US War of 1812 Service Records

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United States Gotoarrow.png U.S. Military Gotoarrow.png War of 1812 Gotoarrow.png Service Records

Fort Armstrong, Illinois, War of 1812

Service Records[edit | edit source]

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

Volunteers[edit | edit source]

Compiled Service Records - 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.

The name indexes to the War of 1812 are on microfilm and at (requires subscription) but the actual compiled military service records are not.

Copies of the actual compiled military service record, held at the National Archives, can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 86. Researchers may also request to see the original compiled military service records at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.

Index to Compiled Service Records - National Archives

United States. Adjutant General's Office. Index to compiled service records of volunteer soldiers who served during the War of 1812. National Archives Microfilm Publication M602. includes the name, rank, and unit or units of soldiers from the compiled service records.

A wiki article describing the above Familysearch collection is found at:

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 US Army Enlistments, 1798-1914.

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.


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)


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

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.


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

Generally, service records for enlisted marines who separated from service prior to 1905 are held at the National Archives, in Washington, D.C. Service records or "case files" of enlisted marines at the National Archives are found in Record Group 127, Records of the U.S. Marine Corps, entry 76. Service records may include enlistment and reenlistment papers, descriptive lists, conduct records, notice of discharge, military history, and the issuance of campaign badges and awards. These records are arranged chronologically by year of enlistment or latest reenlistment, thereunder alphabetically by initial letter of surname of enlisted man, and thereunder chronologically by date of enlistment or reenlistment. 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.

To track a marine's service, the National Archives maintains a microfilm publication (T1118), entitled: "Muster Rolls of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1798–1902." The muster rolls, for this period, are arranged chronologically by year and month, and thereunder by post, station, ship detachment, or unit. There are indexes in most volumes to the names of ships, stations, and units. A muster roll generally shows name of ship, station, or unit and provides name of officer or enlisted man, rank, date of enlistment or reenlistment, and if applicable, date of desertion or apprehension, sentence of court-martial (and the offense), injuries sustained or illness and type of treatment, and date of death or discharge. Depending on the date, the researcher must know the vessel on which the marine served, the unit in which he served, or duty station.


To verify the service of a marine officer, see the FamilySearch Catalog or click on the following link: "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.


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]

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.