Indian veterans of the Civil War: Files from the National Archives

The 1st Michigan Sharpshooters regiment of the Union Army during the Civil War had several hundred Indians serve between 1862 and 1865. Company K was all Indian except for the top officers. Other companies also had Indians. Most of them were from Michigan, some were from other states, and at least one was from Walpole Island in Canada.
John Shomin of Co K
Google for more information on this regiment here.
Many native families in Michigan and in other Great Lakes stqtes are descended from these veterans. Some of them know they have an ancestor from that regiment, but they don’t know his name. This is partly because of lost records, partly because families of those years were illiterate, partly because records have been destroyed, and partly because natives of that time would use several different names over the course of their lives.
There is a lot still to be discovered about this history. The National Archives maintains military service records and military pension records for Civil War veterans. These can be retrieved and examined for no charge by someone showing up in person at the archives in Washington DC. The same can be ordered by mail for charges starting at $75 and up – for each individual. Since there were over 200 Indians in Co. K alone, the cost to order all the records is rather high, to say the least.
The pension records in particular often have many details about the veteran, his family, his relationships, and his life story. Comrades, family and friends would also submit sworn statements to support claims for pensions, and these statements would go into the file. These affidavits often disclose details about the people submitting the documents. There is genealogical information and tribal history in some of these files, available nowhere else.
The Civil War is a popular topic for professional and amateur historians alike. Many researchers have already obtained some or all of these records. However, they very seldom share them with anyone else.
Some files have been obtained, and images of them are available on Microsoft OneDrive, free to anyone who cares to view them. Additional historic material is in some or all of these files.
The top level folder is here.
File for Albert Pisherbay, Co K is here.
File for Captain Edward Vonshoultz Andress is here.
File for Betois Awanakwad is here.
File for David George is here.
File for Benjamin Greensky is here.
File for Amable Ketchebatis is here.
File for Louis Genereau Jr. is here.
File for James Mashkaw is here.
File for William Mesenesaw is here.
File for Joseph Na-Baw-Na-Ya-Sang is here.
File for Peter South is here.
File for George Ashkabug is here. Clicking on this link will start downloading of a PDF containing his entire file.

  • More files will be posted to the “top level folder” as I get them.
    Please contact me if you have National Archives information on Indians from this regiment that you would like to share.

  • This entry was posted in Civil War, Genealogy. Bookmark the permalink.

    One Response to Indian veterans of the Civil War: Files from the National Archives

    1. The archivists at the National Archives limit on-site researchers to a 3-pack of pension files per request & researchers can make only a few requests per working day. The rough total of 125 veterans of Co. K means 40 packs need to be pulled in order to view all pension files. However the archivists will pull a much larger group of military service records — it is theoretically possible to pull all 125 Co. K vet service records simultaneously in order to copy them – a terrific amount of down-time will be saved that way. The service records tend to be less voluminous than the pension records.
      I hope that within a year or two, all the service and pension records of Indian veterans of the 1st Mich. S.S. will be copied, digitized and posted online for any researcher or family member to view.

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