Revolutionary War Service Records
Most of the records of the American Army from the Revolutionary War era that were in the custody of the War Department were destroyed by fire in 1800 or in 1814. The War Department's Collection of Revolutionary War Records was begun in 1873 by means of purchase, gifts, or transfers from other agencies. The compilation of military service records was begun in 1894, under the direction of the War Department's Record and Pension Office. Information about individual soldiers was meticulously copied onto cards as a means of consolidating information about individuals, as well as preserving the original source documents, including muster rolls, pay rolls, returns, and other records.
The "Compiled Service Records of Soldiers who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War" is available on microfilm at the National Archives or online at Footnote.com, ($) a subscription Internet site also available at selected libraries.
The following service records are available on microfilm at the Family History Library:
- General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers, Sailors, and Members of Army Staff Departments. National Archives Microfilm Publication M860. (Family History Library films 88284–98.) Alphabetical index including soldiers, sailors, members of Army staff departments, and civilian employees of the Army and Navy, such as teamsters, carpenters, laundresses, and cooks. For each soldier or civilian, the index lists the name, rank, unit, and profession or office.
- White, Virgil D. Index to Revolutionary War Service Records. Four Volumes. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing Company, 1995. (Family History Library book 973 M22wv.) This is a transcription from film M860 listed above. Entries include name, unit, and rank.
- Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War. National Archives Microfilm Publication M881. (On 1,096 Family History Library films beginning with 1485281.) Contains the service records of soldiers in the Continental Army and other units that fought with them.
- Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775–1783. National Archives Microfilm Publication M246. (Family History Library films 830281–417.) These are original company rolls, muster rolls, payrolls, and strength returns of Continental Army, militia, and state volunteer units. They are arranged by unit in folders called “jackets.” Use the index to the compiled service records to find the name of the regimental commander, then use the index (Family History Library film 0830280) to determine the jacket number.
- Compiled Service Records of American Naval Personnel and Members of the Departments of the Quartermaster General and the Commissary General of Military Stores Who Served during the Revolutionary War. National Archives Microfilm Publication M880. (Family History Library films 1025081–83.) These abstracts, made from original records, are similar to the compiled service records of soldiers. The records are arranged by department and then alphabetically by name. To find specific microfilm numbers, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
UNITED STATES - MILITARY RECORDS -REVOLUTION, 1775-1783
State "Military Records" Wiki articles describe published rosters of Revolutionary War soldiers from each colony. The following are additional books listing officers and others:
- American Chaplains of the Revolution. Louisville, Kentucky: National Society, Sons of the American Revolution, 1991. (Family History Library 973 Al no. 311.) This is an alphabetical list of chaplains in the Continental Line, State Militia, and Continental Navy. It includes information such as birth, death, marriage, where lived, and service information, both ecclesiastical and military.
- Claghorn, Charles E. Women Patriots of the American Revolution: A Biographical Dictionary. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1991. (Family History Library 973 H26c.) Identifies over 5,000 women who rendered patriot service with brief biographical sketches on 600 women.
- Claghorn, Charles E. Naval Officers of the American Revolution: A Concise Biographical Dictionary. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1988. (Family History Library book 973 M3c.) Lists 3,500 naval officers and privateers.
- Greene, Robert Ewell. Black Courage, 1775–1783: Documentation of Black Participation in the American Revolution. Washington, D.C.: National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, 1984. (Family History Library 973 M2gb.) Contains biographical sketches which include soldier’s military unit; physical description; when enlisted; battles fought; pensioned; birth, marriage, and death dates and places; names of wives and children; and if the soldier was free or slave. An additional list of soldiers, pensioners, and prisoners of war with military unit and state is included.
- Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April 1775 to December 1783. 1914. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967. (Family History Library book 973 M23h.) Lists 14,000 officers compiled from governmental and other sources. Includes militia and state troops. Some death dates are listed.
- Kaminkow, Marion, and Jack Kaminkow, compilers. Mariners of the American Revolution. Baltimore, Maryland: Magna Carta Book Company, 1967. (Family History Library book 973 M25k.) An alphabetical list of seamen who were captured and imprisoned in England.
- Neagles, James C. Summer Soldiers. A Survey and Index of Revolutionary War Courts-Martial. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, Incorporated, 1986. (Family History Library book 973 M2ns.) An alphabetical list of 3,315 cases of soldiers who were court martialed that lists the offense, verdict, punishment, if applicable, and the source of information. Often provides military rank and unit.
- Toner, Joseph M. The Medical Men of the Revolution, with a Brief History of the Medical Department of the Continental Army: Containing the Names of Nearly Twelve Hundred Physicians. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Collins, printer, 1876. (Family History Library film 1703658.) Contains a list of physicians and surgeons with state and type of service rendered.
- Williams, Eugene Franklin. Soldiers of God: the Chaplains of the Revolutionary War. New York, New York: Carlton Press, 1975. (Family History Library 973 D3wil.) A history of chaplains’ service during the Revolution. Contains biographical sketches, including military unit and dates served and other genealogical data.