Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy)


(Record Group 125)
1799-1950

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 125.1 Administrative History
  • 125.2 Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (NAVY) and its Predecessors 1799-1950
  • 125.3 Records of Boards and Other Special Units 1885-1938 (bulk 1896-1933)
    • 125.3.1 Records of the Board to Investigate a Contract with the American Wood Preserving Company Relative to Its Process of Preserving Wood
    • 125.3.2 Records of the Board to Examine into Certain Accusations Against Officers and Employees of the Department of Steam Engineering, New York Navy Yard
    • 125.3.3 Records of the Board on Revision of Navy Regulations
    • 125.3.4 Records of the Court of Inquiry in the Case of Rear Admiral Winfield S. Schley
    • 125.3.5 Records of the Examining Board of Ordnance Draftsmen
    • 125.3.6 Records of the Naval Disciplinary Barracks, Port Royal, SC
    • 125.3.7 Records of the Naval Disciplinary Barracks, Puget Sound, WA
    • 125.3.8 Records of the Board on Valuation of Commandeered Property
    • 125.3.9 Records of the Legal Section, Force Commander's Office, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters
    • 125.3.10 Records of the Paris Naval Board on Claims
    • 125.3.11 Records of the London Naval Board on Claims
    • 125.3.12 Records of the Board on Submarine Claims
    • 125.3.13 Records of the Interdepartmental Radio Board
    • 125.3.14 Records of the Board to Consider Claims of the Electric Boat Company Under Contracts for Submarines
    • 125.3.15 Records of the East Camp Claims Board
    • 125.3.16 Records of the Cancellation Board
    • 125.3.17 Records of the Naval War Claims Board
    • 125.3.18 Records of the Naval Membership of the American Delegation to the International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea
    • 125.3.19 Records of the Board of Appraisal for the Appalachian Electric Power Company
    • 125.3.20 Records of the Commission for Hearing and Determining of Claims by British Nationals

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125.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of the Navy by act of June 8, 1880 (21 Stat. 164).

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Solicitor and Naval Judge Advocate General (1865-70)
  • Naval Solicitor, Department of Justice (1870-78)
  • Naval Solicitor and Judge Advocate General of the Navy (1877-78)
  • Acting Judge Advocate (1878-80)
Functions: Administers military justice and a legal assistance program, enforces court-martial sentences, initiates corrective legal actions, handles matters relating to international and admiralty law and claims against the navy, and drafts departmental legislation.

Between 1908 and 1921, civil legal functions were handled by a separate Office of the Solicitor of the Navy.

Finding Aids: James R. Masterson, comp., "Preliminary Checklist of the Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy), 1799-1943," PC 32 (1945); Harry Schwartz, comp., "Supplement to Preliminary Checklist 32, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy)," NM 55 (1965).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Navy) in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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125.2 Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (NAVY)
and its Predecessors
1799-1950

History: Solicitor and Naval Judge Advocate General established by act of March 2, 1865 (13 Stat. 468), to assume legal duties previously handled by the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. Transferred, as Naval Solicitor, to Department of Justice by the act creating that department, June 22, 1870 (16 Stat. 174). Abolished by appropriation act, June 19, 1878 (20 Stat. 205). New position of Naval Solicitor and Judge Advocate General of the Navy created by Navy Department circular, March 14, 1877. Title changed to Acting Judge Advocate by Navy Department circular, July 2, 1878. Position of Judge Advocate General of the Navy authorized by act of June 8, 1880 (21 Stat. 164).

Office of the Solicitor of the Navy, to handle civil matters, established by appropriation act, May 22, 1908 (35 Stat. 218). Merged into Office of the Judge Advocate General by order of the Secretary of the Navy, September 1, 1921.

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125.2.1 Correspondence

Textual Records: Letters sent by the Solicitor and Naval Judge Advocate General, 1865-66; the Acting Judge Advocate, 1879-83; the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 1879-1911, with indexes and registers, 1880-1908; and the Solicitor of the Navy, June 1908-December 1911. Letters received by the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 1879-83, with registers, 1876-80, 1883-1904, and indexes, 1880-83, 1890-1904. General correspondence of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, 1883-1908 (544 ft.).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Solicitor and Naval Judge Advocate General in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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125.2.2 Personnel records

Textual Records: Transcripts of proceedings of general courts- martial and courts of inquiry, 1799-1867 (180 vols.). Records of proceedings of general courts-martial (860 ft.) and courts of inquiry (405 ft.), 1866-1942. Register of general courts-martial, 1909-43. Indexes, registers, and slip records of summary courts- martial and deck courts, 1855-1930. Records of proceedings of boards of investigation and inquest, 1866-1942. Registers and proceedings of examining and retiring boards, 1836-1941. Personnel reports from commanding officers, 1860-95. Correspondence relating to desertions and discharges, 1883-1908. Letters sent concerning courts-martial, 1898-1911, 1929-31. Proceedings, lists, correspondence, registers, orders, indexes, and other records concerning personnel matters, 1860-1931.

Microfilm Publication: M273.

Related Records: Case files of lawyers involved in the hearing and court martial, 1808, of Commodore James Barron resulting from the naval battle between U.S.S. Chesapeake and H.M.S. Leopard, June 22, 1807, in the Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.

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125.2.3 Fiscal records

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records concerning legal matters affecting naval vessels, 1887-1906 (175 ft.), and specifications, 1888-1922. Records relating to commandeering and release of private vessels, 1917-19. Registers, indexes, reports, memorandums, transcripts of hearings, abstracts, correspondence, and other records relating to claims, contracts, bids, leases, disposition of real estate and other property, and monetary affairs, 1869-1943.

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125.2.4 Records of opinions and decisions

Textual Records: Opinions and decisions of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, the Solicitor of the Navy, the Attorney General, and the Comptroller of the Treasury, with indexes and registers, 1846-1911.

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125.2.5 Records of the Navy War Crimes Branch

History: In October 1944 a war crimes unit was established in the Army Judge Advocate General's Department. The following month the new organization was officially designated as the United States War Crimes Office. The Navy participated through its "Navy Division." On January 13, 1945, the Secretary of the Navy's memorandum announced the establishment of the National War Crimes Office and vested the Judge Advocate General of the Navy "with cognizance over legal and administrative matters relating to war crimes so far as the Navy is concerned." For most of its existence, the Navy war crimes organization was designated as the Navy Division, War Crimes Office, but in early 1949, it was redesignated as the War Crimes Branch. Officially the unit was subordinate to the Army Judge Advocate General, but for the Navy's administrative purposes it reported to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy. The unit focused on war crimes committed at sea or for which the primary sources were naval, cases involving U.S. naval personnel or civilians under naval jurisdiction, and those cases involving investigations conducted under naval commands. Much of the staff resources were expended on war crimes in the Pacific, which constituted the Navy's primary sphere of operations. Most of the Navy's Pacific area war crimes trials were concluded during 1949, as were other aspects of its war crimes related work. The Pacific war crimes offices were abolished, and their records sent to the Navy Judge Advocate General in Washington. By early 1950, the War Crimes Branch had ceased to exist.

Textual Records: Administrative correspondence and related records, 1944-50. Case Files and related records of Pacific area war crimes trials, 1944-49. Records relating to war crimes at sea, 1942-49. Records relating to the United Nations War Crimes Commission, 1944-46. Records relating to investigations and other work of the International Prosecution Section of the Supreme Commander Allied Powers, 1930-47. Records relating to prisoners of war, 1944-49. Records relating to German war crimes, 1945-48. Records relating to U.S. witnesses in war crimes cases, 1945-49. Records relating to interrogations of Japanese witnesses and defendants in war crimes cases, 1945-49. Records originated by the Director of War Crimes, Pacific Fleet, including a card name index to correspondence, 1945-49; correspondence, 1944-49; and memorandums, dispatches, and related records, 1945-49. Records originated by the Liaison Officer for War Crimes, Naval Forces Marianas, including a card name index to records relating to war crimes investigations and trials, 1947-49; and records relating to war crimes investigations and trials, 1944-49.

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125.3 Records of Boards and Other Special Units
1885-1938 (bulk 1896-1933)

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125.3.1 Records of the Board to Investigate a Contract with the
American Wood Preserving Company Relative to Its Process of
Preserving Wood

Textual Records: Transcript of proceedings, April-May 1885.

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125.3.2 Records of the Board to Examine into Certain Accusations
Against Officers and Employees of the Department of Steam
Engineering, New York Navy Yard

Textual Records: Records of proceedings, January 6-20, 1896.

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125.3.3 Records of the Board on Revision of Navy Regulations

Textual Records: Letters and memorandums, April-August 1896.

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125.3.4 Records of the Court of Inquiry in the Case of Rear
Admiral Winfield S. Schley

Textual Records: Letters sent, July 22, 1901-January 21, 1902.

Related Records: Proceedings of court filed as case 4952 of records of proceedings of courts of inquiry, UNDER 125.2.2.

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125.3.5 Records of the Examining Board of Ordnance Draftsmen

Textual Records: Examination papers, December 21, 1904.

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125.3.6 Records of the Naval Disciplinary Barracks, Port Royal,
SC

Textual Records (in Atlanta): General correspondence, October 1911-March 1914. Copies of general courts-martial sentences, 1912-14. Weekly reports of detentioners and probationers, 1911- 15. Copies of enlisted men's service records, 1911-14.

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125.3.7 Records of the Naval Disciplinary Barracks, Puget Sound,
WA

Textual Records (in Seattle): General correspondence, 1912-15. Records relating to property, courts and sentences, and personnel, 1912-15.

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125.3.8 Records of the Board on Valuation of Commandeered
Property

Textual Records: Hearings, exhibits, photographs, and reports, 1918-21. Bound abstracts of title, 1918-22. Correspondence with claimants, appraisals, and valuations of individual buildings and land, 1918-22. Information cards relating to the purchase of commandeered property, 1922.

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125.3.9 Records of the Legal Section, Force Commander's Office,
United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters

Textual Records: Correspondence, September 1918-April 1921. Register of letters received, September 1918-January 1919. Letters sent, January 1919-December 1921. Collision cases, December 1917-May 1922. Cases received from the legal aide in Paris, n.d. Docket list of maritime cases referred to the Arbitration Board and to naval claims boards before December 1921, n.d.

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125.3.10 Records of the Paris Naval Board on Claims

Textual Records: Minutes, February 25, 1919-June 15, 1920. Claims case files, 1918-22.

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125.3.11 Records of the London Naval Board on Claims

Textual Records: Minutes, February 26, 1919-June 29, 1921. Registers of letters received, December 1918-December 1919. Correspondence, February 1919-May 1920. Claims files, 1919-21, with register, index, and register of actions taken.

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125.3.12 Records of the Board on Submarine Claims

Textual Records: Correspondence, exhibits, copies of contracts, and fragmentary copy of report, May 1920-November 1922.

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125.3.13 Records of the Interdepartmental Radio Board

Textual Records: Correspondence and memorandums of the board, 1921-22. Records relating to wireless telegraphy patents and patent applications, 1915-18. Lists of patents, n.d.

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125.3.14 Records of the Board to Consider Claims of the Electric
Boat Company Under Contracts for Submarines

Textual Records: Reports, September 13, 1922.

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125.3.15 Records of the East Camp Claims Board

Textual Records: Transcript of testimony, August 1-10, 1922. Report of the board, September 29, 1923, with supporting blueprints and other exhibits.

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125.3.16 Records of the Cancellation Board

Textual Records: Files, including statements of claims, supporting records, and information on settlement, for General Electric Company, Fore River Shipbuilding Corporation, Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, and Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, 1923-24.

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125.3.17 Records of the Naval War Claims Board

Textual Records: General file, including correspondence, reports, minutes, and rules of procedures, April 1925-April 1938. Claims files, May 1925-April 1938.

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125.3.18 Records of the Naval Membership of the American
Delegation to the International Conference on Safety of Life at
Sea

Textual Records: Records relating to the conference accumulated by the navy members of the American delegation, 1927-29, including plenary minutes, American proposals, conference publications, and records of meetings of the American delegation.

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125.3.19 Records of the Board of Appraisal for the Appalachian
Electric Power Company

Textual Records: Blueprints, printed briefs, correspondence, exhibits, and copies of the board report, May 1928-March 1929.

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125.3.20 Records of the Commission for Hearing and Determining of
Claims by British Nationals

Textual Records: Case files of patent claims by British citizens, July 1932-February 1933.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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