Guide to Civil War Resources at the Missouri State Archives

Federal Records on Microfilm

The Missouri State Archives maintains a small collection of microfilmed federal records, available for research in the Reference Room.


Department of the Army: Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands

The Missouri State Archives maintains a small collection of microfilm regarding the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, commonly referred to as the Freedmen's Bureau. The Records of the Education Division of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands contain monthly and other school reports for Missouri from 1867 through 1870. The records primarily consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence of Reverend John W. Alvord, Inspector of Finances and Schools. Included as well are narrative reports from Alvord to the Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau. A scope and contents note offers information about the Bureau and the records contained in this series.

The Registers & Letters Received by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands contains letters received between 1865 and 1866. Included are registers, into which the following information was entered: name/office of correspondent, date of letter, place from which sent, date of receipt, and abstract of contents. Indexes to the register, both general name and general subject, are available, as well as many of the letters. Occasionally, enclosures such as reports, newspaper clippings, and publications are included.

Department of the Army: War Department Collection of Confederate Records, Union Provost Marshal's File

This series of records on microfilm contains records for individual civilians, arranged alphabetically on 400+ reels. The Provost Marshal's office was established in the War Department in March 1863. Its functions included arresting deserters, enlisting volunteers, enrolling men for the draft, and compiling statistics regarding recruits and casualties. The office was abolished in August 1866.

Department of Commerce: Bureau of the Census, Federal Census Schedules

Federal census schedules for Missouri are available for census years 1830 through 1880, enumerating persons in the state and their property. The records can be problematic, with misspellings and inaccurate information, but can also be a source of specific information about a person, a family, or a neighborhood. Each census schedule has a slightly different format. Census schedules illuminate the state of Missouri during a particular period, identifying trends in settlement, occupations, immigration, slaveholding, and more.