North Carolina Military Records
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Many military records for North Carolina are at the National Archives. Microfilm copies of many of these are at the Family History Library and at other federal and state archives. A comprehensive description of military history and records of North Carolina is given in Chapter 33 of Helen F. M. Leary’s North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History. See also:
Neagles, James C. U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1994. Ancestry is a trademark of Ancestry, Inc. FHL book 973 M23nu This book describes federal military records, then discusses each state individually. Pages 308–313 provide details of military records housed in various archives in North Carolina, many of which are not microfilmed.
For each war listed below, additional federal sources are listed in United States Military Records. It contains search strategies and information to guide you to the best records for your objective.
The North Carolina State Archives has most of the existing military records, such as: the colonial wars, the state militia, the Continental Line, American Loyalists, soldiers’ homes, and gravestone files.
- Fort Barnwell
- Fort Butler (Murphy, North Carolina)
- Fort Dobbs
- Fort Fisher
- Fort Hancock
- Fort Johnston -- Textual records of this fort, 1867-1881, including registers, reports, and correspondence, are in the National Archives and are described in Records of United States Army, Continental Commands, 1821-1920, under the section entitled Records of Posts, 1820-1940 (Record Group 393.7).
- Fort Loundon
- Fort Macon 1834-76
- Fort Neoheroko
- Fort Prince George
- Post of Raleigh -- Textual records of this post, 1865-1877, including registers, reports, and correspondence, are in the National Archives and are described in Records of United States Army, Continental Commands, 1821-1920, under the section entitled Records of Posts, 1820-1940 (Record Group 393.7).
Colonial Wars (1732–1775)
During the French and Indian War, 1755–1763, some North Carolina soldiers fought against the French and Indians.
- Clark, Murtie June. Colonial Soldiers of the South, 1732–1774. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1983. FHL 975 M29c This book gives the dates when a soldier served. The North Carolina soldiers are listed on pages 629–879, and the book is well indexed. The date, name of soldier, county of residence, military company, and rank are usually given.
- The Colonial Records of North Carolina: Published under the Supervision of the Trustees of the Public Libraries, by Order of the General Assembly is described in [[North Carolina Public Records]]. Volume 22 includes records of the Granville County Militia (1771), Oaths of Allegiance (1778), the Spanish Alarm (1747–1748), militia returns (1754–1755, 1758, and 1767), the War of the Regulators (1770–1771), and correspondence of governors and others (1775–1789).
Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
A man who was born in North Carolina between about 1710 and 1765 may be listed in some form of military record. If he supported the Revolution, he may be mentioned in the records as a rebel, patriot, or Whig. Those who opposed the Revolution were referred to as Loyalists or Tories.
- 1779 - 1782 - North Carolina Revolutionary Pay Vouchers 1779-1782 at FamilySearch — images
- North Carolina Revolutionary War Soldiers Ancestry.com ($)
- Revolutionary War Collection at Fold3
- Southern Campaign at http://www.southerncampaign.org/
- Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters at http://revwarapps.org/
- Daughters of the American Revolution (North Carolina). Roster of Soldiers from North Carolina in the American Revolution: With an Appendix Containing a Collection of Miscellaneous Records. N.p.: NCDAR, 1932. (Family History Library book FHL film 1036677; fiche 6046553; book 975.6 M2d There is a reprint edition: Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1977. FHL film 1036687 item 4; book 975.6 M2d Contained in this book are many types of records: pension lists for 1818, 1832, and 1835; land grants, vouchers, and claims; and lists of soldiers by regiment and company. The book is well indexed.
- United States. War Department. Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteers Soldiers Who Served during the Revolutionary War in Organizations from the State of North Carolina. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M257. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1958. (Family History Library films FHL film 821595–821596
- For more Revolutionary War service records for soldiers from North Carolina see the subject North Carolina Revolutionary War Records
- Bell, Annie W.B., North Carolina Pension Abstracts of the Revolution, War of 1812 and Indian Wars (SLC, Utah, 2009) At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book US NC M24b At Logan Regional Family History Center
- Styles, Marshall L., Western North Carolina's Revolutionary War Patriot Soldiers : A collection of Their Records ([S.I.]: M.L. Styles, c2010) FHL books 975.6 M2sm volume 1 – 20
The 1813 Pension List:
- 1813 Pension List (New Horizons Genealogy)
The 1818 Pensioners of the United States:
- 1818 Pensioners of the United States (New Horizons Genealogy)
The 1820 Pension List:
- 1820 Pension List (New Horizons Genealogy)
The 1835 Pension Roll:
On June 5, 1834, the U.S. Senate required the Secretary of War to submit a statement showing the names of pensioners who were on the pension rolls or had previously been on the pension rolls. For more information on the 1835 Pension Roll see Revolutionary War Pension Records. The 1835 Pension Roll for North Carolina is available online:
- Report from the Secretary of War... Vol. III (Google Books)
- The Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. III (Ancestry) ($)
- Many Revolutionary War patriots were granted bounty lands in Tennessee and South Carolina. See the "Land and Property" Wiki articles for those states for more information. No land in North Carolina was given to veterans.
Federal Service and Pension Records
The service records and pension files for Revolutionary War patriots are available at the Family History Library and from other sources. For more information, see the Revolutionary War, 1775 to 1783 wiki article. You can also use NATF Form 80 to obtain copies of some records from the National Archives for a fee. Copies of records are also available online at http://www.archives.gov/.
For information about North Carolina Loyalists, see: United States Military Records.
- Clark, Murtie Jane. Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. 3 vols. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1981. FHL book 975 F2cm Volume 1 includes North Carolina musters, pay abstracts, and other records.
- DeMond, Robert O. The Loyalists in North Carolina during the Revolution. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1979. FHL book 975.6 M2dr This volume outlines the history of the Loyalists in North Carolina and lists many of their names.
- Troxler, Carole W. The Loyalist Experience in North Carolina. Zebulon, North Carolina: Theo. Davis Sons, 1976. FHL book 975.6 A1 no.128 This book has information about many Loyalists and tells of their exodus to New York, the Bahamas, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
Many persons who were Loyalists are not mentioned in the above volumes because they did not survive to apply for British compensation. Their names may be found in the Hillsboro, Morgan, and Salisbury district court records. Reconnaissance bonds were placed on the Loyalists’ heads. The money for the bonds was pledged by friends, and their names are listed in the court records. The Family History Library has the minutes of district court proceedings regarding these bonds. The loose papers are only at the North Carolina State Archives. See also the topic "Loyalist Land Losses" in the "Land and Property" section.
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
The War of 1812 between Britain and the United States confirmed the separate existence of the United States and the future Canada.
See the Wiki article, North Carolina in the War of 1812, for information concerning military records, histories, links to relevant web sites, etc. for North Carolina.
There are helpful nationwide records for soldiers of the War of 1812. For more information, see United States in the War of 1812.
Indian Wars (1780s-1890s)
The regular army, often assisted by volunteer units, fought in various campaigns against American Indians. These include the Seminole or Florida Wars (1817–18, 1835–1842, and 1855–58), Black Hawk War (1832), and the Creek War (1836–37).
Cherokee Disturbances and Removal (1836-1839)
- "Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Cherokee Disturbances and Removal in Organizations From the State of North Carolina" (NARA M256) WorldCat 12423068 and FHL film 0368686 The Cherokees were removed to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. The compiled military service records have not been microfilmed.
- The above collection is also available online:
- U.S. Army Indian Campaign Service Records Index (Ancestry) ($) - browsable only.
For detailed information about national service and pension records from the Indian Wars, see United States Military Records.
Mexican War (1846-1848)
The Mexican War was caused by the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845. Most volunteer regiments were from southern states. Records of Mexican War veterans might exist in a state where the veteran later resided. About 1,000 North Carolina soldiers were involved in the Mexican War. The following records are available:
- Mexican War Index to Pension Files, 1887–1926. (NARA T317). FHL films 0537000–13 Alphabetically arranged and includes the veteran’s name, rank, and unit; names of dependents; date of filing and application; certificate numbers; act filed under; and state from which application was made. Also available at:
- United States, Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926 (FamilySearch) Free digital copy. (Learn more.)
- United States, Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926 (FamilySearch) Free digital copy. (Learn more.)
- Robarts, William Hugh. Mexican War Veterans : A Complete Roster of the Regular and Volunteer Troops in the War Between the United States and Mexico, from 1846-1848… Washington, D.C. : Brentano’s, 1887. FHL book 973 M2rwh Digital version available at Internet Archive.
Civil War (1861–1865)North Carolina in the Civil War for information about North Carolina Civil War records, web sites, etc. with links to articles about the North Carolina regiments involved in the Civil War. The regimental pages often include lists of the companies with links to the counties where the companies started. Men in the companies often lived in the counties where the companies were raised. Knowing a county can help when researching more about the soldiers and their families.
- 1861-1865 - North Carolina, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1865 - North Carolina, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1885-1953 - North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953 at FamilySearch — images
U.S. Southern Claims Commission Master Index, 1871-1880 Index only $,
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System allows name searching for soldiers. The result set gives the regiments for the soldiers. Then you can check the Wiki regiment pages to determine counties. Often knowing the counties that had men in a regiment will help you determine if a soldier was your ancestor.
FamilySearch Historical Records
- North Carolina, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- North Carolina, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- North Carolina Confederate Soldier's and Widow's Pension Applications (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Spanish-American War (1898)
The Spanish-American War was largely fought in Cuba and the Philippines. Spanish-American War records might exist in the state from which the soldier served or in a state where the veteran later resided.
- United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (NARA T288). (FamilySearch) Free digital copy. The index covers veterans of the Civil War, Spanish‑American War, Philippine Insurrection, Boxer Rebellion (1900 to 1901), and the regular Army, Navy, and Marine forces. (Learn more.)
- United States, Index to Service Records, War with Spain, 1898 (FamilySearch) Free digital copy. (Learn more.)
North Carolina raised three regiments of volunteers from the state guard and active militia for this conflict. None of the soldiers saw serious action. In 1900 the office of the North Carolina adjutant general published the following unindexed roster:
Click on the link to learn more about the Spanish American War.
World War I (1917-1918)
World War I was a global war fought on multiple continents with several nations involved. Over four million men and women served from the United States.
- United States. Selective Service System. North Carolina, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1509. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1987–1988. FHL films 1765557 (first of 81 films) Also available at:
- United States, World War One Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (FamilySearch) - free
- Also online at Rootsweb.com WWI Draft
United States World War I Draft Records provides additional information.
For a list of soldiers who died in World War I, see:
- Haulsee, W. M. Soldiers of the Great War. 3 vols. Washington, DC: Soldiers Record Pub. Association, 1920. FHL fiche 6051244 and book 973 M23s Volume 2 has information on North Carolina soldiers and includes the names of those who were killed in action or died of disease or accident. The place of residence is given, and there are photographs of about 500 North Carolina soldiers.
World War II (1941-1945)
On April 27, 1942, the Selective Service conducted the fourth of six draft registrations related to WWII. The "World War II Selective Service Draft Cards: Fourth Registration, 1942" is often referred to as the “Old Man’s Registration” or the “Old Man’s Draft" because it included men with a date of birth from April 28, 1877 to February 16, 1897. Since there is overlap in the WWI and WWII Selective Service registration, men born in the years 1877 to 1900 may have registered twice and have both WWII and WWI draft records.
- United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (Image Browse) (FamilySearch) - free
- United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (images with partial index) (FamilySearch) - free
- 1940 - 1948 - North Carolina, Discharge and Statement of Service Records, 1940-1948 at FamilySearch — index and images
- Also available at:
A series of books entitled "Young American Patriots", published shortly after the war, documented the service of soldiers from different states including North Carolina. The series of books included photos and a short biography of some of the soldiers from the state.
World War II United States Military Records provides additional information.
Korean War (1950–1953)
The Korean War was a conflict between North Korea (and its communist allies) and South Korea (with support of the United Nations, primarily the United States). See the Korean War wiki article for information on records and their availability.
Vietnam War (1964–1972)
The Vietnam War was a conflict between North Vietnam (and its communist allies) and South Vietnam (with support of its anti-communist allies, including the United States). See the Vietnam War wiki article for information on records and their availability.
The Family History Library has microfilm copies of military discharge papers from 1918 to the 1970s for many counties. Military discharge papers may show a person’s birthplace, birth date, service information, and disability condition. The original records are kept by the register of deeds in each county.
Military records can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog by using a Place Search of under:
NORTH CAROLINA- MILITARY RECORDS
NORTH CAROLINA, [COUNTY]- MILITARY RECORDS