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Secrets of Civil War Pensions

This series will explore the many mysteries of the Civil War pension file, including how to find and interpret the many types of online pension indexes, some details of which are rarely documented elsewhere.  Those indexes alone may contain hidden clues and a remarkable amount of detail about the veteran’s life, family, and military service.

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Southern Loyalists

The fact that your ancestor fought in the Civil War and lived in a southern state does not mean that he was a Confederate soldier.  “Southern Loyalists” were citizens of southern states who sympathized with the northern cause to preserve the union.  Approximately 150,000 of them (or more) became Union soldiers.

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Confederate Pensions

Contrary to popular belief, many Confederate veterans did receive pensions.  They were provided not by the U.S. Federal government but by the individual southern states.  Although Confederate pension files typically contain fewer documents than Union ones, they are nonetheless very useful for family researchers.

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