Shotgun's Home of the American Civil War

OR CD-ROM (Guild Press) User Instructions


       You have purchased what is without question, the most powerful Civil War research tool available, The Guild Press OR CD-ROM. This is a small attempt to help some of you to better understand how to use it. This tutorial is developed on the assumption that you have just received the CD, have it installed and have no idea how to use it.
       When you first bring the program up you will see that it defaults to the small screen version. The first thing you want to do is enlarge. This sounds simple enough. However, what you are actually looking at is two screens in one, so you have to enlarge both of them. Do that like you would any other program. Go to the upper right hand corner and enlarge first one and then the other. Now you will see the screen is divided vertically with a gray line. There is a very small area on your left and a much larger area on your right. You are going to need to enlarge the left side. Do this by putting your mouse pointer on the gray vertical line, holding down the left mouse button and dragging the pointer to the right until you have the left side as large as you want it. Open it at least wide enough to read the box in the upper left corner. You will probably want to open it wider later. Now you are ready to do some serious research!


       Now that you have it where you can see it, lets talk a little about the top part of the screen. As you can see there is the normal File, Edit, View, Window, and help functions. Nothing new there. We will be using the edit function during this tutorial.
       The next line is Bookmarks/Search Sets, Word Pad, and Note Pad. The bookmark function works pretty much the same as your Internet bookmarks in that it will bookmark something you have selected to allow you to go back to it later if you wish without having to do the search all over again. The Word Pad and Note Pad function will just open these programs up for you from the CD. I much prefer to use my word processor rather than these. Anyway that is a personal choice and will be discussed later.
       Right below the line I just described you will see a box with the following in it:

(1)  Last Search (by volume) - by double clicking on this, the last search you made will appear in the box below. It will be listed by each volume that had a hit in it.

(2)  Last Search (flat list) - This will do the same thing as previously described only it will open the volumes for  you so you can readily see where in the volume the hit(s) occurred.

(3)  Army Official Records (128 vols.) - By double clicking on this, you will see that it will present AOR -- Series I (Battle reports), AOR -- Series II (Prisoner of war/state), AOR --Series III (Union non-battle reports), AOR -- Series IV, (Confederate non-battle reports) and S # 130 Index Vol. By clicking on each one of these it will break it down even further which I won't bother to go into here.

(4) Dyer's Compendium - By double clicking on this, you will see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 presented right below it. Now if you click on Parts 1, 2, or 3 it will open that respective part up in the box below.

(5)Fox's Regimental Losses - By double clicking on this, it will present all 16 chapters of the book in the window below.

(6)National Archive's Guide Index - By double clicking on this, it will present V1 -- Conspectus Sects, A-K, V2 -- Main Eastern Theater, V3 Lower Seaboard Theater, Gulf Approach 1861-63, V4 -- Main Western Theater except Gulf Approach, and V5 -- Trans-Miss., Pacific Coast Theaters. Clicking on one of these will open that volume up in the window below.

(7) Great Battles -- This will give access to all the ORs associated with First Bull Run, Shiloh, Seven Pines, Seven Days, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Stones River, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Atlanta, Nashville, and Five Forks. As you will see, all the ORs associated with these battles are grouped in one place. Very convenient when looking to see what all is available on a particular battle.

(8) User's Guide to the Official Records-- Double clicking on this will display the various chapters to the User's Guide in the box below.

       As you can readily see, the box that I have just described will give you complete access to the CD without going to the search engine. Using this is much like using the hard copy version of the documents. The long box below it will display information selected from the box just described or information found by the search engine. Now let's go on the heart of the OR CD, the Search Engine!
       First, let me describe what the search engine will do. It does nothing more or nothing less than search for a word or a string of words. This is generally known as "word string" search. It will not search for concepts (i.e. Who was the Confederate commander at 1st Bull Run?).. Although it is not sensitive to capitalization, it is very sensitive to "spelling". Be very sure you have the correct spelling when performing a search. What will be discussed will be the normal "Qry" search in lieu of the "Adv Qry" search. To use the "Adv Qry" search you have to already know what you are looking for.
       Now, if you look to the right of the box previously discussed you will see a thin narrow box (white) with the words Simple, Cmplx, Hilite, and Qry right below it. This is the area you will put the word(s) you are going to search for.
       First, before you put any words in the box, make sure you have "Simple" selected. By doing this you will automatically put " " around the word(s) you input. If this is not done you will tell the search engine to do a "Cmplx" search. When it does this it will search for each word in your string, independent of the other words. For instance, if you have "Cmplx" selected and input Robert E. Lee into the box, it will search for each occurrence of Robert, E., and Lee. Really takes a long time and yields some useless results.

NOTE: I should also take this opportunity to tell you that when you search, it will look in the entire CD, not just the OR portion. This is an outstanding feature that is not found on most other data CDs.

       Now here comes the difficult part, deciding how you are going to conduct your search. The only way I can describe this is to tell you that each search will be different but yet will have to follow two basic rules:

(1) Make sure you have spelled the word(s) correctly.

(2) The way you input the data will determine the results you get. For instance, 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry will yield different results than Fifty-Third Pennsylvania Infantry.


       Let's do a couple of examples to get you used to how the search engine will react.


       Suppose you wanted to see the OR for the 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment for the battle of Chancellorsville. Now there are several ways you could do this. Since Chancellorsville is one of the "great battles" listed, you could click on that, and then click on the AOR S# 39 (unless you are familiar with the series always choose the first one available), and then scroll down until you come to Chancellorsville Campaign.
       This brings up another little point. When searching for a battle, put the name in the search engine and then scroll down the results until you see the after battle reports. You won't be able to readily recognize them the first few times you try it but with practice it becomes fairly easy. They will have the name of battle/campaign with the date it started to the left and a # ? (? being the number of the report) to the right. Normally the first entry, without the # is the Summary of Principal Events with the after battle reports listed right below it. By the way, these reports are "clickable".
       Once you reach the clickable list of reports you could scroll down until you found the 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, click on it and that will be the OR for that regiment. This is one way to get to it.
       Another way is to put "Fifty Third Pennsylvania" in the search engine box.
       Another point, when searching for after battle reports for units always spell out the units designation. Never put it in numerically. Numbers will not get you to the report you are looking for.
       Anyway, if you put this in, and click on "Qry" (make sure you have "Simple" selected) you will see come up in the box on the left every where this unit is called by that name. However it will be by volume. It is a little time consuming to open each one up individually. So now go to box in the upper left corner (previously discussed) and double click on "Last Search (flat list)." This will open them up so you can see what's there without having to open each one individually. Now just scroll down to the first "The Chancellorsville Campaign" and double click on that. You will see that report #8 is the first occurrence of the 53rd at Chancellorsville. However, that may not be what you are looking for. Up next to the "search engine input window" you will see <<Hit and >>Hit. Clicking on >>Hit will step you down through the volume so you can see each occurrence. It really is that simple.

       INDIVIDUAL (Person) LOOK-UP

       To look up an OR written by a specific individual is basically the same as looking up a unit, with a couple of minor differences. First if you know how he signed his ORs it is a very simple operation. If for instance you are looking something by Robert E. Lee, chances are greater than zero that you may not find it. He signed his ORs R.E. Lee. Let's use the example of the battle of Gettysburg. You want to find the OR written by John Buford.. You could do as in the previous description and find "The Gettysburg Campaign", go to the list of reports, scroll down until you find his report and click on it. Or you could put John Buford (in the case of Buford he signed his reports "Jno Buford") in the search engine, and scroll down until you find his report under Gettysburg. What I am trying to emphasize here is to try different ways of putting his name in. If John Buford didn't work, try Jno Buford, or General J. Buford, or just Buford since it is a fairly uncommon name. Just because you don't get the result the first time try a different approach. You will soon get used how various people are identified.


       Now what most folks don't realize is that this search engine is capable of responding to phrases as well as just single words, as long as you have "Simple" selected. For instance if you wanted to see what the ORs had to say about the "Writ of Habeas Corpus" just put that term in the search engine. When you get the results in the window to the left, just use the >>Hit to jump down the list. You will find it is mentioned many many times. So if you have a quote, saying, sentence, etc. that you think may be in an OR, just put it in the search engine and check. Just be sure it is correct. Remember the thing is looking for the "exact" words.


       This CD has the same images in it as has the hard copy of the ORs (battlefield sketches mostly). However, you just have no way of knowing where or what OR they are in unless you stumble onto one. There is no way to just put a name in the search engine and have it look for a specific image. However, I have found a way to generally find what I am looking for. Let me briefly explain that procedure.
       Put the word "bitmap" in the CD's search engine window. Select Simple and then Qry. This will cause to the CD to search for the word "bitmap." Since this word appears above each image it will naturally list all of the volumes in which they are located on the left side of the page (this takes a minute or so since they are so many) so don't get impatient. Next, at the top left of the CD page,  click on "Last Search (Flat List)." This will open the volumes and list the ORs that the images are in. This way you can see what they pertain to. Once you pull up the OR with the image you will find the image is "clickable." If you put your mouse pointer on the image and click, this will bring in another screen with a larger version of the image on it. Now unlike the text (see next section on printing), you can print just this image from this screen. In the event you just want to move it to your word processor with the rest of the text, you will find it will copy over just like the text.


       While this CD has a print function, don't use it until you decide what you are going to use it for. You will use an awful lot of paper. It prints the subject. In other words it will print everything in the right window, top to bottom. There may be 10-20 ORs located there.  There are a couple of ways you can print, depending on what you are going to use it for.

Printing With Corrections Required: Once you have the OR you are looking for, copy and paste it to the Word Pad, Note Pad, or your word processor. I personally use my word processor. Now just in case you don't know how to copy/paste, it is a very simple process. Just take your mouse pointer and put it at the top of what you want to copy. Press and hold the left mouse button and drag the pointer down the page. You will see that it will high light the data as you go down. When you get to where you want to stop, release the mouse button. You will have the data you are ready to copy high lighted. Now go up to "Edit" and click on that. When the menu comes down, click on copy. Now go to your word processor (blank page) and go to "Edit" click on that, when the menu comes up click on "Paste." This will put the data that you had high lighted in the OR, into your word processor. One other little thing, when you are doing this, if you want the "header" data located at the top of the page, that is in a separate window and has to be copied and pasted separately. Once you have it in your word processor you can make any corrections required (i.e. spelling, taking out the page notifications, etc.).

Printing with no corrections required:  This way is recommended if you are going to just use the info for your personal files.  Just "high light" the area you want to print, go to "File" then click on print topic and print. This will print only the "high lighted" area as well as the "header" that goes with it.


       Now that you have a better understanding let's go back over some points and tips:

(1) The search engine uses a Word String search. Capitalization is not important but spelling is.

(2) Always use "Simple" search. This ties all the words you have requested together.

(3) Once you get close to the area you are looking for, use >>Hit to scroll down so you don't accidentally pass over the report you are seeking. One of the biggest mistakes a new user will make is to click on something in the left hand window and then look at the right side of the page and not finding what they want, go back to the left window and click. Doing this you can very easily pass over what you are looking for.

(4) Sometimes in the body of an OR you will see something like <ar8_408>. This is telling you where the page break was in the original OR. In other words what your are on is Army Records, Series 8, Page 408. Also there is a place just under the "search engine window" that tells you what page you are on.

(5) When looking at the results of a search (in the left hand window) always look at the date before opening a volume. If you are looking for something that occurred in '63 it makes no sense to even open a volume that has a date of '62 on it.

(6) Don't be afraid to try different searches. There has to be at least a dozen different "right" ways to find something on the CD.


Still can't find what you are looking for?
Part of the CivilWarTalk Network: - -
Copyright © 1997 - 2014,