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:
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.
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.