Virginia Military Records
Post at Fredericksburg -- Textual records of this fort, 1866-1869, 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 Harmar 1785-90
Fort Monroe -- Textual records of this post, 1823-1920, 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 Myer -- Textual records of this post, 1861-1919, 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 Nelson 1794-1824
Fort Norfolk 1794-1824
Colonial Wars (1607-1763)
Complete military records do not exist for Virginia before the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Most of those that survive have been gathered and published in the following books:
- Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Virginia's Colonial Soldiers. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1988. (Family History Library 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. (Family History Library 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 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.
- Kegley, Mary B. Soldiers of Fincastle County, Virginia, 1774. Dublin, Virginia: M. B. Kegley, 1974 (FHL 975.5 A1 no. 12) (Worldcat) The record is arranged by companies and gives name, number of days served, rate, and amount paid. This record includes an index.
- Neville, John Davenport. Bacon's Rebellion. Abstracts of Materials in the Colonial Records Project. Richmond, Va., 1976.
- 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. (Family History Library 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 Kentucky Land and Property).
- 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. (Family History Library 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)
For a detailed guide to Virginia military organization, see: Virginia in the Revolutionary War.
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. Abstracts of many Virginia Revolutionary War pension records and unit rosters are available on the website Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution. A database of participants at Valley Forge, which includes many Virginians, is available online. The Battle of Camden website also includes details about many Virginia Revolutionary War soldiers (see American & Brit Participants).
If you know the unit a person served in and are trying to determine where men for that unit were recruited, the following book can help:
- Sanchez-Saavedra, E.M. A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations in the American Revolution, 1774-1787. Richmond, Va.: Virginia State Library, 1978. FHL Book 975.5 M2s.
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, Va.: Dietz Press, 1938. Digital version at Ancestry ($); 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, Va.: D. Bottom, 1912. Digital version at Internet Archive; FHL book 975.5 M23v 1912, film 928145 item 14, fiche 6051268; 1913 supplement: FHL film 547176 and fiche 6051262 This helps identify approximately 35,000 Revolutionary soldiers from Virginia.
- Douthat, James L. Virginia Soldiers in Northwest Territory - 1777. Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press. Free online surname index and purchase details at Mountain Press website.
Virginia soldiers may have received a pension from the state or federal government. Pension records of Virginians may be found in:
- Virginia Half Pay and Other Related Revolutionary War Pension Application Files. National Archives Microfilm Publication M910. (FHL films 1024434–42.) Records include the name; rank; amount of pension; death date; widow and children, if any; pension file number; some dates for wife and children, especially date of death of wife, and so on. Contains 279 pension application files.
- Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files. (On 2,670 Family History Library 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, Tenn.: 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.
- Clark, Murtie June. The Pension Lists of 1792-1795 With Other Revolutionary War Pension Records. Baltimore, Md., 1991. Helpful guide to pensioners who died before 1818.
- Revolutionary War Pensions and Index (Virginia). FHL Film 29866 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.
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 Virginia is available online:
- Report from the Secretary of War... Vol. II (Google Books)
- The Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. III (Ancestry) ($)
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 29821-51; index on FHL Film 29850 for A-Payser and FHL Film 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 29867-82, index on FHL Film 29882 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 Family History Library films, 1889181-218. These certificates are also filmed by number on Family History Library 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). (Family History Library 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 United States Land and Property and United States Military Records 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 (Family History Library 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. (Family History Library 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. (Family History Library 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 (Family History Library 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; Family History Library book 976.9 R22j; Family History Library 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. (Family History Library book973 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 United States Land and Property.
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 Family History Library films beginning with film 1485281) and in General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary War Soldiers (on 58 Family History Library 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. (Family History Library book 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.
The Muster Roll Project, sponsored by the Valley Forge Legacy, has reconstructed muster rolls for the 1st-15th Virginia Regiments and the 1st-2nd Virginia State. Their collection is available for free online.
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. (Family History Library 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. (Family History Library films 029819-20.) The index to both sets of films is on Family History Library films 029813-18. The original records are at the Library of Virginia.
For a list of white loyalists in Williamsburg during the Revolution, see:
- Kelly, Kevin P. "The White Loyalists of Williamsburg," The Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter, Vol. 17, No. 2 (1996). Digital version at Colonial Williamsburg.
- Eckenrode, H.J. The Revolution in Virginia. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916. Digital version at Google Books.
- Selby, John E. The Revolution in Virginia, 1775-1783. Williamsburg, Va., 1988.
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
Lists of War of 1812 soldiers are in:
- Index to War of 1812 Pay Rolls and Muster Rolls, is a searchable name index to Pay Rolls of Militia Entitled to Land Bounty Under the Act of Congress of Sept. 28, 1850 and its supplement, Muster Rolls of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812. Approximately 40,000 names are indexed and gives the page number where a name is found.
- Muster Rolls, Payrolls, and Index of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1955. (Family History Library films 0029984-91) Published payroll and muster roll books are on Family History Library 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. (Family History Library book 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.
Veterans who were still alive in 1883 and drew pensions are identified in a book that is now widely available on the Internet:
- List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883; Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Why Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance... Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883. FHL Collection 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [Virginia section begins on page 58.]
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. (Family History Library book 975 M2wp.) Gives marriage and death dates and places, spouses, and residences.
- Johnson, William Page. Off to War, The Virginia Volunteers in the War with Mexico, or Fuera de Guerra, La Virginia Volentarios en la Guerra con Mexico. Westminster, Md.: Willow Bend Books, 2002.
Civil War (1861-1865)
See Virginia in the Civil War for information about Virginia Civil War records, web sites, etc. with links to articles about the Virginia regiments involved in the Civil War. The regimental articles 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 the families of the soldiers.
For information about African American troops, see United States Colored Troops in the Civil War to learn about the regiments and units that served from Virginia.
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System allows name searching for soldiers. The result set gives the regiment for each soldiers. Then you can check the regiment page to determine counties. Often knowing the counties that had men in a regiment will help you determine if a soldier was your ancestor.
Old Soldiers Homes (1870s-1940s)
The Southern Branch National Military Home in Hampton and the Virginia Confederate Soldiers' Home (a.k.a. Lee Camp Soldiers' Home) in Richmond serviced many military veterans between the 1870s and 1940s. US Military Old Soldiers Home Records identifies various types of records created concerning folks admitted to these homes.
World War I (1917-1918)
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. (Family History Library 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. (Family History Library 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 Family History Library 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. (Family History Library film 1498803)
Ancestry has World War I Draft Registration Cards digitized and online ($).
World War II (1941-1945)
For a list of 8,777 war dead, see:
- Hemphill, W. Edwin, ed. Gold Star Honor Roll of Virginians in the Second World War. Charlottesville, Va.: Virginia World War II History Commission, 1947. FHL Collection 975.5 M2g. County-by-county list of the soldier's name, rank, service branch, and nearest surviving relative.
Ancestry has World War II enlistment records. ($)
Virginia Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.
- NOTE: All of the information from the original research outline has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.