Early in the American Civil War the U.s. Government began to question what was owed to wounded or otherwise disabled soldiers/sailors who volunteered to save the Union. Cases involving the loss of an arm or leg were easy to decide, but what about the countless anonymous men who endured months, if not years, of tedium and privation interupted by brief momemts of exhilaration and terror? During the War more than twice as many men died from disease as from gunfire. Frequently, those fighting units that saw the least combat had the highest percentages of loss due to illness leaving many men crippled or suffering from poor health for the remainder of their all-too-frequently shortened lives.
In an effort to deal with these issues, between l862 and l923 the U.S. Congress passed more than 164 pension actions, most of them benefiting Civil War veterans and their dependendents which, by l920 resulted in aging veterans receiving monthly government stipends ranging from $6 to $100 per month. Still, such benefits were not easy to acquire. The application process necessitated the submission of affidavits not only from the veterans themselves, but from their officers, doctors, comrades-in-arms, friends and neighbors. This process gave rise to a class of attorneys who specifically earned their living aiding old warriors to obtain government monies.It also created a huge government beauracracy to deal with the mountains of paperwork. From this system there remains a treasure trove of larglely handwritten pension-related documents. In addition to pension documents, also existing are military service records, court marshall records and homestead records if the former vet later applied for a relatively cost-free homestead based on his Civil War service. These documents are foundation of the biographical profiles found within the Civil War Vets Buried in Washington State project/website. The cost of retrieving all, or a portion of these documents can cost up to $100 or more.
In an effort to help defray the cost of obtaining such files, individuals, groups or organizations are encouraged to Adopt-A-Vet. Adoption means donating $25 or more to the Civil War Veterans Buried in Washington State program. Each $25 donation puts that individual, group or oranizations' name on one finalized veteran profile and receipt of a printed copy of that profile. The donation is tax deductable.
To Adopt-A-Vet contact: R. Bruce Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Karyn Zielasko Weingarden at KZWestre61@aol.com
HELP BRING OUR AMERICAN CIVIL WAR HERITAGE TO LIFE
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