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Pennsylvania Military Records

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Carlisle Barracks -- Textual records of this fort, 1829-1879, 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 Cumberland

Fort Duquesne

Fort Granville

Fort Hand

Fort Ligonier

Fort McIntosh 1778-91

Fort Mifflin -- Textual records of this fort, 1841-1901, 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 Necessity

Fort Venango

The United States Military Records page provides more information on federal military records and search strategies. Many military records are found at the Family History Library, the National Archives, and other federal and state archives.

A helpful bibliography is John B. B. Trussell, Pennsylvania Military History (Carlisle Barracks, PA: [s. n.], 1974; Family History Library book 973 B4ua no. 10). It includes items from the colonial period through World War II.

Many volumes of the Pennsylvania Archives (see Pennsylvania Genealogy) contain transcripts of military records, such as rosters and muster rolls. The appropriate volumes and series are referred to below.

Colonial Wars (1744-1775)Edit

The earliest documents appear to be Records of 17th Century Soldiers in New Sweden: 1637-1655 (microfilm of originals at the Gloucester County Historical Society, Woodbury, New Jersey; Family History Library film 1510234 item 4). It contains mainly lists of soldiers and is written in German and Swedish.

Names of soldiers and their companies in the colonial period, 1744-1765, are in the 5th series, volume 1 of the Pennsylvania Archives (Family History Library book 974.8 A39p; film 844572 item 2; fiche 6019913). These records often give the state or country of birth. Sometimes even a more specific locality is indicated.

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)Edit

A man born between 1730 and 1765 who lived in Pennsylvania is probably listed in some form of military record. If he supported the Revolution, he may be mentioned in records as a rebel, patriot, or Whig. Those who opposed the Revolution were called Loyalists or Tories.

Loyalists or ToriesEdit

Names of Loyalists may be found in Pennsylvania, Supreme Executive Council, Forfeited Estates File, 1777-1790 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, [1978?]; Family History Library films 1759092 item 2-1759093 item 1). Records are alphabetically arranged by name of the estate holder with some files arranged by county.

Records of forfeited estates are also found in Pennsylvania Archives, series 6, volumes 12-13. See Guide to the Microfilm of the Records of Pennsylvania's Revolutionary Governments, 1775-1790 in Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries section for a list of the names in these records.

Another list of these names is in Anne M. Ousterhout, Opponents of the Revolution Whose Pennsylvania Estates Were Confiscated, Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine 30 (1978): 237-53. See Pennsylvania Periodicals.

A small list of these individuals is Black List: A List of Those Who Took Part With Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, and Were Attainted of High Treason, Commonly Called the Black List (microreproduction of original published: Philadelphia: [s. n.], 1802; Family History Library film 1688885).

Patriots or RevolutionariesEdit

For patriot records of the Revolutionary War, see:

  • Pennsylvania State Archives. Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File. Arranged alphabetically by surname of soldier. The abstract card file contains transcriptions of data extracted from original records in the custody of the State Archives concerning Revolutionary War service in the Pennsylvania Militia, Pennsylvania Line, and the Navy. Note that duty after November 1783 is not considered Revolutionary War service. Information provided is name and rank of soldier, whether active or inactive duty, county of residence, battalion in which served, and record from which information was extracted. Also noted are whether soldier was delinquent and fined or whether militia fines were abated.
  • Pennsylvania State Archives. Militia Officers Index Cards, 1775-1800. Index card file of the names of Pennsylvania militia officers who served during the American Revolution, in Indian campaigns in northwestern Pennsylvania, and in quelling the Whiskey Rebellion. The cards are arranged alphabetically by surname of officer. Information provided is name, county, rank, company or battalion, dates of service, township, and occasionally district within township. In rare cases, other pertinent information is provided such as place of burial, wounds received, names of children, names of any expeditions or campaigns, name of person whom they succeeded, and date discharged.
  • White, Virgil D. Genealogical Abstracts of the Revolutionary War Pension Files. 4 vols. Waynesboro, Tennesse: National Historical Publishing, 1990. (Family History Library book 973 M28g.) May include the soldier's name, unit, dates and places of service and application, age, birth date, marriage date, residences, and names of relatives. These abstracts are mainly from the United States, Veterans Administration, Selected Records from Revolutionary War Pension & Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files (Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1969; Family History Library films 840256-406). The Family History Library only has microfilms for surnames starting with A or B. The National Archives has microfilm for all surnames.
  • White, Virgil D. Index to Revolutionary War Service Records. 4 vols. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1995. (Family History Library book 973 M22wv.) Shows the name, rank, and unit of over 390,000 patriots. Transcripts of United States, Adjutant General's Office, General Index to Compiled Military Service Records of Revolutionary Ward Soldiers (Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1942; Family History Library film 882841-98).

The service records and pension files for Revolutionary War patriots are available at the Family History Library.

You can also use NATF Form 80 to obtain copies of the original records from the National Archives. You can also go online to order these records at

The Family History Library has copies of many service records and the complete federal pension files from the National Archives. For example, see United States, War Department, Revolutionary War Rolls 1775- 1783, Pennsylvania Jackets 1-93 (Family History Library films 830359- 63). These rolls are filed by military unit. Published rosters of soldiers are in the following volumes of the Pennsylvania Archives (Family History Library book 974.8 A39p and microforms listed below):

  • 2nd series, vols. 10-11 (Family History Library films 908829 item 2 and 908830)
  • 2nd series, vols. 13-14 (Family History Library film 823997)
  • 2nd series, vol. 15 (Family History Library film 823998 item 2)
  • 3rd series, vol. 23 (Family History Library film 824434 item 2)
  • 5th series. vols. 2-8 (Family History Library films 844573-77)
  • 6th series, vols. 1-2 (Family History Library films 844562-63)

An index to volumes 10, 11, 13, and 14 of the 2nd series is also at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Index to Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution: Battalions and Line, 1775-1783; Associated Battalions and Militia, 1775-1783 (on 10 Family History Library films beginning with 539073).

  • Another useful printed source is Harry E. Cope, Soldiers and Widows of Soldiers of the Revolutionary War Granted Pensions by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (n.p.; Family History Library book 974.8 M2c; film 1036819 item 26). Some of the names in this book are also found in the federal pension records. See the U.S. Military Records Research Outline (34118) for information about those records. Records for some individuals in the above title are also in Pennsylvania, Auditor General's Office, Revolutionary War Pension File, 1809-1893 (Family History Library films 1016413-15). The films include names that are not in the book.

The following sources from the Pennsylvania State Archives are also available at the Family History Library:

For early payment records, see Pennsylvania, Comptroller General, Revolutionary War Pension Accounts, 1785-1809, 1834-1838 (Family History Library film 295743 items 4-9).

For an account of the payments to pensioners, see Pennsylvania, Auditor General, Revolutionary War Pension Accounts, 1807-1883 (Family History Library films 1027856- 5). The soldier's death date may be found in these records.

For a list of burials, see Daughters of the American Revolution, Lycoming Chapter (Williamsport, Pennsylvania), Revolutionary War Veterans Interred in Pennsylvania, volume 1 (Family History Library film 441387). This is a micro-reproduction of an original typescript at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It often just lists the name of the soldier and the cemetery.

Military Abstract Card File for the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. (On 42 Family History Library films beginning with 1205961.) This file has been abstracted from original documents in the custody of the Pennsylvania State Archives and is arranged alphabetically by soldier's name in four file units.

Pennsylvania. Comptroller General. Military Accounts, Line, 1775-1809. (Family History Library films 1027962- 70.) The Military Abstract Card File is an index to these records. It includes clothing allowances, letters of attorney, probate actions, military rolls, documents regarding payment, affidavits, etc., filed by military unit.

Additional records that could prove helpful are Pennsylvania, Comptroller General, Militia Military Accounts, 1777-1794 (on 38 Family History Library films beginning with 1023007). They are arranged by county, militia period, and battalion and include many lists of names, etc., such as why a person was unable to serve in the military.

For information about the federal soldiers from Pennsylvania (the Pennsylvania Line), see John B. B. Trussell, Jr., The Pennsylvania Line, Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977; Family History Library book 974.8 M2tp).

War of 1812 (1812-1815)Edit

Muster rolls published in the Pennsylvania Archives (FHL book 974.8 A39p and the films listed below) are in:

  • 2nd series, vol. 12 (Family History Library film 823997)
  • 4th series, vol. 5 (Family History Library film 824418)
  • 6th series, vols. 7-9 (Family History Library film 844566-68)

The muster rolls are also published in Muster Rolls of the Pennsylvania Volunteers in the War of 1812-1814, 1895, (reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing, 1967; Family History Library book 974.8 M2m; film 844514 item 2). This was reprinted from Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, vol. 12.

The Family History Library also has the following records. The original documents are at the state archives.

Pennsylvania. Auditor General. War of 1812, List of Soldiers. (Family History Library films 1027855 item 6 through 1027856 item 1.)

Pennsylvania. Bureau of Audits. War of 1812 Militia Accounts, 1812-1827. (On 8 Family History Library films beginning with 1020490.)

Pennsylvania. Auditor General's Office. War of 1812 Pension Records, 1866-1896. (Family History Library films 1018554- 80.)

For a brief history of Pennsylvania's involvement in the war see Harold L. Myers, Pennsylvania and the War of 1812 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1964; Family History Library book 974.8 A1 no. 12).

Mexican War (1846-1848)Edit

An alphabetical list of soldiers enrolled in Pennsylvania is in Pennsylvania Archives, series 6, volume 10, pp. 249-458. Volumes 36-38 of the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine (see the "Periodicals" section) also has a list of names.

The Family History Library has the following records and an index to pensions, but the actual pension records are at the National Archives.

United States. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Organizations from the State of Pennsylvania. (Family History Library films 1314139-51.)

Pennsylvania. Adjutant General's Office. Mexican Service Index, 1846-1848. (Family History Library film 1032842 item 2.) This contains muster rolls of the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Pennsylvania. Bureau of Audits. Mexican War Military Accounts, 1846-1880. (Family History Llibrary films 1020496-500.)

An excellent history is Randy W. Hackenburg, Pennsylvania in the War with Mexico (Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Pub. Co., 1992; Family History Library book 974.8 M2h). It includes the rosters and brief biographies of the men who served.

Civil War (1861-1865)Edit

Pennsylvania State Archives. Civil War Veterans' Card File, 1861-1866. Arranged alphabetically by surname of soldier, these 3" x 5" cards were initially prepared to serve as an index to Samuel Penniman Bates' "History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865," (Harrisburg, 1869-1871). The Office of the Adjutant General later expanded the scope of the cards by transcribing onto them data found on the original Civil War Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1861-1866 {series #19.11}. The information generally includes the soldiers' names, military units, Bates' citations (volume and page), ages at enrollment, descriptions (complexion, height, color of hair and eyes), residences and birthplaces; the dates and places where enrolled; the dates and places where mustered in; and the dates of discharge. The listing is not inclusive.

Some libraries have indexes to service and pension records, but the service and pension records are available only at the National Archives. See the U.S. Military Records Research Outline (34118) for more information about these records. A published roster of soldiers and regiments is Samuel Penniman Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, 5 vols. (Harrisburg, PA: B. Singerly, 1869-71; Family History Library book 974.8 M2b; on 5 Family History Library films beginning with 824366). For an index see Civil War Veterans Card File, 1861-1866, at the Pennsylvania State Archives (on 80 Family History Library films beginning with 1205205). The card file originally indexed the History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65. Later the Adjutant General's office included data found in the original documents. Information on the cards depended on the extractor, but soldier's name, unit, age, physical description, residence, birthplace, date of discharge, etc., may have been extracted.

A more recent edition is Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, 10 vols. (Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot Pub. Co., 1993-1994; Family History Library book 974.8 M2b 1993). An index is Janet Hewett, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-5, 4 vols. (Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot Pub. Co., 1994; Family History Library book 974.8 M2b index).

The same rosters, which contain more information, are found in Pennsylvania, Adjutant General's Office, Register of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865. (Family History Library films 295744-58.) They list the age, when and where joined, when and where mustered, sometimes the residence, and remarks that may include more details than in the published versions above.

Each source should be checked for names that are not in the other sources. For additional names, refer to Pennsylvania, Auditor General's Office, Board of Military Claims, Military Claims Settled, 1862-1905 (on 63 Family History Library films beginning with 1018582, the index is on 1018581); and Pennsylvania, Auditor General's Office, Military Claims not Settled, 1862-1905, (on 5 Family History Library films beginning with 1021415).

See also United States, Adjutant General's Office, Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Pennsylvania (Family History Library films 882336-471). The index lists names that are not in some of the above sources.

From the state archives, the library has obtained copies of other manuscript sources, such as lists of wounded soldiers, substitutes, deserters, and veterans in soldiers' homes.

The state archives has many other sources not at the Family History Library, such as Descriptive Books of the G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic], 1866-1933. Here entries are arranged by post and may contain the soldier's name, age, birthplace, residence, and details of his Civil War military service.

Conscientious Objectors

Some inhabitants of Pennsylvania opted to stay out of the war for religious and other reasons. The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania has a free online database of men who were conscientious objectors in Pennsylvania for religious reasons.

Other Sources

An important bibliography for this war is Dan A. Nettling, Pennsylvania Military History: A Bibliography. Part II, The Civil War (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U. S. Army Military History Institute, 1992; Family History Library book 974.8 M23p). It is organized by regiment and lists personal papers of some men in the regiment that are in the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Veterans of Multiple Eras (1867-1921)Edit

Pennsylvania State Archives. Pennsylvania National Guard Veterans' Card File, 1867-1921. Arranged alphabetically by surname of veteran. Names generally read from left to right: Last, Middle, First. Consists of 4" x 6" cards originally maintained by the Office of the Adjutant General. Data generally shown about each veteran includes name, rank, age, physical description (height, complexion, hair and eye color), occupation and residence; the date and place of enlistment; the date and reason for discharge; and the unit (company and regiment) to which assigned. Information about federal service rendered by the veteran and the date of death or first appearance in the military records also routinely appears.

Spanish-American War (1898)Edit

A card file of veterans who participated in the Spanish-American war is Pennsylvania State Archives. Spanish American War Veterans' Card File of United States Volunteers.  These records were created by the Office of the Adjutant General in 1941 from information taken from the official records of the United States War Department. Information found about each veteran includes name, race, residence, place and date of birth, date and place of enlistment, military organization to which attached, rank, and dates serving overseas in either Cuba or the Philippines. Sometimes extensive comments at the bottom of the cards provide information on the reasons for, and the type of, discharge as well as a record of prior military service.

A published roster of soldiers, listing name, residence, and muster-in and muster-out dates, is Thomas J. Stewart, Record of Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Spanish-American War, 1898, 2nd ed. (Harrisburg, PA: Wm. Stanley Ray, 1901; Family History Library book 974.8 M2r; film 982200 item 1).

Additional sources at the library include:

Pennsylvania. Department of Military Affairs State Veteran's Compensation Division. Spanish American War Veteran's Compensation File. (On 46 Family History Library films beginning with 1032848.)

Pennsylvania. Adjutant General's Office. United States Volunteers of the Spanish American War, 1893-1901. (Family History Library film 1266814.)

Mexican Border Campaign (1916)Edit

Pennsylvania State Archives. Mexican Border Campaign Veterans' Card File. These cards, bearing the title "Mexican Emergency, Call of President, June 18, 1916," contain the following information about veterans: name and rank, regiment and company, age and place of birth, a physical description (height, complexion, hair and eye color), date of commission or enlistment into service, home station and date of rendezvous, and date of acceptance into United States service. Additional remarks may indicate the date that the soldier's enlistment was to expire and the name and address of a person to be contacted in case of an emergency. All of the cards also bear a stamp indicating that a Mexican Service Medal was issued to the veteran, along with a corresponding number.

World War I (1917-1918)Edit

Draft Registration CardsEdit

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 Pennsylvania's cards, see United States, Selective Service System, Pennsylvania, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1987-1988; on 317 Family History Library films beginning with 1852246). The records are also indexed and searchable online at

To find an individual's draft card, it helps to 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. Finding an ancestor's street address in a city directory will help you determine the board number if he lived in a large city. Draft board addresses can be found in Second Report of the Provost Marshall General to the Secretary of War on the Operations of the Selective Service System to December 20, 1918 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919; not at Family History Library). There are maps that show the draft board registration district boundaries in Allegheny, Luzerne, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Reading, and Westmoreland. For a copy of these maps, see:

United States. Selective Service System. List of World War One Draft Board Maps. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. (Family History Library film 1498803.)

Service Medal ApplicationsEdit

Pennsylvania State Archives. World War I Service Medal Application Cards. These cards were originally submitted by veterans and their survivors who applied for service medals in accordance with the Act of April 21, 1937 P.L. 331, sections 1 and 2. Information provided about each veteran consists of name and serial number, place of residence at time of entry into service, date and place the veteran entered into service, rank, military unit to which attached, place and date of honorable discharge, and the signature of the applicant. Also present are the initials of the person by whom the remittance was received and of the person acting on behalf of the Adjutant General, and each card is stamped with the date of approval. The reverse side of each card shows the name of the veteran or survivor applying for the medal, and the residence to which the medal was to be mailed.

World War II (1941-1945)Edit

For a brief history of Pennsylvania's involvement, see S. K. Stevens, Marvin W. Schlegel, and Joseph T. Kingston, Pennsylvania's Second Year at War; December 7, 1942 - December 7, 1943 (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1945; Family History Library book 974.8 M2sk). It includes biographies of Pennsylvanians who won the Medal of Honor and a list of Pennsylvania generals, admirals, and commodores.

Other Military RecordsEdit

The State Archives has limited draft and muster records for World War I (not available online).  The Family History Library has copies of other files from the State Archives. These include militia files, accounts, claims, and other records created during and between wars.

Military Records Websites Edit

The Pennsylvania State Archives has digitized a number of military records.

The National Archives has many military records.

Web SitesEdit


Pennsylvania Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2006.