Military Records are a very good resource to gather information on your family. In our family we have many Enlistment Records, War records etc. These have all been used to document the family tree. As you will be interested to note: Many of these records misspell names, are misfiled, in rather dismal condition after all these years. Working along side other genealogist you learn to use *wild cards, soundex, and searches to reach obscure data. These records are then second referenced to support the information.
After the Civil War, there were so many widows and orphans, an attempt was made to provide for these families. Congress set up petitions for "pardons" and pensions. Congress made no promises, but encouraged families to petition for these pensions. These petitions are packed full of family history. This is a great find for genealogist. The trick is to get the index card number. Without the index card number, there is little hope to find your data. The families were encouraged to complete two petitions one for the federal government and one for the state government. After many years, Congress did pass law and pensions only the Union solidiers. Confederate solidiers were compensated by their own individual states only.
Following is a copy of the email I sent to Tenneessee. I was able to find index card number, by the index card number, they will be able to locate her pension records. Sometimes these pension records include pages and pages (I have heard of up to 80 pages) of information on the family, Maybe we will see samples of Eliza's handwriting. Sometimes it takes a long time for the Tenn officials to process the request, find the records, and send a copy. But these records will be included in the book I write about Eliza Jane set to publish in 2010.
Following a copy of my Email to request copy of her pension records.
I found a "close match" for my direct g-g-grandfather John William Hayley (other spellings include Haley, Hyley, Heley) who was married to Eliza Jane Mooring in 1850. Eliza Jane Mooring
Spouse: John W Hayley
Marriage: 1 Apr 1850 - Madison
I think he enlisted in the 9th regiment of Tenn originally and then was commissioned as a Captain, his regiment joined a regiment in Alabama. In this battle in Alabama,
Captain John William (Haley) Hayley was mortally wounded
I found what I believe is Eliza's Pension Application Index Card
Name: Eliza J. Haley
Soldier Name: J. S. Haley
State Served: TN
Application Type: Widow
Application Numbers: W3387
Application Location: Smith, TN
Note: The name Haley, Eliza J. appears on a Tennesse Confederate Application
Info: A photocopy of this pension application may be obtained from the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Please contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives for pricing and availability
Anything you can help me with will be greatly appreciated.
address: 350 Third Ave #205
Chula Vista, Calif 91910
AS you can see Hayley is misspelt, It indicates J.S. Haley etc. Because of these errors it would have been easy to conclude that this record does not apply. But I will send for the information, and "if" the data is available I will be able to review it for second resources to be able in fact declare this is a document of our family member.