Date of this Version
Newsletter of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 3, Number 2, May 1981. ISSN 0196-7134
The Revolution Remembered makes a major contribution to scholarship of the Revolutionary War by bringing together in one volume a sampling of the rich resources of the common soldier's memory of that war as found in the Revolutionary War Pension and Land Warrant Records in Record Group 15 of the National Archives. Any student of the revolution who has used these records is aware of their virtually untapped potential for interpreting the way in which the war affected the common soldier both during the military campaigns themselves and in the decades after the men returned to their communities and families. The pension legislation of 1818, 1820, 1828, 1832, and afterward, spelled out which veterans and family members were eligible for aid, and required each of the 80,000 eventual applicants to submit certain types of documentation: discharge papers; commissions (in the case of officers); depositions describing the veteran's service, including specific details about the officers under which he served and the battles in which he fought; schedules of property (to prove that the veteran was indigent and "in need of his country's assistance"); certificates of marriage; depositions testifying to the veteran's good character, veracity, or comradeship in a revolutionary military unit. These records have been reproduced on microfilm by the National Archives in two versions: M804, containing on 2,670 reels the entire file, and M805, a selection of the most relevant records for each veteran in a more manageable 898-reel series.