The Confederate Veteran Magazine was published from 1893-1932. Its pages told the stories of Confederate soldiers, memorialized the dead, provided histories of various Confederate units, and provided the reader with literature and poetry. A George G. Morgan article on "Why Southern Research is Different," published on Ancestry.com's web site, http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=9647, provides a glimpse into the history of this magazine:
Obituaries were often submitted by families or by UCV [United Confederate Veterans], SCV [Sons of the Confederacy] and UDC [United Daughters of the Confederacy] chapters for inclusion in the magazine. . . . The personal accounts provided by veterans and other writers of the time concerning battles, military strategies, living conditions, supplies and food, medical treatments, prisoner-of-war camps, and other topics breathe life into the research of your Confederate ancestors, their wives, and their families.Genealogists who have ancestors mentioned in obituaries found in the Confederate Veteran Magazine obituary column, "Last Roll Call," will not only read about their ancestors' military careers but also about their lives outside the military. In a June 1909 issue of the magazine, Captain Joseph L. Neel (1826-1909) is memorialized on page 54, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ga/topic/military/cv/cv1909jun.pdf:
Captain Joseph L Neel was born in Jefferson County, Ala., on September 22, 1826 and died at his home, in Cartersville, Ga., on March 9, 1909. He moved in early manhood to Georgia , where he resided almost continuously afterwards. [. . .] In politics Captain Neel was a Jeffersonian Democrat. He served his country for two terms in the State Legislature. The end came quietly. He had often expressed a wish to go as he did. 'He fell asleep.' In creed he was a Cumberland Presbyterian. He died in the hope of the dawn of a 'new day.' The funeral was largely attended.
Besides the anecdotal information about Captain Neel, the genealogist is provided with information of what regiment he was a member, the 40th Georgia Regiment, and the campaigns in which he participated: the Kentucky campaign, siege of Vicksburg, and the Atlanta campaign. Although some information is missing from this obituary such as the cemetery where he was buried and the names of family members, this obituary and others found in the Confederate Veteran Magazine provide a wonderful glimpse into the life of a Civil War ancestor.
There are several ways to access copies of the Confederate Veteran Magazine. An online index for the Confederate Veteran is available through the Library of Virginia, http://ajax.lva.lib.va.us/F/?func=file&file_name=find-b-clas65&local_base=CLAS65. This database contains personal names of Confederate soldiers mentioned in the magazine. The database allows you to search for the name of your ancestor and even bring up a list of people with the same last name. Once you select a name you are interested in, you can look at extracted information about that person that will allow you to confirm such things as birth and death dates and military service information. Because this is extracted information and may not be complete, it's always a good idea to seek out the original source.
The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah has the cumulative index for the Confederate Veteran Magazine which includes entries for persons, places, events, and keyword subjects. It also indexes the Confederate regiments featured in the magazine. The index is available for use only at the Library and is located on the library shelves at 973 B2 cva. The Library also has the actual magazines. These, too, are available for use only at the Library and cannot be borrowed through the Family History Centers. However, you can use a "Request for Photocopies" form to request a copy of the Index for your ancestor's last name or other pages you want out copied from the index.
Several web sites contain transcribed portions of the Magazine. A USGennet site, http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ga/topic/military/CivilWar/confvetmagazine.htm, contains transcriptions of the Magazine from 1909. These 1200 pages are available using Adobe Acrobat. You can search the magazine for a particular ancestor once you have opened the .pdf file. It also is interesting just to read the magazine to get a feel for the articles it contained. The USGennet is a web hosting site that provides space for historical and genealogical web sites.
Another USGennet site, http://www.tngenweb.org/civilwar/confvet/index.html, provides an index to names of soldiers whose obituaries were published in the Confederate Veteran Magazine. You can search this index by the first letter of the last name, and then you can click the name to see a transcript of the obituary. This like the other USGennet sites are volunteer-driven so they are not a complete listing of every obituary found in the magazine but they are a great place to start your search.
An index published on the web site for the St. Louis Public Library, http://www.slpl.lib.mo.us/libsrc/cvwar-cv.htm, provides a listing of all the military regiments featured in the Confederate Veteran Magazine. The index is divided into states and then regiment names. After each regiment is the volume and page number where the regiment is featured. Articles featuring these units may not be histories of the regiment per se, some are biographical sketches of a man in that regiment. This is a great, quick resource for finding the volume containing information about your ancestor's regiment. For those living near the St. Louis Public Library, the library does have copies of the Confederate Veteran Magazine in its periodical collection at the Central Library.
For those wanting to own copies of the Confederate Veteran Magazine there are several ways to obtain them. Broadfoot Publishing , www.broadfootpublishing.com, sells a 43-volume set containing a reprint of every issue of the magazine that was published. You can purchase the whole set for $2,000 or the 3 volume index for $300 plus shipping.
Eastern Digital Resources sells a "best of" CD for $35.00 that contains over 200 articles and 200 poems found in the Confederate Veteran Magazine. This web site provides information on what articles and poems are featured on the CD, http://www.researchonline.net/cvm/index.htm. It also provide an online index to the regiments featured on the CD.
You can purchase various reprints and actual copies of specific years or issues through a variety of online sources. Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble (bn.com), Abebooks.com, ebay.com, Alibris (alibris.com), and the Arsenal's Attic (http://www.sharpsburg-arsenal.com/Arsenal_s_Attic/arsenal_s_attic.html). If you are interested in the history of the Confederate Veteran Magazine you may want to check out the book, Edith D. Pope and her Nashville Friends: Guardians of the Lost Cause in the Confederate Veteran by John A Simpson. This book chronicles the history of the magazine and its original editor, Sumner A Cunningham through its succeeding editor, Edith Pope, and the role ofthe United Daughters of the Confederacy in the publishing of the Magazine.
The Confederate Veteran Magazine is a resource that will help you bring to life the story of your Civil War ancestor. Whether your ancestor is mentioned by name in the pages of the Magazine or their regiment's history is detailed, you will want to seek out this reference to help you expand the story of your ancestor's life.
Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.
*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.
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