A few days ago, my dad called wanting to know if I could find his grandfather‘s military records so that he could order a marker to be placed at the new Murray County Veterans Memorial Park. Specifically, he needs Jim’s service dates, latest rank, and any medals he may have been awarded.
I immediately logged on to Ancestry and Footnote to see what I could find. I got the first hit at Ancestry, with the “U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914.”
This is a log that lists one line (across 2 pages) for each soldier who enlisted in the above time frames. I was excited when I first saw it, because I thought I would learn a few things, such as his enlistment date and residence.
Now that I’ve transcribed it, I’m absolutely amazed at how much I learned from one row of information.
James B. Butler enlisted in the U. S. Army on November 10, 1901 in Ellijay, Georgia for a period of three years. His residence at that time was Ramsey, Georgia [aka Ramhurst]. He was a twenty-one year-old farmer, who was six feet tall, with blue eyes, light brown hair, and a ruddy complexion. He served in the 9th Infantry and the 1st Infantry and was discharged on November 9, 1904 at Fort Porter in New York.1
How does this mesh with what I already knew about his military service? I know from my grandmother that he fought overseas and was injured. I always thought he was in the Spanish-American War, but 1901-1904 is more in line with the Philippine Insurrection. I looked up the 9th Infantry, and they did, in fact, serve in the Philippines immediately after leaving China and the Boxer Rebellion2 (which ended just before Jim enlisted, so I know he wasn’t in that). The 1st Infantry also served in the Philippines during the same time period. 3
In addition to the enlistment register, I also found pension index cards on both Ancestry and Footnote. Jim filed for an invalid pension on July 21, 1921. The Ancestry version of the index card indicates service in both the 9th Infantry and 1st Infantry, but the Footnote version only shows the 9th Infantry.
I ordered a copy of Jim’s casefile from NARA, so I should have answers to some of these questions, plus (hopefully) a lot more information on his service, in a few weeks.
- “U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2010), p. 122, entry no. 3241, James B. Butler, 9th U. S. Inf., enlisted 1901; citing National Archives and Records Administration, microfilm M233. ↩
- Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org : accessed 17 June 2010), “9th Infantry Regiment (United States)”. ↩
- Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org : accessed 17 June 2010), “1st Infantry Regiment (United States)”. ↩