United States Indian Wars, 1780-s-1890-s
The United States military protected the expanding western frontier from the 1780s to the 1890s. Military personnel surveyed land; enforced government policy; protected settlers; and guarded stage, mail, and telegraph routes. Expanding settlement led to conflicts with the many Indian nations. Military conflicts with Indians are listed in the following:
Peters, Joseph P., compiler. Indian Battles and Skirmishes on the American Frontier, 1790–1898, Comprising Record of Engagements with Hostile Indians within the Military Division of the Missouri from 1868 to 1882; Chronological List of Actions, etc. with Indians from January 1, 1866 to January 1891; and a Compilation of Indian Engagements from January 1837 to January 1866. New York, New York: Argonaut Press, 1966. (FHL film 1686002.) A chronological list which includes dates, places, and units involved; number of killed and wounded; and remarks that may include names of officers.
Webb, George W. Chronological List of Engagements between the Regular Army of the United States and Various Tribes of Hostiles Which Occurred during the Years 1790 to 1898, Inclusive. 1939. Reprint, New York, New York: AMS Press, 1976. (FHL book 973 M2ww.) Identifies place; military unit involved; and number of soldiers and American Indians killed, wounded, and captured.
Service records for the Indian conflicts are available at the National Archives. They consist of abstracts from original muster rolls, pay rolls, and medical records.
Microfilm indexes are available at the Family History Library:
Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served during Indian Wars and Disturbances, 1815–58. National Archives Microfilm Publication M629. (FHL films 0882753–94.) This index includes the soldier’s name, rank, and unit along with the name of the war or disturbance.
Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served from 1784 to 1811. National Archives Microfilm Publication M905. (FHL films 1205385–401.) These records are indexed in:
Index to Compiled Service Records. . . . National Archives Microfilm Publication M694 (FHL CD #9, part 146; films 1205437–45.)
This microfilm index has been transcribed and the information partially abstracted in the following two books:
White, Virgil D. Index to Volunteer Soldiers 1784–1811. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1987. (FHL book 973 M22woa.)
Clark, Murtie June. American Militia in the Frontier Wars, 1790–1796. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1990. (FHL book 973 M2clm).
Service Records after 1811
Listed below are the only service records for Indian wars after 1811 that have been filmed:
Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Florida during the Florida Indian Wars, 1835–1858. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1086. (FHL 63 films.)
Compiled Service Records of Michigan and Illinois Volunteers Who Served during the Winnebago Indian Disturbances, 1827. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1505. (FHL films 1638617–19.)
Regular Army Soldiers
In addition to volunteer soldiers, many soldiers involved in the Indian wars enlisted in the regular Army. For information on regular Army soldiers, see:
The Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798–1914. National Archives Microfilm Publication M233. (FHL 47 films.)
For information about forts where soldiers were garrisoned, see the following:
Historical Information Relating to Military Posts and Other Installations, ca. 1700–1900. National Archives Microfilm Publication M661. (FHL films 1466009–16.)
Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800–1916. National Archives Microfilm Publication M617. (FHL films 1663081–4630.) This source contains extensive rolls and reports listing soldiers stationed at forts and posts.
Cherokee Disturbances and Removal, 1836 to 1839. Individual state indexes are available for:
- Alabama. National Archives Microfilm Publication M243 (FHL film 0368685.)
- Georgia. National Archives Microfilm Publication M907 (FHL film 1205402.)
- North Carolina. National Archives Microfilm Publication M256 (FHL film 0368686.)
- Tennessee, including field and staff of the Army of the Cherokee Nation. National Archives Microfilm Publication M908 (FHL film 1205384.)
Indexes for Specific Wars
Creek War, 1836 to 1837. For this war, the National Archives and Family History Library have the following:
Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served during the Creek War in Organizations from the State of Alabama. National Archives Microfilm Publication M244. (FHL films 0880845–46.) The records to which the index refers have not been microfilmed.
Second Seminole War, 1836 to 1843. Indexes for soldiers who served from Alabama, National Archives Microfilm Publication M245 (FHL film 0880847) and Louisiana, National Archives Microfilm Publication M239 (FHL film 0880843) are available on microfilm.
Only the service records for soldiers from the state of Florida have been microfilmed:
Compiled Service Records, Volunteer Soldiers, Florida Indian Wars, 1835–1858. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1086. (FHL 63 films.)
The records are indexed by National Archives Microfilm Publication M629, United States Adjutant General's Office. Index to compiled service records of volunteer soldiers who served during Indian wars and disturbances, 1815-1858. Washington [District of Columbia] : The National Archives, 1966
War of 1837 to 1838 (Second Florida Campaign). Below is an index to records from this campaign:
Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served during the War of 1837–1838 in Organizations from the State of Louisiana. National Archives Microfilm Publication M241. (FHL film 0880844.) The records to which the index refers have not been microfilmed.
Black Hawk War 1831-1832Illinois soldiers of the 1831-1832, Black Hawk War, Illinois State Archives = www.sos.state.il.us/departments/archives/blkhawk.html
The pension files in the National Archives relate to service performed between 1817 and 1898. Soldiers killed or disabled during the Indian wars were initially covered by existing pension laws. The first pensions based on Indian war service were granted in 1892, but they were limited to specifically named wars. By 1902 pensions were extended to cover all service between 1817 and 1858. Later acts continued extending coverage for service to 1898. The files are alphabetically arranged by the veteran’s name.
The index to these records is the following:
Index to Indian Wars Pension Files, 1892–1926. National Archives Microfilm Publication T318. (FHL films 0821610–21.) The index gives name, names of dependents, rank, dates of enlistment and discharge, military unit, application and certificate numbers, date and state of filing, and the pension act it was filed under.
A published version of this same index is listed below:
White, Virgil D. Index to Pension Applications for Indian Wars Service between 1817 and 1898. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1997. (FHL book 973 M22whv.) Includes name of veteran or widow or both, applicant pension number, date of filing, name of conflict, date of service, and military unit. Some entries have death date and place. This is a revision of the 1987 edition.
Pensioners of the Indian Wars are also included in United States, Veterans Administration. Old Wars Index to Pension Files, 1815–1926. Washington, District of Columbia: National Archives. Central Plains Region, 1959. For more information, see National Archive Microfilm Publication T316 on page 56.
For a list and histories of all Indian Wars, 1622-1890, click www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1008.html