As part of the 1890 Federal Census, enumerators were charged with identifying all surviving veterans and widows of the United States (Union) who served during the Civil War. These veterans were listed on a separate census schedule, along with information on their service during the War. For many states, the 1890 Special Census is the only surviving records from the 1890 census, since most of the regular 1890 Census ("Schedule 1") was destroyed in a fire in 1921. Unfortunately, the Special Schedule included no information on age, birthplace, or family - instead, enumerators recorded the house number and family number from the 1890 regular census.

The Special Census for Cowlitz Co., Washington was transcribed from National Archives Microfilm Series M123, Roll 108, Enumeration Districts 16, 17, and 18. Several veterans from Clark Co., Washington, Lewis Co., Washington and Columbia Co., Oregon were also listed among the Cowlitz Co. veterans, and are included here. A total of 168 persons were enumerated (157 veterans and 11 widows).

Census Transcriptions

Instructions to Enumerators

The following instructions to census enumerators was copied from the last page of the census schedule:

"NOTE.--The provision of the act of March 1, 1889, under which this special enumeration of survivors of the rebellion is made, reads as follows:

That said Superintendent shall, under the authority of the Secretary of the Interior, cause to be taken on a special schedule of inquiry, according to such form as he may prescribe, the names, organizations, and length of service of those who have served in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States in the war of the rebellion, and who are survivors at the time of said inquiry, and the widows of soldiers, sailors, or marines.

The entries concerning each survivor or widow should be carefully and accurately made, so that the printed reports may contain only thoroughly trustworthy information.

Spaces are provided on this special schedule for the entry of fifty names, or, more properly, terms of service. The spaces are numbered consecutively from 1 to 50, and cover the four pages comprised in each schedule. The inquiries made concerning each survivor or widow call for the repetition of the number of the house and family as returned on the general poplation schedule (No. 1), the name, rank, company, regiment or vessel, date of enlistment, date of discharge, and length of service (in years, months, and days) on the upper half of each page, and the post-office address, disability incurred, and general remarks on the lower half of each page. The column headed "Remarks" is intended to be used to cover any points not included in the foregoing inquiries, and which are necessary to a complete statement of a person's term of service in any organization."

Column Descriptions

  1. Line No.

  2. House No. (from Schedule No. 1)

  3. Family No. (from Schedule No. 1)

  4. Names of Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, and Widows

  5. Rank

  6. Company

  7. Name of Regiment or Vessel

  8. Date of Enlistment

  9. Date of Discharge

  10. Length of Service

  11. Post-Office Address

  12. Disability Incurred (Note: I found definitions for the some of the medical terms used)

  13. Remarks (these are the enumerator's remarks)

  14. Comments (researcher-provided comments and annotations)

Obtaining military records

The National Archives has records for most Civil War Union veterans, including service records and pension applications.