of light artillery.[1]

According to Wikipedia, Rhode Island furnished 25,236 soldiers to the Union Army.[2]  The men were organized into about 10 infantry regiments, 4 cavalry units, and 6 artillery units (including one Colored Troop).

The Wikipedia article,Rhode Island in the American Civil War, has additional information.

Rhode Island Military Units[edit | edit source]

Most units were numbered, however, some were named. See the table below for lists of the regiments, battalions, batteries, and unassigned companies.

The information in the lists of Rhode Island Military Units comes from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors web site. That web site can also be searched by the name of a soldier.

Rhode Island Military Units by Number or Type of Unit
Union Units

Records and Resources[edit | edit source]

  • Indexes to service (Family History Library films 821940-46) and pension records of Union army soldiers are on film at the Family History Library. The service and pension records are available only at the National Archives. For more information see Union Service Records and Union Pension Records.
  • A published roster of soldiers is in Rhode Island Adjutant General, Annual Report of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations For the Year 1865, 1866, Revised, Two Volumes. (Providence: E. L. Freeman, 1893-95); Family History Library book 974.5 M2ri; film 982363; fiche 6046949; 1866 ed. on film 908721. This includes each soldier's residence, his date of enlistment, his dates of muster-in and muster-out, and regimental sketches.
  • Civil War Pension Index Cards - An Index to Pension Applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861-1917 is available on FamilySearch. Each card gives the soldier’s name, application and certificate numbers, state of enlistment, and might include rank and death information. The majority of the records are of Civil War veterans, but the collection also includes records for veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Indian Wars, and World War I. For more information see Union Pension Records.
  • 1890 Census Veterans Schedules - The 1890 Census Veterans Schedules, the "Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War" (NARA M123) are available online for the state of Rhode Island. The schedules list Union veterans and their widows living in Rhode Island in 1890. For more information on the 1890 Veterans Schedules see Union Census Records.
  • Rhode Island. Adjutant General's Office. 'Names of officers, soldiers, and seamen of Rhode Island Regiments or belonging to the state of Rhode Island : and serving in the regiments of other states and in the regular Army and Navy of the United States, who lost their lives in the defense of their country in the suppression of the late rebellion.' (Bethesda, Maryland : University Publications of America, c1991, FHL fiche 6118834 and 'Annual report of the Adjutant General of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations for the year 1865.' (Providence [Rhode Island] : E.L. Freeman, 1893-1895), FHL book 974.5 M2ri v. 2 digitized.
  • How to Order Military & Pension Records for Union Civil War Veterans from the National Archives - by Cyndi Ingle Howells www.cyndislist.com

Other Sources[edit | edit source]

Accessgenealogy.com - Civil War Regiments, Rosters, and Muster Rolls

The American Civil War Homepage

Ancestry.org;- a paid subscription site with Military Records and Military Indexes

The Caleb Fiske Harris Collection on the Civil War and Slavery at the Providence Public Library

Civil War Battle summaries- Summaries of battles that were fought in the Civil War in alphabetical order

Civil War Index - Primary Source Material on the Soldiers and the Battles

Civil War Links - Soldiers & Generals, and Unit Indexes

Civil War Reenacting Unites - Union Companies

The Cartes de Visit Album & History of the First Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry R.I.D.M. Thumb Nail Civil War Biographies.

Don Toiani's regiments and niforms of the Civil War - by Don Troiani, Earl J. Coates, Michael J McAfee available at Google books


Fold3 - 31,923,107 records in Civil War Records

Frederickscurg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial, National Military Park, Virginia - The Bloodiest Landscape in North America

Digital Book Index - Free eBooks on Civil War Regiments

James River Publications Civil War

The Rhode Island Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum;

The Civil War Relicman Harry Ridgeway - sells authentic relices from the Civil War

Rhode Island at Gettysburg - Monuments

Rhode Island Civil War Facts - at n2genealogy.com

Rhode Island Civil War Regimental Histories Book Collection on CD - available to purchase at The Historical Archive.com

Rhode Island Civil War Regiments - at genealogybooklinks.com. This site has links to many books on line.

Rhode Island Civil War Round Table;

Rhode Island Genealogy - Military Records

Rhode Island Historical Society - Official records and personal diaries

Military Research helps

Geocities.ws - Roster of all Union Civil War Officers of Rhode Island.

Genealogy.com GenForum

Genealogy Quest- Lists of Soldiers, Serving in Unites from Rhode Island

Sila's Reenacting links



PBS.org - Images of the Civil War

Providence Public Library - Regiments Embarking at Providence for New York and Washington-Illustration

375th Essays Providence and Civil War - Providence and Civil War by Frank J. Williams, the chair of the Rhode Island Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission.

Community College of Rhode Island;- CCRI professors share history of the Civil War, April 25, 2011

New Index to the Civil and military lists of Rhode Island - Two volumes in one, giving Christian and family names, arranged alphabetically. Read online.

The Civil War Zouave Database

The Civil War Archives Regimental History Research Room

The Civil War Archive Union Regimental Index for Rhode Island - a listing of all regiments that fought durint the U.S. Civil War

The Civil War Home Page - one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Civil War related material available on the Internet.

Timeline of Events for African Americans in the U.S. Army

Union Army Regimental History Index

United States, Civil War Regimental Histories Index, Rhode Island

Browns in the Civil War Lists people with the surname of Brown who served in the Civil War from Rhode Island.
The Civil War Omnibus

Tewksburys in the Civil War- Lists people with the surname of Tewksbury who served in the Civil War

Memoirs of Rhode Island Officers who were engaged in the service of their country during the Great Rebellion of the South.- by John Russell Bartlett, the Secretary of State of the State of Rhode Island available on Google Books.com

Official Army register for September 1869 - by United States. Adjutant-General's Office. available on Google Books.com

Uniforms of the Civil War: An Illustrated Guide for Historians, Collectors, and Reenactors - Ron Field, Robin Smith available on Google Books.com

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)
[edit | edit source]

Grand Army of the Republic founded in 1866 - 1956, was the largest veteran’s organization in the country after the Civil War. It was a fraternal organization members were veterans of the Union Army, US Navy, Marines and Revenue Cutler Service who served in the American Civil War. The group supported voting rights for black veterans, and lobbied the U.S. Congress to establish veterans' pensions. In 1890 the membership was 490,000.

In 1888 there were 21 posts and 2,696 members in the state of Rhode Island

GAR Posts in the State of Rhode Island

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War[edit | edit source]

With the death of the last member of the Grand Army of the Republic the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was formed.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Richard M. Bayles, ed., History of Newport County, Rhode Island, (New York, New York: L.E. Preston, 1888). FHL book 974.56 H2b, volume 1, page 422.
  2. Wikipedia.org, Rhode Island in the American Civil War, (accessed 17 March 2011)