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Local History 

Civil War Pension

 Springfield Express
15 November 1889, page 3

Dr. Camp’s Pension

"Dr. W. P. Camp, a member of the pension examining board, who was recently allowed a pension of $4 per month by the government, was met by a Republican reporter Wednesday. "My healthful appearance," said he, "Would probably give rise to some criticism on my being allowed a pension, but it would not from anyone who saw the wounds on my side and abdomen caused by a musket ball when I was in command of a company at the battle of Ashley Station, Ark., which injuries incapacitated me for manual labor. My application was in long before I was a member of the pension board, and I could have had the pension years ago, but I did not then regard the matter in the same light I do now. I now consider it an honor to be on the pension roll."

The National Archives has more information about Civil War Pension records. Some of the information you can find on their site:

Pension Records

Most Union army soldiers or their widows or minor children later applied for a pension. In some cases, a dependent father or mother applied for a pension. The pension files are indexed by NARA microfilm publication T288, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (544 rolls) which is also available online at Ancestry.com (for a fee).

The pension file will often contain more information about what the soldier did during the war than the CMSR, and it may contain much medical information if he lived for a number of years afterwards. For example, in his pension file, Seth Combs of Company C, 2d Ohio Cavalry, reported: "...my left eye was injured while tearing down a building...and in pulling off a board a splinter or piece struck my eye and injured it badly...it was hurt while in the Shenandoah Valley near Winchester, Va. about Christmas 1864--a comrade who stood by me name Jim Beach is dead." In another affidavit, Seth said he "also got the Rheumatism while on duty as a dispatch bearer on detached duty.

To obtain a widow's pension, the widow had to provide proof of marriage, such as a copy of the record kept by county officials, or by affidavit from the minister or some other person. Applications on behalf of the soldier's minor children had to supply both proof of the soldier's marriage and proof of the children's birth.


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