The Society of Descendants of Militia Officers

serving from 1607 to 1861

A Note on References

Source materials can be divided into two basic categories, primary and secondary sources.  Primary sources are original documents, composed at the time, many handwritten.  There is a presumption in some circles that everything in a primary document is true and can be relied on.  This is reflected in some ancestral society requirements that every source must be original and that it must be certified.  Unfortunately, this is not the case - those writing in the 1600s, 1700s,  and 1800s were as prone to error as we are today.  Some errors result from partial or incorrect information in the hands of those who wrote, some from political or personal agendas, some from incorrect reading of other's handwriting, some just from the factors that still introduce errors in any form of documentary work today, etc.  And error can be introduced into the record by the flexible standards for spelling, even of one's own name.

Secondary sources are those created after the fact.  These range from the superb to what modestly might be termed absolute junk.  Secondary sources which indicate the sources used, include detailed notes on sources for statements, compare, contrast, and interpret primary material, and are accompanied by an extensive bibliography and full index meet the standards of modern academic research.   Earlier secondary resources from the early 1900s and the later 1800s lack these features.  They may be excellent, or they may rely on family traditional stories or be written in the relatively uncritical style of the times.    In either case, confidence is increased in these documents when their contents can be verified from other sources.

The growth of the Internet has introduced the website as source for research.  Websites make available a very wide range of information, but there is no guarantee of quality or truthfulness.  Websites with a governmental or academic institution affiliation are generally reliable, including a variety of collections available through state libraries and archives.  Other sites offer transcriptions of original documents, censuses and photographs of gravestones, and detailed studies of battles.  In using these it is important to be able to identify who is responsible for the site, their connection with the subject matter and their experience and competence in research, and the degree of quality control the site's author or editor exerts.  

Our reference list is keyed to sources we are using in our research.  Sources used in the early stages of research on a particular individual, unit, battle or war, may be replaced as better sources are obtained or accessed.  If we believe an early source to have errors or significant omissions, that belief will be noted. 


Babits, Lawrence E.; A​ Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens; [book]; University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; 1998.  229 pages, notes, bibliography, index.  A detailed tactical analysis of the Battle of Cowpens ​with a detailed analysis of the role of the militia and the numbers present.

Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt; Virginia's Colonial Soldiers; [book]; Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland; 1988.  443 pages, index.  A wide variety of rosters, rolls, petitions, and other documents ​provide data on an extensive number of Virginia soldiers of all types of service.  However, references are limited and would be difficult to accurately attribute in some cases, and the mass of data with single line space requires some effort to read and comprehend.

Cain, Robert J., editor; The Colonial Records of North Carolina: Records of the Executive Council 1755-1775; Second Series, Volume IX; [book]; North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina; 1994.  870 pages, notes, index. A transcription of the correspondence, reports, and other documents of the Royal Executive Council with passing mention of routine business related to the colonial Militia.

Crozier, William Armstrong, editor; Virginia Colonial Militia 1651-1776; [book]; The Genealogical Association, New York, New York; 1905; originally published as Virginia County Records, Volume II; reprinted by Janaway Publishing, Inc.; Santa Maria, California; 2011.  144 pages, index.  A wide variety of rolls and references from Land Bounty Grants and Order Books for militia units and individuals.​ 

Darley, Stephen; Call to Arms: The Patriot Militia in the 1777 British Raid on Danbury, Connecticut; [book]; Stephen Darley, North Haven Connecticut; 2015.  284 pages, index, bibliography, extensive notes.  An overview of Tryon's raid on 1777, with a focus on some of the participants in the battles of this event.  It includes 40 pages with partial rosters of 58 companies that participated in the response to the raid; unfortunately, the list does include Continental Line companies, but does not distinguish these from Militia companies.  Nor does it include the Regiments from which each company came.

Duncan, Louis C.; Medical Men in the American Revolution 1775-1783; [monograph]; Medical Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; 1931.  414 pages.  A detailed history of the development of the medical corps in the Revolutionary War, including a listing of all known medical personnel who served.

Eckenrode, H. J.; List of the Colonial Soldiers of Virginia; [index]; originally published as "Special Report of the Department of Archives and History" in Thirteenth Annual Report of the Library Board of the Virginia State Library, 1915-1916; reprinted by Janaway Publishing, Inc.; Santa Maria, California; 2011.  91 pages.

Hardin, Stephen L.; Texian Iliad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution; [book]; University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas; 1994.  321 pages, index, extensive notes, bibliography.  A detailed study of military operations in the Texas Revolution.  This book offers a clear example of the worst features of a militia army operating out of its military and political environment and shows how difficult it is to document the composition of the Texian militia army.   

Heitman, Francis B.; Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April 1775, to December 1783; New, Revised and Enlarged Edition of 1914 with Addenda 1932; [book]; reprinted for Clearfield Company, Inc. by the Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland; 1997.  698 pages, multiple lists by individuals, units, battles, etc., including a large number of officers who served in the militia.  The standard register; by "standard" we mean that this is the volume the National Archives and Records Administration refers users to as the starting point for validating Revolutionary War service.

La Vere, David; The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies; [book]; The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; 2013.  262 pages, bibliography, notes, index.  A recent scholarly treatment of the Tuscarora War as seen through the experiences and service of a selection of key participants.

Lemmon, Sarah McCulloh; North Carolina and the War of 1812; [book]; North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina; 1971.  60 pages, index.  An overview of North Carolina's role in the War of 1812 useful for understanding the context of the War and the forced reliance of the state for its own defense.

Moss, Bobby Gilmer; Roster of the Loyalists in the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge; [book]; Scotia-Hibernia Press, Blacksburg, South Carolina; 1992.  105 pages, bibliography.  A detailed roster of known Loyalist participants in the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, with details of their further service in the Loyalist cause where known.

Moss, Bobby Gilmer; The Patriots at the Cowpens; Revised Edition; [book]; Scotia Press, Blacksburg, South Carolina; 1991.  338 pages, bibliography, list of possible participants that are unconfirmed.  A detailed roster of known patriot participants in the Battle of Cowpens, with details of their further service where known.  

O'Kelley, Patrick; Nothing but Blood and Slaughter: The Revolutionary War in the Carolinas; Volume One 1771-1779; [book]; Patrick O'Kelley, no place; 2004.  439 pages, notes, index.  A useful, and apparently comprehensive, survey of engagements in the War.  Contains orders of battle for significant engagements, allowing identification of militia units and their leaders.

Powell, William S.; The War of the Regulation and The Battle of Alamance, May 16, 1771; [monograph]; North Carolina State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina; 1965.  32 pages, bibliography.  A brief coverage of the Regulator movement and of the Battle of Alamance that appears to be the source for a wide variety of more recent writing on the subject.

Roach, Hannah Benner; The Pennsylvania Militia in 1777; [monograph]; reprint of article from T​he Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine; Volume XXIII, Number 3, pp. 161-229, 1964; Diane Publishing Company, Darby, Pennsylvania, no date.  66 pages, index, extensive footnoting.  A thorugh description of the organization of the Pennsylvania Militia in 1777 with a detailed ​​chronology of which units were called to what duty when.  Indispensible for understanding not only the Pennsylvania system but also militia organization for mobilization in general.

Robertson, Fred L.; Soldiers of Florida in the Seminole Indian - Civil and Spanish - American Wars; [book]; Board of State Institutions, Tallahassee, Florida; no date, but subsequent to 1903; reprint, no publisher, no place, 2015.  Provides rolls of units engaged in the Third Seminole War.

Rowland, Dunbar; Mississippi Territory in the War of 1812; [book]; excerpted reprint from Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Centenary Series, Volume IV, Jackson, Mississippi, 1921; reprinted for Clearfield Company, Inc. by the Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland; 2005. 249 pages, in-text citations.  Discussion of the Creek War in the Mississippi Territory and of the participation of Mississippi troops in the New Orleans campaign with 76 pages of rolls of Mississippi Militia units in the War of 1812 (without identification of the dates of the rolls).


The following websites are of significant value in understanding the wars, battles, and history of the militia.  In using web resources, it is important to evaluate carefully the credibility of the site and attempt to confirm the reliability of its data by cross checking with other sources.  We have included selected articles from Wikipedia where they help understand the orders of battle and relationship of militia units and where the sources and information are consistent with other available sources.  Note that [Internet page] indicates a single page of information, [Internet site] a collection of related pages, and [Internet book] a digital reproduction of a published book, monograph, or other reference.

Brook, R. A., editor; The Official Records of Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of Virginia 1751-1758; Volume II; [Internet book]; Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia, 1884; at; accessed 2015-09-12.  Transcription of extensive correspondence of Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie, much of it about military matters.

Coombs, Kathryn; "Opelousas Militia 1776 Muster Roll, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana;" [Internet page]; at Http://files/; accessed 2015-08-30.  A transcription of a company muster roll from Spanish Louisiana at the start of the Revolutionary War. 

Florida, Department of Military Affairs; Florida Militia Muster Rolls: Seminole Indian Wars; Volume 2, Special Archives Publication Number 68; [Internet book]; University of Florida Digital Collections; at; accessed 2015-09-01.  A transcription of muster rolls of militia called into United States service in the Seminole Wars by the Jacksonville Genealogical Society.

Florida, Department of Military Affairs, Historical Services Division; "Florida Militia Muster Roles, Seminole Indian Wars;" [Internet site]; at; accessed 2015-08-30.  A transcription of 12 muster rolls from the Second Seminole War of 1835 to 1842 by the Jacksonville Genealogical Society.

Gurganus, Ray, website coordinator; "DC Militia Muster Rolls of the War of 1812;" [Internet page]; at; 2013.  Two transcribed rolls from the 1st Legion Militia, only one of which includes ranks of officers.

Kanon, Tom, Tennessee State Library and Archives; "Regimental Histories of Tennessee Units During the War of 1812;" [Internet page]; at; accessed 2015-09-24.  Listing of all Tennesse Volunteer and Militia units which served in the War of 1812, with dates of service, Colonels and Copmany Captains, and a brief synopsis of their role in the War.

Lewis, J. D.; "The American Revolution in North Carolina: The North Carolina Militia;" [Internet site]; at; accessed 2015-08-20. Provides a detailed history of the development of the structure of the North Carolina Militia during the war, along with the names and ranks of officers.

Lewis, J. D.; "The American Revolution in North Carolina: The Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge;" [Internet site]; at; accessed 2015-07-24.  Provides an overview of the campaign and the battle with the order of battle of both Revolutionary and Loyalist forces.

Magill, Martha S.; "The Roster of Oriskany;" [Internet page]; at  A compilation of rosters of members of the Tryon County, New York, Militia who fought at Oriskany first compiled by F. W. Beer in 1878 and Washington Frothingham in 1892.  Magill notes that this is not a complete roster.

McAllister, J. T.; Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War: McAllister's Data; [Internet book]; McAllister Publishing Company, Hot Springs, Virginia; 1913; at; accessed 2015-09-09.

Moran, Donald N.; "The Battle of Oriskany;" [Internet page]; at http://www.revolutionary war, accessed 2015-09-06.  An article from the Sons of liberty Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.  This article should be used with caution as there appear to be errors, but it does provide a summary of the organization of the Tryon County militia at the Battle of Oriskany.

Texas State Historical Association; "Milam Guards;" [Internet page]; at; 2010-06-15.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University Library; Colonial and State Records of North Carolina; Volume 8; [Internet book]; at; 2010-03-24.  A detailed transcription of a wide range of Colonial government documents, including order books of the campaign against the Regulators. 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University Library; Colonial and State Records of North Carolina; Volume 10; [Internet book]; at; 2010-03-24.  A detailed transcription of a wide range of Colonial government documents, including those bearing on the start of the Revolutionary War. 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University Library; Colonial and State Records of North Carolina; Volume 19; [Internet book]; at; 2010-03-24.  Includes a transcription of the journal of the military campaign against the Regulators.

"Tryon County militia;" [Internet page], at; 2014-06-26.  A Wikipedia page with detailed information on the organization of the Tryon County, New York, Militia and the officer staffing of its units in 1775.

United States, Department of the Army, Center of Military History; "Lineage and Honors: 141st Infantry Regiment (First Texas);" [Internet page]; at; 2011-04-26.

United States, Second Congress; "An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defense, by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States;" Chapter XXXIII in Acts Passed at the First Session of the Second Congress of the United States of America; [legislative record]; Second Congress of the United States of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 1792; pp. 128-134; at; accessed 2015-08-30.  The text of the Militia Act providing the basic structure for state militias in the United States.