Thursday, December 15, 2005

Rosters in Regimental Histories

On Eric Whittenburg’s blog Rantings of a Civil War Historian today he talked about the tough decision he had regarding including roster in his upcoming regimental history on the 6th PA Calvary. While deciding not to publish a roster as part of the book he has decided to make a roster available on line. This post motivated me to look at my copy of the original regimental history of the First Maine Heavy Artillery, by Horace Shaw and Charles House. This account was written in 1903 and while I think the narrative is a little weak given what this regiment went through, the roster information is what makes this regimental history one of the best. Not only is there is a listing of members of the regiment by company with description on when they mustered, from where, age, promotions, transfers and whether they were wounded, killed, taken prisoner or died of disease. In addition to the regimental listing by company there are two additional sections 1) on death by disease or accident organized by company and 2) a listing of battle casualties by engagement broken out by company. If you a lucky enough to find an original regimental history of the First Maine Heavy Artillery buy it if not Clarence Woodcock has produced an electronic reproduction of the original regimental history which can be ordered at http://www.cwpublishing.com/1meha_more.html.

When I buy new regimental histories today in addition to looking at the bibliography and notes I do look over the roster. While lack of roster won't keep me from buying I am more apt to buy if there is one.

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