Monday, February 18, 2013

Military Monday ~ Gleanings From A Civil War Pension Record

Chalmette National Cemetery Graves

Charles H. Brackley enlisted on December 1st, 1863, at Augusta, Maine. His uncle, Howard Winslow Brackley, is my 3rd great grandfather and will be the subject of a future post. I have written about Charles previously at “Oh Brave Brackley Boys of Freeman.” 

When I discovered there was a pension file available, I ordered it from the National Archives. At 75 pages, it provided a fascinating window on the life of a rural Maine farmer in the late 1880’s. 

I was also able to glean a dozen or so genealogical leads from the file itself.


Charles was one of the many Civil War soldiers who died, not from war wounds, but of disease, far from home. He is buried in Chalmette (La.) National Cemetery.

From reading the mostly hand-written pension file, I learned the following about Charles:

He was born on May 2, 1846.

About Charles’ enlistment:

Charles was mustered in to rank at Augusta on December 17, 1863.

His father, Eli, was paid a bounty of $10.00 on December 24th for his son’s enlistment.

After being mustered in, and before he left Augusta, Charles gave his father $75.00.

About his death I learned:

He died on June 6, 1864, from what was called then “Bilious Fever.” (I have also seen it described as “chronic diarrhea.”)

About his father, Eli Brackley, I learned that he was married to Mary Grant on September 7, 1843, by an ordained minister named Simeon N. Pierce, in Freeman, Franklin County, Maine.

About his mother, Mary Grant Brackley, I learned that she died in Farmington, Maine, on October 3, 1850.

About Eli’s 1879 application for his son Charles’ pension:

In 1879, Eli lived and farmed in Salem, Franklin County, Maine. He kept on the farm 60 sheep, 2 cows, 2 horses, and 4 or 5 young cattle, all valued at about $470.

He was dependent on his son Charles financially, and his economic situation had been declining in the years since Charles died in the war.

He was in declining health. Although he gave his age as 59, he seemed much debilitated. He had not been to a physician in the years since his son went to war, because there wasn’t one in town, and appeared to be between 68 and 72 years old. (Another source has him born in 1822, which makes him 57 at this time.)

He was initially paid $8.00 a month, retroactive to the day after Charles’ death, June 7, 1864. This pension, which eventually increased to $12.00 a month, continued to be paid until Eli’s death on May 24, 1904.
Declarations of and on behalf of Claimant, December 3, 1879 to August 22, 1881, Eli A. Brackley, dependent father pension application no. 255, 239, certificate no. 194, 322; service of Charles H. Brackley (Pvt., Co. K, 29th Maine Vol. Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting information. I just ordered an ancestor's pension record a couple of days ago so it is nice to hear what you learned from yours. Thanks for the post!