Details about life in Tennessee during the Civil War are emerging through a new project of the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA). Archivists and volunteers at TSLA have created an online database of records from provost marshals, who served as military police for the Union Army during the war.
The TSLA Union Provost Marshal Database will be of great benefit to genealogists, historians, and others who can learn fascinating details about what people’s lives were like during the Civil War. These records provide valuable information related to many Tennesseans - not only soldiers but also ordinary men and women caught in the turmoil of war. They include correspondence, oaths of allegiance, orders, passes, transportation permits, lists of prisoners, paroles, provost court papers, and claims for compensation for property used or destroyed by military forces.
These War Department records dating from 1861 to 1867 were originally microfilmed by the National Archives and Records Administration. Since 2011, TSLA staff members, with the help of volunteers Cinnamon Collins and Shirley Wilson, have been scanning documents that relate to Tennesseans during the war and entering those documents into the database with the goal of creating a fully searchable online database for the Tennessee portion of these records. Those documents are now available online at http://www.tnsos.net/TSLA/provost/index.php.
"This online database of provost marshal records is a terrific tool for genealogists and other researchers," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "Making this information available on the Internet is part of an ongoing effort by our office to make more resources readily available to our customers, the citizens of Tennessee."