Morning Report

Morning Report Form
The Civil War was also fought with pen and paper. The completing the morning report was an important part of the daily routine.
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Every morning each Civil War company was formed on its company street for Reveille roll call. The roll call was conducted by the company Orderly Sergeant or 1st Sergeant under the supervision of a company officer. Because the report was the basis for issuing rations and equipment, it was important to have a correct report to prevent embezzlement. Thus an officer was required for ensuring correct reports.


The 1st sergeant would prepare a "morning report" enumerating the men in the company. This report was signed by the 1st sergeant and company commander and turned in to the regimental adjutant at "First Sergeant's Call" (at 8 o'clock) before the morning drill.


From the company morning reports the adjutant and sergeant major would prepare a regimental report. This report, in turn, was sent to the brigade assistant adjutant general.


To call the company roll, the 1st sergeant relied on his orderly book which contained the names of all soldiers on the company roll. It was said by a Civil War veteran that any 1st sergeant who couldn't call his company roll in the dark from memory after a week of practice wasn't smart enough to wear the stripes and diamond. Remember, roll was called three times a day in a Civil War company. The orderly book listed sergeants, then corporals, then privates, each group in alphabetical order.


In the reenacting world, morning reports are submitted to enable battalion, brigade, division and army commanders to know the size of their organizations. Many re-acting 1st sergeants use morning reports to report only the men in camp or expected to arrive in camp that day. This is an abbreviated report and doesn't accomplish all the morning report was intended to accomplish.


When completing the Morning Report remember the phrase used by 1st sergeants at dress parade: "All Present or Accounted For."


The Morning Report is intended to show not only the number of men present, but those men present but not available for battle; and those men not present in camp. Thus each and every man on the company roll is either "present" or he is "accounted for" in the morning report.


The company is broken down into four major groups. The definition of these groups will help explain how to complete the morning report. The first group is the commissioned officers (wearing shoulder boards, these are the captain, 1st lieutenant and 2nd lieutenant). The second group is the noncommissioned officers (wearing chevrons) to include the corporals and sergeants. The third group is the musicians (fifers and drummers). The last group is the privates.


Starting from the top of the Morning Report:


  1. Complete the company designation and the regiment number and designation.
  2. Present/Absent - To distinguish between "Present" and "Absent"; remember that you will draw rations only for those men listed as "Present". The "Absent" men will get their rations somewhere else. It is interesting that there are fields to record the number of officers. Officers were usually counted and accounted for by the regimental adjutant. Their attendance or non-attendance was the subject and responsibility of the adjutant.
  • For Duty - Those men standing in ranks in front of you or in camp. Cooks would be added here even through they are at the cook fire.
  • Sick - Count those men who are sick but not at a hospital. These sick men are still living in the company street, but excused from duty due to their sickness. Men who complained of sickness announced this to the first sergeant at Reveille Roll Call and were noted on the Morning Report.
  • Sick Call was sounded after Reveille Roll Call. At Sick Call the men complaining of sickness were marched to the surgeon's tent for examination and treatment. The names of these men were entered in the regimental Sick Book. Someone (probably the adjutant or sergeant-major) had to reconcile the regimental sick book with the sick entries on the Morning Reports.
  • On Extra or Daily Duty - Count those men on guard duty, picket duty, fatigue duty or absent from roll call but expected to return by day's end.
  • In Arrest or Confinement - Those men confined to camp (either Company Street, or regimental guard house).
  • Total - sum of all of 2 a-d. List the officers in one field and all rank and file in the second field.


3. Absent

  • Detached service - men assigned to a HQ detail, recruiting detail, QM or Commissary trains. These men live elsewhere and not on the company street at the present time.
  • Furlough - those men who are on legitimate leave from camp. They had to show a signed furlough paper to leave camp.
  • Without Leave - any men not in camp or known to be detached; nobody knows where they are.


4. Present & Absent - the sum of Present and Absent fields.
    This number should equal the total number of men on the company roll.

  • Total - the arithmetic sum of all present and absent. This Total only includes the rank and file (privates, corporals and sergeants)
  • Aggregate - This field is derived by adding the number of officers to the Total (all privates, corporals and sergeants). This number is the number of all officers and soldiers in the company.
  • Aggregate Last Report - The aggregate number as reported on the previous day's morning report.

5. Alterations since last report

  • Joined by enlistment - new recruits.
  • Joined by transfer - transferred from another unit. Not to be confused with detached from another unit. A transferred man is permanently assigned to the company.
  • Joined from desertion - caught and returned to the company.
  • Resigned - only officers can resign.
  • Transferred - moved to another company and no longer on the company roll.
  • Died - confirmed dead.
  • Deserted - a soldier was considered a deserter if he wasn't in ranks for at least a day and no one knew his whereabouts. Some soldiers were carried as absent without leave for as long as 30 days before being declared a deserter. The discretion on this change in status seemed to belong to the 1st sergeant.

6. Signatures

  • Station - note the camp or battle re-enactment.
  • Date - date of report.
  • Signed by the 1st Sergeant and Commanding Officer - If the report is found to be incorrect, the officer bore the responsibility to the adjutant.

7. Copies: In the 3rd US Regular Infantry we follow the Army Regulations.                    However, in order to accomplish our organization duties as well as our  military
    duties, we make some adjustments to the regulations.

  • The Morning Report is completed in duplicate. One copy goes to the battalion adjutant. The second copy is kept by the 1st sergeant in the orderly book.
  • The second copy should have the names of all men present listed on the reverse side. This list is used to account for men at the conclusion of the reenactment battle. It is also used to reconcile the commissary and registration payment list.




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