Version 7

    As far as I am concerned, any time is the time to learn about the history of the Civil War.  Perhaps, no more poignant a time has existed in recent memory to scrutinize, closely, the lives and actions of our forerunners.  The current political climate demands that people understand this nation's complicated and sometimes dark history; and critical self-examination as a tool of reflection will only aid the nation's decision making process. The National Archives has a massive collection of Civil War records, including the world's largest collection of documents related to the Confederacy. That includes the entire extant inventory of what has been euphemistically termed the "Rebel Archives" or Record Group 109 – comprised of the records of the government of the Confederate States of America.  It also holds respectable portions, although fragmented, of the records of the state and regular lines of the Confederate military force.




    These records were described, quite competently, in NARA Preliminary Inventory 101, War Department Collection of Confederate Records, compiled by Elizabeth Bethel, and published in 1957.  The series, but not the descriptions of those series that are found in PI101, are described in NARA's catalog :




    Several of the records series, or entries, described in PI101 were microfilmed in the past, and have been digitized on sites like and  Some of these records are currently being digitized by the National Archives in a project spearheaded by NARA military archivists at A1, beginning with the massive Chapter/Volume series (described in PI101 on page 5 as Entry 3, Record Books of Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Offices of the Confederate Government).  They can be found in NARA's catalog (ARC ID 596501) :


    I have digitized a copy of PI101 (the 1981 reprint), which I think is true to the original and have posted links to it here (available as individual pages scanned as jpegs and a 321 pages long collated PDF document).  It has not been subject to OCR and is in a rather raw state.  I have posted them in a shared folder, because they are too large to post on Historyhub directly because of file-size restrictions. It is my hope that in posting digital copies of this tool, usually only available on-site at the Nat'l Archives facility in Washington, DC, it will assist in stimulating a renewed interest in exploring the original records.

    Please use this link to access both versions of PI101 :