Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What I Learned from the Civil War Pension Applications

Great-great grandfather John Alexander and Great Uncle Sylvester Ames on the plaque at the Civil War Memorial
I'm back from my quick weekend trip to the nation's capital. I couldn't wait any longer to find out about my suppositions. I will have to go back later for a more extended research trip. This one answered some questions and generated more.

I now have proof that my great great grandfather John Alexander was in the Civil War. He filed for an invalid pension. Although he did not fight in any battle, he was injured by a wagon while in the infantry. He was unloading vessels at Ship Island, Mississippi. The injury caused him to limp for the rest of his life.

I was not able to find the original pension application where it asks who was his slave owner. It was stated on his widow's pension that they were slaves but not the owner's name. This was the main thing I wanted to learn. But it did list that he was born in Rappahannock County, Virginia. He didn't know when he was born but it was between 1830 and 1834. He was a short, dark man, around 5' 5" and weighed 140 lbs. in his later life. It was so interesting to see the names of some of his witnesses were in-laws and relatives of my grandmother.

African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

 He died November 2, 1913 and was buried in Huffman Graveyard. His widow Catherine died September 23, 1915.

This is just scratching the surface of what I'm learning. The names and places listed will now have to be checked. A genealogist's work is never done.

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