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Dear Ms. Fulwiler,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
The majority of Civil War pension files in the Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs (Record Group 15) are in the custody of the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1). There are also 3 record series (XC files) in Record Group 15 at the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL) that include claims files relating to Civil War Veterans. These records were transferred to the National Archives in 1952 and 1955 from the VA. Please email both RDT1 at Archives1reference@nara.gov and RL-SL at firstname.lastname@example.org with full details about the file you are seeking.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1 and RL-SL. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
Civil War pension files may be in the custody of the Department of Veterans Affairs if they still were active in 1955 when the inactive files were transferred to the National Archives. If both RDT1 and RL-SL inform you that they do not have the file, please file a FOIA requested with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their FOIA website is https://www.va.gov/foia/. All questions regarding VA’s FOIA procedures and fees may be emailed to VACOFOIAService@va.gov.
Some Civil War pension indexes are available through online genealogy websites such as Fold3, Ancestry, and FamilySearch. If you locate an index card for the person you are researching, we suggest submitting it with your reference request to RDT1 and RL-SL. Accessing these index cards via Ancestry and Fold3 may require paid subscriptions. Some libraries offer free access to Ancestry and/or Fold3 to their patrons. FamilySearch can be used with a free account.
Pension files in NARA and VA custody only relate to pension for service to the United States (ie Federal, or Union service). No federal pensions were offered to those that served in Confederate forces. See Confederate Pension Records for information about state agencies with records relating to Confederate pensions.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!