View Full Version : Company Books and Quartermaster Reports
01-19-2009, 10:47 PM
Ok here's the deal. About a month ago I was at the state archives looking up some compiled service records for a couple ancestors. I was asking the archivist about what else was in their possession (state level) but not on microfilm, and I brought up company books. He said that they were in Washington D.C. if they existed for the specific company in question, or any other company for that matter.
Now here's the question (which becomes more complex as I think about it): Are QM reports in a Company Book or are they completely different beasts in themselves? Would a company record what they were issued or would it just stay at a BN or REG level as far as numbers? I do understand that not everything was SOP all the time. I also understand that Confederate records are nightmares. (I also know that EVERYONE understands what I meant by that, but SOMEONE will either take it out of context or say "no actually they were quite detailed") One more thing, was it SOP to record names of W.I.A. or K.I.A. on a compiled list or just numbers respectively?
01-20-2009, 08:58 AM
I believe QM reports would have been at the batallion level, but company commanders were definitely responsible for anything issued to them, and would have been closely tracked in the company records. Men were tracked in the descriptive book, their uniforms in the clothing book, etc. There was also a company fund book, if they had one, a morning report book, sick book, ordeers book, and the lesser known record of target practice book. I'm probably forgetting a few.
I think that it is interesting to note that men were treated as government property as well when it came to reports. Form 21 was a "return of killed, wounded, or missing" men. I don't believe their names were listed on this form, but they WOULD be listed in the company records. You can't pay a dead soldier, so the company records had to be well kept. Also, the soldier's accounts had to be settled, and you couldn't do that without knowing who it was that managed to get himself killed.
Sorry if this got a bit long winded, but hopefully it helped.
01-20-2009, 09:11 AM
A long wind is good, it blows my ship a lot closer to the Isle of Knowledge. Ok that was sorta cheesy but all the same that was exactly what I was looking for.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you know all that from actually going to D.C. and researching. If I am right, how fruitful was your search? As we both know government workers aren't always the most motivated, so did you have a hard time finding these? Or are they easily located on microfilm?
HI-ah-the wonderful world of army paperwork- QM reports and requisitions would end up being sent to the Quartermaster Bureau for record keeping purpose, but sometime regimental officers kept their own copies in the regimental files. Sometimes they can be found inthe individual officers CSR, but not always. Otherwise, finding them can be difficult, since I understand many are in a basically uncatalogued file at the NARA. A lot of QM records were also destroyed in a fire at the Bureau sometime in the late 19th cent. The Tennessee State Archives does have the William Alonzo Wainwright papers(mf 1652). Wright was an assistant QM at the ST. Louis Depot and later Chief Quartermaster for the Nashville and Knoxville depots, post war Texas and finally responsiable for handling surplus sales of CW equipment. Being a cautious man he kept a complete dup[licate set of books on everything that passed through his hands during that time. The official copies were destroyed in the fire mentioned above. IT's a hugh collection, numbering over 20,000 items but contains a complete record of everthing that came through the Nashville Depot-everything from source to destination, including packing and shipping cost-for most of the equipment supplied to the western theater armies.
Muster books should have been in your state archives- the government had them all sent in during the 1880's to make out rolls for pension purposes but returned them to the states afterwards. If the state Archive doesn't have them, check the state library or museum. Here in Tennessee the muster books are in the State Museum's hands instead of the Archives. From what I understand, the Federal Government did not retain copies except for regular army units.
01-20-2009, 10:26 AM
Naw... I found a lot of this on the internet. There was a really good post on this subject at the AC forum a year or so ago. It was about company clerks. My unit wasn't really much for the paperwork side of the hobby, so I stepped up and reproduced a lot of it myself. I also made up some reproduction currency and ended up doing a paymaster impression. My unit was using one-sided black and whites for pay-call, and going about the process all wrong. Company commanders handing out pay, just didn't sound right to me, so I started digging. LOTS of paperwork involved. I have all the forms that a paymaster of the era would have had now in my field desk, right down to the red tape. (Used to sell a lot of this stuff on Ebay)
01-20-2009, 03:50 PM
Take a stroll to the Yahoo group Scrivener's Mess. Anything you wanted to know about CW paperwork, you can probably find there.
A number of members there post here.
01-20-2009, 04:55 PM
I have often wondered where to find QM reports for regiments. I would love to know more about when and what units were issued. Especially since I look for ways to get more detailed in my impressions. I see this info out there but I have never been 100% sure where to get it myself. I have looked at the State achieves and while there is great info there I did not see anything on equipment issued.
So, where do you go or how do you go about getting that type of info? If someone does not mind sharing.
01-20-2009, 07:46 PM
Here in Tennessee the muster books are in the State Museum's hands instead of the Archives. From what I understand, the Federal Government did not retain copies except for regular army units.
Ok then the the guy sent me astray or I misunderstod him. Thanks for clearing that up.
01-21-2009, 08:47 AM
See the 2007 "School of the Clerk" for basic info.
Check out August Kautz's "The Company Clerk" for the advanced class.
Basic rule: EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY is accounted for. There is no Company Book; there are several books (see the attached cheat sheet).
All issues of property involve the exchange of invoices and receipts (different forms for different kinds of property). All accessions or transfers of soldiers are accompanied by paper, including descriptive lists or, in extremis, inventories of effects and final statements.
Companies report quarterly on ordnance and clothing, camp, and garrison equipage. Starting in 1862 the latter report becomes monthly.
But that's just the start.
The fact that all these records were kept does not mean that they still exist. Mindful of finite storage space, 19th century administrators distinguished between temporary and permanent records.
Much of the paper you'll find on the antiques market are officer's personal copies of forms and reports that were probably destroyed once accounts were processed in Washington (or Richmond).
In the National Archives I've found regimental letter and order books, company descriptive books, and morning reports for 1865. A friend of mine found partial ordnance records for the same regiment on microfilm there, and some other items at Carlisle.
But before you go looking, a glance at some of the sources will give you an idea of what exists. Good luck!
01-21-2009, 09:48 AM
Given your expertise in CW clerical accounting I was wondering when you you were going weigh in on this thread.
01-21-2009, 10:16 AM
A couple articles, from the National Archives, worth reading:
Michael P. Musick "The Little Regiment: Civil War Units and Commands," (http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1995/summer/little-regiment-1.html) Prologue, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer 1995)
Michael P. Musick "War in an Age of Wonders: Civil War Arms and Equipment," (http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1995/winter/civil-war-arms-and-equipment-1.html) Prologue, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Winter 1995)
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