Posted By:Marylou Benjamin
Subject:Did Mass keep their own Civil War enlistment records?
Post Date:September 06, 2013 at 12:49:11
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Forum:Massachusetts Genealogy Forum
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Hello. Does anyone know if MASS kept their own records of Civil War enlistments? I have seen a Civil War draft entry from Suffolk Co for my gg-gf Andrew Willard [born Denmark] who lived in Boston abt 1860-1865 but I am seeking the actual enlistment record.

Is my understanding correct that just because someone was listed on the draft does not necessarily mean they enlisted?

I know this was my ancestor on the draft because the address [Prescott St, Boston - in East Boston] is the address given on birth record for his daughter born Dec 25, 1863.

There was a Mass. resident by his name who was in the Navy and served as Actg. Ensign on the U.S. Schooner ORVETTA.

NARA did find his name on hand-written list of officers of the USS Orvetta dated Sept. 23, 1864 from acting Master Comdg Wm Fales at Navy Yard, Charleston.

NARA also sent me copy of a page from book "General Register of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, for one hundred years [1782-1882] by Thomas Holdup Steven Hamersly" This gives his info: Willard, Andrew. Acting Ensign, 20 July, 1864. Honorably discharged 6 August, 1865.


Willard, Andrew - born Sweden. Citizen Mass. Appointed Mass. Date July 20, 1864, Actg. Ensign. Served on ORVETTA. South Atlantic Squadron. Discharged Aug.6, 1865 as Actg. Ensign.

My ancestor was definitely born in Denmark. I have his Naturalization papers from Philadelphia, PA as well as copy of his Seaman's Protection Certificate he received the same day he became a citizen, in July 1860.

I can't help but think that someone made the mistake of putting his place of birth as Sweden instead of Denmark. On the Suffolk Co Civil War draft there is no Andrew Willard b. Sweden. My ancestor was at times a Sea Captain, sailor, ship's carpenter and mariner so he is a good fit for officer on the USS Orvetta.

I am trying to prove that this Navy Ensign was, in fact, my ancestor. All the clues point to this but I want concrete proof.

I do not find him on the 1890 Veterans Schedule [he was living in Brooklyn, NY then] Nor do I find a pension for him. My understanding is that not all who served during Civil War applied for pensions.

NARA told me they did not keep detailed NAVY service records [unlike the army] until 1882-ish. so I am hoping Mass. kept their own records.

If anyone has any knowledge or ideas on this, I'd be eternally grateful.

Mary Lou Benjamin

P.S. I also posted to the Suffolk Co, MA forum.