Oath of Allegiance in Virginia, 1862-1865
The Oath of Allegiance, also called a Loyalty Oath, was a document signed by persons during and after the Civil War to pledge loyalty and allegiance to the Union. Initially intended for employees of the Federal government and military personnel, the oath soon took several different forms and eventually extended to the state level. Employment and business ownership were then dependent on signed oaths.
The database is a list of approximately 1,200 persons, many of whom were residents of Alexandria, who signed the Oath of Allegiance. The first and second columns provide a surname and then the given name, respectively. Then there are three columns for the person’s age, noted as however many years, months and days had passed from the time of their birth to the date when they signed the oath. The next entry is the person’s residence, followed by occupation. When four dashes ( ---- ) appear in the database, no information was provided in that particular entry. When four pound signs ( #### ) appear, the original text is illegible.
The following text appears at the beginning of the microfilmed index: "A register of persons who have taken and subscribed to the ##### scribed by “an Ordinance for the Reorganization of the State Government ##### Wheeling, Virginia. June 19th 1861. and to the United States #####" and "County court register of persons who have taken the Oath of Allegiance May 1862-1865".
Note: This photograph is of the Alexandria Courthouse on the 300 block of North Columbus (date unknown). It was designed by architect Robert Mills in 1888 and demolished in 1903. The Alexandria Courthouse building is similar to the one in which the persons listed in this database signed the Oath of Allegiance. This photograph is displayed at the Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections.
Note: The microfilm from which this database was created is at the Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections.
Microfilm #548 Box 2018A Arlington County - County Clerk of the Circuit Court County Court Register of Persons who have taken the Oath of Allegiance May 1862-1865
Current, Richard N. ed. Encyclopedia of the Confederacy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. (VA REF 973.713 Enc Vols. 1-4)
Hyman, Harold Melvin. Era of the Oath: Northern Loyalty Tests During the Civil War and Reconstruction. New York: Octagon Books, 1978. (VA REF 973.78 Hym)
Leech, Margaret. Reveille in Washington 1860-1865. New York: Harper, 1941. (VA REF 973.7 Lee)
Munden, Kenneth W. and Henry Putney Beers. Guide to Federal Archives Relating to the Civil War. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, 1962. (VA REF 016.9737 Mun)
Netherton, Ross. In the Path of History: Virginia Between the Rappahannock and the Potomac: An Historical Portrait. Falls Church, VA: Higher Education Publications, 2004. (VA REF 975.52 Net)
Waldenmaier, Nellie Protsman. Some of the Earliest Oaths of Allegiance to the United States of America. Privately printed, 1944 (VA REF 973.31 Wal)
Weitz, Mark A. "Preparing for the Prodigal Sons: The Development of the Union Desertion Policy During the Civil War." Civil War History: A Journal of the Middle Period Vol. XLV No. 2 (June 1999) 99-125. (Periodicals)