Processing of this collection was funded by a grant from the NHPRC (National Historical Publications
and Records Commission).
The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Salem Light Infantry
Salem Light Infantry Records
6.5 linear feet (7 boxes)
The Salem Light Infantry Records include constitutions, by-laws, orderly books, meeting records, members lists, and account books. This collection has been arranged into three series.
SERIES I. Administrative Records
A. Constitution and By-Laws
B. Orderly Records
C. Meetings and Committees
D. Company History
SERIES II. Membership Records SERIES III. Financial Records
Scope and Content Note
The Salem Light Infantry Records include constitutions, by-laws, orderly books, meeting records, members lists, and account books.
This collection has been arranged into three series.
Series I. Administrative Records includes constitutions, by-laws, orderly books, meeting records, and
historical memos. This series has been arranged into four subseries. Subseries A. Constitution and By-Laws includes multiple copies
of the Salem Light Infantry Constitution and By-Laws. These documents were updated over the years and the multiple copies of these
documents capture the changes. Subseries B. Orderly Records includes special and general orders from over fifty years of the Salem
Light Infantry's service. Subseries C. Meeting and Committees includes company records which summarize committee and member meetings.
Subseries D. Company History includes historical memos, documents created by members of the Salem Light
Infantry to commemorate significant accomplishments and events in the history of the organization. Within these memos include a compiled
list of all public appearances and parades of the Salem Light Infantry, a list of musicians of the Salem Light Infantry, multiple lists
of members who were in attendance at various events, meeting programs, invitations, anniversaries, and correspondence. Some of these
records are pasted into to oversize volumes (Vol. 8 and Vol. 9).
Series II. Membership Records includes lists of members from various time periods of the Salem Light
Infantry's service. In addition, appointment letters, muster lists, and descriptive books of active, wounded, and deceased members
are included. When possible, records associated with a specific company and regiment are denoted on the finding aid.
Series III. Financial Records include account books of the Salem Light Infantry that document expenses
such as membership assessment, clothing, and general receipts of service.
The Salem Light Infantry was organized on May 1, 1805 in Salem, Massachusetts. A constitution and by-laws were
created to govern the organization; these documents were routinely updated over the years. Initially, the Salem Light Infantry
participated in routine parades and training. Troops were often seen at local events, such as the July 4th celebrations in Salem,
Massachusetts. In July 1860 the Salem Light Infantry were visited by Colonel Elmer Ellsworth and the Chicago Zouaves Cadets during
their tour of North America. Impressed by the Chicago Zouaves' form of drilling based on the French Zouave method, the Salem Light
Infantry formed their own Salem Zouaves.
During the Civil War, the Salem Light Infantry were among the first units to respond to the call for volunteers in 1861. Over 400 men
formed five different companies that were mustered into service, joining a variety of regiments of volunteer militia infantry units.
These included Company H, 19th Regiment; Company A, 50th Regiment; Company A, 7th Regiment; Company H, 8th Regiment; and the 13th
After the Civil War, members of the Salem Light Infantry continued to serve their country. During the Spanish American War they
served as members of Company H, Eighth Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia and later, during World War I and II, they
served as members of the 26th (Yankee) Division, Massachusetts National Guard. Continuing into the 21st Century, reenactments of
military parades carry on the traditions of the Salem Light Infantry.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Peabody, George, 1795-1869
Whipple, George Mathews, 1842-1893
Massachusetts--Militia--Salem Light Infantry
Massachusetts--Militia--Regiment, 19th--Company H
Massachusetts--Militia--Regiment, 50th--Company A
Massachusetts--Militia--Regiment, 7th--Company A
Massachusetts--Militia--Regiment, 8th--Company H
Massachusetts--Volunteer militia, 8th Regiment--Company H
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Request for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript
Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Salem Light Infantry Records, MM 12, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
The majority of this material was found in the collection. The Petition to the General Court was removed from MM 2.
Collection processed and cataloged by Halley Grogan, February 2012.
Whipple, George M. History of the Salem Light Infantry, 1805-1890. Salem: Salem Press, 1890.
Salem Light Infantry Veteran Association, 1862-1917, MM 13
Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Records, 1775-1908, MM 6
For additional Salem Light Infantry material, including circulars and official programs, please visit Philcat, our online catalog.