Fire destroyed the office of the War Department and all its files in 1800, and for decades historians believed that the collection, and the window it provided into the workings of the early federal government, was lost forever.

These Papers record far more than the era’s military history. Between 1784 and 1800, the War Department was responsible for Indian affairs, veteran affairs, naval affairs (until 1798), as well as militia and army matters.

Thanks to a decade-long effort to retrieve copies of the files scattered in archives across the country, the collection has been reconstituted and is offered as a fully-searchable digital database at http://wardepartmentpapers.org.