If you’re new to genealogy or don’t do genealogy at all, you may not be familiar with a CMSR…Compiled Military Service Record.
I have a CMSR for two ancestors, one on my mom’s side (John Dunahoo) and one on my dad’s (Andrew Bothell). John’s packet is taking a while to look through because it is over 100 pages long. Andrew’s is much shorter at 15 pages. He was the husband of Susanna Krewson, the couple I wrote about last week.
According to the National Archives, “beginning in the 1890s, the War Department created the Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) to document the military service of Volunteer soldiers. Transcribed from original muster and pay rolls, regimental returns, descriptive books, hospital rolls, and other records, the CMSRs were intended to permit more rapid and efficient checking of military and medical records in connection with claims for pensions and other veterans’ benefits. The War Department initially created CMSRs for Union veterans of the Civil War and later expanded the records to include state Volunteers from other conflicts. As a result, the National Archives now holds CMSRs for Volunteer soldiers from the Revolutionary War through the Philippine Insurrection.”1
Andrew’s record shows he was a Corporal in Company H, 138th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Infantry. He enlisted on 16 August 1862 in Yardleyville, Bucks County, PA; mustered in on 26 August 1862 in Harrisburg, PA; and mustered out on 23 June 1865 near Washington, D.C.
Wikipedia has an enlightening article documenting the battles this regiment participated in during their years of service. This included the Battle of Cold Harbor, a fight that occurred near Mechanicsville, Virginia from 31 May to 12 June 1864. I drive past this exit every week on my travels around Richmond, Virginia, and can’t imagine the horrors he witnessed.
This particular battle was significant in Andrew Bothel’s life because it was where he was wounded.
On June 1st, 1864 Andrew was hit with a musket ball and on June 6th he was transferred from a field hospital to an Army hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. To see a map of where Andrew’s unit was positioned on that day, take a look at the image here.
Below is a hospital card detailing his battle wounds and vital information about his nearest relative…his wife Susanna Bothel who lived in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This card provides one more piece of evidence of their marriage.
His muster roll cards have him listed as a patient at a general hospital in Alexandria until January/February 1865 when he was admitted to Haddington Hospital in Philadelphia. According to the website Civil War-Era Historical Sites in Philadelphia, the hospital was housed in the Bull’s Head Tavern Building with about 200 beds. When he mustered out in June 1865 near Washington, D.C. he was owed $14.06. At that point, he faced a trip home of over 150 miles to Newtown to rejoin his wife and children.
The National Archives lists medical records among the wonderful collections they have. That is where I will look next to see if they have anything further on Andrew.
Genealogy Tip: Military records can be ordered from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. There is a fee, but the information you gain can far outweigh the cost.
1 National Archives (https://www.archives.gov/research/military/army/compiled-military-service-records: accessed 22 October 2022).
2 “Pennsylvania, U.S., Veterans Card Files, 1775-1916,” images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/62200/images/3182_1784?pId=187135: accessed 31 October 2022), card for Andrew Bothel, image 2403 of 45794; citing Pennsylvania National Guard Veteran’s Card Files, 1867-1921, Series Number 19.135, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
3 Compiled service record, Andrew Bothel, Cpl., Co. H, Reg’t 138th PA Infantry; Carded Records, Civil War; Record Group 94: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917; National Archives, Washington, D.C.