Introduction

Revolutionary War Invalid Series

All Revolutionary War pensions granted before the establishment of the Federal Government were handled by the various States, often pursuant to resolutions of the Continental Congress. By a resolution of June 7, 1785 (Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, vol. 38, p. 435-37), the Congress of the Confederation asked the States to prepare annual lists of invalid pensioners.1 Under an act of September 29, 1789 (1 Stat. 95), the Federal Government assumed temporarily--and later permanently--the responsibility for paying these invalid pensions. Under an act of March 23, 1792 (1 Stat. 243), as amended, other veterans were permitted to apply to the Federal Government for invalid pensions. This act permitted disabled veterans to apply for pensions before the United States circuit or district courts in the several States. These applications were transmitted to the War Department, but they were evidently destroyed in the War Department fire of November 8, 1800. Reports based upon these applications were made

Reports Submitted to Congress

The records. - -Eight reports were submitted to Congress during the years 1792-95. A report dated 1792 is in a House of Representatives volume entitled Reports War Department 1st Cong. 3rd Sess., to 2nd Cong. 2nd Sess. (vol. 2). The seven reports for 1794 and 1795 are in a Senate volume entitled War Office Returns of Claims to Invalid Pensions. Each report identifies many applicants for invalid pensions. Entries are arranged by date of report, thereunder by name of State, and thereunder by name of applicant.

Information in the records. --Each entry in the 1792 report contains the name of the invalid pensioner, his rank, his regiment, the nature of his disability, and the date of the commencement of the pension. Each entry in the 1794 and 1795 reports contains the name of the invalid applicant; his rank; his regiment, company, or ship; the date and place of his becoming disabled; the place of his residence at the date of the report; and, as a rule, evidence of action on the claim.

Research aid. --All eight reports have been transcribed, printed, and indexed U. S. Congress, American State Papers, Class 9, Claims, p. 58-67, 85-122, 125-128, 135-145, and 150- 172 (Washington, Gales and Seaton, 1834). Each entry in the volume has been transcribed on an individual sheet of paper, and the sheets have been placed in separate envelopes, which are interfiled with the Revolutionary War service series described below,

Reports Retained by the War Department

The records, - - The reports retained by the War Department are dated l794-96. They constitute pages 527-612 of a War Department record book, the backstrip inscription of which reads War Office Letter Book 1791-94. The entries in the reports duplicate many entries in the reports submitted to Congress.

Information in the records, --Most of the entries in the War Department reports, 1794-96, contain essentially the same types of information that are found in the reports of 1794 and 1795 submitted to Congress.

Research aid. - -The 1796 reports have been transcribed and printed in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 46, nos. 1 and 2 (March and June 1958). The continuing article in these two issues of the Quarterly is entitled Recently Discovered Records Relating to Revolutionary War Veterans Who Applied for Pensions under the Act of 1792.

Revolutionary War Service Series

The records, --The Revolutionary War service series consists of pension application records created chiefly under acts of Congress dating between 1818 and 1853. The earliest act, approved March 18, 1818 (3 Stat. 410), applied to veterans of the continental establishment and the naval service who had served a minimum of 9 months. Its effectiveness was greatly curtailed by an act of Congress approved May 1, 1820 (3 Stat. 569), which provided that the pensioners submit property schedules proving that they were needy. The most liberal act was an act approved June 7, 1832


1The names of persons appearing on these lists Revolutionary War Pension Applications in the U.S. National Archives are included in the lists of invalid pensioners printed in War Department, Report From the Secretary of War . . . in Relation to the Pension Establishment of the United States, 1835 (23d Cong., 1st sess. , S. Doc. 514; serials 249-251), unindexed by the War Department for the Congress. There are two partially duplicating sets: reports submitted to Congress; and reports retained by the War Department.


Continue Archives Booklet section on "Service Series (Pension Applications proper)"

This information is taken from, and thanks to: "Guide to Genealogical Records in the National Archives" M.B. Colket, Jr. & F.E. Bridges, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 022-002-00016-3, 1964.  Errors in transcribing are my own.

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This digitization and all subsequent modification is Copyright ©  1999, Dr. Frank Oliver Clark. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy.  However, this digitization and all subsequent modification is copyrighted by Dr. Frank O. Clark and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same. Please send any errors, corrections, conjectures, updates, etc. to Dr. Frank O. Clark.