Download free guides to US military records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Perhaps you have recently discovered a service member in your family tree, or you need an overview of records by war or conflict. If so, NARA’s Military Reference Reports can help. Understanding the scope and availability of archival military records helps you find more complete picture of your ancestor or relative’s military service.
Military Reference Reports provide an overview of specific archival records at the National Archives.
NARA provides the following introduction and hyperlinks:
From 1775 to the early 20th century, the United States engaged in numerous military conflicts, both internally and against foreign foes. These wars were fought by the U.S. military establishment, including the Regular Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as by citizen volunteers in State and local militias called into Federal service. Military Reference Reports describe research strategies for frequently used records relating to military service in the Revolutionary War (1775-83), War of 1812 (1812-15), Old Indian Wars (1817-58), Mexican War (1846-48), Civil War (1861-65), Spanish-American War (1898), and Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902). Related topics also include pension and bounty-land records, prisoners of war, and some 20th-century draft records (World War I and World War II).
Click on links below to download free guides to US military records.
Enlisted Men and Officers
By War or Conflict
- Revolutionary War, 1775-1783
- Revolutionary War Prisoners, 1776-1783
- Service Between the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812
- War of 1812, 1812-1815
- War of 1812 Prisoners
- Florida Seminole Wars, 1817-1858
- Winnebago Indian Disturbances, 1827
- Black Hawk War, 1831-1832
- Cherokee Disturbances, 1836-1839
- Mexican War, 1846-1848
- Union and Confederate Volunteer Service During the Civil War, 1861-1865
- Union Civil War Service in Organizations from the District of Columbia
- Confederate Army, 1861-1865
- Confederate Navy and Marine Corps, 1861-1865
- Civil War Pensions (Union), 1861-1865
- Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-1865
- Confederate Pensions
- Veterans Reserve Corps (VRC), 1863-1865
- US Volunteer Infantry (Galvanized Yankees), 1864-1866
- Buffalo Soldiers
- United States Colored Troops (USCT), 1863-1866
- Spanish-American War, 1898-1899
- Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1902
- WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
- WWII Draft Cards (4th Registration), 1942
- WWII Army Serial Number Merged File
- WWII Casualty Lists
Other Free Guides to US Military Records of Interest
The featured image at top is courtesy of “369th Infantry Regiment (United States),” at Wikipedia, featuring soldiers of the 369th (15th N.Y.), awarded the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action, 1919. Left to right. Front row: Pvt. Ed Williams, Herbert Taylor, Pvt. Leon Fraitor, Pvt. Ralph Hawkins. Back Row: Sgt. H. D. Prinas, Sgt. Dan Storms, Pvt. Joe Williams, Pvt. Alfred Hanley, Cpl. T. W. Taylor.
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