Carded Medical Records

Carded medical records were created in the 1890s as part of General Ainsworth’s project to organize the Records and Pensions Office in 1886 to promptly respond to military pensioner’s requests for benefits. When Gen. Ainsworth was appointed head of the R&P Office, the turnaround time for service or injury confirmation from the government was abysmal and had become a political liability.

Carded medical records were created from the records of the Surgeon General.  These cards were used to confirm details shared in a pension application which claimed illness or injury during service created a  pensionable disability.  These records provide information for each soldier regarding

  • Injury
  • Illness
  • Wounds
  • Hospitalization
  • Death

Information on these cards, like the CMSR cards, were carefully transcribed from the original records.  These verbatim transcriptions are an official replacement of the original books which are in poor condition, and generally unavailable to researchers.

Carded medical records cover US Army service, volunteer and enlisted, from 1821 – 1912.  The original plan was these cards would be filed as part of the CMSR packet for a solider, but this goal was only realized for soldiers from the Spanish- American War and Philippine Insurrection.  The medical cards for U.S. volunteer service prior to the Spanish-American War did not make it into the CMSR and are filed in a separate collection.  Carded medical records for Confederate Volunteers are filed with their compiled military service records, all of which have been digitized and are online at fold3.

Unlike the CMSR, carded medical records do exist for “regular” (non-volunteer) army service, however Gen. Ainsworths project was discontinued before the CMSR’s were created for the U.S. Army soldiers.

Rumblesoft will pull carded medical records when you request a compiled military service record for volunteer service.  Carded medical records can be retrieved for U.S. Army service, and for volunteer service if you already have the CMSR (available for some states online).

To order a carded medical records, please fill out this form, and email it to, along with a copy pension card or CMSR index (many unit cards are available on fold3) for your ancestor, and RumbleSoft will schedule your carded medical records retrieval. Details on how our record retrieval process works are outlined here.