After a traumatic and devastating fire in 1800, many historians though that the early files of the United States War Department were essentially lost forever. Thankfully, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University recently completed a decade long project to locate all of these records and place them online here. The collection is a very important one, because during this time period the War Department was responsible for Indian affairs, veteran affairs, and naval affairs. The project was begun in earnest by Ted Crackel in the mid-1990s and it involved visits to over 200 repositories and consulting over 3,000 collections in the United States, Canada, England, France, and Scotland. Now, visitors can browse through 55,000 documents, and also perform detailed searches, complete with links to digitized images of each document. Interested parties can also browse the collection by year or person of interest. In short, this is an extremely valuable project that will be of interest to those with a penchant for American history, and early American military history in particular.
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