Civil War Veterans Series

Investigator(s): Robert W. Fogel

This historical project was developed under the direction of Robert W. Fogel with data collected on the veterans of the Union Army in the period 1820-1940 by the Department of Economics at Brigham Young University and processed by the Center for Population Economics at the University of Chicago. The project was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. The goal of the project was to construct datasets suitable for longitudinal analyses of factors affecting the aging process. Lifetime military, medical, and socioeconomic data linked to other historical documents on a sample of white males mustered into the Union Army during the Civil War are used to: examine the influence of environmental and host factors prior to recruitment on the health performance and survival of recruits during military service, identify and show relationships between socioeconomic and biomedical conditions (including nutritional status) of veterans at early ages and mortality rates from diseases at middle and late ages, and study the effects of health and pensions on labor force participation rates of veterans at ages 65 and over. There are three principal datasets in this project. The largest, the "Military, Pension, and Medical Records," collected from military-related documents at the National Archives in Washington, DC, include both war-time records and applications made by veterans for pension support, and related detailed physical examinations completed by physicians, certifying the veterans' health and disability status. Information from these examinations was collected in the second major dataset, the "Surgeon's Certificates." The third major dataset, the "Census Records," contains information that is available in the U.S. Federal Censuses of 1850, 1860, 1900, and 1910, though not all veterans could be successfully linked to the Census documents. However, all individuals in the series can be linked across datasets by means of a unique identification number.