Georgia Military Records
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This entry was originally written by the Johni Cerny and Robert S. Davis for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Colonial. Georgia was founded to serve as a bulwark against the Spanish and French in the lands beyond the Carolinas, and as such, its men were called into service frequently during the colonial period. Unfortunately, few informative records remain to tell who was involved in what conflict. Murtie June Clark, Colonial Soldiers of the South, 1732–1774 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983), lists soldiers who served prior to the Revolutionary War.
Revolutionary War. Georgia’s total population in 1776 numbered less than 20,000 people, of whom perhaps 3,500 men were eligible for military service when the Revolution began. Many of Georgia’s soldiers were recruited from the Carolinas and Virginia; many were neutral or fought for the king. With some of the original service records for the Revolutionary War having been destroyed, it is doubtful that a comprehensive list of Georgia veterans of this war exists. Georgia Revolutionary War rolls at the National Archives are published with other records in Robert S. Davis Jr., Georgia Citizens and Soldiers of the Revolution (Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1979). See also Allen D. Candler, The Revolutionary Records of the State of Georgia, 3 vols. (Atlanta: State Printer, 1906) and Mary B. Warren, Revolutionary Memoirs and Muster Rolls (Athens, Ga.: Heritage Papers, 1994). Abstracts of lost Revolutionary War pension records are included, along with some files from wars as late as 1848, in National Archives microfilm M1746 Final Revolutionary War Pension Vouchers: Georgia, and in related National Archives records.
Bounty-land warrants were issued to soldiers who served in the Georgia military, civilian residents of 1781 and 1782, and Georgia citizens who went to other states during the Revolution to continue the war. After the war, soldiers who served in the Continental Line and others applied for a warrant and, when approved, received a certificate to be exchanged for a warrant. The land to be issued was in Georgia. See Marion R. Hemperley, Military Certificates of Georgia, 1776–1800 (Atlanta: Georgia Surveyor General Department, 1983) and Mary B. Warren, Georgia’s Revolutionary War Bounty Land Records (Athens, Ga.: Heritage Papers, 1992). The original records are in the Georgia Archives.
Indian Wars (1784–1811, 1815–38); Mexican War (1845–48). Georgia supplied thousands of soldiers for various federal campaigns. The tens of thousands of genealogically significant bounty and pension files are in the National Archives (see page 11). Louise F. Hays, comp., Georgia Military Affairs, 1775–1842, 9 vols. (n.p., 1940), includes indexed, unpublished typescripts from the Georgia Archives that cover the broader period beyond the Revolution. This collection is an excellent people-finder and census substitute and supplement. Gordon B. Smith has begun the publication of an ongoing series of histories of the Georgia militia that includes biographical information on thousands of Georgians associated with the state’s early military.
War of 1812. Information included in service records for the War of 1812 is similar to that in the same records of soldiers in the colonial wars and Revolutionary War. See also Judy Kratovil, An Index to War of 1812 Service Records for Volunteer Soldiers of Georgia (Atlanta: the author, 1986). The National Archives records (see page 11) from which Kratovil’s book is taken represents roughly one-fifth of the males of military age in Georgia during the War of 1812.
Civil War. While the original Georgia pension records for Confederate veterans are at the Georgia Archives, microfilm copies are at the FHL. See also The Georgia Commissary General’s Record of Families Supplied with Salt 1862–1864 (CD-ROM computer disk; Atlanta: Georgia Genealogical Society, 2002) and Lillian Henderson, Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, 1861–1865, 7 vols. (Hapeville, Ga.: Longino and Porter, 1960–64), which does not include Georgia’s cavalry, artillery, legions, militia, state troops, and confederate non-state units. Georgians also served in the Union Army, principally in Tennessee units.
There is a database of confederate pension applications for Georgia at Ancestry.com subscribers can access at Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960.
The Georgia Archives has extensive state records relating to the Civil War including militia rolls, salt lists, and veterans censuses, to name only a few sources. The most valuable to researchers is an “Alphabetical Index” to Georgia Confederate records on microfilm at the Georgia Archives. See Nancy Cornell, "1864 Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia" (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000). This book, now available online at Ancestry.com, is a statewide census of all white males between the ages of 16 and 60 who were not at the time in the service of the Confederate States of America.
FamilySearch.org has a variety of collections available for free online:
- Georgia, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865
- Georgia, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers
Later Wars. Some military records for Georgia after the Civil War are in the Georgia Archives as original records or as microfilm copies. Included are rosters of the Spanish American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the Poncho Villa Campaign. The state archives also has microfilm of many county copies of service records for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The National Archives—Southeast Region has World War I draft registration records. Service records and photographs of Georgians who died in World War I were published in Bert E. Boss, Georgia Memorial Book (Macon: Georgia Memorial Association, 1921).