Military records are an important resource for people who are seeking ancestors who served their country. Military records identify millions of individuals who served in the military or who were eligible for service. You may find evidence that an ancestor served in the military in family traditions, census records, naturalization records, biographies, cemetery records, and records of veterans' organizations. More recent military records usually have more information than older
U.S. Military Records Research Outline
The best online resource for locating and researching U.S. military records is available on the LDS Church website If you do not know if your ancestor served in the military, the year of birth may indicate the possibility. Most people who were in the military were between 18 and 30 years of age. Use the war chronology below to see if your ancestor could have served during wartime.
Our chronology below is a listing of known military campaigns, conflicts, expeditions and wars that colonial Americans, U.S. military and state militia forces have been involved in. Note: An asterisk next to the name of a conflict indicates a major war during that period. Websites may freely link to this page without permission. This list my not be reproduced in any form without permission of the author. Copyright © 2002-2006, Family Roots and Branches. Sources: Thanks to the Savage/Goodner Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1513 website and the Civil War Clip Art Gallery for the graphics used on the military pages of Family Roots and Branches. You can click on the logos above to view their collection of civil war era clipart.
Civil War Records and Resources Learn if your ancestor served in the civil war or received a pension after the war. Links to selected websites aid in locating these valuable records.
United States Military Campaigns, Conflicts, Expeditions, and Wars
Compiled by Larry Van Horn, U.S. Navy Retired
War/Conflict Dates Area Involved in Confrontation/Additional Information French-Spanish Colonial Attacks 1565-1567 Area that is now northeastern Florida - battle between the French colonial settlement on the St. Johns River and the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine. Anglo (Great Britain)-French War 1613-1629 Canada Jamestown Conflicts 1622-1644 Jamestown, Colonial Virginia - Indian attacks and counter attacks by Jamestown colonists. Anglo (Great Britain)-French War 1629 St. Lawrence River Region Pequot Indian War 1636-1638 Connecticut - this war involved the Pequot Indians and the settlers of the Pilgrim and the Massachusetts Bay Colonies. First Anglo (Great Britain)-Dutch War 1640-1645 New Netherlands Iroquois Indian War 1642-1653 Colonial New England and Acadia Battle of the Severn 25 Mar 1655 Colonial Maryland - this was the final battle of the Civil War. No not the American Civil War, but the English Civil War. This battle was on and around the banks of the River Severn in what is now the state of Maryland. It was small as battles go with only 400 or so men involved with 19 killed during battle and 4 executed afterwards. Second Anglo (Great Britain)-Dutch War 1664 New Netherlands - capture of a Dutch fort at what is now New Castle, Delaware Third Anglo (Great Britain)-Dutch War 1673 New Netherlands King Philip's War 1675-1676 Massachusetts and Rhode Island - conflict by New England colonists with the Wampanoag Indians Bacon's Rebellion 1676 Colonial Virginia - revolt of colonial farmers led by Nathaniel Bacon against oligarchic rule of Governor Sir William Berkeley and his colonial government. War In North 1676-1678 Maine Dayves-Pate Uprising 3 Sep 1676 Calvert County, Colonial Maryland Culpepper's Rebellion 1677-20 Nov 1680 Carolinas - an 'anti-proprietary' party was established on 3 Dec 1677, to counteract Thomas Miller's illegal takeover of the Carolina colony. One of its leaders was John Culpepper. The antiproprietary party captured Miller and imprisoned him. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 1688-1689 Colonial New England - the term "Glorious Revolution" refers to the series of events which culminated in the exile of King James II (reigned 1685-1688) and the accession to the throne of William and Mary. Leisler's Rebellion 1688-1691 Colonial New England - an insurrection as part of the overthrow of the Dominion of New England. Maryland Revolution 1689 Colonial Maryland - group of Protestant leaders seized control of the colonial Maryland government. King William's War* 1689-1697 Colonial New England, Colonial New York - also known as the War of the League of Augsburg. French and Indian attacks on the New England colonies bordering Canada. Queen Anne's War* 1702-1713 Colonial Massachusetts, Colonial South Carolina, Florida and Canada - also known as the War of Spanish Succession. A dispute between England, France, and Spain against the English forces in North America. Tuscarora Indian War 22 Sep 1711-25 Mar 1712 Colonial Carolinas - the Tuscarora attacks was the worst Indian war in North Carolina. The attacks occurred around New Bern and surrounding communities. Yamassee War 1715-1716 Colonial Georgia and Colonial South Carolina - Indians outside Port Rotal, SC conspired to drive all white people from the coast from St. Augustine to Cape Fear. Eventually a military force routed the Indians at the Combahee River and permanent garrisons were established for the protection of the colonists. Battle of Ocracoke Island 1718 Ocracoke Island, Colonial North Carolina - resulted in death of the pirate Blackbeard The War of Jenkin's Ear 1739-1742 Colonial Georgia and Florida - in 1739 the merchant brig Rebecca, commanded by a Captain Jenkins, was accosted by a Spanish privateer and found to be smuggling goods. After detaining the crew the privateer Captain Juan de leon Fandino then took the liberty of cutting off one of Jenkin' ears. As a result of this incident, England declared war on Spain in what was to be known as the "War of Jenkin's Ear." King George's War* 1744-1748 Canada, Northern New England, Colonial New York - also known as the War of the Austrian Succession. Fighting between the French and British colonists. Fortress Louisbourg 1745 Canada - this battle that was part of the war between Britain and France. Fort Necessity 1754 Southwest Colonial Pennsylvania - fort built by George Washington and surrendered to the French. French and Indian (Seven Years) War* 1754-1763 Colonial New England, Colonial Virginia and Canada - English colonist conflict with the French and Indians Anglo (Great Britain)-French War 1755-1758 Canada Siege of Quebec 1759 Canada - fall of Quebec, the fortified capital of New France, to British forces in 1759 led to the ultimate defeat of French power in North America. Cherokee Uprising 1760-1761 Colonial Carolinas - during the French and Indian War, friction between Cherokee Indians and settlers in Virginia and the Carolinas increased. An indian attack prompted an invasion of Cherokee country by a force of 1500, but the invaders were beaten back by an ambush. In 1761 a militia force of 2600 launched another expedition that forced the Cherokee to ask for peace. Pontiac's Rebellion 1763 Ohio River Valley (Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania - frustrated by British trading practices, an indian chief named Pontiac organized a massive campaign to drive the Brits out of the west. War of the Regulators 1771 Colonial North Carolina - uprising of frontiersman in the western portions of North Carolina that had become incensed over inequitable taxation. They organized into groups known as the Regulators. Several attacks occurred during the year and they were defeated and retreated further into the North Carolina mountains. Lord Dunmore's War 1774 Ohio River Valley (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia) - the Battle of Point Pleasant, present-day Mason County, West Virginia, was considered by some as the first engagement of the American Revolution.
War/Conflict Dates Area Involved in Confrontation/Additional Information American Revolution* 19 Apr 1775-11 Apr 1783 Colonial America Pennamite-Yankee War 1782-1787 Wyoming Valley - conflict fought between the colonists of Connecticut and Pennsylvania for possession of the Wyoming Valley. This period also included many Indian disturbances.
Shay's Rebellion Dec 1786- 2 Feb 1787 Massachusetts - Revolt by debtor farmers against their creditors over high taxes. Fought by state militia forces. War with Northwestern Indians Sep 1790- Aug 1795 Ohio - Warfare with northwest indians of the Chippewas, Delawares, Miamis, Ottawas, Pottawatomies, Shawnees and Wyandots tribes. Whiskey Insurrection 1794 Pennsylvania - a liquor tax was imposed on the farmers of western Pennsylvania, who made rye whiskey, which was the spark that fired this rebellion. John Fries Rebellion 1798-1799 Pennsylvania - the House Tax Rebellion of John Fries. Quasi-War with France Jul 1798-30 Sep 1800 Atlantic Coast/West Indies - undeclared naval war carried on by the United States through its navy and privateers. Barbary Wrs 1801-1805 and 1815 North Coast Africa - wars with the Barbary Powers conducted by the authority of the United States through its Navy. Sabine Expedition 1806 Louisiana Aaron Burr's Insurrection 1806-1807 Southern Mississippi Valley Chesapeake Bay 1807 Virginia - naval war Northwestern Indian War Nov 1811-Oct 1813 Indiana - the Battle of Tippecanoe in November 1811 was the start of the Northwest Indian Wars. War of 1812/War with Great Britain* 18 Jun 1812-17 Feb 1815 Great Lakes, Maryland, New Orleans - fought between the United States and Great Britain. This war involved about 60,000 U.S. Army forces supported by 470,000 militia and volunteer troops. Seminole Indian Disturbances 15 Aug 1812-Oct 1812 Florida (Georgia Volunteers) Creek Indian War 27 Jul 1813-9 Aug 1814 Alabama - conducted by the authority of the United States Peoria Indian War 19 Sep-21 Oct 1813 Illinois Lafitte's Pirates 1814 Local conflict - expedition against Lafitte Pirates conducted by the authority of the United States. Creek Indian War 4 Oct 1814-24 Jan 1815 Alabama - conducted by the authority of the United States First Seminole Indian War 20 Nov 1817-31 Oct 1818 Florida and Southern Georgia Yellowstone Expedition 4 Jul 1819-Sep 1819 Expedition by Colonel Henry M. Atkinson near Council Bluffs on the Missouri River. Lafitte's Pirates 1821 Galveston, Texas - Lafayette attacks an American ship and he finally leaves Galveston Island in May 1821. Arickaree Indian Campaign 1823 Upper Missouri River/Dakota Territory - campaign against Blackfeet and Arickaree Indians. Le Fèvre Indian War Jun-Sep 1827 Wisconsin - also known as the Winnebago expedition, no fighting Black Hawk Indian War 26 Apr 1831-21 Sep 1832 Illinois and Wisconsin - U.S. troops and militia men clashed with the Sauk and Fox indian tribes and expelled them from Illinois. Afterward the famous warrior Black Hawk tried to regain their Rock Island home and failed. Pawnee Expedition 9 Jun 1834 Indian Territory Toledo War 1835-1836 Ohio and Michigan - boundary dispute War for Texas Independence 1835-1836 Texas - the Texas revolution with Mexico. Indian Stream 1835-1836 New Hampshire Second Seminole Wars 28 Dec 1835-14 Aug 1842 Alabama, Florida and Georgia Heatherly Disturbances 1836 Missouri and Iowa Cherokee Indian Disturbances/Removal 1836-1839 Southern United States - which resulted in the famous "Trail of Tears." Southwestern Frontier (Sabine) disturbances Apr 1836-Jun 1837 Louisiana and Arkansas - no fighting. Creek Indian Disturbances 5 May 1836-30 Sep 1837 Alabama Osage Indian Troubles 1837 Missouri Mormon 1838 Missouri - the Mormon church colony was expelled from Missouri and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. Aroostook/Patriot War Frontier Disturbances 1839 Maine - boundary dispute between Maine and New Brunswick. The war brought approximately 10,000 troops into the area in 1838-1839. No actual fighting occurred. Battles of the Republic 1840-1845 Texas Republic - clashes between Texas Rangers and the Mexican Army/Indians. Dorr Rebellion 1841-1842 Rhode Island - dispute over the old state constitution enacted in 1663 that restricted suffrage to freeholders and their eldest sons. Mormon 1844 Illinois - after the Mormon church colony settled in Illinois conflict with local residents continued which led to the death of the church's founder John Smith on 24 Jun 1844. Brigham Young led the colony westward to Utah. Los Diablos Tejanos 1846-1848 Texas and Mexico - Texas Rangers who participated in expeditions during the Mexican War (below). Mexican War* 24 Apr 1846-30 May 1848 Old Mexico, California, New Mexico and Texas — this conflict between the United States and Mexico resulted from the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845. 35,000 U.S. Army troops and 73,000 state volunteers fought in this war. Most volunteer regiments were from southern states such as Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. New Mexico Expedition 30 Jun 1846-13 Feb 1848 New Mexico Cayuse Indian War 1848 Oregon - Oregon volunteers New Mexico and Texas Indian Disturbances 1849-1855 New Mexico and Texas Najavo Indian Troubles 1849-1861 New Mexico Texas Indian Disturbances 1849-1861 Texas - continuous disturbances with Comanches, Cheyenne, Lipan and Kickapoo indian tribes. Utah Indian Disturbances 1850-1853 Utah Pitt River Expedition 28 Apr-13 Sep 1850 California Oregon/Washington Indian Wars 1851-1856 Oregon and Washington - conflict with the Rogue River, Yakima and Klikitat indian tribes. Yuma Expedition Dec 1851-Apr 1852 California Nicaragua Naval Battles 1854-1858 Naval War Klamath & Salmon Indian Troubles 1855 Idaho and Oregon River Cheyenne and Arapahoe Troubles 1855-1856 Western United States Winnas Expedition 24 May-8 Sep 1855 Oregon - expedition against the Snake Indians. Sioux Expedition Jun-Oct 1855 Nebraska Territory Yakima Expedition 11 Oct-24 Nov 1855 Washington Territory Florida Seminole Indian War Dec 1855-Sep 1857 Florida Kansas Troubles 1857-1858 Kansas - border problems The Utah Expedition 1857-1858 Utah - U.S. troops were sent to the state to suppress a rebellion that did not exist. The expedition ended peacefully.
Gila Expedition 16 Apr-16 Sep 1857 New Mexico Washington Territory Indian troubles 1858 Washington Territory - conflict with Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and Paloos indian tribes. Expedition against Northern Indians 17 Jul-17 Oct 1858 Washington Territory Puget Sound Expedition 10 Aug-23 Sep 1858 Washington Territory Navajo Expedition 9 Sep-25 Dec 1858 New Mexico Wichita Expedition 11 Sep 1858-Dec 1859 Indian Territory Cortina troubles 1859-1860 Texas and Mexican border Colorado River Expedition 11 Feb-28 Apr 1859 California Pecos Expedition 16 Apr-17 Aug 1859 Texas Antelope Hills Expedition 10 Jun-23 Sep 1859 Texas Bear River Expedition 12 Jun-18 Oct 1859 Utah John Brown's Raid Nov-Dec 1859 Harper's Ferry, Virginia Southern Plains Indian Wars 1860-1879 Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas Kiowa and Comanche Expedition 8 May-11 Oct 1860 Indian Territory Carson Valley Expedition 14 May-15 Jul 1860 Utah Navajo Expedition 12 Sep 1860-24 Feb 1861 New Mexico Cheyenne Indian Disturbances 1861-1864 Local conflicts Apache Indian Wars and troubles 1861-1900 Arizona, New Mexico and Texas Civil War - War Between the States/ War of Rebellion* 19 Apr 1861-20 Aug 1866 Southern and Border States; Pennsylvania - the Civil War was fought between northern and southern (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia) states. Actual hostilities, however, commenced upon the firing on Fort Sumter, 12 Apr 1861, and ceased by the surrender of the Confederate forces under General Kirby Smith on 26 May 1865. Approximately 3.5 million soldiers fought in the war. The war resulted in almost 600,000 deaths and affected nearly every family in those regions involved in the war. Sioux Indian War 1862-1867 Minnesota and Dakota Territory War against Indians 1863-1869 Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Indian Territory - conflict with the Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Comanche and Kiowas indian tribes. Fenian Raid 1865-1866 New York and Canada - border disturbances Indian Wars 1865-1868 Southern Oregon and Idaho, Northern California and Nevada The Frontier Battalions 1866-1890 Texas - Texas Rangers units that protected settlers from criminals and indian attacks. Indian Campaign 1867-1881 Western United States - campaign against Comanche, Kiowa, Kickapoo and Lipan indians and Mexican border disturbances. Canadian River Expedition 5 Nov 1868-13 Feb 1869 New Mexico Yellowstone Expedition 25 Aug-25 Oct 1871 The Modac Indian War Nov 1872-Jun 1873 Northern California and Southern Oregon Apache Indian Disturbances 1873 Arizona Yellowstone Expedition 4 Jun-4 Oct 1873 Dakota Territory Red River Indian War 1874 Northern Texas Sioux Expedition 13 Feb-19 Aug 1874 Nebraska and Wyoming Black Hills Expedition 20 Jun-30 Aug 1874 Dakota Territory Indian Campaign 1 Aug 1874-16 Feb 1875 Indian Territory - conflict with the Cheyenne, Comanche and Kiowas indian tribes. Big Horn Expedition 13 Aug-10 Oct 1874 Wyoming Nevada Indian Expedition Sep 7-27, 1875 Eastern Nevada - expedition against Indians in eastern Nevada. Cheyenne and Sioux Indian Wars 1876-1879 Dakota Territory, Indian Territory, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming - conflict with northern Cheyenne and Sioux indian tribes. Big Horn and Yellowstone Expedition 17 Feb 1876-13 Jun 1877 Montana and Wyoming Powder River Expedition 1 Nov-31 Dec 1876 Wyoming Nez Perce Indian War Jun-Oct 1877 Idaho and Montana Maryland/Pennsylvania Labor Strikes Jul-Oct 1877 Maryland and Pennsylvania Piute Indian troubles 1878 Idaho and Nevada Bannock Campaign May-Sep 1878 Idaho, Washington and Wyoming Territories Ute Expedition 3 Apr-9 Sep 1878 Colorado - White River Campaign Oklahoma Settler and Cherokee Disturbances 1879-1894 Indian and Oklahoma Territories - "Oklahoma Boomers" settler and the Cherokee indian strip disturbances. Ute Indian Campaign 21 Sep 1879-8 Nov 1880 Colorado and Utah Wyoming Chinese Miner and Labor Troubles Sep-Oct 1885 Wyoming Sioux Indian disturbances Nov 1890-Jan 1891 South Dakota Garcia Troubles 1891-1893 Texas and Mexico - border disturbances Idaho Miner Disturbances Jul-Nov 1892 Idaho Various Labor Disturbances 1894 "Industrial Army," "Commonwealers," "Coxeyites," and labor disturbances Railroad Strikes Jun-Aug 1894 Illinois to Pacific Ocean - Railroad, Pullman and Labor strikes extending from Illinois to Pacific Coast Spanish-American War* 21 Apr 1898-11 Apr 1899 Cuba and the Philippine Islands — war between the United States and Spain that was largely fought in Cuba and the Philippine Islands. In the end the United States acquired Puerto Rico and Guam and bought the Philippines. Cuba became independent. The war was fought by U.S. regular forces and state volunteers. About 250,000 enlisted men and 11,000 officers served in this conflict. Most volunteers came from the states of Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Note: Actual combat did not cease until August 13, 1899. Also see Philippine Insurrection below. Philippine Insurrection* February 4, 1899-July 4, 1902 Philippine Islands — more than 125,000 American soldiers were sent to the Philippines. Over 4,000 deaths occurred during this conflict. Also see Spanish-American War above. Boxer Rebellion May 1900-May 1901 China Tampico and Vera Cruz Incidents April 1914 Mexico - Members of a U.S. Navy ship were arrested in April 1914 by Victoriano Huerta, Mexican dictator. The sailors were released but Huerta further insulted the U.S. over failure to deliver an apology. We bombed Vera Cruz. Huerta abdicated and the conflict ended. Mexican Punitive Expedition 1916-1917 Mexico - General John Pershing led 75,000 National Guard troops in the pursuit of the Mexican bandit Francisco "Pancho" Villa in Mexico.
World War I* 1917-1918 Europe - the United States entered World War I in April 1917. Over 4.7 million men and women served in the regular U.S. forces, national guard units, and draft units. There were 53,402 killed in action, 63,114 deaths from disease and other causes, and about 205,000 wounded. Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania furnished the most soldiers. World War II* 1941-1945 Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific - over 16.5 million men and women served in the armed forces during World War II with 291,557 dead in battle, 113,842 dying from other causes, and 670,846 wounded. Korean War* 1950-1953 Korean Peninsula - conflict between North and South Korea involving the United Nations and United States military forces. About six million U.S. servicemen were sent to the conflict with 160,000 casualties. Vietnam War* 1954-1975 North and South Vietnam - conflict between North and South Vietnam involving United States forces. This conflict involved nine million servicemen who suffered 200,000 casualties. Desert Shield/Desert Storm* 1991-1992 Persian Gulf War - there were 500,000 members of the armed forces who served during the war with Iraq with less than 300 casualties. War on Terrorism 11 Sep 2001-? As a result of the Al-Queda terror attacks in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, President George Bush declared a war on terrorism which continues to present time. The only major action so far in the war occurred in Afghanistan.
Last Update: 31 July 2006
Webpage Created: 4 August 2002
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If you do not know if your ancestor served in the military, the year of birth may indicate the possibility. Most people who were in the military were between 18 and 30 years of age. Use the war chronology below to see if your ancestor could have served during wartime.
Our chronology below is a listing of known military campaigns, conflicts, expeditions and wars that colonial Americans, U.S. military and state militia forces have been involved in. Note: An asterisk next to the name of a conflict indicates a major war during that period. Websites may freely link to this page without permission. This list my not be reproduced in any form without permission of the author. Copyright © 2002-2006, Family Roots and Branches.
Thanks to the Savage/Goodner Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1513 website and the Civil War Clip Art Gallery for the graphics used on the military pages of Family Roots and Branches. You can click on the logos above to view their collection of civil war era clipart.