Union Provost Marshals' File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians, 1861–1867; Microfilm publication M345, 300 rolls; NAID: 2133278. War Department Collection of Confederate Records, Record Group 109; The National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Documents in this database concern civilians who came in contact with the U.S. Army during and just following the Civil War. Documents include the following (amongst others):
- compensation and property claims
- reports on prisoners
- applications to ship goods
- requests for hearings
- statements of witnesses
- oaths of allegiance
- parole documents
- court findings and other papers
- draft notices
- land forfeitures
In the records you’ll find names, dates, and details surrounding the reason for the record’s creation, whether it’s a pass, a request for parole, or explanation of a land forfeiture.
Each document in this database relates to one civilian, and records are arranged alphabetically by the subject’s name. Documents relating to different people with the same name may be intermingled. The name of the subject is usually underscored on the back or in the body of the document.
These documents have been extracted from provost marshals’ files and U.S. Army territorial command records. NARA’s description of these records explains some of the rolls filled by provost marshals during the time when these documents were created:
“The provost marshals who served in territorial commands, armies, and Army corps were military police. They sought out and arrested deserters, Confederate spies, and civilians suspected of disloyalty; investigated the theft of Government property; controlled the passage of civilians in military zones and those using Government transportation; confined prisoners; and maintained records of paroles and oaths allegiance. Provost courts were established in some territorial commands to try cases involving civilian violators of military orders, the laws of war, and other offenses arising under the military jurisdiction. They also tried cases involving military personnel accused of civil crimes.”
You may come across cross reference slips that read “Provost Marshal File,” with names and information written on them. These names do not relate to these records.