Monday, March 22, 2010

Anatomy of a Military Pension File, Part 14

Previously, I reported on the acquisition of my great-great-great grandfather's military pension file. The documents contained within paint a picture of a man and his family about which I knew very little. I've decided to share this 103-page treasure with you a few pages at a time.

Page 29: Statement of the Assistant Surgeon of the U.S. Army

The document is dated January 26, 1887 and Washington D.C. is given for the location.

To the Adjutant General, U.S. Army.

Sir: I have the honor to return herewith the papers received from your office in pension claim No. "O.W. [Old War?], with such information as is furnished by records filed in this Office, viz: that "Max Baerecke Pr. Co. I. 26 Wis. Vols. was admitted to Genl. Field Hospital  11. (?) A.C. Brooks Station Va. April 27, 1863 with Chronic Rheumatism and returned to duty May 28, '63; that he was admitted to Finley G H Washington D.C. June 14, '63 with debility and transferred to Convalescent Camp June 16, 1863.

Records of Convalescent Camp Alexandria Va. June 16 to 30, 1863 afford no evidence in this case."

By order of the Surgeon General:

F C Ainsworth [I think], Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army
No. 432745

What did I learn from this page in the file?

It gives some of the military medical history of Max during the Civil War. Between the mentions of asthma and yellow fever in previous documents, as well as rheumatism and "debility" in this page, it appears that Max was sickly. Or was he? Is this long list of medical problems common in pension files? Are dramatic descriptions part of the application process when money is on the line? These are the questions I ask myself as I try to form a mental image of my great-great-great grandfather.

On to part 15.


  1. I am really enjoying your pension file posts. It amazes me how much you can learn about an ancestor and his war experiences from these documents.

  2. Thanks, Wendy! Glad you're enjoying the series.