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United States Gotoarrow.png U.S. Military Gotoarrow.png War of 1812 Gotoarrow.png Bounty Land Warrants

War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858

For those who served in the War of 1812, the federal government provided bounty land beginning in the year 1812. At first, this public domain land was offered as an incentive to serve in the military and later as a reward for service and could be claimed by the veteran or his heirs.

The federal government reserved a total of 6 million acres of the public domain land located in Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, and later, Missouri for this purpose. Initially (1812 - 1842)the bounty land warrants were issued only for these three military land reserves.(see map below; the SOURCE). With the passage of federal legislation in 1842, federal bounty-land warrants could be used to purchase acreage in any public domain lands that lay west of the Mississippi River, north of the Ohio River and west of Pennsylvania and in the states of Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.(with the exception of Texas and Hawaii).

The federal government gave no bounty land for service after 1855, although some in progress land dealings were not finalized until later years.

Process for obtaining Military bounty land

[Land could be purchase through a bounty land act or a script act]

A veteran requested bounty land by filing an application at a local courthouse. The application papers and other supporting documents were placed in bounty land files kept by a federal or state agency. These documents contain information similar to the pension files and include the veteran’s age and place of residence at the time of the application. If the application was approved, the individual was given either a warrant to receive land or scrip which could be exchanged for a warrant. Later laws allowed for the sale or exchange of warrants. Only a few soldiers actually received title to the bounty land or settled on it; most veterans sold or exchanged their warrants.

Define: warrant, patent, script act, etc.

Bounty land records often contain documents similar to those in pension files, with lots of genealogical information. Many of the bounty land application files relating to the War of 1812 service have been combined with the pension files.

Locating Bounty Land Warrants

Warrant Applications are indexed and can be found...

Actual bounty land files are

But if name of warrantee does not appear in index, search the War of 1812 Pension Application Index. War of 1812 bounty land applications are no longer kept separately but have been placed in their respective pension files. ADD LINK

For land warrants issued after 1842, search the Bureau of Land Managment's index to GLO Warrants and Patents.

Search Bureau of Land Management GLO Warrants & Patents ADD LINK

Warrants for the acts of 1812, 1814, and 1842 (excluding the general bounty land acts of 1850, 1852, and 1855) are reproduced in the following:

  • War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858. (NARA M848) The records usually contain the veteran’s name, rank, company, and regiment; the date the warrant was issued; and the date the warrant was exchanged for a specific parcel of land. The warrants are arranged numerically by warrant number and then chronologically.

Copies of Bounty Land Warrant Applications for Federal military service before 1856 can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 85. Select "Order Reproductions" and then select "Military Service and Pension Records".

~~ADD Link to explanation of order options

Categories of War of 1812 pension/bounty land files available using NATF Form 85:

  • A complete Federal pre-Civil War military pension application based on Federal military service before 1861 (includes the Pension Documents Packet.)
  • A pension document packet that contains reproductions of eight documents containing genealogical information about the pension applicant, to the extent these documents are present in the file.
  • A complete military bounty land application file based on service 1775-1855 (includes only rejected Revolutionary War applications).

Other Resources

Some bounty land warrants for the War of 1812 have been microfilmed.

  • War of 1812, military bounty land warrants, 1815-1858 (The National Archives, Washington, D.C.) FHL Film 15 Microfilm reels
    . A description of these records can be found at Internal link to wiki page

For more information about bounty land records, the following sources will be helpful:

Bounty Land Warrants by Conflict

See also



Additional Records

  • War of 1812 pensioners living in Arkansas during the 1880's : abstracted from the executive documents, (Cullman, Alabama, Gregath 198?) pages 33 FHL 976.7 M2
  • 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. 

The following sources are also helpful:

  • Christensen, Katheren, compiler. Arkansas Military Bounty Grants,War of 1812. Hot Springs, Arkansas: Arkansas Ancestors, 1971. (FHL book 976.7 R2c) (Worldcat) Contains the name of the veteran, date, and warrant number.
  • Dunaway, Maxine, compiler. Missouri Military Land Warrants, War of 1812. Springfield, Missouri: Maxine Dunaway, 1985. (FHL book 977.8 R2d) (Worldcat) Lists the name of purchaser, section, township, range, warrant number, patent date, book, and page.
  • Military Land Warrants in Missouri, 1819: An Alphabetical Index of Missouri Patentees. 1858. Reprint, not published, 1988. (FHL book 977.8 R2ml) (Worldcat) Lists the date, name of patentee, land warrant number, regiment, and land description.
  • Rose, Christine. Military Bounty Land 1776 - 1855. (San Jose, California: Cr Publications, c2011). FHL Book 973 M27
  • War of 1812 Bounty Lands in Illinois. Thomson, Illinois: Heritage House, 1977. (FHL book 977.3 R2w; film 1035624 item 7; fiche 6051272) A reprint of Lands in Illinois to Soldiers of Late War. (26th Congress, 1st Session, 1840. House Doc. 262.) These records are arranged by date and include number of warrant, name of patentee, rank, description of the tract, and to whom delivered.

Ordering Records from the National Archives

Copies of Bounty Land Warrant Applications for Federal military service before 1856 can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 85.

See also