Finding Military Records
The Historical Society’s collections include information about the history of military conflicts from the beginning of the state to the present day, but especially for the period prior to and including the Civil War. This guide focuses on records of military service. For general resources search the online catalog and reading room card catalog. Online resources and material not at the RIHS are included at the end of this guide. Resources under each section are listed in the suggested order of use.
Chapin, Howard M. Rhode Island
in the Colonial Wars.1920, 1994.
Combines separate lists of RI soldiers who participated in King George’s War and the French and Indian War.
Reading Room: E199 .C46 1994
Pierce, Ebenezer W. Peirce's
colonial lists: Civil, Military and Professional Lists of Plymouth
and Rhode Island Colonies. 1881.
Reading Room: E263 .M4 1881
Colonial Militia Collection.
Finding aid available in the Reading Room or online at www.rihs.org/mssinv/Mss673sg1.htm.
MSS 673, subgroup 1
No comprehensive list of Rhode Island Revolutionary soldiers exists. Use the first two resources below, and Civil and Military List of Rhode Island, under General Resources.
Cowell, Benjamin. Spirit of ’76
in Rhode Island. 1850.
Reading Room: E263 R4 C83
Heitman, Francis. Historical
Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution.
1914, 1932, 1973.
Reading Room: CT 218 H4 1967
Daughters of the American
Revolution. DAR Patriot Index. 2003.
Reading Room: E255 .D36 2003
White, Vergil (compiler). Genealogical
Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files. 1990.
Reading Room: E255 .W55 1990
Newman, Debra L. List of Black
Servicemen, Compiled from the War Department Collection of Revolutionary War
Reading Room: E269 N3 N48
Revolutionary War Military
A card index in the Reading Room includes the names of Rhode Island soldiers who appear in our Revolutionary War Military Records.
MSS 673, subgroup 2
White, Vergil (compiler). Index
to War of 1812 Pension Files.
Reading Room: E359.4 .W45 1989
The Nebraska Society of United States Daughters of 1812. Heroes of 1812. 1930.
Reading Room: E351.6 N34
War of 1812 Military Records.
Finding aid available in the Reading Room or online at www.rihs.org/mssinv/Mss673sg3.htm.
MSS 673, subgroup 3
Annual Report of the Adjutant
General of the State of Rhode Island . . . For the Year 1865.
Reading Room: UA43 R4 1865a
Names of Officers, Soldiers and
Seamen in Rhode Island Regiments or Belonging to the State of Rhode Island, and
Serving in the Regiments of Other States . . . Who Lost Their Lives in the
Defence of Their Country in the Suppression of the Late Rebellion. 1869.
Reading Room: E528.3 N17
Bartlett, John Russell. Memoirs
of Rhode Island Officers Who Were Engaged in the Service of Their Country
during the Great Rebellion of the South. 1867.
Reading Room: CT 9750 B281
Civil War Military Records.
MSS 673, subgroup 4
Smith, Joseph Jenckes. Civil
and Military List of Rhode Island, 1647-1850. 1900-1907.
Reading Room: F78 .S65
Rhode Island Newspaper Collection.
The Library is the repository for the Rhode Island Newspaper Project and has a microfilm collection of almost every Rhode Island newspaper ever published.
Reading Room Microfilm Cabinets
Heitman, Francis B. Historical
Register and Dictionary of the United States Army from Its Organization,
September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903.
Reading Room: CT 219 H4
Military Manuscript Collections.
In addition to the collections for specific wars listed above, the Library holds collections relating to: the Providence Marine Corps of Artillery, the First Light Infantry, the Kentish Light Artillery, the Westerly Militia, and the First Machine Gun Battery. For more information, see www.rihs.org/msssubgde.htm#govtmil.
Rhode Island Colonial War Servicemen, 1740-62.
This online database lists over 3800 Rhode Island men who served in colonial wars.
Available through Ancestry.com
Civil War Soldiers & Sailors
National Archives Guide to
Research in Military Records.
Federal records of military service are usually held by the National Archives. This guide outlines methods for accessing those records.
The Rhode Island Historical
Searches for graves can be limited by war.
Reading Room Computer Station and http://rihc.info (in process)
The Rhode Island State Archives
The State Archives holds many military records. Microfilm copies of a number of them can also be found at the Church of the Latter Day Saints’ Rhode Island Family History Center in
Warwick (phone: 401.463.8150).
Archives of the Rhode Island
Includes RI military records from World War I to the present day.