Archive:Civil War Pension File, Samuel S. Whitney

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Archives > Archive:Military Records > Archive:Civil War, Pension Files > Civil War Pension File, Samuel S. Whitney

Civil War Pension File of Henry A. Whitney
Invalid Applic. # 178179 Cert. # 186727
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

He is identified as Samuel S. Whitney (Jeremiah, Jeremiah). He is the son of Jeremiah and Mary (Winter) Whitney of Carthage, Maine. His grandparents are Jeremiah and Lydia (Cole) Whitney of Weld, Maine. The ancestry of Jeremiah the grandfather has yet to be elucidated.

Sergeant, Company E, 32nd & 31st Regiments, Maine Infantry

Samuel S. Whitney signed an Application for an Invalid Pension from Franklin County, Maine on 19 September 1872. He is thirty-nine years old, and a resident of Carthage, Franklin Co., Maine. He had enlisted at Carthage on 19 March 1864 as a private in Company E commanded by Captain Ebenezer S. Kyes of the 32nd Regiment of Maine Infantry. He was honorably discharged as a sergeant of Company E of the 31st Regiment of Maine Infantry on 15 July 1865. There is a note that the 32nd and 31st Regiments had been consolidated. While in the service and in his line of duty on or about 6 May 1864 as a sergeant, he contracted rheumatism and chronic diarrhea brought on by exposure and hardships from the time of the Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia on 6 May 1864, and exposure and hardships after that. By over exertion in said battle aiding in building breastworks, he took cold directly after laying on the cold, damp ground, tendering him unable to perform duty, and was treated by regimental doctors. Recovering somewhat, he assisted in cooking for the men of the regiment, but for the time not being able to due that by reason of diarrhea, which came on to him after said battle, and he did other duty when able. He kept along with the regiment in this way until about the first of April 1865, when he was rendered entirely disabled from further duty. He was treated at the regimental hospital until mustered out of the regiment. He was treated by the physicians of the regiment for rheumatism and chronic diarrhea, which have existed ever since, causing him great suffering. He has had sores on his body caused by said diseases, and is often laid up for weeks at a time because of the diseases. His general health is seriously affected thereby. He was a sound, rugged and able bodied man at the time of his enlistment, and never before that had any rheumatic troubles or chronic diarrhea. His post office address is South Carthage, Maine. The application was witnessed by Ebenezer S. Kyes of Jay, Maine and George W. Berry of Carthage.

For reasons not apparent, action on this application was delayed for about five years. Then, in January of 1877 there appear in the file many affidavits by witnesses attesting to the poor physical condition of Samuel. There also appear reports from Joseph Carr, a Special Agent of the Pension Office, who was sent to investigate the claim. Two such reports are about interviews that Mr. Carr had with Samuel S. Whitney, one on 29 January 1877, and the other on 16 May 1877. Much of the information in the two reports is redundant, but they vary from each other in some aspects. I have synthesized them into one report and provide a synopsis, omitting some information that has been previously provided above:

Samuel S. Whitney is now forty-four years old, and resides in Dixfield, Oxford County, Maine. For five years prior to his enlistment in the army he was a healthy and able-bodied farmer. He remained well until the Battle of the Wilderness, where his regiment was held in reserve to build breastworks. He over-worked and over-heated himself, which caused the weakness and diarrhea.

After the Battle of the Wilderness, he marched with his regiment to Spotsylvania, where they were under fire for eight days. They then marched to the North Anna River, where he detailed as a stretcher bearer. They marched to Gaines Farm, Pottawatimie Creek, and Cold Harbor. Soon after they left Cold Harbor he first suffered from violent rheumatism, along with the continuing diarrhea. His leg was so drawn up that he could hardly touch his toe to the ground. He was so lame that he could not carry the stretcher any further, and threw it away. He was detailed back to his company, and marched and kept up with his regiment to the James River. He was present at the Battle of Petersburg, and remained at the front of Petersburg until about the first of August. He had medical treatment in camp, and had no other disability or sickness at that time. He was not sent to the hospital and was often excused from duty, but kept up with the regiment. At Poplar Grove Church on 30 September, he was detailed as an assistant cook. He continued to act as such for three or four weeks, and then rejoined his company in October.

From there he rejoined his company and marched with his regiment to Alexandria, where he was laid up with rheumatism in his quarters, but under treatment from Surgeon Smith and Asst. Surgeon Kimball of the Regimental Hospital.

During the different marches, he often fell out of the ranks with diarrhea. He came home with the regiment in 1865 in poor health from diarrhea, which has continued until the present time.

He is a poor man. He owns a small farm, where he cuts ten to twelve tons of hay and forty bushels of oats. He owns four cheap horses, and two teem wagons. In the fall of 1865 he tried to butcher a few cattle and to cut bushes, but he had not the strength to do so. In the winters of 1865 through 1867 he worked in a grist mill. In the summers he did a little farming until 1873, when he moved to Dixfield. He now tries to support his family by teeming, but has not been able to support his family since his return from the war. The only way they have been supported has been by the labor of his minor sons, who have done the hard work of loading and unloading the teems.

Samuel has three sons: Virgil, born 6 August 1858; Eliphalet, born 22 May 1860; and Willie, born 27 October 1868. His wife, Sarah S. Whitney, has heard the affidavit read and concurs that the facts as stated are correct and true.

Subsequent to the investigation, Samuel was granted a pension. In 1898, he answered an interrogatory from the Bureau of pensions. He testifies that he is married to Sarah L. Whitney. Her maiden name was Sarah Berry. They were married at Carthage, Maine on 22 June 1855. The marriage is recorded in a Bible record by Harrison Lord of Carthage. He has three sons: Virgil V., Eliphalet E., and Willie L. Whitney. Their birth dates are as previously stated above.

Copyright © 2007, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group

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