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100 Years Ago


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Pensions

Congress enacted pension laws which provided some recompense to the disabled soldier and the family members who lost loved ones. For total disability, an officer of the rank of Lt. Colonel or higher received $30 a month, but an enlisted man could get only $8 a month. Widows and children under 16 years of age also received a pension as long as the widow did not remarry.

The government was strict on who could qualify. Sidney, Ohio resident Calvin Shaw served with the 20th Ohio. He experienced years of frustration, applying for a pension due to rheumatism and problems with his liver. His claim was repeatedly rejected. He had the assistance of Attorney L.N. English from Auglaize County with whom he signed a contract, agreeing to pay him $25 if he received his pension. (Shaw apparently responded to an advertisement by English placed in the area newspaper).

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Calvin Shaw

Fellow 20th Ohio soldier Sammuel Emmit also had his pension application rejected, but not for lack of medical proof. Emmit was accused of deserting his regiment during the Battle of Atlanta. Emmit tried to get Calvin Shaw to sign an affidavit swearing that Emmit had not left his comrades. Emmit wrote to Shaw on February 9, 1886, offering an incentive. "Do this for me and I will not only feel grateful, but I will pay you...If I get my pension...I will make you a present of at least $5.00, and if this kind of pay doesn’t suit you tell me what I owe you..." It is unknown whether or not Calvin Shaw signed the affidavit or Sammuel Emmit received his pension.

'Civil War' segment written in July, 1998 by Rich Wallace

 

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