Military Finding Aids
- Spanish Invasion Collection, 1742 - 1748 (PDF) - Upon the outbreak of England's war with Spain, North Carolina raised four companies of one hundred men each to join other colonial troops in the siege of Cartagena (in present-day Colombia). In addition to the four hundred men raised for the Cartagena expedition, it was necessary for the colony to raise forces for the defense of its coast. Spanish attacks on North Carolina shipping and port towns were continuous from 1741 to 1748. The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) ended the war in Europe and in America as well, and Spanish depredations along North Carolina's coast came to an end. The Spanish Invasion Collection is an artificial collection compiled by Archives staff. It contains claims, receipts, accounts, and muster rolls. (1 box)
- Frontier Scouting and Indian Wars, 1758-1788 (PDF)
- War of the Regulation, 1768-1779 (PDF) - The Regulator Movement in mid-eighteenth-century North Carolina was a rebellion initiated by residents of the North Carolina colony’s backcountry, who believed that royal government officials were charging them excessive fees, falsifying records, and engaging in other mistreatments. The movement’s name refers to the desire of these citizens to regulate their own affairs. Called the War of the Regulation or the Regulator War, the movement culminated in the Battle of Alamance in May 1771. The collection contains military unit accounts, receipts, court and trial records, expense accounts, warrants and prisoner records, pay rolls, order books, and other records from this movement. (3 boxes)
- War of the Revolution (PDF) - The War of the Revolution Papers contains a small collection of materials documenting aspects of the home front in eastern and central North Carolina during the Revolutionary War. A large number of the materials in the collection are non-original copies, though there are a number of surviving original documents from the period. The collection is divided into the following sets of records: North Carolina Board of War (1780‐1781); Commissary Correspondence (1779-1783); British and Loyalist Papers; Miscellaneous Papers, 1776‐1789; and non-original reproductions of the Declaration of Service to Accompany U.S. Pension Applications. Mostly, these are records that have survived from official North Carolina military bodies or state wartime organizations.
- Cumberland Battalion, 1786-1792 (PDF)
- Troop Returns, 1747-1893 (PDF) - All of the materials in this collection have been digitized, and are available for viewing online in the Troop Returns Digital Collection of the North Carolina Digital Collections.
- War of 1812 (PDF)
- Mexican War (PDF)
Civil War Collection, 1860-1965 - The Civil War Collection is a collection of private papers and, to a limited extent, official records relating to North Carolina and its Confederate regiments during the U.S. Civil War. Although the official records of North Carolina’s military role in the U.S. Civil War were removed to Washington, D.C., at the end of the war, the North Carolina Historical Commission—established in 1903—soon began collecting various Confederate military records and papers that had remained in private hands for the fiftieth anniversary of the war. These materials became the basis of the Civil War Collection. Additions were made to this collection from various private donors through the 2000s. The collection is artificial, as materials from different donors were arranged by military unit or type of record, instead of as their own collection within the Civil War Collection.
The collection contains petitions for pardon, bounty payrolls, quartermaster department records (express receipts, vouchers, pay records, and supply and requisition records), disabled veterans’ claims and correspondence pertaining to artificial limb companies, regimental and unit records, union regimental clothing books, regimental and unit records, muster rolls, correspondence, and miscellaneous records. (93 boxes)
The Civil War Collection is divided into the main collection and the maps collection, with finding aids available for these as follows:
- Civil War Collection (PDF)
- Civil War Maps (PDF)
- Civil War Indices (PDF) - These indexes were created by State Archives staff and volunteers since the 1960s. They are arranged as two indexes as units and soldiers’ names. They are not extensive indexes, and some names or units are listed in the main Civil War Collection finding aid that were not indexed.
- Spanish-American War (PDF)
- World War I Papers, 1903 - 1933 (PDFs) - When the United States entered World War I in 1917, a special history committee was appointed under the North Carolina Council of Defense, in coordination with the North Carolina Historical Commission’s war records collection project, to collect select war records of the state. Records of special wartime agencies, the North Carolina Council of Defense, the Food and Fuel Administrations, schools and colleges, nonprofit organizations such as the American Red Cross county chapters, and collections of individual soldiers’ materials were preserved. The Historical Commission gathered these records with the authorization of Sections 3 and 4 of Chapter 144 of the North Carolina Public Laws and Resolutions in 1919. Acting under authority of this law, the Historical Commission chose Robert B. House to be their official Collector of World War Records, and House began his work June 19, 1919. A voluntary county war records collector was selected in each county to gather as many original records that documented the local war effort as possible, and send their records to the Historical Commission. The Historical Commission continued this war records collection effort after the war ended. Finding aids for these collections were created in the 1960s by the State Archives.
Since 2015, the Military Collection has been reprocessing the original WWI collections brought in during the war era and immediately after, to provide improved description and better preservation, as well as replacing the outdated 1960s finding aids. Not all of these original main WWI collections have been reprocessed yet. Those that have are organized by a new collection number beginning with “WWI #”. Finding aids for these reprocessed collections are listed below in collection number order, followed by the original wartime collections that have not been reprocessed. Other WWI collections exist, and finding aids for these are available through the State Archives Reference Unit or the Military Collection Archivist.
- WWI 1 North Carolina Council of Defense Records
- WWI 2 North Carolina County War Records
- WWI 3 North Carolina Draft Records
- WWI 4 North Carolina War Industries
- WWI 5 North Carolina School Wartime Materials
- WWI 6 World War I Organizations Records
- WWI 7 North Carolina Hall of History Materials
- WWI 8 U.S. Food Administration--North Carolina Records
- WWI 14 Compiled Individual Military Service Records
- WWI Panoramas Collection
- Military Organizations
- Liberty Loan Campaign
- Fuel Administration Papers
- Private Collections
- Photographs and Postcards
- Miscellaneous WWI Materials
- WWI Maps Collection
- World War I Papers. Posters, ca. 1914 - ca. 1920 (PDF) - This collection contains 496 unique original posters, and 222 duplicate original copies of posters, which illustrate both civilian and military viewpoints of World War I. The bulk of the posters are propaganda posters, recruitment posters, American Red Cross posters, and U.S. Food Administration posters. The collection is arranged thematically into fifteen series. The first two series, the Fred V. Owen and T. S. Davidson posters, contain original drawings by local North Carolina artists. The posters in the remaining series are prints created by state or national organizations that feature the work of well-known artists such as James Montgomery Flagg, J. C. Leyendecker, and Howard Chandler Christy. The posters serve a variety of functions, but primarily they encourage viewers to support organizations, such as the Red Cross or the YMCA; to conserve resources, such as food and fuel; to contribute to the war effort, such as by purchasing bonds; or to enlist in the armed forces.
World War II Papers, 1939-1947 (PDFs) - The State of North Carolina provided over 370,000 men and women to serve in all theaters of World War II and in all branches of the military. On the home front, thousands of Tar Heel civilians aided the war effort by working in vital war industries, purchasing war bonds and stamps, producing food, working in important state and federal positions, and by working in various family and troop support activities such as the United Services Organizations (USO) and the American Red Cross. In February 1942, North Carolina governor J. Melville Broughton stressed the importance of preserving the records of the state’s part in the war, and requested the North Carolina Historical Commission to undertake the program. A Collector of War Records was appointed in October 1942 to coordinate the state’s efforts in collecting and preserving the records pertaining to North Carolina and its citizens in the war.
The World War II Papers are a result of those efforts. The collection contains general correspondence concerning the war effort, recruiting propaganda, North Carolina military camp newsletters and newspapers, North Carolina Office of Civilian Defense Records, information about war activities in North Carolina counties, and the records of the United War Fund of North Carolina. There are also a large number of military service individuals’ collections, documenting men and women in all military branches during the war, originally organized under a grouping entitled “Private Collections.”
Since 2016, the Military Collection Archivist has been reprocessing the original WWII collections brought in during the war era and immediately after, to provide improved description and better preservation, as well as replacing the outdated 1960s finding aids. Not all of these original main WWII collections have been reprocessed yet. Those that have are organized by a new collection number beginning with “WWII #.” Finding aids for these reprocessed collections are listed below in collection number order, followed by the original wartime collections that have not been reprocessed. Other WWII collections exist, and finding aids for these are available through the State Archives Reference Unit or the Military Collection Archivist.
- WWII 5 North Carolina Military Camps Publications
- WWII 6 North Carolina USO Clubs Records
- WWII 8 U.S. Military Recruiting Records
- General Correspondence and Related Materials
- County War Records
- North Carolina--General
- Out-of-State War Records Activities
- Office of Civilian Defense Records (109 boxes)
- Emergency War Boards and Committees
- United War Fund of North Carolina (Unprocessed)
- Miscellaneous WWII Materials
- Private Collections
- WWII Maps Collection
- WWII Panoramas Collection
- World War II Posters, 1940-1946 (PDF) - This collection contains 354 unique original posters, and 308 duplicate original copies of posters, which illustrate many aspects of the United States’ involvement in World War II. The collection is arranged thematically into fourteen series. The majority of the posters were created or distributed by state or national organizations, including the Office of War Information and the American Red Cross. The bulk of the posters are propaganda posters, recruitment posters, American Red Cross posters, promote the purchase of war bonds, encourage patriotism, and civilian defense.
- Cold War Papers, 1946-1990 - The Cold War Papers is a new category developed in 2015, to contain materials documenting North Carolina military installations and veterans during the Cold War, including in peacetime service, in various military operations, and in special training exercises. The collection contains materials not directly used or connected with service in the Korean or Vietnam Wars, but including items from those eras. Materials such as Fort Bragg Army Special Warfare School training manuals from the early 1960s, and military installation introduction booklets for service individuals and civilians, are included in the collection. Finding aids for the various collections in the Cold War Papers are available through the State Archives Reference Unit or the Military Collection Archivist.
- Korean War Papers, 1951 - 2009 (PDF)
- Vietnam War Papers, 1964-2006 (PDF)
- Gulf War Papers, 1990-1991 (PDF)
- Iraq War Papers, 2001-2010 (PDF)
- Naval Papers (PDF)
- Miscellaneous Papers (PDF) - The Miscellaneous Military Papers contains collections from North Carolina veterans and military installations that do not fit within any of the other time period collections within the Military Collection. Collections for veterans who served in multiple wars, and whose collections contain materials equally covering multiple wars, are included in the Miscellaneous Military Papers. The collection contains materials from such veterans as those who served between WWI and WWII, or those who served after the Spanish-American War and before WWI. Since 2015, the Military Collection has been reprocessing Miscellaneous Military Papers collections, to provide improved description and better preservation, as well as replacing the outdated 1960s finding aids. Other Miscellaneous collections not included in this finding aid exist, and finding aids for these are available through the State Archives Reference Unit or the Military Collection Archivist.
- Veterans Oral History Collection Database (Excel spreadsheet) - The Military Collection’s North Carolina Veterans Oral History Collection Database consists of the details of the more than 1,100 oral history interviews in the collection. The database is fully searchable as an Excel spreadsheet. The database includes: interview collection number, interview title, interviewer and interviewee names, interview date, short biographies of the veterans, and a description of the formats of the interview recordings. The biographies are based on available public records, personal papers of the interviewees, obituaries, and other available information. The biographies are not always 100% accurate, as they were often without listen to the entire interview (as a number of interviews are in an analog, non-accessible format at present). The majority of the interviews are on analog recordings (such as audiocassette tapes and VHS tapes) or formatted discs, for which there are no high-quality digital transfers available. A number of interviews have low-quality audio files available, which can be accessed onsite at the State Archives of North Carolina through the Military Collection Archivist’s office. A number of discs have reference copies available for use onsite at the State Archives. Some transcripts are available for a number of interviews as well. If an access copy of the interview is not available, a patron can order a digital copy of the interview recordings through the State Archives’ outsourced digitization policy. Interviews conducted since 2015 are available online through the Veterans Oral History Collection in the North Carolina Digital Collections.