Official Records of the American Civil War

Official Records Of The American Civil War

Official Records of the American Civil War

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The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion or often more simply the Official Records or ORs, constitute the most extensive collection of primary sources of the history of the American Civil War. Cornell University lists the official title as, "The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies". They include selected first-hand accounts, orders, reports, maps, diagrams, and correspondence drawn from War and Navy Department records of both Confederate and Union governments.

Union and Confederate Armies

Collection of the records began in 1864; no special attention was paid to Confederate records until just after the capture of Richmond, Virginia, in 1865, when with the help of Confederate Gen. Samuel Cooper, Union Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck began the task of collecting and preserving the archives of the Confederacy. In 1866 a joint resolution of Congress authorized the compilation and publication under auspices of the War Department. Eventually, seventeen Secretaries of War were involved in the process. In 1877, Army Captain Robert N. Scott was appointed by the Secretary of War as director of the Publications Office, War Records. (Scott's name appears in each volume as the preparer, listed with the rank of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, 3rd U.S. Artillery.)

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