Archive:Civil War Pension File, Elisha A. Whitney
Civil War Pension File of Elisha A. Whitney
Mother: Mary Whitney
Mother's Applic. # 44280 Cert. # 55707
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
Private, Company E, 4th Maine Infantry
On 27 January 1864 from Kennebec County, Maine, Mary Whitney signed a Mother's Claim for an Army Pension. She is sixty-two years old and a resident of Richmond, Sagadahoc County, Maine. She is the mother of Elisha Whitney, a private in Company E, commanded by Captain S. C. Whitehouse, in the 4th Regiment of Maine Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Elijah Walker. Elisha was killed by the explosion of the Gunboat Mound City on the Mississippi River on or about 16 June 1862 while in the service of the U.S. Navy. He was an unmarried man and left no wife, child, or living father. Mary was greatly dependent in the past on the labor of her son for her support. Before he enlisted in the army he turned his earnings toward her support. After he enlisted, he assigned the allotment roll to his brother to expend as much as would be necessary for his mother, and case he should die all of the money was to be paid to his mother. Mary was married to Reuben Whitney, the father of said soldier, on 22 October 1829 at Litchfield, Maine by Rev. Mr. Stanett. Her name before her marriage was Mary White. She has no children by her said husband other than who are married and have families of their own to support. She has no property except a little furniture in the house in which she lives. She was so dependent in her son for more than four years before he enlisted. She is unable with her own hands to provide for her support. She is in feeble health and is confined a great part of the time.
Witnessing Mary's application are Reuben M. Whitney of Pittston, her son, and Tryphena Bancroft, of Augusta, her daughter. They testify that Mary is the mother of Elisha Whitney, and that her husband had died in 1843. They testify to Mary's dependence on her son Elisha for her support as she has described.
The records of the Quartermaster General's office confirm that Elisha Whitney was on board the Gunboat Mound City on 16 June 1862, on which day her boiler was exploded by a shot from a rebel battery at St. Charles, Arkansas. He died from the effects in hospital on 26 June 1862. There is testimony by Jason Carlisle of North Boothbay, Maine, the late Captain of Company E, 4th Maine Volunteers. He testifies that Elisha A. Whitney was detached from the regiment to the Western Gunboat Service, and was killed in action as previously described. His death is carried in the official records of Company E of the 4th Regiment.
The Adjutant General's Office provides the information that Elisha Whitney was enrolled on 15 June 1861 at Rockland, Maine in Company E of the 4th Maine Regiment of Volunteers to serve three years. He was mustered in as a private on the same day. He was detached to the Western Gunboat Service, was reported sick on board the Mound City, and since died in the hospital, date of death not specified.
Tryphena Bancroft, Mary Berry (Elisha's sisters), Zina H. Bowen, and William H. Berry (Elisha's brothers-in-law) all testify to Mary's dependence on Elisha for her support for many years prior to and during his army service. With money he earned he paid her board and provided her with clothing and other comforts of life. He paid her board to Mr. Russell Phillips of Richmond for a long time before he entered the service. He also sent her money while he was in the service to pay Mr. Phillips, with whom she boarded. She is very aged and feeble and will undoubtedly become a town charge unless she receives a pension.
Mary's pension was paid to 4 March 1875, and she died 23 May 1875.
Note: I believe that it is probable that Russell Phillips was Mary's son-in-law, and the husband of Mary's daughter Julia. KLW
Copyright © 2006, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group