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Baker, "over 25 per cent of the entire male population of the country between the ages of 18 and 31 were in military service. Although the United States participated in the conflict for less than two years, it was a costly event. More than , Americans lost their lives during this period. Secretary of War Baker reflected upon this when he stated that "while we rejoice that our losses were no heavier we still bear in mind the thousands of homes throughout the country upon which the heavy burden of war has fallen.

The War with Mexico, Volume I, by Justin H. Smith: a Project Gutenberg eBook.

To these homes the Nation owes a debt of fullest gratitude. From them has sprung unbounded courage to face hardships, heroic strength in battle, the Nation's power to right the wrongs of selfish despotism. The United States was almost completely unprepared to participate in the war. The manpower and supplies needed to field an expeditionary force were at their lowest numbers since the Civil War. Even though the National Defense Act of provided for the gradual expansion of the regular army and reserves, the United States was forced to build an army based on volunteer enlistments and the draft.

More than 24 million men registered for the draft, and almost 2. Army by conscription. The number of volunteer enlistments was slightly over , They presented ideas on how to utilize a few of the valuable sources in the National Archives, such as the burial files and the troop ship manifests, as alternatives to the lost service records. The fire destroyed U. Army personnel records created from to , but it did not damage U. Navy and U.

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Marine Corps personnel files. While the fire left a tremendous gap in locating personnel information, the gap may be partially filled in through other extant records. These records often provide clues to personnel serving in a variety of capacities in the U.