Civil War enlistment papers
Looking for your ancestor’s Civil War enlistment papers? These are kept at the National Archives, but they’d be in one of two record groups there.
If your ancestor was in a state regiment (as opposed to a US regiment), the enlistment papers would be included in their compiled military service records. Not every soldier has enlistment papers in their service records, but if they exist, that’s where they’d be. If your ancestor was in multiple regiments, be sure you have all of the service records for each regiment.
If your ancestor was in the regular army and not a state regiment, his enlistment papers would still be at the National Archives, but filed separately. (You can tell when a soldier is in the regular army by looking at the regiment name. If it’s a US regiment, they’re in the regular army. If it’s a state name, it’s state regiment.) Compiled military service records don’t exist for the regular army, so the enlistment papers got filed in a different collection.
Aside from being a great document to have in your collection, enlistment papers give basic information about the soldier. They typically have the birth place of the soldier, the age at enlistment, a physical description of the soldier, as well as their signature. If the soldier was under 18, they were supposed to have a parent sign off on their enlistment papers too.