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
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
, Rhode Island
, New Jersey
, West Virginia
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
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
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
Some of the state rolls, both printed and manuscript, are defective; many of the men are unaccounted for, or accounted for erroneously; and, for some regiments, the rolls are missing entirely.
But, in such cases the different states have perfected their rolls through information furnished by the War Department at Washington
Owing to the liberal policy of the Government
in regard to pensions, the friends of deceased soldiers have supplied much of the lacking information in the prosecution of their claims.
Of course, many of those who were unaccounted for on the rolls had no legal heirs to present their claims at the Pension Bureau; men recorded as “wounded and missing in action,” and who, through lack of family or social ties, disappeared without question or remark.
But the various state adjutant-generals have been untiring in their efforts to obtain information in such cases, and have, for the most part, settled definitely the fate of the missing.
The historian will find in the muster-out-rolls a mine of information valuable and necessary to his task.
He may have already learned the names of the regiments which were present at the battle, and the movements of the brigade, division or corps.
But which of these regiments did the fighting?
Which of then were in reserve, and which of them were in the first line?
Which of theni led in the assault?
Which ones stood in the breach?
In these records he will find a clear and unequivocal answer.
The long column of names marked as killed in some particular action tells the story of how well they stood.
More rolls are searched, and from them he makes a list of regiments whose losses map out the points of contact on some field and s how plainly where the press was heaviest.
He notes, also, that the records do not warrant the boastful account of some regimental historian, while it reflects honor on the gallantry of some command which has hitherto been overlooked and unrecognized.
He notes, again, that some regiment which has figured conspicuously in the official casualty list by reason of its aggregate of losses, did so on account of its large number of missing; and, that of these missing ones few were killed, the remainder having been.
captured. He notes, again, on. examining some other rolls, that the number of killed is large in proportion to the number enrolled, and so credits tie regiment with a percentage of loss which tells better than any flight of rhetoric how often and how well they faced the enemy's fire.
The story of the muster-out-roll is, at best, but a sad one. One is carried back to the war and surrounded by its sad pictures.
In scanning the remarks attached to the names there are the ever recurring phrases which recall vividly its thrilling scenes.
“Killed, July 3, 1863, at Gettysburg
;” and one thinks of Pickett
's charge, or other incidents of that historic field.
“Killed, May 3, 1863, at Marye's Heights
;” and the compiler lays down his pencil to dream again of that fierce charge which swept upward over the sloping fields of Fredericksburg
“Wounded and missing, May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness
,” suggests a nameless grave marked, if at all, by a Government headstone bearing the short, sad epitaph, “Unknown.”
“Killed at Malvern Hill
, July 11 1862;” and there rises a picture of an artilleryman lying dead at the wheels of his gun.
“Died of gunshot wound before Atlanta
, August 20, 1864,” tells of some lad who fills a grave long miles away from the village church-yard of his Northern home.
“Wounded at Antietam
, September 17, 1862, and died on the amputating table,” brings up the dire vision of the field-hospital, that ghastly sequel of every battle.
“Killed at Appomattox
, April 9, 1865;” and one sees the dead cavalryman, who, falling in that closing battle of the war, died with home and victory in sight.
“Died of sunstroke,” recalls the long march, the heavy load, the dust, the heat, and a senseless form lying at the roadside.
“Died of fever at Young's Point
, Miss.,” reminds one of the campaigns in the bayous and poisonous swamps, with the men falling in scores before a foe more deadly and remorseless than the bullet.
“Executed on sentence of G. C. M.; shot to death by musketry;” and one recalls the incidents of the most trying of all scenes, a military execution.
“Killed on picket, September 15, 1863, on the Rappahannock
,” suggests the star-lit river, the lonely vidette, an echoing shot, and a man dying alone in the darkness.
And so it goes.
There are no war stories that; can equal the story of the muster-out-roll.
And then, there are facts recorded in them which are curious and interesting.
Occasionally the sad record is brightened with something akin to humor; and, there is much, at times, which is readable.
The following extracts, taken at random, may give an idea of what one runs across in examining these old records.
They are copied from the muster-out rolls, manuscript and printed, while some are from the rolls appended to regimental histories.
If at times the sad and the ridiculous are too closely intermingled, it is because the story runs that way, reflecting truly the peculiarly intermingled scenes of army life.
Extracts from: muster-out-rolls
Tenth New York Cavalry, Company D:--“Lt. Wm. J. Rabb
; killed at Brandy Station
, by a sabre-thrust through the body while lying under his horse; he would not surrender.”
Thirty-seventh Wisconsin, Company C:--“Sergeant William H. Green
; recommended for promotion for gallantry in action, Petersburg, Va.
, June 17, 1864, where he was wounded in both legs, after receiving which he crawled from the field, dragging his colors with his teeth; died July 17, 1864, of wounds.”
Twenty-fifth Wisconsin, Company B:--“Capt. W. H. Bennett
; wounded and prisoner, July 22, 1864; leg amputated three times; died August 10, 1864 at Macon, Ga.
, of wounds.”
First New Jersey, Company A:---“Jordan Silvers; killed on picket near Alexandria, Va.
, October 15, 1861.”
Fifth New Hampshire, Company G:--“John Velon
; shot for desertion near Petersburg, Va.
, October 28, 1864.”
Fifth Wisconsin, Company A:--“Francis Lee
; first man of regiment to reach enemy's works in assault on Petersburg
, April 2, 1865.”
One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, Company A:--“Lorenzo Brown
; kicked to death by a mule at Somerset, Ky.
, April 23, 1864.”
Sixty-fifth Ohio, Company H:--“Corporal Adam Glasgow
; discharged May 27, 1865, on surgeon's certificate; both feet frozen while en route from Wilmington, N. C.
, to Annapolis, Md.
; an exchanged prisoner of war.”
Twenty-first Massachusetts, Company E:3
--“Sergeant Thomas Plunkett
; lost both arms while carrying regimental U. S. flag at Fredericksburg
; discharged May 9, 1863.”
Twenty-first Massachusetts, Company C:4
--“Sergeant Elbridge C. Barr
; killed at Fredericksburg
while carrying the State
Twenity-first Massachusetts, Company A:5
--“Sergeant Joseph H. Collins
; died Jan. 3, 1863, of wounds received at Fredericksburg
while carrying the colors.”
Seventh Wisconsin, Company H:--“Jefferson Coates
; wounded at South Mountain
; loss of both eyes; brevetted Captain
, with medal of honor for gallantry at Gettysburg
Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, Company D:--“Charles D. Fuller
detected as being a female; discharged, date unknown.”
One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania, Company F:--“Sergeant Frank Mayne
: deserted Aug. 24, 1862; subsequently killed in battle in another regiment, and discovered to be a woman; real name, Frances Day.”
Second Michigan, Company F:--“Franklin Thompson
(Charge of desertion removed by House Committee on Military Affairs, Washington
, Feb. 1887, the soldier having had a good record and had fought well in several battles, but proved to be a woman; real name was Miss Seelye
Twenty-sixth North Carolina (C. S. A.) Company F:--“Mrs.
L. M, Blaylock
; enlisted March 20, 1861; discharged for being a woman.”
Fifty-sixth New York, Company F:--“John Hoffman
killed by lightning at Cashtown
Second New Jersey Cavalry, Company M:--__________________; “executed at Memphis, Tenn.
, June 10, 1864.
for rape and robbery; sentence G. C. M.”
Second Wisconsin, Company B:--“Robert Swartz
; discharged oil account of youth.”
Eleventh Vermont, Company B:--“Lt. Edward B. Parker
; died a prisoner at Columbia, S. C.
, Oct. 13, 1864, from injuries received from bloodhounds.”
Fourth New Jersey, Company C:--“Geo. W. Hindley
; died in a fit at Alexandria, Va.
, Oct. 7, 1861.”
Seventh Wisconsin, Company A:--“Horace A. Ellis
; awarded medal of honor for capture of flag of the Sixteenth Mississippi at Weldon R. R., Aug. 21, 1864.”
Ninth New Jersey, Company G:--“Christian Huber
; shot by rebel sentinel while stepping on dead-line at Andersonville
, Aug. 5, 1864.”
First Indiana Cavalry, Company L:--“Andress
; drafted for nine months; killed in action.”
Twenty-second Indiana, Company C:--“Private Eli P. Wells
; promoted Chaplain
Fifth New York Cavalry, Company H:--“Lt. J. A. Benedict
; died from amputation of right arm resulting from the bite of a man on thumb, Dec. 11, 1861.”
Fifth New York Cavalry, Company G:--“John Evans
; March 7, 1865, had a ball pass through a pack of cards and a plug of tobacco, lodging against the skin opposite his heart.”
Twenty-first Wisconsin, Company I:--“August Meyer
; left camp while insane, and not heard from afterwards.”
Thirty-first Maine, Company A:--“Fred R. Cole
; killed in his tent, Aug. 14, 1864.
Seventh Indiana, Company E:--__________________; “Sentenced by G. C. M. to work on fortifications 12 months after expiration of enlistment.”
Second Minnesota, Company F:--“William Blake
, musician; threw away his drum and took a gun at Mill Springs
Eighth Tennessee (Unions), Company C:--“Sergeant John Gossett
; killed at Utoy Creek
while planting his colors on the enemy's works.”
Nineteenth Wisconsin:--“Chaplain J. H. Nichols
; died Jan., 1863, in an insane asylum.”
Fifty-second Indiana, Company B:--“Timothy Westport; discharged April 27, 1863, for loss of speech.”
Twenty-first Illinois:--“Colonel U. S. Grant
; enlisted June 15, 1861; promoted Brigadier dier General, Aug. 7, 1861.”
Twenty-fifth Wisconsin, Company G:--“（Geo. W. Ide
; died June 2, 1864, at Dallas, Ga.
, of sunstroke.”
First Kentucky Cavalry (Union), Company H:--“Geo. W. Eller
; killed Feb. 10, 1863, in a personal difficulty,9
in Wayne Co., Ky.
Fifth Tennessee Cavalry (Union), Company F:--“J. N. Gilliam
; killed near Tracy City, Tenn.
, by guerrillas,10
Aug. 4, 1864.”
Eighteenth Wisconsin, Company B:--“Redmond McGuire
; killed April 10, 1862, in prison, by rebel guard, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Thirty-eighth Ohio, Company K:--“Jacob Thomas
; killed Nov. 17, 1861, by the falling of a tree, at Wild Cat, Ky.
One Hundred and Sixty-second New York, Company E:--“John Murphy
; shot while endeavoring to escape the guard at New Orleans, April 5, 1863.”
Eighth New York, Company A:--“A. Lohman
; died of poison while on picket, by drinking from a bottle found at a deserted house.”
Thirtieth Wisconsin, Company C:--“E. Olsen
; killed in a draft riot, September 10, 1863, at New Lisbon, Wis.
Eightieth New York, Company C:--“John Edleman
; killed by explosion of ammunition, August 8, 1864, at City Point, Va.
Sixteenth Wisconsin, Company A:--“George Halsey
; drafted----; died February 27, 1865, Lynch Creek, S. C.
, of fatigue.”
One Hundred and Seventy-ninth New York, Company E:--“Charles Clements
; killed November 14, 1864, by falling from cars while on furlough.”
Thirty-ninth Illinois, Company D:--“John Hays
; killed in a row, July 4, 1865.”
Second Ohio, Company B:--“George D. Wilson
; executed by the Rebels
at Atlanta, Ga.
, June 18, 1862; charged with being a bridge-burner.”
（One of the famous party who captured a locomotive at Big Shanty, Ga.
Fifth New York Cavalry, Company H:--“Edgar C. Shephard
; drowned April 22, 1863, while en route home on furlough.”
One Hundred and Fifty-ninth New York, Company D:--“A. W. Rackett
; killed April 17, 1863, by a shot from a house while filling his canteen at a well near Vermillion Bayou, La.”
Fifth Ohio, Company H:--“Thos. Kelly
; murdered by a comrade.”
Eighth Tennessee (Union), Company C:--“G. H. Houston
; dropped to rear sick, and murdered by enemy on the Cumberland Mountains
, August 25, 1863.”
Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, Company E:--“John Long; died of poison at Wartrace, Tenn.
, April 18, 1862.”
Fifty-second Indiana, Company B:--“William Tyler
; frozen to death near Fort Pillow
, December 31, 1863.”
(The rolls of this company show that Lieutenant Edwin Alexander
and five men were frozen to death in a snow-storm on an island in the Mississippi river
, while on a scouting expedition.)
Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry, Company C:--“J. C. Clifton
; killed in a fight with one of his own company February 7, 1865.”
Ninety-second Illinois, Company B:--“R. J. O'Conner
; shot by Lieutenant Pointer
, C. S. A., while a prisoner of war, and died April 23, 1864.”
In the United States Volunteer Register, the officers' roster of the Indian
) regiments is given, from which the following items are taken:
First Indian Guards:--“Captain Tul
-se-fix-se-ko; killed February 1, 1863.”
First Indian Guards:--“Captain Ah-ha-la-tus-ta-nuk-ke; died at Camp Moonlight, Ark., March 23, 1863.”
First Indian Guards:--“Captain Ta
-ma-tus-ta-nuk-ka; cashiered December 3, 1864.”
First Indian Guards:--“Captain Ak
-ti-yah-gi-ya-ho-la; deserted December 27, 1862.”
(It is hoped that in the heat of action, these officers did not stand upon their dignity and insist upon being addressed by their full names.)
Second Indian Guards:--“Captain Spring Frog
; mustered out May 31, 1865.”
Second Indian Guards:---“Captain Eli Tadpole
; died of disease April 15, 1863.”
Second Indian Guards:--“Lieutenant Andrew Rabbit
; resigned July 12, 1863.”
Second Indian Guards:--“Captain Jim Ned
; missing since August 31, 1862.”
Second Indian Guards:--“Captain Dirt
throw Tiger; resigned August 1, 1863.”
Third Indian Guards:--“Captain Daniel Grasshopper
; died October 3, 1862, of wounds received in action.”
Third Indian Guards:--“Lieutenant Jumper Duck
; died of disease, October 20, 1863.”
Third Indian Guards:--“Lieutenant Redbird Sixkiller
; mustered out May 31, 1865.”
The muster-rolls are provided with a column in which is entered the age of each recruit.
From the figures in this column it appears that the mean age of all the soldiers was 25 years. When classed by ages, the largest class is that of 18 years, from which the classes decrease regularly to that of 45 years, beyond which age no enlistment was received.
Of 1,012,273 recorded ages taken from the rolls, there were 133,475 at 18 years; 90,215 at 19 years, and so on. The number at 25 years of age was 46,626; and, at 44 years, 16,070.11
The muster-rolls also state the nativities of the men; from which it appears that, in round numbers, out of 2,000,000 men, three-fourths were native Americans
Of the 500,000 soldiers of foreign birth, Germany
furnished 175,000; Ireland
, 150,000; England
, 50,000; British America, 50,000; other countries, 75,000.
The average height of the American
soldiers, as shown by the records of the recruiting officers, was 5 feet 8 1/4 inches. The men from Maine
, were slightly above this figure.
The West Virginians
averaged 5 feet 9 inches in height.
The general average would have been greater had it not included the measurements of recruits from 17 to 20 years of age, who evidently had not attained their full stature when their measurement was recorded.
Out of about 1,00,000 recorded heights of soldiers there were 3,613 who were over 6 feet 3 inches, and among them were some who were over 7 feet.12
By selecting from the whole Army, there could have been formed regiments and brigades of tall men which would have surpassed the famous giant-guards of Frederick
But tall men proved to be poor material for a long, toilsome campaign.
When, after a hard, forced march, the captain looked over his company at nightfall to see how many men he had with him, the “ponies” who trudged along at the tail of the company were generally all there; it was the head end of the company that was thinned out.
The records of the weights of the soldiers are incomplete; but, such as they are, they indicate that the average weight was 143 1/2 pounds.
The descriptive lists show also the color of hair, from which it appears that 13 per cent. of the soldiers had black hair; 25 per cent. had dark hair; 30 per cent., brown hair; 24 per cent., light; 4 per cent., sandy; 3 per cent., red; and 1 per cent., gray hair.
Also, that as to color of their eyes, 45 per cent. were blue; 24 per cent. were gray; 13 per cent. were hazel; 10 per cent were dark; and 8 per cent were black.
Also, that in complexion, 60 per cent. were light; 33 per cent. were dark; and 7 per cent. were medium.
From statements as to occupation, it appears that 48 per cent. were farmers; 24 per cent. were mechanics; 16 per cent. were laborers; 5 per cent. were in commercial pursuits; 3 per cent. were professional men; 4 per cent. were of miscellaneous vocations.