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U.S. History/sergeants land grants or bounty warrents


QUESTION: What could a sergeant in the Virginia Line of infantry done to receive in addition to and as well as his bounty warrent land grant of 200 acres in Kentucky to receive 'for service in the war' another grant of 1120 acres also in Kentucky?

ANSWER: Hi Eric,

The amount of land granted was based on the rank of the soldier and the amount of time served.  Veterans had to have served a minimum of three years in the Continental Army or Navy to receive land based on Revolutionary War service.  Bonus lands would have been for being a sergeant and possibly for serving beyond the three year minimum.  In a few cases, bonus land was promised for those to reenlisted or stayed beyond enlistment at a critical period late in the war.  Seeing combat or actual valor in combat was not a consideration for land grants.

I hope this helps!
- Mike

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Well, Mike,

Everywhere I look I seem to hit the wall. My relative served for three years in the Continental Army of Virginia and was honorably discharged. as far as I can tell, that was the extent of his service, also 1120 acres is alot, don't you think, for a sergeant? I have heard that sometimes ex-soldiers would sell their bounty warrents to others, but this scenario seems a little far fetched too unless there was some other explanation.

Thank you so much for your time and effort, I'll keep looking,


There was a Virginia law passed in 1779 that set aside land for veterans in what is today Kentucky (then it was part of Virginia).  Under that law, a non-commissioned officer (which includes sergeant) would receive 200 acres.  This is likely the law under which your relative received his land.

It's hard to day why he received the additional land.  The most likely reason is that he purchased land bounties from other soldiers.  Many soldiers were unsure they would ever get the land or did not want to move west, so one could often purchase bounties rather cheaply.

- Mike  

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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