Entries for Westford Men
Soldiers and Sailors
of the Revolutionary War
Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War (MSSRW) is a compilation of
service records for all Massachusetts men who are documented to have
performed war service between 1775 and 1783. The
task of compiling its 17 volumes was begun as a result of the General
Court’s 1891 legislation calling for an indexed list of Revolutionary
War service. The work commenced that same
year and the volumes were successively published between 1896 and 1908. The result was approximately 688,000
In order to understand the
value and shortcomings of the information provided in MSSRW it
is important to appreciate how it was compiled. The
entries consist of service summaries from documents found at the
Massachusetts State Archives. These
documents include muster rolls, pay abstracts, commission records,
discharge papers, and many other service related documents that happen
to be found within the Archive collections. While
MSSRW is an immensely valuable resource, there are several
reasons why one must be careful in the use of the information found
within its pages. Several of the most
important are summarized below:
Since it is not
possible that any single collection – in this case, that of the
Massachusetts Archives – contain all service records, MSSRW
entries should not
be taken as a complete record
of an individual’s service.
The entries only summarize information that is found in this
collection of essentially random documents. For
this reason, many holes can exist in the service entries.
This is the case for the vast majority of soldiers. There
also cases where information that was available did not make it into
soldier's entry. An excellent example of this can be found in Col. John Robinson's entry in which
his service as Colonel of a regiment at the end of the Siege of Boston
is not mentioned, but is indirectly mentioned in hundreds of entries
for soldiers that served in that regiment.
The editors of MSSRW
made a conscious decision to list names according to the exact spelling
in the documents, rather than attempt to correct erroneous spellings. As a result, any one person’s records could be
found under several, potentially very different entry names. Given the nature of record taking in the
18th century, variations is spelling are
Where the Archive
records contained information about the soldier’s town of residence, it
was included in the MSSRW entries. Clearly,
this makes the identification of a particular soldier significantly
easier. However, such information was
often not part of the records. As a
result, it was not always possible for the MSSRW editors to
connect different service records to the
same person, resulting in more than one entry for the same individual.
MSSRW entries for 282
soldiers can be found alphabetically on the following pages.
Changes/updates will likely be made in the future as further research
clarifies the status of certain "Possible" or "Probable" entries.
MSSRW pages: [ABC], [DEF],
[GHI], [JKL], [MNO],
Massachusetts Soldiers and
Sailors of the Revolutionary War, Vols. I thru XVII. Published
by the Secretery of the Commonwealth, Boston: Wright & Porter
Printing Co., State Printers, 1896-1908.
These volumes are available in most Massachusetts
libraries. The introductary material also contains a very good
summary of Massachusetts Revolutionary War period legislation relating
to the military.
Also available on CD-ROM as: Military
Records: Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors, 1775-1782.
Family Archive CD series, Broderbund Software.
While very helpful to have in this format, note that
searches can only be performed by the soldier's name, not arbitrary
© 2003, 2004 - D.P. Lacroix
Page added: 10 December 2003
Last modified: 10 January 2004
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