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Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S., Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors in partnership with the following organizations:
Original data:
    Returns From U.S. Military Posts, 1800-1916; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M617, 1,550 rolls); Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C..

About U.S., Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916

This database contains returns from U.S. military posts from the early 1800's to 1916, with a few returns extending through 1917.

Army Regulations stipulated that every post was to submit a return to the Adjutant General, usually at monthly intervals. These returns showed:

  • The units stationed at each post

  • The strength of each unit

  • Names and duties of the officers

  • Number of officers present and absent

  • Listing of official communications received

  • Record of events

This information was returned on forms provided by the Office of the Adjutant General. Over the years, several changes were made to the forms, but the general information recorded was the same. In the earlier years some returns were sent on manuscript forms. These manuscript forms followed the format of the printed forms. Earlier post returns also used the same forms as the regimental and organizational returns.

While most of the records in this collection consist of monthly post returns, some additional records, such as morning reports, field returns, rosters of officers, and other related papers, have been mixed in. These additional records provide supplemental information or act as substitutes for missing returns. Records are available for military posts in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Cuba, Panama Canal Zone, Philippine Islands, Puerto Rico, Canada, China, and Mexico.

For more information about this collection, please download the Publication Details PDF, available on the National Archives (NARA) website. From the NARA home page, click on the “Start Your Research” link located on the left side of the page under the “Research & Order” section. Next, click on the “Microfilm Catalog” link and then type “M617” into the search box. Click the search button and then select one of the Publication Titles listed. The PDF will be located at the top right of the page.

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