U.S. National Archives & Records Administration



Military Bounty-Land Warrant Records


From 1788 to 1855, the United States (U.S.) granted military bounty land warrants for military service.At the time of the Revolutionary War, the U.S. and several of the original states used land bounties to attract enlistments; the U.S. used the same incentive during the War of 1812.Most of these early Federal government warrants could only be used in military districts, for lands now principally in Ohio and several other eastern and central public land states.Most of the Revolutionary War bounty-land warrants were sold or assigned by the soldiers or warranties to others.Between 1847 and 1855, the Federal government granted a series of increasingly generous land bounties, first to attract enlistments in the Mexican War, then to reward surviving veterans of all wars since 1790 (including the Indian Wars), and finally to include those who served in the Revolutionary War.Under the acts of the 1850s, eligibility was gradually extended to include the regular army, navy, militia, and Indians mustered into the service of the U.S.The majority of those who received warrants under the acts of 1847 to 1855 did no use them to make land entries themselves but sold them to others who did.These warrants could be used to obtain land anywhere in the public domain.Most bounty-land warrant acts allowed, in the event of the death of those eligible, for the warrants to be issued to their immediate heirs.No land bounties were offered to Civil War veterans, but Union soldiers could deduct the time they served from the residency requirements of the Homestead Act of 1862.


The National Archives has custody of the military bounty-land warrant files for the thirty Federal public land states. There are case files for all states in the U.S. except the thirteen original states, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maine, West Virginia, Texas, and Hawaii. These states were never part of the original public domain.



Ordering Military Bounty-Land Warrant Records from the National Archives


At the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, the National Archives has custody of those military bounty-land warrants that were used, or surrendered to the Federal Government in exchange for land.These files include both the application and case file.The application is the material submitted by the veteran or their survivors to receive a land warrant.The case file documents the actual transfer of the land from the Federal government.Since most veterans assigned or sold their land warrants and did not themselves settle on public land, it is often helpful to order the bounty-land warrant application file first to obtain the filing information to be cited when requesting the surrendered bounty-land warrant case file, particularly for those obtained under the acts of 1847-1855.


When ordering a Bounty-Land Warrant Application File using the NATF Form 85 or Order Online!, you must provide the:

}         Veteranís full name

}         Branch of service in which the veteran served

}         State from which the veteran served

}         War (or dates of service) in which the veteran served


When ordering a Bounty-Land Warrant Case File using the NATF Form 84 or Order Online!, you must provide the:

}         Year of the Congressional act authorizing the warrant

}         Number of acres (acreage)

}         Warrant number



Military Bounty-Land Records Information Available from Other Sources


Refer to these sources for information on the following:

}         General Information Leaflet Number 67, Research in the Land Entry Files of the General Land Office (Record Group 49)