Transcript:Military Records for Abner Willis during the War of 1812


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Original Source:National Archives and Records Administration. Index to the Compiled Military Service Records for the Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M602, 234 rolls.
Intermediate Source:Ancestry


Person:Abner Willis (1)


Note that there are two entries that could be confused with each other. One (line 326 in the image below is for an Abner Willis born in Orange County, who served in the eighth US Infantry. [1]Despite the name, he is probably NOT Abner (1) of interest here. Rather, Abner (1) is believed to be the "Absolom Willis" who appears in the net line down, and who served in the 4th Virginia Militia. The 4th Virginia Militia recruited from the Southwest Virginia area, and so this is more likely to be "Abner (1). In this regard, there is a longstanding issue over Abner (1)'s given name. While most records for him appear under the name "Abner", there are occasional records in the area identify an "Absolom". Also, some family recollections (e.g., the 1932 James Willis interview, refer to him as "Absolom. He apparently used both given names. Since "Abner" is most commonly given in original records, he is here listed as "Abner Willis".


U.S., War of 1812 Service Records, 1812-1815 about Absalom Willis
Name: Absalom Willis
Rank - Induction: PRIVATE
Rank - Discharge: PRIVATE
Roll Box: 228
Microfilm Publication: M602

There is also an enlistment record for an Abner Willis showing him as enlisting in 8th US Infantry 2 February 1814. This may be the same person as Abner (1) though the unit differs from the above record. Also, the record clearly gives his age as 29, implying a DOB of 1785. This is consistent with his DOM of 1803 (by this accounting he would have been 18 years of age), but census records suggest that he was born about 1775. Also, we have tax records for him in the 1790's which seems to preclude such a late DOB. However, if it is indeed a record for Abner (1), this is of particular interest as it gives his POB as "Orange County, VA". A check of records for people searching Orange County Willis' shows a John WIllis=Sarah Porter as living in Orange Count c1747-c1800. This John Willis is said to have had a son Abner. It seems likely that this Abner is the one who was born in Orange County VA, and joined the 8th US Infantry in 1714.

This record may or may not be for Abner Willis (1).
This record may or may not be for Abner Willis (1).


  1. The Eight Infantry was organized in Tennessee, Georgia, and related territories. See:Wikipedia:Active Regular Army units with campaign credit for the War of 1812