Many early American decorations and campaign medals are stamped with a serial number. Sometimes it's possible to use this number to identify the original recipient of the medal, based upon various records in the National Archives. Below is an outline of campaign medals that can be traced to the recipient by serial number. In the listings "#" means that there is no prefix before the number. "No." or "M.No." indicates that the medal must have this type of number prefix in order to be traceable. As an example, an Army Civil War Campaign Medal stamped "No.123" is traceable but one stamped "M.No.123" or "123" cannot be traced.
I have all of the following rosters, except the USMC Mexico. If you would like me to check one for you, I charge a fee of $10 per successful search. If your medal does not fall in the range given below I can NOT trace it. I no longer respond to messages asking if I can trace medals that are outside the ranges listed below.
WWI Distinguished Service Cross #1 to #3782 (aprox. 2430 numbers), #5501 to #8000 (all)
WWI Distinguished Service Medal #1 to #2184 (aprox. 1700 numbers)
Certificate of Merit Medal No. 1 to No. 368
I do NOT have records on any WWII decorations. (DSC, DSM, Silver Star, etc.)
Army Campaign Medals - Army campaign medal with an "M.No." prefix cannot be traced.
Civil War No.1 to No.554
Indian Wars No.1 to No.1927
Spanish Campaign No.1 to No.7800, No.8000 to No.8140
Spanish War Service #1 to #16650
Cuban Occupation No.1 to No.4102
Puerto Rico Occupation #1 to #200, No.201 to No.320
Philippine Campaign No.1 to No.23250, No.23501 to No.25000
Philippine Congressional No.1 to No.6179
China Relief Expedition No. 1 to No. 1228 & No. 1501 to No. 1634
Cuban Pacification No.1 to No.6339
Mexican Service No.1 to No.10000, #10001 to #12529
Mexican Border Service #1 to #34012
- All of the Army campaign medal rosters were published by Gleim's Planchet Press. Most are out of print.
Navy Campaign Medals - The number in parenthesis represents the approximate percentage of medals that are traceable within the given number range.
Civil War #1 to #2396 (75%), 2412 to 2694 (3%)
West Indies/Spanish Campaign #1 to #692 (90%), 726 to 5399 (10%)
Philippine Campaign #1 to #855 (90%)
China Relief Expedition #1 to #253 (80%), #297 to #1153 (5%)
Cuban Pacification #5 to #852 (8%)
Nicaraguan Campaign 1912 #1 to #1495 (9%)
Mexican Service 1911-1917 #11 to #13907 (5%)
Haitian Campaign 1915 #1 to #15 (100%), #78 to #1008 (10%)
Dominican Campaign - None
Second Nicaragua Campaign M.No.2 to M.No.853 (66%)
Yangtze Service M.No.3 to M.No.697 (37%), M.No.1872 to M.No.9492 (2%)
- Rosters for the Navy Civil War, Spanish/West Indies and Philippine exist but have not been published. Roster for the China Relief was published by Planchet Press and OMSA. Partial rosters for the Cuban Pac, 1st Nicaraguan, Mexico, 1915 Haitian, 2nd Nic and Yangtze were published by Gleim in the New Medal Letters, reprinted by OMSA in The Gleim Medal Letters. I have photographs of some of the original transmittal letters for the Civil War, Spanish and Philippine Campaign Medals, price $25 each.
Marine Corps Campaign Medals - The number in parenthesis represents the approximate percentage of medals that are traceable within the given number range.
Civil War #1 to #188 (90%)
Spanish/West Indies Campaign #1 to #1100 (80%)
Philippine Campaign #1 to #1397 (80%)
China Relief Expedition #1 to #609 (80%)
Cuban Pacification #1 to #1600 (90%)
1912 Nicaraguan and Mexican Service Medals (Roster published but I don't have the traceable number ranges for these medals.)
No medal rolls currently exist for the USMC Expeditionary, 2nd Nicaraguan and Yangtze.
Scott Smith has published rosters for all of the traceable USMC medals. I have digital photographs of the original USMC issue roster covering the Civil War through Cuban Pacification. Images of individual pages available for $15 each.