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New York State experienced more land combat during the War of 1812 than any other state. The Niagara River, Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and Lake Champlain were all heavily contested frontiers that saw many military and naval operations. New York's state and local governments were severely challenged to furnish enough men and money to defend the state. Political opposition to the war was considerable. Despite losses of many records in the Capitol fire of 1911, archival records now in the New York State Archives help document the state's leading role in the conflict.

The most important War of 1812 records in the State Archives are summarized below and cited by series number [e.g. A0084]. For further information about the content of those records, search the Archives' online catalog at, performing a word/phrase search using the series number. For access to the records, contact the Archives at 518-474-8955 or send e-mail to

The State Archives’ research room on the 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center is open Mon.-Fri. 9:00-4:30 and Sat. 9:30-4:30 except state holidays.

Gubernatorial Records

New York Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, a Democratic proponent of the war, left a large collection of official correspondence [series A0084]. Unfortunately most of it was destroyed in the Capitol fire, and the remaining documents are fire-damaged and unuseable. However, the wartime correspondence is published in Public Papers of Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York, 1807-1817, 3 vols. (Albany: 1898-1902), which is available in the New York State Library and other research libraries.

Application for Service
An 1857 claim application for service rendered by John Bone, a member of the Native American Allegany Volunteers under Governor Blacksnake.

Military Service Records

The State Archives holds summary information about service by militia officers and men who came under command of the U.S. Army during the war. Abstracts of payrolls [series B0810] are arranged alphabetically by name and document a soldier’s name, rank, dates of service, amount of pay, and company. Transcriptions of payrolls [series B0811] are arranged by company commander’s name. The latter records have been microfilmed, and the film is available for inter-library loan.

Certificates of claims [series A0020, A3352] were issued by the state many decades after the war. The claim by a veteran or his widow stated his war service in order to obtain reimbursement for clothing, arms, and equipment furnished at the soldier's expense. The certificates are indexed in Index of Awards on Claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 (Albany: 1860; reprinted 1969). These records are now being microfilmed and will eventually be digitized.

Fiscal Records

Selected audited accounts of civil and military officers [series A0802] contain several boxes of documents relating to the War of 1812 that have been infrequently used by researchers. They include documents relating to regimental expenses and state arsenals; many copies of militia company payrolls and other financial documentation; letters and depositions of officers seeking back pay, sometimes summarizing their service; and original enlistment papers for the “sea fencibles,” a volunteer harbor defense force in New York City. These records are arranged by military unit or topic. They are not indexed or microfilmed but are available for research at the State Archives.