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Posts Tagged ‘Civil War Pensions’

George Angus Barclay was discharged with honor at the end of the Civil War on August 24, 1865. 

About October 19, 1891 he filed his first set of claim papers.  This would be a long process for George and Amarilla. 

Most Civil War pension files are housed with the National Archives in Washington D.C.  There is a sizeable fee attached to obtaining one.  I was lucky.  I sought George’s pension before the rate hike took place.  I filled out all the paperwork that NARA requires and mailed it.  My papers came back to me with a note that the pension was with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.  So I wrote to the Veteran Affairs in June of 2001 and they sent me the file which was a good 2 inches thick.  I offered to pay for the copies, but they didn’t seem interested. 

Lisa Peterson, my colleague at APG, has written an article and posted it on her blog.  It gives an explanation of how to obtain a Civil War pension from the VA, but be advised that you might have to be a direct descendant so check with them first: 

http://www.kinquest.com/usgenealogy/va.php 

George started the process in 1891.  It was to be a long and difficult one, spanning 49 years.  If seems that every time the laws were changed regarding the Civil War pensions, Amarilla would try again and fail.  I was told it was not always fair who received the pension and who did not?

This Civil War pension was a gold mine of information about my great grandparents.  Each time they submitted they had to resubmit their vital information.  So I have several copies of their marriage license and more. 

Summary of George’s Civil War Pension: 1891 to 1895:

1. Veteran Identification Data page:  This is a summary sheet of the file for the Veterans Affairs office and includes File No., location and more.           

2.  Application of Discharged Soldier for Additional Bounty, 18th day of June 1867 for $100.00 – At Eagle Creek, Scott Co., Minnesota.  The 3rd page was a Power of Attorney.

Application of Discharged Soldier

 

Page two of the Application of Discharged Soldier

3.  Soldier’s Application – Declaration of Invalid Pension “ Act of June 27, 1890, Minnesota, County of Crow Wing, 19th day of October 1891, George Barclay aged 48 years resident of Pine River, Crow Wing Co, Minnesota declares he is the identical person who enrolled on the 15th of August 1862, Co. I, 9th Reg., Minn. Infantry, as Wagoner.  Who was honorably discharged at Ft. Snelling, MN on the 24th of August 1865.  He is unable to earn a support by reason of weakness of both legs near the knees.  He has not applied for pension and never appeared before.  Attest:  [S.G.] Alderman and [A.S.] Trommald.  Appeared before Jno. F. Fraker residing at Brainerd, Minn. and Louis Fache, Brainerd, Minnesota, known for 7 years and 10 years respectively signed by both. Sworn this 19th day of October, 1891 and signed by [S.F. Alderman] Clerk Dist. Court, Crown Wing, Minn.

4. Circular Call NO. 7 – Department of the Interior Bureau of Pensions 23 November 1891. I believe it is a direction to George to report to a Green B. Raum, Commissioner.

5. Military Service Name of Soldier George A. Barclay Enlistment information 25 November 1891.

6. Memorandum, Pension Affidavit of George Barclay, 6 January 1892.  Showing that George was represented by a Henry Phillips, Attorney at Law and Solicitor. Two copies.

7. Surgeon’s Certificate February 2, 1892. The medical examination that is done by a board of physicians that report the claimant’s condition. John Knight, Pres., E.C. [Furan] Sec’y., W. N. Morel, Treas. Following disability incurred in service:  weakness of both legs near the knee.  

8.  Memorandum dated 6 February 1892.  George explains his military service.

“State of Minnesota, Crow Wing…In the matter of Geo. Barclay for Pension. Personally came before me a Clerk of the District Court. “I have not been in the military or naval service of the United States since August 24, 1865.  That I served as Wagoner in Company “I” 9th Minn Vol. Inft. For the period of 3 years and 9 days and was never in any company.”  No signature

9.  Pension Affidavit of George Barclay, September 5, 1892 in George’s own words his health condition.

“Said soldier:  George Barclay dully sworn declares…as follows: That I incurred disease of the kidneys and injury to legs prior to Oct. 26, 1891; that said disabilities are not due to vicious habits and are to the best of my knowledge and belief permanent.  Dates when contracted are as nearly as possible as follows:  About September 1890, I was making hay on the river and had to enter the water and got my feet wet nearly every day my kidneys became much affected.  In May of 1865 at Marian, Alabama, I was riding a mule and he fell over and I went into a ditch and he fell across my legs.” (Transcribe as best as possible.)

10.  July 17, 1893 – Law Offices of Henry D. Phillips for George Barclay:  Written on this card it reads:  “Please speed action.”

11. Surgeon’s Certificate May 23, 1894, George is once again examined.  This time by John Knight, Pres., J. M. [Glinnor] Sec’y., L. M. [Bobcout] Treas. Disability incurred in the service:  Injury of legs & disease of the kidneys.

12.  Invalid Pension for George Barclay – Submitted for rejection 28 November, 1894. “No disability from causes alleged shown in a degree ratable under the Act of June 24, 1890.

13. December 11, 1894, From the Law Offices of Henry D. Phillips for George Barclay it reads:  “Please send status.” 

As you can see it was a cumbersome process and I found it very difficult to figure out exactly what each piece of paper meant.  When I received the pension it was not in any date order and of course they copied and put the cover page behind so it made it hard to figure out what piece of paper belonged to another. 

Based on what I have summarized here it looks like this is the first attempt of George A. Barclay to obtain his Civil War Pension. George will try again before his death in 1898.  I will share more about this pension file in a later post. 

It is interesting he was examined twice and they started with the weakness in the legs to later change it to injury of the legs and kidney disease.  George was 49 years old at this time.  Remember he was not a large man.  According to the Surgeon’s Certificate  he was 125 lbs. and 5 ft. 4 inches tall at this time.

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My great-grandfather George Angus Barclay mustered into the Civil War a year after his brother Alexander Barclay.  Their father John Barclay also served for a very short time as a carpenter, which was his occupation.   They all served out of Minnesota.  

In the Logsled to Snowmobiles book written by the town of Pine River for their bicentennial in 1973, it is implied that George and Alexander entered military service together.  This did not happen.  Alexander went in first in Sept 1861 and George followed him a year later.  There father served much later in the war.  

“…and together they enlisted on August 15, 1862 in the Union Army! pg. 104 Logsleds to Snowmobiles.  

The date of August 15, 1862 is correct for George’s enlistment.  He mustered in at Fort Ridgely http://www.mnhs.org/places/sites/fr/  It was two days before the Dakota Indian uprising began!  (See the Wikipedia article link given below.) 

I worked at a local community college in years past and a coworker of mine had retired from the Army.  He had served in the Quartermaster’s Department and was a Civil War buff.  We sat down and I showed him the records I had received and he studied them.  He told me:   

First, I was lucky to get the Civil War service and pension files for a lot of the more common soldiers did not get recorded.  Apparently my ancestors had skills that were needed. 

Secondly, George might have been too young and small to enter with Alexander, who was about 19 years old in 1861 when he mustered in.  George maybe needed to mature physically or get some skills?  My great-grandfather was not a big man as you will see.  George would be 18 in 1862 and that might have been why he was delayed although I am aware that younger boys were in this war.  It is fun to speculate.  

Back in 2001 I had the good fortune to travel to Minnesota and visit the state.  I became a member of the Minnesota Historical Society and they offer admission to various historical sites among them are Fort Ridgely and Fort Snelling.  

Fort Ridgely, Minnesota

 

Fort Ridgely Museum

 

I was told that the farmers in the area took away the stones to use in their houses and fields after the Civil War.  These stones had been used to build the barracks and other buildings at Fort Ridgely.  The only remains are the outlines of the buildings in the ground so that is why you don’t see anything except the museum and monument.  The museum has a lot of wonderful exhibits and one in particular was the soldiers’ uniform.  I have often wondered what happened to George’s coat and was told he probably worn it till it wore out.  

They also have exhibits about the Dakota Indian uprising.  I asked if George would have received any training and the volunteer at the museum told me that he probably was just dumped into the fight fresh.  The monument you see in the first photo has the names of the soldiers that didn’t survive the conflict imprinted on it.  

Wikipedia has some very interesting information about this conflict:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_War_of_1862  

The Fort Ridgely volunteer also got excited and looked George up in his records and found him.  

“George became a wagoner with Company A, Ninth Volunteer Infantry. pg. 104 Logsleds to Snowmobiles. “ 

This statement is true about George’s service in the Civil War but he was in company “I” not “A.”  He was a wagoner and he did serve and survived.  A lot of men did not for my coworker friend told me that it was a cruel war.  

I was very fortunate to order the civil war service and pension records for George, Alexander and John Barclay before The National Archives (NARA) increased the cost.  In my opinion it is worth it.  I have learned so much about my ancestors from these files.  

I will describe the Civil War experiences of these three men in the following posts.

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