African American Resource Center
New Orleans Public Library

African American Genealogical Research in New Orleans
Military Records

Many slaves and free men of color fought in the various wars during the French and Spanish periods. During the Spanish period, there were several units of Free Men of Color in the state militia. During the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815, about 600 soldiers of color, mostly free men and some slaves, fought under General Andrew Jackson in the defense of the city against the British. The Louisiana Division has a microfilm index of all men, black and white, who fought in the Battle of New Orleans. During the Civil War, Louisiana boasted the most Colored Troops with approximately 24,000 men in 40 separate units. Some of these units were the first to see action against Confederate forces. If your ancestor or relative fought in the Civil War, their pension records may provide invaluable biographical data about their lives especially if they were enslaved before the War. The index to the pension records filed for African American veterans who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War is available in the African American Resource Center of the New Orleans Public Library.

The Louisiana Division has a microfilm copy of the "Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers" who served in organizations from the state of Louisiana. This list is arranged alphabetically by the soldier's last name. However, this is only a partial listing of black soldiers.

If your ancestors fought in the Native Guards, you should find them in Andrew Bradford Booth's Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands, which is located in the Louisiana Division. The Native Guards were primarily composed of free men of color who were under the auspices of the Confederacy but who later became part of the Union forces after the capture of New Orleans in 1862. In William Gladstone's United States Colored Troops, 1863-1867, the author lists all the Black units for Louisiana and the several other states which provided soldiers. The National Park Service has created a website about the United States Colored Troops who fought in the Civil War which includes a database of soldiers who fought for the Union. You can reach this site on the Internet at www.itd.nps.gov/cwss.


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