Monday, May 23, 2011

How Cecelia McAleer Young got her Civil War pension

My mother showed me some fascinating family documents today.

The image above is the Civil War Volunteer Enlistment form signed by my great-great grandfather William H. Young to join the Union cause. It says:
I, William H. Young, born in Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania, aged Twenty Four years and by occupation a Brass Moulder, DO HEREBY ACKNOWLEDGE to have volunteered this Fourteenth day of March 1864 to serve as a Soldier in the Army of the United States of America, for the period of THREE YEARS, unless sooner discharged by proper authority: Do also agree to accept such bounty, pay, rations, and clothing as are, or may be, established by law for volunteers. And I William H. Young do solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whomsoever; and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles of War.

He joined the 72nd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. They fought at Gettysburg and Antietam, among others, although both those famous battles happened before he joined.

I don't have any photos of this great-great-grandfather, but this form describes him as having blue eyes, brown hair, a dark complexion and he's 5'7" - which was a little shorter than the average height for Civil War soldiers of 5'8".

I don't know how good a soldier he was - good enough to receive a pension. But he was not such a good husband, which is why this proof of his Civil War enlistment was so important to Cecelia McAleer Young's claim to her share of his pension. I have the deposition form in which she reveals many interesting facts about my mom's side of the family. More about this tomorrow.