Index to the Compiled Military Service Records for the Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812; Microfilm publication M602, 234 rolls; 654501; Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1762 - 1984, Record Group 94; The National Archives in Washington, D.C.
When the United States declared war on Great Britain in 1812, Congress authorized the President to accept and organize volunteers in order to win the war. This database is a listing of men mustered into the armed forces between 1812 and 1815. Taken from records in the National Archives, each record includes the soldier's name, company, rank at time of induction, rank at time of discharge, and other helpful information. It provides the names of nearly 600,000 men. For researchers of early American ancestors who may have served in the military, this can be a helpful source of information.
These records were taken from Record Group 94 Records of the Adjutant General's Office, microfilm publication M602, a total of 234 rolls of film.
Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR)
Each volunteer soldier has one Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) for each regiment in which he served. The CMSR contains basic information about the soldier's military career, and it is the first source the researcher should consult. The CMSR is an envelope (a jacket) containing one or more cards. These cards typically indicate that the soldier was present or absent during a certain period of time. Other cards may indicate the date of enlistment and discharge, amount of bounty paid him, and other information such as wounds received during battle or hospitalization for injury or illness. The soldier's place of birth may be indicated; if foreign born, only the country of birth is stated. The CMSR may contain an internal jacket for so-called "personal papers" of various kinds. These may include a copy of the soldier's enlistment paper, papers relating to his capture and release as a prisoner of war, or a statement that he had no personal property with him when he died. Note, however, that the CMSR rarely indicates battles in which a soldier fought; that information must be derived from other sources.
A CMSR is as complete as the surviving records of an individual soldier or his unit. The War Department compiled the CMSRs from the original muster rolls and other records some years after the war to permit more rapid and efficient checking of military and medical records in connection with claims for pensions and other veterans' benefits. The abstracts were so carefully prepared that it is rarely necessary to consult the original muster rolls and other records from which they were made. When the War Department created CMSRs at the turn of the century, information from company muster rolls, regimental returns, descriptive books, hospital rolls, and other records was copied verbatim onto cards. A separate card was prepared each time an individual name appeared on a document. These cards were all numbered on the back, and these numbers were entered onto the outside jacket containing the cards. The numbers on the jacket correspond with the numbers on the cards within the jacket. These numbers were used by the War Department only for control purposes while the CMSRs were being created; the numbers do not refer to other records regarding a veteran nor are they useful for reference purposes today.