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Chapter 7: muster-out-rolls — Anthropological statistics.

The statistics presented in these pages are based largely on a personal examination of the muster-out-rolls of the various regiments. When a regiment was mustered out of service at the close of the war,--or at the expiration of its term of enlistment,--each company in the organization was required to hand in a muster-out-roll bearing the names of every man who, at any time. had served in it. The rolls, which were furnished in blank for this purpose, were large sheets, nearly one yard square, ruled and printed with various headings. Each company-roll was made out separately, making ten rolls in all (if in a ten-company regiment), with an additional roll for the Field and Staff.

Opposite each name was written the age of the person; place of enlistment; date of muster-in; and, under the column of “Remarks,” statements showing what became of the man;--if dead, the cause, date, and place of death.

These names were grouped under the various headings of: “Present at muster-out;” “Previously discharged;” “Traunsfel1ed;” “Deserted;” “Killed in action;” “Died of wounds;” and, “Died of disease;” other causes. Three copies of these rolls, sometimes more, were made, ole of which was forwarded to the capital of the state to which the regiment belonged, where it was filed il the office of the state adjutant-general. These regimental rolls and records may be found carefully preserved among the archives of each state. and it is evident that such of them as were properly made will show clearly and accurately the mortuary losses of the regiments to which they pertain.

The states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas have printed and published the muster-out-rolls of the regiments which they respectively furnished to the Union Armies. The name of each and every man who served in these regiments is preserved in print; the record of his patriotism is transmitted, and in time becomes the proudest heir-loom of his family.

Some of these publications are, necessarily, voluminous. The rolls of the Illinois troops fill eight octavos; the Indiana rolls require eight volumes of similar size; the names of the men in the Massachusetts regiments fill two large quartos of about one thousand pages each; the Pennsylvania rolls,1 as printed, cover 7,000 pages. Still, despite the tedious length of these rolls, the patient student will le able to compile from them the losses il nearly every regiment.

The states of New York, Delaware and Maryland have never attached enough value to the patriotic services of their troops to publish their muster-out-rolls.2 The manuscript rolls of the New York regiments are on file at Albany, and the historian must make a pilgrimage thither if he would learn anything concerning the heroes who followed the colors of the Empire State.

1 History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers: S. P. Bates.

2 New York published its muster-in-rolls. a work of little value, as it is merely a list of names with no records attached; there is nothing in it to show that New York ever lost a man in battle, or that the regiments ever left the State.

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S. P. Bates (1)
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