The July/August issue of Everton's Genealogical Helper includes an interesting article on the often neglected Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900.
Those looking for Civil War pension records are usually directed to the Civil War Pension Index. A search of this index is sometimes frustrated, though, by illegibility of the microfilmed cards.
A second index of the pension files may be helpful in some cases. The Organization Index is arranged by state, arm of the service (infantry, cavalry, artillery), and regiment, and then alphabetically by surname. Each card will show the veteran's name, rank, unit, the terms of his service, information on dependents, application and certificate numbers, and the state from which the application was filed. Some cards will include the veteran's death date.
The Organization Index includes veterans not only of the Civil War, but of the Indian wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and World War I.
To find which states and units are covered by each microfilm reel, see the Family History Library catalog (click on "View Film Notes"). Be sure to check the last reels listed for "miscellaneous" units.
Once you've identified your veteran, you can order his pension file (for service prior to 1913) online through the National Archives.