Enlisted Indian Scouts
The Army Reorganization Act of 1866 authorized the President to "enlist and employ in the Territories and Indian country a force of Indians not to exceed one thousand to act as scouts, who shall receive the pay and allowances of cavalry soldiers, and be discharged...at the discretion of the department commander."
Scouts typically enlisted for three to six months at a time, although many served multiple terms such as Arapaho Chief Sharp Nose, who enlisted 20 times between 1876 and 1890. Enlisted Indian scouts served during the late nineteenth century, and continued until 1947, when the last scout retired.
Please note, these records have not yet been digitized. Contact the National Archives at Washington, DC for more information about these records.
Index to Enlistment Papers, Indian Scouts, 1866-1914
This index provides the individual's enlistment number(s), which is used to locate the subsequent enlistment paper(s). The records are arranged in four parts, based on the geographical area in which they served:
- Arizona, 1866-1914
- Indian Territory and Oklahoma, no date
- New Mexico, 1866-1874
- Northern [Plains, e.g. Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming], 1874-1914
The index lists scouts alphabetically by name and provides the enlistment number. If he enlisted multiple times, he will have multiple enlistment numbers. Visit the National Archives Catalog for the full archival records description and contact information: National Archives Identifier 593964.
Enlistment Papers, Indian Scouts, 1866-1914
These documents are arranged by the initial letter of the scout’s surname, and then numerically by enlistment number. The papers provide information, including:
- Physical description
- Term of service (numbers of months or years for which the person is enlisting)
The scout's enlistment number(s), obtained from the Index to Enlistment Papers, is required to access these records. Visit the National Archives Catalog for the full archival records description and contact information: National Archives Identifier 593325.
|Read the article " Lead the Way" in Prologue for more information about enlisted Indian scouts.|
|Return to Indian Scouts and Code Talkers Main Page|