Military Research

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I (1914-1918), the Tennessee State Library & Archives will send a team of professional archivists and conservators to communities across Tennessee. You may schedule an appointment, and we will digitally copy and help you preserve your World War I era manuscripts, artifacts, and photographs. You keep the originals.
This collection documents the careers in the United States Army Air Service during and after World War I of two brothers from Gallatin, Tennessee. George Wright Puryear was a fighter pilot with the 95th Aero Squadron, was taken prisoner by the Germans, and subsequently became the first American officer to escape from a German prisoner of war camp.
Record of Ex-Soldiers in World War I, Tennessee Counties, 1917-1919 is a digital collection that consists of the compiled service records of over 130,000 soldiers and sailors from Tennessee who served in the First World War.
This page has a brief history of the Tennessee military regiments involved in the War of 1812. the listings include the official designation of the unit, a date range when the unit was active, the names of the regimental officers, and the primary county of residence of the men who served in the unit.
Tennessee did not have any designated units during the Revolutionary War, as it was not a state at that time. We recommend that you contact the state from which your Revolutionary War ancestor came to inquire about available rosters and records. We have a published list of Revolutionary War pensioners, with detailed information about their pension applications, from which we can copy entries.
This page is an introduction to the index to the Southern Claims Commission. The index lists only Tennesseans who applied to the commission. The index gives the name of the individual, the county of residence, and it the claim was allowed, disallowed, or barred.
This page is a bibliography of published data on Tennessee men and women who served in Vietnam during 1961 - 1975.
Aerial photos, topography, road systems, and land plots are all linked to narrative information about events of the Civil War.
This page gives an overview of the published and manuscript materials that the Tennessee State Library and Archives holds on the Civil War.
This page is an index to Tennessee Civil War battle flags.
This page is an introduction to a listing of Tennessee Confederate physicians. It includes a listing of the print and manuscript sources used when creating the index.
The following Resource Guide has list of book, microfilm, and manuscript resources represents some of the vast collection of materials that the Tennessee State Library and Archives has amassed which makes tracking World War I soldiers and citizens possible.
The photographs in this online exhibit, selected from the Frierson-Warfield Papers and Karl Kleeman World War I Photographs, provide a thoughtful look at the Western Front during World War I from an American perspective. The photographs were chosen for their high quality and because they present a visual history of the 30th (Old Hickory) Division. Those researching this collection may find some of the images disturbing, especially the ones of dead soldiers. Some of the pictures were taken by individuals fighting in the war, while others were made by the U.S. Army Signal Corps and mass produced. Both types are striking in their portrayal of the horrors of the Great War.
World War II was the greatest armed conflict in history, and Tennessee played a significant role in the Allied victory. Over 300,000 men from all parts of the state served in America’s armed forces and six were decorated with the nation’s highest award for valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor. The materials cited in this guide are only a sampling. Please consult with reference staff for additional materials.
Brigadier General Jacob McGavock Dickinson, Jr.’s, Tennessee State Guard scrapbook comprises part of the Jacob McGavock Dickinson (1851-1928) Papers, 1812-1946. The papers of Jacob McGavock Dickinson (Tennessee Supreme Court Justice, 1891-1893; Assistant Attorney General of the United States, 1895-1897; Secretary of War, 1909-1911; and Chicago attorney) were given to TSLA over the span of thirteen years, 1956-1969, by his son, Jacob McGavock Dickinson, III, and other relatives; namely, Mrs. Henry Dickinson, Mrs. James Lowery and Hamilton Gayden, Jr. The collection, which consists of approximately 40,200 items, contains correspondence, speeches, sketches, photographs, clippings, personal memorabilia and scrapbooks, among other materials.
Gold Star Records are composed of information on Tennessee soldiers who died of wounds or disease during World War I. They are arranged alphabetically and include information about the soldier such as date of birth, occupation, parents, branch of service, and date of death. Some files include additional information such as letters, pictures, and news clippings. These records were compiled during the 1920s from information given by the soldiers' families. The index gives the name and county (where noted) of each Tennessee soldier with a Gold Star file.
This page is an introduction to Tennesseans who served during World War I. The data contained in this site was taken from Record Group 36, the compiled service records of soldiers and sailors who served in the First World War from Tennessee. Information on individual servicemen and women came from the files of Major Rutledge Smith, Chairman of the National Council of Defense for Tennessee, World War I; from the office of the Adjutant General of Tennessee, 1933-1937; and from the report of the Provost Marshal General to the Secretary of War, 1917-1918. The data is arranged by county. The fields show the serviceman\'s name, age or year of birth, birthplace, notes, and page number in the original volume. It should be noted that additional information regarding the soldier's rank, training, dates of service, discharge, etc. can be obtained from the microfilmed records in Record Group 36. The index is not a "complete" list of all Tennesseans who served in World War I. Individuals from Tennessee who enlisted in other states are not included. Only those soldiers whose names appear in the compiled service records (Record Group 36) are included on this site.
This page is an introduction to an index of Questionnaires filled out by over 4400 Tennessee World War I veterans. The questionnaires are indexed alphabetically by the name of the soldier. The county listed in the index is the county of birth, if it is given; if not, then the county of enlistment is used.
Online exhibit narrating the experiences of Tennessee’s veterans from the Revolutionary War to the men and women serving in the military today. Featured items include the World War I photographs of Luke Lea, a former U.S. Senator and founder of the Tennessean newspaper; a letter from George Washington to future Tennessean Colonel Meigs; and a resolution commemorating the firing of the first shot in the Spanish-American War by the USS Nashville.
During the Civil War, the Provost Marshal was the Union Army officer charged with maintaining order among both soldiers and civilians. The Provost Marshal records microfilmed by the National Archives include many records related to Tennesseans. This Union Provost Marshal Database was created to index those documents that were from provost marshal offices in Tennessee and that relate to Tennesseans during the Civil War. The fully searchable database includes name, location (city or county), year, file number (if provided), and a brief description of the document(s).
The Tennessee State Library and Archives is launching Tennessee Remembers: Vietnam Veterans. Our goal is to help veterans of the Vietnam War preserve their history by collecting original documents, stories, and memorabilia related to their in-country experiences during the war.
In an effort to honor the service and valor of Tennessee Vietnam War veterans, TSLA has developed a survey to establish a more complete record of the men and women who served in theater. The survey results will be maintained at TSLA for research and educational purposes.
As the nineteenth century drew to a close, the seeds of Southern mythology idealizing the service of the South’s aging Confederate veterans began to take root. Defeated militarily, in the decades following 1865 the South struggled to vindicate the decisions that had led to secession and to an armed conflict that had cost so many men their lives. From the ashes of war and the turbulence of the Reconstruction period, a cultural identity took shape, grounded in ideas and attitudes referred to collectively as the Lost Cause.

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