Innovation Hub

Project: 20th Maine Compiled Military Service Records

Join the National Archives in digitizing Civil War records!

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Private Oshea Buzzell, Company F, 20th Maine Infantry Regiment

We're working on a project to scan the Compiled Military Service Records of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment. This Civil War regiment fought in dozens of engagements from 1862 to 1865, including the Battles of Shepherdstown, the Wilderness, and Appomattox Court House, and are known for the bayonet charge by which they defended Little Round Top at Gettysburg. The 20th Maine were also featured in the film Gettysburg and in the novel The Killer Angels

A Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) includes a card for every time a soldier’s name appears in a document such as a muster roll, hospital roll, or descriptive book. CMSRs can also include other papers such as casualty reports, substitute soldier agreements, or enlistment papers. Based on the information in a CMSR, researchers can get an idea of a soldier’s time in service and possibly other information like their place of birth or a personal description.

Digitizing these files will let us make them available online for everybody—and let us reduce handling of the original records. 

You can help us get these records online by visiting the Innovation Hub and scanning files. All you need is a National Archives researcher card. For groups of more than two people, please email ahead of time so we can reserve scanning stations for you. 

If you can’t make it to our downtown Washington, DC, location but still want to help others access these records, you can log in to the National Archives Catalog and tag or transcribe files that have already been scanned.


As of February 2020, about 340 of these files have been scanned. You can check them out in our catalog’s Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the American Civil War.