Native American Heritage

Photo of Gen. Stand Watie, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865, National Archives Identifier 529026

Indian Companies

Volunteer Militias and Regiments

From the War of 1812 to the Civil War, Americans Indians served in numerous U.S. volunteer militia organizations, fighting against other American Indians in various Indian campaigns from the Creek War of 1813 to the Second Seminole War (1836-1842) and the Navajo War of 1849 in New Mexico. During the Civil War, many American Indian cavalry units served in the Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi under Cherokee leader and Brigadier General Stand Watie. The Union Army’s Indian Home Guard also recruited volunteers from the Five Civilized Tribes.

Please note: the majority these records have not yet been digitized.

Records Created by the War Department

Compiled Military Service Records, 1812-1865

The War Department created military service records for volunteer soldiers in state regiments from the Revolutionary War to the Philippine Insurrection. The records included basic service information compiled from muster rolls, payrolls, and other War Department records.

  • Carded Service Records of Volunteer Organizations: War of 1812
    (National Archives Identifier 300392)
  • Carded Service Records of Volunteer Organizations During Indian Wars
    (National Archives Identifier 300395)
  • Carded Service Records of Volunteer Organizations: Civil War
    (National Archives Identifier 300398)
  • Carded Records of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations
    (National Archives Identifier 586957)
    These records are available online at subscription-based genealogy websites, and

U.S. Volunteer Muster Rolls, 1812-1866

The muster rolls of U.S. volunteer organizations include Indian companies. These records provide the company’s locations during the reporting period, but also names of those individuals who had deserted, died, or been discharged.

  • Muster Rolls of Volunteer Organizations: War of 1812
    (National Archives Identifier: 654644)
  • Muster Rolls of Volunteer Organizations in Various Indian Wars and Other incidents Requiring the Employment of Troops, 1794-1858
    (National Archives Identifier 654651)
  • Muster Rolls of Volunteer Organizations: Civil War, Mexican War, Creek War, Cherokee Removal, and Other Wars, 1836-1866
    (National Archives Identifier 300388)

Applications for Bounty Land Files

Records Created by the Veterans Administration

An act of March 3, 1855 (10 Stat. L. 701) extended military bounty land laws to include American Indians, entitling veterans from the Revolutionary War and the Indian Wars of 1818 and 1836 to warrants that could be exchanged for public lands. A few earlier acts had specified bounty lands for Indians, but this act marked the first time land was made available on a large scale. Bounty land was only given out as a benefit for military service, but the applicant could be the veteran, his widow, or a dependent heir. Regardless of who applied, the claim was based on the service of the veteran.

  • Bounty-Land Warant Application Files, ca. 1800- ca. 1900
    (National Archives Identifier 567388)
  • Case Files of Pension Applications Based on Death or Disability Incurred in Service between 1783 and 1861 ("Old Wars"), ca. 1815- ca. 1930
    (National Archives Identifier 1105306)

Records Created by the Office of Indian Affairs

  • Index to Abstract List of Indian Applicants for Military Bounty Lands, 1855-1875
    (National Archives Identifier 2111798)
  • Abstract List of Indian Applicants for Military Bounty Lands, 1855-1882
    (National Archives Identifier 2113317)