District of Columbia Military Records
The U.S. Military Records Research Outline provides more information on federal military records and search strategies.
Many military records are found at the Family History Library, the National Archives, and other federal and state archives. The United States Research Outline provides more information on the federal records.
Washington Arsenal -- Textual records of this post, 1825-1829, including registers, reports, and correspondence, are in the National Archives and are described in Records of United States Army, Continental Commands, 1821-1920, under the section entitled Records of Posts, 1820-1940 (Record Group 393.7).
Washington Barracks -- Textual records of this post, 1885-1886, 1901-1903, including registers, reports, and correspondence, are in the National Archives and are described in Records of United States Army, Continental Commands, 1821-1920, under the section entitled Records of Posts, 1820-1940 (Record Group 393.7).
For a list of Revolutionary War soldiers buried in the District of Columbia see
- John Clagett Proctor, Washington, Past and Present, A History (New York, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Incorporated, 1930; FHL book 975.3/W1 H2p).
A register of officers of the militia of the District of Columbia, 1813 to 1830, is in Record Group 94 of the Records of the Adjutant General's Office in the National Archives.
Civil War (1861-1865) and Later
An index to service records of the District of Columbia Union Army volunteers is at the Family History Library (FHL films 881964-66). The service and pension records have not been filmed and are only at the National Archives.
Cemetery lists of Civil War soldiers buried in the District of Columbia are in:
- Sluby, Paul E., comp. Civil War Cemeteries of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Area. Washington, D.C.: Columbian Harmony Society, 1982. (FHL book 975.3 V3s.)
- United States, Quartermaster's Department. Roll of Honor, Volume 1, Names of Soldiers Who Died in Defense of the American Union: Interred in the National Cemeteries at Washington, DC from August 3, 1861-June 30, 1865. Washington, D.C.: Government Print Office, 1869. (FHL film 1311589.) Includes Arlington National Cemetery.
Civil War Pension Index Cards - A free Internet index to pension applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861-1917 is available on FamilySearch Record Search. Each card gives the soldier’s name, application and certificate numbers, state of enlistment, and might include rank and death information. Other wars, of that time period, may be included.
The military history of the District of Columbia and lists of officers is found in William B. Webb, Centennial History of the City of Washington, DC (Dayton, Ohio: United Brethren Publishing House, 1892; FHL book 975.3 H2w).
World War I (1917-1918)
World War I draft registration cards for men ages 18 to 45 may list address, birth date, birthplace, race, nationality, citizenship, and next of kin. Not all registrants served in the war. For registration cards for the District of Columbia see:
- United States. Selective Service System. District of Columbia, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1509. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1987-1988. (On FHL films beginning with 1570933.)
To find an individual's draft card, it helps to know his name and residence at the time of registration. The cards are arranged alphabetically by county, within the county by draft board, and then alphabetically by surname within each draft board.
Most counties had only one board; large cities had several. A map showing the boundaries of individual draft boards is available for most large cities. Finding an ancestor's street address in a city directory will help you in using the draft board map. For copies of the maps, see:
- United States. Selective Service System.List of World War One Draft Board Maps. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. (FHL film 1498803.)