Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783
Personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units in the Revolutionary War, M246
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The descriptive pamphlet, published by NARA for this title, states that "the primary function of the many Revolutionary War rolls maintained by the American Army was to provide basic information about the identities, numbers, condition, equipage, and pay status of the men and units that comprised the Army in order to facilitate administrative control."
Click here to view or download a PDF version of NARA's descriptive pamphlet for M246, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, including a lengthy list of contents by original microfilm roll numbers.
The images shown here are examples of the types of documents you'll find within the Revolutionary War Rolls. Use the arrow above the image to navigate. Click on an image to see the full view.
These are examples from Ashley's Regiment of Militia (1776-77), New Hampshire.
"A Pay Roll of that part of the Eleventh Company in Col. Ashleys Regiment for the relief of the Garrison at Tionderoge June 29th 1777," listing the following:
- Time of engagement
- Time of discharge
- Time of service
- Rate per month
- Amount of wages
- Compensation for miles traveled (3d. out, 2d. back, plus officers' rations)
- Total of wages, rations, travel
- Provisions drawn
- Balance due
- Signature of recipient
"Abstract of a Pay Roll of Captain Davis Howlet's Company in Col. Ashly's Regiment of Militia which Company marched from Keene to reinforce the Continental Army at Ticonderoga ___ Engaged May 7th returned June 24th 1777."
The example shown here contains 50 names and signatures, confirming that "We the Subscribers acknowledge to have received of Captain Davis Howlet the several sums affixed to our Names being the Amount of Wages & Travel"
Using the collection
Browse these rolls by state and name of organization (regiment, battalion, guard, company, etc.). Find names of soldiers with the help of annotations supplied by other Fold3 users and feel free to add your own. Type a name in the search box under the browse menu when the Revolutionary War Rolls title is highlighted. If you know which state or regiment the soldier was serving in, you can narrow your search by highlighting that area within the browse hierarchy before typing in your search terms.
Because the rolls are arranged in a folder system, not by soldiers' names, it is helpful to have some understanding of the structure. The following description of the arrangement of these records is provided by NARA:
The records reproduced in this microfilm publication are arranged by numbered folders ("jackets") under three broad categories: individual States (arranged alphabetically), "Continental Troops," and "Miscellaneous." Units arranged under individual States include regular units of the Continental Army raised in a State plus elements of its militia and volunteer. Within each State grouping, numbered units (arranged numerically) generally precede named units (arranged generally alphabetically). Although Vermont was not organized as a State until 1791, units raised in that State are arranged separately in this section under "Vermont."
Units arranged under "Continental Troops" consist primarily of specialized units created by the Continental Congress, infantry regiments organized as a result of the Continental Congress resolutions of 1776, and units raised in more than one State. "Continental Troops" are arranged in four parts: (1) cavalry, artillery, and artificer units, arranged by type of unit, with numbered units usually preceding named units; (2) numbered infantry regiments of 1776, arranged numerically; (3) "additional regiments," arranged alphabetically by unit name; and (4) miscellaneous units, arranged alphabetically by name. The latter include, among others, the Commander in Chief's Guard, the German Regiment, and a company of Delaware Indians.
The section designated "Miscellaneous" is reserved for the returns of units larger than a regiment and for special returns not easily classified under another designation. They include returns of the French Army under Count Rochambeau, arranged chronologically; brigade, division, and army returns, arranged by organization and thereunder chronologically; and general returns of Washington's Army, also arranged chronologically. Special returns include those of the Hospital and Quartermaster General's Departments, arranged by department and thereunder chronologically; guard reports; and prisoner-of-war lists.
Records of individual regiments, whether State or Continental' are arranged so that regimental rolls precede company rolls. Thereunder, the rolls are arranged by type, with muster rolls first, payrolls second, and various miscellaneous rolls last.
Because Continental Army units were frequently reorganized, there are sometimes severalseries of jackets for the different reorganizations, each bearing the same number or name designation. When the records for each reorganization were maintained separately, the year of original formation is often included in the title. The New York records, for instance, include a 1st Regiment, 1775; a 1st Regiment, 1776; and a 1st Regiment, 1777-83. When a consolidation of several regiments was made, the new unit designation sometimes reflected the combined designations of the several regiments involved; e.g., a Virginia unit that was designated the "4th, 8th, and 12th Regiment."
Images are scanned from microfilm. At times, documents appear in the incorrect order on a roll. When such entries are discovered, we will note the discrepancy in the errata section of the description.
The following discrepancies occur in Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, M246.
- The file for the Pennsylvania 2d Battalion of Riflemen, Lancaster County (1776-1777) contains papers for Pennsylvania 2d Battalion, Northumberland County Militia (1780). Only page 1 in this file is for 2d Battalion Lancaster County. Pages 2-6 are Northumberland.
The muster rolls represented in this publication were used extensively by the Record and
Pension Office in the preparation of compiled service records for the men who served in the
American Army during the Revolutionary War. The compiled service records, also part of
Record Group 93, have been reproduced as two National Archives and Records Service
(NARS) microfilm publications: Compiled Service Records of American Naval Personnel and
Members of the Departments of the Quartermaster General and the Commissary General of
Military Stores Who Served During the Revolutionary War (M880), and Compiled Service
Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War
Records from M881 are available at Fold3: Revolutionary War Service Records.
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Search or browse the Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 here.