|Like many of you, I love Civil War research, and Civil War research books. Did you ever stop to think when you pick up one of those endlessly quoted resources, "Who was this guy who wrote this?"
"A Compedium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer - Often simply referred to as "Dyer's," is quite probably one of the most heavily used research tools on the service record of Union units.
Born in Connecticut in 1849, Frederick Dyer enlisted in 1863 under the name Frederick Metzger because he was under age. He became a musician with Company "H" 7th Connecticut Infantry.
After the war he began compling the service records of all the Union units. It became such an obsession that in 1903 he moved away from his family to complete the work. The two volume reference work was published in 1909 and 1910, when he moved home with his family. There are quite a number of errors in the work, but it is still the best place to start when researching a unit history.
"Regimental Lossess in the American Civil War," by William F. Fox, is, as the title suggests, a study of the losses suffered duriing the Civil War. Because the nature of this work was dependant upon statistics and records, Confederate information is sorely lacking.
William Fox complied his statistics using individual muster rolls and the states adjutant general's records. His finished product was published in 1889.
Born in 1840, Fox enlisted in the 107th New York Infantry, as Captain of Company "Q." He was promoted to major and then Lt. Col. of that same unit. Fox was wounded at Antietam, Chancellorsville and yet a third time at Resaca, Georgia.
"Statistical Record of the Armies of the United States, by Frederick Phisterer.
This 1883 statistical study is often criticized as being unreliable, but, initially it had widespread raves.
Phisterer came to the United States in 1855 and almost immediately enlisted in the Regular Army of the United States. During the War, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, for his actions at Stones River, while he was a Lt. in the 18th U. S. Infantry. He completed his military career as a Captain.
"Numbers and Losses in the Civil War in America," by Thomas Livemore.
Livermore's 1901 statistical work was largely dependent upon the work Fox had done, and the "Official Records."
His work is often cited in regards to troop numbers.
Born in Illinois in 1844, Livermore enlisted as a private in the 1st New Hampshire Infantry, became a Lt. in the 5th New Hampshire, moving up to Captain and then Major. He then accepted the rank of Colonel of the 18th New Hampshire Infantry, a unit he later wrote a history of. Livermore died in 1918.
Next time you use one of these works, remember that the author was more than just an author.
Regards, Dave Gorski