Monday, March 29, 2010
Jesse's Civil War Pension Claim
Family lore has it that after the Civil War, Jesse Clark Osgood was never the same physically. He was described by family members as being frail afterwards.
Jesse volunteered for service in Company A of the 26th Massachusetts volunteer infantry and was enrolled in the unit on September 30, 1861. He served throughout the war and was discharged in Savannah, Georgia on August 26, 1865. One of my research interests is what happened to my great-great grandfather in between.
I recently received from the National Archives Jesse's pension file. It is a treasure trove of facts and information about his service, as well as his wife's widow's pension. There is too much to put into one post. So I will start with a transcription of his original declaration for an invalid pension, signed in 1883 and filed on September 8, 1883:
State of Kansas, County of Marion. On this ___ day of ___, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty-three, [For some reason the exact dates are left blank in the document.], personally appeared before me, the clerk of the District Court, a court of record within and for the county and State aforesaid, Jesse C. Osgood, aged 46 years, a resident of the City of Florence, county of Marion, State of Kansas, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Jesse C. Osgood who was ENROLLED on the 30 day of September, 1861, in Company A of the 26 regiment of Mass, Inft. Vol. commanded by Col. Edward F. Jones, and was honorably DISCHARGED at Savannah GA on the 26 day of August, 1865; that his personal description is as follows: Age, 46 years; height, 5 feet 6 inches; complexion, Light; hair, light brown; eyes, hazel.
That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Forts Jackson & St. Philip in the State of Louisiana on or about the 19 day of April 1862, he took cold from wading in the swamps at the Quarantine station near Fort Jackson which brought on an attack of asthma of a severe and malignant character. That he was treated as follows: in camp; and at the regimental hospital at New Orleans by the Surgeon of the regiment Dr. JG. Bradt between the 25 of July and through the 30 of September 1862. That he has not been employed in the military or naval service otherwise than as stated above.
That since leaving the service this applicant has resided in the town of Greenville in the State of Illinois, and at Florence, Marion County, Kansas, and his occupation has been that of a Dentist. That prior to his entry into the service above named he was a man of good, sound, physical health, except slight asthmatical affection from youth, being when enrolled as a farmer. That he is now three fourths disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries, above described, received in the service of the United States; and he therefore makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the invalid pension roll of the United States.
He hereby appoints, will full power of of substitution and revocation, W.F. File of Florence, Marion County, State of Kansas, his true and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim. That he has not received nor applied for a pension. That his Post Office address is Florence, County of Marion, State of Kansas.
The document is signed by Jesse C. Osgood with two witnesses.
This first claim for a pension was rejected because he admitted to having some slight asthma from his youth. This is great for those of us who are interested in Jesse's service, because he then had to go get multiple declarations from individuals who would attest to his health problems being related to his service. The file contains declarations from fellow soldiers, doctors, and friends who knew him before and after the War. There is also a more detailed declaration from Jesse about the experience he had wading in the swamps that led to his physical disability. Stay tuned, readers!!
In the meantime, you can read up on the battle he was involved with. The battle of Fort Jackson & Fort St. Philip was fought officially from April 25 through May 1, 1862 in New Orleans. This link will take you to a description of the battle, along with a map of the Mississippi River where it was fought.