Monday, August 8, 2011

Amanuensis Monday -- The Civil War Pension File of Isaac Carter, Part 1

Over the past few weeks, I have realized that I am at a point in my writing that it is imperative that I transcribe and abstract my great grandfather-in-law's Civil War Pension file. I had first mentioned the file in my post, Where Do I Go From Here?. I ordered the file on April 7, 2011, and the first one hundred pages were prepared on May 8, 2011 and received on May 13th. Upon receipt via USPS, I immediately went online to request the remaining seventy-five pages, which had already been prepared on May 9, 2011. The cost of the file was $75 for the first 100 pages, and $48.75 for the remaining 80 pages, totaling $123.75. As much as I like to keep costs to a minimum, this was an investment well worth the money spent.

One night I sat down on my sofa and read the whole file from start to finish. The most interesting information was contained in the affidavits, giving testimony to the relationship and witness of Isaac Carter's friends and family in regards to the claim of disability received in the line of duty. Each witness corroborated the claim, adding some nuance of their particular relationship which made them privy to specific piece of information not apparent to all.

I could see through the pages how disheartened the family must have been in the years following the war as Isaac's ability to provide for his family gradually disintegrated, as made apparent on the occupation section of his Census record in the years between 1870-1910.

The pages were not assembled in chronological order, so to gain a better understanding of the process of his claim and the continued affects of military service on his everyday life, I assembled the documents in this fashion, creating a consecutive record, stretching from June 12, 1888 (the date the claim was filed) to August 23, 1921 (when the claim was officially closed...three months after the death of his widow, Martha Ann (George) Carter).

My next goal is to purchase a legal-sized binder and archival sheet protectors to facilitate my navigation through the pages. What follows is a transcription of the first document in the file...the original claim application.

[the blanks for Applicant,
Co., and Reg't are left blank.]
MSC Vols.
U JUL-51888 S
Filed by [left blank]

Declaration for an Original Invalid Pension.
This must be Executed before a Court of Record or some Officer thereof having Custody of the Seal

State of North Carolina, County of Craven, ss:
ON THIS 12th day of June A.D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty8
personally appeared before me Clerk of the Superior Court a Court of Record with in and for the County and State aforesaid Isaac Carter
aged 48 years, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Sergeant
Isaac Carter who was ENROLLED as a Sergeant on the 12 day of
March, 1864, in Company G of the 14th regiment of USCHArty
commanded by Col. [R] oc and was honorably DISCHARGED at
Fort Macon N.C. on the 11 day of December, 1865: That his
personal description is as follows: Age 24 years; height 5 feet 11 inches; complexion Dark
hair Black; eyes Black. That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the
service and in the line of duty at near Morehead City in the state of N.C.
on or about the day of winter, 1864, he "contracted the diarrhea
and Piles, and asthma and Lung trouble, and
Shortness of Breath, pains in the Right Side
and Swelling in feet and Legs, pains in
[unreadable] joints and contracted the Rheumatism
by heavy exposure Standing on guard in the Ice
and Snow in the winter of 1864 and 5 and
was treated in the Hospital he was Trouble
with the aforesaid Diseases all through Summer
1865 and Suffering with the afore said Disease
on Date of Discharge and has been Suffering
Each and Every year Since up to the Present
with Diarrhea & Piles & Rheumatism & Lung Disease."
That he was treated in hospitals as follows: "at Moohead City and Fort
Macon, N.C."
That he has "not" been employed in the military or naval service otherwise than as stated abovbe.
That he has not bee"N.C.", and that his occupation was been that of a "Farmer."
That prior to his entry into the service above-named he was a man of good, sound, physical health, being when enrolled a
"Farmer". That he is now "Two Thirds" disabled
from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries, above described, received in the service of
the United States; and he therefore makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the invalid
pension roll of the United States. He hereby appoints with full power of substitution and revocation,
"Frederick Douglas" of "New Bern N.C."
his true and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim. That he has "not" received "or" applied for
a pension [unreadable insertion]; that his residence is "Near Harlow Craven" street "County
N. Carolina" and that his post office address is
No. Box 590 New Berne N.C."                                                                his
"E. W. Carpenter"                                                                            Isaac   Carter
J. B. Willis (Two witnesses who can write sign here.)                          

Also personally appeared "Albert W. Elliott" residing at "near New Bern
N.C." and "Sharper Williams" residing at
"New Bern N.C." persons whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit, and
who being by me duly sworn, say that they were present and saw "Isaac Carter",
the claimant to the forgoing
declaration; that they have every reason to believe from the appearance of said claimant and their acquaintances with him
that he is the identical person he represents himself to be; and that they have no interest in the prosecution of this claim.
"E. W. Carpenter"                                "Albert W. Elliott"
"J. B. Willis"                                               his
                                                        Sharper Williams
Sworn to and subscribed that the contents of the above declaration, &c., were fully made known and explained to the applicant and witnesses before swearing, including the words [blank]
[blank] erased, and the words [blank]
[blank] added; and that I have no interest, direct of indirect in the
prosecution of this claim.
                                                                             "E. W. Carpenter"
                                                             Clerk of the "Superior Court"


  1. What a great file to have. I am glad you made this investment... "Longer or larger joints"...(Unreadable part) I think that is what it says.

  2. Thanks! Yes, Yvette, it may state that. Sometimes it takes an earlier reading to make it out. It took me some time to decipher E. W. Carpenter's name.