The civil war produced a lot of records of great value for the family historian and genealogist. The civil war service records do not get as much focus for genealogy as the pension records. However, the family historian should not overlook the potential hidden genealogy nuggets within these records.
Edward A Banks enlisted in the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery. He was seventeen at the time of his enlistment. Below is a note from his grandfather and guardian which gave him permission to enlist in the Army of the United States. His twin brother who enlisted just days later did not have the same type of handwritten note from his grandfather.
If your ancestor ended up in a hospital for some reason or another, a record should exist within the service records. With this information you would be able to exclude some battlles your ancestor might have fought in. Here we find out that on May 23, 1865 Edward A Banks was admitted to the Douglas General Hospital in Washington DC.
If you like collecting signatures of your ancestors, a good place to find one would be on your ancestors enlistment papers. Here Edwin A Banks of the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery signs his enlistment papers. He declares that he is eighteen years old. We know though that he is only seventeen as his twin brother needed his grandfathers permission to enlist.
A company descriptive roll will have a partial description of him. It will indicate how tall he was, the color of his hair and eyes and his complexion. Edwin A Banks was 5 feet 2 (1/4) inches tall with brown hair, dark eyes and a light complexion.
If your ancestor was unlucky enough to become a prisoner of war, you will find out some details. John D. Laurie of the 10th Connecticut Infantry was captured on Darbytown Rd in Virginia on October 13, 1864. He was paroled four days later on October 17 and admitted to a hospital on October 20.
And if your ancestor died during the civil war, details about his death and burial can be found. John D. Laurie died of his wounds on November 3, 1864. He was buried in Ash Grove Cemetery.
The service records and pension records can be ordered through NARA. However, you can hire a genealogist from the Washington DC area, save money and get the copies faster than you would by ordering them through NARA. I did this for my own civil war records and saved more the 50% of what I would of had to pay if I order them through NARA.