If the military record you need isn’t digitized online or microfilmed, and you can’t get to NARA in Washington, DC (or hire a researcher), use NARA’s Order Online system. First, you’ll need to know your soldier’s name, the war he served in and the state from which he served. Then follow these steps:
1. Go to <archives.gov/order>. Log in on the right or click New User? to register with the site. Once you’re logged in, come back to this screen and click Order Reproductions.
2. Under Record Reproductions, select Military Service and Pension Records (that’s what we chose) or WWI Draft Registration Cards.
3. From the list of pre-WWI records, click the record you need (we chose Civil War and later pension records).
4. Note the fee and estimated wait for the record. For more information or sample records, click the items under Item Details. Then select Add to Cart.
5. Fill in what you know about your relative. Let the system idle too long and you’ll get kicked out, so if you must pause, click Save and Finish Later. Click Continue to Pay and Ship (at the bottom) to enter your address and credit card information.