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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

General Background

For those who served in the War of 1812, the federal government provided bounty land beginning in the year 1812. At first, 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, and Michigan (later transferred to 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 (excluding 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.

For further details refer to Hawkins, Kenneth, comp., Research in the Land Entry Files of the General Land Office, Reference Information Paper 114, (Washington, DC, NARA, Revised 2009)

How veteran/heir obtained military bounty land

1  A veteran or his heir applied for a bounty land warrant at local courthouse.

~~ who reviewed this application?  Who granted the warrant?  Was it granted by the GLO ???

2  If granted, the veteran was issued a warrant or script which could be exchanged for the purchase of  a      certain number of acres of land in one of the bounty land districts set aside for veterans of War of 1812. 

Between 1812 and 1842, these districts were located on public domain lands in Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.After 1842 land could also be purchased on any public domain land lying west of the Mississippi River, north of the Ohio River and west of Pennsylvania, or in the states of Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Alabama.

3  Using the warrant number, the veteran could apply for a land patent which granted him actual ownership of the land.   The application and supporting papers were not actually given to the veteran, rather a "Bounty Land Warrant File" was created and kept by the federal General Land Office  or in the respective state agency.

4   These bounty land warrant files should contain the issued warrant, letter of assignment (if he transferred his interest in the warrant to another person), and

5  The warrant itself should include the name of the veteran, his rank at discharge, his branch of service and date the warrant was issued.  documents contain information similar to the pension files and include the veteran’s age and place of residence at the time of the application.

~~   Move some of #ed items to another section as they are not STEPS in process-- maybe in section of  explanatory notes

Notes:    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.

The warrant number that is found on the veterans pension application consisted of three distinct parts: the warrant number, the number of acres granted, and the year the act was passed. (ex. 50 represents 1850)

   Those veterans/heirs who obtained bounty land should be found in the National ARchives Microfilm Series M848 (14 rolls), War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858.

For more information regarding application process and records generatedthereby, refer to McFarland, Jan Bishop Bounty Land Warrants for Military Service in the War of 1812 (Accessed 26 July 2012).

Locating Bounty Land Warrants

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.


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


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

~~Warrant Applications are indexed and can be found in Record Group 15 ~~ remember to also have "unindexed" files searched ~~ What about land-entry case files found in Record Group 15???

    Script files from 1830 in Record Group 49???? 

~~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

~~ Bounty land information may appear on soldiers pension application

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 form 85a,b,c,d

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

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