Individuals can find free Civil War enlistment records using a few different methods, including requesting the records from the National Archives or through searching a site such as FamilySearch.org. The National Archives has military service and pension files that can be searched in person or requested via mail.
Those that are looking to obtain Civil War enlistment records via the National Archives can do so by visiting the main facility, which is located at 700 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, in Washington, D.C., as of May 2015, or by visiting a regional facility. However, only some records are available at regional facilities, and most records are on microfilm. Records can also be requested via mail by using the NATF Form 86 for each soldier that records are being requested for. Individuals have to request the NATF Form 86 directly from the National Archives.
FamilySearch also provides users with access to free Civil War enlistment records. Users can view a complete record of United States Civil War soldiers, or they can select specific states. Records available from FamilySearch include both Confederate and Union soldiers and are available from 1861 through 1865. Enlistment registers can also be accessed via service branches such as the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps and through the Confederate Navy.