“Militia Lists” in the Library of Virginia

Militia Lists in APA 225, Library of Virginia

Library of Virginia, Record Group 48, Auditor of Public Accounts, Inventory Entry 225, “Militia Lists 1779-1782” contains two inches of militia muster rolls or “lists” submitted by militia officers to Virginia’s Auditors for payment. The inventory entry (Salmon and Kolbe, Auditor of Public Accounts Inventory [Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1992], 51) reads

This series consists of a collection of revolutionary war militia lists. Although most of
the lists record the names of the men in the militia and their pay, the lists for Henry and
Loudoun counties also record the soldiers’ occupations, heights, and places of residence.
Lists are included for the following counties: Albemarle, Amelia, Amherst, Essex,
Fauquier, Frederick, Gloucester, Henry, King George, Loudoun, New Kent, Prince
William, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Washington and Westmoreland.

A few remarks are in order regarding these lists. First, these are not the only militia lists and muster rolls in LVA…there are others scattered in various locations throughout the collection. Second, it is important to note that there are notations on some of these lists indicating that they were not honored or paid by the Commonwealth. Any number of explanations may be offered for this: the men were not entitled to pay; they had been paid for the services on a previous occasion; etc. Third, a select few of the lists, as noted in the inventory entry, are “size rolls” of sorts, which give physical descriptions of each soldier. Fourth, while most of these lists were for services in the expeditionary militia, there are exceptions, the most notable being a 1782 New Kent County class list of 482 individuals, which does not prove active militia duty.

Many of these lists have been abstracted and/or transcribed, particularly in the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy. Susan Chiarello, in particular, is to be commended for her recent transcriptions of these records. A small few remain untranscribed, such as the New Kent County class list mentioned above. The following is my inventory of all records in the file:

1. Albemarle County-Capt B. Harris’ company 19 Sept 1781
2. Amelia County-Capt Edwd. Munford’s company march’d to Cabin Point 1781
3. Amherst County (two)-Capt Azariah Martin’s company June -Sept 1780; Capt William Tucker’s company Jan-March 1781. Both published in Sweeny, “Amherst Co in the Rev.”
4. Caroline County- Capt Edmd. Jones’s Company 29 April 1781
5. Essex County-Militia ordered out 4 Sept 1781 under Col Smith
6. Fauquier County (two)-Capt John Ball’s company July -Sept 1781; Capt William Triplett’s company 1781
7. Frederick County (two)-Capt Samuel Glass’s company against the tories in Hampshire County, no date; Col David Kennedy’s Batt. guarding prisoners at Winchester 1781
8. Gloucester County (two)-Capt Billups’ company on duty during the invasion, Aug-Oct 1781; Capt Thomas Baytop’s company May-June 1781
9. Henry County (three)-List of recruits raised under Act of Assembly Oct 1781 [a size roll]; Capt Daniel Carlin’s company July -Sept 1779; Capt Daniel Carlin’s company Feb-March 1781
10. King George County-List of recruits 1781
11. Loudoun County (three)-Capt Henry McCabe’s company May-July 1781; Capt Samuel A. Noland’s company 1782; Recruits raised by Act of Assembly Oct 1780 [a size roll]
12. New Kent County-Class List made by the field officers for New Kent Aug 1782 [class list of 428 individuals]
13. Prince William County-List of recruits 1781
14. Rockbridge County-Capt James Gilmore’s company under Gen. Morgan in SC 1780
15. Rockingham County (two)-Capt George Baxter’s company guarding British prisoners at Winchester Feb-March 1782; List of recruits 1781
16. Shenandoah County (three)-Capt Linefield Sharpe’s company Aug-Oct 1781; List of men drafted or enlisted 19 March 1781 agreeable to Act of Assembly; List of men from whom money received for recruiting soldiers 24 June 1782
17. Washington County (four)- Capt James Dysart’s company of light horse in service in NC 1781; Lt Reece Bowen’s company on expedition to King’s Mountain 1781; Capt David Beatie’s company on expedition to King’s Mountain 1781; Ensign Robert McFarland’s militia patroling on the frontier Oct 1780
18. Westmoreland County (two)-List of recruits 1780; Account of Commissioners to raise troops 1781

A few words about this site

Please do not request that I add your ancestor to this index.

Please note that I make no grandiose claims to the “completeness” or “exhaustiveness” of this index. It is a work in progress and will never be completed.

Please note that this blog is not endorsed or sponsored by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. All opinions expressed herein are mine and mine, alone.

Welcome to my little project! I have many motivations for maintaining this site. However, I am first and foremost interested in those men who took up arms in defense of Virginia during the Revolutionary War. Some of you may (or may not) be aware that there is no comprehensive index, published in traditional codex form or otherwise, of Virginia’s military men in the Revolution. I may mention two authors that attempted to present a comprehensive listing of Virginia’s Revolutionary War soldiers but, in spite of their magnificent efforts, fell short of this goal. The first, and by far the most important, is Hamilton J. Eckenrode’s List of the Revolutionary Soldiers of Virginia: Special Report of the Department of Archives and History for 1912, reprinted in 1989 by the Virginia State Library as Virginia Soldiers of the American Revolution. One of the major problems with using Eckenrode’s work is that, particularly with respect to militia service based on sources in the Virginia State Archives (now Library of Virginia), his references were 1912 references that are difficult to correlate with their 21st century designations. I intend to clarify and “update” these sources to which Eckenrode was referring in his index. At the risk of insulting your intelligence, I will also underscore that Eckenrode’s index is an index and, because names have been removed from their context, many modern researchers have attributed military service to one man in a particular part of Virginia when the service actually belonged to another man of same or similar name in a completely different part of the state. I hope to rectify this problem by describing the context in which each of these men appears in the given sources. The second major index with which researchers may be familiar is John H. Gwathmey, Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution (Richmond: Dietz Press, 1938). Gwathmey relied quite heavily on Eckenrode for his materials, but his major contribution was his extracts of the appointment of militia officers from the county court order books.

My second major motivation for maintaining this site is my love for the collections of the Library of Virginia, which contains the most comprehensive archival holdings with respect to Virginians in the Revolutionary War era. Very few, and I do mean very few, people are competently aware of the massive manuscript collections held by LVA relating to the Revolution that are held in textual form only and, furthermore, that are completely unindexed. This site is a meager effort to identify at least some of the individuals who are “buried” in these manuscript collections. My conviction in the importance of the forgotten Revolutionary War era records in LVA is so strong that it forces me to expand the present index to non-soldiers. You may safely assume that some of the individuals mentioned herein are recorded on a singular unindexed record that exists in textual form only in LVA. You will not find these records at ancestry.com or familysearch.org, or anywhere else for that matter. Perhaps it is appropriate for me to state that this site is not sponsored by LVA, nor is any part of it endorsed by the Library or any of its wonderful employees.

You will find that I will cite a wide breadth of sources herein: sources from the National Archives; sources from the Library of Virginia; county level sources such as the county court order books, which are grossly underutilized by most researchers; and etc. You will also find, pleasantly I hope, that I have made a special effort to include herein references to women, African Americans and those who were marginalized by 18th century society. Some of you, perhaps less pleasantly, will notice that I do not shy from including “tories,” but I feel that the actions of these individuals contribute to a more complete and realistic telling of the Revolutionary War story. Therefore, I will not ignore them. This is probably a good place to state that I am uninterested in performing psychoanalysis on any of the personalities indexed on this site. I am interested in providing a summary of the historical record and will leave cause and effect arguments to others.

Speaking of cause and effect, this site is primarily “geared” towards genealogists. However, if some historians find material herein to be helpful to their research, I will not object.