This is an extract from the Civil War Pension file of Stephen Archer, (1808 - 1888), Company G, 4th Illinois Cavalry. I transcribed it and added notes in [square brackets] August 2002. I'd be happy to send copies of my copies to anyone who is interested enough to send me a SASE. Write privately.
Stephen was an interesting guy - most of the peopel who fought in the Civil war were 16 - 25. He signed up at age 52 and gave it his best shot. He failed, but - better to have tried and lost than to have never tried at all.
Born Dec 1808 in Licking County, Ohio.
Died 26 January 1888 in Audubon County, Iowa
Married Rosannah Rogers/Rodgers 10 March 1840 in Licking County, Ohio. Rosannh's father was John.
Stephen enrolled 3 October 1861 in Ottowa, La Salle, Illinois as a Teamster, Company G, 4th regiment of Cavalry, Illinois Volunteers. He stated as a Teamster and to Wagoner. He served until 8 Novembr 1863. He was honorably discharged by a surgeon's certificate of disability. In 1863 his description was: height 5 feet, 7 1/2 inches, fair complexion, gray eyes, gray hair.
While with the regiment at Fort Henry 18 February 1862 he was "taken with neuralgia of the head, back and shoulders. <…> also asthma. He was discharged to Hudson, McClean, Illinois. He lived there until 1871, in Iowa until 1875, and moved to Moline, Rock Island, Illinois in 1875. Sometime after 1877 he moved to Audubon County, Iowa. He was a farmer before and after the war.
Rosannah Archer died17 Aug 1897 at Rock Island, Illinois.
Details by document follow.
Document 1, dated 3 November 1863, came from the field. It is a "Certificate of Disability for Discharge". It approves his discharge. It lists him as Stephen Archer, a Wagoner of Co. "G", 4th Cavalry regiment of Illinois Volunteers. It is signed by a number of people, most with bad handwriting, including xxx Clark, working in Headquarters, 17th Army Corps, Vicksburg, Miss Nov 8th 1863, who wrote: "To be discharged by order of Maj. General [James Birdseye] McPherson. Stephen was personally examined by a Geo. Lucas, and his medical certificate approved. It goes on to state:
Stephen is of Captain Harry D. Cook's company, G. He was enlisted by H. D. Cook of the 4th Regiment of Cavalry, Illinois Volunteers on 3 October 1861 at Ottawa, [La Salle County] Illinois. He was born in Licking County, Ohio. He is 52 years old. [Whoops. He was 52 years and 9 months when he signed up, if the birth date I have, 15 Dec 1808,is accurate. Other documents in the file support the 1808 birth date.] He is 5 feet seven and one-half inches high, fair complexion, grey eyes, grey hair and by occupation when enlisted a farmer. During the past two months he was unfit for duty 60 days. "The said Stephen Archer will be 55 years old in December next. His general health has been failing the last year so as to render him unfit for service nearly all the time. He is now troubled with deafness which, added to his other disabilities, renders him altogether unfit for service."
Station: Hebron's Plantation, Miss.
Date: October 27th, 1863.
/s/ Harry D. Cook, Capt. 4th Ill. Vol. Cavalry
I certify that I have carefully examined Stephen Archer of Captain Cook's company and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of chronic bronchitis with frequent attacks of asthma. His health is failing from age. His eyes are not good and he is a little deaf. Do not think he will be able for duty any more. Is unfit for duty in invalid corps. Do not think him a proper subject for future. [last phrase is my best guess. TP]
S/s H. C. Luce [Hiram C. Luce]
4th Ill. Cav. Surgeon
Two more lines:
Discharged this 8th day of November 1863 at Vicksburg, Miss.
/s/ M. R. M. Wallace [Martin R. R. Wallace] Commanding the Reg't.
The soldier desires to be addressed at Hudson, McLean County, Illinois.
Document 2, dated 23 April 1877, is an "Invalid Pension Claim", a pre-printed form made up by E. S. Weeden, Attorney, 143 East Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois. The cover page has "Stephen Archer, late Teamster, Co, G, 4th Regiment Cavalry, Illinois Volunteers."
State of Illinois, county of Rock Island, before Levi R. Hanson, clerk of the court, Stephen Archer declares:
He entered the military service at Ottowa, [La Salle County] Illinois on the 3rd day of October, 1861 as a Teamster, co G, 4th regiment of Cavalry, Illinois Volunteers. He was afterward promoted to Wagoner and finally was honorably discharged on 8 November 1863 by reason [of a] surgeon's certificate of disability.
That he never served in any other company or regiment. Nor had he received any pay from the army since then.
His personal description was: Age 68 [Born 15 Dec 1808], height 5 feet, 7 1/2 inches, fair complexion, gray eyes, gray hair.
[The following is the meat of his pension claim. I broke it into shorter sentences for readability.]
"While at Fort Henry on or about the 18th day of February 1862, he was taken with neuralgia of the head, back and shoulders. Although treated for the same by the Regimental surgeon the exposure and hardship incident to the service caused said disease to grow worse and worse while in the service. Also, from the great exposure to which the troops were subjected to at the military maneuvers at the capture of Forts Henry and Donalson, he was taken while at Fort Henry on or about the 18th day of February with asthma. [He] received treatment for the same only by the Regimental surgeon. [He] remained with the company doing [his] duty as he was able until discharged in consequence of the above contracted diseases, which were greatly aggravated by the unavoidable exposure incident to military service. Since discharge he has resided in McClean County, Illinois until 1871, in Iowa until 1875, and at his present place of abode. Occupation: Farmer.
[He] claims pension on neuralgia and asthma contracted as stated. That he has never received or applied for pension. His residence is Moline, Rock Island, Illinois and his post office is the same.
A second page has the names of two witnesses to Stephen's claim, Henry Ray and George Bledsoe, both of Rock Island County. It doesn't give their relation to Stephen, if indeed there was one.
[Neuralgia is a "sharp and paroxysmal pain along the course of a sensory nerve". A doctor I know socially told me the neuralgia sounds like he blew a disk in his neck, but diagnosing a 68-year old man from 140 years away is not an exact science.]
[This from an on-line Civil War History:
By February 1862, Fort Henry, a Confederate earthen fort on the Tennessee River with outdated guns, was partially inundated and the river threatened to flood the rest. On February 4-5, Brig. Gen. U.S. Grant landed his divisions in two different locations, one on the east bank of the Tennessee River to prevent the garrison's escape and the other to occupy the high ground on the Kentucky side which would insure the fort's fall. Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote's seven gunboats began bombarding the fort. Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, commander of the fort's garrison, realized that it was only a matter of time before Fort Henry fell. While leaving artillery in the fort to hold off the Union fleet, he escorted the rest of his force out of the area and sent them safely off on the route to Fort Donelson, 10 miles away. Tilghman then returned to the fort and, soon afterwards, surrendered to the fleet, which had engaged the fort and closed within 400 yards. Fort Henry's fall opened the Tennessee River to Union gunboats and shipping as far as Muscle Shoals, Alabama. After the fall of Fort Donelson, ten days later, the two major water transportation routes in the Confederate west, bounded by the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, became Union highways for movement of troops and material.]
Document 3 is a "Statement of Service", Document 235893, Adjutant General's Office, Washington DC, 21 June 1877. It states: Stephen Archer was enrolled 3 Oct 1861 at Ottawa [La Salle County, Illinois] in Company G, 4th Regiment of Illinois Cavalry Volunteers, to serve 3 years or the duration of the war. On the muster roll of Company G of that regiment dated Dec. 31, 1861 he is reported present; and so reported until roll for Nov. Dec 1863 reports his discharge on surgeon's cert. of disability November 8th, 1863. Rolls show Reg't at Fort Donelson, Tenn. Feb 28 1862 Where stationed Feb 18th, 1862 not shown.
/s/ O. W. Benjamin, Assistant Adjutant General
Document 4 is a certified copy of Marriage Record from Licking County, Ohio Probate Court, dated 29 February 1888. It states that a license was issued 7 March 1840 to Stephen Archer and Rosannah Rodgers. [Note that in this one her surname has the middle "d".] There s an additional line, "Transcribed Marriage record, page 376."
William Archer [no relation given; probably Stephen's brother, William P. Archer] sworn, says that Stephen Archer is of lawful age and never married. John Rodgers, sworn, says that he considers Rosannah to be his daughter and that she has never been married and that he has no objection thereto. [Question - does "considers" mean he treats her like one, even though she isn't? Could she be a cousin or niece who lived with John and his wife for many years?
The marriage was solemnized in due form on the 11th day of March, 1840 by John Deuty, J.P. [Roseannah said March 10 elsewhere. Either she forgot or they were married on the 10th but returned the license on the 11th.]
Document 5 is a "Widow's Declaration for Pension or Increase of Pension", dated 2 March 1888. Rosannah Archer appeared before the court clerk in Audubon County, Iowa. In this document her name is "Rogers", not "Rodgers", and in two places someone has added an "h" to the typewritten "Rosanna" to make it "Rosannah". She swore that:
She was 63 and the widow of Stephen Archer, who enlisted in the 4th Illinois Cavalry under that name for three years.
In the line of duty he contracted bronchitis and rheumatism, which resulted in his death 26 January 1888 in Audubon County, Iowa.
She was married under the name of Rosannah Rogers on 10 March 1840 by a justice of the peace in Licking County, Ohio. She has forgotten his name. Neither she nor her husband had been previously married.
As of the date (2 Mar 1888) they had no children under the age of 16.
Stephen was a pensioner of the U. S. at the time of his death, with pension certificate 163,571.
Her residence as of [2 Mar 1888] was Audubon County, and her post office was Ross, Audubon, Iowa.
A second page to document certifies A. S. Weaver and J. H. Rendleman reside in Audubon County, are respectable men and saw Rosannah sign. It doesn't say if they are he neighbors who came into town in their best Sunday suits to help a widow get her due, or just work in the court house.
Document 6, dated 22 Sep 1897 and sent from Des Moines, Iowa, is from a Mr. Robinson, whose first initials are unreadable. It informs Honorable H. Clay Evans, Commissioner of Pensions, that Rosannah Archer, widow of Stephen Archer - Wagoner, Co. G, 4th Illinois Cavalry, who was a pensioner on the rolls under certificate 243,456, and who was last paid $12 to July 4, 1897, was dropped because of death 17 Aug 1897 at Rock Island, Illinois.