Alabama Military Records
This entry was originally written by Robert S. Davis and Mary Bess Paluzzi for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Alabamians have seen military service in all wars of the United States. Military records are found at both the state and federal levels. The most voluminous and readily available military records for Alabama are those of the National Archives.
Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers and Patriots Alabama (Montgomery: Alabama Society DAR, 1979) lists those soldiers who lived and died in Alabama as well as some who died in other states. Data from scattered published and unpublished sources was edited and compiled. The volume includes a statement on the soldier’s military service; a brief biographical sketch including the names of his parents, wife, and children; and bibliographic citations to sources.
The Alabama Department of Archives and History has made their military service surname files available on microfilm. These files include a series for Revolutionary War veterans residing in Alabama; service in the Indian Wars of 1812, 1813, and 1814; territorial service in 1818; the Indian War of 1836; the Mexican War in 1846; the Civil War (1861–1865); the Spanish-American War in 1898; and World War I (1917–18). The series contains a card for each soldier indicating name, military unit, rank, and the source of the information. Most of the sources cited are unofficial as there are limited records for state military service.
Several lists of Alabama Civil War soldiers exist although records do not survive for every veteran. The most complete lists have been published by the Broadfoot Company and are accessible through www.ancestry.com at Alabama Civil War Muster Rolls, 1861-1865. The Alabama Department of Archives and History’s index to Confederate records, including pensions and pensioner censuses of 1907, 1921, and 1927 is widely available on microfilm, while the files on individual regiments, histories of units are published in a number of sources: Willis Brewer, Brief Historical Sketches of Military Organizations Raised in Alabama during the Civil War (Montgomery: Alabama Department of Archives and History, 1966); Joseph H. Crute, Units of the Confederate States Army (Midlothian, Va.: Derwent Books, 1987); and Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of Confederate Armies (New York: Facts on File, 1992). Histories on the First Alabama Infantry, USA have been published. The Family and Regional History Program at Wallace State College, Hanceville, Alabama, is an important center for Civil War research.
The state of Alabama offered pensions to its indigent resident Confederate veterans, and to widows of veterans. The files contain the usual military pension application information: name, rank, unit, dates of service, places of enlistment and discharge, if wounded, and qualifications for pension. If the widow was making the application in 1920, she stated when and where she was born, her father’s name, date, and place of his death, and the date and place of her marriage. To qualify, a pensioner’s annual income could not exceed $300 and his real property could not be valued at more than $400. The original files are housed in the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The applications have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and are available on loan through the FHL.