No Civil War Pension?

An uncle’s obituary and biography in the county history indicated served in the Union during the US Civil War. I found records of his enlistment which were consistent with statements made in the obituary and biography. He died in the 1930s and based upon his service likely would have qualified for a pension. Yet the various indexes to Civil War pensions did not include a reference to him having received a pension.

When I obtained his compiled military service record, I determined the reason he had no pension: he deserted. Many servicemen during the Civil War deserted. My uncle and a few other men in his unit had “gone home” while their unit was in Kansas after the war ended–but before they had been officially discharged. They were never punished for their desertion, but they were ineligible for later benefits because of it.

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