The Florida State Archives maintains a large collection of records relating to Florida's role in the military history of the United States. Of particular interest to genealogists as well as historians are military records that provide information on individuals who served in the armed forces during our country's various wars. The Florida State Archives has service records and pension records for many other states on microfilm. These cannot be researched by staff due to the limited number of staff members, however, they are available to all patrons who visit the archives.
During the American Revolution east and west Florida were British royal colonies. Unlike their thirteen neighbors to the north however, the Florida colonies remained loyal to the crown. During the Revolution the Floridas served as a haven for southern loyalists. Several skirmishes were fought along the Georgia-Florida border, and Pensacola was captured by Spanish forces.
Because the Revolution took place prior to the American acquisition of Florida, the Archives contains no original archival or manuscript material relating to this conflict. The Archives does have a variety of published books in its Genealogical Collection pertaining to the Revolution, including printed soldiers' rosters from several states and an index to Revolutionary War pension applications (the originals of which are in the National Archives). Additionally, the Archives houses a set of the National Archives Microfilm Publication M804/805: "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900."
WAR OF 1812
The War of 1812 occurred prior to the United States' acquisition of Florida. During this period the territories of east and west Florida remained nominally under Spanish control, although Great Britain exercised strong influence over the region. The Archives has no original or microfilmed service or pension records relating directly to the War of 1812, although various books in the Genealogical Collection document the conflict, including Virgil White's three-volume Index To War of 1812 Pension Files. Additionally, the Archives houses the East Florida Papers, 1737-1858 (Series 979), on microfilm, which documents the Second Spanish Period, including references to military activities during the period of the War of 1812.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, the United States military fought three conflicts with Florida's Native American population. These included the First Seminole (1817-1818), Second Seminole (1835-1842), and Third Seminole (1855-1858) Wars. Several collections document the military service of Floridians who served in the Second and Third Seminole Wars:
Series 608 - Compiled Service Records of Volunteer soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Florida during the Florida Indian Wars, 1835-1858. The collection is arranged by unit and then alphabetically by surname. It contains records of soldiers who served in Florida units mustered into United States' service during the Second and Third Seminole Wars. The soldiers' name, rank, unit, muster-in date, and muster-out date are usually included.
Series 973 - Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During Indian Wars and Disturbances, 1815-1858. This collection is arranged alphabetically by surname and contains index cards showing the name, rank, and unit of individuals from various states who served during the pre-Civil War Indian Wars, including the Second and Third Seminole Wars. The Archives, however, does not house the actual service records of soldiers who served in units from other states. The records of these individuals can be obtained through the National Archives.
Series 1277 - Original Florida Territorial Muster Rolls, 1826-1849. Includes a few original muster rolls from the Second Seminole War.
Series 1281 - Seminole War Muster Rolls of Florida Militia, 1836-1841; 1856-1858. Photostatic copies of muster rolls of Florida units in the Second and Third Seminole Wars.
Pensions for Seminole War service were awarded by the Federal government, and are available through the National Archives. Virgil White's Index to Indian Wars Pension Files, 1892-1926 lists veterans who received pensions for service during the Indian Wars.
Although Florida was a new, sparsely-populated state at the outbreak of the Mexican War, it did organize several companies for service during the conflict. One primary collection documents Florida's Mexican War soldiers:
Series 1282 - Mexican War Muster Rolls of Florida Independent Companies, 1847-1848. This collection contains photostatic copies of the muster rolls for the Florida companies of Christopher C. Coffee, William Fisher, Robert G. Livingston/George Holmes, Allen G. Johnson, and William W.J. Kelly.
Additionally, the Genealogical Collection houses Virgil White's Index to Mexican War Pension Files, the originals of which are available through the National Archives.
During the course of the war Florida provided upwards of 15,000 soldiers for the Confederate armies. There are many records in the Archives that document the service of these individuals (a separate pamphlet describes Civil War records in the Florida State Archives in more detail):
Florida Confederate Pensions Online Series 587 - Confederate Pension Application Files 1885-1954 have been digitized and are available to be printed or downloaded in a pdf format. Over 13,000 files are available and searchable by surname or by the pension application number.
Service Records/Muster Rolls
Series 981 - Records relating to Confederate naval and marine personnel, 1861-1865.
Series 1210 - Confederate Marine Corps and Navy Personnel card roster of Floridians, 1925.
Series 1504 - Index to compiled service records of Confederate soldiers who served in organizations from the State of Florida, 1861-1865.
Series 1563 - Compiled service records of Confederate general and staff officers, and non-regimental enlisted men, 1861-1865. Microfilm
Series 1567 - Confederate States Army casualties lists and narrative reports, 1861-1865. Microfilm
Series 1633 - Compiled Service records of Confederate soldiers who served in organizations from the State of Alabama, 1861-1865. Microfilm
Series 1845 - Register of Confederate soldiers, sailors, and citizens who died in federal prisons and military hospitals in the north, 1861-1865. Microfilm
Series 2660 - Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers who served in organizations from the State of Georgia, 1861-1865. Microfilm
M87- 21 Confederate States of America. Army. Kilcrease Light Artillery
- Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who served in Organizations
From the State of Florida, 1861-1865. Includes an index for Florida's Confederate
soldiers, containing name, rank, and unit; as well as the actual service records
with details of an individual's military career. Usually provides dates of muster-in
and muster-out, information on wounds, illnesses, prison records, and supporting
- Compiled Military Service Records of General and Staff Officers From the State
of Florida, 1861-1865. Alphabetical listing of Florida soldiers who served
in capacities other than in Florida organizations.
- Consolidated Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865.
Index to the compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from all states.
It contains the name, rank, and unit of all regularly-enrolled Confederate soldiers.
- Original Confederate Muster Rolls, 1861-1865. A small collection of original
muster rolls from Florida units.
- Florida Confederate muster rolls, 1861-1865. Photostatic copies of the
muster rolls of Florida units, the originals of which are housed in the National
The Archives also
has the original pension applications for those Confederate veterans who applied
for pensions from the State of Florida in the post-war years. Both published
and unpublished indexes are exist for these pension records.
Series 587 - State Board of Pensions, Confederate Pension Files, 1885-1954.
In addition to Confederate materials, two regiments of cavalry were raised in Florida for service in the Union army. Documentation of their service and be found in:
SERVICE RECORDS/MUSTER ROLLS
- Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in
Organizations From the State of Florida, 1861-1865.
Alphabetical listing of individuals who served in Florida Union military organizations,
including name, rank, and unit.
- Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations
From the State of Florida, 1861-1865. Contains the actual service records
of Florida Unionists, with details on the military career of each soldier.
Series 1303 - Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. Pension records for Florida Union soldiers are housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and can be ordered from that source. This collection lists Florida Union soldiers who later applied for pensions from the federal government.
A variety of records
documenting Florida's role in the Spanish-American War are housed in the Archives.
During the war the First Florida Infantry Regiment was organized for military
service, although the regiment did not serve overseas.
- Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served in the Florida Infantry
During the War With Spain, 1898-1899. This is a copy of a National Archives
microfilm publication and is arranged alphabetically by surname. It contains
card abstracts and copies of original documents relating to individual soldiers
and provides information on date of enlistment and discharge, physical description,
illnesses, and other details of their service.
- Spanish-American War Muster Rolls of Florida Companies, 1898-1899. Consists
of photostatic copies of muster rolls for Florida companies that were mustered
into Federal service during the course of the war. The information from these
rolls was used by the War Department to prepare the compiled service records
- Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and
1900. Index to the pension applications of Florida soldiers of the Spanish-American
War. The actual pension records are available at the National Archives.
WORLD WAR I
Florida provided a large number of volunteers and draftees for service in the First World War and a variety of records document this service.
Card rosters are
available for Floridians who served in the U.S. Army (Series 1204), Navy
(Series 1249), Marine Corps (Series 1234), and Coast Guard (Series
1233). Each serviceman has one or two cards detailing his military service,
usually including date of induction, serial number, residence, place and date
of birth, military organizations, engagements, wounds or injuries received,
dates served overseas, discharge date, and additional remarks. Other collections
- World War I Induction Records of Floridians, 1917-1918. Contains photostatic
copies of the county-by-county records of individuals inducted into Federal
service during the war. The records generally contain the inductee's race, address,
and the date of his induction call-up. Some list occupations and information
as to whether the individual was ultimately accepted for military service.
- Summary of Florida Veterans of World War I, 1925. Arranged by county.
- Lists of Florida Draft Evaders in World War I, 1920-1922.
- Applications for Victory Medal, 1921.
The Archives' local government collection also includes a scattering of volumes entitled "Soldiers and Sailors Discharges," which provide information on the military service of Florida World War I veterans. These records are not available for all counties.
WORLD WAR II
The Florida National Guard was federalized before the outbreak of the Second World War, and individual Floridians who enlisted or were drafted into federal service during the course of the war had no official connection with Florida state government. Consequently, the Florida State Archives does not house the personnel records of Floridians who served during this war. These records, if they are available, must be obtained through the Federal government.
The Archives does maintain a roster of the Florida State Guard (Series 1420), which was a group organized during World War II to defend the state following the mobilization of the Florida National Guard.
The Archives houses
a collection of World War II Casualty Card Files (Series 1432), which
lists Floridians who died in military service, or who were missing-in-action
or taken prisoner. The collection is arranged alphabetically by county and then
by surname. Some county "Soldiers and Sailors Discharges" volumes
are also available for World War II veterans in our Local Records collection.
The Archives does
not have service records or lists of veterans from this conflict. As with World
War II, persons interested in information on soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines
who fought in Korea should contact the Federal government.
- Department of Military Affairs, Vietnam Casualty Records, 1961-1973,
consists of Department of Defense news releases listing servicemen and women
who became casualties during the Vietnam Conflict. The releases are listed by
branch of service and then by state. The actual service records of individual
veterans are maintained by the Federal government.
FLORIDA MILITIA, FLORIDA NAVAL MILITIA, FLORIDA STATE TROOPS, FLORIDA NATIONAL GUARD, AND FLORIDA AIR NATIONAL GUARD
The Florida State
Archives has a large collection of records relating to the service of individuals
in the Florida Militia and the Florida Naval Militia (later known as the Florida
State Troops, the Florida National Guard, and the Florida Air National Guard),
dating from the early nineteenth through the mid-to-late-twentieth centuries.
A sampling of the most significant records includes:
- National Guard Payrolls, 1921-1933.
- Muster Rolls and Supporting Documents, 1870-1918. Muster rolls of Florida's
state forces from the Reconstruction period to World War I. Arranged by unit.
Series 1154 - National Guard Morning Reports, 1953-1981.
Series 1155 - Air National Guard Morning Reports, 1952-1966.
Series 1207 - Naval Militia Administrative Files, 1897-1941. Contains muster rolls for naval militia organizations.
Series 1214 - 2nd Regiment State Troops, Roster and Order Book, 1899-1902.
Series 1242 - National Guard Unit Reports, 1924-1940; 1946-1953.
Series 1277 - Original Florida Territorial Muster Rolls, 1826-1849. A small collection of original muster rolls from the early territorial period through the Second Seminole War and the 1849 Indian Scare.
Series 1438 - Directories of Commissioned Officers of the National Guard and Naval Militia, 1901-1939.
CASUALTY AND BURIAL RECORDS
Several collections in the Archives can provide information on Floridians who died in service during various conflicts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as the location of veterans buried in the state. The Reference Unit maintains a copy of the typescript "Florida Confederate Burial Locations," which was prepared by private researcher Raymond Watkins, as well as "State of Florida War Dead By County," prepared by the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs. This latter document lists Florida casualties from World War I to the present.
A collection known as the Veterans Grave Registration Cards, 1940-1941 (Series 1208), documents a WPA project to identify the burial locations of Florida veterans. Individual cards provide information such as the veteran's name, unit, date of birth and death, and burial location. These cards are arranged by county and then alphabetically by surname. Unfortunately the project was never completed and not all counties were surveyed. A similar collection is Veterans Death Notices, 1942-1960 (Series 1433), which comprises cards prepared on deceased veterans by funeral home directors.
Various published cemetery books in the Genealogy collection can provides details on veterans buried in specific locations.