United States in the War of 1812

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Fold3 ($) is currently digitizing the "War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files". See examples and progress at War of 1812 Pension Application Files.

United States Gotoarrow.png U.S. Military Gotoarrow.png US in the War of 1812

Star Spangled Banner, flag that inspired the U.S. National anthem
The War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain began formally on June 18, 1812. It involved about 60,000 U.S. Army forces supported by 470,000 militia and volunteer troops. To end the war, the treaty of Ghent was signed 24 December 1814, however another battle was fought 8 January 1815 at New Orleans. The U.S. Congress ratified the treaty on 17 February 1815, formally ending the war.

When war was declared, the Regular Army had about 10,000 men, and about half of those were new recruits. "Each Regular Army infantry regiment was recruited from a particular state (or states). Rifle, artillery, and dragoons were recruited at large...Most, but not all, of the men recruited for a particular infantry regiment were from the state of recruitment."[1]

Map of the United States during the War of 1812.

For a list showing the regimental recruiting districts, see William A. Gordon, A Compilation of the Registers of the Army of the United States from 1815 to 1837, 1 (Washington, DC: James C. Dunn, 1837). Digital version: Internet Archive.

United States Federal Military Units

Not all men enrolled in state militia units. Men also enrolled in federal (US) units. The records for the federal units are more extensive than those for the state militia units.

United States (Federal) Units
U.S. Infantry
U.S. Rifles
U.S. Cavalry
U.S. Artillery and Engineers
U.S. Navy and Marines

State and Territorial Militia Units

Many men enrolled in state or territory militia units. The records for these men were kept by the state or territory. Check a state or territory below:

Other States with Records of Veterans


  • Battle of Frenchtown (Historyofwar.org) (British victory) - 22 January 1813 now Monroe, Michigan on the Raisin River
  • Battle of the Thames (Wikipedia) (Both sides claimed victory) - Moraviantown, on Thames River, Kent County, Ontario 5 October 1813
  • Batle of Lundy's Lane (Historycentral.com) (Both sides claimed victory) - about one mile from Niagara Falls 25 July 1814
  • Battle of New Orleans (Historycentral.com) (United States victory) (after peace treaty was signed) 8 January 1815
  • Campaigns of the War of 1812-1815, against Great Britain, sketched and criticised; with brief biographies of the American engineers, George W. Cullum, FHL film 1404257
  • Paine, Ralph Delahaye, The fight for a free sea: a chronicle of the War of 1812 (New Haven Connecticut, Yale Univeristy Press, 1920) FHL book 973 H2ch v. 17


  • PBS, The War of 1812, has a short video with information about the war. It also has lists of historic sites with short histories of each.
  • History.com, War of 1812, has several short videos about the war as well as a brief written histories of the war and a few prominent people.
  • United States Navy, Bicentennial of the War of 1812, videos

Additional Resources


  • Heidler, David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler. Encyclopedia of the War of 1812 (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, c1997). 636 pages. FHL Book 973 H26
  • Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812, a Forgotten Conflict (Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1989). 457 pages. FHL Book 973 H2
  • Horsman, Reginald The War of 1812 (New York, New York, Alfred A Knophf, 1969) pages 286 FHL Book 973 H2
  • Jacobs, James Ripley and Glenn Tucker, The War of 1812: a compact history (New York, New York, Hawthorn Books copyright 1969)
  • Latimer, Jon: 1812: War with America (Cambridge, Massachusette: Belknap Press, c2007). 637 pages. FHL Book 973 M2
  • Lossing, Benson J. The Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812: or, Illustrations, by Pen and Pencil, of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics, and Traditions of the Last War for American Independence (Salt Lake City: Digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah c2009)  View a great digital version
  • War of 1812 Newspaper Clippings and Pictures (Frankfort, Kentucky, Kentucky Historical Society, 1966). FHL film 482877
  • Fredriksen, John C. The United States Army in the War of 1812: Concise Biographies of Commanders and Operational Histories of Regiments, with Bibliographies of Published and Primary Sources. (Jefferson, North Carolina c2009). 303 pages. FHL film 2237
  • Malcomson, Robert. Historical Dictionary of the War of 1812. (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2006). 701 pages. FHL book 973 H26m
  • Schweitzer, George K. War of 1812 Genealogy. (Knoxville, Tennessee, 1983). Includes general history of the war, the types of records created, and the titles of those records. FHL 973 H27s
  • Skeen, C. Edward: Citizen Soldiers in the War of 1812 (Lexington, Kentucky: Universtiy Press of Kentucky, c1999). Includes description of the militia system in the states before the War of 1812, how the militia was combined with the regular army, and what happened. Bibliography: p. 215-220. Includes index. 229 pages. FHL book 973 M2scs.

Soldiers' Claims

  • Higgins, Francis J. "Index of Awards on Claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812" (Baltimore, Maryland, 1969, 1994)
  • Index of Awards on Claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812, compiled by the New York Adjutant General's Office. The following list is an index of claims presented by members of Indian tribes mustered into the service of the United States in the War of 1812. Information is presented as follows: Claim number, name of warrior, claimant and amount awarded.

African Americans

During the War of 1812, many African Americans fought in the U.S. armed forces, especially in the Navy.  Many others fought on the side of the British.

  • Van Thienen, Erik, The War of 1812, 1812-1815, (Yahoo! Answers, accessed 29 May 2012), has a good explanation of the role of African Americans in the War, including the names of over 20 soldiers.  It also gives several sources for more information.


  • National Society Daughters of the War of 1812, Great Timeline of the events of the war.

Web Sites

  • NARA, War of 1812 Discharge Certificates, has an explanation of the records, and the following appendixes:
    Appendix I: List of Units and Subunits
    Appendix II: List of Company/Detachment Commanders
    Appendix III: List of Soldiers by Name
    Appendix IV: List of Soldiers by Unit
  • The USGENWEB Project has a special project relating to the War of 1812. Look under the state your ancestor came from and then click on military records.
  • The Man Who Captured the White House - Brief histories of the activities of General Ross, including the burning of the White House and the events for the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:

Louisiana War of 1812 Pension Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)


  1. National Archives. War of 1812 Discharge Certificates, (accessed 25 April 2012).