Seeking file containing a letter RE: Removal of charge of desertion (Civil War) - Record group 94.1

In researching the Civil War military service of Simeon Felix Sears, I found this item:

General correspondence with U.S.Military Pension Office 

The indexed correspondence is not in his pension application file, which makes no mention of desertion and only notes that Michigan can find no record of him. I note this letter was dated 25 Oct 1890 vs his pension application which was filed 4 Oct 1890.  How could I obtain the correspondence related to his request for removal of the charge of desertion?

I obtained his pension application file.

His pension application includes a card 3-216, which under "other claims" lists No. 470915.

Included in the pension file materials is his His Soldier's Application 20 Sep 1890 in which he claims he had applied for a pension about 10 years prior.

I would like to find more information about his service, or lack thereof.



    Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!

    The record that you located on FamilySearch is from the Index to Document Files and Record Cards, 1889–1904 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office (Record Group 94).  This series indexes the series Document File, 1889-1904 and the series Record Cards, 1889-1904 in Record Group 94. These records are not available online. 

    We searched the Indexes to the Carded Records of Soldiers Who Served in Volunteer Organizations During the Civil War and the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) for Simeon Felix Sears.  We could not find a listing with the name “Simeon Sears” or any likely matches in Michigan units. However, we did locate a CWSS entry for Felix Sears in G Company, 19th Regiment, US Infantry (Regular Army).

    We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Enlistment Papers, 1798 - October 31, 1912 and Registers of Enlistments in the United States Army, 1798 - 1914 (M233) in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1762 - 1917 (Record Group 94) that include military service files of the Regular Army. 

    The Enlistment Registers have been digitized and are available on Fold3 as Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914; on Ancestry as U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914; and on FamilySearch as United States Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914. We located Felix Sears in the U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 on Ancestry, which says that he enlisted in G Company, 19th Infantry Regiment.  The Enlistment Papers have not been digitized, and are not available online.

    We also located a likely match in the 1890 Veterans Schedules of the U.S. Federal Census.  The following is the Ancestry transcription:  


    Simeon T Sears [looking at the original handwriting, we think this may be an F]







    Residence Date

    Jun 1890

    Residence Place

    South Canaan, Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA

    Enumeration District


    Enlistment Date

    Nov 1864

    Discharge Date

    May 1865

    Regiment or vessel

    19 USA I.



    Source Information 1890 Veterans Schedules of the U.S. Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

    Original data: Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M123, 118 rolls); Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives in Washington, D.C.

    Plus, we located Felix Sears in the U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934


    Felix Sears


    G 19 US Infantry

    Filing Date

    24 Dec 1897

    Filing Place

    Pennsylvania, USA

    Relation to Head


    Source Information

    National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

    Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288, 546 rolls.

    We suggest that you request the full pension application file which the above listing indexes and compare it with the one you already have to see if these may be the same person.

    All of the records listed above are in the custody of the National Archives in Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RR1R). For more information about your options for accessing these records, please contact RR1R When you contact them, we suggest that you link a copy of your original inquiry and our reply, so that they know what we already located.

    For those records available on Ancestry, if you do not have a subscription please check for access at your local library as many library systems subscribe to these sites, making them free for their patrons. Ancestry is also available for free at all National Archives locations.  Appointments are required to visit these locations. Please see the websites of individual locations for details. 

    Finally, we located the following information at Find-A-Grave which may be useful: 

    We hope this assists you with your research! 


    Textual Reference Archives II Branch (RR2RA)


  • Thank you Textual Branch Archivist!

    I have the full pension file.

    An Archives Specialist at A1 Reference Branch informs me that the Correspondence Index Card referred to RG 94 Entry 501 Document File of the Record and Pension Office, file #257549 but the file wasn't found.  He checked the RG 94 Entry 502, containing summaries of correspondence - it appears that the missing correspondence was a routine response about Michigan not finding Mr. Sears' service records.

    Apparently the entry in the 1890 Veteran census showing US 19th Infantry instead of MI 19th Infantry is a mistake.

    I had looked into the Felix Sears who served in G US 19th Infantry.  His enlistment papers indicate a younger man born in Canada. 

    I appreciate the Archives and the service that the knowledgable Archives staff provides. 

  • I deleted my incorrect reply. Sorry about that. Trying again with with the correct image.  This is the 1890 veteran census mentioned by Archives II.

  • "His enlistment papers indicate a younger man born in Canada. "

    I wouldn't put a lot of stock in that being entirely accurate.  Not like anyone was checking birth certificates when people joined the military. It wouldn't be the first time I've seen Civil War enlistment information being wrong.  I've even seen people enlist under entirely fictitious aliases.  

    I'd suggest requesting the pension file associated with this index card.  The fact that both are filed from Pennsylvania, and the fact that no one in Michigan heard of Simeon Felix Sears (and NARA can't find a service record for him), suggests that the similarity between Simeon Felix Sears who filed for G Company, 19th Michigan and Felix Sears for filed for G Company, 19th US is more than a coincidence.  

  • Another thing to consider:  Felix Sears of the 19th US Infantry is listed in the Regimental Returns as having deserted.   

  • Excellent! I will order the pension file. 

    What's crazy is that the various Army documents for Felix Sears give different Companies - Register of Enlistments (duplicate) and one of the Pension Index Cards lists Co. G, the 1865 Regimental Return lists Co. D - deserted 2/25/65, Register of Enlistments lists Co. I - deserted 2/25/65, and the Pension Index Card on Fold3 lists Co. C. 

    Thanks so much!

  • Ah - pay dirt!  This file was full of genealogical details that show the applicant is the same in pension applications from Simeon F. Sears 969,711 for service in the 19th MI Inf, Co. G. and Felix Sears 1202845 for service in the 19th US Inf, Co. G.  Also included - previously unknown locations for the family, wives maiden names and a previously unknown child.

    Thanks for encouraging (prodding) me.