Confederate Pension Records

Where to Find Confederate Pension Records - State by State

Civil War pension records offer a rich source of details for anyone researching U.S. Civil War soldiers and their wives. Unlike Union pensions which were issued by the federal government and are held by the National Archives, Confederate pension records were issued by the states in which the veteran lived at the time of his application. Some states only offered pensions to maimed (lost a limb), wounded or indigent soldiers, while others eventually extended pension rights to veterans' widows as well. Some states did eventually open up pensions to all Confederate veterans for old age, etc. It wasn't uncommon for a Confederate veteran to move to a nearby state for better pension benefits.

In 1958, the U.S. government opened up federal pensions to surviving Confederate veterans and their widows even though they or their husbands had fought against the government. Given that this was almost 100 years after the start of the Civil War, more people took advantage of this mostly symbolic gesture than you might think; two Confederate veterans and more than one thousand Confederate widows were added to the federal Civil War pension rolls in 1958.1

Confederate pensions prior to 1958 were not awarded by the U.S. federal government and are not in the custody of the National Archives. Instead, Confederate pension records are typically found in the custody of the state archives or library. Many southern states have indexes to the Confederate pensions available online, and some (including North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Virginia) even have digitized copies of the full pension applications or other pension records. In most cases these records are nowhere near as in-depth or rich as federal Union pension records, but they still offer the opportunity for genealogical discoveries.

01
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Alabama

NC Confederate Pension for Caroline Everett, widow of Joseph Everett, Edgecombe County, NC
North Carolina State Archives


Alabama Department of Archives and History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130-0100
334-242-4363

Alabama began granting pensions in 1867 to Confederate veterans who had lost arms or legs. In 1886 Confederate pensions were also extended to veterans' widows. Alabama pension law was amended in 1891 to grant pensions to indigent veterans or their widows. Alabama Confederate pension records are not yet available online from the state archives, but Ancestry.com (subscription) has a database of Alabama, Confederate Pension and Service Records, 1862-1947 which includes selected records such as applications and warrants. Use the browse feature to see what's available before searching.

Alabama Civil War Records Online:
Alabama Civil War Service Database  (free)

02
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Arkansas

Arkansas History Commission
Arkansas Civil War Records Online:
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04
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Georgia

Georgia Department of Archives and History
5800 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260 
(678) 364-3700

Applications for Confederate pensions were first accepted by the state of Georgia in 1870 for soldiers with artificial limbs. In 1879 the State began granting pensions to other disabled Confederate veterans or their widows who then resided in Georgia. By 1894 eligible disabilities which qualified for a Confederate pension had been expanded to include poverty and old age. 

Georgia Civil War Records Online:
Georgia Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960 (free)
George Confederate Pension Applications, Supplements (free)
Georgia Confederate Enlistment Oaths and Discharges, 1861-1864 (free)

05
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Kentucky


Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
Research Room
300 Coffee Tree Road
Frankfort, KY 40601
502-564-8300

Soldiers from Kentucky served in both the Union and Confederate armies. In 1912, Kentucky began granting pensions to Confederate veterans or their widows. These records are available on microfilm and are also digitized on the website of the Kentucky State Archives.

Kentucky Civil War Records Online:
Kentucky Confederate Pensions County Search - digital images (free)
Kentucky Confederate Pension Applications, 1912–1950 (free)
Kentucky Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers (free
Kentucky Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers (free)
Researching Your Civil War Ancestors (Kentucky)  (free)
Compiled Military Service Records of Confederate Soliders from Kentucky (subscription)

07
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Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Archives and History
08
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Missouri


Missouri State Archives
600 W. Main
P.O. Box 1747
Jefferson City, MO 65102
573-751-3280

As a border state, Missouri had units serving in both the Confederate and Union armies. In 1911 Missouri began granting pensions to indigent Confederate veterans; widows were not eligible. Missouri also had a home for disabled Confederate veterans. The State Archives does not have these records available online, but digital images can be browsed on FamilySearch.org (the top link below).

09
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North Carolina


North Carolina State Archives
109 East Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601-2807
919-733-7305

Mailing Address:
North Carolina State Archives
4614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4614

In 1867 North Carolina began granting pensions to Confederate veterans who were blinded or lost an arm or leg during their service. All other disabled indigent N.C. Confederate veterans or widows became eligible for Confederate pensions in 1885. Act of 1885 and 1891 pension applications are online in the MARS search feature of the North Carolina State Archives (many include links to digitized copies of the original documents). 

10
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Oklahoma


Oklahoma Department of Libraries
Archives and Records Management Divisions
200 Northeast 18th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
1-800-522-8116 ext. 209

Another border state, Oklahoma had soldiers serving in both the Union and Confederate service. Oklahoma began granting pensions to Confederate veterans or their widows in 1915. 

Oklahoma Civil War Records Online:
Index to Oklahoma Confederate Pension Records (free)

11
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South Carolina

South Carolina Department of Archives and History
Annual Report beginning in 1889. From 1919 to 1925, South Carolina granted pensions to Confederate veterans and widows regardless of financial need. Also available from the S.C. State Archives are Confederate Home applications and inmate records for veterans (1909-1957), and applications of wives, widows, sisters, and daughters (1925-1955). 
South Carolina Civil War Records Online:
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12
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Tennessee


Tennessee State Library and Archives
Public Service Division
403 Seventh Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37243-0312
Telephone: 615-741-2764

In 1891 Tennessee began granting pensions to indigent Confederate veterans, expanding access to their widows in 1905.

13
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Texas

Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Texas Civil War Records Online:
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