John Gregg. Library of Congress photo.

John Gregg. Library of Congress photo.

In August 1863 John F. Poore enlisted for the second time in Confederate service. But for the longest time, I couldn’t understand why he enlisted in a Texas outfit, the 7th Texas Infantry.

A Confederate doctor had discharged John in July 1862 from Company H of the 37th Mississippi Infantry Regiment because of a severe illness. A year later he had recovered and enlisted again.

But why a Texas regiment?

At first I thought John may have moved to Texas after his discharge. After all he had numerous cousins named Hearne who moved to Texas in the 1850s to grow cotton on thousands of acres. But John didn’t turn up in any Texas records.

I eventually decided to research the history of the 7th Texas Infantry Regiment. Bingo!

After the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the 7th Texas located to a parole camp outside Enterprise, Mississippi. The camp was less than 20 miles from the Poore farmstead. Making his way to Enterprise, probably with other recruits, John joined up for the second time on August 28 as a member of Company K. Interestingly enough, John’s old unit, 37th Mississippi, also had been sent to the parole camp after Vicksburg.

Tracing the history of the regiment or other military organization of your Civil War ancestor can help you understand his movements during the war.

If you don’t know what regiments, brigades, divisions, and other military units are, there are a number of places on the web that can help. The Minnesota Historical Society offers easy-to-read and understand descriptions of Civil War military units. These mainly apply to Union organizations. Confederate units were similar, but there were some differences. You can find a comparison of the two sides on Organization of the Armies in the Civil War.

The Civil War Archive offers a list of books on the history of many regiments linked to a digitized copy of the book on Google books. These are complete books that are searchable and can be downloaded in pdf format. But not all states are included. For example, there is no section for Mississippi.

You also can search for regiments on the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System created by the National Park Service. The system provides a brief history of each regiment.

Although the online offerings are rather limited, you can find a list of holdings related to U.S. Civil War Regimental Histories in the Library of Congress.

Have you researched your Civil War ancestor’s military regiment?

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