United States Army
United States Army - Introduction[edit | edit source]
The United States Army was created when Congress created a permanent military under the Act of 29 September 1789. The Army has participated in every war the United States has entered.
- Continental Army. 3/2/1781-1783
- Army of the United States. 6/3/1784-9/4/1792
- Legion of the United States. 1791-1797
The following books discuss the Army’s history and development.
- Coffman, Edward M. The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784–1898. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. (FHL book 973 M2cof.)
- Ganoe, William A. The History of the United States Army. New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1942. (FHL book 973 M2gw.)
- Jacobs, James Ripley. The Beginning of the U.S. Army, 1783–1812. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.
- Weigley, Russel F. History of the United States Army. New York: Macmillan. 1967. (FHL book 973 M25we.)
- Richard M. Lytle. The Soldiers of America's First Army, 1791. Rowaman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2004.
Army Records[edit | edit source]
Service Records[edit | edit source]
Compiled service records were never created for all enlisted personnel, but enlistment papers and other records are available at the National Archives and elsewhere.
Army Enlistments, 1798-1914[edit | edit source]
- United States, Registers of Enlistments in the U. S. Army, 1798 - 1914 at FamilySearch - How to User this Collection; index and images
- U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 at Ancestry - index and images ($)
Digital Images of Microfilm
- Registers of enlistments in the United States Army, 1798-1914 on FamilySearch Catalog, digital copies of 81 microfilms; Registers from 1798 to 30 June 1821 are arranged in alphabetical order. Those for later years are arranged by the initial letter of the soldier’s surname, then chronologically by month and year of enlistment.
Information about the Records
The "Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914" (NARA M233) consists of U.S. Army registers that recorded the name and other information on soldiers that enlisted between 1798 and 1914.
The registers do not specifically indicate which wars a soldier may have served in. However, they often give information indicating where the soldier was stationed and when and how he was discharged as well as other information in the remarks section of the registers.
Content available in registers varies by year. Information that can generally be found includes:
Volunteer Army Service Records, 1784-1811[edit | edit source]
An act of Congress in 1784 reduced the standing army to 20 men. Since the Revolution was over by that time, military units were mainly needed to quell Indian raids and disturbances. State and local militias usually handled the local problems. Enlistment in the standing army was commonly for short periods of time, the average being about 90 days.
- Compiled service records of volunteer soldiers who served from 1784-1811 at FamilySearch Catalog
- Many records may no longer be available because of a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.
The service records may contain:
- Abstracts of payrolls
Abstracts of muster rolls
Provision and clothing receipts
Receipts for pay
Accounts for rations
- Abstracts of payrolls
Discharge Certificates[edit | edit source]
Discharge certificates cover some of the soldiers discharged from those serving from the Army. Not all soldiers are found in these records
- List of Company/Detachment Commanders/officers - gives name, rank, and regiment; Appendix II; incomplete
- List of Soldiers by Name - gives name, year, regiment, and company. -Appendix III; Incomplete
- More information from the National Archives.
Pension Records[edit | edit source]
Online Pension Indexes[edit | edit source]
- United States, War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files, 1812-1910 at FamilySearch - How to Use the Collection;
- War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 at Fold3.com - (Free collection)
- U.S., War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 at Ancestry.com ($)
Also available through Indiana Society of War of 1812 (Free) and at
Online Copies of Pension Records[edit | edit source]
A large portion of pension records are digitized and online:
- War of 1812 Pension Files at Fold3.com — images, incomplete (Free collection)
Order Copies from National Archives[edit | edit source]
Copies of military pension application files can be obtained three ways from the National Archives (NARA):
- Ordered online from NARA
- Ordered by mail using the NATF Form 86.
- Visiting the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. in person and request to see the original compiled military service records.
Pension files are available for Army enlisted men and officers. Check for evidence of a pension application in the previously described microfilm indexes for the War of 1812 through the Philippine Insurrection. Refer to the article of the specific war served, then look under the heading “Pension Records.”
Old War Pension Files[edit | edit source]
An index to pensions awarded to soldiers based on army service between 1783 and 1861, including the Indian wars, is listed below:
- The "Old War Index to Pension Files, 1815-1926" (NARA T316) includes pensioners of the U.S. Army. The records are available online. They relate mainly to pensions based on death or disability incurred in service between the years of 1816-1861 and cover regular army, navy and volunteer soldiers.
- White, Virgil D.Index to Old Wars Pension Files 1815–1926. 2 vols. Waynesboro, Tenn.: National Historical Publishing, 1987. (FHL book 973 M22wh.)
Historical Registers of the Army[edit | edit source]
- The "Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army..." by Francis B. Heitman lists Regular Army and volunteer officers from 1789 to 1903 in two volumes giving a brief history of the officers service and awards received. Casualties (including prisoners of war) from 1789 to 1902 are also listed as well as a chronological list of battles, actions, etc., in which troops of the Regular Army have participated. This book is the work of Francis B. Heitman, a private compiler, purchased and published under an act of Congress approved March 2, 1903.
- United States. Adjutant General's Office. Register of the Army of the United States|The Army register, of the United States|Army register|Official Army and Air Force register. Washington, D.C. : publisher not identified, 1802. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Adjutant General's Office,1860- FHL Digital images
African American Army Servicemen[edit | edit source]
- A helpful source for African-American soldiers is: Schubert, Frank N. On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier: Biographies of African Americans in the U.S. Army, 1866–1917. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1995. (FHL book 973 Sch78o.) Contains short biographical sketches listing rank and unit served with; few contain birth and other personal data. The source of the original information is cited.
- Records of United States Army Continental Commands, 1821-1920 NARA RG 393
- Carded Medical Records of the Regular Army, 1894 - 1912 RG 94 NAID 655639
Other Record Types
- Aircraft Accidents
- Bounty Land Warrants
- Casualty Records
- Prisoner of War Records
- Soldiers Home Records
- Unit Histories
Libraries, Archives, and Museums=[edit | edit source]
- U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC)
950 Soldiers Drive
Carlisle, PA 17013-5021
Information desk: (717) 245-3972
Hours: See their website. They have winter and summer hours
The Military History Institute is the United States Army's preeminent museum and research complex dedicated to educating and preserving the legacy of the men and women who have served their nation as soldiers. Its holdings include, books, clissified and unclassified government documents, photographs, letters, and diaries. Other offerings include exhibits as well as historical and educational programs: lecture series, workshops, school programs, historical demonstrations, and several annual and special living history events. All USAHEC sponsored events are free to the public. The site has a number of online digital collections.
National Archives - Related Collections[edit | edit source]
- Returns from Regular Army artillery batteries and regiments, June 1821-December 1916. NARA Publication M728, 52 rolls
- Returns from Regular Army engineer battalions, September 1846-June 1916, NARA Publication M690, 10 rolls
- Returns from Regular Army cavalry regiments, 1833-1916, NARA publication, M744, 117 rolls
- Returns from Regular Army infantry regiments, June 1821-December 1916, NARA publication, M665, 300 rolls
- Returns from Regular Army coast artillery corps companies, February 1901 - June 1916, NARA publication, M691
Order of Battle
- Order of Battle 1919-1941. volume 1. The Arms: Major Commands and infantry Organizations.
- Order of Battle 1919-1941. Volume 2. The Arms: Cavalry, Field Artillery, and Coast Artillery,1919-41.
- Order of Battle 1919-1941. Volume 4. The Services: Quartermaster, Medical, Military Police, Signal Corps, Chemical Warfare, and Miscellaneous Organizations,1919-41.
Further Reading[edit | edit source]
- Dawson, Joseph G. III. The Late Nineteenth Century U.S. Army, 1865–1898: A Research Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1990. (FHL book 973 M23ln.) A comprehensive bibliography of sources for the Indian Wars, Reconstruction, forts, and the Army on the western frontier.