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Posts Tagged ‘National Archives’

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 Aunt Miriam writes in her notes about George’s enlistment in the Civil War.

Miriam’s Notes – Civil War

The book from Pine River “Logsleds to Snowmobiles” gives this information about George’s service:

“George became a wagoner with Company A, Ninth Volunteer Infantry.  Barclay was with General Sherman on his “march through Georgia to the sea.” He was honorably discharged on August 24, 1865.” page 105.

The company is “I” and not “A,” that George served with.

Did my great-grandfather George Angus Barclay “march with Sherman” as my Aunt Miriam states or did he “marched through Georgia to the sea” as the book reference suggests?

Well let’s examine the evidence.

Because I am a curious creature I ordered George’s Civil War Service record from the National Archives (NARA) and waited impatiently for its arrival.  I also ordered his Civil War Pension Record but NARA didn’t have it?  NARA wrote back to tell me that it was with the Veterans Administration.  So of course, I wrote for it immediately.  It came – all 3 inches thick of it!  The pension file was huge and covered 1892 to 1942.

After studying both the Civil War Service Record and the Civil War Pension files of George A. Barclay I cannot state with certainty that George  “marched with Sherman” or ‘marched through Georgia to the sea!”  George never mentions it in his pension file. The goal of the pension file application is to get a pension and it is probably better to keep your answers short.  The Service Record is more like an attendance record for the soldier.

George writes in his own hand on an affidavit from his pension file:

I have not been in the military or naval service of the United States since August 24th, 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.”  From G.A. Barclay Civil War Pension File.  

We need to understand the history of George William T. Sherman’s military career.  The History Channel website has this interactive video of the three of the campaigns of Sherman:  Sherman’s March.

http://www.history.com/topics/william-t-sherman

1.  The Atlanta Campaign.  It started in the Summer and he took Atlanta on September 7, 1864.  It is from Atlanta that Sherman started his march to the sea.

2.  The Savannah Campaign started on November 15, 1864 and went for 300 miles. This is the famous “March to the Sea” campaign.  He did march across Georgia to Savannah, NC to accomplish this goal.   This link to the History Channel gives more on this specific march.

http://www.history.com/topics/shermans-march/interactives/shermans-march

“Sherman’s Army:  Sherman had a massive army.  Over 60,000 troops, 8000 horses and mules, 2500 wagons.  Two 900 foot pontoon bridges to cross the many rivers and streams of Georgia.  In some places the army would march by a house or plantation for 2 straight days without a break during daylight hours.  The March proceeded in two wings.  Each wing was divided into two columns.  Often the four columns were on separate roads.”

Wikipedia’s – Sherman’s March to the Sea has a really good explanation and even details the “Opposing forces” which breaks down the various army groups that participated in this march in more detail along with links.  They have some maps with details of the campaigns and you can click to make them bigger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea

3.  The Campaign of the Carolinas.  In this campaign Sherman marched north through these two states starting on January 15, 1865.

George William T. Sherman had a very long military career even before the beginning of the Civil War.  He was involved in many other campaigns.  To dig deeper on W. T. Sherman let’s go back to Wikipedia for a biography on Sherman.   There is a lot of great information at this particular Wikipedia site but always be sure you check other sources and there are plenty on the web referencing the Civil War.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tecumseh_Sherman

Scrolling down the page to Civil War Service you see that Sherman was involved with other campaigns prior to the three mentioned above.

1.  First Battle Bull Run or First Battle of Manassas. I have had the privilege of visiting this park twice.  The park is west of Arlington, Virginia and easy to get to by car.  I believe it is haunted. The battle took place on July 21, 1861.  So if George mustered in on August 15, 1862 he most definitely was not in this battle. The National Park Services has wonderful websites of the major battlefields of the Civil War:  http://www.nps.gov/mana/index.htm

2.  Shiloh is in Tennessee and the battle took place April 6-7, 1862.  The National Park Services also has a website for this battlefield:  http://www.nps.gov/shil/historyculture/shiloh.htm  Again George musters in August 15, 1862 he misses this action as well.

3.  Vicksburg, Mississippi Dec 26, 1862 to July 4, 1863 and Chattanooga, Tennessee October and November 1863.   Now there might be possibilities in these campaigns?  We will see.

Let us review George’s military card service cards in the next post and see if we can find anything in them that will help us figure out this puzzle.

WARNING!  Researching and reading about the Civil War can be addicting!

Here are some other websites to explore:

The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA is a wonderful place to visit.  I was able to wander this archive back in September of 2008.

http://www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org/index_1.php

 

Civil War:  http://www.civilwar.com/

Don’t forget Google Images of the Civil War go here http://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi  and type in “Civil War” or “Civil War Wagons” and click!

Civil War Home Page http://www.civil-war.net/

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/  You can search for a soldier and more.

The Civil War (PBS) http://www.pbs.org/civilwar/

American Civil War.com http://americancivilwar.com/

Time Line of the Civil War:  http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/tl1861.html

The National Civil War Museum

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