Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army)
(Record Group 153)
1692-1981 (bulk 1800-1967)
Table of Contents
- 153.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
- 153.2 RECORDS OF THE IMMEDIATE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE
- 153.2.1 Correspondence and related records
- 153.2.2 Orders and related records
- 153.2.3 Court-martial case files and related records
- 153.2.4 Records of the general court-martial of Lt. William
Calley at Fort Benning, GA (Nov. 1970-Dec. 1971) for offenses
alleged against the inhabitants of My Lai 4, Republic of Vietnam
("My Lai Massacre," March 16, 1968)
- 153.2.5 Records of the Lincoln assassination investigation
- 153.2.6 Records of other investigations
- 153.2.7 Records relating to the military justice system
- 153.2.8 Personnel records
- 153.2.9 International claims records
- 153.3 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE
- 153.4 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE ACTING JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL
IN EUROPE 1918-19
- 153.5 RECORDS OF THE LANDS DIVISION
1692-1950 (bulk 1800-1942)
- 153.6 RECORDS OF THE LITIGATION DIVISION AND PREDECESSOR UNITS
- 153.6.1 Records of the Civil Affairs Section
- 153.6.2 Other records
- 153.7 RECORDS OF THE WAR TRANSACTIONS BOARD
- 153.8 RECORDS OF THE INSULAR AFFAIRS SECTION
- 153.9 RECORDS OF THE CENTRAL PATENT SECTION AND RELATED AGENCIES
316 lin. ft.
- 153.9.1 Records of the Central Patent Section
- 153.9.2 Records of the Patent Section and the Central Patent
Section, Supply Division
- 153.9.3 Records of the Munitions Patent Board
- 153.9.4 Records of the Patents Branch, Office of the Chief of
- 153.9.5 Records of the Interdepartmental Patents Board
- 153.9.6 Records of the Commission for Adjustment of Foreign
- 153.9.7 Records of the Commission for Adjustment of British
- 153.10 RECORDS OF THE PATENT DIVISION
- 153.10.1 General records
- 153.10.2 Records of the Classified Inventions Branch
- 153.10.3 Records of the Procurement and Claims Branch
- 153.11 RECORDS OF THE PROCUREMENT LAW DIVISION
- 153.12 RECORDS OF THE INDUSTRIAL LAW BRANCH
- 153.13 RECORDS OF THE WAR CRIMES BRANCH
- 153.13.1 Records relating to World War II war crimes
- 153.13.2 Records relating to the Korean War
- 153.14 RECORDS OF THE MILITARY JUSTICE DIVISION
- 153.15 RECORDS OF THE MILITARY AFFAIRS DIVISION
- 153.16 RECORDS OF THE INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION
- 153.17 RECORDS OF THE STATUS OF FORCES BRANCH
- 153.18 FIELD RECORDS
- 153.19 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
- 153.20 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
- 153.21 VIDEO RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
- 153.22 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
- 153.23 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
Established: In the War Department by an act of July 17, 1862 (12 Stat. 597), renaming the office of the Judge Advocate of the Army. Judge Advocate General's Department established in the War Department by an act of July 5, 1884 (23 Stat. 113), consolidating the Bureau of Military Justice and the Corps of Judge Advocates of the Army.
In the War Department:
Of the Office of the Judge Advocate General:
- Judge Advocate (1797-1849)
- Judge Advocate of the Army (1849-62)
Of the Judge Advocate General's Department:
- Corps of Judge Advocates of the Army (1816-84)
- Bureau of Military Justice (1864-84)
Transfers: To Services of Supply (SOS), effective March 9, 1942, by Circular 59, War Department, March 2, 1942, as part of a War Department reorganization authorized by EO 9082, February 28, 1942; to Army Service Forces (ASF, formerly SOS) by General Order 14, War Department, March 12, 1943; to War Department General Staff (WDGS) as an administrative staff and service, with JAG reporting directly to the Secretary of War with respect to courts-martial and legal matters, effective June 11, 1946, upon abolishment of ASF by Circular 138, War Department, May 14, 1946, as part of a War Department reorganization authorized by EO 9722, May 13, 1946; with WDGS (redesignated Army Staff) to Department of the Army by Circular 1, Department of the Army, September 18, 1947, implementing Circular 225, War Department, August 16, 1947, issued pursuant to a reorganization of the armed services under the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 495), July 26, 1947.
Functions: Supervises the system of military justice throughout the army, performs appellate review of records of trials by court-martial as provided by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and furnishes the army's legal services. Serves as legal adviser to the Secretary of the Army and all army offices and agencies.
Finding Aids: George J. Stansfield, comp., "Preliminary Checklist of the Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (War), 1808-1942," PC 29 (December 1945); Patricia Andrews, "Supplement to Preliminary Checklist 29, Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (War)," NM 33 (1964); and supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.
Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army) in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
History: A single judge advocate for the army authorized by an act of March 3, 1797 (1 Stat. 507), but the number and status of judge advocates subsequently varied until the office of Judge Advocate of the Army was created by act of March 2, 1849 (9 Stat. 351). Name changed to Judge Advocate General, 1862. SEE 153.1.
Bureau of Military Justice, headed by Judge Advocate General, established by an act of June 20, 1864 (13 Stat. 144). Consolidated with the Corps of Judge Advocates of the Army to form the Judge Advocate General's Department, 1884. SEE 153.1.
Textual Records: Letters and reports sent, 1842-89, with indexes. Press copies of letters sent by the Judge Advocate General, 1882- 95, with indexes. Selected letters sent by the Judge Advocate General as head of the system of military justice and legal adviser to the Secretary of War, 1889-95, with indexes. Letters received by the Judge Advocate of the Army and the Judge Advocate General, 1854-94, with registers, 1854-89, and indexes, 1871-76, 1885-88. General correspondence, 1894-1912. Correspondence relating to the Judge Advocate General's opinions and decisions and to administrative and operational matters, 1912-42. Opinions and decisions of the Attorney General concerning administration of military justice and legal actions of the War Department, 1821-70. Papers and other records of Brig. Gen. Norman Lieber, 1867-98; Brig. Gen. George B. Davis as Judge Advocate General, 1901-10; Col. Blanton Winship of the Judge Advocate General's Department, 1903-19; and Col. Mark Guerin, Judge Advocate of the 6th Corps Area, 1918-24. Office files relating to maritime affairs, 1918-23; and to the Commission for Adjustment of British Claims, 1932-33.
Textual Records: General orders, circulars, and general courts- martial orders of the Judge Advocate General's Office, 1860-1944 (160 ft.).
Textual Records: Case files of general courts-martial, courts of inquiry, and military commissions (5,133 lin. ft.), 1809-1939; with index, 1891-1917. Court-martial case files of German saboteurs, 1942-44; Eddie Slovik, 1944-45; and David Watson and Jack and Kathleen Durant, 1946-47. Copies of records of general courts-martial and courts of inquiry, 1808-15 (8 vols.). Registers of court-martial cases, 1809-90. Case files lost during the Civil War but later recovered by the Judge Advocate General, 1861-65. General courts-martial case number ledgers, 1918-50. General courts-martial offense ledgers, 1917-50. Ledger of general courts-martial convictions in the American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-19. Applications for and correspondence regarding clemency for prisoners sentenced by general courts-martial to the U.S. Military Prison at Fort Leavenworth, KS, 1887-89. Clemency orders issued by the Assistant Secretary of War, 1894-97.
Microfilm Publications: M592, M1002, M1105, T1027, T1103.
Maps (14 items): Published maps relating to the G.K. Warren court of inquiry, 1879-80. SEE ALSO 153.19.
Finding Aids: National Archives card index to case files predating 1862.
153.2.4 Records of the general court-martial of Lt. William
Calley at Fort Benning, GA (Nov. 1970-Dec. 1971) for offenses
alleged against the inhabitants of My Lai 4, Republic of Vietnam
("My Lai Massacre," March 16, 1968)
Textual Records: Article 32 proceedings, December 1969. Court- martial proceedings, November 1970-December 1971. Appellate proceedings before the Army Court of Military Review and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, 1971-74. Records relating to Presidential review of the case, 1974. Records relating to clemency requests, 1972-81.
Motion Pictures (1 reel): Communist atrocities in Vietnam, entered as a defense exhibit, n.d. SEE ALSO 153.20.
Video Recordings (7 items): Defense exhibits, 1969-71.
Sound Recordings (76 items): Proceedings of the general court- martial, November 1970-March 1971 (63 items). Appellate hearings before the Army Court of Military Review, December 1972 (9 items). Vietnamese-language radio broadcasts concerning Communist atrocities, entered as defense exhibits, n.d. (4 items).
Textual Records: Reports, correspondence, and testimony of persons connected with the assassination trial, April 1865. "Military Commission Record Book," containing abstracts of letters, testimony, and reports regarding suspects in the assassination, 1865. Records of Judge Advocate Col. H.L. Burnett, who investigated the assassination, including letters sent, April-July 1865; a register of letters received, April-August 1865; and an endorsement book, April-June 1865.
Microfilm Publications: M599.
Textual Records: Records of an investigation by the Provost Marshal, Department of the Missouri, into the activities of the Order of American Knights, 1864. Records of the Paxton Hibben and William Mitchell cases and the Martin-Mitchell controversy, 1923- 27.
Textual Records: Card file used in revising the manual on courts- martial that shows changes made in army regulations, 1904-13. Correspondence, reports, and working papers relating to revisions of the manual for courts-martial, 1919-27. Records relating to military justice and the revision of military law ("Decker Collection"), 1948-56. Report made to the Judge Advocate General, relating to criticisms of the system of military justice, February 13, 1919. Records from a study of the European administration of military justice, 1918-20.
Microfilm Publications: M1739.
Textual Records: Lists of personnel and letters sent by the Acting Judge Advocate General, concerning civilian personnel, 1877-98. Office orders; completed biographical questionnaires; and records relating to war risk insurance, the French and Creary retirement cases, and department personnel, 1918-28.
Textual Records: Case files relating to claims of Mexican citizens as a result of the U.S. landing at Veracruz (1914) and General John J. Pershing's Punitive Expedition (1916), 1914-36. Records relating to cases before the Netherlands Claims Commission, created in 1932 to hear Dutch claims arising from army ordnance purchases during World War I, 1932-40.
History: Appointed in 1864, with headquarters in Louisville, KY, to review records of courts-martial and military commissions in the Departments of Arkansas, Kansas, the Ohio, the Tennessee, the Cumberland, and the Missouri before they were forwarded to the Judge Advocate General.
Textual Records: Registers and indexes of court-martial case files received, 1864-67. Endorsement book, 1864-66.
History: Functioned as a field office of the Judge Advocate General from March 7, 1918, to October 6, 1919. Reviewed general court-martial cases in which death, dismissal, or dishonorable discharge sentences were imposed, and military commission cases originating in the American Expeditionary Forces.
Textual Records: Orders, reports, and correspondence regarding cases examined and reviewed, 1918-19.
Related Records: Case files received by this office were forwarded to the Judge Advocate General and are in the court- martial case files, 153.2.2.
History: Judge Advocate General assigned responsibility of maintaining and administering original deeds and other title papers to War Department real property, 1894. Function vested in Military Reservation Division, 1942. Redesignated Lands Division after World War II.
Textual Records: "Reservation Files," relating to real estate no longer owned by the Department of the Army, 1692-1950 (bulk 1800- 1950), including, for Fort Wadsworth, NY, Fort Monmouth, NJ, and West Point, NY, a few colonial period legal documents, 1692-1763.
Maps (347 items): Former military reservations and other army- held lands in the United States that were relinquished to other government agencies, 1840-1930. SEE ALSO 153.19.
History: Established March 1942, superseding Litigation Section, established December 1941, and predecessor Claims and Litigation Section. Exercised supervision over litigation in which the War Department was involved and maintained liaison with the Department of Justice. Inherited records of predecessor units, including Civil Affairs Section, established 1925.
Textual Records: Correspondence regarding cases tried in the U.S. Court of Claims, 1925-31. Correspondence, chiefly with Members of Congress, and other records relating to the payment of claims to individuals authorized by private Congressional acts, 1926-37.
Textual Records: Records of hearings, correspondence, and other material relating to cases tried in the U.S. Court of Claims, 1925-42. Files of cases involving the War Department tried in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, 1923-40. Records concerning suits brought by persons ordered excluded from west coast defense areas during World War II, 1942-47.
History: Established in the War Department to cooperate with the Board of Survey of the Department of Justice as the Joint Board of Survey of war transactions, with subcommittees investigating frauds arising out of war contracts, February 1923. Most work of the joint board was completed in 1925.
Textual Records: Minutes of the joint board, 1923-25. Records relating to review of contractual transactions by both boards, 1923-26.
History: Established after the Judge Advocate General assumed the legal work formerly handled by the War Department Bureau of Insular Affairs, 1914. Discontinued following the transfer of responsibility for management of insular affairs from the War Department to the Department of the Interior, by Reorganization Plan No. II of 1939, effective July 1, 1939.
Textual Records: Memorandums of the section chief concerning legal matters related to the administration of insular possessions, 1931-39. Cards listing legal cases handled by the section, 1925-36. Section chief's office files, 1920-34. Files concerning cases involving residents of Puerto Rico brought before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, 1915-34. Files concerning similar cases involving residents of the Philippine Islands, 1915-33.
History: Established in the Office of the Judge Advocate General, July 11, 1921, to succeed the Central Patent Section of the Supply Division, WDGS.
Textual Records: Patent case files, 1921-40. U.S. Court of Claims case files, 1921-42. Selected case papers, 1917-40. Correspondence concerning Muscle Shoals, AL, 1918-34. Records relating to the settlement of German and Austrian patent claims, 1928-33.
History: Patent Section organized in Supply Branch of Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division, WDGS, January 1919, to handle matters concerning departmental use of patented articles and War Department employees' rights to patents on inventions. Succeeded by the Central Patent Section, Supply Division, WDGS, 1920.
Textual Records: Correspondence and records of action on specific patent cases, 1919-21. Air Service contract files, 1919. Administrative information files on contracts involving the use of patented materials, 1919. Notes on conferences and personnel, 1921.
History: Established to coordinate War and Navy Department patent policies, September 1918. Ceased to function, 1921.
Textual Records: Patent case files, 1918-21.
History: Established in the Procurement Division, Office of the Chief of Ordnance, March 1918, to perform functions related to ordnance patents and inventions, contracts for patent rights, and royalty and other payments. Functions related to contract matters and the payment of compensation for inventions transferred to Patent Section, Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division, WDGS, January 1919.
Textual Records: Office files of the section chief, 1917-19. Photostatic copies of drawings of ordnance equipment, 1919. Index to contracts in the contract file of the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, 1917-19. Correspondence relating to investigations of infringements on ordnance patents, 1918-19.
History: Established by EO 3721, August 9, 1922, to study policies concerning government employees' patent rights to inventions. Abolished, 1933.
Textual Records: Minutes of meetings, 1922-23. Correspondence, 1922-23.
History: Established by General Order 9, War Department, February 28, 1922, pursuant to an act of March 2, 1919 (40 Stat. 1273), to hear and determine questions arising out of the "Bolling Agreement" of June 1917 and other assigned matters relating to foreign claims. Dissolved, June 26, 1924.
Textual Records: Administrative correspondence, 1922-24. Claims case files and exhibits, 1922-24. Files of aeronautical patents information, 1919-24.
History: Established by letter of the Adjutant General, June 7, 1932. Submitted final report, February 11, 1933.
Textual Records: Correspondence of the chairman, 1932-34, with supporting reference materials, 1917-34. General administrative records, 1932-34. Case files, 1932-33. Correspondence relating to claims made after the establishment of the commission, 1932-33.
Textual Records: Records relating to patent legislation, 1926-61. Records relating to Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) and National Defense Research Committee patent cases, 1941-52. OSRD patent application lists, 1941-50. Records relating to the Joint Army-Navy Committee to Study Radar Patent Pooling, 1944-46. Records relating to the Patent Interchange Agreement and the British-American Patent Interchange Committee, 1932-50.
Textual Records: Records relating to patent applications tendered to the Federal Government under secrecy orders, 1941-49.
Textual Records: Correspondence and other records relating to contracts and patents, 1943-49. Records concerning patents and the Office of Alien Property Custodian, 1942-51. Records dealing with patent rights and lend-lease, 1945-54. Records relating to the Surplus Property Act of 1944, 1944-46. Records relating to royalty adjustments, waivers of indemnity, and contract liabilities, 1936-47. Records pertaining to the release of technical and industrial information, 1944-45. Records regarding patent procurement regulations, 1944-52. Records pertaining to patent deviations, 1945-51. Patent deviation case files, 1943-57.
Textual Records: Records relating to offshore procurement agreements, 1952-55.
Textual Records: General records relating to the seizure and operation by the War Department of industrial facilities during World War II, 1942-46. Records relating to individual facilities seized, 1942-46.
Subject Access Terms: Gaffney Manufacturing Company; Hughes Tool Company; International Nickel Company; Montgomery Ward and Company; S. A. Woods Machine Company; Western Electric Company.
History: Established in the Judge Advocate General's Department to coordinate U.S. activities with respect to investigation and prosecution of war crimes and criminals, October 6, 1944. Attached to the Civil Affairs Division, Army Staff, 1946-49. Residual functions absorbed by the International Affairs Division, Judge Advocate General's Department, 1955.
Motion Pictures (2 reels): Investigation of atrocities against POWs in Korea, 1952-54. SEE ALSO 153.20
Textual Records: Letters sent, 1948-51, and received, 1944-51. Treaty Analysis Project File of the State Department, compiled in conjunction with the War Crimes Division, 1944-48. Safehaven reports, 1944-45. Law library file, 1944-49. Prisoner-of-war investigation reports, 1943-47. Case files and dossiers for war crimes trials held by military commissions in China, the Far East Command, and the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations, 1944-49, with name indexes. General and administrative records pertaining to war crimes trials ("Set-Up Files"), 1944-49. Records of the United States Commissioner, United Nations War Crimes Commission, 1943-50. Records relating to European war crimes cases, 1944-50. Records relating to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 1946-48. Records relating to lesser Japanese war crimes trials, 1946-49. Case files of the Japanese Clemency and Parole Board for War Criminals, 1952-57, with index. Records relating to Philippine war crimes, 1942-47. Records relating to war crimes committed in the China Theater, 1945-48.
Motion Pictures (1 reel): Rome March, from case 16-194, U.S. v. Kurt Maelzer, n.d. SEE ALSO 153.20.
Photographic Prints (798 images): Two personal albums of Ilse Koch, used as an exhibit in her July 1947 war crimes trial, 1912- 41 (IK, 450 images). Six photograph albums containing photographs depicting German and Japanese atrocities and war crimes trials and documenting the recovery of property looted by the Nazis, 1944-46 (WC, 348 images).
Related Records: National Archives Collection of World War II War Crimes Records, RG 238.
Subject Access Terms: Berlin (photographs); Buchenwald (photographs); Darmstadt (photographs); Dresden (photographs).
Textual Records: Records of the War Crimes Division, Judge Advocate Section, Korean Communications Zone, consisting of war crimes case files, 1952-54; historical reports, 1952-54; and reports of interrogations of American prisoners of war repatriated in Operation Big Switch, 1953-54. Records of the Post Capture Offenses Division, Judge Advocate Section, Korean Communications Zone, consisting of case files, 1951-53, with index; and historical report, 1953.
Motion Pictures (2 reels): Investigation of atrocities against POWs in Korea, 1952-54. SEE ALSO 153.20.
Textual Records: Reports and related records of the courts- martial ("Lichfield Trials") of U.S. servicemen stationed at Camp Lichfield, England, 1945-47. Records of the Judge Advocate General's Task Force to Study Procurement Irregularities in the Western Area Command, 1950-55.
Textual Records: Records of the Department of the Army Emergency Legislative Program, 1949-58.
Textual Records: Army JAG central files of legal opinions and actions concerned with organization matters, originated by the Administration Law Division, the Procurement Law Division, the Criminal Law Division, and the International Affairs Division ("Mixed Files"), 1918-78 (361 ft.). Records relating to international agreements, national jurisdictions, and other legal matters ("Country Files"), 1954-61.
Textual Records: Records relating to the exercise of jurisdiction by foreign tribunals over U.S. military personnel ("Morale and Impact Reports"), 1955-60. Statistical reports, 1954-63. Records relating to foreign criminal tribunal legal costs, 1956-60. Reports of visits to foreign penal institutions, 1955-63. Reports of U.S. military personnel confined in foreign penal institutions, 1954-63.
Textual Records: Records of the Judge Advocate General School, Charlottesville, VA, 1951-67. Records of the Judge Advocate General's School Library, consisting of a collection of publications and issuances relating to the World War I draft and Veterans' Bureau, 1917-40.
SEE Maps UNDER 153.2.3 and 153.5.
SEE UNDER 153.2.4, 153.13.1, and 153.3.3.
SEE UNDER 153.2.4.
SEE UNDER 153.2.4.
SEE Photographic Prints UNDER 153.13.1.
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.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.