This website is the result of serendipity. In 1992, Jim and I were randomly assigned to dig excavation units during archaeological investigations at the Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site in Wyoming. Despite our wide range in ages and backgrounds, Jim was a 40-year old former aviation mechanic from Chicago and me a 20-year old year college student from Sheridan, we formed an instant connection with a mutual interest in history and especially 19th century U.S. military history. We have a shared gravitation towards the minutia of the Old Army life. We believe that compiling the places, events, and day-to-day activities of individuals leads to the accurate reconstruction of historic events and, ultimately brings us closer to our collective roots.
The Old Army is a general term for the regular U.S. Army between ca. 1800 and the Spanish American War (1898). Over 2 million men served in the military in this time frame. Most served between 1850 and 1898. This is the period of our immediate focus, but as time goes on we intend to increase our database to encompass the entire Old Army time frame.
The Old Army, as with today’s government, was a bureaucracy that generated volumes of letters, reports, tabular summaries, personnel orders, court martial summaries, and medical documents. The mission of oldarmyrecords.com is to compile, index, and disseminate information on a full range of 19th century U.S. military topics. Whereas most genealogy services provide general information on a soldier’s life (i.e. enlistment date, monthly returns, and death registers) the information we have uncovered provides specific details on the soldier’s life including crime and punishment, promotions and demotions, medical/ casualty data, daily activities, and participation in engagements. The data highlights the Old Army through the interaction of enlisted men, officers, and civilians, arms and equipment, supplies, and special duties.
Our goal is to bring the Old Army from obscurity into the rich detail it deserves.
This website is the first step in our goal to bring the Old Army to market. Over the next months we will post a series of blog entries highlighting aspects of the data sets we have assembled.
In 2018, we will launch our database accessible through this website. The database offers products detailing the Old Army. These include subscriptions to access data. We have developed an efficient and cost effective way of parsing data (names, places, events, and specific subjects) from Old Army records and integrate them into a robust searchable database. Users or institutions wishing to index specific data sets may contact us directly for custom orders. The information contained in this database will be useful to:
- Historic Site Administrators
- Living Historians
- Firearms Collectors
We will continue to digitize a wide variety of historic records to compile the most complete and comprehensive database of the Old Army. Be sure to visit our Records Inventory page to see the most current list of records in our collection. We encourage you to send us your comments and suggestions on our products and join in discussions on any topic related to the Old Army. Thank you for visiting oldarmyrecords.com and continue to check in for updates.
Kevin O’Dell Jim Powers