Researching the War of 1812: Where to Begin

As 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the Reference staff at Archives 1 want to provide a glimpse of some of the series that we have in our custody relating to this conflict.  The following list may assist researchers who want to locate records pertaining to the War of 1812.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive, but is rather meant to be a starting point.

Records Relating to the U.S. Army and War Department:

  • RG 92, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General
    • Consolidated Correspondence, 1794-1890 (ARC Identifier 300350)
  • RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office
    • Correspondence
      • Letters Sent, 1800-1890 (Microfilm Publication #M565; ARC Identifier 589522)
      • Letters Received, 1805-1821 (Microfilm Publication #M566; ARC Identifier 300368)
    • Miscellaneous Records
      • Records of the War of 1812, 1812-1815  (ARC Identifier 1184845)
        • Contains correspondence, receipts, disbursement papers, orders for arms
      • Special Index to Miscellaneous Records (ARC Identifier 1184848)
    • Records Relating to Prisoners
      • Records Relating to War of 1812 Prisoners, 1812-1815 (ARC Identifier 1184852)
        • Contains miscellaneous correspondence relating to both American and British prisoners
      • Indexes to Records Relating to Prisoners (ARC Identifier 1184856)
  • RG 98, Records of U.S. Army Commands, 1784-1821
    • Correspondence, Company Books (Record Group Description: ARC Identifier 427)
  • RG 107, Records of the Office of the Secretary of War
    • Correspondence
    • Letters Sent, 1800-1889 (Microfilm Publication #M6; ARC Identifier 627701)
      • Letters Sent to the President, 1800-1863 (Microfilm Publication #M127; ARC Identifier 627704)
      • Confidential and Unofficial Letters Sent, 1814-1847 (Microfilm Publication #M7; ARC Identifier 627847)
      • Letters Received (Main Series), 1801-1889 (Microfilm Publication #M221; ARC Identifier 628093)
        • Registers of Letters Received, 1800-1889 (Microfilm Publication #M22; ARC Identifier 628092)
      • Unregistered Letters Received, 1789-1861 (Microfilm Publication #M222; ARC Identifier 628094)
      • Miscellaneous Records, 1797-1879 (ARC Identifier 643058)
  • RG 153, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General
    • Courts-Martial Case Files, 1809-1938 (ARC Identifier 301659)

Records Relating the U.S. Navy:

  •  RG 24, Records of the Bureau of Personnel (Navigation)
    • Logs of US Navy Ships and Stations  1801-1946 (ARC Identifier 581208)
  • RG 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library
    • Muster Rolls and Payrolls for US Navy Vessels 1798 – 1860 (Microfilm Publication #T829; ARC Identifier 1813771)
    • Muster Rolls and Payrolls for US Navy Stations 1805 – 1869 (Microfilm Publication #T829; ARC Identifier 1814571)
    • Letters Received (by the Secretary of the Navy) from Commanders, 1804-1886 (Microfilm Publication #M147; ARC Identifier 1786927)
    • Letters Received (by the Secretary of the Navy) from Captains, 1805-1861 (Microfilm Publication #M125; ARC Identifier 718998)
    • Letters Received from Commissioned Officers Below the Rank of Commander and From Warrant Officers (Officer’s Letters), 1802-1884 (Microfilm Publication #M148; ARC Identifier 718927)
    • Area Files of the U.S. Navy 1775-1910  (ARC Identifier 300258)
    • Subject File of the U.S. Navy 1775-1910  (ARC Identifier 439898). 
    • Logs and Journal kept by Naval Officers 1776-1908 (ARC Identifier 1801187)
    • Letters Received Accepting Appointments as Commissioned and Warrant Officers, 1812-1864 (Microfilm Publication #T829; ARC Identifier 1936743)
    • Letters of Resignation Received from the Commissioned, Warrant and Acting Officers, 1812-1877 (Microfilm Publication #T829; ARC Identifier 1936751) 
    • Service Records for the War of 1812 (partial and incomplete) (ARC Identifier 1756563) 

Please note that descriptions of the series from RG 45 are published in the finding aid Inventory of the Office of Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library and is available online the US Navy’s History and Heritage Command website at

Much of the War of 1812 correspondence has been published in the three volume series, The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History, edited by William S. Dudley and Michael J. Crawford, 1985.

Military Service Records and Pension Files

  • RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office
    • Compiled Military Service Records (Volunteers), 1812-1815 (ARC Identifier 300392)
    • Regular Army Enlistment Papers, 1798-1912 (ARC Identifier 300390)
    • Regular Army Registers of Enlistments, 1798-1912 (Microfilm Publication #M233; ARC Identifier 575272)
  •  RG 15, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Pension Applications, including earlier Old Wars, both Army and Navy Veterans, ca. 1812-1900 (ARC Identifier 564415)
    • “Old Wars” Pension Applications based on Service Between 1783-1861 (ARC Identifier 1105306)
    • Bounty Land Warrant Applications, ca. 1812-1855 (ARC Identifier 567388)
  • RG 49, Records of the Bureau of Land Management
    • Surrendered Bounty Land Warrants, ca. 1850-1900 (ARC Identifier 300280)


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