Military Research

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (2011-2015), the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) is sending teams of archivists and conservators across the state of Tennessee to document and preserve Civil War-era materials. Thus far, the team has digitized thousands of original items that have rarely been viewed by the public.
This page is an introduction to the Tennessee Confederate pensions held by the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
This page is an introduction to the index of Confederate Civil War veterans who applied for residence in the Tennessee Confederate Soldiers' Home. The materials in this collection consist of veterans' applications to the home and two ledgers recorded by the home.
This page provides links to records, manuscripts, and lesson plans for those interested in Tennessee's involvement in World War II.
The Tennessee State Library and Archives has a variety of materials from the period of the Mexican War: letters, diaries, family papers, muster rolls, scrapbooks, maps, and period books. This page provides a brief look at some of these materials.
Online exhibit featuring portraits of President Abraham Lincoln.
This page provides a link to an index of the Tennessee African American ("Colored") Confederate pension applications. This index contains the following information: (1) applicant’s surname, (2) applicant’s first name, (3) county of residence at the time that he applied, (4) unit in which he served, and (5) pension application number. There is also a link to a page with additional information about this collection.
Alvin Cullum York (1887-1964) was one of the most decorated soldiers of the First World War. A recipient of the Medal of Honor and the French Legion of Honour, York is considered one of the greatest of Tennessee’s native sons. This collection includes selected items from the holdings of the Tennessee State Library and Archives relative to the life of Alvin C. York.
This online presentation features rare images of Jackson as a hero from his victories over the British and Creeks during the War of 1812, as well as political broadsides depicting him as a villain. Letters show his fiery temper and sense of honor that won him devoted friends and bitter enemies. Other documents reveal the ideology behind the removal of Native Americans from the Southeast and lesser known aspects of Jackson’s life such as family, land speculation, and plantation ownership. The 1820s through the 1840s have become known as the Age of Jackson. This collection provides insight into how and why an early Tennessean was accorded such an honor.
Online exhibit chronicling the political and military actions of Tennesseans in the War of 1812.
This index linked to this page contains a state-by-state listing of Civil War rosters and published roster indexes held by the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
This page is the introduction to a bibliography of published books and articles of unit histories of Tennessee Confederate and Tennessee Union units. The bibliography is divided into two sections: Confederate and Federal.
This page is a brief history of Tennessee's involvement in the War of 1812. It provides a timeline of the major battles and skirmishes.
During the Civil War, W. R. Cornelius and Company of Nashville had a contract to bury Union Army dead. A volume of these burial records was kept by the company during 1864-1866 and includes the Union soldiers, as well as hospital employees, black military laborers, citizens and occasionally a rebel soldier. Most entries in the volume include the individual's name, company, regiment, date of interment, cause of death, and hospital or other location from which the soldier came.
The Christopher D. Ammons collection documents his military service during two tours in Vietnam (1967-1970). The collection includes wartime photographs of Vietnam, letters from the front, military documents typical of the period, and souvenirs collected by Ammons from his time “in country.” The material will be of significance to researchers interested in the Vietnam War and its veterans, the experiences of soldiers in modern warfare, and/or the military aspects of United States political history during the 1960s and 1970s.
A collection of pamphlets and newspapers, which document the diverse perspectives of the Civil War Era (1840-1865). The service is provided by ProQuest and available only to Tennessee residents.
The images found in this section have been gathered from various manuscript collections and offer a glimpse at the wide variety of material available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives that may be of interest to those researching Civil War history and genealogy. These images illustrate the extensive record-keeping system at work during the Civil War and demonstrate the complex organizational structure needed to handle the massive accumulation of records.
When the Civil War erupted, the new medium of photography had only been in existence for a little over twenty years. The daguerreotype had emerged as the most common early photographic type, but each image was unique (a positive image rather than a negative) and proved to be a challenge to reproduce. Most of the Civil War photographers were accustomed to working with daguerreotypes; one scholar notes that “the roots of Civil War photography came out of the daguerreian era and coursed through the lives of the men who made the pictures” (Zeller 5).
The American Civil War that shattered families and tore the nation asunder has continued to capture the imagination of generations and to fascinate researchers. Tracing Civil War ancestors has been of particular interest to Tennesseans; therefore, it is hard to envision a time when this type of research wasn’t possible. This resource guide lists books, microfilm, and manuscript resources and represents some of the vast collection of materials that the Tennessee State Library and Archives has amassed which makes tracking Civil War soldiers and citizens possible.
A searchable collection of over 7,000 articles chronicling the Civil War in Tennessee from September 1, 1861 through September 30, 1865. This sourcebook aims at chronicling the military, economic, social and political history associated with the Civil War as it happened in Tennessee. The sources consulted were diaries, period newspapers, official Civil War records, diaries, ship deck logs, letters, and historical articles.
The “Civil War Visual Culture” unit of the Tennessee Virtual Archive showcases a wide variety of Civil War-related materials: sheet music covers, professionally designed lithographs, flags, hand-drawn letters, military drawings, and other images. These items represent some of the ways in which a tragic era in America’s history was experienced by contemporaries and interpreted by subsequent generations.
The items in this collection offer new perspectives into the lives of numerous non-combatants during the Civil War in Tennessee and throughout the southeast. The correspondence and primary writings touch on several themes relating to the home front, including the diverse roles of women, the relationship between occupying/invading forces and civilians, personal beliefs regarding secession and the war, and the effect of the war on African American Tennesseans. These sources can offer the public a lens into the lives of many Civil War non-combatant men and women, a subject of increasing importance in Civil War scholarship.
This page is part of an index to Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications. This index is arranged by the county where the individual applied for the pension.
Tennessee farm boy David Franklin Brock left behind his Van Buren County home and his sweetheart in 1952 and found himself a world away. Brock served as a combat engineer with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. An oral history and 120 images comprise this collection.
This page is an index to records on microfilm. It includes an introduction to the employment rolls and nonpayment rolls of slaves and free black workers involved in the construction of Fort Negley.