Help! Civil War Vet's Book Needs To Find His Family.

In cleaning out my dad’s library last month I came across a copy of Casey’s Infantry Tactics, Vol II; by authority August 1862. Both the front and rear inside pages have fountain pen writing of a name and location dated June 1863, plus regiment, etc. While I do have mad Google-fu when it comes to the last 80 years or so, this one’s returning either too many matches for the name or no match for the regiment. The book isn’t in the greatest shape, but no pages of text are torn and if possible I’d like to get it to this man’s living family.
Can anyone lend me a hand? I have pics I can link to if so.

Have you tried any local (?) Daughters of the Confederacy groups? They are still around. Or maybe a historical society?

Sorry that I can’t help personally, but you might try a genealogist. A while back, I hired one to research my family history, and I was pretty impressed with what she found. I would think someone like that could take the information and find living descendants. They might charge more than you’re looking to pay, though.

Or you could contact The History Detectives! :slight_smile: Man, I haven’t seen that show in forever. My wife and I used to love it!

Whereabouts are you located?

A local genealogy group might take it on for giggles.

Do the Daughters of the Confederacy also help with Union regimental information? Or are you assuming that the book must have belonged to a member of the Confederate army? OP lives in Utah, for what that’s worth in the equation.

A historical society might be worth a try; or, living in Utah, the LDS archive in SLC also might be worth pursuing. There are also US census records, you might be able to find the person in 1860 or 1870’s census, especially if you have any clues about where the previous owner of the book lived.

You are right Silas Casey was with the north. Before the civil war all military personnel studied from the same books. It was found in Utah, the book could be from anywhere. The name of the person who signed the flyleaf could very well be of the CSA. We don’t know that info yet. I was just throwing out a unusual resource. The OP said he has Googled and gotten nowhere.

I have access to a subscription service for military records. If you can post/PM the name, unit, and location, (or the pics) I might be able to scare something up.

Have you tried contacting the Department of Veterans Affairs? Even if they can’t help you directly, they might be able to tell you of a group that could.

These are great suggestions, thank you! I’m in Utah, but my dad lived in NC and I’m relatively sure he got this book from my Florida-based grandfather’s estate. The soldier was w/ K Company, 17th Reg, St Augustine, FL and was almost certainly Confederate. I suspect his family had this book after he did, b/c while he wrote his first initial they penciled in his first name opposite it in a different hand.
The LDS church’s genealogy facility has a satellite up here near Ogden, where I live so that’s worth a shot; but I think my first order of business will be to ping the Daughters group for FLA.
I’m uploading the pics to Imgur right now and will share those links in my next post.

Here’s shots of the inside front and back covers; there’s no other writing that I could find anywhere else in the book and frankly, it doesn’t look to have been opened too much in the last 155 years.
I’ll share any info here I get from the other sources, and I’m grateful for the Dope having all these great and curious brains in one place.

The National Park Service has a database of Civil War soldiers and units here:

If the URL works, here’s a search I did for “porter, john h” filtered to the CSA:,+john+h&fq[]=Side%3A"Confederacy"

The word before his name – it looks like “Sergt” – I’m guessing he was a sergeant?

On the first page, there are two letters on the third line: A “C” and something that looks like maybe a “V” or an ampersand. Any guesses what that means?

I found a invalid pension application for Sgt. John H Porter , Co. K of the 17th Connecticut Infantry Regiment, filed 30 APR 1881. The 17th did fight in Florida

See where we read -
PORTER, John H. Residence: Bridgeport, enlisted Aug. 14, 1862. Reduced to ranks (sick) May 15,’63. Promoted Sergeant Sept. 1,’63. Mustered out with regiment July 19,’65.
Says that he was born 18 DEC 1828, died 8 MAR 1899, and was married to Elizabeth Summers. (Hair? What kind of name is that?)

If I get a little time later, I’ll see if I dig up anything else. They should be easy to find in the census.

Oooh! Oooh!

So, according to a badly written Wikipedia article, and backed up by this book, St. Augustine was in Union hands for pretty much the whole war. Seven Union regiments were stationed there, and it was used as a rest area for troops.

Your guy was probably a Union soldier.

Here’s some information from the Park Service on a Sgt. John H Porter, 17th Regiment, Connecticut Infantry. This shows him in Company H, but I would think soldiers could be assigned to various companies throughout their careers.

The NPS site has some information on the 17th Connecticut here. According to this, they **were **stationed in St. Augustine, but from April 1864 to June 1865, while your book is dated June 1863. So, maybe your guy was there on R&R in June 1863, maybe the date on the book was a later, incorrect addition, or maybe it’s not the same guy.

Hmmmm. This is fun!

ETA: ::shakes fist at Dobbs::

I am in awe of you folks! I thought the C A (?) at the end of the name stood for Confederate Army. I do NOT know my Civil War military information whatsoever.
Bayard, I’d looked him up on that first NPS link but there were so many Porters and none matched my guy’s info exactly (as I understood it).
Any idea what’s written on the inside back?

If this book was in your dad’s stuff, maybe you are this guy’s living family. :wink:

While it’s extremely unlikely, anything’s possible. I’m going to pop over to the FamilySearch Library this afternoon since it’s too hot to do much else. I’ll see if they have information on his living family members and I can go from there.

Well, it’s to hot for outdoor activities here, too. Let me get you started

I’m not having much luck finding family alive after about 1960 of so, but that’s not unusual. It’s easier to find old records.

See, you cannot tell if someone is U.S. or C.S.A. by where physical evidence is found.
Sweet research abilities Dobbs and Bayard!!
ETA that book may be valuable.

This link should go right to his info: If not, here it is:

Porter, John H.
17th Regiment, Connecticut Infantry
M535 ROLL 13

Not a lot to go on, Dobbs’ gravesite info probably gets you closer to his living descendants.

I ran into the same dead ends. But it looks like most of the family at least until then stayed in the same general area, around Bridgeport Connecticut. Nawth Chucka could maybe put an ad in the local Craigslist asking if anyone was a relative, or contact the local historical society.