US War of 1812 Service Records

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Fort Armstrong, Illinois, War of 1812

Index to Compiled Service Records[edit | edit source]

Online Indexes[edit | edit source]

Links to Other Resources[edit | edit source]

Online War of 1812 Indexes and Records has links to national and state indexes to service records.

How to Obtain Compiled Service Records[edit | edit source]

Service records for the War of 1812 soldiers are not online (except for Mississippi) and must be obtained from the National Archives.

Obtaining Copies[edit | edit source]

Copies of the actual compiled military service record can be accessed three ways:

  • Ordered online from the National Archives
  • 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.

Mississippi Service Records[edit | edit source]

Information Found in Service Records - by Military Service Branch[edit | edit source]

Volunteers[edit | edit source]

Compiled Service Records at the National Archives

A volunteer's compiled service record consists of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records. The abstracted information may include references to wounds, hospitalization, absence from the unit, courts-martial, and death.

Index to Compiled Service Records
Online

On Microfilm


Muster Rolls - National Archives

Regular Army[edit | edit source]

Enlisted Men

The War Department did not compile military service records for those who served in the Regular Army. A register of enlistments is available online, see United States Army.

The National Archives also maintains a textual record, entitled "Regular Army Enlistment Papers, 1798–1894" (Record Group 94, entry 91). This series is arranged alphabetically by name of soldier and generally shows the soldier's name, place of enlistment, date, by whom enlisted, age, place of birth, occupation, personal description, regimental assignment, and certifications of the examining surgeon and recruiting officer. Soldiers usually have multiple enlistment papers if they served two or more enlistments.

  • Name index to Pay Rolls of Militia Entitled to Land Bounty Under the Act of Congress of Sept. 28, 1850 and its supplement, Muster Rolls of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812. Approximately 40,000 names are indexed. 
  • National Archives, United States Army 39th Infantry Muster Roll A compilation of original muster rolls, dated May, 1814 from the  listing soldiers who fought at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in Colonel John Williams’ Regiment.
  • Index of Awards on Claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812, compiled by the New York Adjutant General's Office. The following list is an index of claims presented by members of Indian tribes mustered into the service of the United States in the War of 1812. Information is presented as follows: Claim number, name of warrior, claimant and amount awarded.

Officers

The War Department did not maintain or compile personnel files for Regular Army officers until 1863.

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.

Also, see the FamilySearch Catalog or click on the following link: Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1805–1821, National Archives Microfilm Publication M566.

"Commissioned Officers in the War of 1812, Abrell to Zurmette" (Frankfort, Kentucky, Kentucky Historical Society, 1966) (FHL film 482878)

Returns

Additional information about Regular Army enlisted men and officers may be found in post and unit returns. See the FamilySearch Catalog or click on the following link: Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800–1916, National Archives Microfilm Publication M617 (FHL films 1663081-1663180). Returns generally show units stationed at the post and their strength, the names and duties of officers, the number of officers present and absent, and a record of events.

Other Resources

The National Archives also maintains a microfilm publication (M1856), entitled, "Discharge Certificates and Miscellaneous Records Relating to the Discharge of Soldiers from the Regular Army, 1792-1815" (Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94).  These records relate solely to the discharge of soldiers from the regular army; no militiamen or volunteers are included, although several civilians are mentioned. Records include discharge certificates and miscellaneous other materials relating to the discharge of soldiers from the Regular Army, 1792-1815. Most of the over 2,200 discharges are for the period 1812-15, although a few date from the 1790s.

Navy[edit | edit source]

Battle between the USS Constitution and the HMS Guerriere, 19 August 1812

Enlisted Men

  • Muster and Payrolls, 1798–1939: Muster rolls usually provide the sailor’s name, ship, and service dates. Records from 1798 to 1859 are arranged alphabetically by name of ship and then chronologically. These are found in Record Group 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library at the National Archives and are not currently online.

To overcome this obstacle, begin your research on navy enlisted men by looking in the pension files. A pension file may provide leads such as dates of service and the ship(s) or duty station(s) where the sailor served. Pensions usually provide the most genealogical information.

Officers

When beginning research on U.S. Navy officers, see the FamilySearch Catalog or click on the following link: of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, edited by Edward W. Callahan.

Also, consult the pension files, which may provide leads such as dates of service and the ship(s) or duty station(s) where the officer served.

Next consult the abstacts of service; see the FamilySearch Catalog or click on the following link: Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers ("Records of Officers"), 1798–1893, National Archives Microfilm Publication M330 (FHL films 1445969-1445987).

Internet sites with information about officers:

Navy Deck Logs

U.S. Navy deck logs typically provide information on a ship's performance and location, weather conditions, personnel (names of officers, assignments, transfers, desertions, deaths, injuries, and courts-martial), supplies received, and miscellaneous observations. See the FamilySearch Catalog or click on the following link: List of Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Miscellaneous Units, 1801–1947, Special List (National Archives): no 44.

Marine Corps[edit | edit source]

Enlisted Men

  • Service records or "case files" for enlisted marines who separated from service prior to 1905.
  • Information may include: enlistment and reenlistment papers, descriptive lists, conduct records, notice of discharge, military history, and the issuance of campaign badges and awards.
  • This collection consists of an index and images of muster rolls from 1798-1937 of the United States Marine Corps located at the National Archives (NARA).
  • The records are arranged chronologically by month of enlistment or reenlistment; then by post, station or ship,
  • These records are part of Record Group 127 Records of the U.S. Marine Corps: "Muster Rolls of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1798–1902"
  • The muster rolls are from two National Archive microfilm publications, T1118 (1798-1892, 123 rolls, indexed) and T977 (1893-1940, 460 rolls). More information.
  • If the enlistment date is unknown, researchers can use the card index found in RG 127, entry 75, Alphabetical Card List of Enlisted Men of the Marine Corps, 1798–1941.


Officers

To verify the service of a marine officer: "List of officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900 : comprising a complete register of all present and former commissioned, warranted, and appointed officers of the United States Navy and of the Marine Corps, regular and volunteer," edited by Edward W. Callahan.

Coast Guard[edit | edit source]

The National Archives has records relating to the Coast Guard and its predecessor agencies: the Lighthouse Service, Revenue Cutter Service, and the Lifesaving Service. These records are found in Record Group 26, Records of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officers

For records relating to officers of the Revenue Cutter Service, the National Archives series, "Records of Officer Personnel, compiled 1797-1919," provides dates of service, citations to pertinent correspondence, and charges. This series is indexed alphabetically by name of officer.

The National Archives also maintains a series entitled, "Lists of Commissions of Revenue Cutter Officers, compiled 1791 - 1910," which is arranged chronologically as commissions were issued.

Discharge Records[edit | edit source]

More information

  • Claire Prechtel-Kuskens. War of 1812 Discharge Certificates. 31 # 3 NGS News Magazine (July-September, 2005): 32- 34.

References[edit | edit source]

John P. Deeben. From the North Atlantic to the Great Lakes. Researching U.S. Naval Service During the War of 1812. American Ancestors 11 (Summer 2010): 28-31;44.