Virginia Military Records
Colonial Wars (1607-1763)[edit | edit source]
Few military records exist for Virginia before the French and Indian Wars (1754-1763). The existing records of colonial soldiers include:
Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Virginia's Colonial Soldiers. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1988. (FHL book 975.5 M2bl.) This is a comprehensive list compiled from numerous primary and secondary sources. May give the soldier's name, military unit, residence, age, description, and occupation.
Crozier, William A. Virginia Colonial Militia 1651-1776. 1905. New York, NY: Genealogical Association, 1905. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1982. (FHL book 975.5 M2c 1982; 1954 reprint on fiche 6048997.) This includes published rosters of soldiers listed in many sources such as land bounty certificates, militia rosters, or service records.
Eckenrode, H. J. List of the Colonial Soldiers of Virginia. 1917. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1974. (FHL book 975.5 M2vl 1974; 1917 ed. on fiche 6046993.) This is an alphabetical directory of 6,700 soldiers and transcripts of the original sources of information.
Taylor, Philip F. A Calendar of the Warrants for Land in Kentucky, Granted for Service in the French and Indian War. 1917. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967. (FHL book 976.9 R21t; fiche 6019959.) This contains an alphabetical list of soldiers (mostly from Virginia) who received warrants for bounty land in what is now Kentucky from about 1774 to 1789. The original warrant records are at the Kentucky Land Office (see the Kentucky Research Outline ).
Virginia Military Records: From the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary College Quarterly, and Tyler's Quarterly. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1983. (FHL book 975.5 M2vm.) This contains reprints and an index of articles originally printed in periodicals. Most of the articles deal with the colonial and revolutionary periods. May show the soldier's residence, enlistment, unit, pension application, and declaration.
Revolutionary War (1775-1783)[edit | edit source]
Records of individuals who participated in the Revolutionary War can be found in published indexes, pension files, bounty land records, service records, and public service claims.
Published Indexes. While there are several published sources on Virginia in the Revolutionary War, there is no comprehensive list of all Revolutionary veterans. The following are two major indexes that identify individuals listed in numerous records:
Gwathmey, John Hastings. Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, 1775-1783. Richmond, Virginia: Dietz Press, 1938. (FHL book 975.5 M23g.) This lists approximately 64,000 individuals, including those individuals identified in the earlier publication by Eckenrode (below). Both the Gwathmey and Eckenrode sources must be used, because although they list the same individuals, Gwathmey refers to the Eckenrode index for source information.
Eckenrode, H. J. List of the Revolutionary Soldiers of Virginia. Richmond, Virginia: D. Bottom, 1912. (FHL book 975.5 M23v 1912, film 928145 item 14, fiche 6051268; 1913 supplement on film 547176 and fiche 6051262.) This helps identify approximately 35,000 Revolutionary soldiers from Virginia.
Pension Records. Virginia soldiers may have received a pension from the state or federal government. Pension records of Virginians may be found in:
Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files. (On 2,670 FHL films beginning with film 970001.) These files include pension applications from all the states. A published index to these files is Index of Revolutionary War Pension Applications, Revised (Washington, DC: National Genealogical Society, 1976; FHL book 973 M22ng 1976).
Dorman, John Frederick, comp. Virginia 1958-1995 Revolutionary Pension Applications. 51 volumes. Washington, DC: N.p., 1958-1995. (FHL book 975.5 M28d.) This abstracts the files of Virginia soldiers who received pensions or bounty land from the federal government. Only partially completed, with surnames A through Ha.
White, Virgil D. Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files. Four Volumes. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1990-1992. (FHL book 973 M28g.) Abstracts based on selected records of pension application files. Some entries were from supplements to the complete files. Includes cross references to the Virginia Half Pay Claims and other state pensions or bounty land awards. Volume 4 is an every-name index for the 339,096 entries mentioned in the selected abstracts.
Revolutionary War Pensions and Index (Virginia). (FHL films 029853-66, index on film 029866.) A published index is Virginia Revolutionary War State Pensions (1980; Reprint, Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1982; FHL book 975.5 M2v). This abstracts the information found in the pension files of about 600 soldiers who received pensions from the state.
Virginia Half Pay and Other Related Revolutionary War Pension Application Files, ca. 1778-1875. (FHL films 1024434-42.) These records relate only to officers from Virginia. They help identify names that might appear in other military records.
Applications for Bounty Land. Shortly after the war, many Virginia families migrated to lands that are now in Kentucky and Ohio to claim military bounty land. Under various laws, veterans or their heirs could apply to Virginia or to the federal government for a warrant to receive bounty land. Those who served in the Virginia state line or in the continental line could apply.
Virginia Warrant Applications (for land in Kentucky and the Virginia Military District in Ohio). The Virginia Land Office first issued warrants for land that is now in Kentucky. After 1792, when no more land was available in Kentucky, the Virginia Land Office issued warrants for land in the Virginia Military District of Ohio. This area in Ohio had been reserved for Virginia veterans when Virginia ceded all other claims in the Northwest Territory to the federal government.
Applications for Virginia bounty land warrants are at the Library of Virginia and on microfilm at the Family History Library. The approved application files are in Bounty Warrants, 1779-1860 (FHL films 029821-51; index on films 29850 for A-Payser and 29851 for Pea-Z). These applications are also indexed by the Eckenrode source above. (Note that although these are titled “warrants” they are actually the papers submitted to receive a warrant.) Rejected applications are in Revolutionary War Rejected Claims and Index of Soldiers from Virginia, 1811-1851 (FHL films 029867-82, index on film 029882). These manuscripts include certificates, powers of attorney, affidavits, and vouchers.
If an application was approved, the veteran or his heirs received a certificate that could be exchanged for a warrant. The Library of Virginia and the Family History Library have Virginia Land Office, Military Certificates, A-Z: July 14, 1782-August 5, 1876. These records are in alphabetical order on 38 FHL films, 1889181-218. These certificates are also filmed by number on FHL films 29635-7. The certificates often give the number of acres, warrant number, and sometimes the solder's heirs—wife, children, grandchildren, brother, etc.
U.S. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Warrants . . . 1788, 1803, 1806 (for land in the United States Military District of Ohio and the Virginia Military District of Ohio). (FHL films 1025142-56; two indexes are on film 1025141.) Applications to the federal government for bounty land are interfiled with the pension application files described above (see Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files in the “Pension Records” section, above). Those who received warrants for bounty land from the federal government could claim land in the Military Districts of Ohio and later in other areas of the public domain.
Bounty Land Grants. The individual who received a warrant may have claimed the land himself or may have sold his warrant to someone else. See the United States Research Outline for more information about the process of obtaining a land grant.
Lands Granted in Kentucky (Virginia warrants). Those who surrendered their warrants for land in what is now Kentucky are listed in Virginia Grants, 1782-1792 (FHL films 272809-17). The original grants are at the Kentucky Land Office in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Two indexes that include these grants are:
Brookes-Smith, Joan E. Master Index: Virginia Surveys and Grants, 1774-1791. Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 1976. (FHL book 976.9 R22b; film 1320833 item 6.)
Jillson, Willard Rouse. The Kentucky Land Grants: A Systematic Index to All of the Land Grants Recorded in the State Land Office at Frankfort, Kentucky, 1782-1924. Louisville, Kentucky: Standard Printing, 1925. (FHL book 976.9 B4f, no. 33; 1971 edition on film 272808 and book 976.9 R22ji; film 1000053 item 2; fiche 6051422-23.)
Copies of the warrants are found in Military Warrants, 1782-1788 (FHL films 272979-80). The original records are at the Kentucky Land Office in Frankfort, Kentucky. These are indexed by Willard Rouse Jillson, Old Kentucky Entries and Deeds: A Complete Index to All of the Earliest Land Entries, Military Warrants . . . (1926; reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1969; FHL book 976.9 R22j; FHL fiche 6051260).
Lands Granted in the Virginia Military District of Ohio (Virginia Warrants). An estimated 64 percent of Virginia's bounty land claims were granted in the Virginia Military District of Ohio. The Ohio Land Grant Office (c/o Auditor of State, 88 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215) has some records of these land grants.
A significant collection of survey records and other information about this district is also at the Illinois Historical Survey Collection at the University of Illinois Library in Urbana. These are indexed in volume 4 of:
Clifford Neal Smith, Federal Land Series: A Calendar of Archival Materials on the Land Patents Issued by the United States Government. . . . Chicago, Illinois: American Library Association, 1972. (FHL book 973 R23s.) This book indexes land grants in the Virginia Military District of Ohio and may show survey number, acreage, survey book page numbers, county, or township.
The surrendered warrants and related papers were sent to the General Land Office in Washington, DC, and are now at the National Archives in Warrants Surrendered for Land in the Virginia Military District of Ohio. The National Archives also has an alphabetical index, numerical register, and survey register that can help you find a warrant in this collection. These records are not on microfilm or at the Family History Library.
Lands Granted in the U.S. Military District and Other Public Domain Areas (U.S. Warrants). The records of these land grants are described in the United States Research Outline.
Service Records. Those who served in the Virginia state or continental line may be listed in Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War (on 1,097 FHL films beginning with film 1485281) and in General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers (on 58 FHL films beginning with 882841). This is at the National Archives and the Family History Library. May provide the soldier's or sailor's unit which can help to find pension records but does not give information about other members of the soldier's family. Also indexed in:
White, Virgil D. Index to Revolutionary War Service Records. Four Volumes. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1995. (FHL 973 M22wv)
For a list of regiments, where they were raised, service dates, officers, and brief unit histories, see:
Sanchez-Saavedra, E. M. A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774-1787. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1978. (FHL book 975.5 M2s.) This book may provide information useful for obtaining pension records.
The Library of Virginia also has various pay records, militia records, court martial records, appointments of officers, petitions, and other helpful sources.
Public Service Claims. Private citizens may have taken claims or petitions to the county courthouse for compensation for crops, cattle, weapons, and labor used by the military during the war. These county records have been collected in:
Revolutionary War Public Service Claims Recorded in County Court Booklets. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. (FHL films 029809-12; indexes on films 29813-18.)
The approved claims were recorded in:
Revolutionary War Public Service Claims, Commissioners Books, 1783. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. (FHL films 029819-20.) The index to both sets of films is on FHL films 029813-18. The original records are at the Library of Virginia.
War of 1812 (1812-1815)[edit | edit source]
Lists of War of 1812 soldiers are in:
Muster Rolls, Payrolls, and Index of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1955. (FHL films 0029984-91) Published payroll and muster roll books are on FHL film 029991, which lists each soldier's name, rank, length of service, service dates, and county (residence). The card index on the first seven films indexes the two books.
For a list of where regiments were raised and regimental and company officers, see:
Butler, Stuart Lee. A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812. Athens, Georgia: Iberian Publishing Co., 1988. (FHL 975.5 M2bs.)
The Family History Library also has microfilm copies of the National Archives indexes to the federal service, pension, and bounty land files, but the actual files are only at the National Archives.
Published abstracts of the federal pension and bounty land warrant applications are in:
Wardell, Patrick G. War of 1812: Virginia Bounty Land and Pension Applications. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1987. (FHL book 975 M2wp.) Gives marriage and death dates and places, spouses, and residences.
Civil War (1861-1865)[edit | edit source]
Soldiers from Virginia served in both the Union and Confederate armies.
The Family History Library and the National Archives have the:
“Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers . . .” (FHL film 881594).
Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers . . . (FHL film 1292638-644). May provide the soldier's or sailor's unit which can help to find pension records but does not give information about other members of the soldier's family.
Pension Index File . . . 1861-1934 (FHL films beginning with 540757). The actual pension records are only at the National Archives. Pension records sometimes list other members of the soldier's family and birth, marriage, and death information.
For those who served in Confederate forces, the Family History Library has the following records.
From the National Archives:
Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers . . . (FHL films 881395-456).
Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers . . . (on 1075 FHL films 1488678-1489752). Lists the soldier's name, rank, unit, and enlistment date and place.
From the Library of Virginia:
Index to Confederate Service Records of Virginia . . . (FHL films 029777-808).
Confederate Service Records of Virginia, 1861- 65 (FHL film 029767-76).
Confederate Pension Applications, Virginia, Acts of 1888, 1900, 1902: Index 1888-1934. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988. (On 219 FHL films beginning with 1439763.) Indexed by veteran's, widow's, or servant's name. Files are arranged by pension act, then by county, then by surname. Usually gives age, birthplace, and residence.
Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia, Register of Interments in Confederate Plots. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia State Library, [19—?] (FHL film 1294360) Alphabetical by name. Lists company, regiment, state, grave number, row, division, and remarks.
The Confederate pension records from 1888 to 1928 are only at the Virginia State Library.
Regimental rosters with biographical information of Virginia soldiers are published in:
Virginia Regimental Histories Series. Lynchburg, Virginia: H. E. Howard, 1982–. (FHL book 975.5 M2vr.) 119 volumes in the series have been completed.
Register of the Confederate Dead Interred in Hollywood Cemetery: Richmond, Virginia. Richmond, Virginia: Gary, Clemmitt and Jones, 1869. (FHL book 975.5451 V3r; FHL US/CAN Film 33625.) This register lists thousands of Confederate soldiers buried in Richmond. Includes name, company, regiment, state, date of death, cemetery section and number.
For guidebooks to Virginia's military units for the Civil War, the following sources are helpful:
Sifakis, Stewart. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1992- 1995. (FHL book 975 M2ss, Ten Volumes.) Gives organization information for each unit and its field officers, assignments, and battles. It also lists sources further reading. Volume 5 is for Virginia.
Wallace, Lee A. A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations, 1861-1865. Lynchburg, Virginia: H. E. Howard, 1986. (FHL book 975.5 M2vr, Volume 29.) Gives brief historical sketches of each regiment and lists officers, company names, and commanders.
For records of national old soldier homes, including the home in Richmond, Virginia, see:
United States. Veterans Administration. Registers of Veterans at National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1937. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988. (On 282 FHL films.) Includes general indexes for twelve homes, but some volumes are indexed separately. These Historical Registers may list the soldier's name, date and place of enlistment, rank, military unit, length of service, date and place of discharge, place of birth, age, physical description, religion, occupation, previous residence, marital status, nearest relative, pension, soldier home admission and discharge dates, disability, death date, or cause of death.
World War I (1917-1918)[edit | edit source]
A published roster of soldiers who died in the war is:
Haulsee, W. M., F. G. Howe, and A. C. Dayle, comps. Soldiers of the Great War. Three Volumes. Washington, DC: Soldiers Record Publishing Association, 1920. (FHL book 973 M23s; fiche 6051244.) Virginia soldiers are listed in Volume 3. Gives the soldier's name, residence, rank, cause of death, and includes pictures.
An additional source of historical information is:
Virginia Military Organizations in the World War: with Supplement of Distinguished Service. Richmond, Virginia: N.p., 1927. (FHL book 975.5 M2vo)
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 Virginia's cards see:
United States. Selective Service System. Virginia, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1987-1988. (On 85 FHL films beginning with film 1984203)
To find an individual's draft card, you must know his name and residence at the time of registration. The cards are arranged alphabetically by county, within the county by draft board, and alphabetically by surname within each draft board. Most counties had only one board; large cities had more.
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. There is an alphabetical list of cities that are on the map. For a copy of this map, see:
United States. Selective Service System. List of World War One Draft Board Maps. Washington, DC: National Archives. (FHL film 1498803)
www.ancestry.com has World War I draft registration cards digitized and online ($)
World War II (1940-1946)[edit | edit source]
For a list of 8,777 war dead, see:
Hemphill, W. Edwin, ed. Gold Star Honor Roll of Virginians in the Second World War.''''''' Charlottesville, Virginia: Virginia World War II History Commission, 1947. (FHL book 975.5 M2g; film 1698052 item 7.) County-by-county list of the soldier's name, rank, service branch, and nearest surviving relative.
www.ancestry.com has World War II enlistment records. ($)