The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is responsible for administering the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Commission, the State Armory Board, the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, and veterans’ homes in Erie, Hollidaysburg, Spring City (Chester County), Scranton, and Pittsburgh. The department also operates various programs of assistance to veterans. It was established in 1793 as the Adjutant General’s Department and under the Administrative Code of 1923 it became the Department of Military Affairs. It assumed the name Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs in 1995 and the head of the department is the adjutant general, whose office and duties were also first defined in 1793. Included in the department at one time were the State Athletic Commission, which was placed in the Department of Revenue in 1937, and the Pennsylvania Aeronautics Commission, whose functions were transferred to the Department of Transportation in 1970.


Civil War Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1861-1866. (135 cartons) Arranged by regiment and thereunder according to company. In the files are the following types of muster rolls which included the United States Colored Troops who trained at Camp William Penn. (See Appendix)

Muster-In Rolls. Entries usually list the soldier’s name, age, rank, military unit, and the date and place where enrolled, the name of the person who mustered him in, the term of enlistment, the date of mustering in, and the name of his commanding officer. Remarks concerning promotions and assignments are sometimes recorded.

Muster-Out Rolls. The lists ordinarily give the soldier’s name, age, rank, military unit, regiment and company; the date, place and person who mustered him in; the period of enlistment; and the name of his commanding officer. Particulars concerning pay earned, promotions, capture by the enemy and related information regularly appear as well.

Muster and Descriptive Rolls. Generally the rolls show the name, age, place of birth (town, county, state or country), occupation, physical description (complexion, height, color of eyes, and hair) and rank of the soldier; the unit, regiment, company, and commanding officer to which he was assigned; and the amount of money received for pay, bounties, and clothing. Rolls for unassigned United States Black troops are included in this group.

Alphabetical Rolls. Following a list of officers by rank, the names of enlisted men on the rolls are arranged alphabetically by the soldier’s surname. Entries usually indicate the name, age, rank, occupation, and residence of the soldier; the unit, regiment, company, and commanding officer to which he was assigned; and the date and place where the roll was taken. Particulars about sickness or injury suffered by the soldier are sometimes noted.

A review of the Civil War records reveals that many African Americans were born in the South as well as in the North. These alphabetical rolls not only contain the muster rolls of the United States Colored Troops who enlisted in Pennsylvania but also of units which had African Americans associated with them. Examples of African Americans appearing on the alphabetical rolls include:

• 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment mustered in Morganzia, Louisiana on June 22, 1864: Aaron Bullard, John Bullard, James Bullard, Presto Garris, John Hamilton, Thomas Haywood, Abraham Jassum, Edward Jassum, and Samuel Jones.

• 12th Cavalry, 113th Pennsylvania Volunteers: Company muster rolls cite African American servants who served with the regiment.

• 103rd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers (mustered in at Harrisburg on February 24, 1862 and mustered out on June 25, 1865). African American Crowder Edgar Patience (Pacien) was enlisted as a cook at Plymouth, North Carolina on April 4, 1864.

Civil War Veterans Card File, 1861-1866. (373 card boxes) Arranged alphabetically by the soldier’s surname. This series consists of 3" x 5" cards initially prepared to serve as an index to Samuel Penniman Bates’ History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865 (Harrisburg, 1869-71). These cards document the United States Colored Troops who trained at Camp William Penn. The Office of the Adjutant General later expanded the scope of the project by transcribing data found on the original muster rolls to the cards. Among the information that appears on the cards are the soldier’s name, military unit, age at enrollment, description (complexion, height, color of hair and eyes), residence and birthplace; the date and place where he was enrolled; the date and place where he was mustered in; and the date of discharge. An example of an African American citation is John Bullard, who enrolled on April 5, 1864 in Company I of the 47th Infantry at Natchitoches, Louisiana. He mustered in June 22, 1864 as an eighteen-year-old "colored" cook and was mustered out December 25, 1865.

Draft Board Records, Consisting Primarily of Lists of Persons Whose Registration Cards Were in the Possession of Their Local Board, [ca. 1917-1918]. (56 letter drawers) Arranged alphabetically by county, and thereunder numerically by draft board number. A record of Pennsylvanians drafted into military service during World War I whose registration records were in the possession of local draft boards. The records are in the form of registration and induction lists. Information usually appearing on the lists includes the draftee’s name, postal address, and age. At times the occupation of the draftee is also recorded. Typical references to African Americans found in the Cumberland County files include:

Western Union Telegram received in Harrisburg on December 11, 1917 and sent to the sheriff of Carlisle at Local Board No. 2 stating, "Your Board should have eighty percent of quota plus Negroes in Camp, if you have less men than this number in Camp wire this Office immediately the amount of shortage."

Monthly Report of Status of All Registrants includes induction statistics indicating "White" and "Colored" registrants.

Lists of Names of Persons Whose Registration Cards Are in the Possession of the Local Board. The Lists for 1917 give only the registration number, name, and address while the lists for 1918 give the registration number, name and address, and color designation. Examples of African Americans from the June 1917 List include: Charles Leslie Brown Sr., George Corbin, John Henry Cuff, Clarence Edward Drew, Peter Andrew Hodge, Carl Victor Profator, and William David Thompson. The June 1918 list provides the names of Henry Crocker and Elliot Johnson of New Cumberland and Samuel Smith of Marsh Run.

Induction and Final Induction Reports. Listed in chronological order based on the date of induction, information includes order number, name of registrant, date of induction, draft call number, name of post, station or camp, acceptance status, date of acceptance or rejection; whether registrant was discharged after having been accepted at camp, and the date of discharge. There is no indication of race or color, but names of known African Americans on the list include: John Cary Ahl, Charles L. Brown, Alexander Coleman, John H. Cuff, Harold Cook Gatewood, Richard Leslie Hinton, Clarence Hopewell, Moses Charles Lane, Philip Mackey, and Thomas Henry Sipes.

List of 5-D Registrants. Included on this listing is the registration number, name, and address. Although race is not specified, known African Americans are: William Haines Jr., Frank Stackfield, and Richard Thompson.

General Correspondence, 1793-1935. (30 boxes) Correspondence regarding the returns of election of officers, requisitions for arms and military stores, copies of general orders, and papers concerning the formation of military companies. Of primary interest are letters referring to African Americans serving in various wars, especially the Civil War. Some examples are:

• Letter, May 20, 1861, from G. E. Stevens, Commandant of lst Regiment of Colored Pennsylvania Volunteers to Governor A. G. Curtin telling him that "any number of able Colored men can be ready at an hour['s] notice" to fight in the war.

• Letter, July 16, 1863, from William Eliot Furness to George L. Stearns, telling Stearns that he had received permission to appear before the Board of Examinations for a commission with a Colored Regiment. In order for him to be freed from his present position with the government, he would need approval from the governor.

• Letter, July 18, 1863, from Thomas Webster, chairman of the Office of the Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments, Philadelphia, to Governor A. G. Curtin requesting to have orders transmitted for the "honorable discharge of Private William Elliot Furness of Company D, . . . in order that he may obey a summons to appear before the Board of Examiners at Washington, D. C. to determine an application for commands in US Colored Troops"

• Letter, July 18, 1863, Thomas Webster to Governor Curtin stating "our first Regt. of Colored Troops, i.e., the 3rd Regiment, US Colored Troops, is full and we want officers badly - Furness is to be one of them."

Records of the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, 1868-1995. (10 cubic feet) {unprocessed} In 1893 the legislature passed an act authorizing the purchase of land on which to erect the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ Orphans Industrial School. One hundred acres were purchased in the Cumberland Valley for $12,000 from Colonel Alexander Stewart and the facility erected on this site became the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children. In the early years, the enrollment was all white but as time went on African Americans entered the school. Today, the school is heavily populated with African American students. The records include bound annual reports of the Commission of Soldiers’ Orphans Schools, 1870-1918; lists of names of soldiers’ orphans to be discharged,1893-1912; a time ledger, 1895; a student death register, 1868-1905; Industrial School News (student newspapers), 1897-1970; yearbooks, 1943-1995 (not inclusive); and minutes, 1921-1987. Also included are anniversary booklets and videos of the 75th and 100th anniversaries illustrating the success of African American graduates from the Scotland School.

Spanish American War Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1898. (16 boxes, 12 folders)

Arranged by regiment and thereunder by company. The records include the following types of muster rolls:

Muster-In Rolls. Entries usually list the name, age, place of birth (town or county, state or country), occupation, residence, description (height, complexion, eye, and hair color), marital status and rank of soldier; the date and place where he was mustered in and enrolled; the period of enlistment; the location of the station of general rendezvous; the number of miles traveled to reach the rendezvous; and the date and location of the muster. Data regarding the physical disabilities of recruits and the names and addresses of parents or guardians of single soldiers are routinely included.

Muster-Out Rolls. The dated lists generally give the name, rank, and residence of the soldier; the military unit, regiment, and commanding officer to which he was attached; the date and place where he was enrolled; the name of the enroller; the period of enlistment; the date of last pay; the date and place of the muster; and the place where he was discharged. Remarks concerning the physical disabilities of the person or changes in the soldier’s rank are oftentimes mentioned as well.

Spanish American War Veteran’s Card File of United States Volunteers, undated. (1 carton) Arranged alphabetically by veteran’s surname. The series consists of 4" x 6" cards containing information abstracted from official records of the United States War Department between 1940 and 1941. Data appearing on the cards usually include the name, race, age, birthplace, residence, and rank of the veteran; the date and place where enlisted; the dates and places of service; and the military unit to which attached. Remarks concerning the date and place of discharge and information about prior military service are also often noted. An example of information provided for an African American who fought in the Spanish American War is:

• Jeremiah E. Crabb was a resident of Pine Valley, Pennsylvania who was born in Pine Valley on January 11, 1856. Crabb enlisted on November 19, 1899 at Fort Wright, Washington as a Private in Company M, 24 United States Infantry, and died of wood alcohol poisoning at Fort Wright on December 20, 1899.

• Thomas Bruff was a resident of Norristown, Pennsylvania who enlisted as a Private on May 10, 1898 in the Band of the 10th United States Cavalry at Lytle, Georgia. Bruff served in Cuba from June 14,1898 to July 20, 1898. He died on July 20, 1898 at Santiago, Cuba of illness under honorable conditions.

Spanish American War Veterans’ Compensation File, [ca. 1934]. (35 cartons) Records created by the state Adjutant General’s Office in 1934 to document compensation provided to veterans who served in the Spanish American War and in the occupation of the Philippines from 1898 to 1904. Included in the file are:

Veterans’ Compensation Applications. Normally, these forms provide the veteran’s name, rank, color, address, date and place of birth, date and place of enlistment, dates of service and the regiment to which he was attached, his legal address at the time of enlistment and the date and place of discharge. Information regarding engagements participated in, wounds suffered, the dates of overseas service, and the names and addresses of dependents is also included. Examples of African American veterans covered by these files are William Achforth, Co. G, 25th US Infantry, and Thomas Henry Alexander, Co. D, 24th US Infantry.

World War I Veterans’ Service and Compensation File, 1917-1919, 1934-1948. (555 cartons) Arranged by service branch (Army, Navy, or Marines) and thereunder alphabetically by the veteran’s surname. Records created by the adjutant general’s office in 1934 to provide compensation for World War I veterans during the Great Depression. An "Out of State" category also exists for persons who applied to the Commonwealth for a bonus but who were unable to substantiate Pennsylvania residency. Included in this series are:

Service Statement Cards. Entries may show the name, rank, serial number, race, birthplace, age (and sometimes date of birth), and residence of the soldier; the military organization or unit to which he was attached; the dates of assignments and transfers; the engagements served in; the date of any wounds received; and the dates of overseas service and discharge.

Compensation Applications. Contains such information as the name, rank, serial number, race, date of birth, and place of birth of the veteran; legal residence at the time of application and enlistment; the place and date where he was enrolled and discharged; and the period for which he served. Data concerning engagements in which involved, wounds suffered, the dates of overseas service, and the names and addresses of dependents are also included. The documents are signed and dated by the applicant.

War Service Record of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines. Survey questionnaires filled out by World War I veterans in 1920 for the Pennsylvania War History Commission. Normally the questionnaire gives the name, postal address and county of residence of the person; his age at entry into the service; and the military unit, regiment and company with which he served. Data about the veteran’s next of kin (their address and relationship to him) and particulars regarding the dates and places of his residency since beginning service are also provided.

World War II Veterans’ Compensation Applications, [ca. 1950]. (3,082 cartons) Arranged alphabetically by surname of veteran. A record of veterans who applied for the World War II bonus provided for by the Act of June 1, 1947. Information contained on the applications includes the name, signature, residence, birth date, place of birth, sex, and serial number of the individual; the dates of domestic and foreign service rendered; the branch of the service in which enlisted; the dates and places where the applicant entered and left active service; the applicant’s residence at the time of his enlistment; the name and location of the applicant’s draft board; the dates that the application was received and processed; the amount of compensation awarded; the name and address of wife and addresses and ages of minor living children and stepchildren; and the names and addresses of living parents. The notarized application also records the ages of all dependents, whether the applicant was still on active duty in the armed forces at the time of filing the application, and whether he had ever received sea duty pay or a bonus. Though race is not mentioned, the file contains records of known African Americans. These records are restricted to veterans, their families and authorized veterans agencies.}


Enlistment Records, Including "201 Files," 1867-1945. (194 cartons) Arranged alphabetically by surname of guardsman. Enlistment papers of men who served in the National Guard of Pennsylvania from the end of the Civil War through the end of World War II. The "201 Files" are detailed personnel records kept on servicemen since World War I. Information given varies with the type of form utilized. Among the information likely to appear is the name, signature, age, date and place of birth, occupation, marital status, education and residence of the recruit; the date of enlistment or application; and the name and address of the nearest relative. A brief medical history and physical description including weight, height, eye, hair color, and complexion (African Americans are described as "black" or "dark complexion") is usually included, as well as the number of children for married guardsmen. Some of the older applications record the nationality as well. Examples of African American enlistees are: Bernard Brown, Co. I, 218th Infantry; and Joseph E. Brown, Co. F, 9th Infantry.

Mexican Border Campaign Muster Rolls and Related Papers, 1916-1917. (10 boxes) Arranged by military organization and regiment. Enlistment papers and muster rolls for members of the National Guard of Pennsylvania who participated in the Mexican Border Campaign of 1916-1917. The enlistment papers show the recruit’s name, city or county of birth, age, address and occupation at time of enlistment, height, complexion, eye and hair color, unit assignment, and the recruit’s signature. The reports of medical examination note evidence of any nervous or vascular diseases, the circumference of the chest measured under wearing apparel and during moments of forced inspiration and expiration, circumference of the abdomen, and evidence of piles, hernia, varicocele, or varicose veins. Also included in the file are descriptive lists and payrolls. The descriptive lists provide the names of guardsmen mustered into each company, together with their grades, dates of enlistment, places of residence, and whether they entered United States service. The payrolls contain the voucher number, name and rank of disbursing officer, date of payment, organization and regiment, station, period covered by the voucher, appropriations information, name and rank of payee, whether present or absent, date of enlistment, number of years served, and remarks affecting pay. Scattered throughout the files are various types of correspondence that frequently include letters from servicemen or their spouses requesting exemptions from service due to economic hardship or other reasons. While African Americans can not be fully identified in the muster rolls, reference to race is made in the "Medical Examination Reports" found among the regimental papers. An example of such an entry is a report for Company I, 10th Regiment, dated July 1, 1916, providing the following information: "John Checks, cook, Rejected Negro; "Charles Flemming, cook, Rejected Negro," and "George E. Munick, Rejected Negro." The designation "Rejected Negro" is used instead of the normal designations of "qualified, disqualified, not examined."

Muster Rolls, Payrolls, Quarterly Returns and Related Papers, [ca. 1867-1917]. (52 cartons) Arranged according to unit designation, and thereunder chronologically by the date of the document. Records of muster, daily roll call, and pay roll for soldiers who served in various Pennsylvania military units.

Abstracts of Daily Roll Call and Muster and Payroll. The rolls are dated and provide the name, rank, signature, age, height, occupation, and residence of each guardsman; the company, organization (infantry, artillery, and the like), and brigade to which attached; the date of most recent enlistment; and total number of enlistments. Particulars concerning the amount of pay earned and received, whether the federal oath of allegiance was taken, and comments concerning early discharge are also frequently found.

Applications for Company Organization. An application that records the type of company (infantry, artillery and the like) to be formed, the county where the company was being organized, the name of the person forwarding the application, and the dates on which the application was filled out and received. The documents are signed by each volunteer and list the individual’s name, residence, and place of birth.

Inspection Rolls. The rolls are dated and give the name, rank, age, height, residence, and occupation of each guardsman; regiment; brigade, company, station, and commanding officer to which he was assigned; the date of enlistment; and the number of drills and parades in which he participated. Comments revealing whether the guardsman was absent without leave are also included.

Muster Rolls. The rolls provide the name, rank, height, complexion, hair and eye color, age, birthplace, marital status, occupation, residence, and signature of each member of the company; the date and period of enlistment; the name of the commanding officer; and the station, regiment, and unit to which he was attached. Discharges and transfers, or the fact that a recruit might not have been naturalized, are also recorded. In 1870 the Adjutant reported that a provisional brigade of "colored" troops in Philadelphia was assigned to the 11th, 12th, and 13th Regiments. In addition, ten other companies of African Americans were organized throughout the Commonwealth. Examples of three such units are:

• 5th Division, "Russell Guards" (Colored), under the command of Captain Edward Davis, from Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, mustered on May 23, 1870. The company disbanded on August 1, 1873. There are thirty-seven African Americans listed on the muster rolls.

• 11th Infantry, Company A, "Wagner Zouaves," under the command of Captain Walter T. Morris, mustered May 31, 1870, and disbanded May 12, 1874.

• 1st Regiment (1st Provisional Battalion), Company A, 3rd Division, "Reeves Rifles," under the command of Captains William P. Widdicombe and John R. Dobson began March 19, 1870 and disbanded September 23, 1878.

Veterans’ Card File, [ca. 1867-1921]. (53 boxes) Arranged alphabetically by surname of veteran. 4" x 6" cards originally maintained by the Office of the Adjutant General for veterans who served in the Pennsylvania National Guard. Generally the cards show the name, rank, age, physical description, (height, complexion, hair and eye color), occupation and residence of the guardsman; the date and place of his enlistment; the date and reason for his discharge; and the unit (company and regiment) to which he was assigned. Although the cards do not designate race per se, African Americans are identified by the name of the unit and by physical description (i.e., Negro, colored, or black). Typical records relating to African Americans include: Charles Armstrong, Pvt., Colored Company of Titusville; John Edward Berry, Pvt., Co. L, 3rd Infantry, "Negro complexion;" William, Pvt., Union Guards of Shippensburg, P.N.G., "black complexion."

World War II Pennsylvania State Defense Corps Auxiliary Cards, 1941-1946. (16 boxes) Arranged alphabetically by surname of soldier. Under state and federal law, the State Defense Corps Auxiliary can be activated by the governor when the National Guard, in whole or part, is on active duty. During World War II, the National Guard was called overseas and the Commonwealth established a State Defense Corps Auxiliary. These cards are records of participants in that force. The information contained on these cards is as follows: name, military branch, residence, place of birth, date of birth, occupation, hair and eye color, height, weight, complexion, and history of service from enlistment to discharge, including date of each advancement in rank. African Americans have been identified by the designation of their complexion being "colored." Examples are: Samuel Morgan, Special Weapons, 1st Engineering Brigade; Vincent G. Hutchinson, Co. A, 1st Engineering Brigade; James E. Morrison, Quartermaster and Maintenance Co.; and John Morrison, Co. C, 1st Engineering Brigade.

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