"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
18 March 2004

Confederates POWs become Galvanized Yankees

Between 1864 and 1868, the federal government offered Confederate Prisoners of War (POWs) an opportunity to be released from prison. Johnny Rebs could enlist in one of six regiments [the 1st through the 6th U.S. Volunteer Infantry (USVI)] and serve in the Western Frontier where they would not have to fight against their Southern comrades in arms.

About 6,000 men were recruited from prison camps in Maryland, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The 1st and 4th USVI were organized at Point Lookout, MD; the 2nd & 3rd USVI at Rock Island, IL; the 5th USVI at Alton and Camp Doulas, IL; and the 6th USVI at Camp Douglas, IL, Camp Morton, IN and Camp Chase, OH.

Historian Dee Brown in her book, "The Galvanized Yankees" states the term "Galvanized Yankee" was first used as a way to describe former Union soldiers who served in the Confederacy. When the Confederates now members of the U.S. Volunteers arrived on the western frontier, the phrase had come full circle and what began as a reference for Yankees-turned-Rebels eventually came to indicate Rebels-turned-Yankees.

At the time of their enlistment in the Union army, the name officially given to the former Confederates was United States Volunteers. This reflects the fact that the men came into the Union service at the federal, or national, level instead of at the state level, as was the case for the vast majority of soldiers both North and South. During the Civil War, the majority of regiments in were volunteer units recruited at the state level.

The USVI units were stationed in the upper Great Plains: 1st USVI in Minnesota & the Dakotas; 2nd USVI in Kansas; 3rd USVI in Nebraska & Colorado; 4th USVI in the Dakotas; and, the 5th & 6th USVI in Nebraska, Kansas & Colorado.

These men fought Indians, escorted supply trains and were guards for Union Pacific Railroad survey parties. The 6th USVI was even posted as far west as Camp Douglas, Utah.

The last of the USVI units was mustered out of service in Nov. 1866.

Suggested Reading: The Galvanized Yankees by Dee Brown (reprinted, Lincoln, NE, 1986) and Galvanized Yankees on the Upper Missouri: The Face of Loyalty by Michele Tucker Butts (Boulder, CO, 2002).

Microfilm at the National Archives (NARA): 1) "Compiled Service Records of Former Confederate Soldiers who Served in the 1st Through 6th U.S. Volunteer Infantry Regiments, 1864-1866" (Film ID M1017; Record Group RG094; 65 reels - LDS FHC Film # 1315687-751); and, 2) "Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From The State of Texas" (Film ID M402; 13 rolls). P

If you are interested in microfilm for another state, check out the NARA On-line Microfilm Catalog for these records at: http://www.archives.gov/publications/microfilm_catalogs/military/military_service_records_part07.html .

These records are a little known resource for those lost Confederate soldiers that might provide useful information if you take the time to search. Remember, even if you don't find your lost Confederate Vet, a no answer is still a good one!

Texas Land Grant Database

What is the Texas General Land Office Land Grant Database? It is on-line at: http://www.glo.state.tx.us/archives/landgrant.html and contains a listing of all original land grants that have been issued an abstract number by the Texas General Land Office.

This database does not contain information on the subsequent subdivision of this land, i.e., sale, subdivision, etc, those items are a matter of county record.

The easiest way to determine if someone has a land grant, is to simply type that person's name into the Original Grantee bar, then click the Search key. It is best to type the name using the following format: Smith, John Smith or John A Smith. P

It will be important to pay attention to spelling. The Land Grant Database has tools that will help you find similar names. For instance, a search for Smith will generate results for Nesmith and Smither as well.

I had a great deal of fun searching for many of my family surnames and added a considerable amount of information and it opened up some new possibilities for future research into Texas counties I would have never thought to look for my ancestors.


In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 24 Sept 2004 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604