Unit records are available in the form of Monthly Reports, Morning Reports and Battery Returns.
Army regulations stated that officers of any unit in the Union Army would keep daily records of the activities of their unit. One report was called the Morning Report and included the names of any man coming or leaving, where the unit may have moved, camped or special details they were assigned. There were clearly some lapses in the following of these required regulations as there are days with no entries, sometimes several in a row. These are not missing records, just gaps where nothing was recorded. Another report was the Battery Returns. These more often recorded movements of the unit, how far and where they marched, and camped. These also have gaps.
Research has shown that these “daily” entries were not always made daily. The time when some members of the Second Minnesota were detailed to an Illinois unit is exceptionally vague. Later evidence shows that no daily records had been written by the unit for nearly two years! The Army was not happy with this lack of reporting and demanded the reports. To comply, the Illinois officers wrote two years of reports and turned them in as ordered. How accurate these remembered daily activities may be is questionable, but remain the only records available to modern day researchers. The daily entries contained in this compilation were transcribed as carefully as possible from the original hand written records in the National Archives in Washington DC and at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota. Illegible words are noted with a ?, but there is a great deal of room for interpretation of what some words may actually be since handwriting, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and spacing are all somewhat fluid from report writer to report writer.