A good place to start your search for your Civil War ancestor is the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System created by the National Park Service.

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is a database containing information about the men who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. The system contains millions of names and is continuously being updated.

Other information on the site includes histories of Union and Confederate regiments, links to descriptions of significant battles, and selected lists of prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records.

The search page allows you to search by keyword, name, state, rank, function and by whether Union or Confederate. You can enter as little or as much information as you want.

If your search doesn’t return any names, don’t assume you ancestor didn’t serve. You may need to try different spellings. Or your ancestor’s name may not be in the database.

When I searched on the name “Poore” and selected “Confederate,” the database returned 79 names. These included Francis M. Poore and John F. Poore, the two oldest of Poore Boys In Gray, in the 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment.

Another result, “William P. Poore” looked as though it could be William B. Poore, the youngest of the three Poore brothers. The database shows that the name also could be “William P. Powe.”

Finding out which name was the correct one required additional research into the muster rolls of the 13th Mississippi at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. As it turned out there were several related men named Powe in the 13th Mississippi and none of the names was a misspelling of “Poore.” I would have to search for the information I wanted elsewhere.

Give the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System a try yourself. Let me know what you discover. Or if you have any problems or questions, leave a comment here and perhaps I or one of the readers can help you.

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