Mexican War, 1846 to 1848

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United States  >  Military Records  >  Mexican War, 1846 to 1848


This conflict between the United States and Mexico resulted from the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845. Thirty-five thousand U.S. Army troops and 73,000 state volunteers fought in this war. Most volunteer regiments were from southern states, such as Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, and Texas.

Records for this war are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:


Service Records

Service records document an individual’s involvement with the military and can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.


When researching volunteers, start with the compiled military service records. A volunteer's compiled service record consists of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records. The abstracted information may include references to wounds, hospitalization, absence from the unit, courts-martial, and death.

The general name indexes for the Mexican War (1846-1848) are on microfilm, but the compiled military service records for this conflict is not. The indexes includes names, ranks, and units of soldiers compiled from original records. See the Family History Library Catalog or click on the link: Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served during the Mexican War.  National Archives Microfilm Publication M616. (FHL films 1205336–57.)

Copies from the actual compiled military service record, held at the National Archives, can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 86. Researchers may also request to see the original compiled military service records at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.

For medical information about volunteer soldiers who fought in the Mexican war, consult the National Archives series, "Carded Medical Records of Volunteer Soldiers in the Mexican and Civil Wars, compiled 1846 - 1865" found in Record Group (RG) 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 17862-1984, entry 534. These cards relate to volunteers admitted to hospitals for treatment and may include information such as name; rank; organization; complaint; date of admission; hospital to which admitted; and date returned to duty, deserted, discharged, sent to general hospital, furloughed, or died. This series is arranged by state, thereunder by the number of the regiment (cavalry, infantry, and artillery are filed together under the common regiment number) and then by initial letter of surname.

Service records of volunteers are available at most state archives (search the Wiki for the state and "military records" for more information) and at the National Archives.

The Family History Library also has service records for the following states. (See the Family History Library Catalog for complete film numbers and bibliographic information.)

  • Mississippi. National Archives Microfilm Publication M863. (FHL films 1205446–54).
  • Illinois.
  • Pennsylvania. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1028. (FHL films 1314139–51).
  • Tennessee. National Archives Microfilm Publication M638. (FHL films 0882797–811).
  • Texas. National Archives Microfilm Publication M278. (FHL films 0471519–37).
  • Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served during the Mexican War in Mormon Organizations. National Archives Microfilm Publication M351. (FHL films 0471465, 0471517–18.) For additional information on this source, see the Tracing LDS Families.

The compiled service records of other states are available at the National Archives.

Records of Officers

Published rosters of officers can be located in the following sources:

Butler, Steven R. A Complete Roster of Mexican War Officers, 1846–1848, both Army and Navy, with Alphabetical Indexes. Richardson, Texas: Descendants of Mexican War Veterans, 1994. (FHL book 973 M2mwb.) Includes regular army officers arranged by department and regiment, volunteer officers arranged by state and regiment, and Navy and Marine officers arranged by fleet and vessel.

Gardner, Charles K. A Dictionary of All Officers. . . in the Army of the United States. . . . New York, New York: G. P. Putnam and Company, 1853. (FHL book 973 M2g; film 0496461 item 1, pp. 527–63.) Arranged by unit and rank. It provides the name of the soldier. Some entries contain death dates, wounded dates, and date resigned.

Pension Records

Pensions were first granted to widows and minor children whose husbands or fathers had died in the service and to veterans who were disabled. Pensions based on 60 days of service were first granted to veterans or unremarried widows in 1887. The following are the only pension records that have been microfilmed:

Selected Pension Application Files for Members of the Morman [sic] Battalion, Mexican War, 1846–48. National Archives Microfilm Publication T1196. (FHL films 0480129–49.)

Pension files are available at the National Archives. Below is an index to the names of veterans and widows who applied for or received pensions:

Mexican War Index to Pension Files, 1887–1926.  National Archives Microfilm Publication 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.

Published versions of the above index are listed below:

Troxel, Navena Hembree, and Susan Merrill Warner. Mexican War Index to Pension Files, 1886–1926. 13 Volumes. Plano, Texas: N. H. Troxel and S. M. Warner, 1983–92. (FHL book 973 M2mw.) Entries list either the name of the veteran or widow’s application number or both, state or country, unit served, date of application, and residence at the time of application.

White, Virgil D. Index to Mexican War Pension Files. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1989. (FHL book 973 M22mw.) Entries include the name of the veteran and widow, certificate number, date of application, and unit served.

Wolfe, Barbara Schull. An Index to Mexican War Pension Applications. Indianapolis, Indiana: Heritage House, 1985. (FHL book 973 M22w.) Entries include the name, state where the veteran was living at the time of application, date of application, and application or certificate number.

Cemetery Records

The following is a list of those who died in the Mexican War:

Peterson, Clarence Stewart. Known Military Dead during the Mexican War, 1846–48. Baltimore, Maryland: Clarence Stewart Peterson, 1957. (FHL book 973 M23pa; film 0873756 item 4; fiche 6051240.) An alphabetical list including the soldier’s rank, company, regiment, and death date.

American Battle Monuments Commission: Cemeteries Mexican War=

Veterans’ and Lineage Society Records

Veterans of the Mexican War organized the National Association of Veterans of the Mexican War in the 1870s.

The Aztec Club of 1847 was organized by officers in Mexico City during the war. The following book provides information on this society.

Breithaupt, Richard Hoag

. Aztec Club of 1847 Military Society of the Mexican War: Sesquicentennial History, 1847–1997. Universal City, California: Walika Publishing Company, 1998. (FHL book 973 C4b.) Topics covered include biographies of early club members, a chronological list of officers, prominent early members, a register of members from 1848 to 1998, and officers serving in the Mexican War.

Descendants of Mexican War Veterans. This society, established in 1989, publishes the following newsletter and journal:

Butler, Steven R., editor. The American Eagle. Richardson, Texas: Descendants of Mexican War Veterans, 1991–. (FHL book 973 M25ae.)

Butler, Steven R., editor. Mexican War Journal: A Publication of the Descendants of Mexican War Veterans. Richardson, Texas: Descendants of Mexican War Veterans, 1992–. (FHL book 973 M25mv.)

The address for the Mexican War Veterans organization is:

Descendants of Mexican War Veterans
National Office
P.O. Box 830402
Richardson, Texas  75081-0482

This web site includes information about the organization, how to find your Mexican War veteran ancestor, history of the war, historic sites, graves registry, and links to other organizations and museums.

Internet sites

Military Records: Pre-WWI Pension Applications (16 minute online video) FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 2010.

The following Internet sites have information about the Mexican War:

The following Internet sites have histories of the Mexican War:

  • Chronology of the U.S.

Mexican War =

  • Maps of the

U.S. Mexican War =

INFORMATION FROM: US/Canada Family History Reference Consultants. "Mexican War," LAD database 4.2, February, 2004, mjm.