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District of Columbia in the Civil War

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Grand Review of the Union Armies, Washington, D.C., May 23 and May 24, 1865

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Many Union volunteer regiments and artillery batteries from throughout the North organized in D.C. Slavery was abolished in D.C. on April 16, 1862, eight months before Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.[1]. Freed slaves flocked to D.C., and many helped construct the fortresses around the city.

By 1865 the defenses of Washington covered both land and sea approaches. The capital's defenses deterred most attacks by the Confederate Army. One exception was the Battle of Fort Stevens on July 11–12, 1864.[2]

At the end of the war, a formal review was held to honor the victorious troops. Three of the leading Federal armies came to Washington to participate, the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the Tennessee, and the Army of Georgia. On May 23, 1865 the Army of the Potomac paraded through the city. The next day, the Army of the Tennessee and the Army of Georgia marched in a parade. A week after the celebrations, the two armies were disbanded, and many of the volunteer regiments and batteries were sent home to be mustered out.[3]

Military Units[edit | edit source]

  • 1st Regiment, District of Columbia Cavalry
    Organized 4 Companies at Washington, D.C., June to December, 1863 and 8 Companies at Augusta, Me., January to March, 1864.
    7 companies transferred to 1st Maine Cavalry August 27, 1864. The rest had duty in the Department of Virginia until October and mustered out October 26, 1865.

Records and Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemetery lists of Civil War soldiers buried in the District of Columbia are in:

  • Sluby, Paul E., comp. Civil War Cemeteries of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Area. Washington, D.C.: Columbian Harmony Society, 1982. (FHL book 975.3 V3s.) Other libraries with this book.
  • United States, Quartermaster's Department, Roll of honor: Names of Soldiers Who Died in Defense of the American Union, Interred in the National Cemeteries at Washington, D.C. from August 3, 1861 to June 30, 1865. Washington, D.C.: Government Print Office, 1869. (FHL film 1311589.) Other libraries with this book. Includes Arlington National Cemetery.

Service Records[edit | edit source]

An index to service records of the District of Columbia Union Army volunteers is at the Family History Library (FHL films 881964-66).

The compiled service records of District of Columbia soldiers have not been microfilmed and are only available from the National Archives. For more information see Union Service Records.

Pension Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War Pension Index Cards

An Index to Pension Applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861-1917 is available on FamilySearch. Each card gives the soldier’s name, application and certificate numbers, state of enlistment, and might include rank and death information. The majority of the records are of Civil War veterans, but the collection also includes records for veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Indian Wars, and World War I. For more information see Union Pension Records.

Civil War Battle[edit | edit source]

The following Civil War battle was fought in the District of Columbia:

July 11-12, 1864 = Fort Stevens, also known as Washington[5]

Map showing Civil War battles in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)[edit | edit source]

Grand Army of the Republic founded in 1866 - 1956, was the largest veteran’s organization in the country after the Civil War. It was a fraternal organization members were veterans of the Union Army, US Navy, Marines and Revenue Cutler Service who served in the American Civil War. The group supported voting rights for black veterans, and lobbied the U.S. Congress to establish veterans' pensions. In 1890 the membership was 490,000.

In 1888 there were ------ posts and ------ members in the of District of Columbia

GAR Posts in the District of Columbia

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War[edit | edit source]

With the death of the last member of the Grand Army of the Republic the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was formed.

Confederate Prisoners of War[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. District of Columbia. Office of the Secretary. History of DC Emancipation,,a,1207,q,608975.asp (accessed 31 December 2010).
  2. Wikipedia. Washington, D.C. in the American Civil War.,_D.C._in_the_American_Civil_War, (accessed 31 December 2010).
  3. Wikipedia. Washington, D.C. in the American Civil War.,_D.C._in_the_American_Civil_War, (accessed 31 December 2010).
  4. David F. Riggs, 7th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1982). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 3.
  5. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 26 June 2012).