Sunday, July 20, 2008

NARA records arrive!

In my last post I mentioned sending off for whatever records NARA had for my gg-grandfather, John H. Brown, who served with the 3rd (later 3 and 5) Missouri Infantry, CSA. Saturday the packet arrived, containing a Compiled Service Record.

I hate those things. I mean, I appreciate them, it's more information than I had before, but it always leaves so many things unanswered!

He appears to have been out sick twice (I know disease was rampant in the camps during the Civil War) and wounded once. The first time was in April, 1862 (4 months after his muster-in date of January 1862); his company muster roll card for March and April note that he was "in hospital Memphis, Tenn April 11 1862." Which means he missed the surrender at Vicksburg (the 3rd was involved in the Seige of Vicksburg), which is why I couldn't find a parole for him at

He was absent again, May through August, in 1863; the May/June card notes: "in hospital in Canton, Miss." and the July/August card "absent on detached duty."

Finally, he was wounded and sent to hospital June 3 1864, and noted as being on sick furlough for July/August. There's a card titled "Appears on a Register of Way Hospital, Meridian, Miss." that says "Complaint: wound," "Admited January 27 1865," and "Remarks: Furloughed." Another card notes he was wounded in the shoulder and reported to command in February 1865. He's on a Roll of Prisoners of War dated Meridian, Miss., May 11, 1865.

Bezaleel Brooks, the subject of my last post and John H.'s uncle-in-law (he was the younger brother of John H.'s wife's mother) was also wounded, in the upper thigh, so badly that 10 months after being wounded he submitted his resignation.

So now I'm curious about the hospitals and medical care of the time. Also, apparently neither man lost the wounded limb, but I'm wondering how their war wounds would have affected their lives after the war. I feel like the Elephant's Child, full of 'satiable curiosity.

Bezaleel "disappears" after his 1863 resignation, and John H. didn't live long enough to apply for a pension when Missouri started providing them in 1911 (though he survived the war by 40 years), nor have I found any evidence that his second wife, who died in 1924, ever applied for a pension. So pension files as a source of information are out, at least for these two men, at least for now (hope on, hope ever).

I am, however, wondering whether it would be worth the $75 to send off for the pension file of my Yankee gg-uncle, John A. Boston, who served with the Ohio 100th Infantry during most of the war. $75 is pricey for me. I'd like to see a "sample" file before I try to come up with the money.

You can, btw, order compiled service records and pension records online from NARA