What does a Research Report look like?

Research Objective

The purpose of this research is to discover the following information about Wiley Martin:

  • Learn Wiley Martin’s birth date and death date

  • Discover whether or not Wiley Martin was married and whether or not he had any children

  • Research whether or not Wiley was wounded during the war or taken captive at any point

  • The client would like to know details of Wiley’s Civil War service

  • Learn Wiley Martin’s occupation

Background Information

The client knows Wiley Martin served in the Civil War and that he applied for a soldier’s pension in Florida. As Mr. Martin is a distant relative, the client did not have any other information to share other than he may have been a minister.


The 18th Regiment of the Alabama Infantry was organized September 1861 in Auburn, Alabama. Company B, (Covington Hunters), was composed of men from Covington County, Alabama.[1]

The 18th Regiment organization was completed 1861 in Auburn, Alabama.  Recruits came from Coffee County, Pike County, Coosa County, Butler County, Jefferson County, Tuscaloosa County, Shelby County, Talladega County, and Covington County.  The infantry was initially attached to the Department of Alabama and West Florida and was moved to Tennessee in March 1862. The regiment actively fought at Shiloh through assignment to J.K. Jackson’s Brigade.  The regiment was then placed under the command of General Slaughter and General Cumming in Mobile. In April 1863 the regiment was attached to General Clayton and General Holtzclaw’s Brigade and fought from Chickamauga to Nashville with the Army of Tennessee. They participated in the defense of Spanish Fort after being returned to Mobile in January 1865. In January 1861 there were 858 men in the regiment; 20 men were killed and 80 wounded at Shiloh. The regiment suffered 209 casualties at Chattanooga. The surrender of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana included the 18thRegiment.  The field officers of the 18thRegiment of the Alabama Infantry included Colonel E.C. Bullock, Colonel James T. Holtzclaw, Colonel Eli S. Shorter, Colonel James Strawbridge, Lieutenant Colonel Peter F. Hunley, Lieutenant Colonel R.F. Inge, Major William M. Moxley, Major Shep. Ruffin, and Major Bryan M. Thomas.

“Death and Dying”

“The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans to death on an unprecedented scale. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with such devastating loss of human life, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own.


The Civil War revolutionized the American military's approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death, including the National Cemetery system.”[2]

Wiley F. Martin served in Company B, of the 18thAlabama Infantry of the Confederate States Army. He voluntarily enlisted 26 July 1861 in Andalusia, Covington County, Alabama with the rank of Private.  Wiley was given a ‘parole of honor’ on 10 May 1865 wherein he swore he would not “hereafter serve in the Armies of the Confederate States, or in any military capacity whatever, against the United States of America, or under aid to the enemies of the latter, until properly exchanged in such manner as shall be mutually approved by the respective authorities.”  Upon his release from service he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

When Private Martin was mustered (attendance taken) for the period of 30 November 1861 to 31 December 1861, he was serving as a nurse in the camp of Governor Moore.  For his next muster period from 31 December 1861 to 31 August 1862 he had been transferred to Captain Myers Sharp Shooters by the order of Brigadier General Jackson.  He was returned to his regiment December 1861 to serve as a nurse in the hospital.  On 1 September 1864, he had been captured near Jonesboro, Georgia but was ordered exchanged by Major General W.T. Sherman on the dates of 19 and 22 September 1864.  However, he was again captured at Spanish Fort, Alabama 8 April 1865.[3] After the capture, Lieutenant Martin was transferred from Ship Island (which by that time had fallen to the Union) and confined to New Orleans, Louisiana 30 April 1865.

Map of Spanish Fort, Alabama - Library of Congress

Map of Spanish Fort, Alabama - Library of Congress

The Battle of Shiloh took place 6 to 7 April 1862.  The purpose of the campaign was a Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers.  The forces involved in the campaign were the Army of Tennessee, the Army of Ohio, and the Army of Mississippi.  There were 23,746 casualties; the Union soldiers killed were 13,047 and the Confederate soldiers killed were 10,699.[4]

Wiley was labeled as Pensioner No. 8515 in his pension application dated 23 July 1909. In his pension application he stated his date of birth was 12 November 1841 and that he was born in Jasper County, Georgia.  He claimed to have been a resident, since 1 December 1890, of Bay County, Florida. He explained he had enlisted in the Confederate States Army at Auburn, Alabama (under the name W.F. Martin) 26 July 1861 in Company B of the 18thRegiment of Alabama.  He was honorably discharged at Camp Townsend, Mississippi on 6 May 1865 because of the end of war. He stated he served his entire enlistment in the same regiment.  He was captured at Spanish Fort, Alabama on 1 April 1865, was a prisoner at Ship Island, Mississippi, and paroled at Camp Townsend, Meridian, Mississippi.  He was a resident of Alabama from 15 November 1911 to 1 November 1914 as a Baptist Minister, on a temporary ministerial assignment, wherein he then returned to Florida.  He claimed he was a second lieutenant and a commissioned officer.  He stated he had $800 in real estate and personal property.  He also claimed to have received a wound on his left-hand thumb.  

It took several years for Wiley to be approved for a pension because there was a state law in Florida which demanded a continuous residency in the state for eight years.

There was a considerable amount of correspondence in Wiley’s pension application as he was denied a pension more than once.  He claimed to have been a resident of Florida for 18 years, and that he had only left for 2 years to fulfill a temporary call to Alabama as requested by his church. In a letter dated 3 September 1915 from Wiley he stated, “ I can make proof of my loyality to the confederate cause by several witnesses, Men who knew all through the struggle, for three years and ten months, without a charge against me, Was in charge of the pickett lines, at the fall of Spanish Fort.”  

The Reverend Wiley F. Martin felt he should have been able to qualify for a pension as he only left temporarily for two years at the request of his church.  In correspondence dated 15 September 1915 to the Honorable W.V. Knott, he stated, “if it requires a petition, and would assist me any atal, I can get nearly every leading Man in West Florida to sign one, for they all know me, as I have preached all over west Florida, and have many friends, in both South Alabama, and West Florida, and else where in Florida.”  In a letter written to the Honorable W.V. Knott, Wiley made reference to an application for himself being signed by county commissioners and asked for Governor Trammell to be involved in getting the pension for him. Pension claim 13382 dated 16 March 1910 was denied.  Wiley performed other work to support himself in addition to being a minister; he was a clerk and sometimes a collector.[5] 

After much letter writing and campaigning, with help from influential friends, Wiley was granted a Florida pension through a change in the law.[6]

Wiley Martin.png

The Reverend Wiley F. Martin

Millville Baptist Church

United States Federal Census documents were helpful to find information regarding families being researched; however, it was rarely known who provided the information to the census enumerator (taker).  The information could have been provided by a neighbour or anyone else who happened to be around.  Oft times, there were communication barriers between the enumerator and the person giving the information, due to language barriers and accents, which could lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings.  Therefore, census information could not always be used as a primary source.

 That being said, the 1900 United States Federal Census found Wiley living in Covington County, Alabama with his wife, Caroline Nancy (or Nancy Caroline) Martin.  At that point, Wiley and Caroline had been married for 35 years. Caroline had given birth to five children of which only three were living.  At the time of the census, there was one child enumerated as living in the home; a son, J. Mallie Martin, who was 15 years of age.  He was listed as having the occupation of a stenographer.[7]

The 1910 United States Federal Census found Wiley and his wife living in Walton County, Florida.  They were living in the home of their son, J.M. [J. Mallie] Martin and his wife, Kate, with J.M. and Kate’s three children.  Wiley was listed as a Baptist Preacher.  The senior Martin couple was noted to have been married for 45 years.

Also enumerated on the same census, living just a few doors down, was Laban Martin.  It was likely he was also a son of Wiley and Nancy Caroline; the following are probable reasons why he was their son:

  • He was born in Alabama (his likely brother, J.M., was also born in Alabama and Wiley lived in Alabama and enlisted in an Alabama regiment for the Civil War)

  • His father was noted to have been born in Alabama and his mother to have been born in Georgia (this information matched birth locations given by Wiley in military records and listed in other censuses)

  • He had a son named Wiley H. (likely named after his grandfather, Wiley F.)[8]

The last census that Wiley was located on was the 1920 United States Federal Census.  He was at the age of 78 and living in the house of his nephew, Jerry L. Tucker.  He was widowed and listed as a Minister of the Gospel.[9]

Locating birth records for Wiley and his wife, as well as their children, was not possible during this research session for the client.  The State of Alabama started to require individual counties to register the births of children, however most of the counties were either non-compliant or very slow to comply.  As a result, most births were not recorded.  Many of the birth records preceding 1881 were also either missing or destroyed making the probability of locating birth documents not likely.  In addition, the birth registers only listed the surname of the child.[10]

The researcher was unable to locate a death record for Wiley as the State of Florida death records from 1917 forward were closed to the general public.[11]


Wiley F. Martin served in the Civil War for the Confederate States Army in Company B of the 18thRegiment of Alabama.  He was a prisoner of war.  Wiley was honorably discharged at Camp Townsend, Meridian County, Mississippi on 6 May 1865.  He did receive a thumb injury during his military service.  Wiley was later awarded a military pension.

He was married to Nancy Caroline, or Caroline Nancy, for over 45 years.  Wiley’s wife gave birth to five children, but only three survived.

Wiley was a devout Baptist Minister. He also worked as a clerk and collector at other times throughout his life.

Future Research Suggestions

To learn the dates of birth and marriage information, the following records should be consulted:

  • Florida and Alabama church, cemetery and Bible records, FHL film 850402, Item 9

  • Baptist church records in Alabama, 1817-1969, FHL film 1426426

  • Baptist church records in Alabama, 1837-1969, FHL film 1426425

  • Baptist churches in Alabama, 1847-1969, FHL film 1418368

  • Primitive Baptist churches in Alabama, 1805-1935, FHL film 1409425 and 1409426

  • The client should order Wiley’s death certificate for additional information to research, the client will need to include a copy of a valid driver’s license in addition to a letter proving the relationship to Wiley: 


[1]18th Regiment, Alabama Infantry, database online, Ancestry(https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/18th_Regiment,_Alabama_Infantry: accessed 29 March 2019).

[2]18th Regiment, Alabama Infantry; database online, National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battle-units-detail.htm?battleUnitCode=CAL0018RI: accessed 29 March 2019).

[3]“Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Alabama,” database online fold3(https://www-fold3-com.byui.idm.oclc.org/image/10482593: accessed 27 March 2019). Martin, W F; Eighteenth Infantry, Civil War Confederate Army; citing NARA M311, National Archives Catalog ID 586957, Record Group 109. Document Number 2M2019

The Battle of Spanish Fort showed the Union forces capturing the Fort 8 April 1865 which was near the end of the Civil War.  It had initially started as a French trading post in 1712.  The Spanish built the fort in 1780. [http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-3730]

[4]Shiloh, “Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (1862),” database online National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/abpp/battles/tn003.htm: accessed 5 April 2019); CWSAC Battle Summaries, 6-7 April 1862, CWSAC Reference #TN003. Document Number 7M2019

[5] “Florida Confederate Veterans and Widows pension Applications, 1885-1955,” database with images, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/results: accessed 26 March 2019), WF Martin; citing Bay, Florida, United States, State Archive, Tallahassee; FHL microfilm 6829. Document Number 1M2019

[6]“Wiley F. Martin,” Sarasota County Times, 1 September 1921, database online Newspaper Archive (https://access-newspaperarchive-com.byui.idm.oclc.org/us/florida/sarasota/sarasota-county-times/1921/09-01/page-15/wiley-martin: accessed 6 April 2019), page 5, column 5. Document Number 10M2019

[7]1900 U.S. census, Covington County, Alabama, population schedule, Hughes District No. 9, page 13, enumeration district 0038, dwelling number 241, family 244, Wiley F. Martin; database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.ca/interactive/7602/4119978_00590?pid=33190382&backurl=https://search.ancestry.ca/cgi-bin/sse.dll: accessed 5 April 2019); citing NARA microfilm T623, FHL microfilm 1240011. Document Number 9M2019

[8]1910 U.S. census, Walton County, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 18 Laurel Hill Township, page 13B, enumeration district 115, family 53, J.M. Martin; database with images, American Ancestors(https://www.americanancestors.org/databases/united-states-1910-federal-census/image: accessed 6 April 2019) citing NARA microfilm 169. Document Number 11M2019

[9]1920 U.S. census, Escambia County, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 1 Pensacola, page 10A, enumeration district 32, dwelling number 185, family 197, Jerry L. Tucker; database with images Ancestry(https://www.ancestry.ca/interactive/6061/4295787-01130: accessed 5 April 2019); citing NARA microfilm T625_219.   Document Number 8M2019