Bounty Land Warrants

Under the Acts of 1850, 1852, 1855

Under the acts of 1850, 1852, and 1855, Congress gradually extended the eligibility for bounty land warrants to retroactively compensate surviving veterans or the immediate heirs of all who had served since the Revolutionary War.

Those who obtained warrants under an earlier act usually were eligible under later acts as well, provided the total acreage they obtained did not exceed 160 acres.

The card, microfilm, and published indexes of the B.L.W.’s, while valuable, do not include references to each of the hundreds of thousands of veterans, widows, and survivors who obtained bounty land warrants under the acts of 1850-1855.

The most comprehensive “index” to determine information about the filing of these warrants is the Bounty Land Warrant application files among the Military Pension Records held by NARA, most of which have not been microfilmed.

Researchers who are unable to locate bounty land warrant filing information using the indexes noted above should use NATF Form 80, Order for Copies of Veterans Records, to request a copy of the land warrant application.

Each approved application will note the filing information of the surrendered warrant, given as a three-part number containing the warrant number, the acreage granted, and the year of the act granting the warrant.

For example, warrant number 12345 for 160 acres, granted under the Act of 1855, would read: “12345-160-1855,” or “12345-160-=55,” or some variation thereof.

This filing information should then be cited when requesting the surrendered Bounty Land Warrant file.

Since there are thousands of surrendered warrants under each acreage group of these acts, it is important to include all three parts of the filing information in your request.