The Roll of the Dead


This over-400 page manuscript holds information on South Carolina soldiers who died fighting for the Confederacy, often containing names, home towns, regiments, and cause and place of death for the 12,000 soldiers listed.

This volume contains names compiled by Professor William J. Rivers between 1864 and 1868 under a resolution passed by the Secession Convention in 1862 to honor those who had fallen in defense of South Carolina. A Confederate widow was hired in the summer of 1870 by the Survivors' Association to copy Rivers' list into its present form. An appendix at the end of the volume contains names that Rivers had not been able to confirm. The manuscript fell into the possession of Edward McCrady of Charleston and eventually was stored in the vault of the South Carolina National Bank. In 1947, a bank official thinking it was a Confederate document turned it over to the National Archives. In 1994, staff of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History researched and documented the origins of the Roll of the Dead and persuaded the National Archives to return it to the state of South Carolina.

Patrick McCawley of the State Archives wrote an article for the South Carolina Historical Magazine (Issue 95 No. 1, January 1994) telling the story about finding the Rivers' book.

An article from the South Carolina State Newspaper (August 1994) "A Final Accounting List of S.C. Civil War Dead Returning Home" captures the interest the return of the Roll of the Dead piqued for South Carolinians.
Microfilm of the volume can be viewed in the South Carolina Archives and History Reference Room or purchased, microfilm titled: Records of the Confederate Historian.