Arkansas Military Records
This entry was originally written by Wendy Bebout Elliott, Ph.D., FUGA for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
The Arkansas History Commission maintains the finest collection of records pertaining to Arkansas military men and service. Included are microfilmed indexes to many of the National Archives-compiled service records, such as those for the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and various Indian wars. The commission also has compiled service records for Arkansas men for the Mexican War, Civil War (both Union and Confederate), and Spanish-American War; returns from United States Military Posts (1800–1916), including reports, rosters, and related papers; Confederate States Army Casualties: Lists and Narrative Reports (1861–65); Register of Confederate Soldiers, Sailors, and Citizens Who Died in Federal Prisons and Military Hospitals in the North (1861–65); and Registers of Confederate Prisoners Held in the Military Prison at Little Rock, Arkansas (1863–65). The commission’s pamphlet “Historical and Genealogical Source Materials,” available upon request with a self-addressed stamped envelope, describes these holdings.
In addition, the commission has the state’s Confederate veteran or widow’s pension applications and indexes to Confederate pension records for Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. In 1911 the Public Acts of Arkansas, Number 353, provided that an enumeration of Confederate veterans residing in the state be made by each county’s tax assessor. Records are available for forty-four of the counties, but there are no extant records for thirty-one counties. There are 1,751 questionnaires, which usually include the following information: full name of veteran; his address; date and place of birth; date, state, and county of enlistment; full name and place of birth of veteran’s parents, grandparents; maiden name of wife, with date and place of marriage; names of her parents; and full list of children with spouses. These applications are published in Bobbie Jones McLane and Capitola Glazner’s Arkansas 1911 Census of Confederate Veterans, 3 vols. (n.p., 1977–81). An Index to the Three Volumes: Arkansas 1911 Census of Confederate Veterans (Hot Springs, Ark.: Arkansas Ancestors, 1899), compiled by Bobbie Jones McLane, is an every-name index. The Arkansas History Commission has the actual 1911 Confederate veterans census for Arkansas and copies of Confederate Veteran magazine (1893–1932).
Confederate veteran or widow pension applications, not just those for veterans living in 1911, contain valuable information such as name, rank, unit, length of time of service, veteran’s wife’s name, widow’s birth date, veteran’s death date, veteran or widow’s residence at time of application, and the amount of the approved pension. Frances Ingmire, Arkansas Confederate Veterans and Widows Pension Applications (St. Louis, Mo.: the author, 1985) serves as an alphabetically arranged guide to soldiers’ and widows’ pension applications, listing name, unit, residence, and date of application.
Several indexes to military records have been compiled by Desmond Walls Allen and are available from the publisher, Arkansas Research, P.O. Box 303, Conway, AR 72032-0303. They include Arkansas’ Mexican War Soldiers (1988); Index to Arkansas Confederate Soldiers (3 vols., 1990); Arkansas’ Damned Yankees: An Index to Union Soldiers in Arkansas Regiments (1987); Arkansas Union Soldiers Pension Application Index (1987); and Arkansas’ Spanish American War Soldiers (1988).
In addition to Christensen’s volume on military bounty grants (see Arkansas Land Records) for the War of 1812, the following are helpful printed sources for military related data:
- Payne, Dorothy. Arkansas Pensioners, 1818–1900: Records of Some Arkansas Residents Who Applied to the Federal Government for Benefits…. Easley, S. C.: Southern Historical Press, 1985.
- Pompey, Sherman Lee. Muster Lists of the Arkansas Confederate Troops.… Independence, Calif.: Historical and Genealogical Publishing Co., 1965. A guide to names of men who served under the Confederate flag.
- War of 1812 Pensioners Living in Arkansas During the 1880’s: Abstracted from the Executive Documents. Cullman, Ala.: Gregath Co., 1980.
- Watkins, Raymond Wesley. Confederate Burials in Arkansas Cemeteries. Little Rock, Ark.: n.p., 1981. Typescript available at the Arkansas History Commission.